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Merchants tend to worry about annoying customers, but people's tolerance for pain with emails is very high, especially if you deliver any kind of value or entertainment in the slightest.

My general rule of thumb is weekly.

Certainly don't spam people, but you can get into an issue where if you don't email them enough, they forget. They're like, who is this? When did I sign up for this? And you'll get more unsubscribes by sending too few emails. Some people might want to buy right away, others will need more contact. It all depends. The key is giving informative and entertaining content, with a PS of “hey you could buy this now here.”

The other approach to get comfortable with sending more email is through segmentation. That way you are optimizing your communication and not just spamming your entire list.

It’s no secret that new customer acquisition costs are high, so it’s important to focus on customer retention. These are some of my favorite short and sweet ways to keep those customers coming back.

Have a good product and give the customer a good experience

Providing good service and quality can be what separates you from the pack. Think of all the times you have had a great customer service experience, it sticks with you and creates loyalty. Ask the key follow up questions. “Did everything work out with your purchase?” “Let us know if you have any questions.” Take any feedback, iterate and listen to your customers.

Add value and stay top of mind

Emailing here is the key without being salesy. Is there a story behind your product you can share? Any instructions, tips or tricks that apply specifically to the item they bought? Can you tell them about different accessories that compliment their purchase?

For an example of a Shopify merchant that does this well, listen to my podcast interview with Jake Starr from Recycled Firefighter. After every purchase he emails the customer the story behind that specific product, with a sale offer to a related item.

Pro tip: Leverage follow up segmentation opportunities. Dive into your product or service

An easy way to start is by considering the same language countries that your product is originally sold in and website is written in. So if your product sells well in North America, what are the other English speaking countries you target? Start with some top performing Facebook ads, duplicate those, target them to that country and go. See what happens.

When you are working with a same language market, the best solution is to use a currency converter on your site. When you are a Shopify Plus member part of your monthly cost is cloning up to 10 stores. Creating a new store would be beneficial when you are then moving into different languages. Using a Java Script to translate a site can get messy.

One of the most important things is establishing trust indicators, because if a customer is dropping a lot of money, it better be 100% exactly what you promised it was. Over communicate all the key product points. You are going to want polished and professional imagery and videos. Think of 360 product shots, listing all product materials in excessive detail, reviews, customer lifestyle images and offering warranties.

Instagram is a great tool for building sales funnels with high end items. There is a niche community for everything. Find that community your product or service is a part of and jump in. You can consider doing a giveaway too that gets people excited.

To start, here are a couple standards to help you benchmark your customers and traffic:

  • Over a 30 day rolling period, if you get 150 people a day to visit your store, you are getting traction in the marketplace and are building an audience
  • 20-30% is a target average for repeat customers

Let’s talk strategies:

  1. Set up the remarketing funnel: When you increase the total number of touch points with a customer, you will convert better and you’ll make more sales. With remarketing, you’re really only paying when traffic comes to the site and clicks through. I’d recommend setting up your Facebook remarketing. You don’t have that top of funnel costing you money yet, but you’ve got that remarketing in place for when you achieve a threshold of traffic that works. And you can set that up natively in Facebook, or you could use an app like Socio.
  2. Build an organic social media following: Try to engage with Instagram influencers, give freebies. That is a gateway to cheap, top-of-funnel traffic. If you start to kill it on Instagram, then when those Instagram people hit your site, you are building a Facebook remarketing funnel.
  3. Facebook like ads: These ads provide a little bit of social proof and brand awareness. Once you have a good organic social media following, Facebook like ads are extremely cheap. A good one can be around $.15/per like. You can then also set up ad campaigns to target people that have liked your page.

Pro tip: Look for all they ways you can drive alternative traffic to your site

Resource: A company like Workmacro will manage a follow/unfollow campaign for you on Instagram and get you several thousand followers quickly. You can now remarket to that audience.

I have not had direct experience with someone who was successful with only Pinterest ads. Pinterest tends to bring a lot of drive-by traffic that you can use to drive awareness. You can use it to fill remarketing ad funnels, but those people are not wallet out, ready to buy. They won’t convert directly into a sale necessarily.

If your Facebook ads are already a successful channel, keep spending your money where you know it works.

Pro tips: combine Pinterest and Facebook efforts

  1. Drive your Pinterest traffic to follow you on Facebook. This will fill the top of your Facebook funnel with remarketing ad potential and already established familiarity. Remarketing ads are much cheaper.
  2. Something to experiment with.…. You’ve got 100% of your ad budget on Facebook. All right, keep spending on Facebook. If you think you haven’t exhausted it, spend more on it till you get it to a place where you’re comfortable. Then divert some of that money into driving cold traffic from Pinterest and see if that works.

Financing apps are becoming popular and are proven to be an easy way to increase your average order size. They appear as a widget underneath the price on your product page offering payment breakdowns; for example, $100 or 4 payments of $25 using Sezzle. Generally the buyers don’t pay any interest.

My favorite…

Sezzle:

  • Simple option with a killer Merchant Interest Program. Any money you collect and leave in Sezzle earns 8% interest! Yes, you read that right.
  • Offers a max of 4 equal payments so it does not appear as a hard item on the consumer’s credit and comes with zero percent interest
  • Good team and support

Other options…

  • Affirm
  • Afterpay

Pro tip: Adding a financing app is a quick easy win for your store. One store I work with had an average order value of $50 storewide, after using a financing app it jumped to $80.

