We’re thrilled to present the latest addition to Afluencer’s content lineup – our podcast series featuring insightful conversations with influential brand owners. In this inaugural article, we have the privilege of introducing Nick Trueman, the visionary founder of Winning With Shopify, as our esteemed guest.
Table of Contents
Meet Nick Trueman: The Mind Behind Winning With Shopify
Nick Trueman, the innovative mind driving Winning With Shopify, takes center stage in the Afluencer podcast series. With a wealth of experience in the world of influencer marketing, Nick shares captivating insights, challenges, and triumphs that have shaped his brand’s journey.
Podcast Premiere: Delving into the Winning With Shopify Universe
Join us in exploring the enchanting world of Winning With Shopify through the eyes of Nick Trueman himself. We’ve embedded the riveting YouTube podcast video below, offering an exclusive glimpse into the transformative power of influencer marketing.
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Transcription Insight: A Peek into the Conversation
Gain an insider’s perspective as we burrow into the transcription of our engaging conversation with Nick Trueman. Discover the strategies, anecdotes, and wisdom that have fueled Winning With Shopify’ success, all captured in this in-depth transcription.
In Conversation with Nick Trueman, Founder of Winning With Shopify:
Welcome to our Afluencer podcast. This is a special episode for you. Shopify store owners. We have the host of the Winning with Shopify podcast, Nick Sherman here with us, my good friend Nick, I know we talked about this when I was on your show last year when we trace our origin story back to 2017 on the.
I mean of that, yeah, it was Caroline used to run my podcast, which is now it’s now my podcast. It was her podcast back then, but I remember we were both on a panel years ago and we had such a good conversation and it all kind of went quiet and I’ll see you then start at eight fluence there in a whole range of other things.
I think 2017 sounds about right to me. About six years ago.
There we go. And here we are starting 2024 already. So welcome, Nick. And can you tell us a little bit about your background, maybe even before we connected the first time back in 17? And also what led you to ultimately start take the reins on the winning one Shopify podcast?
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, I, I studied music at college, which is totally unrelated to marketing or anything we doing today on the face of it. But what it, what it did tie into is it tied it into numbers quite a lot. Anything musical. And I still play a bit of music but very not professionally or anything, but college was like a bit of fun.
My parents said, You got to go and study one more thing before you start in the working world. And while I was at college, I got a job. Ironically, actually, in the building, two doors down from where I am today. I’ve gone completely full circle in my career and I started I was 17. You were working in PPC advertising, so I was clicking buttons, Google ads, campaigns.
It was a completely different game back then, like complete different what we did today that wasn’t even conversion tracking. But all of you like attribution heads like myself who just love to track everything that was none of that. I remember the day that Google Analytics Universal got launched. The guy for was just another Rhodes right road stop for me, but that would have been 2007.
I would I was going to say what year was? A okay, yeah. My very fast I think my little.
So that was my first first row, which was, oh.
You know, I was impressed because I think my dad was campaign was 2005 when my boss at the time.
And yeah, he just, well he just handed it to me and shrugged and I had no idea what I was doing either. But I knew it was better than cold calling. So I opened up an account and I was gonna say I did not remember conversion tracking, but I also had no idea what I was doing.
It’s funny you mentioned cold calling. So my first day I was cold calling and I quit. On my first day I was working for a friend of mine had one guy, he was on the phones. It was rubbish. This guy, he ended up lasting, I think no more than a week. And I just I just he wasn’t even in the room at the time.
I texted him, I think, saying like, I’m not Dennis, this is not for me. I hate phoning people like I’m done. And he said, he said, Well, come back tomorrow. I got an idea. And he let you just gave me the Google ads help Center and he said, Right, you got a week, learn as much as you can and that next week you’re going to start running campaigns looking after our clients.
It’s like, what? So the next week I started clicking buttons. It made little mistakes and I kind of learned quite quickly. And he was a really kind of he’s a really good guy. He’s no friend of mine. That’s a he was a real salesman, so he could keep the clients. Keeton Sway In terms of delivering results. I did that for two years and got quite good at it, became technical director of the business.
And at that point I, I kind of lost faith in where he wanted to take things and I was like, you know what? I’m just going to leave and see what happens and I’m going to quit. So I left and I quit and then I go back to 94 and it will be I’m doing contract work later on.
