In this episode of the Commerce Journey Podcast, Cory and I discuss strategies for selling products online without an existing audience.
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Methods for selling without an audience
- Sell on a marketplace
- Use direct to product advertising within a marketplace or in Google / Facebook / Instagram
- Organic content development
- Hybrid strategy: create organic content and boost it with ads
We discuss the ins and outs of each strategy, some things to consider when using each strategy, and our thoughts on preferred methods.
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Machine Transcript – Selling products online without an audience
Brian Krogsgard 00:03
Hello, and welcome to the Commerce training podcast. My name is Brian Krogsgard. And I'm here with my partner Cory Miller. Hey, Cory. Hey, how you doing?
Cory Miller 00:11
Pretty good. I'm pumped for episode number two of commerce training podcast.
Brian Krogsgard 00:15
Yeah, that's right, we're gonna be talking about building your store without an audience today. And there's a lot of strategies for doing that. And your partner in that journey could be GoDaddy Pro, they're our partner for this episode, and all episodes of the eCommerce or any podcast and all things that we do at Commerce Journey. And you can go to commercejourney.com slash go to check out GoDaddy Pro and use this amazing deal that they have at that link to get started with your store for very little. And they have a lot of cool stuff built into that I think you get a free domain name right now. And also you can get access to a whole bunch of WooCommerce extensions that you don't have to pay for, like you would normally, you know, onesy and choosing those extensions, you just get this big bundle of awesome extensions, right in that GoDaddy Pro eCommerce package that they've set up for us. And so we're thankful to them for that. So go to Commerce Journey, comm slash go to get started. And thanks so much to the team over there GoDaddy Pro for partnering with us on this episode. So Cory, you were about to say something what you got,
Cory Miller 01:23
I was gonna say I just over the weekend bought a couple domain names, and they were moved over to my GoDaddy account. So awesome. I'm fresh off the GoDaddy experience.
Brian Krogsgard 01:32
Yeah. So. So today we're going to talk about if you have a product, but you don't have an audience, and what are some strategies to get eyeballs on your product that you know, folks could be prepared to buy, what you run into oftentimes, with eCommerce store owners, new eCommerce store owners, is they've got like, several, several aspects of, you know, stuff underway, they kind of know what they're doing, maybe they have the audience, or maybe they have the product, or maybe they have the technical capability. But they don't always have all of them together. So what we're gonna assume here is that someone has a product that they're ready to sell, but they don't have a built in audience. Now the other side of things, somebody might have a built in audience, but they and they may even have product like your friend Anna, but they need the technical component. This is the opposite of that. And I think this is harder because building that audience, somebody like Anna 40,000 50,000 fans, they are they know you, they're ready to buy from you. Without the audience, you could have a fantastic product. But it doesn't necessarily mean that you're going to sell it because you don't have it in front of anyone and they don't trust you. And you know, they're not ready after years of getting to know you to, you know, be willing to transact with you, which requires a degree of degree of trust, and maybe like faithfulness, I guess, and like who you're buying from. So we're going to talk today about those strategies, right?
Cory Miller 03:07
Oh, yeah. I mean, you know, it's, uh, I would definitely rather start in his position. So when she came to me last year, and we started talking, she's been a longtime family friend and said, Hey, I want to do these organic shampoo bars and conditioners for curly hair, people. I was like, cool, you know, over the years, just like you, Brian, I've had a lot of people come up with business ideas to me. But she had the idea, plus huge audience. So she tells me, yeah, I've got about 40,000 people on Instagram, follow me. And she shows me, I'm just blown away I go, this is the best, this is the best scenario. When you have an audience and you know that you're leaving them, you're engaging with them, then you can know what they anticipate what they kind of need, and pair it with something that you could either create, buy resell, whatever that is. And so that's a great problem to have. But like you just alluded to, I've experienced this several numerous times in my life, by the way, it's not having an audience yet and having to create that. So I'd much rather build the audience first, then have something to sell it to. But that's not really how most of life works.
Brian Krogsgard 04:13
Yeah, and it certainly is certainly not a deal killer. So we're telling you, that's a great avenue to have. But you can do this without an audience. So today, we're going to talk about some strategies, we should go ahead and get one out of the way though, and that is start to build your audience. There's never a day, it's never too late. You don't have to rely on not having an audience forever. Because even if you just start today, and it goes nice and slow, steady, which is what most audience building is, then eventually you will reap the rewards from that and it will make your sales process easier and cheaper in the future. So step one, start building that audience today, and that is through various channels that we'll talk about. But at a minimum, you want a way for you. You want a way for people to talk to you through social channels. Depending on your industry, maybe you want to have more focus on one than another, like maybe Instagram is a better place to start presenting your brand. Or maybe your you know, maybe Facebook is or maybe Twitter is or maybe LinkedIn is or maybe local meetups for your product, like for people and interest group or something like that. Those are ways to start getting your name out there, start interacting with other people in the ecosystem where you're trying to sell. And that's where I'd get to Thing number two is remember the ecosystem where you're trying to sell, right, so don't spend all your time building an audience, that's not the audience that you actually want to sell to.
