Learn from Fast Growing 7-8 Figure Online Retailers and eCommerce Experts

EPISODE 08 38:32

BeyondStores.com Grew 380% Year-on-Year and then 70% – Mark Ginsberg

About the guests

Mark Ginsberg

Kunle Campbell

Mark is the Marketing Director of BeyondStores.com and has headed their growth efforts since 2011. He is a Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing expert who leads a team that is actively expanding Beyond Stores’ digital marketing efforts and has previously worked on campaigns for various brands including 1800 Flowers, 1800 Baskets, HydroChic, and others.

How does a bootstrapped dropship furniture business (YES Dropship) grow from $1.6m to $7.6m in 1 Year?
That is about 380 per cent Year on Year growth.
And then grow again from $7.6m to $13m the following year?
….a 70 percent Year on Year
Today’s guest shares not only how his team manages over 150,000 SKUs but also how they have managed to rapidly growth their bootstrapped 3 year old online retail furniture business predominantly with:  Google AdWords, Product Listing Advertising (PLA),  Amazon Marketplace, Amazon Product Ads, Online Marketplaces, Shopping comparison engines and SEO

It is one of my more technically oriented interviews that digital marketing managers would enjoy.
I’d definitely recommend that you take notes on this one!

  • 2011 – <$1m
  • 2012 – $1.58m
  • 2013 – $7.6m
  • 2014 – $13m

A Little about Beyond Stores

BeyondStores.com is a Florida, U.S based interior décor online store founded in 2011 and has recently been recognised by the Internet Retailer top 500 as one of the fastest growing merchants in the United States.

Starting with a team of ecommerce experts, Marketing Director Mark Ginsberg has rapidly witnessed the company’s phenomenal growth and believes that the customer should be the centre of operations.

With a strong SEO background, Mark Ginsberg and his marketing team are actively working on various digital marketing strategies to continue expanding Beyond Stores. 

Key Takeaways

03.30 – We have over 115 000 various SKUs on sale at the moment.

04.32 – In 2013 our published figures were around $7.6m in revenue

06.43 – We’ve invested tonnes in the technology side of things.

08.53 – Amazon Product Ads are an important source of our traffic.

15.47- Our number one customer acquisition channel at the moment is paid advertising

17.40 – Social media for us, has been more focused on connecting with customers, dealing with customers and participating in communities

25.42- You have to be continuously learning and continuously striving to grow

27.35 – Customer Service is an essential part of our business.

28.40 – We have a button where you can name your price. The Price Waiter system allows us to communicate and negotiate with customers.

32.35 – Ecommerce success means growing our business while satisfying our customers.

33.28 – I would definitely recommend reading anything from Robert Cialdini.

Main customer acquisition channels:

Paid Advertising

  • Google AdWords / Product Listing Ads
  • Bing Ads
  • Facebook Ads
  • Amazon Product Ads


Use of software and tools to tackle technical SEO issued on site

  • Blogger outreach
  • Competitor strategy and backlink analysis

Social Media

  • Content marketing on blogs
  • Customer engagement on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+

Email Marketing

  • Upselling via email marketing
  • Staying in touch with current subscribers



Welcome to the 2x ecommerce podcast show where we interview founders of fast growing seven and eight figure ecommerce businesses and ecommerce experts. They’ll tell their stories, share how they 2x their businesses and inspire you to take action in your own online retail business today. And now here he is, the man in the mix, Kunle Campbell.

