In today’s episode:
00:01:36 – What the session covers
00:01:55 – Why Ezra prefers the physical products business model
00:03:54 – The importance of timing in e-commerce
00:08:38 – Ezra’s market criteria checklist
00:17:14 – Finding markets to enter
00:20:17 – Getting more from your store
00:22:32 – The channels you’ll want to occupy
00:25:52 – How do you increase your sales?
00:27:31 – Search is your best friend
00:31:39 – Sitewide conversion boosters
00:36:57 – Why you should use video to sell physical products
00:40:55 – Rich homepages win
00:44:21 – Section page conversion boosters
00:45:39 – The most important page in your store
00:52:58 – What your shopping cart should feature
00:56:36 – Additional conversion boosters
00:59:05 – Increasing repeats
01:04:13 – How Ezra tripled the value of an e-commerce store
01:08:30 – The structure of a Pinterest board
01:11:18 – Question and answer section
Hey everyone! We’re going to get started. I’ve got 90 minutes and I’m going to fill it so I’m just going to start. Cool. Wonderful. So FastWebFormula4, my name is Ezra Firestone. Thank you so much for being here and I’m going to go through this slide… has nothing to do with e-commerce.
I like to put this at the front of my presentations because I sent this presentation to a friend to have him kind of edit and look at it and he sent it back with this picture at the front as if I wouldn’t notice that it was there. So now I like to like show it off.
So one thing that James said at the start, before this session, was whether or not you are interested in a physical products business, people who own physical product businesses are fantastic folks to do services for.
No matter what type of service you offer we kind of need it all because everything that’s relevant to an information marketing business, it also turns out is relevant to a physical product business in this day and age where faceless businesses are dying and businesses of all kinds.
Even ones that are selling physical products, need a brand and a personality and things like that so whether or not you’re interested in this business model, if you consume this information and look at it from the perspective of how you can use this for your own business, that would be beneficial to you.
E-COMMERCE + PARASITE SEO + VISIBILITY + CONVERSION + X?
So we’re going to be talking about e-commerce specifically, which is my business model; a bit about parasite SEO; and then visibility which is traffic; conversion; and then the third piece of the puzzle which is something that I’ve learned from James over the past six months that have transformed all of my e-commerce businesses.
A couple of big reasons why I prefer a physical product business model or why I like the physical product business model:
The first is that there’s no persuasion necessary to sell products, right? People are already looking for those things. You don’t need a long sales funnel. They were looking for a salt shaker when they came to your website and they buy that thing when they get there, and all you really have to do is kind of make it look nice.
And you can see here that most of our transactions happen day one. 95% of the transactions in the store happening on the first day. The range will be between 75 and a hundred percent of your transactions will be on the first day. This is more of an average store here with a 75% first day transaction rate.
Another cool thing about physical product businesses is they have an extremely high value per visitor. So for every visitor who hits one of our sites, we’re making between a dollar and $5 and that’s because they were already looking for those products when they showed up so they’re not coming to consume information, they’re not coming to hang out with us, they’re coming specifically to buy products.
This is another example, $2.88. It’s a good model. You need less traffic. This is why when I initially got into physical products, it was OK, I figured out how to get traffic, I kind of understand how this works, what’s the best way I can leverage that traffic? And what I decided on was the best way to leverage the ability that I had to generate traffic was by retailing actual tangible goods.
Another cool thing, which kind of goes along with this whole concept were talking about is that these stores convert really highly because people are coming there to buy stuff. So it’s not uncommon to see a 6% conversion rate and that’s not an opt-in, that’s a purchase of a product.
Between 1 and 2% is more of an average conversion rate.
One of the things I like to talk about in business is timing. And if you have a chance to check out the ThinkActGet podcast episode on time, I think you might enjoy it. My skincare company is called BOOM! By Cindy Joseph and it’s the main physical product business that I like to use as an example.
The interesting thing about this company is if you look at America and Australia, the UK and pretty much any society where we are right now in the spectrum of the human race, something interesting is happening.
And that is that, men are valued for their production. As men age, as they produce more, as they make more money, they get more power in the eyes of society. They get more social power.
Women, on the other hand, in most societies, are valued for youth and beauty and that stems back to a hundred years ago when a woman really was more valuable to society in her childbearing years.
Well now that’s kind of an outdated model but what’s happening is we have 76 million people in the baby boomer generation in the United States, half of which are women, and they’re all collectively having the experience of their hair graying, their skin wrinkling and their bodies are aging on the outside faster than they are on the inside and people are treating them, society is treating them differently as a result and they don’t like it.
And so, every product out there is anti-age, anti-wrinkle, anti-women really, if you think about it. The messaging behind our product, it’s a very similar product to some of the other products that are out there, it’s all organic, it’s edible and all except that but the messaging is different.
It’s “Hey, you know you are right just the way you are, and you don’t need to cover yourselves up and you should celebrate who you are.” And so, the messaging is different.
What does that have to do with anything? What it has to do with is that the timing was right for that message. There’s a group of people having a collective experience and businesses and products and brands do really well when they’re talking to groups of people who are all having one collective experience.
And so we hit, we started this a couple of years ago and it’s taken off because the messaging was right for that group of people who are having that collective experience.
So what does this have to do with e-commerce? Well, timing. We are here right now. The people who are starting physical products businesses today, 15 years from now, will be really happy they did because 8% of total retail sales in UK, Northern America, take Canada, are done online right now.
When I started it was like more 4% so in the past 8 years, we’ve doubled the amount of people who buy products online and that number is growing by 15% year over year. So what’s happening is people are getting more comfortable with purchasing physical products and just making online purchases in general and what’s happening is the world is catching on.
In China last year, there’s a holiday that’s the equivalent to Chinese Valentine’s day. And two companies, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, and the Chinese equivalent of eBay, those two companies together did a combined $3 billion in sales in one day, which to give you perspective is three times the total online retail sales done on black Friday in America.
And only 2% of Chinese people (right now we have 8% in America who buy products online), only 2% of total retail sales are done online in China so the world is catching on.
The point here is that if we look at where we are in the life cycle of e-commerce, we’re a baby. People like to say the Internet is in its infancy. Well, e-commerce is like, it is the time to be doing this business model.
So if you’re interested in this business model, if you are interested in providing services to people who have this business model, then that’s basically what I’m doing, just telling you that you should listen to what I have to say. That’s all this is all about. It’s the whole point of all this, really.
Marketing Criteria Checklist
I was kind of polling the room, and we’ve got a spectrum here, we’ve got some people who are interested in getting started in e-commerce businesses, some people have e-commerce businesses. I’m going to give you these slides but feel free to take pictures of them.
So what I did was I broke it up, we’ve got some information on if you’re interested in getting started, how you can go about that. And I put the emphasis of this presentation on if you already have an existing e-commerce business, how can you get more from that business. And the reason I did that is because if you are a service provider, you can take all the stuff that’s in this presentation and charge a lot of money for it.
So let’s talk about the market criteria checklist. This is a little checklist that I created because I have built a lot of these businesses and they’ve not all worked out and so I put together a little checklist for myself. If a market has, if it scores well on this checklist, the way it works if you add up all the points, if you have this part, if you have this part and down at the bottom, if you’re in the excellent category, you’ve probably got a winning market.
1. Average order value between $75 and $200. I’m going to start talking really fast and you guys can all keep up ‘cause this is a very smart room. Average order value between $75 and $200. So this is not average product price. This is average order value right? Because sometimes people order two products, sometimes products have accessories. Why does your average order value have to be between $75 and $200?
Well, you’re most likely not making more than 20-30% margins on an e-commerce store. So you need to be making about $25 profit per order on the bottom end in order to be able to drive traffic effectively, and as we’ll learn later, Google pay per click AdWords is the best traffic source for a physical product store.
The reason you don’t really want to be above two or three hundred dollars is because at that point, you need a lot more customer service. People are a lot less likely to pull up their credit cards and just buy something that’s four, five hundred dollars. They want to talk to someone to do that.
2. Gross margin 20% or more. And this one is worth five points. The other one is worth five points. These are very important. The number of points next to each one of these things is its level of importance so I will stop talking about the points now but I just want to bring that back. If you’re not making 20% or more on your products you’re going to have a really hard time buying advertising.
And if you can’t buy advertising for your physical product store, you probably don’t want to be in that market. Yes, you can generate traffic and a bunch of other ways that we’re going to talk about in a second but you absolutely want to be able to buy advertising because what has happened is if you look at all of the channels, right, Google Shopping, PriceGrabber, TheFind, Overstock.com, Amazon, eBay, all of these channels that allow you to retail your products on them have now moved to a paid model.
Once they got enough people to adopt, once they had enough people using, like Google shopping was free forever and it was the most beautiful thing in the whole world, and then in August of 2012, they moved to a paid model. And the reason they did that was because they had enough people using that product that they could now afford to make people pay because we weren’t going away.
We loved the product, we were invested in the product and now we’re willing to pay for it, and now they can charge for ads on it. So you want to be able to drive traffic.
3. Fragmented Market. This one does not really matter but what I mean here is if you take your top 5 keywords and you search them, if it’s the same 10 people who are showing up, that’s not really a fragmented market. It means you got people who are in that market who are players.
4. Lends itself to return customers. This is very important, like, take my gift baskets business. I can sell a gift basket to the same person once every two months because they’re buying it for Christmas, they’re buying it for Hanukkah, they’re buying it for Easter, for Valentine’s Day.
It’s very easy to have multiple sales right? Whereas my Halloween business, I make one sale a year, does not lend itself to return customers. That’s an important one.
