Drew and digital marketer Patrick Shanahan share their favorite eCommerce marketing tools of 2016.
EXCLUSIVE RESOURCE: Prefer to read rather than listen? Click here to download the text transcribe from this episode.
We all know that there is no one silver bullet guaranteed to push your business to success, but certain tools can be a big help on the path to higher revenue.
Special guest Patrick Shanahan, a digital marketer from Art Storefronts, joins Drew in this episode to talk about just that – key marketing tools that brought him wins in 2016.
Learn about PushCrew, an in-browser notification system, and hear Drew talk at-length about Drip – an email service provider with some serious automation chops.
00:20 – Introducing special guest Patrick Shanahan
01:30 – More episodes of the Nerd Marketing podcast are coming
02:15 – Where has Drew been? Announcing his new CMO role at a SaaS company.
04:55 – Recap of SaaSFest 2016
08:36 – Let’s talk about some shiny objects
09:18 – Tool #1: Klaviyo – an email service provider that Drew loves.
15:50 – Tool #2: PushCrew – An in-browser push notification tool that Patrick has had success with.
24:08 – Tool #3: Drip – A fairly new email service provider with unique integrations, automation abilities, and unique features. This is the one Nerd Marketing uses.
33:15 – How to use Drip to keep your list healthy and your emails out of the “promotions” tab.
36:52 – Front-end personalization using Drip.
Links / Resources
- Drew demonstrates how to use Klaviyo for effective win-back campaigns in Episode 25.
- Learn more about in-browser notifications in this DigitalMarketer article.
- Check out Drew’s free, 7-part course on doubling your business.
Prefer to read rather than listen to the podcast episode? No problem, you’ll find a text transcribe below, and you can also download it for later.
Drew Sanocki: Hey, everybody. Welcome to the Nerd Marketing Podcast. Welcome back to the Nerd Marketing Podcast. This is Drew Sanocki. I have a special surprise today. I have a guest here in the Nerd Marketing studio. My guest’s name is Patrick Shanahan. Patrick, how you doing?
Patrick Shanahan: Drew, good. Happy to be joining you.
Drew Sanocki: For all of you who are listening right now, all three of you, probably don’t know who Patrick Shanahan is. Patrick and I have been working together for almost a year now. He’s actually not here in the studio in New York with me. He is out in California. Patrick, why don’t you introduce yourself to the three or four listeners of the Nerd Marketing Podcast.
Patrick Shanahan: Are you kidding me? We’re at least up to seven. You’ve got seven listeners now, I think, on a good day [crosstalk 00:01:02].
Drew Sanocki: It’s three.
Patrick Shanahan: Yeah. I run marketing, actually, for a eCommerce shopping cart that’s a neat shopping cart called Art Storefronts. It’s basically a shopping cart for three legs of the stool, the niches. If you own a print studio that reproduces art or if you’re an art gallery or if you’re an artist. Been running marketing over there for awhile. We’re kind of in startup mode but growing pretty quickly. Yeah.
Drew Sanocki: Awesome. Patrick, also, has been helping me out a little bit with Nerd Marketing. He has always been pushing me more to do more podcasting and releasing more content. That is my promise to you know. I guess this is December 2016, going into next year, I really want to hit he podcasting hard. We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback from our email subscribers and the podcast listeners that they enjoy the podcast. I think it’s worth doing. I’m going to try to be a little bit more regular with the podcasting. As part of that, I think Patrick’s here to help and hopefully add some value to you guys and help you grow your businesses. What have I been up … I obviously have not been producing content. What have I been doing?
Patrick Shanahan: Yeah, what have you been up to?
Drew Sanocki: I took on another CMO role. Absolutely nothing. I took on another CMO role, Patrick and audience.
Patrick Shanahan: You did it.
Drew Sanocki: I am now the CMO of a company called Teamwork, CMO and CSO. I’m running sales and marketing. Teamwork is a SaaS company. They run a project management solution. They’ve got a help desk solution and they’ve got a chat solution. They’re basically looking at themselves at the operating system, the operating software for small businesses. I was a user of Teamwork before I came onboard as the CMO. It’s a bit of a departure for me, because it is not eCommerce. I would say that there’s tons of similarities there. Really, it’s not that different. The biggest different is probably in SaaS, I’ve got really high customer lifetime values because they’ve got to … It’s a SaaS product. It’s a recurring payment product. LTVs are really high. I like it. I like it for that reason. Retention matters. I can really spend up up on customer acquisition.
