Why I Love Personal Video Messages

Patrick's Video Welcome Message

It's easy to get carried away with automation. One of the best ways to connect with your audience is to create & send personal video messages.

When people talk about automation in the marketing world I sometimes get a bad taste in my mouth. Because it seems like they want to automate everything. And that's not something I believe in.

I want to be empathetic and I want to help people. And for me that means talking with people and not at them. Automation is powerful but you need to know when to use it. I believe you should automate systems not relationships.

Patrick's Video Welcome Message

Screenshot of my video welcome to Joe.

So when I was talking with Nathan Barry at Lift Off Summit and he mentioned a service called Bonjoro that lets him send personal video messages I had to explore. I signed up for the services and within a few minutes was able to send a video welcome my friend joe to the summit.

Pretty awesome right?

It's your own personal way to say hello. To tell people about yourself. To be an individual and to be you. And I love that.

That was my first video welcome. I later refined my welcome and gave people personal recommendations.

Return on Investment (ROI)

Now in an ideal world there'd be a positive connection between the personal welcome videos and someone purchasing a product. And I was curious if this would help. So I actually ran a little experiment.

I sent 1/2 of the people a personal welcome video + welcome email. And the other half just got the welcome email.

And from the data here's what I found:

  • Lift Off Summit had 448 viewers (at the time of this writing)
  • I sent 209 personal video welcomes.
  • 159 videos were opened
  • 84 videos were watched
  • And 54% of the sales came from people who had a Bonjoro sent to them

But with the number of sales I had. That number is not enough to be statistically significant. So take the above with a grain of sale.

In terms of what it cost me. Bonjoro is free (with some nice features under their premium plan). The real cost was the amount of time. My typical welcome video was 2.5 minutes.

And sending 209 welcome videos at ~2.5 minutes a piece that's 8.7 hours!

So based on the ROI this wasn't a good investment. In fact if you're just looking to make money off of people online do not do this. It's not a good use of your time.

Luckily – that's not the best thing about Bonjoro. At least that's not where I found value.

Deep customer learning

Bonjoro is great at building authentic connections. People don't respond to welcome emails. Those are automated and companies rarely respond. If someone takes time to send you a personal welcome message you might actually respond to them.

I sent 209 videos. And I received 21 email responses to the Bonjoro welcome alone.

 

I learned so much about my viewers. I learned about their businesses, the products they're selling, how they found me & what they wanted out of my live event.

Ellen sells fragrances:

Thanks for checking it out! Everything is still in its incipient stages, so a lot of it is word-of-mouth based right now. Marketing and self-promotion have always been some of my biggest challenges, so I'm looking forward to the Summit and hoping I can learn a lot!

Carla sells furniture:

I’ve been doing my own websites for years, but this e-commerce stuff is fairly new. Even with some professional help, I’m amazed at how much extra time this takes! I just wanna get on to the fun stuff – making videos, blogging and connecting with people – so any shortcuts, or tips for managing inventory, customers & reporting would be helpful.

Looking forward to the summit – I’ll let you know when I come up with any more questions.

And Cara runs a small agency that wants to build more eCommerce sites:

I own a small web agency with one small Woocommerce e-commerce client. I noticed that Rebecca Gil and Chris Lema will be speaking at Summit and the schedule has such valuable content — just could not afford not to take part! So much to gain and to give back to my client base. Plus, I would like to take on more e-commerce sites and this will jump start my process.

This is just a paragraph or two from 3 of the 21 responses I got. I found this information extremely valuable.

Different Than an Email Auto Responder

I made jokes with people. When I accidentally pronounced their name wrong I asked them how to properly say it. And I shared a little bit about myself.

In some videos I was walking around down town and I talked about that, in some I was walking through the art district and I talked about that, for some I was on the patio outside my favorite coffee shop, and for others I was at my parents house in DC and was getting rained on.

Automation doesn't impress us. People taking time out of their day to make our lives better impresses us.

And I think there's another reason. When you give people personalized advice you're actually providing value.

Every time I prepared to send a personal video message I looked at the persons email address and if they had their own domain I would check it out. I found a pastry shop, and author, and all sorts of physical good stores. And based on what I found in their site recommended specific sessions at my summit.