5. Lends itself to multiple item orders. Are people buying just one of your products? Nobody buys just one BOOM! product. They buy our skincare, they buy our… our… whatever that stuff is called? (Laughs) Moisturizer! So you want to make sure that your market lends itself to multiple items.
6. Can you add value to the market? The answer to this is absolutely yes but you just got to be willing to do it and this is what will set you apart as we’ll talk about in a second here. But, can you add value to your market beyond just listing products for sale? If you’re not willing to do that part, when all of you are, because you’re all owning the racecourse, and that’s really what it is.
7. Products, are they difficult to find locally? Where are you going to find an Elvis wig or a mullet? You’re not going to find one unless you live in New York City. People in Alabama need to go online to buy that product so that’s a really important one. You don’t want to sell commoditized products. We’ll talk about that in just a second but if your product is available locally, you probably don’t want to be selling it online.
8. Seasonal Business. I really like seasonal businesses because there’s a certain fervor, there’s a certain kind of energy and rabidness that happens when it’s Halloween, or it’s Christmas or it’s a gift or it’s some level of seasonality to that business.
And it’s also kind of a fun business model when you have a million dollars in sales in one month and then kind of nothing for the rest of the year. It’s just like… I like seasonal businesses and I think that they’re good businesses.
9. If you look at your top keywords in Google Trends, when you look in Google Trends you can see the countries and the states where those keywords are most highly searched, if your country is not in the top for that, you probably don’t want to be selling that product in that country. I mean it’s not worth a whole lot as you can see but it is something that we look at. Is this product hot in our specific country?
10. Do you have at least 70 SKUs? What this means is, and this is specifically geared towards a drop-ship physical product business model where you are going to a supplier who has a product, you’re taking their product catalogue, you’re building a website, you’re putting those products up on that store and you’re sending traffic to them and when someone buys something, they pay you.
Let’s just take my wig business for example. I get all these wigs for about fifteen bucks a piece. I put them on my store for $35, $40. Someone finds them, they buy the wig, they pay me the $40, I then go to the supplier, I say “Hey, this person has just bought this thing, here’s your $15. Please ship it to them.” So that’s the business model that I’m specifically discussing here.
There’s also other business models like BOOM! and some of the other businesses that we have where we are either manufacturing or white labeling, and you can have much less products there because you’re doing more brand building.
But the point here is if you’re doing a physical product business, you want at least 70 items because you need a certain number of products out there ‘cause you want to rank for the long tail keywords, you want enough products to buy traffic on.
And what we’ve found is when we have under 70 SKUs, it’s really hard to scale that business to get it up over seven figures so you want to have at least 70 SKUs on your store.
11. Is there competition? Right. Are there other people buying traffic in that market? If there’s nobody else buying traffic, you don’t want to be in that market because nobody’s making money.
12. Is the average weight of your product under 10 lbs? It gets really tough when you’re shipping heavy products because it’s harder to offer free shipping. They get damaged quite easily. Now we still do this, we have a bar stools business, it does quite well. But it’s just kind of a pain in the butt so if you can sell products that are light to ship, you’re going to do better.
13. Do your top three keywords have a combined 15,000 exact match searches per month? If you don’t have at least 15,000 in your top three, you better have a really long tail because you got to have a certain amount of volume.
And now with channels like Amazon and eBay and all that stuff, it’s a lot easier to generate traffic for physical products, but you still want to be able to get Google traffic because Google traffic is really good traffic.
14. Is the target market women? Something interesting, I mean, what I love is that almost half of us in here are women. That’s fantastic. When I used to go to these conferences, six and seven years ago, there was no women. E-commerce is making a resurgence. It was very popular eight years ago and it kind of, in our community, the popularity went down and now it’s coming back.
But all of the, sort of small mom-and-pop e-commerce businesses have been built predominantly, I’d say in 80-20 by men. So there’s an opportunity for women because a dude is not going to do a maternity clothing store. He’s not going to do that. There’s an opportunity for female-focused markets. We look for female-focused markets because there are less people doing that.
And another interesting thing about e-commerce is that once you get up to one or two million in revenue in a market, now you have some players, but anything under that, there’s really not many people who know what they’re doing in those mines. They’re very easy to break into a six-figure e-commerce store.
It’s very easy to create one of these things. With everything that you guys know from a traffic generation perspective, you could have six-figure e-commerce businesses fairly easily. It’s not super difficult to build one. Once you get over seven figures, then you end up dealing with some people who are doing a little better.
But when we just look at all the stores in our markets, there’s usually one or two who are doing any kind of sophisticated marketing so it’s a good business model.
Alright, let’s talk a little bit about how to find markets to enter. This is a little dirty diaper trick. One of the things we like to do is we will go and look at the top designers on every platform.
If you look at Magento, Shopify, Volution, Bigcommerce, Zen Cart, ShopSite, any one of these platforms and you just do a Google search – Magento designer, Magento developer, Magento web development – you’re going to see the people paying for ads are the people who can afford to pay for ads within that market which means they are the top designers on that platform.
If you go to their sites and you look at their before’s and after’s, if someone can afford to pay the top designer to re-do their site, they’re doing well in that market. So it’s really a good little way to think that and we get a lot of markets that way.
Other markets are niches of niches right? We don’t do Halloween costumes, we do wigs. We don’t do dog supplies, we do dog beds. These little micro niches of bigger niches are what you want to go into. Hobbies are fantastic. Anything that people are kind of a little bit crazy about right?
People who are into model trains love their model trains. I mean they love them and so they’re willing to buy like a lot of them and all kinds of things about them. Hobbies are fantastic.
Weird and embarrassing stuff, right? Nobody is going to buy, nobody wants to go down to the store and buy their manscaping kit, you know? Or their fungal cream, or whatever. Just stuff that people are embarrassed about are good products, like breast pumps, and things like that. There’s a guy called Internet Retailer, which is if you’re interested in e-commerce business, that’s probably the authority in our community.
They run a conference called the Internet Retailer’s conference. They got a guide called the Top 500 Guide which will tell you all of the businesses, all of the categories of physical product stores, gifts and flowers, and all that stuff, and which businesses are doing better year over year. It’s just the best. There’s 500. They actually have a second 500 Guide now.
So they’ll give you the top 1000 e-commerce stores and not from a revenue perspective so you just get all these weird interesting markets. It’s a fantastic place to find markets.
And then the other places, like, I buy sites on Flippa, on BizBuySell and Latona’s. We’ll go and we’ll buy these e-commerce sites that are maybe doing 30 grand a year in profit. You can buy one of those for 50 or 60 grand, or 15 grand a year in profit. And the other interesting thing about a physical product business is that it’s a very simple business model to understand. It’s buy low, sell high.
Everyone understands the physical product business model so they’re very easy to sell these assets. There are people out there every day looking to buy these things so when you build one up it’s quite easy to flip. Now, granted you need a year’s worth of data to prove that this business has been viable for a year but all of the places that you would go to buy a business, you go and you look for markets there.
Because these people are selling businesses that have done well. That’s just a little bit about if you’re interested in getting into physical products, there are some ways to find markets. There’s a bit of information on what to look for, as far as market criteria goes.
Get More From Your Store
So now we’re going to talk about, is what I’m most excited about, is how do you get more eyeballs? There’s three ways to grow a business right?
1. Get more visibility. Get more people to know about your product, your service, your business. That’s traffic and well, there’s all kinds of ways to do that.
2. Have a higher conversion rate. So, for all those people who come to your website or come to see your offer, can you get more of them to take you up on it? And along with that goes can you increase your average order value? So maybe you don’t get more people to take you up on your offer but you increase the value of each sale. That’s the second way to grow a business.
3. The third way is to increase repeat business. That’s all you got. You got more visibility, you got higher conversion rates, or you got repeat business. Let’s talk about how we do this for e-commerce.
First thing you got to know about an e-commerce business is you’ve got six main templates or eight here I guess. You got your homepage, your section page, your product detail page, your blog, your checkout pages, your pay-per-click landing pages, your more information pages and your social profiles. That’s all you have with e-commerce. It’s pretty simple. We’ll talk about each one of these.
Now, one of the things you should know from a traffic perspective, from a visibility perspective, from a physical products store is that every search query on Google has a unique set of channels. What does that actually mean? And I’ll tell you about the channels to occupy in just a second.
Every search has a unique set of channels
So if you look at a search like “wigs.” Google understands that that’s a search for a physical product so they’re going to deliver you a set of channels. You’re going to see video results. You’re going to see channels like Amazon and eBay. You’re going to see websites. You’re going to see blogs. You might see news results. So it’s just different classifications of media formats right? James has Own The Racecourse.
So Google understands that different people prefer to consume media in different formats. Some people like to read, some people like to listen, some people like to watch, some people are looking to shop and so they understand from a query perspective what the searcher’s intention is, and they deliver multiple options for that person.
Maybe the searcher who’s looking for a physical product wants to read information about that product. Maybe they want to buy that product. So if you understand these channels for each given query, then you can figure out how to occupy more than one space on Google because you can have content that’s relevant for each one of those channels.
With physical products, here are the channels that we have to occupy from a physical product perspective:
• We got Search Engine Optimization right? Which is what I just talked about.
• Pay-per-click where we’re buying a traffic on Google, on Amazon, on PriceGrabber and all these other engines.