That’s what I’ve been working on. They are based in Ireland. I am here in New York. I’ve been going over to Ireland about once a quarter to help out over there.
Patrick Shanahan: You’re moving the whole Sanocki trickery and playbook to a SaaS company?
Drew Sanocki: We will see. We will see. Patrick, you’ve been helping me out on it, too, on the content marketing side.
Patrick Shanahan: Yeah, they’ve got a great product over there.
Drew Sanocki: You should know that.
Patrick Shanahan: We’ll see how it goes.
Prefer to read rather than listen? Click here to download the text transcribe from this episode.
Drew Sanocki: Yeah, we’ll see how it goes. I think we’ve talked a lot about where to take Nerd Marketing. We do remain focused on eCommerce, but I don’t think that excludes SaaS in any way. I think surprisingly or unsurprisingly, I’m using a lot of the same stuff I use on eCommerce sites at this SaaS company. It’s all about acquisition, average order size or in their case ARPU, average revenue per user, and return or retention. It’s really the same stuff. It’s just called something different. I think it’s going to apply there as well. Stay tuned. I will certainly share any SaaS learnings I have with my eCommerce audience. That’s one of the bigger things I’m working on.
Another thing I’ve been working on is I’ve been doing a little bit of speaking. I have most recently spoke at SaaSFest up in Boston, which was a big SaaS conference run by the fine folks at Price Intelligently. There are a lot of heavy hitters there, Patrick. Guys, the [Keaton Shaws 00:05:14], the Rob Walling from Drip who just sold to Leadpages was there, Brian Balfour, the guy who ran growth at HubSpot and David Cancel, also ran growth, I think, at one point, at HubSpot and now runs Drift. Just a lot of great guys and women, just incredible speakers. It’s very different from an eCommerce conference because I think the emphasis is a little bit less on acquisition. I learned a lot. I spoke up there about a month ago.
Patrick Shanahan: What were your biggest takeaways, Drew, from that gig?
Drew Sanocki: It’s kind of interesting because the first one is that there are no silver bullets. That was probably three or four of the speakers talked about this. There’s no one thing that’s going to catapult your company be it an eCommerce retailer or a SaaS company, catapult it to 100 billion in revenue. There’s not one trick, one growth hack. Sure, we all read about those kinds of tricks and growth hacks, but they represent one out of a 1000 companies. Instead of focusing on trying to find that shot in the dark, you should focus on building out a process, a growth process.
I know we’ve talked on the podcast a lot about pressure over time. It’s no different in SaaS now. The idea is, you create a growth team or marketing team, or if you’re a small company, it’s just you. You want to put all your ideas into a spreadsheet, prioritize those and start picking off the top and just running experiments. That’s what, ultimately, will lead to long term growth. Some of those experiments are going to work, others won’t. It’s really the mindset that this is, you’re playing the long play here. The process is what matters in the long run. That was the big takeaway.
Another thing that was sort of rammed home again and again was customer acquisition is becoming harder and harder. I guess it’s related to the first point. [crosstalk 00:07:30] Yeah. This is funny because it kind of happened, I feel like this happened in eCommerce five or ten years ago, back when I sold my retailer. AdWords was becoming more expensive. All the ad channels were becoming more expensive. People were talking a little bit less about customer acquisition and more about lifetime value. They realize, “Okay. If all these ad channel are pretty fairly priced. There’s no free lunch. Where we’re going to get the growth is by increasing the lifetime value of our customers.” The emphasis kind of went over to retention a little bit more. This is when subscription commerce companies came out of nowhere and became more popular.
I feel like now the same thing is going on in SaaS. That’s what nine out of 10 speakers talked about, that it’s really hard to find even one customer acquisition channel that was working. The emphasis needs to be on retention and increasing ARPU or average revenue per user per month as opposed to on acquisitions. That was the other big takeaway.
Patrick Shanahan: Yeah, yeah, that was a killer event. There was some definite heavy hitters in that one. All right, now that we’ve got the background out of the way, we figured to get Drew out of the wilderness and actually release another podcast episode that we might just go over some of our favorite tools that we’ve been using for the last year in 2016, as the year comes to a close. It’s a real nice pivot to go towards here, Drew. After we talk about it’s all about process and not about the new shiny objects you test, let’s talk about [crosstalk 00:09:08].