Kunle: Hello 2xers, welcome to the 2X ecommerce podcast show. I’m your host, Kunle Campbell and this is the podcast where I interview ecommerce entrepreneurs and online marketing experts who help uncover new ecommerce marketing tactics and strategies to help you, my fellow 2xers and listeners, double specific ecommerce metrics in your online stores. If you’re looking to double metrics such as conversions, average order value, repeat customers, traffic, and ultimately sales, you are in the right place. How I do it, is I interview other experts, ask them, probe them, shake them off with lots of questions and give you unique insights.
On today’s show, I have the Chief Marketing Officer of Beyond Stores, which is BeyondStores.com. They’re a South Florida based pure play online furniture and interior decor store and they were founded in 2011 and have seen rapid growth. We’ll talk about the rapid growth shortly, it’s phenomenal.
It was only just recognised recently by the internet retailer in it’s second 500 guide in 2014 as one of the fastest growing web merchants in the US. It’s doubled revenues between 2013 and 2014, shooting it from a seven figure business to an eight figure business, we’ll talk about it, and our guest has witnessed a remarkable growth. He’s an SEO and Search Engine Marketing expert who leads a team that actively expands Beyond Stores to digital marketing efforts, and has previously worked on campaigns for various brands including 1-800-Flowers, 1-800-Basket HydroChic and others. I’ve invited him to specially talk about ecommerce marketing tactics his team has implemented to go into Beyond Stores.
Without further ado, I’d like to welcome to the show Mark Ginsberg. Hi Mark, how are you doing?

