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Some quick background. There are a million Shopify merchants, 12,000 app partners. Only a fraction of those are Shopify theme developers. So the best case scenario is that there are 100 merchants for every Shopify partner. Most agencies can handle eight clients at a time. I say this to preface the importance of communication here. You will get the best response when you are professional and realistic about your needs.

The Jenga tower problem

In this situation there have been many cooks in the kitchen, changes and moving pieces. If you pull out one wrong block, the entire thing falls apart. Partners are afraid to work on these types of projects because of the risk. If they are hired for one standard project, they do what they normally would in that situation, then the tower collapses and they are blamed for breaking your site. It doesn’t feel good or build relationships for either party.

The solution

It might be time to recognize that you need to start over with a fresh new theme that’s simpler and easier to manage. If you approach partners with this mindset you’ll get a better response. Take everything you learned about what does and doesn't work, what you like and don’t and bring that into the new theme.

SEO is a single tactic under a greater umbrella. Most technical SEO is handled out of the box by Shopify. If the brand is well established and huge you’re not going to beat them in the SEO game, so you have to beat them in a different game.

My favorite solution is focusing on great content for people, which will drive organic traffic.

Lean into one thing that works for you. Do you already have one blog post that does pretty well? Keep going. Can you create more articles on that topic? Can you provide it in different formats? Now imagine you are publishing content to your website two to three times per week. At some point you would overwhelm the competition with organic traffic and quickly become an authority in your space.

Creating this much content is not as intimidating as you think. You don’t want to be starting from scratch every single time. Take everything out of what you already have and create templates. For example, my podcast is recorded in audio and video. Then, I’m able to take snippets and make them social media posts. I also transcribe them and they get turned into blog posts. One podcast turns into several pieces of content.

Niche down. Always niche down. You will make your life easier, the tighter that niche is. When you niche down you’re selling a single product, you laser focus your advertising and you laser focus the point of your store. There’s only one thing you need to pack and one thing you need to ship.

At that point if you feel like you need to expand your sales or your customer lifetime value, the next move would be for accessories for that product. A great example of a business that does this well is KeySmart. They have one flagship product and then a majority of their sales come from accessories you put in your KeySmart.

It’s very easy to fall into the trap of casting a wider net to get more sales, but sometimes that just doesn’t make sense. That’s going to be weird for everybody. The people who shop those generic variety items are gonna say, “Well, what’s this niche stuff? This doesn’t seem right. I’m not gonna buy from this.” Or the people who are buying the niche stuff are like, “Well, why does this guy also sell boxer briefs? What’s going on here?”

Don’t do yourself the disservice, just stay narrow, stay focused. That will make life easier, I promise.

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Gregory Nelson from Lamb Agency asks, "What's going to happen with eCommerce as a result of Coronavirus?"

Comparing our clients' revenue numbers for January, February, and March to date to last year, 9 out of 10 were up significantly for 2020. That's the good news.

The next two weeks will be rough for everyone as we adjust to our new normal. Please be sensitive & help each other where you can.

After that, ecommerce will become the default commercial interaction as its naturally conducive to social distancing. This will help offset a lack of consumer confidence & spending.

Aaron Orendorff is doing an amazing job compiling data on the situation:
Coronavirus’ Effect on Ecommerce: The Latest Data and How to Respond

An entirely unsolicited website teardown of Diesel Power Gear, the Diesel Brothers' Shopify store.

Best known for their Discovery Channel show of the same name, the Diesel Brothers are a team that builds, sells, and gives away custom diesel trucks.

They were recently in the news after being ordered to pay $848,000 for air pollution violations. When I saw that, I checked out their website and discovered it's on Shopify.

It's time for an entirely unsolicited Shopify store teardown of dieselpowergear.com

First, you need to be able to look at your opt-in rate. Then ideally, see if you can figure out a conversion rate on that pop up as well.

(This is where a fancier pop up builder can be helpful since it will tell you what the conversion or acceptance rate is.)

With some data at hand, go ahead and test different offers. The most successful opt-ins we do start with a micro commitment. “Hey, would you like to save 10% off today?” Yes or no. If you can get them to say yes, then you ask them for their email. That tends to have a significantly higher opt in rate. Some of our clients doing this now are seeing opt-in rates of 10%, which is excellent.

The other thing to consider is the quality of traffic or the opt-ins. Sometimes you’ll see a spin to win type of sign up. Those will often have high opt-in rates, but the quality of the email is not as good. It could be a fake email looking for something free or they just aren’t as engaged.

Pro tip: Have a strong welcome series to accompany your opt-in. This is the flow that makes the money. If you give a deadline to the coupon you offer initially, you're creating that urgency and creating an opportunity to engage them in additional email by reminding them of the deadline. During this time you're also telling your story and you're introducing them to the brand, the team, the product and why they should buy.

Your story! Get out from behind the scenes and share your story. Be your own brand evangelist.

You can also try going the route of educational content. Create the ultimate guide to buying “x” product. If it’s 3,000 words, has video and photos, boom that’s an engaging unique marketing tool.

Story time...
someone bought 200 nonsense items on eBay for $1 each (motel key, rubber duck). Then he hired a copywriter to write a story product description for each individual item. He then resold them all at an 8x profit. That was crazy and the only thing that changed was the items had stories attached to them now. So, I think we know empirically the answer is your story.

Source: How the Significant Objects Social Experiment Proved the Economic Value of Storytelling

There are two tools I like to use in these situations.

1. Hotjar for heat mapping and polls.
With polls you can fire up a question to the consumer if they didn’t make a purchase. It is utterly revealing as to people's motivations. Usually you hear from people that buy, not the people who don't buy. This is a great way to understand those common objections that keep coming up. Maybe they're complaining about price, okay, that means you didn't do a good job of explaining the value or maybe you should offer financing or both.

2. Google Optimize for split testing.
It's free, it's awesome and gives you a confidence interval. It’s based on sessions, not timers. Google optimize split testing is the true way to see if certain page changes work, because your inputs can fluctuate so much. Different inputs can be anything from the time of year, a sale you ran, a good Facebook ad or the market.

Pro tip: Beware of falling victim to the recency bias. Usually if something breaks, the last change made to your page gets the blame. A drop in conversion can be due to many things though like a market change or recent holiday.

To start, this is a mindset you have to be in. Initially it is a skill that you develop and practice. Instead of setting out with the intention to create new content, document work you are already doing. Always be creating. Everything on the internet now is just recorded on people's phones. You just use your phone throughout the day to create more content. Take photos, videos and document the things you're doing.

From there you can start the scaling process by changing distribution and format . For example, if someone asked a question in the Facebook group, I will take that answer, write that as a tweet, then I'll put that into a social media app I use called Buffer. Buffer will send that same content to two Facebook pages, LinkedIn, Twitter and a Facebook group. I took one question and the answer turned into content posted in five places. Also, a single question will get stored in our podcast topics list discussed there, recorded on audio and video. Then, that gets distributed to the podcast, which is syndicated and gets posted to YouTube. A couple hours of activity turned into dozens of pieces of content. So you have to think about it at scale.

Additional resource: If you want to learn more about this topic checkout the book, Content 10x: More Content, Less Time, Maximum Results.