Cory Miller 05:41
I, you know, my dad, I grew up fishing, we grew up in a small town, rural Oklahoma, Southern Oklahoma, and we'd go fishing. And it was funny in reflection, so my grandfather had a bait bait business. But you know, the ponds that we only went to where the stocked ponds, we didn't go to fun. We didn't know much about fall. So fishing, I think is a great, you know, comparison. And when you're talking about what channel to pick, go where the fish are. So with Anna, Instagram was ideal for her now she's broadened out into Facebook now, which I think is a natural extension. But you know, for different things. Like if you're a if you're selling to other businesses, a b2b business, maybe LinkedIn might be it, but the principle is go where the fish are, use the bait that the fish want to that are hitting on, you know, so it was funny reflection, go to the stock ponds, you know, go the ones that have a lot of fish in them.
Brian Krogsgard 06:41
You know, one of the biggest mistakes I see in that landscape is people. They might they go to the other like Bait and Tackle sellers, rather than thinking about the fish, right. So like you said, b2b versus b2c? Well, if you're b2c, you need to make your community and make your audience with the consumers. Whereas if you're b2b, it's okay to like rub elbows and stuff with other professionals in the audience. But if you do all your audience building, just with other professionals, there may be some dividends from that, and some, you know, professional value and benefits that you get from, you know, interacting and getting to know other professionals within that same area. But you really need to target the consumers and work on building your brand the most and building your tribe, which is something you like to talk about a lot with the consumers themselves. So I think that's more of just a caution for people to not mistake who the people you're selling to, and don't mix where your energy goes in terms of developing that audience.
Cory Miller 07:46
Yeah, you said something I want to expand on a little bit, which is creating, you know, there's a side to this, that is empathy, that is understanding who you're building, or creating or serving, supporting, whatever that is that person, like, likely, if you've already got the product idea, hopefully you thought of someone even if that someone is yourself, like and I was in that ballpark, you know. And so a lot of entrepreneurs, you and I know built products, I think about Pippin Williamson with easy digital downloads, probably great plugin. He built it for himself. And so but here's the key, build it for a person in mind, and then go Are there a lot of people, people just like that with the same needs. But if you just create something you think this would just be cool to create? That's awesome. That's probably called art, you know, but even art should have an audience if you want it to be, you know, sold and admired and everything. Yeah. And the same is with a product or an audience is like, Who is that person in mind? You know, you and I both had people in mind for Commerce Journey. we thought to ourselves all that, you know, I've got, I think, for people I'm helping right now. And you have numerous friends that have asked you over the years, we created Commerce Journey with those people in mind to help provide those answers. I hope you've done that, by the way with your product. And particularly when you start thinking about this whole thing of building your audience.
Brian Krogsgard 09:09
Yeah, I like I enjoy looking at videos and every now and then getting into things like woodworking or leather working stuff like that. And, you know, there can be value, like getting to know, let's say you want to create leather products, right? There can be some value in getting to know other people that are creating leather products, leather goods, because you're maybe learning more about the craft or you're just getting to know people a few steps ahead of you to you know, learn their processes from them and all that. But at the end of the day, they're not buying your leather goods. You need to be developing your audience with people who are going to buy your leather goods. And that's what I mean in terms of where to focus that audience development because that is all audience element is good, but balance your energy because you only have so much of it to give in terms of who you target with that. That'll play into some of these other things that we get into. Because now, I want to talk about the way you get product exposure. And there's a few that I want to just throw out there real quick. And then we'll go from there. Obviously, if you're selling on your own website, and you always need that backbone of selling on your own website, but you could get exposure through marketplaces, you could get exposure through advertising listings. And let's, let's discuss those real quick.
Cory Miller 10:28
You know, the primary one. Okay, so we talked about social, like, we're used my friend, partner, Anna. But, you know, we talked about social is all the rage. I mean, it's the sexy thing, right? But the first thing we talked about as she was getting the V bars calm, ready to go was how do you transition Instagram followers into email, and there's a big reason for doing that. Email Marketing is still king, queen, everything, it's the entire, you know, everything else feeds into email. But the reason why is like, you know, an algorithm change or policy change, Instagram, or any other social network you might be thinking about, could severely affect your business. I said, I want to transition everybody over to email as much as we can, so that when we launch our first batch, you have I mean, the eyes and ears, you have permission to email these people about your potential audit, you know, customers about your goods or services. So email is the primary tactic now. It's a slow build, though. Often. That's That's a tough one.