Mark: Hi Kunle, it’s great to be here, thanks for having me.
Kunle: Could you take a minute or two to tell us a bit about yourself please?
Mark: I was born and raised in South Florida, which is where Beyond Stores is actually based. I’ve been in online marketing and digital marketing for quite a few years now. As you said, I focused initially on SEO and Pay-Per-Click advertising, we’ve expanded and our focus is on SEO, PPC, social media, email marketing, all the various aspects of digital marketing and it’s what I live and breathe.
Kunle: That’s good. Always good to have marketing experts here on the show. Let’s talk about Beyond Stores. I introduced Beyond Stores, but it’d be nice if you could talk about Beyond Stores when it was founded in 2011 and where you are now.
Mark: BeyondStores.com was founded in 2011, as i said, we’re a business based out of Florida selling furniture, home décor items. We’ve rapidly grown the site and our offerings on the site, over 115 000 various SKUs on sale at the moment. We started with combining a team of IT experts, technology experts, ecommerce experts, people who have been running online businesses for years and we’ve grown the business and the team to a 15-20 person team based out of Florida, and currently we’re servicing customers in the United States and Canada and we have future plans of international expansion this year, in 2015 as well.
Kunle: That’s phenomenal, 150 000. Did I hear you right? 150 000 SKUs?
Mark: 115 000, and it’s growing every month.
Kunle: Ok, and you do furniture, quite bulky items. What was your turnover, or revenue, like in 2011?
Mark: When we started, we were pretty small, a few hundred thousand and then with the growth and the recognition last year in the Internet Retailer second 500 guide as one of the fastest growing merchants in the US, I can say that in 2013 our published figures were around 7.6 million in revenue. Last year, in 2014, we haven’t published the official numbers yet, but we’ve grown to an eight figure revenue.
Kunle: Well over 10 Million dollars?
Mark: A few million over 10.
Kunle: Not bad at all. That’s almost like a double. That’s impressive. From a few hundred thousand dollars in 2011, two years on 7 million and then in 2014 you’ve almost doubled it, once the figures come out. That’s quite interesting. Are you bootstrapped or funded?
Mark: We are bootstrapped. It’s a personally owned company and that’s our status at the moment.
Kunle: Right. What does the management and marketing look like?
Mark: Our CEO is David Fingerer and our Chief Operations Officer, our COO is Sean Weiss. Both have experience in ecommerce and online marketing. And, as you introduced me, I’m the CMO.
Kunle: Are you a dropship business, or do you stock 115 000 SKUs?
Mark: No, we are a dropship business working with many different vendors, building very close relationships with those vendors and this year we hope to start stocking some of our own items as well. Until now, we’ve been a purely dropship business.
Kunle: Very interesting. Obviously when you’re dropshipping there are challenges with control in logistics, delivery and customer fulfilment. What challenges are you facing as a dropship business?
Mark: Exactly as you mentioned it, we do have those challenges in terms of updating inventory and making sure that we ship on time and customer service is of upmost priority here at Beyond Stores and being in touch with our customers, resolving our customer’s issues when it comes to online purchasing and dropshipping. We’ve invested tonnes in the technology side of things in order to make sure that our inventory and that our systems are in place so that way we can quickly and speedily get our items out to our customers and resolve any issues that may arise from the various aspects of shipping.
Kunle: Amazon stated out as a dropship business, same thing with Zappos. So it’s always a good thing to start off with and then move onto actually dispatching from your warehouses yourselves. I’m going to move onto the mid stage interview questions and I like hanging out on SimilarWeb.com, it seems from SimilarWeb that you receive an equal amount of traffic from referrals and search. Why is this the case? Sometimes brands tend to have quite a lot of search and direct traffic, but you seem to have traffic from referrals and such. Is there anything that went missing here from the referral side of things?
Mark: I love SimilarWeb, it’s a great tool for online marketers and it’s much more accurate than other tools out there like Alexa. It doesn’t paint the whole picture though. With our top referring sites, if you look on SimilarWeb, it’s saying that our top referring sites are Amazon, yes we’re active on the Amazon Marketplace, but we’re also active in the Amazon Product Ads. The Amazon Product Ads programme, which is a paid advertising model is showing up on SimilarWeb as a referring site.
Kunle: It should be advertising.
Mark: Yes, similarly Shopbot.ca, there are other websites that SimilarWeb identifies a referrals, but they’re not, they’re actually more on the paid advertising side of things.
Kunle: Ok, let’s step back a bit, because I was going to go deeper into referral traffic. All of the people who I’ve spoken to about Amazon Product Ads have fantastic things to say about it given the fact that Amazon is really a search engine and people in Amazon are in buy mode and they convert better. What’s been your experience with Amazon Product Ads?