Right. I moved around the UK quite a lot, which is quite nice. Got to be quite a traveling, got paid for a lot of that, Grew up a little bit and then the guy I was actually working for, he ended up being the director of my company initially with myself and we was trying to start like PPC SEO agency and he didn’t really know what he was doing.
He ran an ICE company. I didn’t know a thing. I’d never run a business before, and after about eight or nine months, we decided to part ways. So he handed his shares back to me and I just I thought, You know what? I’m just going to get on the phones and see what happens. And I got I got to that point.
I think we’ve all reached it. And I think certainly about Shopify today, a lot of success with Shopify stores I took to reach this point as well. I was basically desperate. I was completely penniless. I had a credit card debt and I phoned my mum and dad and was like, I’m moving back home guys. I’m a failure. And mum was like, No, no, you’re not fine.
Your uncle is in her brother. He was an accountant. He’d been running businesses for years himself as well. And he basically said to me like, right, just get a phone, get on the phones, you’ll be good at this, but you just need to put through that pain barrier. And I think I of him on my mum, they paid my rent that month.
I got a hamster to keep me company in my bedroom and I just same edge making phone calls. Two weeks later I had to salary like a 20 £20,000 a year salary and we’re clients. And it was I was working for free for the first six weeks, but my mum and my uncle were very impressed. They were like, Right, you’ve done it.
And they kind of kept growing from there. I sold that business in 2013. We were doing a lot of PPC and quite a bit of SCA, but much more on the PBC side. I then worked for a big integrated agency. They did a you might have heard of the Shard biggest, biggest building in Europe in central London. Yeah, yeah.
They did the laser show for The Shard and we worked with ITV, Sony and loads of big epic brands. We launched Kate Spade, New York in the UK. That was one of my biggest kind of e-comm at first time. I worked with Google Shopping and I they didn’t know that when we did the pitch, the first time I touch Google shopping and striking out and I was like, This is quite fun.
And after about another year or two, I left that and about 20, 2015 I started them. I still was contract to hang on to the same show as before, and B, I started what’s is known today as spec SPC, which she’s been by nickname spec, which I won’t get into today. But the name, the official thing is it works for like perspective and specialized in words like that.
And Spec is a CSIRO consultancy. I run it, I’ve got amazing teams in the other end of this, this room now we’re about to move into a new office currently the site in the middle of Renovate team, which is quite exciting but yeah, going amazing team. We work with high street retailers all over the world and quite lovely Jen companies as well.
Let’s talk about Shopify today and then your final point as well, Brett, to kind of end the story in a real high is I’m a good friend Caroline kind of call me up and a mutual friend. Caroline called me up at one point and said to see Nick. I don’t want to run the podcast anymore. And I was like, Oh, okay.
And I don’t run the business anymore. So we made some agreements on some paper and I took over the business and became CEO of Justus Parker, and that came with the winning show five podcast. And I was not ready for podcasting at all. I didn’t even think about it. And about a month after I’d kind of come in, Caroline was like, Why haven’t you done a podcast?
Nick? And if anyone you ever heard Caroline, you know Caroline? Brett she’s Australian, She is like, she’s a mean machine when she’s on a mission and she basically pinned me to the corner. It was like, here is a microphone. We’re going to do an episode on the podcast, buckle it and let’s get this done. And I just got it hooked immediately.
So I’ve been running it for two and a half, maybe three years, and June 24. So yeah, it’s been it’s been a wild ride. And honestly, Brett, you’ve been on it as a sponsor twice, which is cool. So we’ve spoken quite a few times from there. We’ve been on panels that Caroline’s around before and I have to say it’s just sort of you guys listening as well.
I’m going to try and tailor all the questions about ask me today to you guys as much as I can, because I think meeting so many of my listeners over the last year or so and hearing the different problems and challenges, whether they’ve got a $200 million a year business or they’ve got like a, you know, $200 a month business, you know.
Right. A kind of starting point is amazing hearing where you guys are coming from in the products you’re creating. Shopify is a great enabler, but I think we’ve all come to the realization now that you don’t just start Shopify and everything else is easy. Actually, the products becomes almost like 5% of your attention trying to run it and become business.
See, I will see what we can uncover today, but that’s my story. So far in in the work world.
Yeah, that’s awesome. I never got the full story. That’s really great too. Really cool to hear. We’ve had a lot.