So if you're looking to increase revenue don't sent personal welcome videos. If you're looking to be authentic, to connect with your audience, and to help people then use these videos. They're a great way connect.

Note: if you want me to send you a personal welcome email sign up for Lift Off Summit and I'll send you one. 🙂

PS: If you want to know how Lift Off Summit went I'll do a full write up next week.

My link to Bonjoro is a discount link. I get a discount on my plan if you upgrade to the premium plan. As you can see from this post I clearly enjoy the service and would recommend it even if there wasn't a discount available.

 

Announcing Lift Off Summit

Lift Off Summit

I remember my first sale.

I was doing a lot of WordPress development at the time. During the day I worked for an advertising agency and we built high-end WordPress sites. In the evenings and on the weekends I was building smaller websites for friends. And it was exhilarating. Every day it felt like I learned something amazing and new. And that fueled the next days work.

My first premium plugin.

I built a plugin and launched it on WordPress.org which was fun. I happened to see a blog post from Pippin about Ninja Forms. I turned some custom code into a Ninja Forms plugin and they started selling it on their site. And in the summer of 2013 I got my first sale.

I think I earned something like $13. Not much. But enough to feel valued. Gradually over a year or two I developed a few more plugins and was generating a nice little income on the side.

I realize now that I was lucky because I partnered with a company that was doing all of the marketing. I was a developer for hire and they sold my plugin and took a cut.

But most people aren't that lucky.

Unrealized Potential

I spent the past couple years talking to eCommerce entrepreneurs. And time after time I'd hear about a store owner who spent hundreds or thousands on their store and they have no traffic.

They didn't know they should think about traffic. They thought if they built their website they'd automatically get traffic.

I don't blame them. It's an unknown unknown.

But when it happens – all that unrealized potential can be quite painful.

So when I left WooCommerce last year I started thinking about what I can add to the world. Curing cancer would be great but I have no idea how to do that.

Helping eCommerce entrepreneurs on the other hand is in my wheelhouse. I can do that. So I spent a few months playing with a few different ideas. And I figured I'd start at the beginning.

How do you get that first sale? How do you get the same feeling of exhileration that I got when I sold a tiny little plugin?

You have your logo, you have a product, you have quality product photos, and you even figured out how to setup an autoresponder in MailChimp. Now you just need your first customer.

Lift Off Summit

That's exactly what Lift Off Summit is about – getting your first customers.

I teamed up with BobWP and I interviewed ~20 marketing & eCommerce experts on how to get traffic to your site. We cover every major marketing channel and we compare the costs, the time to implement, the skills needed, and what type of products and industries work best with those channels.

We go over:

  • Content marketing
  • SEO
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest
  • Newsletter marketing
  • Affiliate marketing
  • PPC
  • Local events
  • Amazon
  • Etsy
  • and more

And to wrap up the event we go into how you can measure your progress and keep those first customers. We go into:

  • Google Analytics
  • Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
  • Customer retention
  • & Postcard marketing (for realsies)

When & Where?

We already covered what. The event is a virtual summit. That means you can be naked and learn at the same time. It's like naked cooking without the cooking.

The event is June 19th through the 23rd. That's a full week. Each day we'll release 4-5 new interviews which you can watch. The interviews will be live all week and you can watch them as soon as they come out.

How Much?

What I'm really happy about with this event is that we're making it free. Anyone can tune in & learn about whatever marketing channel they're interested in for free while the summit is live.

Yup. All of those interviews above ^ are going to be available for free during the week of the summit.

What's the Catch?

No catch.

My goal is to make such great content that you want to get the All-Access Pass ($97 before the event) so you can download the content and keep it forever.

But if you watch it live. It's free. 🙂

Enjoy

I've spent the last couple of months putting this together. I hope you get something out of it. Even if no-one buys the All-Access Pass as long as people get valuable content and launch their store I consider that a win. So grab your free ticket and I'll see you at the summit! 🚀

Technology is a Double Edged Sword

Robot Teacher

There's a recent article on Business Insider on how retail stores are closing and they predict it could affect 6 to 7 million workers.