Mark: It’s a great question. Amazon Product Ads are an important source of our traffic, they’re and important source of our marketing strategy. That being said, when you compare Amazon Product Ads to some of the other tools that are available in a similar vein, Amazon does give you less control over your marketing efforts as opposed to Google Shopping for instance, or Google Product Listing Ads, which we’ll get to in a bit I assume. With Google Shopping, you have much more control over your bidding and over your strategy and over your targeting. Amazon Product Ads, when you go in, you generate a feed with whichever shopping cart software you are using and the items that you want to advertise on the Amazon Product Ads system, and then they break it down based on where your items fit within their various categories and the control that you have is the ability to bid on a category for a certain price point. So if a product price is between $0.01 and £250, then you can set one bid. If a product price is between $250 and $800, you can set another bid. If a product price is between $800 and up, you can set a third bid. That’s really all the level of control that they provide within their system at the moment. What it means is that the control that you have is basically the products that you choose to advertise and the bidding that you place on that individual category. If you want to advertise a particular product or push a particular SKU, or push a particular brand or anything along those lines, you don’t have the various bidding and marketing strategies that, for instance, Google Shopping does provide. We talked about conversion, and you asked me where Amazon Ads convert versus Google AdWords for instance, I can tell you that for us, it’s about 2/10 of a percentage point in favour of Google Ads in terms of conversion over Amazon Ads.
Kunle: Interesting. What’s the Cost-Per-Click at the moment on Amazon Product Ads? Are they quite high or are they kind of like Facebook was two or three years ago?
Mark: I’d rather not get into specifics about our particular CPCs.
Kunle: But in general?
Mark: It’s between $0.50 and $1.50, $2.00
Kunle: Ok. Let me rephrase the question. For ecommerce stores looking to go into Amazon Product Ads and considering from a CPC perspective, back in the days when you advertised on Facebook, you could still get clicks for $0.05, or 2 or 3 cents. In comparison to Google at the time, it was $1.00+. Is it at par with Google PLA in many verticals or what percentage is it in proportion to average CPC in Amazon Product Ads in comparison to Google PLA?
Mark: Amazon Product Ads, the way it works is you have a minimum bid that they set for you per category and per price point. If they say the minimum bid for something in Furniture where the price point is between $0.01 and $250, they’ll set in their system that the minimum bid is $0.45. Then they have a suggested bid and then you have your bid. That’s pretty much the control which they provide advertisers. On one hand it’s nice, because if you’re a small store and you’re not really an expert digital marketer, then the limited amount of control you have here is rather inviting because it’s quick, easy to set up and then you’re good to go. For those advertisers who want more finesse, more power in what they can do with Amazon Product Ads, you’re pretty limited in what you can control at the moment.
Kunle: Interesting. You’re into interior, furniture and I also noticed a referral of traffic was Houzz.com. I think it’s a social media, or an interior design community. Are you active on it? I saw a profile of yours on there. How are you engaging with the communities in Houzz.com?
Mark: Houzz.com is a wonderful site and they are a good partner of ours and we have an amazing relationship with the team over at Houzz. Houzz, last year, launched a marketplace for a limited amount of vendors to join Houzz and to sell their items. We’ve been working with the Houzz team and we’re actively selling on the Houzz marketplace. Houzz has also recently launched a CPC model as well where you can run advertising on Houzz, and we’re also running CPC on Houzz, which is why you’re seeing, once again, in SimilarWeb, they’re a great tool, no disrespect to the guys over at SimilarWeb, I use their tool all the time, you have to know how to read and interpret the data. Some of the referrals from Houzz.com are also coming from a CPC based program as well.
Kunle: Interesting. Let’s go back to the Houzz.com marketplace. Is the marketplace US only or is it global?
Mark: I believe Houzz is only US, bit that’s where we are at the moment, so that’s where we’re selling.
Kunle: And how does their Pay-Per-Click platform compare to Amazon and Google?
Mark: Houzz’s PPC program is also in its earlier stages, whereas Google AdWords is the bread and butter of how Google, as a massive company, exists and pays for all their balloons over in the atmosphere and self-driving cars, Houzz is still in its early stages of the CPC program. It’s also a less robust program, but on the other hand we have the Houzz team actively working with us to build out our campaigns and to manage their CPC aspect of things.
Kunle: Interesting. Right, let’s go to my favourite part of the interview which is about traffic and customer acquisition. What is your number one customer acquisition channel?
Mark: I would say, currently, at the moment it’s paid advertising, whether it’s Google, Bing, Facebook Ads, the various other ad platforms that we talked about. That’s for bringing traffic to our site, we’re also active on marketplaces.
Kunle: Do you look at it from a customer lifetime value standpoint or do you want to make a profit when you drive the traffic into your website?
Mark: Primarily, we’re looking at initial visits and initial purchases.
Kunle: Ok. So you have AdWords, you have Bing, you have Amazon Ads, Houzz and a few other platforms you work with. How do you split your time? Because if you don’t put enough time into paid acquisition channels you tend to pay more per click, apart from the likes of Amazon because Amazon is almost like a black box and a plug-and-play thing. But how do you spend your time, where do you put the majority of your time in paid media?