Of probably interviewing. You say.
Yeah, yeah, that’s right. Yeah, that’s right. Yeah. To the credit card. That really got to my heart. That was my first company. Before I leave Dana, where I had the, I had all the credit cards up because as you know, I mean, you’ve been through it. If you’re trying to get money from the outside and it’s your first company or even your second or third, like, good luck, right?
You’re better off. Just kind of. And that’s what I would do. I would just kind of advanced up on the credit card 0% for a year and then you’re off to the races, Right? But you have a year to try to get there before the juice starts ticking against you.
So it’s an interesting topic, actually. I never wanted to take and never have taken any investment, any working capital. My my thing is the service based companies, I was always, always like, well, if I had to provide my services like a raise, an invoice, they’ll pay me some money for my time. I’ve already got the time. I you guys listening, looking at Shopify, for example, you probably got products now.
You can’t manufacture products up without cash. That’s either got to come out of your bank account or someone else’s back then that’s the reality and it’s totally accept that. But I think sending the service based industries, I would say if you were looking at hiring an agency, I’d be very cautious of taking one. It’s like we’re the fastest growing, we’ve got the most V.C. cap.
So this is like, why do you need that? If you’re good enough doing what you do, surely clients just come to you and you start working with them. That’s what we do. So I think it’s it’s quite an interesting point actually, from, you know, whether you’re doing Kickstarter or trying to get VC caps away. And I mean, it’s an interesting point and some people get mad about it on their Shopify store saying, you know, we were like, you know, we did the biggest crowdfunding campaign ever.
We’ve got the most VC capital ever. And it’s like, Well, are you going to be bankrupt? Am I going to get this warranty that you’re offering me? You know, I always it’s I think it’s always kind of like play devil’s advocate a bit with us pays in the site them to.
Centralize I guess for raising such you know I’m in the software world where capital raising it is a big thing I’ve been like I’ve bootstrapped every company and now I’m too old and jaded to do anything different. Right? The nice thing is though, you own it and then you have control over what you want to do. And we don’t have a milestone to hit where if we don’t hit our Q1 numbers, we’re not all of a sudden you’re not talking to someone else because I’m out right?
That’s where I want to keep keep on our mission. I did not realize I was such a big deal on the Shopify site, which is interesting because like you said, it is. Yes, Capital helps you get the product manufactured, but then you don’t necessarily have you do lose control. I mean, whether you think you do or not, you now have to add certain milestones and and you’ve got to get certain places.
So let’s talk about those early days of Shopify. Nic, what did you into? Hey, this is where I want to be. Or was it Caroline saying taking it by the collar and say, Nick, this is this is where you need to be. Shopify is No, I think this over.
Yeah, I think I met Caroline because I was in the Shopify space rather than her. She didn’t she drag me into the podcast, but it was the I went to an event in London is an agency in the UK that I really highly regarded, where we make websites, they become really good friends of ours. I’ve spoken at our events up into our events.
We’ve done joint staff and is a guy and to like another podcast coming the name of his politics team. If you’re listening. Tim Richardson, he used to be there. He should be that head of sales like he runs his own podcast. Now we’re both part of this like podcasting e-commerce group here in the UK and which you probably know all of them, if I’m honest, and Bowie’s in there as well.
I’m sure you’ve crossed paths with over the years. And so the see, yeah, I went to one of their meetups that he was hosting and I was like, This Shopify thing sounds amazing and I spent £5,000 on my credit card that night after a few beers on the train home and bought tons of bamboo sunglasses from China on Alibaba and just check them out from the store.
And I ran that business about to obtain a half years and learn a lot lessons. And we made a bit of money, but not a lot of money. And it was just a bit of a distraction in the end. So I got rid of it. But. Sam Yeah, we that’s what kind of hooked me in initially. And then and then clients of course, started asking it and we were working loads on this platform called Vendor that got bought by Net Suite that then got bought by and well, they called Oracle.
Oracle bought the whole thing. So we used to work on vendor a lot and we became a bit of a niche. Like the only PBC agency that any vendor and that was quite coins about 200 stores in the UK on it, but they were all big stores, Max being one of them. And then we moved to came accept a few other people.
