In episode 30, I chat with e-commerce rockstar Ezra Firestone. We talk about how to use marketing automation to convert pre-purchase subscribers into buyers and how to turn buyers into repeat customers.
Ezra shares a killer post purchase follow-up automation that anybody can use.
After someone buys send them 5 emails:
- ‘Thank you’
- ‘Here is what to expect’
- ‘Social promotion email’
- ‘Take a survey’
- ‘Incentivised video review request’
We chat about:
- Pre-purchase subscribers
- Post-purchase subscribers
- Cart Abandonment
- Facebook advertising
- Pinterest advertising
- Google display network
- Content marketing
- Pre-sell pages
If you would like to have a chat about how you could be using marketing automation to grow your business join us in the Automation Nation private Facebook group
Links Mentioned In The Show
Barry: What kind of additional purchases, post that sequence, are you seeing?
Ezra: We get a lot, man. We have a 50% reorder rate.
Announcer: Welcome to The Active Marketer podcast, where we talk about how to design, automate, and scale your business to the next level, using sales and marketing automation. You can find out all the tips, tactics, and techniques you need to get more customers and sell more stuff over at theactivemarketer.com.
Now here’s your host, Barry Moore.
Barry: Welcome to The Active Marketer podcast. The show all about sales and marketing automation. I’m your host, Barry Moore and back with another exciting guest today. I get a lot of questions by email and our private Facebook group called Automation Nation. A lot of people asking questions about how you use marketing on automation in concert with an Ecommerce store.
How do I use marketing automation to promote my products, to generate leads for my products, and to follow up those people that have bought my products so that they’ll buy again.
Well, I figured if we’re gonna talk about Ecommerce, the person to chat with is Ezra Firestone. Ecommerce rock star from smartmarketer.com. So we’ve got Ezra on the show this week to talk all about how he uses marketing automation to drive leads and drive sales in his Ecommerce stores. He’s also got a Shopify course coming out where he talks about Shopify and how to use marketing automation, along with Shopify and there are Active Campaign components in that course as well. So make sure you check him out over at smartmarketer.com and check out all the links in the show notes for theactivemarketer.com/ezra
So, without any further ado, let’s get into this week’s episode with Ezra Firestone.
I get a lot of questions from followers of Active Campaign and how we integrate that with your shopping cart, like Shopify or Woo commerce and stuff. Who better to talk to about integrating marketing and automation than Ecommerce stud, Ezra Firestone. Welcome Ezra.
Ezra: Ladies and gentleman, thank you so much for having me.
Barry: Ezra Firestone in the house, welcome brother.
Ezra: I appreciate it, I’m excited to come on the show. You know, automation is a sorta under talked about. It’s kinda getting more popular now, but it’s sort of the stuff that’s a little … Takes a little bit more work to set up, but it produces such incredible results. It’s one of the main reasons our stores are as successful as they are. So, it’s cool that you are talking about this stuff on a regular basis.
Barry: Yeah, and I know you’re a big Shopify proponent and do a lot of work with them. A lot of my followers, a lot of my subscribers and listeners have Shopify stores, so hopefully we can talk today a little bit about how we could integrate marketing automation into your Shopify stores. That sound like a good thing to do?
Ezra: That sounds awesome and I think when we’re talking about that, what we’ll need to look at is the different types of customers you have on an Ecommerce store and then how to communicate with them the most effectively. So, your gonna have pre-purchase subscribers if you’re doing it right, which we’ll talk about how to do it right. And, you’re gonna have post-purchase subscribers. We want automation sequences that communicate with those different segments of you’re customer. You’re also gonna have customers who maybe added a product to the cart and didn’t check out and there’s actually built in automation inside the Shopify platform, which I’m sure if you’re a Shopify user you know about, that will do cart abandonment and stuff like that.
Our main segments that I think we can focus on, that everyone will get a lot of value out of, is a prospect and a customer and what to do there.