Brian Krogsgard 11:29
Yes. And learn. Over time, you still got to get those eyeballs there. So the marketplace concept is where you're maybe you're listing your products on eBay, in addition, your own website, or maybe I say eBay, because it really requires very little extra energy, right?
Cory Miller 11:46
But it gets baked in there is what you're talking about with platforms,
Brian Krogsgard 11:49
yeah, people are just gonna be looking at eBay for stuff and that whatever realm it's in, and you automatically have eyeballs there. Another would be if you want to list Google ads, or Facebook ads for your product and you know, develop a audience through Facebook ads, or wherever and, you know, you're automatically going to put your product in front of people that Facebook at least thinks that is are appropriate. The downside there, you get built in eyeballs, the downside there is you're spending however many dollars per lead you get or per click or engagement. And you have to see at what point does that revenue algorithm work, like, if I'm making $10 profit, per sale? Well, if I spend more than $10, on Facebook ads for each sale that I get, then I'm I'm losing money on my product. And maybe that's okay for a little while, if you're just trying to create like a flywheel effect of customers, you know, buying and reviewing and recommending to their friends and that kind of thing. But really want to build in some profit from day one. So you need to make sure that you can afford to advertise on Facebook or Google or wherever, within that budget. What are your thoughts in terms of the marketplace and within in terms of advertising to get that product out there?
Cory Miller 13:08
I think it's a great way to start. If you want to get audience immediately, like we said, it's a audience baked into it, you know, but you do pay a percentage of that. I always want to shift over time, though, into some things that I control that I own, you know, so a platform and, and I've got a friend that I'm helping with, she's an art therapist, she does emotional well being boxes, she's on a platform platform was helpful for her to get started. But I said long term as their business grows, we want to shift off that we want to create something that we own, because they can raise the fee at any point, you know, there's Terms of Service and all that stuff, but like who reads them? Right? So you know, at some point, they could make a change, if you're being featured that you could not be featured. So I like to. I mean, I think it's a great place to start with, you know, social channels, for instance, places that have like platforms that you're talking about now, but with the view of let's test and prove everything does experiment, but let's test and prove build our brand, and our audience. And but have a view of shifting downstream.
Brian Krogsgard 14:14
Yeah. Another element i think is worth considering. And that is, what kind of product is it? And is it the type of product that's going to make sense on a marketplace. So an example that came to my mind is like a camera strap. A camera strap is generic enough to where people on eBay or maybe Amazon or wherever you might, you know, spend the energy to list your product. They they'll look for, hey, I want a custom camera strap or something like that, and they can find it. That's okay. I think for marketplace, I think those are appropriate because you're going to fall within the window of what people are going to search for. But if what you're selling is so unique that they really have to be searching for you. Then you're really just giving the marketplace some of your brand And for nothing for and having to give them a cut, when in reality for them to find you, they had to go to your website anyway or like know you or something because it's a really original product. It's not like a rebranded or slightly redesigned generic product, which is a great type of product that you can get into. But there's just a big difference between a camera strap. And for instance, like, you know, this soap that Anna has created that is really tied to who she is. And it's got a proprietary nature to it, right? So if it's got, its the product has that proprietary nature to it, I feel like going to the market places is a later stage thing rather than earlier stage. If the product is your spin on something that's more generic, then I feel like the marketplaces can be really beneficial.
Cory Miller 15:48
I think what I heard you say to the takeaway for me is be intentional, have a goal and an aim for it. So if you decide to go to a platform, one we haven't mentioned, which is hugely popular, is Etsy, you know, have a goal, have an aim for what that is doing for your business. Now, in Commerce Journey, what we're trying to help you think through is mindset and approach. So when you go to Etsy, if you're doing some kind of special craft or something like that have a goal for it, is it to test the product? Are people willing to buy you think your audience is at Etsy? Okay? What's the goal for that? Okay, well, it might be, I want to see if people will actually buy this how popular it gets. With a view of that, you're going to take a next step that you probably want to switch from a platform that you don't own that you're really renting on, into a platform that you own. And once you get that critical mass and have learned a lot like if that's your your first name, which I would encourage you to do that in every stage of business, what am I learning? Now? What is this stage of my business teaching me? What do I need to learn? Or the question works out there?