And from all of the headlines (1, 2, 3, & 4) it seems inevitable that many retail locations are going to close. And this will mean the end of some jobs. But it isn't without hope.

A Trip Down Memory Lane

In 1979 the first spreadsheet software was created. It was called VisiCalc and it worked on the Apple II.

Now spreadsheets existed; they were just created manually (read: by hand). So when the owner of the company asks you a question like: “What happens to our profit if we increase production by 5%?” you would have to take the spreadsheet back into your office. Erase all of the existing data. And rewrite all of the affected cells. This could take the whole day. Or if the spreadsheet was especially big it could take multiple days.

After VisiCalc came out it took seconds. You would think this meant the end of accountants right? But it didn't.

Since 1980 (a year after the software came out) 400,000 bookkeeping and accounting clerk jobs disappeared. But 600,000 accounting jobs (different than accounting clerks) appeared (source).

So even though the costs of accounting dropped dramatically the jobs didn't disappear as they should have. That's because as the price fell people wanted more of that product. They wanted to ask more questions:

  • What if we decrease production by 5%?
  • What if we give everyone a 5% raise? What about 6%?
  • What if we could increase the efficiency of our production staff by 10%?
  • What if the whole company took off the week of Christmas?

Now it took just seconds. So businesses were able to ask more questions and make better decisions.

Old jobs were eliminated. And new jobs (where people had to use computers) were created.

Back to the Present

So new technology doesn't mean jobs die. It means some jobs die and new ones get created.

As Americans continue to buy more online it will mean the end of some retail jobs. But as we lose those jobs new jobs are created.

Lowe's has this robot they're testing in stores. And while it will eliminate a few retail jobs it could mean more jobs in manufacturing (robots) and in software (for robots).

And there are new jobs in logistics to handle all of the online purchases.

Higher Skilled Jobs

As we eliminate retail jobs which are low skill jobs and replace them with robot manufacturer & software developers which are high skill jobs. It becomes pretty clear that we need to keep growing and educating ourselves.

For the average retail worker (read: minimum wage) this can be expensive. And I worry about the growing inequality between classes. Those who can afford to learn new skills will succeed and those without will likely desperately look for those last retail jobs.

These are societal issues that we'll have to figure out. But for right now as retail jobs are lost start looking to learn new skills. Learn skills that let you create. Things like:

  • Writing
  • Software development
  • Marketing
  • Product development

These are skills we'll need for a long time. They might be automated (or partially automated) someday. But in the meantime they let you create things and earn a solid income. The key is see the changing landscape, educate yourself, and move into a higher skill profession.

One Feature Missing from the Top 50

Working Remotely

LinkedIn published their list of the top 50 companies that people want to work at. And there's a few things that most of them have in common.

  1. They're almost all technology companies (Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook, etc)
  2. They are aggressive finding the best employees. They have very competitive wages, they have perks like Amazon's Leave Share program for spousal paternity/maternity leave, and they usually have a bit of fun at work.

Continue Reading…

3 Takeaways from Shopify Unite

Tobi Lütke on stage at Shopify Unite

I've been in the eCommerce world for a while. And generally speaking I'm a fan of open-source platforms because you can customize anything and there are no restrictions.

But Shopify has been growing like crazy. And I wanted to poke my head in and see if it's something to look at. So I attended their 2nd annual Unite conference.

I learned quite a bit. And I got to know the company a little better. If you're thinking about using Shopify for an upcoming project keep reading.

Invest In Your Partners

The conference starts with the CEO Tobi Lütke. He talked a lot about how entrepreneurship is getting harder. There are fewer and fewer of them. And since the costs of running a business are going down what could be causing this?

Lütke thinks that the issue is education, that the learning curve is too steep. ECommerce is admittedly very complex. There's SEO, pay-per-click advertising, managing inventory, QA, fulfillment, customer support, and a whole lot more.

To solve this Shopify is focusing on making that learning curve less steep.

Their ultimate goal to help more people build businesses on Shopify.

Harley Finkelstein, the COO for Shopify, talked about the economy around Shopify. And how they've built Shopify and the market place around it in such a way that their partners make more than they do.