• We’ve got comparison shopping engines like Google Shopping and TheFind and some of these free ones
• We’ve got email marketing
• We’ve got social media
How To Generate Visibility For A Physical Product Store
So, how can you take advantage of this for your store? Well, you want to have an image for every one of your products. If you don’t own your image, if it’s your manufacturer’s image, watermark it. Change the size.
Interesting thing – if everyone has the same image and yours is watermarked, and yours is bigger, your image will outrank theirs. I don’t know why but it’s working.
Video – for each one of your section pages, your homepage and your top, best-selling products and we’ll talk about video and how well it sells but videos are super easy to rank, you guys all know that. No e-commerce businesses out there are ranking videos for their section pages.
Every time I come into an e-commerce market and I create a video for my top 3 keywords I get a ton of traffic, because I’m the only video on that page. You have pay-per-click where you have image ads, text ads, retargeting, that’s probably your best channel from a physical product perspective.
Amazon Ads – if you just use Google, I just did this thing where I’m launching a course like James mentioned where I kind of take, go through my whole system for drop-ship businesses and I did this challenge and I said “Hey guys, I’m going to find a market, build a platform, set-up an advertising campaign and run traffic to a store and try and make a sale within seven days, and if I can do that I can prove to you that you can do this business model.”
It got to day four and hadn’t made any sales. I was a little worried but we finally made a bunch of sales, ended up working out really well. But the point is that you only need one or two, it’s good to have all these different channels, but really, with a physical product business you’re probably going to live and die by whether or not you can buy traffic at a profit.
Amazon listing – for every one of your products, that’s the beauty of a physical products store, is you have your own asset but you also have your products on all these other channels.
And I’ll show you in a second here, if you look at any query for a physical product, really above the fold, you’re going to see ads, you’re going to see Google Shopping, and you might see one or two organic results. Your videos, your images, your website are all below the fold. And then obviously your blog and whatever educational content you have and MP3s and PDFs and that kind of stuff are going to rank in that market, too.
So, here’s what an average query will look like. You can see we’ve got our ads, we’ve got Google Shopping (which is also paid), and then we’ve got Amazon. And that’s above, that’s the fold on my laptop.
Now, one of the things I want you to see is that Apple is running a text ad and they’re also running an image ad. And that’s the beauty, is you get to run two ads within that same ad network. So we have image ads for every one of our products and also text ads. And image ads are still so cheap.
We’re getting 50% cheaper clicks on image ads and we’re converting at 50% higher than we are on text ads. So, I just wanted to show you that these are the channels that you have to occupy if you’re selling physical products. And it’s mainly above the fold, paid opportunities at this point. Alright, so that covers the overview of how you generate visibility for a physical product store.
How To Make More Sales And Increase Average Order Value?
This is the stuff I really like. This is what I’m excited about. Is how can we take the store that already exists and get more from it? Well, I’ve got a whole bunch; I’m going to go through all of that right now.
So, site-wide conversion boosters, with a physical product store it’s a very simple funnel. All you’re trying to do is get them through your store. You want to get them from your homepage, into a section page, over to a product page, and then finally in your shopping cart.
And you can see here that 10% of the people who make it to our product page actually buy something and 37% of the people who end up in the shopping cart actually buy something. So, if you are not tracking goal flow on a physical product store, then you don’t know what’s going on.
You need to be tracking the flow. And you can set this up in any business. What is the flow that you want people to go through? Are you tracking that in your analytics? Because you might make a tweak and find, because it multiplies too. If you end up getting 20% of the people to go from the homepage to the section page instead of 10% you’ve now doubled your business on that one little tweak.
So, goal flows are very important concept to understand from an analytics perspective. What is your goal here? What are you trying to get people to do? It might just be an opt-in but from that opt-in perspective what do you want them to do? Set up tracking for that and then monitor those results.
This is just another way of showing you that same data that Google has in analytics. I like to look at it from traffic type. I like to look at it from source medium and see how well my goal flow is going from a pay-per-click perspective, from an organic perspective, etcetera.
Getting Your Site Visitors To Take Action
Now, one of the things that we discovered… What do you see here on this slide? What do all of these people have in common? They all have something in common at the top. They’ve got this giant search boxes at the top of their stores.
Why are they doing that? It goes back to influence, the “Psychology of Persuasion” by Robert Cialdini, if you can get commitment and consistency, if you can get someone to take one action they’re more likely to take another action.
We discovered this on accident. We used to put our search boxes in the left hand navigation, top of the left hand navigation, and we’re tracking site search right? Two percent of the people who visited our stores were searching and 10% of the revenue from the store was coming from those 2%. I thought, “What if we put our search boxes right up here in the header?”
This is what happened, you can see it bumped it up to 5% of the people who were visiting that store were searching. Check this out. Whoa. There it is, second slide, is 30% of that store’s revenue. So, 150,000 out of 600,000 in that time period came from those 5% of visitors.
So, getting people to take the action of searching on your store. And now, what we’re testing is having the search bar flow with you, you scroll that search bar stays with you. (Laughs) I’ll let you know how that one goes but we want to really encourage that behavior.
The other thing is that you get, you can see what people are searching and if they’re searching for products that you don’t have. Google Analytics really makes it easy to track site search and what people are typing into that search box. You’ll be fascinated to find out some of the weirdest stuff they’re typing into your search box, and you want to know that stuff right? Because you want to know you’re your people are looking for.
And so, we end up like figuring out products that we should add or products that we should remove, or weird requests that our customers have that they think the search box is the customer support. It’s just fascinating, it’s just weird but it’s something worth looking at.
Header Best Practices
Alright. Header best practices. So, these are some of the top retail sites online. I want to talk to you guys about a couple of things in the header. You want to have, now, Zappos introduced this (see Zappos at the top one there) they introduced this double header model, which has now become standard on e-commerce stores.
One of the interesting things about a physical product business is you got Zappos, Amazon, eBay, a couple of these other stores that like 20% or 30% (I think it’s up to 40 now) if you take those top 10 stores, something like 50% between 30 and 50%, I have the actual statistic of transactions that are happening online or happening on those stores.
So, they are training your customers, they are training people what needs to be available, the way a store should look. They’re like training your customers how the shopping experience should be. So if you can model what these people have, your conversion rates will increase because they are used to these kinds of things.
So Zappos introduced this double header where they’ve got an offer at the top, they’ve got the navigation links that you’re looking for right? Like Your Cart, About Us, My Account, whatever. And then they have their offers. They got their logo, their search box, their unique selling proposition, their guarantees, and then they’ve got another level of navigation. So that double header and now if you look at any big e-commerce site they all have this.
We implemented just the double header model. We saw a doubling of our conversion rate. Your header is your most important area on your entire website, on any website; your header is the most important area because nobody scrolls.
So what do you have going on in your header? From an e-commerce perspective you want to think about having trust seals, you want to think about having live chat, all of the information people are looking at – your shipping information, your return information, frequently asked questions, About Us, all the stuff that people are looking for needs to be in that header.
It needs to be laid out in a full view perspective because your eye can only see, look at how Zappos does it – they’ve got little chunk, little chunk, little chunk. It’s not all… It’s chunked up, and we’ll talk about that in the Navigation.
So, and I’ll give you guys a list. I have a list of the top 100 e-commerce stores that we follow from a testing perspective, because we’re following what these people are doing. They run tests, “Oh, they just changed that, let’s see how that works.” I’ll give you guys that.
Sitewide Conversion Boosters
Obviously you want to have your Favicon, your social buttons, you want to have video (which we’ll talk about in a second), frequently asked questions and educational content is a no-brainer. People have questions about your products; you should answer them because you’ll make more sales if you do.
Randomly displayed testimonials and then in your footer you want to have a Trust Symbol and another search, an opt-in, a security symbol, some guarantees, and then whatever links you want to have.
Incentivized Time Constraints
Let’s talk about some other sitewide conversion boosters – incentivized time constraints. There’s a company called Exclusive Concepts. They run a website called ConversionsOnDemand.com.
If you have an agency that offers services to physical product businesses, go to ConversionsOnDemand.com. Sign up for their services and start offering those to your customers and charging double or triple. I mean it’s incredible what their tools can do.
Incentivized time constraints – what this will do is basically, you can set it for a certain amount of time someone’s been on your store for, if they’ve visited X number of pages, it’ll pop up this little thing that you see down here in their corner where it says, “Hey, checkout within X number of minutes and you’ll get this percentage off.”
So you’re incentivizing them to checkout with a time constraint and it is incredible how well that works. A Daily Deal bar, we all know what Daily Deals Bars are, incentivized opt-ins right? “Opt in here and save 15%.” And then peel away specials like you see on Tim’s Boots here.
So, ConversionsOnDemand will do all of these things for you. And what happens when you add these things up is your conversions compound. So, you add the sitewide conversion boosters that I’m talking about.
Now, we’ll talk about homepage, product page, section page, and the rest of these things. You add them all together and you’ve now taken a store that was converting at .5 and you’ve moved it up to 3%. You’ve taken a store that was doing $25,000 a year in profit and bumped it to $150,000 a year in profit.
So conversion is exciting because it doesn’t require you to have any more traffic. It’s just what can you do with that traffic that already exists to get more from it.
These are just tracking in the analytics and you can see people. These are just, you know, we do event tracking so we can see how many people use the coupon; how many people clicked on the Daily Deal button and bought; how many people searched and bought, whatever, etc.
So you want to be tracking the events in your store, and if you need an analytics person who can set up event tracking, I have a guy for you. You can email me, his name is Michael.
I don’t have his email address offhand but event tracking is beyond me, from an analytics perspective. I like analytics and I’m a nerd and I like to play with it but event tracking is a little bit more complicated so you want someone who can actually do that for you. It’s not very expensive.