Barry: Okay, cool. I know you’ve got some really great sequences on how to turn kind of cold or warm traffic into a customer. Maybe we start from there. Maybe we start with someone who has just maybe seen a Facebook add, or they’ve seen some sort of piece of content about your site, or you want them to see some piece of content about your product.
Ezra: I’m with you, let’s even take a step back and talk about how we’re even getting people in the first place. In our stores, we’re using a combination of Facebook advertising, Pinterest advertising, Google advertising of multiple kinds, that’s the Google display network, the Google search network, YouTube, Instagram, and traditional blogging and content marketing. Everything that we’re advertising for the most part, is a piece of content. We don’t really do much direct to product detail page on an eCommerce store advertising, because that kind of advertising really only works for query based traffic.
Google search network, Amazon, which there just going to your Amazon product detail page, and Pinterest, too because Pinterest really is query based traffic. It’s people typing in queries looking for things.
For the most part, scalability is found in contextual traffic, which is Facebook advertising, Pinterest advertising to a degree, and the Google display network. And so, all of our advertising goes to a pre-sell page. So a piece of content that’s designed to engage someone in a conversation, that alludes to a solution. A conversation about a problem that they might have, that alludes to a solution that solves that problem.
For example, we’ve got an article that we’re running called, “Five Makeup Tips For Baby Boomer Women.” It’s a piece of content, it’s a listicle, so it’s a list of tips that are about beauty and fashion targeted toward a specific demographic of people, and then it transitions into a Soft pitch for our product, which is a makeup line for that particular demographic. When they click through, they then land on our Shopify store.
Pretty much everything that we’re running, regardless of where we’re running the traffic, we’re going through one of these pre-sell pages, because it’s the best quality, customer, and highest conversion rate funnel that we’ve found. And there’s also your traditional lead generation funnels, where maybe you’re sending someone to just an opt in and getting their email address. Opting them in for an ebook or a free guide, or some kind of discount or something and then following up with them from there. This funnel that I’m talking about, we’re not even doing an opt-in on the front end, we’re just driving cold traffic to an article to our Shopify store, and handling the opt-in from there.
Barry: So, you’re kind of approaching it from a frame that the customer might not even necessarily know what the problem is, or maybe they know what the problem is, but they don’t know what the solution is.
Ezra: Well, the customer knows they’re interested in that problem or they wouldn’t have clicked on the article in the first place, right? Someone knows they’re interested in “Seven Recipes to Detox Your Liver” and then, actually what you’re doing when you detoxing your liver with juice is this or that, and here’s a product that helps you achieve the same results, or whatever.
The concept of using a piece of content to engage someone in a conversation, and then move towards a solution, is a really old one. Soap operas were created by Proctor & Gamble, when television was the mass broadcasting channel for their target demographic, which was stay-at-home moms, women, they would produce this content and then put their product placement in it.
Red Bull, having guys jump from outer space to sell you a beverage, you know? It’s like a-
Barry: That’s a long tale piece of content, let’s put out a space capsule and send someone up to the universe so we can sell more drinks.
Ezra: But, on our website, right. So on our eCommerce website, the first thing that you hit as far as automation goes, is a pre-purchase opt-in, or a pre-purchase sales funnel. And we have in the header and footer of every page of our website, a join the club pop up box, right? So you can click on it and there’s a little link that says, “Join the club.” You can see an example of this by going to boombycindyjoseph.com.
I was at an event recently and … I can’t if this was someone else’s story that someone had told this guy, I don’t remember exactly whose … if it was this guy’s story, but he said his son came home with a list of names on a sheet of paper and a bunch of one dollar bills. And, he said, “Where’d you get all this money?” And he said, “Well, I told people they could join the club if they gave me a dollar.” And he said, “Okay, well what happens after they join the club?” He says, “Well, there on the list.” And he had all these names of people on the list. So we use “Join the club” as our call to action in the header, turns out people just wanna join clubs and it works.
So, they opt-in there for generally a discount, or some kind of incentive on our products on our store. We then send them a thank you email that has a link back to our store that when they click on it, it embeds the coupon code in it. We also, if they don’t become a customer, follow up with them with content and stuff like that to send them back over to our product detail page.