  • Shopify: 389M
  • Partners: ~400M+
  • Merchants GMV: 15.4B

These numbers only include payments directly from Shopify. So app sales, theme sales, affiliate income, etc. Actually building websites for clients isn't included. So it's much bigger than the numbers they shared.

It's clear that Shopify is investing in their partnerships. If you want to build Shopify stores for clients you can expect to make good money. And you can expect more & better tools as they continue to grow.

Mobile

Shopify has had an app for their merchants for a while. It's great to see new orders and how much money you've made that day. But it's never been as powerful as the Shopify website. You can't add apps, customize your theme, or do other administrative tasks.

But something happened last Christmas.

Shopify merchants used the app more than the website. Shopify has always focused on mobile. And their checkout experience is phenomenal on mobile. Now they're putting the same effort into their app for merchants.

And they've redesigned them all so the website, the mobile app, and the point of sale (POS) solution have a cohesive design.

Shopify knows how valuable mobile is. They continue to make the power of Shopify more and more available on mobile devices. You don't need an IT team. You can already run most of your store from your phone. And soon you'll be able to run even more.

ShopifyPay

Shopify is the biggest hosted eCommerce platform. They have an insane number of merchants on their service. And because of that they have a lot of data.

They've started to use that data to make it easier for merchants to make decisions (going back to that learning curve). So if you open a shoe store they'll recommend apps that successful shoe stores in your area already use.

But they're also using this data to make the consumer's life better. Many websites let you save credit card information for faster checkout. Which is great for repeat business. But it doesn't help the customer get through the cart the first time they visit you.

Shopify is fixing this with ShopifyPay. If I've ever checked out on a Shopify site before. As soon as I enter my email address. I'll be prompted to get an SMS confirmation code. As soon as I enter that code all of the rest of the checkout fields are filled out for me.

This is huge for merchants. It will drastically lower the abandoned cart rate. And it will make everything more secure.

Just to clear. Shopify doesn't share your actual credit card information with a merchant. They pass along something called a credit card token to the payment gateway. Merchants can't access your credit card number or anything like that. It's very safe.

Bonus – Be Flexible

I want to share one more thing. I've helped put on several tech conferences. And it is hard work. You have to find speakers, a venue, affordable ticket price, the right dates, etc. It's a lot of work.

And Shopify did all of this. AND they also had to deal with a city-wide power outage Friday morning.

Right before the sessions were supposed to start the venue lost power. And they handled it like bosses.

Color Me Impressed

I'm very impressed with Shopify and the Unite conference. They put on this event to inspire, educate, and grow their partners.

They're incredibly user focused. When they noticed that mobile was a big deal they invested in it. They're continuing that investment from the merchant stand point.

When they see a problem they attack it and do things no competitor has done (ShopifyPay).

I'm pumped about Shopify. I already have a Learn Shopify: The Basics course and I can't wait to look into Shopify theme & app development courses.

If you're thinking about using Shopify for an upcoming project. It's a solid platform trusted by hundred of thousands of merchants and thousands of partners. And I was very impressed by their conference. I'll be attending again next year.

Why High Performing WordPressers are Unemployable

Business Man on Street

Last week Jake Goldman, founder of 10up, sent out this tweet:

Basically wondering why 10up's applicants only seem to stay at their previous job for 1 or 2 years. I weighed in on how employees need to feel in control & they need to be committed.

Which turned into issues in management which turned into issues in employee expectations. And all of these are valid. They all impact how long someone stays at a job. But as I thought about it some more. I think there's another issue.

Continue Reading…

Equal Pay Day – What’s Good and What Needs Improvement

Piggy Bank

April 4th is Equal Pay Day. And it's making me think about my impact in the world around gender issues. And if they're positive, negative, or both.

The Good

I'm helping organize WooConf, a conference for WooCommerce developers, and we're trying to figure out how, if at all, we should compensate speakers. Some organizers don't want to compensate them at all. Some want to pay for flight, hotel, ticket, etc. And some suggest only compensating when they ask for it.

From a cost-savings perspective you'll save the most money by not giving anyone anything until they ask for it. But this can create an imbalance. People who are assertive get more than others. And if those people find out they're not going to be happy. Something like this:

I want to avoid this at all costs. And compensating people fairly falls in line with my ethos. So I set up rules that determine exactly how much you'll be compensated.