Mark: My team is working on the campaigns. It’s a matter of daily optimisation, weekly reviews, monthly reviews, how can we reduce customer acquisition and improve our click through rates, all of the bread and butter of what paid optimisation is. We also focus on organic reach in terms of growing organically within the search engines. We’ve seen very nice growth on our organic growth as well and growth in the search engines, and of course, when you talk about growth in the search engines, the primary focus is on Google, and we’ve seen a very nice uptake in our organic visits as well, and subsequently organic revenue.
Kunle: Ok. What are your two most important customer acquisition channels after paid and search?
Mark: Of course there’s email marketing, being in touch and growing our email lists, connect with our current subscribers and upselling via email marketing. In addition to that there’s also our social media channels and our social media branding and marketing. We’re active in social media on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and social media for us, has been more focused on connecting with customers, dealing with customers, running social giveaways in appreciation to our customers and in order to grow our fan base, and participating in these communities, whether it’s on Pinterest, whether it’s on Facebook, whether it’s on Twitter.
Kunle: Do you create your content for social media yourself? Do you have a content marketing team in house?
Mark: We’re actively blogging on our site at BeyondStores.com/Blog writing about news in the industry, about top home decor tips, do-it-yourself tips and so on, trying to engage our audience and provide a relevant and engaging customer experience on our blog. In addition to that we’re working on giveaways to give a bit back to the community and our fans.
Kunle: How do you track your branding popularity? What tools do you use to gauge how engaged your people know the brand and are aware of the brand?
Mark: That’s a good question. There are great tools out there that are available. Tools like Radian6 and social media branding. But your start up store who doesn’t have access to heavily paid tools, there are great free tools out there, things along the lines of whether it’s just running Google or how you’re mentioned, or how people are speaking to you about the web, and really it’s a matter of hopping on Twitter and just listening to people and talking to people.
Kunle: It all plays into the social. Let’s go back to social media and content marketing. Given the fact that you’re a furniture company, an interior design company, you sell pictures pretty much, these pictures are actual objects and actual pieces of furniture. Do you stock photographs to set up idea boards or do you have to put together actual pieces of furniture and take photo shoots to create content and engage your customers and online audience, in social media?
Mark: It’s a great question. Part of it is from our graphic design team and they’re a wonderful team that we have here on board who deal with the visual side of things. I’m more a data and numbers kind of guy, than our talented graphic artists who work on the visuals. Much of our images and designs are from the vendors themselves who we’re working with in terms of getting the SKUs from and selling the items through.
Kunle: Talking about data, what does your SEO toolkit look like?
Mark: As we spoke about in the beginning of the interview, I come from the world of SEO, so I could talk with you about SEO tools all day. Our teams use paid platforms such as MOZ.com and OpenSiteExplorer.com in terms of backlinks and everything that MOZ offers. Our technical SEO people use a tool called Screaming Frog which is a desktop based crawler that can be used to analyse technical SEO issues, whether it’s duplicate pages or not dealing with faceted navigation properly or crawlability and so on. We also use other tools for rank tracking like Advanced Web Ranking, AWR, AWR Cloud. We have a varied toolkit out there. The tools that we use are for the technical side of things. The in house outreach and link building is all done by our team, we don’t outsource that to anyone and we don’t let anyone else deal with that.
Kunle: What tools do you use for outreach?
Mark: For outreach, there are tools out there like BuzzStream, AHrefs which you can use for backlink analysis of competitors. Your best tool when it comes to SEO and going out and finding other sites to connect with is Google and the various queries that you can run in Google to connect with similar minded bloggers, sites, social media, email, in person at industry events and the like and then going out and trying to improve our link profile. Then, of course, in terms of link building there’s also the whole content marketing side of things in terms of generating content on your website to be able to make all of having that content spread and out and share your organic visibility in that sense.
Kunle: I’m just going to touch base on each tool. What do you use MOZ for? Do you use it for managing the SEO on a month to month basis or do you use it for running audits on the website?
Mark: We use MOZ primarily for the campaign tracker, they have rank tracking in there, they have OpenSiteExplorer for backlink analysis, they have FollowerWonk, which is another company that they bought a little while back for Twitter analysis and for building up relationships with Twitter, we use it for keyword difficulty and it’s a great toolset. We’ve been members for a while and they also have a great and active community where various digital marketers are able to share information and we’ve been using that as well.