Pre-purchase, getting customers and stuff like that, I don’t really want to talk about. The thing that I’m really excited to talk about is a very effective post-purchase automation that everyone can implement, no matter what your business is and I found it to be really great. I use it on my information business, my eCommerce businesses, I use it everywhere. I love it.
Barry: Sounds good brother, sounds very groovy. Let’s hear about it.
Ezra: All right, after someone buys, there’s a couple things you want to do. It’s generally kind of a five part sequence for a physical products store. The first email that you want to send them happens automatically, they get put on a post purchase automation list, is here’s what to expect. Join us on social media. A video thank you, So hey, thank you so much for purchasing. Wanted to send a quick email, shoot a video for you, you can watch that video here. And then in the email you tell them everything you say in the video.
You want, because some people will read and some people will watch, so you want to communicate it in both places. In the actual email they get, and they can click a video, and the video just says, “Hey thanks so much for buying, we’re packing up your box now.” Or, “We’ll be in touch with you in 24 hours,” if you’re selling a service. “Super excited to doing business with you, click the link below this video to join us on Facebook,” and you have a little Facebook like box where they can like you on Facebook, and, you know, “Here’s what you ordered” and stuff like that.
The next email should go out the next day or the day after, and it’s a “Here’s what to expect.” It’s a pre-arrival email. So before they get the product, whatever that product is, it’s building excitement, it’s showing them what it’s going to look like. Maybe opening the box, “Hey, you’re box is gonna come, this is what it’s gonna be,” or, “Hey when we’re all finished with this, this is what you’re gonna have.” Super excited about it and kind of building excitement and getting them excited about the thing that is coming.
Now, all the while, your tracking emails are going out automatically if you’re sending them a physical product that’s separate. That’s sort of something that happens as the tracking updates, they get notified. And they can track that.
The next thing we like to do, is after they’ve received the product, we send them a social promotion email. That says, “Hey, you know, here’s how you can enter our photo contest.” Which is a picture of you with our product. People like to take selfies these days. And you can get pictures of people. It’s not hard to get people to take a picture with your product, or take a picture doing anything you want that you can then put on your website, which helps your conversion rate. So you do a little photo contest for social proof.
Then next email that we send is a survey request, so like, “Hey, you know, we’ve done business now and we’re super happy about it. We’d love to get your feedback on ways that we can improve, products you think we should add.” All this kind of stuff, and you just let people type in responses and that will be the best time that you spend, is reading those responses. Because people will actually tell you what they think and you can get really good insight on different things to offer and products to add. Stuff like that.
If you’re using an eCommerce business, tell me if I’m talking too fast here Barry, my voice is kind of a little bit down today, so I tend to talk faster when my voice is down, for some reason.
Basically, if you have an eCommerce business, all the while, throughout this process already, they will have gotten an actual real, “Leave me a star rating review” request. From whatever you’re using, either Shopify reviews, or [inaudible 00:11:25] or whatever. Shopper approved, some level that will have happened automatically along with the tracking updates. But I like to ask for them to take a Survey Monkey survey, or any kind of, whatever survey Software you’re using and get some insight.
The last email that I think you should send, is an incentivized video review request. So not only will you have selfies or people who have consumed your product on your product detail page when you’re selling it, but you’ll also have videos of them. Basically it’s like, “Get a $5 or $10 iTunes or Starbucks gift card by doing these five things. Pull out your iPhone, shoot us a quick video, mention the product by name, mention this, mention that. Here are the steps you gotta mention. Email it to us from the same device you recorded it on and we’ll send you a gift card.”
Basically what we’ve done there is, we’ve thanked them for buying. We’ve gotten them really excited about the product. We’ve notified them before it comes. We’ve notified them when they’re product is shipping. We have asked for a selfie and a traditional star rating review, and given them a contest to enter. We’ve asked them to take a survey. We’ve incentivized them to leave us a video review.