Drew Sanocki: Let’s talk about some shiny objects.
Patrick Shanahan: Yeah. You’re going to start off with the first one. Tell us about it.
Drew Sanocki: I, looking back at the past year, one of my favorite tools has been Klaviyo. klaviyo.com, it’s an email service provider. They’re doing more and more around broader CRM now. It’s something I used at Karmaloop. It was instrumental in turning that company around. That was because it made it very easy to implement lifestyle marketing campaigns. Klaviyo pulls in your shopping cart data. It pulls in your purchaser data as well as what they’ve purchased, when they’ve purchased, what products were in the basket, things like that. Using that information, you can construct segments. I want a segment of anyone who has not purchased in the last six months for example, or anyone who has purchased from me five times and spent over a thousand dollars. Let’s call that the whale segment. You can build those segments really easy and Klaviyo.
Then the second thing you can do is construct these automated flows that it’s basically email marketing sequences that go out to those segments. When somebody enters a segment or leaves a segment it triggers a flow. Some common flows that everybody’s familiar with, the abandoned cart sequence is probably the most common one. A series of emails that goes out if somebody leaves something in their shopping cart. Also, pretty common, an email welcome sequence. In other words, a new subscriber subscribes to your list. We’re going to build a segment of all new subscribers. If anybody joins that segment via subscribing on the front end of your site, they’re going to get three or four emails over a couple weeks that introduce your brand and introduce some top products and hopefully cause that customer to buy a product. Klaviyo’s one of my top tools.
Patrick Shanahan: Out of curiosity, we read the Nerd Forms that come and we ask you to self ID about where you are on your journey, your entrepreneur journey, and what size your business is in. To that point, are you recommending Klaviyo right out of the gates or a brand new eCommerce entrepreneur all the way up to somebody who’s rocking and rolling, well over a million?
Drew Sanocki: I don’t think so. I think if I were starting a site today, I would still be Shopify and MailChimp and MailChimp just because it’s a little cheaper, easier to get your head around as a new entrepreneur. You can build some very basic segments there. You can do a welcome sequence there, for example. You can’t do some of the more advanced sequences. At some point it would make sense to migrate from MailChimp to something like Klaviyo and maybe that is when you reach a certain revenue threshold, maybe six figures, that makes sense, or when you reach a certain subscriber threshold like you’ve got a 1000 email subscribers. Then it might make sense to go over to Klaviyo.
Patrick Shanahan: Got it. Yeah. I think that’s good advice.
Drew Sanocki: Have you ever used it?
Patrick Shanahan: I have not. No. I’ve never. I’ve heard about it. I mean, I’ve heard people talking about it for years now. I know the majority of the Sanocki magic, you need a comfortable dealing with things like webhooks and APIs, I think Drip would be a great tool for you.
As Patrick mentioned, one compelling thing is that it’s based around subscribers and not lists and tagging subscribers with data. To you as a marketer, this means you can use it as a CRM. Everything is subscriber based. You can load up a subscriber, Patrick Shanahan, and see just what he has done on your site, like when the last time he visited your site, where he went on your site, what lead magnet he might have downloaded, what other content he might have engaged with, what product he purchased. Then, you can build campaigns off of all those triggers.
That’s one thing I love about it. The other thing is it’s workflow based and not really campaign based. In MailChimp, in Klaviyo, in a lot of the eCommerce email software out there, it’s linear. It’s like you’re going to get email number one, and then number two and then a couple days later number three and number four. Which works really well, but imagine the power if you thought in more than one dimension, like if your workflows could branch. For example, on my own blog, I’ve got a very simple free course called Double Your eCommerce Business. It’s all about how to double your business in a year. I encourage you to go to nerdmarketing.com/double and sign up. You’ll see what I’m talking about.
Here, you sign up for the course, you start to go through the course, and at the end of each lesson, we ask you to fill out a worksheet which should help you think through how to grow your business. Every time you submit that worksheet, you get a copy of the results and it also stamps the results into your Drip profile. What I’m left with on the admin side is a nice dashboard where I can pull up subscribers and see what sites they run, what their AOVs are and what they’re struggling with, what kind of software they use, which, in turn, helps me develop more relevant content. If you answer those worksheets a certain way, you may go down one branch of my workflow and if you answer them another way, you might go down another branch.