What’s So Great About LiveChat?
Alright. LiveChat. You will get a 15% boost in your conversion rates on any website that you offer live chat. We see sometimes 25 and 30% conversion rate increases. That’s a big increase in conversion rate when we’re willing to do live chat. Now, I like LiveChat.com and Olark because they’re really simple and easy to use.
And one of the things that we’ve been testing is this popping up a live chat after a minute. If they’ve been on the site for a minute, we say, “Hey, would you be interested in talking to us?” Look who’s doing it, Crate & Barrel.
By the way, if you want to see the best e-commerce store out there, you want to see the guys who are running split tests; I follow Crate & Barrel on a weekly basis but these guys are always changing what they are doing; they’re always running split tests.
They have one of the highest converting, highest trafficked and just the most amazing e-commerce store out there. You should follow Crate & Barrel if you’re interested in e-commerce because they do it really well. But look, everyone’s doing it. Zappos is doing it.
The Disney store, man, these guys do really well, the Disney store. And they have the double header too if you take a look at them. Everyone’s popping out a live chat. People now expect to be able to talk to someone about the products. So, if you offer that ability, if you offer the customers who are on your store the ability to actually engage with a real person, you’ll see a lot more sales.
The other thing is you can track how many people are engaged with live chat. How much money came from live chat? This is again, event tracking. Alright.
Most Ignored Pages Of An E-Commerce Site
The most ignored (laughs) they’re funny pictures. The most ignored pages on an entire website are your more information pages, about us, privacy/policy, security, returns, shipping – all of these pages that people actually visit. Not a huge percentage of your customers visit your more information pages, but the ones who do are going there because they want that information.
And so if you’d take the time to actually create a video that walks people through all of that content, this is the easiest place to see conversion rate increase on an e-commerce store because nobody takes the time to do it. Of course, you still want to have it all in text, but if you create a video, you could see shipping information, customer.
We put a page front and center in every one of our stores and it takes up like half the navigation and it says, “Why buy from us?” And then we create a video talking about all the reasons that we’re awesome, and that they should buy from us and it really works because people want to know why should they buy from you as opposed to someone else.
So, if you just tell them then they’re like “Oh sweet, alright,” then they do it. So, it’s something you guys can think about this and it relates to any business. Why use our services company? You just give them the reasons why they should use you.
There Is Nothing Better Than Video
Alright. I won’t run through all of these stats here but basically what this is saying is that for selling physical products there is nothing better than video. Think about any big physical product launched: Apple, Amazon, Kindle, any one of these people. Every single one of them has a video associated with that big physical product launch.
When we add videos and the videos don’t have to be special. They could just be like, “Here’s the product and this is what it looks like and here’s a little bit about it.” It doesn’t have to be a special video. Any video on an e-commerce store page will… You could see up to a 64% increase in your conversion rate to that product.
So, all of your bestsellers you should put a video on. Video just sell so well, we all know that. We put videos on our homepage, on our product page, on our shopping cart. We put a video on our shopping cart page like, “Hey, don’t worry. Everything is all secure. We’re still with you.” You know like, you just tell them, just give them.
You got to reassure people that everything’s cool all along the way. Still cool man. More info pages, post-action request. This is what I’ve learned from James: after they’ve taken action, we thank, we acknowledged that they just did that right? People like to be acknowledged. Another episode worth listening to, the “Acknowledgement Episode.”
Thank Your Customers
How many TAG listeners in here? Oh, that’s sweet. Awesome. So you guys probably already heard that but if someone takes an action that you’ve asked them to take, forget about conversion for a second. It’s just really nice to say thanks. They just did what you wanted and the least you can do is thank them for it.
And then, you could ask them to do something else. And they’re much likely to do the next thing you ask them if you’ve just acknowledged them and thanked them for doing the thing that you just asked them to do that they just did.
So how is this practical? Well, one of the things we started doing was after someone buys, we say, “Thanks so much, would you tell us why you bought?” “What you think we could improve on?” We give them a survey and that strategy is working really well for us. We also do video on our education pages. You can see how many people watch those post-action videos. This is 93% engagement rate on these post-action videos.
We’re seeing between an 80% and a 95% engagement rate on… and the key here is, look, you want to engage with your market. You want face time with your community and that’s the thing that we weren’t doing beforehand. We were just offering products for sale. We were not building relationships with our customers.
And when we started doing that, a couple of things happened. We started making a lot more sales and we started having a lot more valuable assets. When we sell these things now, we’re getting higher multiples because we have an engaged community around that store. I think that’s the brilliance of Own The Racecourse.
Unique Selling Propositions And Offers
You want to have these anywhere on your header, on your footer, on your pages, like what differentiates you? Why should they be buying from you? Do you have free shipping? Do you offer better education on the products? Do you put together special packages and bundles? Do you have excellent customer services like… and I got the “Why buy from us” page, like, what is it about you and your business that is unique?
And if you don’t have attention on unique selling propositions and you’re not actively looking for how to communicate those to your customer base then you’re missing out from a conversion perspective, because the goal with the business… Right? I mean, look, there’s other people who sell skin cares. There’s other people who sell bar stools. There’s other people who have podcasts. Why engage with me?
That’s the question I want to answer for you. You’re not going to ask me. You’re not going to say, “Hey man. Why should I?” You know. Because that’s like, people don’t do that. But I’m going to proactively put that out there and tell you why I think what I have to offer is the best thing.
And if you don’t think what you have to offer is the best thing then stop selling it. Frankly. Like, if you don’t feel good about what you’re selling then don’t sell it because you’re not going to be successful with it.
Home Page Conversion Boosters
Rich homepages win. What do these pages have in common? They’re all super rich. Now, you can’t even see they keep scrolling down. They’ve all got a homepage banner and a rotator. We’ll talk about them in a second, but I just want to talk about how rich homepages win.
Half of your traffic will end up on your homepage on a physical product store, even if they don’t enter through the homepage. Half of traffic ends up there. They go there. They take a look at the homepage to look for answers to all their questions because they’re being taught by these bigger companies (again, this is my theory on this) that the homepage is where they go to get answers to their questions.
So you want to have rich homepages with videos, with testimonials, with frequently asked questions. It’s just a long form sales letter, but not really because it’s chunked up into different sections. But essentially, it’s a really long page with everything they could possibly want to know about your store.
You take the average e-commerce homepage which has like a banner and some products and you turn it into a rich, engaging homepage with testimonials and frequently asked questions, and shipping information and return information, and a hello video from the owner and someone walking out.
You know those little walkout things when you walk out on things? You’ll see a really big boost in conversion rate, up to 20% boost by having a rich homepage because everyone goes to your homepage.
So, a couple of elements of the homepage: a main banner plus category kickers right? So, a main banner for some image of your store. The main most popular section on your store and then a couple of categories.
Now, sometimes you’ll want to test this against just listing products. Sometimes we’ll have a store where we kill the banner and the rotator and all that stuff. And we just list products and that performs better. So it’s worth testing but everyone is doing this. Everyone has this banner, rotator and category kickers. So, it’s worth considering.
Tabbed Featured Products Based On Category
Next thing is you want tabbed featured products based on category. So, notice what all these people have. They’ve got featured products, best-selling products in tabs based on category.
You go into Google Analytics, you click In-Page Analytics and you can see your most popular categories right? You can see which categories on your store, on your navigation structure are the most popular. If you’re not looking at In-Page Analytics, if you are running Google Analytics on your site, you have the ability to look at this.
Where people are clicking, what they’re doing, and then you can rearrange your page so that the most popular ones are front and center.
And the other thing you can do, if you’re tracking e-commerce, is you can see which of those categories is bringing you the highest per page visit value, and you want to put those front and center.
So, the way that you set these things up are not just at random. You set them up by looking at what’s the most popular and what’s bringing you the most money. And every platform out there makes it really easy to track e-commerce conversion because they understand that you need these statistics as an e-commerce business owner. So, you want to have tabbed featured products based on category. Alright.
Testimonials, hello from the owner, frequently asked questions, all that stuff I was just talking about. These are just examples of the (laughs) I really just like to show you my face for some reason. These are just examples of that.
Now, if we look at some of the bigger stores: Disney store, Foot Locker, Diapers.com, another Foot Locker, for some reason all of these people are doing the same thing, right?
All of these big stores seem to understand these concepts so you want to take advantage of them, too.
Section And Product Page Conversion Boosters
How many items across on your section page? Standard e-commerce is three. We found that four or more items listed across converts better. Do you have the price, the sale price, the “You Save Dollar Amount” and the “You Save Percentage” as well as the star rating listed under that product on the section page.
Remember what a section page is. Let’s say you have cheese gift baskets, that’s a section that has a bunch of products on it. So, on that section page what can you do, not to sell more products but to get people to click into a product. Because the goal is to get them from your section page to your product page.
Do you have a quick view? Quick view is a new feature. It used to be that when you want to look at a product you have to actually click on that product, and if you want to back to a section page then you have to go back. Now, you can pop up this little quick view button that allows someone to quickly view that product, and if you’re not interested, X out of it and they’re still on that section page.
So, forget pagination. Some people, if you’ve got a hundred products? List those hundred products. Nobody goes to the second and third page. So all those products that you have that are paginated, nobody’s looking at them. So you don’t want to paginate your pages. And the goal here is to get people to the product page.
These little things are what we found increased that goal. Our goal in the section page is get people to our product page. We found that when we have more items across rather than less, we have all of those things listed under the product and we have quick view, we increase that goal.