Brian Krogsgard 16:55
Yeah, funny enough to that platform argument that I made. And none of that applies to Etsy, because like you said, Etsy is more for like, one off and almost the use of mentioned art earlier, I almost think the expectation on Etsy is that each piece is kind of art, like, small batch at largest, rather than like, people churning out thousands and thousands of some, some product, it's really more like, maybe it's customized in some way or one off, or, you know, something like that. So that's a different type of marketplace and a very appropriate place for exactly what you're talking about. And that's a good point to is differentiating where you sell, because this the person selling on Amazon, it's not necessarily going to frequently be the same person selling on Etsy, because they're just very different types of marketplaces.
Cory Miller 17:42
Okay, so you just mentioned another platform we hadn't talked about, which is Amazon. Okay. So I think of that platform as you have. In the in the instances, I can think of it, I got a couple examples. But you have your main site is on your, your domain name, right. And you're building this and it's going well, Amazon could add another channel to sell more to other people now, so you can flip the platform, we're talking about platform first kind of here, but it could be platform later. So like Amazon, and I think Google is another one. But having, having, you know, if you're selling well, it could be a growth strategy for you later. So I know a good friend, he sells like guy stuff, gifts for guys kind of thing here in Oklahoma City. And his primary source channel is his website. Of course, there's really a lot of work with email with SEO and things like that, even paid paid stuff. But Amazon is a channel for him. So it's an extra way to sell more of this product. Now he's taken a lower profit margin. But if you've got physical like he has a warehouse, I think he has 30,000 square feet. Now, you know, product sitting there, you want to be moving, you don't want to just be sitting so platform could become later in your strategy. But again, what's the goal? It's just to grow revenue, get more, acquire more customers, that you have in your base? And keep going?
Brian Krogsgard 19:05
Yeah, I certainly think that for later, I'm actually talking about the opposite. I'm talking about early. Because remember, the original point here is say you don't have an audience yet, right? You're not really selling it. So the backbone of hey, here's my website, go buy it from my website is great. But mom, I'm saying where is there a built in audience. So if you have the one off products, Etsy is great if you have more like a commoditized product. And in my opinion, even though they take the cut, eBay, and Amazon places like that are where you can go and you might get 95% of your eyeballs on those platforms. And you might get 90 plus percent of your orders from those platforms. I'm not saying that should be the only place you have your product. I think your website and your brand and all that is very, very important. But we're saying how do you get people's eyeballs on your product, get the attention on your product, I think they can be front of the curve in terms of your your You know, your your store's cycle in that instance, because essentially, you're paying the platform fee in order to attract the audience in order to attract people to come and experience your product. And that's a really important component. Because you, you really do want to get eyeballs and audience in front of your product as soon as you can, if nothing else, because you're testing to see if the product works. Like, can I sell this product within the bounds of my economics that I've designed in my business plan, and all that kind of stuff? So I think that's why I mentioned market places in this stage of the business. I 100% agree with you, marketplaces can also be strategically beneficial kind of later in life. When you've already made it, you're there like, but then it's part of your revenue growth, and the, you know, the exact economics of how much money do I make? And I can, you know, is this a great way for me to consistently turn inventory over like you said, things like that, super important with the marketplace there as well. But I'm, again, getting those, you know, getting people to your product. And then there's also within those marketplaces, there's advertising on those marketplaces. And that's like, you know, taking the same concept, putting it on steroids, because then you're paying, you're forcing your product at the top of searches when, you know, somebody searches for a camera strap, for instance, like they're gonna see your camera strap, because you paid for it, right? Do you think? What, what kind of caution would you have in that kind of scenario?
Cory Miller 21:39
I mean, it can get expensive. Real quick, no, so limiting your budget, but having enough of budget to test, you know, you can't, you likely can't just, you know, $5 a day kind of thing you might need to do $50 a day or something. But that can get pretty expensive. So it's back to experimenting? No, What's your goal? What's your aim is what you're trying to learn?
Brian Krogsgard 22:02
Yes. One more differentiator between these marketplaces, if someone's trying to say, Okay, this all sounds great, where do I go? Your ability to manage inventory is going to be a huge difference maker in terms of where you go. If you're on Etsy, if you're on eBay, being out of stock is not really a problem. If you're on Amazon, Amazon expects you to be in stock, like when you list the product, that product is there, they anticipate you're going to sell that product and manage the inventory. And when you're out of stock, it's like Hey, what are you doing here, like, this is not good, this is not okay. And you end up you know, not returning in the search results or, you know, variety of penalties that can occur. Because you're not setting this Amazon level bar expectation to say, Hey, here's my product, we're good to go.
Cory Miller 22:47
I, over time, have probably a bias definitely have a bias as soon as you say probably for organic and non paid. Now, so has a cost to it. So I've always leaned toward organic, but I think paid definitely has a place. I think what we're trying to do here too, is to share, here's some options for you.
Brian Krogsgard 23:06
You know, and I'm staring us a door again, it we just hadn't gotten there yet.