Of course the Hybris and Max is still in hybrid today. We don’t work with them anymore, but we did work with them for about four, maybe five years. I’m still connected a lot. The guys that used to be there are also clients of ours now at New Brands. They’re building their own tools and stuff, but it was, it was around, yeah, probably around Aachen 2015, 2016.
I really kind of dived into Shopify, I think, and back then and it was very much like just this cheap and cheerful, very badly spoken about platform. And the reason it was barely spoken about is there’s nothing wrong with that. It was just too good to be true. And then Natura and Shopify just kind of sat there and said nothing.
And the more people started using it, the more they were like, This is amazing. And initially to me it felt a bit more like a sort of Squarespace type. You know, you click a button and bang, you’ve got a store and that is exactly what it is. And then, of course, you must have you must have seen it at the Ben Francis Gymshark story of how they built Shopify Plus and how they kind of had said they built an emergency store launch.
They had to roll back the old site didn’t work properly and having to do everything manually that highlight loads of people to do stuff manually because they would store the Oh, is that right?
No, I didn’t know the story, Nick. I knew I remember the Shopify Plus origins. There was only nine days where that was a thing and then we kind of looked at it and Shopify made a big deal about the announcement at United. But no, that’s funny. I didn’t know the story.
It was from from what I understand, it was all Gymshark who were driving it because because Gymshark phoned Shopify and were like, Magento just killed our business, completely killed it. We’re going to quickly. And Shopify went, Well, we want to launch a premium products to come with us. We’ll build a product for you and then they went, Right now it’s ready.
We could put anybody on this show five plus products and that’s where it came from. Say we won’t work with Gymshark at the time, but I remember hearing about that and they were the first big like I was. I think that’s when I sort of woke up one morning. I looked to the news on that LinkedIn and was like, Hang on a minute, I need to I need to look at Shopify more, more seriously.
We were using it ourselves and loved it. And even back in the early days, it was an app for everything. Like as soon as an order came in, I basically at 5 p.m. every day, which is nearly 5 p.m. here in the UK. Which way? Brett’s in daylight. We’re in darkness. I’m better than 5 p.m. every day. I would just click a button and this printer would just print out the labels and tell me what product and the label itself said what product to put any.
It put that one in a bag and stick this label on it, put that one in the bag and stick this label on it. And I would just carry them to the post office outside and they would post them. It was not already paid, it was all automatic, nothing. And so I could just focus on the marketing. So that’s when we kind of first, where were they really?
And it’s just it’s obviously completely exploded since they’re one of the biggest tech companies in the world now and deservingly so. I think they’re fantastic.
Let me pick your brain from a Shopify beginner or not not pure beginner standpoint, but this scenario we were talking about before we got on the call, let’s say I’ve got a Shopify store, I’ve got a skin care product. It’s a fitness product. It’s a whatever product, right? So I’ve got Shopify is great for this. Now, you’re right, 20, 24, I’ve got my store set up, I’ve got my product.
I figured out everything in terms of fulfillment. I’m going to go from an operations standpoint. What I don’t have is sales. So I’ve got a trickle of traffic and maybe I’ve got some sales trickling in, maybe not, but you know, the whole marketing landscape from these days before AdWords had conversion tracking, right? So it current day today, what am I looking at in terms of ways that I can potentially get traffic in my Shopify store.
That I mean, that is the million dollar question I’ll answer it as best I can. And the thing I’ll say first, which everybody says to almost every question I’ve ever ask them on my podcast, is it depends on everything. And what I would say, though, is I if I wrote a book today, it would have my catch phrase on the column.
I’d be the title, which is marketing has been lost from digital marketing. That’s the biggest drama I’ve been banging for the last, probably three or four years now. And and let me unpack that and we’ll kind of go from what it means in terms of what you need to do on a piece of paper three to what you’re going do on the website.
So let’s assume you’ve got all the back end stuff like you say in in line. I know it’s a lie, but we’ll go with it. Hypothetically. The more it starts to grow, the more the marketing works, the more you find this. How is it all of that? And that’s just part of evolution. He’s got to accept that. So the first thing you need to come up with is why buy from you compared to someone else?
The USP. And I would always emphasize the use of USP unique because we ask clients all the time, what’s up? And you, anyone who sees it now is going and don’t worry about my USP sorted like it comes in some cool colors so other people’s we can do it for free delivery. So does everybody else. So does Amazon negotiate free next day delivery.
