With James Corr
Written by Franco Varriano.
We are happy to have James Corr from Only Growth on this week’s Marketing Chat. Only Growth is a Shopify Plus Partner that helps online stores grow via SEO, Email marketing, and Online advertising. Today’s topic is growth.
2. The Interview
Ned: Thank you very much James for taking part in this series. Before we dive into the topic, can you please introduce yourself and Only Growth?
James: Only Growth is a Shopify-focused growth consultancy that is made up of nine of the most talented folks you will ever meet. We each specialize in our domain (front-end, back-end, support, design, product development, marketing, etc).
We initially started Only Growth to help large ecommerce brands execute on marketing to drive growth. We would guarantee a certain ROI and if we didn’t achieve said results within a set period of time we would not accept payment.
We built an amazing reputation and then one day we wondered if we would use those same principles of growing a $1 to 20 million revenue ecommerce brand to a $100,000, $10,000 or even a zero-revenue brand with no budget. What we found was remarkable. Since then we have expanded our marketing services to become an extension of a brand to become their reliable partner in achieving sustainable growth.
Ned: Launching an online store is the easy part. Why is growth so difficult despite the vast amount of knowledge available on the internet?
James: Growth itself is not difficult. Most brands either lack funds, creativity or the focus to narrow in and execute on what is required for growth. They are not sure where to begin. Brands have heard of SEO or PPC and believe that is the right place to start. They are simply lost and not sure. Brands need guidance and mentorship to help lead them down the right path.
Ned: Assuming my online store is currently making $1000 per month. What is your best advice to grow my monthly revenues to $10,000 per month?
James: Growing from 1k to 10k per month is really about gathering user feedback and continuing to push the flywheel. I wouldn’t necessarily be doing paid ads at this point. Focus on retargeting and incentivizing your current customers to share on social (addshoppers.com) or leave reviews post-purchase (yotpo.com). You can then use that to build social proof to build brand awareness and increase your reach. You should also be investing in a more automated retargeting service to get your customers coming back (shoelace.com). You can also consider adding live chat functionality (happyfoxchat.com) to improve customer experience. An email capture or cart abandonment functionality can also be useful, but are probably not going to make a huge difference for you at this stage.
Growing a brand from 1k to 10k is hard work for little money. You have to be extremely passionate about what you are doing to make it work. Many brands do not have the chops and passion to stick with it. Do not get hung up with the small things. I would not be looking at a blog unless you plan to boost your Facebook posts and use that as a method to drive traffic. This is not the stage to be writing content and SEO. Those are more long-term plays.
Ned: I followed your advice and I am now at $10,000 per month. How do I scale it to $100,000 per month?
James: Awesome! Unlike 1k to 10k which is about implementing processes and proving your business model, growing from 10k to 100k is all about scale.
There are many ways to do this. Increasing traffic via PPC, expanding your product offering, sending more emails, implementing an effective loyalty program, and writing more shareable content are just a few ways to help you scale. Instead of hustling for each new customer as you were in the early stages you want your customers to become the voice of your brand and do the selling for you.
Get them to share on social, auto-post reviews to your Facebook page, and even look to build wholesale and affiliate channels. Not all methods are bound to work for your business but try out a few and then double down on the one or two methods that look fruitful.
Some great tools to help optimize at this stage include luckyorange.com and hotjar.com. In addition, looking at upselling, cross-selling and adding recurring subscriptions are great ways to help achieve scale. At this stage, you may also want to look into a/b testing and even growth hacking.
Ned: Is there a growth hacking framework that every online store can apply to grow their store?
James: There isn’t necessarily a framework, but I do have some advice to help any business get off the ground.
- Hustle and get feedback from 100 customers. This allows you to iterate and start to understand your ideal customer. Peek by User Testing is a great way to get free feedback.
- Build partnerships with more established brands. Learn and grow together. Get more established brands to send promotional emails to their email list.
- Set yearly goals and then break it down to quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. Focus on your goals and don’t get distracted. Celebrate regularly.
Focus on providing more value to your customers and not selling. This will make your customers happier and tends to result in them spending more money over the long-term.
Ned: Email marketing is a core part of your strategies, why is email marketing so important in ecommerce?
James: Email marketing plays a vital role in generating revenue for many online stores. In fact, LTV of your customers will increase over 10% by using email marketing as an effective acquisition channel!
Aside from increased revenue, you can learn a lot about your customers that analytics tools may not be able to predict. You can also remind customers to finish completing a purchase they abandoned the day earlier or make them aware of your loyalty program. And, if you use content marketing to drive increased engagement, emails are a great way to get customers to share out on social in exchange for a discount.
Over time you can build a more personalized relationship with your customers by sending targeted content. Personally, I love segmenting customers and setting up multiple automated flows to keep customers engaged with a brand. The fact you can take non-buyers and slowly convert them into buyers by providing them useful information is incredible.
Ned: What are the top 5 things online stores should consistently audit to make sure the business is growing?
- Page Load Speed – minify images, compress scripts, remove unnecessary apps, etc.
- SEO Audit – 404 pages that show most popular products, hide sold out products or add pre-orders, fix broken links with redirects, remove duplicate content, add missing alt tags, add keyword-rich product descriptions, improve navigation, etc.
- Cart Abandonment – improve emails based on analytics, offer multiple discounts, show similar products, continuously a/b test subject lines, etc.
- Bounce Rate (on a per-channel level)
- Repeat Customers (increase LTV of customers)
Ned: Can you give us more details on how Only Growth works with online stores ?
James: Every store is unique and therefore we take a customized approach in helping each business achieve growth. We start by making sure the foundation is there to support growth. Do you have the right apps in place given the current revenue to maximize ROI? In many cases we can even negotiate better rates for brands to keep costs at a minimum.
After the foundation is there, we focus on conversion optimization and getting some quick wins. We provide rigorous site audits, build processes to automate repeatable tasks and introduce you to key people that can help accelerate your brand. Sometimes knowing the right people is all that is needed to open the right doors for you. So, while you are building your network we are making the necessary improvements to your site and literally spamming you with more ideas and suggestions. In most cases we get replies such as “looks good. go ahead” and then implement. We know store owners are busy so we try not to add more work on their plate.
Over time we have found our most successful engagements have been with brands that think of us as a trusted partner and extension of their core team. They know we are looking out for their best interests and we have a lot of control over what we do. We take a very proactive approach in regards to helping the brand determine what they should be doing online to improve sales. To build a strong working relationship, we focus heavily on maximizing short-term ROI to build trust before committing to longer-term and more experimental projects.
As for our coaching and growth packages, there is not a one-package fits all so what we usually end up doing is designing a custom package that best fits the brand’s goals.
Ned: If you were launching an online store today. What are the 5 things you would setup to assure your growth?
- Capture Emails Into A Robust Email Platform
- High Quality Images and Well-Written Content
- Tell A Great Story (Passionate Customers Buy More)
- Incentivized Social Sharing
Lastly, depending on your business I would setup recurring subscriptions if it makes sense.
If you’re an ecommerce merchant and don’t have automated email marketing campaigns setup for your store, you’re losing money. Right now.
Rare.io makes it easy to start using automated email campaigns for common challenges like: Welcome Series, Abandoned Carts, Order Follow-up emails and more! You can learn more about our powerful email marketing automation features here or go ahead and get started right away by using Rare.io for FREE.
And if you’re one of the thousands of merchants who are already using Rare’s Smart Email Marketing software and want to see how our Customer Success Team can work with your brand to grow your revenue – feel free to book a call at your convenience here.