Cory Miller 23:09
Yeah, and make sure you have goals. And so so we spent a lot of money early on and the previous company iThemes on Google ads. The problem was, I didn't have it hooked up properly to know when it converted. So I think ads specifically early on with an audience can be really helpful, like dial in exactly the keywords or the marketplace that you're advertising on and test to see if there's enough demand. Now I'll tell you with ads, the thing is, you need to have it hooked up. I mean, we have internet is the best, most amazing communication channel ever invented. And you can drill down with ads to know like Facebook advertising demographics, you can get to zip code level, you know, and so it's incredible to test and reach your potential audience. So in everything is like I've got something I want to test here, I think, you know, guys 40 to 50 that live in Texas, or or the south or something like that, well, let's let's use a Facebook ad. For instance, if we think that's the, you know, the channel that the fish are stocked in, let's go change and test your assumption there and see if people will buy.
Brian Krogsgard 24:18
One other thing that I think that is going to be beneficial for that, even if they're a little bit expensive, is it's going to help you get your review base up and a lot of products, they're not going to do well long term if they can't get a solid number of reviews on the product like that's me when I'm a buyer. If I go buy something on a marketplace or on a website, what I really am looking for is a good baseline of like questions and answers from the seller. I want to see reviews from other customers real world real world experiences ratings, and you may have to sell 1000 units before you can actually get any real number of that Those things in. And so if you spend $5 product or whatever it costs $5, or sale, it may be well worth it just to get that baseline of like reviews and say, Hey, people are using this thing, here's the reviews, this product looks alive, getting that stuff on the marketplace. And I think that's one of the good reasons to advocate for advertising. And I think that's something else to consider when you're when you're looking at that.
Cory Miller 25:28
Well, so I've got a client right now that I'm working with that they're experimenting with ads. And I said, this is this is awesome way to prove the audience to really get down and try to fine tune who is going to buy that you can then apply to anything in your in your company, your business, like overt organic, particularly like so I want to say a mention about this when we talk about ads, like yes, it will cost money. And you may not go well I spent $500 and only got $50 back. That's that's you know, and you get into this doom and gloom kind of, wow, it's just a failure. It's not working. That's not it. Again, if you step back and you go, you know, what am I trying to learn from this? That's $500 you spent to determine to better determine your audience, when you can speak to clearly the message, like you were saying, Brian, when you know, the questions they ask, you can get in their skin, walk in their shoes. And you know, really who that target audience is, that's gravy, that is where you can line product messaging product, even tweak the product into the audience, but specifically to build that audience, you can start speaking their language. So don't look at these ad spins as just a waste of money. That's not it. It's a waste only if you're not learning something like I did, we spent six figures on Google ads. And I wasn't learning much. I was like, you know what I feel like I just need to be out there. And we weren't converting, we didn't take the time to go do that. We just didn't have the time. But I felt like it was important. That's that's probably not as efficient, right. But if you're doing it for learning goal to understand your audience and who they are, who will buy this, that is well, it's an investment.
Brian Krogsgard 27:11
So I want to pivot to organic. And I want to tease where I'm going after that. So I want to talk about the importance of organic, and then we'll go into hybrid, which would be promoting and using ads to enhance your organic traffic. So keep that in mind as a way to, you know, benefit from this effort, because organic traffic is the hardest to get. But it's probably the most valuable with the best long term value. Because organic traffic is built off of content, SEO, sweat equity, put into your website, put into your social stuff, like maybe it's YouTube videos or something like that. organic traffic is built brick by brick. And why don't you talk about because I know. And this is digital, it's not physical, but it's the same concept. With organic traffic at IThemes. That's really where y'all built your empire.
Cory Miller 28:11
Yes, from the get go. So I had built, you know, I believe in content marketing, you can Google that phrase, but content marketing is essentially just using content that to reach people from either the search engines or even in social channels, you know, having a Facebook group like we have with Commerce Journey. But from the beginning, we, we I sought out the questions I was a learner, I was learning some of the things that we're actually building and doing. And so I knew what is FTP that FTP was a is a is a kind of a web term, and for our product. And so I knew I had the question other peoples who have questions. So that was one of our longest tenured, like search terms of backing out these, like, what is FTP? How do I do it, that that blog post, and so we just started to do that. Think about all the things around what your customer need, needs to know, and is looking for, and create blog posts or videos, any kind of content mechanism where they can find that? Yeah, so we built that on that now we get content that you know, draws them to your website through SEO and other factors. And then I always want to use another piece of content called lead magnet to get them onto the email list. And we did build the Empire I have this funny thing I said, if you could see a chart and I can't but show you a sales chart over 1011 years, I could tell you on all the points and if we just look at sales, I can tell you that was days we sent emails, because we were, you know, Drew people in through content through blog posts, got them on the email list, sent them relevant content and offers and we would make money. It's a simple form.