  1. If you deliver a talk we'll compensate x.
  2. If you deliver a workshop we'll compensate y.
  3. If you deliver a keynote we'll compensate z.

This removes any unconscious biases about who deserves what. There are rules and you follow them. Every thing is transparent.

What I'm Working On

Outside of events I run it feels hard to contribute. How much you're paid is nebulous. And it's usually only close friends that share that information.

And when they do I'm sometimes really surprised at how little they're paid.

When I ask them if they negotiated their salary they usually respond with a no. They assumed that number on a piece of paper is what they're worth.

And I think that's such a shame. Men tend to have such a high standard of self-worth (I'm God's gift to the world!) and women tend to have such a low standard of self-worth (I'm not perfect will you still accept me?).

And if I were to contribute anywhere this is where I'd like to help. Because asking for what you want and believing that you deserve it is powerful.

#EqualPayDay

Metorik: The Missing Analytics for WooCommerce

Metorik Banner

I've written about WooCommerce reporting in the past. And at that time the best solutions were plugins you installed yourself. That's no longer the case. Metorik is a service designed specifically to understand your WooCommerce data.

Metorik was created by Bryce Adams who used to work for WooCommerce. So it's well built, well designed, and it enhances the reporting experience in WooCommerce. And not just a little bit. But a lot.

Digests

One of my favorite features in Metorik are the digests. You can set up daily, weekly, or monthly digests.

And in that digest you can include sales KPIs like number of orders & revenue and it compares them to the previous period.

Metorik Digest

A monthly digest from Metorik.

You can also include data about your products. Like a summary of products sold. The top products sold. And it compares it to the previous period as well.

Metorik Digest Products

A product digest from Metorik

You don't like email digests? That's fine. You can also connect to Slack. And have them sent to a Slack channel.

Order Report

One of the most useful reports is the Order report. It reminds me of Google Analytics if it was designed for WooCommere. There's a lot of stats & graphs on the page. And right at the top there's a handy overview.

Metorik Order Report Graph

This is just a test store. Otherwise the last two weeks are terrible!

And after that are some KPIs all about your orders. So if you're like me and you really like to track your progress these numbers should really help you out.

Metorik Order Report KPIs

I love KPIs. And these are great KPIs for any e-commerce store.

Customer Report

And this is my favorite piece of data. Because is one of the most useful metrics for e-commerce and it's really hard to calculate. Metorik calculates your customer lifetime value (CLV).

Metorik Customer Report KPIs

Customer lifetime value (CLV) and other important KPIs for e-commerce

One of the downsides of self hosted software like WooCommerce is that calculating complex metrics like customer lifetime value is really challenging. If you can calculate it at all it'll probably slow down your site. So having a 3rd party tool like Metorik do it for you is really useful. Keep your site fast and get all of the data you need.

Onboarding

And I want to get them props for their onboarding experience. It's a primarily API driven application. Meaning you mostly have to grant access to your site through a modal window. Give metorik a few minutes to crunch the numbers. And you're up and running.

Metorik is for Winning

Metorik is a marketer's dream. And once you've built your e-commerce store you really should focus on the marketing and not your tech.

There's a ton of useful graphs I skipped over. Devices, countries, refunds, etc. And some insanely useful features like being able to filter (segment) all of your reports.

Bryce is a pretty ambitious guy. You can see what he's working on. Like reports for WooCommerce Subscriptions & integrating with Cost of Goods for WooCommerce. And you can vote for the features that make the most sense for you.

Metorik Mascot Jarvis

Jarvis – the mascot for Metorik.

Overall: I'm in love with Metorik (and their mascot). Once you get your store up and running Metorik should provide all the information you need to grow your store.

Happy growing!

KPIs for Google Analytics

Data Mining KPIs

There's a tool all of us use and just about no one knows exactly what it does. I'm talking about Google Analytics. I've been using it for almost a decade now and I'm still discovering new features. And by “new” I mean features it's always had but I didn't know about.

So to help anyone else out who might be in my shoes I've made a list of useful metrics you can track in Google Analytics.

Continue Reading…