A good example is that at some point in the workflow, I ask, “How big is your business?” If you are just starting out, you get tagged as such in Drip. I know then to start sending you emails about launching a business, maybe niche selection, setting up your first Shopify store. If you self-identify as a more advanced marketer or you’re running a seven figure business, then you go down a whole different branch of my workflow. The articles there might be about segmentation and targeting life cycle marketing RFM and just more advanced marketing tactics.
I personally love that workflow approach. I stay up late at night working on my workflows. I Love the automation, knowing that people are kind of going through these things day and night. I am going to gradually build more and more advanced workflows into Nerd Marketing and into Teamwork and any other business I’m associated with because that, at the end of the way is really defensible marketing logic that you could sell when you go to sell your business. I love it. Workflows and subscriber data are probably the two top reasons. Patrick, what do you think?
Patrick Shanahan: Yeah, I mean, it’s marketing automation lite. Before Drip came on the scene, everybody would talk, for the most part, about Infusionsoft, which everybody calls Confusionsoft. You can do a lot of the same things in Infusionsoft. You need to get a custom programmer to program all the logic and get it working. With Drip, it is just so drag and drop quick. There’s that side of it. I can say that Art Storefronts, we shit, we switched from MailChimp to Drip and saw a number of different gains and a number of different ways. There is just so many powerful features in there. It’s ridiculous.
I would further say that they just got acquired by Leadpages. Leadpages is absolutely all in on what Drip can do. To give you an example, and I’ll go on a bit of a rant here which I think is really, really powerful. I learned this because I have a personal Gmail account. I subscribe to a whole bunch of different marketer’s lists and see what they put out. One of which is Derek Halpern over at Social Triggers, right? That guy would send emails all the time. 100% of it would end up in my personal, or the promotions tab in Gmail, which is a huge problem for eCommerce stores is you don’t want your deals going into the promotions tab. You want them going into the main inbox. What are some effective tactics that you can put into play to do that?
In the Derek Halpern case, I replied to one of the emails because I had a question about something. I didn’t even think it was him that replied. I think it was one of his VAs or something. They replied, we had two or three emails back and forth. Not a single solitary one of his emails since then has ended up in the promotions tab. Maybe two or three have, but the vast majority, almost all of them now, end up right in my Gmail inbox. You see the power of that and realize what that can do for your business especially if you have a good sized list.
Drip makes it really, really easy to focus on these types and get better at it. The big macro way that it works is each email service provider, which I’m talking about Gmail or Yahoo! or Bing or Hotmail or Mac Mail, right? They have sender scores. They assign a sender score to your domain. I think the math’s a little wishy washy. Everybody says they have a good idea of how they determine it, but it’s kind of like how Google determines their ranking algorithm, nobody really knows. It takes into account things like open rate and things like if you click, especially things like if you reply and especially things like if you forward the email and then on the flip side if you unsubscribe or you report spam. There’s some blending of all of that that creates you sender score.
What I think you’ll find in most cases is if you took a look at your entire email database right now and you said, “What’s the biggest email in my database? Which ISP is it? Is it Gmail or is it Yahoo!?” It’s pretty much always Gmail, that I’ve seen, across just about everything that I’ve done. If you’ve got a heavily B to B corporate type of eCommerce company than that wouldn’t be the case. For most everybody that’s selling B to C, Gmail is your most dominate one. Your job is to absolutely raise that sender score with Gmail and get your promotions out of the doggone promotion’s tab into the inbox tab.
Drip makes it really easy to implement a few different techniques in that regard. One that I’ve been using a bunch that I think is crazy powerful is it gives you the ability to automatically pull inactive subscribers off your list. I’ve been running this and I’ve seen a drastic increase in open rates across the board just by getting these people out. I think this is especially important for eCommerce merchants because traditionally your open rates are a little bit lower than if you’re just content marketing or whatever. A lot of you guys are running popups on your homepage that say, “Get a coupon for such and such off, put your email in here.” How many BS emails do people throw in those boxes? How many [email protected] or how many, “I’m never going to open your email again. I just want to coupon,” emails are in there?
With Drip, you can build an automation. This has got to be another blog post because it’s just great content. You can build an automation in Drip that says, “After they get the welcome sequence,” and let’s just say your welcome sequence is five emails. “After they got the welcome sequence did they open any of those five emails?” If the answer is no, you put them in a reactivation sequence. This happens automatically in Drip. It’s actually really easy to set up. You could have the whole thing set up in 45 minutes.