Brian Krogsgard 29:51
This is one when you know your product and you know what world it's in. You already know the content that's going to work for organic Traffic, you just don't know, you know? Because it's the content, all the stuff, you know, because you built a product in that world because it's, you just need to write about it, and you need to talk about it and you need to do videos about it. I'll give an example. I'm a big coffee drinker love coffee. And, let's say, so I broke our previous coffee grinder. So I was doing research about, you know, which coffee grinder I want to buy. Well, if you're selling coffee grinders, you have a world of content that you can create about, like, how course Should I grind coffee for espresso? Or for drip? Or for pourover? Or like, what weight of coffee? Should I use all these things that are related around coffee? What type of coffee works best for XYZ, like there's like endless, you know, posts or videos that you can do to help a new coffee connoisseur. Figure out what they need and what they also need that you're going to let them know on that organic content is that you have a great grinder for them.
Cory Miller 31:02
Okay, so you've been the coffee grinder? Coffee expert? I'm not I would say I know enough, but not Not really. So here's my questions. And this is these are questions you should you know, for those listening should be asking for people think like a newbie, so I'm a newbie, Brian, why should I use a coffee grinder?
Brian Krogsgard 31:20
I was about that. New, you're gonna go that way. So why should I not buy pre ground coffee? And that's a great blog post is right around in your your, you're getting the people that are going to buy your product when you do that.
Cory Miller 31:32
So for the same for the right, yeah, you don't have to answer these but just for the sample, I go, what kind of coffee should I buy? Then? How should I grind it? Should it be you just said medium? I don't even know it is so okay, what are the different levels of grinders, you know, or grab? See? What is it grounds? Okay, what should I do for taste or something like that? You know, so um, the first question is, why should I use a grinder? For those that need to be kind of pushed over to the side, I'm already intrigued because I'm drinking a coffee from a coffee shop that I like, but you're telling me there's got to be something else I'm missing. So what am I missing out? You know, those are all so just think like a newbie, I'd be I'd be peppering Brian with questions about tell me which grinder I should buy.
Brian Krogsgard 32:13
And what we're missing out on is much better tasting coffee. And, yeah, so there's, there's so many things around that. And it's an education experience. And all of us in our day to day lives. We are educating whoever we're spending time with, right? Because we're constantly engaging with one another in conversation and talking about, you know, our experiences or things we're doing or things we like, I don't care if you're talking about, you know, a TV show that you like, or, you know, the fact that you love coffee, and you know, you start digging into why I grind my coffee and do Chemex and Aeropress and all this stuff, instead of just use a Keurig or a drip coffee
Cory Miller 32:58
by the way. Those are other blog posts or a comparison post cuz now I hear but Aeropress and I think that's the coolest thing ever. All the hip. People that drink coffee, you know, those you just like said like five more blog posts.
Brian Krogsgard 33:09
Yeah, grinding coffee for overprescribing coffee for Chemex, grinding coffee for pour over grinding coffee for drip machines, grinding coffee for French press. Like that's like five or six posts. And it's very specific to your, your grinding experience. But then, like, you intermingle loads about comparing French press and Chemex or, you know, like, there's so many things that you could do your geeking out on that already. Yeah, like what water temperature should I like, there's so many things that you can do. And, you know, you're gonna find people that are really important. This is important component. Oftentimes, the ones looking to learn, they're newly passionate. So like, they are a motivated buyer of your coffee grinder. Because they are just discovering this world. They're Cory Miller In this scenario, they're not Brian probably scarred. So like, I may be buying replacement stuff or adding to my repertoire, whatever, like I'm the long term buyer of your coffee products. But, you know, Cory Miller is like brand new, and he's like, bam, bam, bam, give me you know, give me the goods here. I'm gonna read it all I'm gonna, I'm gonna buy my first grinder, I'm gonna buy, you know, Chemex I'm gonna or whatever, like, I'm gonna do all this stuff to get into this ecosystem. And your organic traffic is gonna pull people like Cory Miller, hunting about, you know, good, good coffee over and over and over again, and you create it once and then you run it for years. And that is gonna pay dividends even though it takes a lot of time to write that content and you know, video, that content, whatever else you're doing, and it takes a lot of energy, and at first, no one's gonna visit it, right?