After that, because the point of the post-purchase automation sequence is to engage them, deliver content, and make additional offers. So, after that five step sequence, we then go into content engagement and additional offers. Like, “We have this other product,” or “Here’s this other piece of content that you might like,” that leads to a sales video. So we use that same funnel of sending someone to a piece of content that leads to a product on the back end as well. After they’re already a customer.
Barry: Is that customised based on the product they bought? You know, so if they bought a product in this category, we’re gonna show them something in a complimentary category.
Ezra: Yes. It’s not that sophisticated, it’s that sophisticated with. I don’t know if that level of sophistication is available within Active Campaign in the connexion to Shopify, if you can pass product tags and stuff like that. Maybe that’s something for us to look into, Barry. But yes, for us, yes.
Barry: What I was just trying to get at is that, once you’re down through that five steps sequence and distributed and said thank you. Then they get a what to expect, to get them frothing about receiving their product. Step three is the after product social promotion. Step four, the survey request, and then step five the incentivized video review. And then we put them on to another sequence there to reengage them with content and products. That re engagement at the end of this five step sequence, is that a sequence that already exists, and everyone gets put on to that? Or is it custom for-
Ezra: Well, you have to create that-
Barry: I mean, that that’s one that’s a preexisting sequence that you already have, and once it, if somebody purchases-
Ezra: That’s right, take my boom, for example. If you come in and you buy a boom stick trio, then we’re gonna put you through the five steps and then we’re going to invite you to view a video that tells you our story and then pitches you on our moisturiser product. And, we’ve got a sequence that happens as far as replays and if you don’t click the video to open the video in Wistia, then all this kinda stuff that’s going on, to get them to watch that video.
Barry: Very cool. And what kind of uptake do you see or what kind of additional purchases, post that sequence, are you seeing.
Ezra: I mean, we get a lot, man. We have like a 50 percent reorder rate, but that’s because we have a consumable product, and we are very good, but you can get an extra 10 or 15 percent even if you’re not doing it very well.
Barry: All right, so we get the post, the five part post-purchase sequence. There’s actually, I saw a really cool tool the other day, you probably haven’t seen it yet. It’s call streaka.com, which basically allows you … Someone can take a video on their iPhone, there’s a little app on their iPhone, they put the video in there. It could be you or it could be your customer, like if you’re at an event or something. They put an email, so once the video is done, they put an email address in there where they want the video to go. It goes into the system, gets top and tailed with your branding, and ends up on a branded page.
Ezra: We talking about treepodia? What are we talking about?
Barry: No, it’s called streaka.com. I’ll send you a link. I’ll have a link in the shout outs as well. So basically, you get this wall of customer reviews, or wall of event videos, or a wall of customer videos. It’s a pretty cool thing. So that branded page where the video goes, so the recipient just ends up getting a link that says, “Hey, your video’s here.” And they click on the link and there’s the video, like five minutes later on a page, it’s got all your branding and call to action all around it and stuff like that.
Ezra: What’s the URL?
Ezra: How do you spell that?
Ezra: Got it, okay cool, I’ll check it out.
Barry: Pretty cool. And so, obviously that sequence works pretty well for you, what other kind of sequences do you have in your business that are pretty killer?
Ezra: You know, we’ve got a lot of stuff going on, based on post-purchase automation and things like that, but I think that mostly, I don’t want to overwhelm people with too much stuff.
Barry: All right, let’s give them one good solid-
Ezra: Yeah, I think that if you implement that post-purchase sequence, then you’re doing better than most. You want some sort of pre-purchase automation, and some kind of call to action, on your site to opt people in. And everything else happens after they’re already a customer. If you send someone an email who is on your customer list, to watch a video that sells another product, and they open the email and they don’t click through, then you should have automation that’s based on that.
So, essentially, segmenting based on action. Behaviour based automations are what we’re doing. And if you start thinking like that, like, what did they do and what didn’t they do and what should I send them based on what they did or didn’t do, then you can build out some cool stuff.