Don’t compete where you can’t compete. So I think the first thing to do is look at the products. And hopefully you did this when you invented or procured the product initially is look at what’s different about that product. What problem does it? So what you going to do with that? And then the and that’s the easy bit, that’s the bit of paper.
The hard bear is how do you get that across? Because I’ve always I’ve always stuck by this thing I learned when I was about 18, 19 and I’m on a marketing and I think it’s on a marketing, an account management by agency account management course. I went on and it’s a famous saying and it says Features tell benefits self.
And the problem is so many people go down the route of the features and they don’t get around done the the benefits or they go too far down the route the benefits And sometimes I mean, we’ve all done this right, You turn the telly on where you go to YouTube or you’re on Facebook anyway, wherever you are you see a video and you get really and captured by this emotive video and you’re like, Wow, I might cry, This is incredible.
Like, and then you suddenly realize that it’s something completely unrelated. It’s everything you just been watching, you know, it’s a new toothpaste and what you’ve just seen is someone climbing a mountain smiling a lot, and you’re like, Wow, how do I get that happiness? And the reality is, it’s obvious that it’s the mountain. You’re there with your significant other or some close friends or your family, and you’ve conquered something and you’re all having a big hug over the top and you’re like, Wow, look at this view.
And actually that is an advert, in my opinion, for a travel company or something. What’s unique where the only people that fly to fly to this airport or we’ve got two of our own hotels on the side of Machu Picchu or near there, and you can go in Peru and go and play them out together. So the problem I think with marketing is again, like that’s gone to a motive.
It’s to benefit focused. Whereas I would say actually most toothpaste adverts are too feature focused going like, did you know most people can’t clean the rubbish between their teeth? That’s the classic one we get in the UK and I have one in America’s Perfect Teeth and we don’t. In the UK we’ve got very healthy but very unpleasantly, you know, appealing teeth when you look at them.
And but like I remember reading a survey recently and listening to talk shows I was watching and this guy basically said, like we did a survey for one of the big toothpaste brands in the UK. How many people care about dirt in their teeth? And like dentists care and it’s important and you should care if the reality is nobody does people just what they care about.
So what am I going to look like? Why use your toothpaste? What I’m going to like and what taste am I going to get? And no toothpaste advert really has ever said, What taste are you going to have from the toothpaste? And I think that’s a really important point to hammer home my point, which is look at what makes you unique.
Why should somebody buy the products? And if you’re launching, go back to your question, Bret. If you’re launching, you don’t know yet. And that’s an expensive thing. Not to know, but you don’t know what you don’t know. So my view actually is just get something like chuck it out there and expect it to be awful than your expectations managed.
I mean, go back to what we talk about investment wherever your money, your spending on that don’t go in. We say new brands approach us. Don’t go into like Google advertising or SEO or matter or advertising or anything paid. Don’t go into it expecting it to work. You’re going to have to run it 50 or 100 200 times before you start to get some data in to decide what’s going to work.
And what you don’t know is what people really like about your products. And if you ask even slightly the wrong questions on a survey or focus group, you’re going to get the wrong answers. Like this is where this is, where the whole e-commerce sphere, the whole Shopify world, this is where most people fall apart, in my experience, is that you get paid, why buy from us?
And then the real challenge is how do you bring that across on a web page where you need to know what the US first is? So actually people are buying our trainers because they’re made of recycled plastic bottles and they really care about that. Then we kick off all the the first image you see, the first thing you read talks about recycled bottles.
Where do our bottles come from? How do we recycle them? Why should you care? Whereas actually a brand we worked with that did make trainers from recyclable bottles when we did the focus groups in the surveys and say they did them. And at the end outputs to us, people were like, You know what is really nice between seeing this lovely shoe, how comfortable it is if you wear this shoe underwater and then get out, it drains itself.
That was all great and it was just a lovely feeling at the checkout, knowing when it told me about how many plastic bottles I just purchased. That was a lovely feeling at the end. So they got their lead with that. They lead with adventure, they lead with their climbing the mountain. They lead with your fits coming out of the water.
And suddenly it pauses and there’s all these diagrams going like, you know, 80% of the fluid in this shoe disappear in the first 10 seconds once it’s come out of the water. Great. Well, I’m going waterfall jumping. That’s perfect. That’s the shoe for me. Or I don’t even do that. I like to think I’d like to feel like I’m that kind of person.