*For one month free, no strings attached with Sezzle use referral code: SZXRLQJ

Privy offers a suite of conversion tools that sit on top of your website. The platform offers tons of display formats, design tools, and targeting rules that many use cases:

  • Exit intent email capture: this is Privy's bread and butter, but a small subset of what Privy offers.
  • Cart saving displays: reduce cart abandonment by looking for pre-abandonment signals in the checkout flow, and load displays based on product or cart value.
  • Cross-sell displays: target add to cart displays to people who have one product in the cart, but not the other (i.e if razor, recommend blade)
  • And many other on-site use cases we can unlock related to personalization, loyalty points, post-purchase engagement and more.

ESPs like Klaviyo pour their heart and soul into email flows, segmentation, and deliverability, the same way Privy pour theirs into the onsite experience but ESPs can only handle simple email capture scenarios.

Learn more at Privy.com

Let’s talk product pages.

If its your homepage's job to get visitors to your product detail page, then its your product detail page's job to get them to add to cart.

I'm about to give you some clear design rules for making the most of your product page (and boosting your add to cart rate in the process.)

The Buy Box

First, make sure the "buy box" is above the fold. (The buy box is a term my guy Ezra Firestone coined.) That means your photos, thumbnails, title, price, product description, color swatches, ADD TO CART button, etc. are all above the point where the customer would have to scroll down. See this example from Tactical Baby Gear I designed:

Because people can't see, touch, smell, or otherwise experience your products in person, your product photos are incredibly important. Some quick tips here:

  • Enable click-to-zoom. This is important, people want to see what they're buying.
  • Crop all images consistently. (More on that below.)
  • Consider including a product video.
  • If you sell apparel, include your size chart as a photo so people can't miss it

Image Ratios Demystified

The number one thing that baffles merchants is image ratios. When I say image ratios, I mean the ratio of the width to the height of the images. Everyone struggles with getting these right, and that's a problem, because inconsistent images cropping will result in messy, unprofessional looking thumbnail grids and collection grids.

I am going to give you the easy way out here: Just crop all your images square so they're consistent.

If you have hundreds of product photos already uploaded at odd ratios, don't panic. You can use the app PixC to automatically resize the images square.

Once you get your images cropped square, you’ll have a nice clean look as customers switch through the image thumbnails.

Image Sizes

When uploading product photos to your store, you want to upload them as large as you can. "But Kurt, what about PageSpeeeed?!" Fear not– The theme and Shopify will work to resize photos, so you should aim to upload the max size Shopify will accept at a square resolution.

Here are the stats:

  • Size: Square, up to 2500x2500 px
  • Type: JPEG (dont you dare upload PNGs)
  • Quality: 60%, progressive, don't embed color profile as it has little value.

Pro-Tip: Before uploading them to Shopify, drag & drop them all into ImageOptim, it's a free, safe, and automatic image compression tool.

Social Proof

Make sure you have reviews on your product page. If you don't, that should be the first thing you do.

My favorite reviews apps are Stamped.io, Judge.me, YotPo, Loox, even Shopify Product Reviews.

The Number One Secret: Copywriting

A clean layout and quality photos will only get you so far. The most successful stores all invest in detailed descriptions for their products. You need to treat your product descriptions like sales letters.

But copywriting is hard, right? I thought so too, then I discovered the magic of copywriting formulas.

My colleague Joanna Weibe has put together a phenomenal guide called The Ultimate Guide to No-Pain Copywriting (or, Every Copywriting Formula Ever). Bookmark it.

For further reading, check out Sean D'Souza's The Brain Audit. This was the one book that made copywriting click for me. It's a quick read too.

Hope that helps,
-k.

P.S.: For more info on building the perfect product page, listen to our podcast Building The Perfect Product Page.

What's the fundamental difference between a good and a bad home page?

A bad homepage doesn't center on helping the user find a product. That is the number homepage conversion killer.

When someone lands on your homepage, you have just a couple of seconds to convince them that:

  1. they should not leave,
  2. and they should start browsing.

(As opposed to what most people do when they land on a homepage: click the back button, click over to a different tab, or, if you're lucky, scroll halfway down and then leave.)

Your homepage has one primary job: convince someone to start browsing your catalog. You have to break them out of general browsing and into shop mode. This is the difference between someone walking past a storefront and walking into it. A visitor who hits your homepage and then bounces is no different than someone just walking past the storefront.

Let’s talk hero image. You see a lot of stores doing slide shows, and honestly, I’m not a fan, for two reasons:

  1. Image slideshows often bloat page sizes.
  2. 89% of users never make it past the first slide.

Instead, I recommend you just do one big hero image. Or, if you're feeling particularly fancy, go with a video. If you can put together a video, it will boost conversions.

Either way, have a headline over it, with your positioning statement. Make it really clear what it is you offer, what your value proposition is, and who it's for. Being clever or subtle isn't going to sell anything.

Next, your main navigation menu is instrumental in converting a browser to a shopper. If someone is landing on the homepage, they're showing intent, so let's make it easy for them. I see too many stores that have their products buried under some sub-menu that just says, "Shop" followed by a bunch of non-shopping related links like that blog you haven't updated in six months.

Which do you want? Do you want people to come to your site to read a blog that you never update? Or, buy something? The latter of course. Take all that extraneous stuff and put it either into one sub-menu at the very end called, "Info," or move it into the footer. If people are looking for it, they'll find it. That way all your shopping is across the top. You can break it out by collection, break it out by top sellers, whatever you want.

Lastly, throw some social proof in there. I like to do testimonials, reviews, or even something like a reviews app carousel widget. If you've ever been quoted or featured in any kind of press or media, include those logos, and some nice blurbs from the articles. Social proof adds a lot of credibility.

Let's recap:

  1. Your homepage has one job: get people to browse your catalog.
  2. Ditch the carousel, instead use a single hero image or a video. Caption it with a clear and concise call to action.
  3. Focus your main menu exclusively on shopping.

Hope that helps,
-k.