Kunle: And Advanced Web Ranking would obviously be for monitoring your rankings on a regular basis, do you use the desktop version or do you use the cloud version?
Mark: We found the cloud version is more hassle free.
Kunle: And then Screaming Frog for managing and crawling your website and checking for duplicates, content issues and tracking all your page tags and just seeing if your SEO is in good shape. Do you use Screaming Frog on other competitor websites or do you just use it on your website?
Mark: It’s a great tactic to use for determining what other people are going after. That’s as much as I can say at the moment.
Kunle: Ok, and then BuzzStream obviously for managing your contacts, and AHrefs for backlinks again. Interesting. What about your PPC toolkit? What does it look like?
Mark: Our PPC toolkit, we’ve been using Acquisio for a while in terms of managing our PPC campaigns and Google and Bing. A lot of it is through the platforms themselves, whether it’s Google, Bing, Facebook retargeting. We’ve worked in the past with AdRoll and we’re hoping to transition and to move over to Criteo in 2015.
Kunle: Why are you moving to Criteo from Adroll?
Mark: Not for now… We’ve also been working with Channel Advisor in terms of managing our digital marketing feeds and also Channel Advisor integrates with Google Shopping and for running our PLAs.
Kunle: Talking about Channel Advisor, are you on Amazon and other marketplaces?
Mark: Yes we are.
Kunle: Which are the marketplaces? You’re on Amazon, are you on Ebay too?
Mark: We’ve been active on Amazon, Ebay, Rakuten. We’re hoping to get involved in some new marketplaces in 2015 as well. Hopefully we’ll be able to talk about that in a few months.
Kunle: Let’s round this section up by saying what advice, around the topic of customer acquisition, can you give ecommerce businesses looking to grow the way Beyond Stores has over the last 4 years?
Mark: Firstly, it comes down to personnel, it comes down to who’s on your team, it comes down to finding the right people and bringing them on board, whether that’s growing talent in house or bringing in from external sources. It’s essential to put the right systems in place to manage your marketing efforts, to automate what you can, to try to free up some of the monotonous daily tasks that are required and then to grow in that side of things. You need to have the right customer service team in place so that way you can handle subsequent growth. People just want to be growth hackers and want to grow the business for the sake of growing, but you need to be able to actually support the customers and maintain current customers while trying to grow new customers. My biggest takeaway is that you have to be continuously learning and continuously striving to grow, experiment and implement your latest research and to make quick decisions. After you’ve made those decisions, to go back and reassess and revaluate and test then shift. A small business trying to grow has more ability to nimble as opposed to the larger business. It’s an essential part of business growth in terms of learning, testing, assessing and then applying those lessons.
Kunle: That sounds good. Test, test, test. Have the right team around you and as the business grows, have the right customer support to support the business and your customers and make them happy customers for retention going forward. Let’s talk about customer retention and loyalty, it all just connects. How important role has customer service played in the success of Beyond Stores?
Mark: It’s essential and we’re continuously trying to refine our processes to reach out to customers who have had issues and resolve issues to the best of our abilities. It’s why we’re here, it’s what we’re all about and it’s an essential part of our business.
Kunle: Do you use email to support your customer retention and loyalty strategy?
Mark: Email, customer service and social media, it’s all about being in touch with our customers, communicating with our customers, listening to them on whatever platforms that they are and whatever platforms they are reaching out to us, and trying to expedite the process of resolving issues.
Kunle: Do you have a coupon code strategy? Do you create coupon codes and give them to customers to get them to come back again and again?
Mark: For sure, of course. We generate coupons for unique customers. We have another system on our site called Price Waiter, where if you’re actually on a product separate from coupons, one of the things we’ve done and implemented is that if you’re on a particular item, we have a button where you can add it to your cart or we have a button where you can name your price. The Price Waiter system allows us to communicate with customers and to negotiate so that way we can come to an agreed upon price where we’re willing to sell it to them and they’re happy to purchase it.
Kunle: All on your website?
Mark: All through the website, through our Price Waiter interface. The sale takes place in that way, and that’s another sense of customer service, it’s our ability to speak with customers and to be engaged with the customer in the process that the customer is going through to take some of the impersonal nature of online sales and to directly connect with customers while they’re in the process of purchasing.
Kunle: Absolutely. So you actually have a “make an offer” functionality, which Amazon and Ebay actually have such a feature. Having it on your website actually increases engagement. Let’s talk about average order value. Have you found average order value on the store to grow over the years or has it maintained a certain average? You don’t need to come up with specifics.