Say, that’s what I’m going to go after. But does that make sense? Brett I’d start with that up because without that you just wasting your time, I think.
Yeah, it does. And I like what you said there, Nick, about the focus groups also because that’s different It just doesn’t is nothing’s the same in having a product out there in the wild and seeing what people will actually throw down money for and buy. And like you said, there’s no way to know without just turning it live and maybe having product hiccups or operational hiccups or I mean, who knows what’s going to go wrong, right?
But just do it now and have it go wrong so you can fix it and figure it out. And I like what you said on the cycles, too. On the paperclip side. So let me dive into that a little more is I assume then our goal here, right, is, is we get the product out, we learn what our actual USP is because we’re actually selling it right.
And we’re able to now discern from like real customers, not just asking our mom and asking like my kids friends or parents or what have you in terms of what they think, Right? People just tell you something versus people are actually putting their money out there and buying it. So let’s say we get a few sales in. Are we looking then looking and tracing that back and saying, hey, looks like maybe Facebook’s the way to go or maybe Google’s the way to go or we’ve got some organic stuff working.
How do you tease that out for, again, this brand that maybe starting with a budget and we know it’s kind of it’s not an endless budget, it’s limited. So we’re trying to be smart about it, but we do have to we got to burn a lot of money. I mean, just being honest about it, right, in terms of figuring out what’s a potential channel for us.
So how do you tease that out? In the early days.
You guys, it really it’s another million dollar question. It’s a very good question. I think the the thing to do is expectation first. So like, as you say, you’re going to burn through cash. I think the next thing is to be realistic about your financials. And where I’m going with this is not the obvious, like wash your margin.
I think you need to be realistic about your financials in terms of working out how much a customer we think is going to be worth over time. And you almost got to draw a line and go on this day we are going to decide if this business is viable or no. We’re going to have to make a hard decision.
Either we’ve got the evidence to suggest yes, and we’re not there yet because you never actually going to be there. By the way, you make profit, be never going to be at the point where you where there’s no end game. Right. It’s a constantly moving, evolving thing and one day it might fall apart. And that’s that could be a good thing.
Could be merchant into another product. It could fall apart because the market’s changed and you’re launching a new thing. So there could be good reasons why it stops obvious. That’s the opposite of your question is how did you get started? But I think you need to look long term on this and go, is it like a trainer, like a product example I gave because a trainer, how often are you going to buy a pair trainers?
How else are you going to buy them from the same brands? Now you get brand advocates. You also get people like me who every time a buy trainer, I try to find a new brand I really like, like variety is the spice of life to me. But to you it might not be. You might always go, I’m always going to buy from that brand.
So, you know, I like she chalk and cheese to the shoe brand because it’s the shoe brand. If you’re loyal, they’re going to want you in every time. I’m going to factor that in and say, Actually, we don’t mind making a lot of baby break even, so we’re going to make any profit. That first order, which is a problem because we’re not paying back the debts.
As we said earlier, they were cropped up before, but we think that 50% of our audience are going to buy a second time. So we’re going to do days, we’re going to get our first 500 customers in. Once we’ve got our first 500 customers in, we’re going to split them into five groups, 100 each and each group, and we’re going to send a different sequence of emails out to these people.
So actually we’re going to sprint to get these 500 orders in. We don’t mind making a fat loss on them. So if the trainers cost $50 and we spend $200 per customer, that’s fine. And actually someone like me will be able to give you the maths to say if you’re just going to throw money at this thing and burn it, that’s the way to do it.
But if you could then answer their what sequence of emails or how frequently or when do I need to tell that person? How do I need to tell them through email or through SMS message or through retargeting, whatever medium you’re going to use If you’re going to test these five groups differently to get to that? I know say those 500 customers, phone all of them, no email, not send a survey out, phone them and ask them questions.
Do not write out a pre-scripted questionnaire and just go through them all. Just have a conversation with the first 20 to 40 and ask them what? Ask them what is? Why did you come to us? Now I’m going to come back to the paid media question now because I know I’m not talking about that. If we don’t have this information, the paid media bear, which is chucking stuff at the wall and see what sticks and the annoying thing is the things that stick initially on a limited budget.