Get Rid of Left Nav
This is your most important page on your e-commerce store. The goal… If you can lift your “Add to Cart” ratio, five, ten percent, you have significantly increased the value of that store. This is the most important page on your store. You want to get people from the product page in the shopping cart. So, get rid of your left nav. You don’t want people navigating on your product page.
Tab It Up
You just want them to look at the products. Any one of these big stores doesn’t have a left nav. Tab it up! Instead of listing all your content down the page, have little tabs, little digestible tabs of information. The way Zappos does it, they’ve got it on the left, those little tabs. The way that BuyCostumes does it, they’ve got little tabs right under the product, that’s how we do it, too.
Social, Zoom, Review, A2C (Check)
You obviously need social buttons, you need zoom, you need reviews, and you need to have your add to cart button above the fold. I cannot tell you how many e-commerce stores have their add-to-cart button below the fold, it’s incredible. It does not work.
Cross Sell + Multiple A2C (Check)
Are you doing cross-selling? 60% of the people will buy a wig cap with that wig. Have a look at this giant duck. You can see the cross-sell is a cowboy hat. If you’re buying a giant duck, you obviously want a cowboy hat, right? I mean, come on. I would want a cowboy hat with my duck, too.
So you want to have cross sells because people buy these things. They take you up on these cross-sells. And the classic is the guy who sells air, right? He sells download insurance. He’s selling downloadable products and for an extra $30, you can have insurance on that download. Which means you can, I guess, I don’t know what it means, re-download it.
But the point is, he’s got a cross-sell and it works. So can you have a cross-sell? You need to have a cross-sell. Because people will take you up on this. So find something that’s relevant.
Q&A, User-submitted Pictures and Videos
Okay, Q&A. So you have a little tab that says Q&A. Someone can type a question and you answer it. It sits there on that product page for everyone who’s coming to buy that product to see. All their questions are answered right there on that page.
User-submitted pictures. People who buy giant ducks like to take pictures of themselves with their cowboy hat and their duck, you know. They like to take pictures of themselves doing that stuff and then they will share it with you and that’s social proofs. You want to have the ability for people to upload.
Even if it’s a gift, it doesn’t matter. People will take pictures. Anything that someone buys, they will likely take a picture of and send it back to you if you give them that opportunity because people like to take pictures of their stuff. I don’t know, whatever it is in our society, but it’s useful to you.
You Might Also Like
You might also like, look down the right-hand side of that image. Other products that are relevant. Bundles, right? What can you bundle together with the product?
Features and Benefits
People mess this up with e-commerce for some reason. They only ever list the features. This thing is stainless steel, it’s a swivel, it’s this and that. But what is the benefit? The benefit is you’re going to roll into that party with the giant duck, you know? That’s the benefit. You’re going to be remembered forever for your giant duck costume. Like what is the benefit to the user, to the customer buying that product?
It’s not that the giant duck is an inflatable plastic, it’s what’s the experience in it for them. So if you’re rewriting product descriptions, you’d be surprised. People underestimate sales copy. It works. You have better sales copy. Schrammy, I read his stuff because I’m interested in the way he writes copy because it’s so effective. So, copy works and you should include benefits not just features.
Get People to click on your add-to-cart button
Have a look at these images. What’s the goal on this page? The goal is to get the people to click on the add-to-cart button. Nobody has picked up on this yet. This is our own internal split test and as I get more… Like GoDaddy, anyways I’ll tell you more about that story later. As I get more exposure, I assume that I will see some people, some bigger stores picking up on this split test but your goal is to get people to click on the add-to-cart button.
What we did was we put these little images under our add-to-cart button that said hey, we’ve got the best price or we’ve got free shipping, reminded them of why they should shop with us. And we saw an immediate 15% boost in the number of people who clicked on add-to-cart. So that one’s a no-brainer.
Anywhere that you have an add-to-cart button on any website, put your unique selling propositions in image format right underneath it and you will see a significant increase in the number of people who click that button because you’ve already given them all that information. They already know all that stuff and you’re just reminding them of it again, and that’s the name of the game.
Tell people stuff and then tell them again in a different format, right? You told it to them through a video and now there’s an image reaffirming that message. And that is how you get people to take action. You consistently deliver the same message because people want to know that you are consistent. They want to know that you actually do have free shipping or whatever it is.
This goes back to persuasion and manipulation. You could use this for good or bad but the point is, what we want to understand as marketers is how do we get people to take the action that we want to take.
And we want to use this for good because everyone here has good products and sells good services but the way that you get people to take actions is by being consistent in your messaging to those people and giving them that message in different media formats – in image, in video, in text. Now I’m going into the psychology of why this works but it just plain works. You should do it and you guys should have that add-to-cart button sell.
Multiple Quality Images
Recently viewed items, multiple quality images, right? You want to have multiple images of your product that people can see. You want a little scroll bar, a little image carousel.
You want to have a video tab. On every one of our product pages, we put two extra tabs. One of them said shipping information and one of them said frequently asked questions. We put videos in those tabs on every product page, the same video on every one.
Because what was happening was people were leaving our product pages and going and looking for the shipping information and then they weren’t coming back because they got busy and someone brought them a hamburger, I don’t know. They were just leaving and then weren’t coming back.
And now we have these little videos in there that answer those questions and keep them on that page. An interesting split test for informational-based websites might be to have little tabbed information boxes under the add-to-cart that answer all their questions. That would be worth testing.
But anyways, the point is, those videos that you created for your more Information pages, you repurpose them on your product page. And you put them on the tabs on your product page. Your product page is your most important page on a physical products store.
Features and Benefits Box
Features and benefits box, you can’t see this here but right under our product image, we’ve got a box that’s like, again, restates all of our unique selling propositions. Our product page is all about why we’re really awesome. And then there’s also the information about the product.
If you want to get people to buy from you they got to trust you. You got to continually communicate why they should buy from you. Here are some examples. Everything that I just mentioned is happening on these product pages and you can see them.
Zappos is really a good one to watch because they do everything. Even the eBags.com is a good one to watch.
Here’s the template that I had created. So I spent a million dollars on Google AdWords, testing, doing e-commerce conversion testing. (And this is one in a ratio of those templates and I changed it a bunch and spent, but…) This is everything I just told you about, right?
Image carousel, click to enlarge, social buttons, images under the add-to-cart, tabbed information boxes, you-save percentage. All the stuff that I was just telling you about, reviews, it’s really good. And also, yeah so… Do all that stuff.
Here’s something interesting that happens with shopping carts. People for some reason, you click add-to-cart and now you’re taken to a page that looks nothing like your website, at all, and that is a conversion killer.
Congruency across your shopping cart will double your conversion rate and thankfully the newer platforms like BigCommerce or stuff like that are building this in, but it wasn’t the case for us years ago with ShopSite and Magento and Yahoo.
Progress bars work fantastic. A shipping calculator so someone can calculate their shipping on their shopping cart. A proceed button at the top and at the bottom. You have your proceed button, you have your product, the information about that product, and you got another proceed button. Everyone started doing this all of a sudden. I think they picked that one up from me because nobody was doing that. Now I just want to think that.
You guys know about the hundred monkeys? This is what happened with the hundred monkeys. They were doing this test and monkeys on one side of the world had figured out that dipping their potatoes in saltwater made them taste better. Once the hundredth monkey had done that on this part of the world, monkeys on the other side of the world started doing the same thing.
So it’s the hundredth monkey rule, which is, proves, if you want to use that word, the universal consciousness. This is happening with us for e-commerce. I’ll run a split test that works really well for me and a week later these guys are doing it. People who are paying attention to the same thing tend to pick up on the same ideas at the same time and it’s a phenomenon that sort of keeps happening.
Congruence is Key
You want to have your image, your price. Some people don’t put their product images on the shopping cart. You want to show the people what they are about to buy. You need to have that on there. It’ll give you a nice bump on conversion.
A phone number and I should’ve mentioned that. You want a phone number on your header. What we noticed was that when we replaced our left navigation on the checkout page with a unique selling proposition that is nowhere else on the website, so it was a uniqueness guarantee, a new statement.
Something that’s new, a statement that you’ve not yet made in image format in your checkout, gives you like a 6% boost. I don’t know why it works so well. But a new statement, an image proof, image benefits and unique selling propositions in the place of a left navigation on an e-commerce checkout.
Here’s an example of Crate & Barrel with a double proceed button.
And then here’s their checkout. We can see that was the shopping cart page. Now we’re at the checkout, right. They click add-to-cart, they’re taken to a page that says this is your product. That’s their shopping cart. And then they move into the checkout.
Couple of things for the checkout. You want multiple payment options: Amazon, Paypal, and credit cards. Those are the three most important ones to have. 40% of your buyers are finding Amazon, they can just one-click checkout.
So you want to be using Amazon as a payment option. You want to be using credit cards. You want to be using Paypal. Those are the only three you need. Forget about Google Shopping, Google Checkout or any of those other ones.
Single-page meaning they can complete all their details in that one page. We all know about that. Congruency, obviously, from website to cart to checkout. You want a “continue shopping” button so that they can continue shopping if they want. And a coupon field if you’re offering coupons.
You should be offering coupons because people use them. But if you’re not offering coupons, don’t have a coupon field. I want to tell you how many people have a coupon field in their cart and they’re not offering coupons. And then people go and they go to Google and they start looking for a coupon for that store and they abandon checkout.