Barry: All right, well let’s talk about the tools for a minute then. I know I’ve had some customers come to me with Shopify, and I know there’s cart abandonment stuff already built in to Shopify, but you typically tie that in with some other marketing automation platforms, is that right?
Ezra: Well, the cart abandonment built in to Shopify is good enough, until you get over like 100 orders a day. Then there’s one that you can use that’s sort of better, you know? But, for the most part, the cart abandonment that’s built in to Shopify actually works quite well. We use little apps like, Optimunk, and stuff like that, that do a different kind of cart abandonment, life if they try to exit the cart, it does a pop up and says, “Hey, would you like to receive a 10 percent off,” and stuff like that. If they try to exit a page, we drop an opt-in that says, “Join the club.” So, we do stuff like that.
Barry: Cool. What platforms are you using for the automation component, sending out these five part sequences and things?
Ezra: We use, in our different businesses, we have Active Campaign, Infusion Soft, and Entreport. So we use all three. I would say, if you’re just getting started, Active Campaign’s probably the best, because it does pretty much everything that the other ones do. Infusion Soft we use because we actually use the shopping cart on Infusion Soft, because you can’t do up sell trees inside of eCommerce platforms, like Shopify, so on the back end of our, once we have a customer we like to do up sells and down sells. So, that’s why we’re using that.
I think Active Campaign works, it’s just as expensive once you start getting a good amount of contacts in your system, so, you don’t actually save any money with it in the end, but it’s really good. And it’s scalable, so it scales up as you get more, then you pay more, but as you up more subscribers, you’re making more money, you can afford it.
Barry: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a good point that a lot of people seem to over look, they go, “Oh this is really cheap,” but it is to begin with if you’ve got a list of 500 people, but once you get up into that five, ten, or twenty thousand contact range, it’s pretty much the same price. But you should be monetizing those people by then anyway, so it doesn’t really make too much difference.
I know you’ve got some interesting stuff coming up with Shopify, working with Active Campaign. Would you tell us a little bit about that?
Ezra: Sure, I have a training programme about … We are well known for eCommerce conversion rate optimising, so getting people to move through our store from our home page, to our category page, to the product detail page, to the shopping cart and testing the different elements of the store. So we’re releasing a theme that has all of our prebuilt split tests built into it, along with the training about how to drive traffic.
The platform that we’re teaching in that course, the automation system that we are connecting to Shopify for that course is Active Campaign. I think it’s the best place to start, I don’t think you should start on Infusion Soft or Entreport, and I think, scalably, as your store scales, if you’re using Shopify as your shopping cart, then Active Campaign is the integration between the two. Its a great CRM for that. You know, like, Aweber, there’s no way to integrate with Shopify that doesn’t make people double opt in after they become a customer and stuff. So, Active Campaign has a smoother integration to Shopify. All of these sequences that I’m talking about will be in that course as well.
Barry: Very cool. The actual integration between Shopify and Active Campaign, is that a custom thing or is that just straight API integration between those two products?
Ezra: It’s an API integration, and actually they use Zapier, and when you go into your Active Campaign account and you go connect to Shopify, it automatically creates a Zapier account for you. It integrates the two that way. We show the other way how to do it, which is just create your own Zapier account and connect the two. So, you can do that as well.
Barry: I haven’t really played around with that Shopify as Zapier interface, so the information that you can zap back and forth is it pretty granual or is it down to, you know, this particular product? And that particular product?
Ezra: It’s basically, at the moment, new customer in Shopify. Put them in Active Campaign, but we are working on a solution for this. With our other carts, Infusion Soft and Entreport, that does exist, but for Active Campaign, it doesn’t exist, but it will. Probably by the time that we release this course, so that’s coming.
Barry: Given that this podcast … obviously we’re recording it well ahead of time, before it gets published, when is that course gonna be available for the Shopify owners? You were talking about a custom Shopify theme that you’re going to do and then some training with Active Campaign around that, is that right?
