ECommerce Financing: How to Grow Your Business When You Need Cash

Financing Your Business

This article originally appeared on eCommerceFuel.

One of the perks of an eCommerce business is that you can often get started with very little upfront costs. But at some point, nearly everyone with a growing business has to consider financing. A monetary boost empowers you to invest in essential resources for your company, such as inventory, marketing, and technology.

Without adequate financing, your eCommerce business may struggle to compete or fail to reach its full potential. In this article, we will explore the basics of financing for eCommerce businesses, what financing options are on the table, and when you might use each of these financing options to help you grow.

Continue Reading…

Reviewing 18 Months of Content

Reviewing 18 months of content

For a year and a half I was responsible for the website and the content on the website at Paid Memberships Pro. And the most important traffic channel for PMPro was organic SEO – basically Google. 

To improve our SEO there are two main things we had to do:

  1. Better organize our content
  2. Write new high quality content 

PMPro had over 900 posts when I joined so one of my main goals was to organize those posts into useful categories called cornerstone content.

While organizing content, we also had to make new, high-quality content. Over 18 months the team was able to create and update 175 blog posts. That’s over 2 posts per week! 🤯

Today we’re going to review these posts, see which categories and post types performed well, and then discuss how to best adjust the content strategy.

Continue Reading…

Amazon FBA or Shopify? Which Fulfillment Network Is the Best?

Amazon FBA vs Shopify Fulfillment Network

If you are are an eCommerce merchant you've probably heard about fulfillment networks or 3rd party logistics (3PLs). Fulfillment networks like Amazon FBA & Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) are incredibly powerful. If you can afford the cost they’ll store, pack, and ship all of your orders for you.

They handle an entire area of your business for you. For a merchant this is 25-35% of your responsibility. So being able to outsource this obligation and focus on other areas of your business can be massively helpful.

But calculating if a 3PL is worth the cost is complex. Shipping costs themselves are a nightmare of complexity. If you have more than 1 item in your store you will probably just understand the range of shipping costs to get several items from point A to point B. Trying to figure out a fair cost for the 3PL on top of regular shipping costs is challenging to say the least.

And there are challenges beyond just costs. You have to order and send in your products according to their schedule and in their preferred formatting. With all of that overhead switching 3PLs is painful and costly.

So fulfillment networks have some serious costs. But they also allow eCommerce entrepreneurs to live that idyllic lifestyle where you order piña coladas on the beach while your business continues to generate revenue. 🏖

Let’s look at the costs, procedures, and the tradeoffs for two of the biggest fulfillment networks: Shopify Fulfillment Network (SFN) and Amazon FBA so you have a baseline understanding of when and how you'd set up a 3PL for your own e-commerce store.

Continue Reading…

Important KPIs for Managing a Marketing Team

Important KPIs for Managing Marketing Team-banner

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of PMPro’s larger strategic focuses. We have hundreds of posts which generate a ton of SEO traffic, but we’re always looking to reach more potential customers. That means we have to increase the organic traffic we get from Google and other search engines. 

Our newest tactic to improve SEO is using Cornerstone content. This will better organize our mountain of content, for both website visitors and search engine indexing.

But how do we even know if it’s working?

Unfortunately, SEO is a notoriously slow marketing channel. If you’re making progress, you won’t see it for months. But you don’t have to operate in the dark. 

This is where Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) come in. KPIs measure a critical aspect of your business, to give you a better idea of how things are going. This could be sales calls per day, closed support tickets per week, or (in our case) organic traffic from Google each month.

Note: I changed the numbers to protect my employers data.

When I got the opportunity to create my own marketing team, I wanted to build a system of clear understanding. It would need to give me insight as the manager. But it would also need to give my team information on progress towards their primary goals.

I started with a pretty bare bones KPI sheet in January and kept tweaking every few weeks. Half way through the year this is where my KPI sheet ended up. 

Output on the left & results on the right

Today, I'll explain:

  • How I built this sheet
  • What insights these KPIs give me
  • Why you should track both output & results focused KPIs
  • How you can use my template to build your own sheet
Continue Reading…

Top Takeaways From Denver Startup Week 2022

Top Takeaways From Denver Startup Week 2022

One of my favorite events every year is Denver Startup Week. Each year they get free space from mature startups in Denver and they seek out speakers with hands-on knowledge to help new startups grow. So not only do you get to learn cool new things, and meet ambitious people, but you get to tour the offices of successful startups.

This year I primarily focused on the Growth (marketing) track but I also attended a few sessions outside of that track.

Continue Reading…

Taking a Stab at Marketing Strategy

Taking a Stab at Marketing Strategy

I started my job as Brand Manager at Paid Memberships Pro just over a year ago. Between Kim and myself we did just about all of the marketing for the whole company. I wrote blog posts and newsletters, sent out tweets, reviewed Google Analytics, and analyzed our sales numbers.

As we worked, we slowly built our team. In October we hired a marketing specialist to help us with data entry, social media, and graphics. Then we hired a content manager in January. She's taken over the blog which has opened up my time so I can finally focus on strategy.

Continue Reading…

The Secret to Overcoming Creative Blocks

Overcoming Creative Blocks

One of my favorite challenges at my job is learning how to be a good manager. You might have heard the expression, “people join companies and leave bosses”.

My goal as a new manager is to not be the reason someone leaves.

It's challenging to motivate, inspire, and direct people to do their job while also holding them accountable. And it's especially challenging in a creative field. You need to be in the right headspace to create.

A few weeks back one of my teammates had a creative block and was falling behind on a project. I took note to find a solution to help her get over her creative block in a hopeful and inspiring way.

Continue Reading…

What I Learned From Nexcess

What I Learned from Nexcess

It's almost the end of 2021 and I moved on from Nexcess. I created a new LinkedIn Learning course about Speeding Up Your WordPress site and then I joined Paid Memberships Pro. That's a lot of new work things in a year.

But before I get into why I joined PMPro I want to share some of the things I learned at Nexcess. Because I learned a lot of valuable lessons:

  • I dove deep into the technical aspects of speed with WordPress & Magento
  • I created new onramps to the product
  • I ran some A/B tests on pricing & product pages
  • I learned how corporations look at numbers
Continue Reading…

WordPress Plugins: Quality over Quantity

WordPress Plugins: Quality over Quantity
  1. Why Website Speed is Important
  2. How to Check & Monitor Your Website Speed
  3. How Websites Slowdown
  4. Optimizing Static Vs Dynamic Sites
  5. How Hosting Affects Your Website Speed
  6. Server Location Matters More Than You Think for Website Speed
  7. Optimize Images
  8. Why You Should Always Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
  9. Offload Audio & Video Files
  10. Lazy Websites are Fast Websites
  11. Yes, Your Theme Can Affect Site Speed
  12. WordPress Plugins: Quality over Quantity

When I worked at Nexcess we had a 15-day performance challenge. You would submit your site & admin credentials. We’d take your site and optimize it for you on Nexcess servers and then show you the results. This was a fantastic program because we'd almost always convert the user into a customer. It also helped us understand our customers & where they often get stuck while speeding up their site.

Continue Reading…