Additional Conversion Boosters
Shopping cart abandonment: 25% of your sales, oh my god, 25% of the people who abandon your shopping cart, which will be 80% by the way, 8 out of 10 people go into your shopping cart and leave. But 25% of those can be recovered with an abandon cart email. And there’s a bunch of Next Track and a million services that do this for you now.
The way that we’re doing it is we actually wrote a custom module that scrapes the image that they’ve added in their shopping cart and their email address because they filled out all that email, they filled out all those information and the value of the cart.
So they may get an email five minutes later that says hey, or half hour later, whatever it is. I that see you tried to buy this product for this amount and here’s a picture of it and based on the value of their cart, we give them a coupon.
So if they were at a hundred dollars in their cart, we’ll give them a 10% coupon. If they have $400 in their cart, we’ll give them a 15% coupon. So you send people an email and it shows them exactly what they were about to buy, and that is easy to do now with these platforms because it’s all dynamic and the checkout you can get people to write that custom script for you and it works really well. But even if you’re not doing that, you’ll still see about a 20% boost just by following people up.
I’ve got a friend of mine, Eric Shannon, who is brilliant at email marketing for e-commerce and we did a presentation together on the topic that I can put on the SuperFastBusiness bio page that James made.
Social selling – after someone buys something, incentivizing them to share it. Hey, share this on Facebook, Twitter, and Google, and you’ll get 15% off your next purchase, you get free shipping on this purchase. Curebit.com or ShopSocially.com.
Thank you videos and surveys – we talked about that. Package inserts – even if you’re drop-shipping, you can send postcards to your drop-shippers they put one of these in each package. Package insert says here’s a coupon for your next order, here’s where you go to join our blog which we’ll talk about in a second, here’s a coupon for your friend. You want to have some level of personalization and they work really well.
Then you want to follow up with them a week later or after they’ve received your product and request a review. Send them a link directly to the place. Don’t just follow up and say: “Hey, will you leave us a review?” Which is what most people do. You follow up with an email that says: “Hey, will you leave us a review? Here’s the link to the product you bought. You can go do that here”.
You want to see some cool apps, some cool third-party apps? Go to bigcommerce.com/apps/
How do we increase repeats? Engage the community and build lifelong fans. This is the third piece of the puzzle that most business are not paying attention to. Everyone understands traffic, everyone understands conversion, nobody is paying attention to how do we build the community and get these people to come back and shop with us again.
Well, you do it through Own The Racecourse. You do it through talking to your community about the problems and conversations that are relevant to their lives.
We’re not talking to our BOOM! customers about skincare, we’re talking to them about menopause. We’re talking to them about grey hair. We’re talking about all these topics that are relevant to that particular community of people.
It does not matter what your products are, what matters is who is the community of people who are buying your products? If you’re selling breast pumps, your community of people are mothers. Now you have all kinds of stuff to talk to them about.
Own the Racecourse
If you guys have trouble thinking about what content to create, here’s what people want: It’s great when you have content-rich information, but what’s even more appealing is when you do a video that expresses your viewpoints on something that’s relevant to the community. People want to get to know you. They want to know what you think about this.
All of the cycling e-commerce websites when Lance Armstrong was doping, they were all creating videos and talking about that scandal and what they thought about that scandal and because that was what’s relevant to their community at that time. So we do this. I started doing this, I was already doing a video blog on my stores, but I was only talking about features.
I was making the mistake that people were making in their product descriptions I was only talking about “this is the product, and this is blah blah blah.” I was not engaging my community with anything other than “here’s information about products that you can buy.”
I knew Schrammles, but I started watching what he was doing and it was different than what most people do and I thought, I could use that. This could be relevant for my stores. Every physical product store I have right now has an OTR-style blog and you know what we’re talking about? Not really the products. And this is what happens.
Get Started on Facebook Ads
And another thing I should mention, we do run Facebook ads on every one of our products, every one of our videos. Each week we actually upload that video to Facebook because again our goal is not to get people back to the site here. Our goal is just to engage with our community and get face time with them. So we run our Facebook ads, whatever, we do a promoted post.
Talking to Victoria in the SilverCircle group, we’re scraping lists, we’re doing a custom audiences and similar, and you know all the cool Facebook stuff. And if you want to know about Victoria, she’s the gal to talk to, raise your hand. She’s amazing.
If you guys aren’t harnessing the power of Facebook ads, you should. If you want to build a community of people, you want to build a fan base that is engaged with you, go talk to Victoria at the break.
Look at this, we’re generating thousands of clicks for hundreds of dollars. That just doesn’t happen anymore. It’s happening now, I feel like sometimes I can’t sleep at night sometimes because I’m so excited, I swear to you, because I’m so excited about what’s happening on Facebook. Anybody who has a message that they want to get out…
OK, I started a pro-gay marriage fan page because I was curious what would happen if I you know, gay marriage is a big thing in the States and they’re legalizing it, and they’re not legalizing it. There was all that stuff. It doesn’t matter where you stand on the spectrum, whether you’re pro-gay marriage or anti-gay marriage. What mattered was that the whole country was in a frenzy about this topic.
So I thought what if I just create a Facebook page and run some ads? And the other thing about Facebook is that there’s nobody running it. Like our Waldorf, we have a wooden toys e-commerce store, there’s nobody running ads to people who are interested in that stuff so we’re getting even cheaper clicks.
So anyway, we built up this fan page with 15,000 people with like a $150 in ads spent. Point here is that it’s super cheap to get thousands of views for each one of your videos by setting up a promoted post. Actually, uploading that video to Facebook so you’re not driving people off of Facebook, It just works so well and you can start with such a low budget.
We’re now spending close to a thousand dollars a day on Facebook because, interestingly enough, we’ve figured out that we can actually also while engaging with people, do product placement and all that kind of stuff but point is that, it’s such a fantastic medium, you should use it.
You can see here. This is actually our video blog. This is not from our Facebook ads, but these videos are getting really high engagement rates. These are just Wistia stats.
Now, here’s what happens: this was not the case for our stores beforehand. Look at the percentage of revenue that’s coming from someone who visited our site in the last 30 days. 60% of our sales are from people who visited our site sometime in the previous 30 days.
Which means that this OTR building a relationship with your community, talking to them about their lives and what they’re up to and telling them what you think about it, actually makes you a lot of money, which makes sense because people feel better taken care of and they’re more willing to buy from you if you’re actually paying attention to them.
And the other thing obviously, you want to look at is what your best states are and run the ads on those states and all that kind of stuff.
Understanding the Structure
I tripled the value of an e-commerce store. I ripped through it, and told them here’s all the things that you need to do and they did all that stuff and they doubled their conversion rate and they tripled their… They doubled the amount of money they were making and they tripled the valuation of their store.
So here’s what we did. I’m just going to read these off. Because you guys all understand this stuff. If you don’t, you can come talk to me on a break.
• We fixed the canonical error they were having. They had a canonicalization error
• We put a sitemap in there. They only had 655 URLs submitted in their sitemap but they had 3000 indexed
• We fixed all their duplicate meta-descriptions and duplicate title tags. They had the image folders ranking with titles as the same titles of their product pages
• We fixed all their title tags that were stuffed with keywords
• We got rid of their keyword-stuffed meta-descriptions
• We addled Google authorship to their store
• We added dynamic navigation
• We got them image rights to all their images
So that’s just from the SEO perspective.
• We took all their section pages. They had keywords that were ranking on pages 3 to 6 on Google. We got those up to the first page by running a little SEO to them
• We took all their proven converters from Google AdWords. All the keywords that were making money in Google AdWords and we set up SEO campaigns for them. Because those are already, this is what you do with a physical products business. You start with Google AdWords, you find what keywords are making you the most money, most profit, doesn’t matter which one is making you the most sales. They do SEO for those because they have proven profit. We did SEO for those keywords
• We did a YouTube video for every one of their products in their major keywords
• We put their images on Pinterest, one for each product
• We uploaded all their products to Amazon
• We did an OTR-style blog with universal syndication
And if you go ecommerce > product performance > unique transactions, you can see which products are generating the most transactions on your store and you can boost those up.
• We got rid of all their losers and pay-per-click, we did geo-targeted campaigns because they were running traffic across the whole United States, but they’re only converting in the big cities. And that’s how you get, there’s a little navigation query in Analytics for how you get there
• We shut down Canada and all the companies that weren’t converting
• We shut off mobile because it wasn’t converting for them
• We did pay-per-click landing pages for each one of their top keywords and we set up ad test
• We did day parting because they were losing money at certain times of the day
• We bumped up their product-specific advertising campaigns because those were working best for them
• They had sections, they were sending traffic to the wrong page, we created PLAs, product image listings, product listing ads for them, and
• We did obviously ad-testing and keyword-testing. We bought traffic on other brands. We bought PPC traffic on other brands that are relevant to them
• They were not doing any advertising for specific products so we set up an ad for every one of their products
• We set up an email marketing campaign. They’d never been emailing clients
• We did obviously lead capture with Lead Magnet
• We did a weekly blog like I was telling you about
• We put a package insert on their products for follow-up
• We did follow-up campaigns for all their old customers and after 30 days for each new customer
• We did a postcard for all their past customers
• We created a jingle
• We did a welcome video
All that stuff – and that’s a lot of stuff. But it’s actually not that hard to do. Here’s the thing: there’s a structure, right? If you understand the structure of what needs to happen, it’s why artists who work on canvas can be so brilliant because they have this structure to play with.
If you get the structure, which is what you guys are getting here, you can then do whatever you want within that structure and be creative and make things happen.