Ezra: Yes, exactly, and that will be available August 20th. About a month from now.
Barry: Okay cool, so that should probably coincide with just about the time this comes out. As far as Shopify goes, are there any kind of ninja tricks with Shopify that most people seem to over look, do you think?
Ezra: I think you should buy my course for that. Or you can go to my blog, I talk a lot about Shopify on my blog, smartmarketer.com.
I love Shopify as a platform, I think it’s the best platform out there for eCommerce business owners right now. They have the most users, and they have the widest set of applications and developers developing on their platform. They are the first ones to integrate integrated social commerce, a one click purchasing from Facebook. One click purchasing from within Pinterest, so people who have their credit cards on file, which is a lot of people, with Facebook or with Pinterest, can integrate one click purchases. And they’re kind of winning this race of eCommerce platforms right now.
Barry: If someone is already a Shopify customer, they’ve bought something from you in the past, and they’re on Pinterest and they see a pin they like and there’s a button there, they can just hit, “buy” and it’s automatically gonna buy that product?
Ezra: Not exactly, but kind of. So, basically Pinterest is becoming a comparison shopping engine, so you have buy able pins, and you can set a product to be buy able on Pinterest, and at the moment, you can’t promote that, but, you know, on Pinterest adds, but you will be able to eventually. They’ll be able to click “buy” from within Pinterest on that product, the same way you can in Google shopping. Now with Google shopping you get taken to the merchant’s account to check out, the merchant, whoever is selling that website. In this case you would be able to finish the transaction from within Shopify. Now, if Shopify had your credit card on file, then you can do one click purchasing. But, in this case, you won’t be able to do one click purchasing. You’ll put in your credit card details, but you’ll never leave Pinterest to make the transaction happen.
Now with Facebook, the beta integration. Facebook actually has a lot of people’s credit cards on file, because you can do peer to peer payments inside of Facebook. I can go to Facebook messages and send you money as if it was PayPal, as if it was Venmo. So that’s Facebook’s strategy for getting people’s credit cards on file and then they’re integrating one click purchases into Shopify and other platforms through the news feed. So yes, there will be one click products from your news feed now, which is crazy.
Barry: That’s cool. Dude, you are always just on top of everything. I love talking to you, because you just know everything, man. How do you keep that all straight in your head?
Ezra: I put a lot of time and attention on it, you know? I’ve got businesses that do well. I love it. It’s my passion. It comes second in my life to my relationship with my wife, I put more attention and energy into that. Then I do my business, but my business, I have a lot of fun with it. And generally when you’re having a good time with something, you get good at it, you know? And I’ve also been doing this a long time, so I have that on my side.
Barry: For anybody who wants to up their eCommerce game, where’s the best place to contact you? Smartmarketer.com ?
Ezra: Yeah, go to smartmarketer.com and get on my email list and you’ll get lots of cool stuff in there.
Barry: All right, Ezra. Thank you so much for coming on the show, I really appreciate it. You’re always delivering tonnes of value every time I listen to you, so I’m sure the listeners got a lot out of it as well. So, thanks a lot and look forward to talking to you soon.
Ezra: Thanks Barry, talk to you soon.
Barry: Man, I love talking with Ezra. His passion is just so infectious. He loves what he does and he’s an expert at it. So, I would urge you, if you’re at all thinking about eCommerce, or you’re running an eCommerce store, to check out Ezra over at smartmarketer.com.
If you aren’t familiar with all the kinda tagging and stuff we were talking about in the show, and you’d like to learn a bit more, head over to theactivemarketer.com/taggingguide and you can download our ninja guide to tagging and learning all about the best techniques and tactics for using tags in your marketing automation.
I’d like to thank you once again for spending time with us on The Active Marketer podcasts. You can find all the show notes over at theactivemarketer.com/Ezra and we look forward to bringing you some more great content next week. See ya everybody.
Announcer: Thanks for listening to The Active Marketer podcast. You can find the show notes and all the latest marketing automation news over at theactivemarketer.com.