Mark: It’s grown slightly, but when you offer 115 000 different SKUs with bedroom sets, dining room sets, individual items, pieces of wall art, of décor, every customer is unique and individual and so we want to focus on each individual customer and how we can best resolve their issues and how we can find the item that best fits them. We also take a lot of sales calls where customers call us up on the phone and you help with finding the perfect item for them.
Kunle: Now that you mentioned 115 000 SKUs, I want to just take us back to some of the SEO questions I had. A lot of listeners will be wondering how do you manage to maintain the product descriptions of 115 000 items? Are they uniquely written? Are they manufacturer descriptions? How do you go about it? What’s your approach?
Mark: It’s definitely easier to take manufacturer descriptions than it is to produce your own. We’re actively trying to come up with new solutions and responses to that issue. Many of the product descriptions on our site are the generic manufacturer product descriptions. Dealing with that issue is how we’re trying to grow our SEO and organic presence.
Kunle: Is it 100% manufacturer descriptions, or is part of your catalogue actually written by your team?
Mark: It’s a mix.
Kunle: It’s very tough getting rankings with manufacturer’s data. Let’s round this up and let’s talk about where you see your next phase of growth coming from, from a customer acquisition standpoint for Beyond Stores?
Mark: From a customer acquisition standpoint we’re hoping to grow both in the current markets where we are now operating along with international expansion. Hoping to very shortly open international sites and I’ll keep you in the loop as more information becomes public. In addition to that, we’re expanding our marketplace exposure, the channels that we’re currently active in. We’re also going to become more active on the affiliate side of things.
Kunle: What does ecommerce success mean to you?
Mark: Ecommerce success means growing our business while satisfying our customers, providing the customers with the best service that we can, continuing to offer a customer-centric business in which we can continue to expand our offering, continue to expand our lines that we’re offering our customers and to continue to offer even better support for our customers while being fiscally responsible and continuing to grow the business.
Kunle: All about the customers. What about books and resources for online retailers listening into this show to help them with online marketing and customer acquisition? What books or resources would you recommend?
Mark: That’s a tough one. I’m an avid reader. I would definitely recommend reading anything from Robert Cialdini “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”, or any of his other books on human psychology and understanding the psychology of purchasing lots of great research and books that have come out recently on personas and using personas in your marketing. A great book that I read a few months ago was “Nudge” by two University of Chicago professors, it’s all about the small changes that we make and the nudges that we receive that really influence us and push us in a certain way. It gets you thinking more about what is your marketing copy and we didn’t even talk about conversion rate optimisation, CRO, the small changes that you make in CRO that can have a massive impact on sales and on site performance. Those books would be a good start for anybody.
Kunle: It’s quite interesting the type of books that you recommended. They all seem very psychology based, human behaviour based. Is there any reason for that?
Mark: At the end of the day, whether you’re working in SEO, whether you’re working in PPC or whether you’re working in social media, you have to remember that your customers are your focus and your customers are people. SEOs tend to forget that they’re writing for people and that their target audience is people and they start to focus on Google and online rankings.
Kunle: It all connects to talking about the customers again, as you earlier leaded to.
Mark: Exactly.
Kunle: What about tools? Are there any tools that you would recommend online retailers to start to use? This is a top level question really.
Mark: The tools I have mentioned earlier, I’m a big fan of. I’m a big fan of MOZ, I’m a big fan of Screaming Frog on the SEO side of things, we’ve got a good relationship with Acquisio. Another thing that happens with SEO and with marketers is we focus so much on the tools and we forget about the larger picture. We forget about the goal and you become so enthralled in the tool and you don’t want to lose the forest for the trees.
Kunle: I was going to ask you for one parting piece of advice, but that kind of covers it. But do you have any other piece of advice to give to our listeners before you say goodbye?
Mark: Firstly, Kunle is a great guy, definitely participate on his show. I would say remember that the customer is the focus and that the customer is the key whether it’s in your acquisition channels, whether it’s in your retention channels, everything that you’re doing should be customer focused and customer oriented and that’s how we’re trying to grow our business.
Kunle: Cheers Mark, very very good to speak to you. Finally, if our members of audience wanted to reach out to you, how would they get hold of you?
Mark: I’m very active on Twitter @MarkGinsberg, and Google. I’m happy to answer any questions that anybody may have.
Kunle: Ok guys, feel free to give him a follow up question over on Twitter and you can also leave comments on the show. I love the discussion we had because it’s really customer focused, it’s all about the customer, so that’s going to give you a hint as to what the title’s going to be. Mark, thank you so much for coming on the show, it’s been a pleasure.
Mark: No problems, my pleasure. Thank you.

About the host:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

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