So do all that stuff that I just listed there, and I’ll give you the slides and you’ll be able to take a store… Here’s anything e-commerce businesses are doing like a million bucks. You can take an e-commerce store that’s doing a million dollars and make it a $2 million store if you understand how to optimize our Adwords campaign, stuff like that.
And in that challenge video, in this eight-day challenge I just did for the product launch, I do an Adwords campaign where I’d spend an hour saying this is how you sell up an average campaign. If you’re interested in Adwords or physical products, that would be good to watch.
Pinterest, I just want to talk to you guys about how to rank Pinterest real quick and again how to understand the structure of a Pinterest board. You’ve got your profile, which is your main keywords like the home page, your site. You’ve got your boards and you’ve got your individual pins. Here’s a list. Each one of those will rank for you.
Individual pin would be your long tail keyword, your product specific keyword.
Another thing that you have from a reputation management perspective is pinterest.com/source/domain.com. That’s Pinterest’s page for your website where every pin from your site that has ever existed will be on that page and you can rank that.
If you’re interested in reputation management, if you offer reputation management, that’s one of the services that I still offer from an SEO perspective and we charge $5,000 and $10,000 a month for reputation management. I have a free video on my blog where I take you through how I do these campaigns.
It’s really a fantastic service to offer people, because people with big companies need that service. They need their reputations managed and it’s not hard to do using OTR style syndication and a couple of tricks like these.
The Pinterest board is your section level keywords is, again, physical products have home page, section page, and product page, right? So your product page is your individual pin, your section page – an example of that would be gift baskets and then chocolate gift baskets would be a section and then “salmon” gift baskets would be an individual product.
Now here is something interesting, guys. One of the ways that we do so well with physical product stores is nobody takes the time to match all of their products to long-tail keywords. So if you take anyone with the gift basket stores out there, they’ve got all these products that are named all these weird things like jumping jolly gift baskets. All these weird names but it might have smoked salmon in it.
And if you go look at the keywords, you’ll see that someone’s searching for smoked salmon gift baskets. So we take this product that’s not actually named smoked salmon gift basket and we rename it for that query.
So now we have our home page that is optimized after keywords. Our sections were obviously created based on keywords; cheese gift baskets, wine gift baskets, chocolate gift baskets, all that kind of stuff. And now each one of our products is relevant to a keyword.
Here’s what happens, when you’re running product listing ads in Google Shopping, there’s nobody else who has products that are optimized after keywords. So when someone types in “smoked salmon gift basket,” you’re the only one that shows up. And you get like a six-cent click.
You’re out making a whole bunch of money out of a product listing ads because you are the only person who took the time to optimize your 500 SKUs after a keyword that was relevant to that product. Really cool little trick that works quite well.
And then obviously for Pinterest we’ve got the URL for your profile, which would be your actual main keyword so Waldorf toys or pool cues. Only one person. It’s just like Amazon. Only one person can have that keyword on Pinterest so you should get it for whatever your query is.
That’s what I got. I’ll take questions. (Audience claps) You have a question, you can come up to the microphone. And then we’re going to have someone come and film it, right?
Ezra: What was that?
Audience: It was very fast.
Ezra: Thanks. I wanted to make sure I got through it all. You’ll have the slides but you’re very high-caliber.
Attendee 1: Hi Ezra! From your e-commerce store BOOM! by Cindy Joseph. Is she a celebrity? Or did you team up with someone? Did you have a profile before this all?
Ezra: So Cindy I got lucky with. You listen to TAG. You know my background. I grew up in this hippie commune. Cindy would come and take these courses that my parents offered. And when I wanted to move to New York as a kid I called her up and I said, “Hey! I’m not going to college. I’d like to move to New York. What do you think about me moving in with you?”
Interesting thing about Cindy is she was a makeup artist for 27 years and the day that she cut off the last of her dyed hair, let her hair fully go silver, she was approached on the street at 49 years old. Someone said, “Hey, can we take a picture of you for a potential advertising campaign?” She thought someone’s just messing with her. She let him do it.
She ended up booking a nationwide Dolce and Gabbana campaign and she became the face of the baby boomer generation. Because what advertisers realize as we have all these baby boomers and we want to sell them stuff because they have free time and they’re the biggest consumer population in the States.
And so she ended up just sort of being in the right place, at the right time and becoming the face of that community from a product selling perspective.
So I was learning about how to sell products online. I said, “Hey, you know we ought to… You’re a makeup artist. You are now this fashion model. Why don’t we create a product?” And her first response was like, “Dude, we don’t need another tube lipstick. We just don’t.”
Then we kind of get into talking because we were bestfriends, I was 18 and she was 55, and so we got to talk about all these viewpoints that we had on age and all this stuff. Then, it sort of spawned out of messaging rather than products.
But now what I do is I find the face for my stores. I don’t have to be the face of my stores. I mean I was the face of those stores I showed you pictures of but if you want to have… it’s good to have… I don’t remember your question honestly, but it’s good to have a face behind your brand. You know someone, or a couple of people… What did you ask me, men?
Attendee 1: Yeah, that’s it!
Ezra: Oh! Was she a celebrity? She was. Yes.
John: I just got to say you are a freaking freak. I just, never come across a guy like you.
Ezra: I’m happy about it.
John: Thank you!
Ezra: That’s all you got?
John: No. What about all these shopping carts?
Ezra: Bigcommerce.com, www.shopify.com.au, Magento, Yahoo works great over here. Australia, you guy’s don’t really have the problem of platforms not working for you.
John: Now also, image rights. You were talking about protecting the image, get buying the image right. How do you do that?
Ezra: Well, what I just meant by that was that… Sorry, I need to be repeating these questions. What do I mean about image rights? What I mean is if you go to Google and you click on Google images, and you put in the URL of an image, it will pull up all the ones that are on the same exact image. So they know if you are… Google now can index images and see which ones are the same.
So you want to make sure your images, even if they’re the drop-shippers images, you take them. You clear out all the metadata of that image. You increase the size, and you watermark it and now your image is unique to your store and now you get a leg up.
Because now what Google’s looking up when you have 15 drop-ship stores is which are the richer pages, who has unique images, who has more content, because everyone has a similar amount of the same type of content and what we do now is once our store gets successful, we actually buy the products ourselves, take pictures of them and resell them.
So we have our own unique pictures for our stores. That’s what I mean by image rights.
John: Okay, thank you.
Samuel: We have an education company that sells quite high across educational courses. The average selling point is 1050. So the thing about the Facebook traffic, have you run successful campaigns to high-priced products from Facebook products that might be part of the thing for Vic as well, but like because it is education as a whole, would you go for like a broad lead-gen capture thing and then funnel through or are you kind of going very specific with images.
Ezra: So the question is how Facebook is relevant for high-ticket items. Again, our goal with Facebook is not to sell. It is to engage the community. That’s all we want to do, is get people to see us all the time, watch our videos. Does Facebook work for selling high-ticket items? Yeah. How would I do it? I would identify my best-selling product and I’d create videos. I’d create content based around that particular need. I wouldn’t go for the hard sell.
I’d go for engaging people and generating leads and putting them up. It’s more of an informational style of a sales funnel. It’s not really a physical product sales funnel. It’s not like a one and done purchase. It’s not like that they’d watch your video about how to felt an Easter egg and they go and buy the felt and the needle and all that stuff. It’s more of a long form sales funnel.
I used to run a company that sold real estate in Latin America. We were selling $100,000 and $200,000 lots and our sales cycle was a yearlong. We have to generate the lead. We have to do a bunch of educational calls. We have to get them on the phone. We have to bring them down to Uruguay to look at the product like the sales funnel was… It’s the longest sales funnel I’ve ever dealt with.
What you’re talking about for a thousand dollar purchases is a longer sales funnel and so what I would do is engage them, get the lead, put them through a longer sales funnel then make the offer and hope for better success.
Attendee 4: Two questions, Ezra. First one, how much time and resources should we spend on building out websites? So say you decided, you’ve done your research and you know you want to have a crack at selling bar stools. Do you do a live test website for your bar stools or do you build it all out with all the content and everything and then put it up there?
Ezra: So how much time and resources do I spend on building our websites. I now have templates. Like for this launch, what I did is I took that template that I showed you. It cost me who knows how much to create.
I paid a company 10 grand to skin it on the Bigcommerce, to take that whole template and skin it over the Bigcommerce so you can now upload it as a Bigcommerce template. And now I’m now selling it as part of this launch. But I have these templates so it’s super easy for me to throw the website up.
Usually, I’ve gone through my market criteria checklist. I’ve done enough research ahead of time to kind of know that it’s going to work. I kind of know pretty well whether or not it’s going to work. I do enough research ahead of time. But you never really know.
But the beauty about e-commerce stores is what are you doing? You’re uploading the products, you’re rewriting the product descriptions, I won’t rewrite the product descriptions before I’ve run some traffic so I just put a normal product descriptions, I fill out the more information page.
You should watch that challenge at brownboxformulas.com/brown-box-challenge. You can see how I do it. But I just throw it up on a template. I put up enough information, About Us, whatever. It will take you two days depending on how many SKUs you have.
So yeah, I kind of throw it out quickly but I throw it out quickly in a way that it is optimized for conversion. I send Adwords traffic to it and then I know. If it doesn’t work out, scrap it and I’m on to the next.
Attendee 4: The other question was do you have a local team or an outsourced team? So much of the testing you do is pretty dynamic, so if you want to test logos or double headers, that type of thing?