They go through your welcome sequence. They get those five emails. If they don’t open any of the emails, they get a tag. They move to this other sequence that says, “Hey, do you still want to get emails from us? If so, click a link.” If they click the link, they get put back in your active subscriber list. If they don’t they get pulled out and you treat them as inactive subscribers. You can go as far, delete them right off the list or you can just leave them in an inactive group and throw it into a custom audience in Facebook or something like that. Talk about just an amazing way to automate keeping your list healthy and focusing on your sender scores.
Drew Sanocki: Yeah. I love that feature. I’ve been using it on Nerd. Going to start playing around with that on Teamwork. You’re exactly right, Patrick. It gets the open rate way up. I think that just has a trickle down effect and makes your deliverability that much better going forward. Yeah. It’s probably another podcast episode, but it’s another big thing we love about Drip. Last thing we’re playing around with on Nerd right now is doing front end customization based on … Sorry, personalization based on Drip. We collect all this information in your email marketing software, like Sally Jane is a big fan of t-shirts and has this kind of income and wants to buy out of this category on your site. You then, ideally, you want to provision certain ads to her when she goes to the homepage or certain content. She goes to the homepage. She should see those t-shirts and not something from another product category.
In previously, email service providers and your shopping carts were like two separate things unless you got really advanced and were on something like Demandware. With Drip, you can start to do some customization on your front end based on the email subscriber data. Just starting to play around with that on Nerd. I have not tried it out on an eCommerce merchant or with a SaaS company yet. We’re going to experiment with that on Teamwork. Yeah, for all those reasons, we really love Drip.
I would say the downside is that it is not built for eCommerce like Klaviyo is. It’s going to require some customization. There is a Shopify plugin for it. Maybe for that reason, it isn’t for every eCommerce retailer. Although, I do think if you do have a fair amount of content on your site or are running a business off of WordPress or WooCommerce, definitely consider it because that’s what it was built for.
Patrick Shanahan: Yeah, if you have any kind of content play going on whatsoever, you want really need to check it out and you really need to take a look.
Drew Sanocki: Yeah. Just a rehash. What did we cover today? We covered some of our top tools, Klaviyo, PushCrew and Drip. I feel like we’ve got a handful of other ones, but this podcast is getting a little bit long. Why don’t we save those for a future episode. Patrick, it was great to have you on as a special guest. Get me back in the habit of podcasting again. Maybe we can have another visit from you in a future week. Where will people know how to get ahold of you if they want to talk about anything?
Patrick Shanahan: Yeah, don’t worry, Drew. I’m going to be around and poking you with a stick. You made a renewed commitment to your audience to release more content.
Drew Sanocki: I did.
Patrick Shanahan: Don’t blow it.
Drew Sanocki: I’m not going to blow it. I promise. Weekly. We’re going to do weekly this year.
Patrick Shanahan: Yeah. Drew’s committing to that or you guys can send him hate mail, which he loves. By the way, that hate mail increases the reply rate/open rate. Please do send it. For the show notes and everything else and everything else that went into this one, you can go to nerdmarketing.com/28, because it’s episode 28.
Drew Sanocki: I didn’t mean you had to say that part. I meant where can people get ahold of Patrick Shanahan?
Patrick Shanahan: I’m out there on the interwebs. I’m out there.
Drew Sanocki: All right. I didn’t mean for you to do the whole [crosstalk 00:39:59].
Patrick Shanahan: I spent all of my day internet marketing and I’m approximately zero activity on any social platforms whatsoever.
Drew Sanocki: Patrick is, yeah, he doesn’t have his own blog but he is running marketing at Art Storefronts. You can get … I’ll give you his email if you email me [email protected] We could probably put something in the show notes here. This is episode 28. As Patrick was saying, nerdmarketing.com/28. I guess that’s all we got. We talked about our double course. If you’re on a mobile device now and you want to access that course, you can text the word Doubleme to 44222, that’s 44222. We’ll send you that course. Otherwise hope to talk to you soon. Everybody have a happy holiday.
Patrick Shanahan: Yep, happy holiday. Merry Christmas. Happy New Year. All that good stuff. See you in 2017 with regular content.
Drew Sanocki: Right.