Cory Miller 34:41
Yeah, but it's so worth it. So one more thing I was gonna say and then you use your social channels in everything you do to say, I belong. If you are a customer of mine, you belong to the coffee connoisseur group, like I only drink the best coffee like you belonging is such a powerful thing. We'll get onto that in later podcasts but So see how all this can symbiotically like work. But I want to mention this when we talk about content marketing, I think it even goes above that. If you are an eCommerce store owner, you should be an educator. Yeah, now I'm not saying like, uh, you know, slap their wrist or anything like that. I'm saying you should think about the newbies you should think about. I've spent my life and on expertise related to my product. But others don't, they don't have the time to do that. We sold backup software and IThemes. I didn't pretend that people knew how to do a proper backup. Now, I didn't try to talk down. But I tried to say like, you're newbie, I want to help you. But you're an educator, you're a trainer, you're a mentor, you're a guide for your people. You know how five keys to getting the best coffee, Brian crossguard is the educator there, right. So if you're an eCommerce store owner, you should think about it in those terms. And here's another thought for you, you probably have a certain amount of expertise, in your experience with the product or service you're selling. One great way to produce great content is to think if my mom or loved one, whatever that is, Mom, I'll just say for mine is trying to buy let's say I'm a mortgage lender, okay? My mom is going to look for a mortgage lender, but she cannot buy from me, she has to buy from my competitor. What are the five things I would tell her to look out for? What you know, think about that in rich detail. You know, if you're, I have a friend that family member actually that is selling their beef cattle, you know, going to be butchered. And I'd say okay, you know, your cousin who's married to me, cannot buy from you. What's five things you should learn to find the right beat? What's the quote, five questions you should ask? That's brilliant content, you can put into a lead magnet, like a PDF or something like that. But that's all in the educator role.
Brian Krogsgard 37:00
Yeah, like that a lot. And it doesn't really matter what your ecosystem is. And you may not realize, but other people want to be educated about what you're selling.
Cory Miller 37:10
Yeah. Like a coffee grinder.
Brian Krogsgard 37:13
Yeah. Alright, so let's finish with this hybrid component, which is to take the organic, the content, you made the organic marketing materials, and then promote them and use social boosting or advertisements to lead to that content or retargeting to draw people back, use that content, and then spend money to ensure the success of that content. And that is the hybrid zone that I think is a real sweet spot. And we've seen that purely due to the success of platforms like Google and Facebook advertising, because that's where a ton of their budget comes from, especially I would think like Facebook, you know, people boosting posts and things like that. So, you know, you create your blog post about coffee grinders, and then you promote that on Facebook to people who are interested in coffee, or have ever mentioned the word coffee or whatever else. And now you're sending them these, you know, recommended articles that Facebook can put in front of their eyes, and you create a great content that they're going to come see. And then they're going to see that they need to buy your grinder while they're there.
Cory Miller 38:20
You're absolutely right. I mean, if you've got like, we just did this little quick exercise, how to come up with the five key questions or the five keys or something to whatever you're trying to sell. Once you've created that. And ads are a great way to extend the reach of that you've created that one great resource. That's the best thing to pull back people like that's the headline for your ad. five keys to better coffee. Yeah. five questions to better, or, you know, better eating or better be like that, you know, like you're an audio genius, like you'd love to dabble, Brian, you're always into something if I ever think I need something, somebody asked me what microphones drove by slack real quick, Brian, you know, and so, but coming out with that type of resource, like the five things you should you should buy if you're trying to podcast, you know, that is perfect fodder for an advertiser, in fact, advertising campaign. In fact, that's a great headline, you know, the best the five best mics you spot today.
Brian Krogsgard 39:24
Yeah, and you know, some of these one things to do when you're doing some of these are crowded spaces, you know, we're talking microphones, coffee, these are crowded spaces. So you got to find your place within them. And consider the fact that you're not going to win with the most popular searches, not when you're a brand new entity. So look for the gaps look for the places or you know, go a little more narrow, right, like, where it's not exactly what are the best podcasting microphones but maybe it's maybe you go little deeper than that. So it's like what are the best XLR microphones for noisy environments? Right? Like you're getting a little more specific and you're going to get people looking more specifically into what you're trying to do or like, what are the five coffee grinders that are? have the least amount? amount of cleanup required? You know, grinding coffee is a messy business or it's loud or things like that, like, what are the
Cory Miller 40:27
Brian Krogsgard 40:28
Yeah, right, right, like so you narrow down your, your content creation and your lists and the things that you're trying to do to set more realistic expectations because you're gonna have a hard time you know, competing against the quizzing arts of the world, or whoever else, like, you know, the the big brands and stuff that are, are wanting to sell the same thing you're selling.