Ezra: So where’s my team or do I have them locally or outsourced? It depends on what the product is or the project is. I have an in house team. I got people in New York that work with me on a daily basis. I also have developers and designers in Europe and Pakistan. I have an outsourced team but I also have an actual team in New York who works with me on a daily basis.
I have both. It just depends on… like people who are working closely with me, my development, like, I don’t know where Sam is, but I’ve got one of my main developers who does most of my website developments in Europe but he does most of my projects. His team is really my team. I’m employing these people but they also do other work as well.
Attendee 4: But if you are to change things quickly, like if you want to move logos around…
Ezra: I’ve got a team in-house to do that kind of stuff. But I don’t usually… I’m never really… I’m not really ah… I find that working, like this product launch and stuff, like all of these madness. I don’t do… I like to chill…(Audience laughs) It’s work for me you know.
Attendee 4: Thank you.
Andrew: Hey Ezra, thanks for speaking again. That was fantastic. My question is around building community around your e-commerce sites, exactly how are you doing that? Are you building forums on some of these sites? Are you using Facebook as your community? Is it a certain niche market wouldn’t really be appropriate for something like that as well? Are you just doing it on BOOM! by Cindy Joseph or across the board?
Ezra: How are we building community for our e-commerce stores? Two places. We have a blog where we have a video. We have comments. We use SpeakPipe and all these stuff you guys already know about. We got a Facebook page. Those are the only two places people engage with us. On our Facebook page where we upload our videos and run our ads and we email our lists and send them over to our blog.
All the comments, all the community engagement is all happening on either our Facebook page or our blog. We don’t use Twitter. We don’t use any of those other ones.
Andrew: And you pick and choose which e-commerce sites that you’re doing that for? You don’t do it across the board? You do it for your oddball ones, too?
Ezra: Everyone. The frequency may not be as much but I now see the value of engaging the community beyond just trying to sell products. I think it feels better, it just feels good to do that for the businesses, to put a little bit more energy into them. Yeah, I do it for all of them. But for the ones that are already humming, we do it a lot more.
James: Hey, my question is just about how do you go about finding and setting up drop-shipping relationships. Is it as simple as contacting a supplier directly?
Ezra: Yeah, I wrote a 20-page report. Sorry I keep, I’m not plugging this product for you to buy it. I created a bunch of content in the lead up to this product launch. This is good stuff men. I wrote a report called “Wholesale Only” which is how I get suppliers and get all sale prices, 20 pages long. If you go to brownboxformula.com/access, there’s a little link that says wholesaling, you can download the report and read up.
But yeah, essentially what you’re doing is calling them up and saying, “Hey, I’d like to sell your product.” The interesting thing that is happening is that manufacturers and suppliers now understand the value of the internet and they understand the value of e-commerce sales. Eight years ago, man, they would barely talk to you.
Now, they want you to sell their product. So they’re not hard to track down and my whole process, my phone scripts, all kinds of bad jokes are all in that report. So you should read it, man.
James: Thanks man.
Liza: Hey Ezra, my name is Liza. Hello. Liza…
Ezra: Lyza? I’m sorry.
Liza: I know… It’s Liza with a “z.”
Ezra: Liza… but it’s spelled the same way Liza Minnelli spells her name?
Ezra: That’s what’s confusing me…
Liza: So my question is in regards to shopping cart platform. So would you always use an external platform like Bigcommerce or Shopify? Or if you use WordPress for example, would you use like plugins like WooCommerce?
Ezra: Sure. Depends on how many SKUs you have. If you only have five SKUs like on BOOM!, you don’t need a big, one of these multi-product platforms like your Bigcommerce or Shopify or Volusion. I’ll stay far away from anything to do with WordPress when it comes to retail and physical products because WordPress is a platform that was not developed for e-commerce.
And they try to shove these plugins on it, it’s a disaster in my opinion. I do not like it. I’m avidly against it. I’m not very strongly against many things. I’m against WordPress eCommerce. I don’t like it.
So depends on what you’re doing. If you are running a big box retail e-commerce store like the ones that I’m running in the drop-ship market with thousands of SKUs, you need a Bigcommerce or a Shopify, or Magento, or Shopsider, or Volusion, or a Zencart, or one of these platforms that’s built for that.
If you’re doing more of a branded, maybe white label product like BOOM! that, we have a couple of products that are white label, a couple that were manufactured. But we don’t have a lot of SKUs, we are using a different cart because we don’t need the features of one these bigger stores.
Liza: So what type would you use for something like 20 products, for example?
Ezra: You might want an e-commerce platform for that. But any one, your Nanacast, your 1ShoppingCart, your Infusions, your PDGs, any one of these carts that was set up for retailing singular items will work for that type of store because it’s not based around e-ecommerce. It’s more based around the content. And there’s one page that has a list of your products and has add-to-cart buttons.
They press add-to-cart and move to shopping cart. So the site is built not around the e-commerce functionality. Whereas on these bigger box stores, the website is built around the e-commerce functionality. On BOOM! our site is not built around our e-commerce functionality. It’s built around the brand, around the information, the content. We also have e-commerce functionality. But that’s not the point of the store. Does that make sense?
Liza: Yeah, cool. Thank you.
From audience: What were the (shopping carts) you just mentioned?
Ezra: Nanacast. It’s the only one you need to know about. (Audience laughs) 1ShoppingCart, Infusion, Cydec, PDG, There are a lot. It depends on what you are looking for. I got four minutes. If you have questions for me, I’ve got four minutes.
From the audience: This video, is it in the SuperFastBusiness so we can listen to it?
Ezra: This video? I don’t know. It’s for Schrammles to tell you. No, it’s not. Maybe, it will be at some point.
(Repeats question from the audience) He wants to know how can he get what I just did on video.
Ezra: SuperFastBusiness.com. Which by the way if you’re not already in there, you get to go in there.
Josh: Simple. You’ve mentioned creating videos for keywords and I wondered if you had a simple formula for creating those for the top three keywords that you mentioned?
Ezra: Yeah, we actually do them for most of my keywords… There’s multiple types of videos, right? There’s like un-packaging of the product, “Hey, this is the product that you are about to buy,” right? For product specific keywords, it’s good to show them the product. That’s our favorite type for that. But you’ve got the…
Josh: Are you talking about creating a YouTube video and putting tags, description, and going for specific target keywords? Then you said your top three keywords, are you talking about syndication?
Ezra: Exactly, what we do is we’ll create a video. Either screen capture or face the camera, whatever. We’ll upload it to YouTube. We’ll put our keywords in it. We’ll write our descriptions. We’ll upload the transcript. Optimize the YouTube video the way you optimize YouTube videos. And then, we’ll do press releases into it, build some links into it and it ranks really quickly.
We just rank YouTube videos so easily. I have a video right now ranking for anti-aging skin cream. Number one, or number four or something and it gets a ton of traffic and make a bunch of sales. We just find it really easy to rank YouTube videos.
Amanda: At the beginning, you stuck up that checklist of head points for whatever, so what was the point? Are you going to tell us what the cut off was? to go ahead, or…
Ezra: It’s 10 to 20. Then, 20 to 30, and 30 to 40, and 40 to 50. And it’s got little happy faces and stuff. You can actually get the whole checklist. It’s available for download. It’s right at FastWebFormula.com/4live. It’s right there. You can download it. It’s available right now.
Amanda: I’m on it.
Tanya: Hey Ezra, I’m Tanya. Great presentation, thanks a lot. Just wondering with e-commerce platform, do you have a preference for SEO? Which ones are best or is there one that’s particularly bad?
Ezra: Yeah. Whoa, that was cool. I find that it does not so much matter, frankly from my SEO perspective. Other than like if you have these platforms that generate these dynamic URLs, with question marks and all kinds of crap that is bad news. Don’t want that.
But any of the good ones, you Bigcommerce, like the Shopifys, your Volutions, your Yahoos, your Magentos, all have static HTML pages and they all rank the same. It’s not really about the platform from a ranking perspective.
But if you want an answer, if you just need an answer, Bigcommerce. Because they let you set the URL. Like you can take… if you were transferring a store over to Bigcommerce, you can make the URL exactly what it was. Like you just have so much flexibility over URL structure on Bigcommerce. You don’t have that on any other platform. URL flexibility, from a structure standpoint, Bigcommerce is the most flexible. I got 40 seconds, man.
Stephen: Hi Ezra, I’m Stephen. I love these podcasts you do with James. Reputation management. When you talk about… you’re reselling those services, are you talking about keeping a brand integrity or you building up a sort of a back list of…?
Ezra: What I’m talking about is like for example, I work with a couple of skin supplement companies. They’re doing like $30 million a year. People hate these supplement companies, right? Or this rabbi guy who got banned from Israel for sleeping with… These people who are figures, or brands that are figures that people are looking for.
They have all these queries related to them, complaints and scams, and all these stuff. So when you put in one of these queries, all kinds of stuff shows up.
What I want to do is make the stuff that they want to show up, show up. And I only work with someone if I actually think they’re… If they’re bad people, I’m not going to clear up their reputation. But I used a very similar syndication model. I have other mediums that I use: about.me, Crushpath, Slideshare.net, all these places. I can give you my list. I’ve done ranking frequencies across all my reputation management clients.
What social profiles, what URLs, what blogs consistently ranked. So what we try to do is from a media format perspective as well as from a channel perspective, take over the page. So if it’s a branded name, we need a video. We need a press release, we need a bunch of social profiles, we need a blog.
Stephen: Good 40 seconds. Thanks.
Ezra: Thanks, man. Okay, that’s it. We’re done.
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