Cory Miller 40:52
I want to tag on to that if you're in a crowded space, or a competitive space. My my emphasis always been if you're in a crowded space, competitive space, and I was in one, you know, toward the end, especially, very crowded, very competitive. I always think, how can I stand out one way is through content through sharing, like, just us. You may not know us personally, but you hear my voice. You hear Brian's voice, you may go I like Brian better than Cory, you know, but you attach, you start to think I know them. You know, I know Brandon, Cory. In fact, you and I've had this happen, like we put out enough content over the years, when we go to conferences, or of different places, people come up to us, and they'll say, hey, Cory, hey, Brian. And you're like, Hi, I'm Cory, nice to meet you. But they feel like they already know you. And so that's a that's a, like a formula. You want them to know, you know, you and your brand. You want them to like you, you and your brand. They want to trust you, you and your brand. And then eventually buy, right,
Brian Krogsgard 41:53
yeah, so embrace the fact that you're a human being and people have to be drawn to that.
Cory Miller 41:58
That's the edge is being human having an opinion, having a personality being personable, like when people got emails from me over the years, IThemes personally, like I'd say, hey, thanks so much for reaching out, or I mentioned, there would be like, it's kind of like, when you hear your name in a crowded Thank you kind of feel special, like, thanks so much for like recognizing me as a human. Those are the things the big brands, the big coke competitors out there can't do. And that's a way to leverage video, audio, blog posts, social be the most personal human you can possibly be. And the helpful,
Brian Krogsgard 42:39
You can do it across your strategies with that too, like, I don't care if it's an advertisement, or if it's a blog post, you can put your face on there you can, you can be humorous, or maybe you could be a little off color, if you think that's going to be like the thing that captures someone's attention. And corporations have a hard time with that stuff. They don't put individuals and focus, they certainly aren't going to make some like silly joke or something and an advertisement, like they, if they do any of that they have to put it through committees and all the you know, like, all these channels that are really difficult to bypass, whereas you're just this individual seller with a license to try so many different things. But make yourself human amidst all of that people are gonna be attracted to it, it's gonna be really beneficial with your content strategy, like having personal blog posts, rather than just these like, dry, you know, third person, you know, not fun, data, heavy things. And then also like in your Instagram and stuff like that, you know, saying, Hey, I'm Bob and I made this huge, huge win from that. People, they're just gonna, they're gonna root for you. They're not gonna, they're not gonna think that you're out to get them, they're gonna root for you. They're gonna think it's so cool that you're making this and that you're selling in whatever.
Cory Miller 43:55
My mantra in the work I do in the world is make people's lives awesome. How can we do that through every project, every brand, every product service we do. And when you do that, you turn into just an educated but also a shepherd. Like if you're trying to help your customers lives be better. You're thinking about them, you wake up in the middle mind going, this might help them. And that makes such an impact. And the thing we said internally, I said internally, I should say, and I don't say as much publicly is my goal is to build a cult. Now not a malicious, terrible Doomsday Coca Cola. It's a it's a cult that a tribe that is so loyal, because you have served them so well in so many ways through your content. If you think about that as your approach to audience building, I am trying to call my tribe together. And I want to lead my tribe in this special way. Even if I'm from coffee grinding to selling organic beef, you know, how do I sing their song? How do I tell their story? How do I ring the bell of what they believe in? That's when you have something powerful, that's when you have a tribe or community, we stopped calling her our customers, customers, we sent customer community, because we wanted them to be like they were in a community that maybe in some sense, I was the mayor of the community, our little team was the people that serve them to get, you know, maybe I'm gonna get in trouble here with the analogies, but like, it was the metaphor. It was the the aspect of like, these are the people we leave, these are the people we serve. And if you don't like them, by the way, find another product from the business. Because if you don't like them, you're going to have really hard time serving them. But if you think of them as your people, the people that you lead you guide you protect, that you help make their lives better. That's very special and audience development, something that big brands will never do.
Brian Krogsgard 45:45
Yeah. All right. So this is obviously all been for the person that has not started really doing their audience development yet. And of course, we finished here with the stuff that's going to develop an long term audience for you supplemented with the shorter term efforts are these things that you can do to get yourself out there out front, because you really do need that, like a lot of running any business is the mental component. Like you need some satisfaction of getting people looking at your stuff, getting people buying your stuff, seeing some inventory turnover, like you don't want to do all this work to launch a product and then like no one's there to buy it right. So you can do some strategies to get your product out there in the first place. But don't forget the long tail stuff too, that's going to develop for you over time and with a lot of sweat equity, but will really give you many benefits down the road. But I think we'll leave it there Cory and I hope everybody enjoyed this. And you know, be sure to catch us next time go to commercejourney.com to check out everything that we're putting out there and go to commercejourney.com slash go to checkout GoDaddy Pro’s awesome listing for and great deal for getting started with your eCommerce store. Thanks so much for joining us and we will catch everybody next time.