This is the worst bit and the most painful bit that we’re very open with our clients because the stakes will be random. So if you’re spending like on a $50 a day because that’s what you can afford at the moment, firstly, there’s a problem that you can only afford. $50 a day is not enough, is better areas to spend that in.
But if you’re only spending that, it’s costing you a dollar a click. You’ve only got 50 people a day that are coming into the site. And what you’ll find is say you’ve got a product range of 50 products, you’ll sell one of those this day and then you’ll you’ll put all your eggs in one basket. Just throw everything at that one and you don’t sell any more for the next five, ten days.
And Google’s algorithm will start doing that or Metters algorithm start pushing people into that product. And the worst thing is we’ve got a client at the moment here. We’ve been including variants and countries who end up with two point something million product lines in a merchant center, and our budget is 5000 dollars and let’s get this thing started.
So we’ve gone right. Not all of that. We you sell more of this type of products than any others. They only have one of every product. And once you’ve bought it that product’s not there anymore. So you have to look at collections of ranges. So to even get the data because they’re all handmade individual products. So to get the data on those 2 million, we’ve had to see some row number crunching, which took a lot of time.
But that’s where, again, someone like us, we’re taking an investment in that client initially to keep them in five years and to have some tough conversations. They said with we’re done with burning from agency to agency, what he knows he can actually solve this problem and we get related problems we can’t solve. But that will that when we were like, yeah, we can solve this.
And we’re working on that at the moment. December was their best month ever, but they then had a tracking issue because there are web developers locked down. Tag manager says that there’s problems like that start coming out and you just you don’t have salaciousness, you don’t have the enough people and capacity and structure and process and everything else.
So when it comes to the advertising Day, I think as much as I love PPC and i.e. 50% of my current career is doing PPC and the other 50% zero, I’m, I don’t think pbks for most people when they first launch unless and I can’t tell you what it is because not launched yet, but we are launching a product to UK only in the next few weeks and it is the first of its kind and it’s for women and it’s for a medical problem that I think it’s like one in three women in the UK is struggling with any one moment and it’s the first thing that can solve that.
And we can’t say that because medical and all the other stuff kind of starts for advertising laws and whatever. But they go back to my point about USP. We’re going to we’re going to pump five, maybe £10,000 a month straight into PPC just in the UK market initially and just go absolutely mad on air. The initial product you can order I think costs about £1 and it’s a test kit for a pound, which it costs them £5 to produce one of these things.
So you buy one for £1, it tells you where you are on a scale and then how much you’re going to need of this stuff. And then you can click a button and buy it. It’s not cheap, but it’s also not super expensive. It’s cheap enough that almost everybody be able to afford it. And we’re hoping that the the beloved NHS of the UK will actually provide at some point as well on the NHS to people who can’t afford to pay for it.
So you see how amazing and unique that product is when you talk in ten years to someone to copy it. And we’re there in the painting in the UK, so even if someone copies it, we’re going to say that’s a US pay and we’re going to go to market. Now, I think most brands, if you come up with like I have work in, one company’s got they’ve got a dog blade and it’s made of a unique material for dog leads.
It has a bit of elastic in it, but not too much. It’s actually better for the dog around the dog’s neck, so that’s not going to hurt the dog. It’s got a bit of the up is not completely unique. There are other dog leaves out there that you could buy. So they’ve sort of started small and got themselves to a point, but they’ve had to do so much work in PR SEO to get to a point where running a PPC ads about 30% of people that see the PPC, I’d have heard of them before and they’re all going to be locally based to a shop you can go to to buy the product initially as well. So it’s like a local saying, I’m going to branch out from there. So yeah, if you think you can just turn on PPC ads and go, I’ve got a 4 to 1 ROI, it’s a £4 or $4 for every one that I spend. It doesn’t work. It just doesn’t work unless you’ve got that kind of really strong US pay.
We are expecting that. But they know that they’re going to be on BBC and Sky News and stuff the day we launch product so we can have all this awareness going up. We’re going to be looking for it. And if we’re not going be an SEO because a brand new website. So we’re going to rely on PPC to have it initially.
So I think again, I’m trying to be a bit more big picture than just telling you like, this is magic button and Google ads. He does exist and people, they tell you it does. A as I’m afraid now I’ve got I’ve pulled them out publicly before. So we’ll have that conversation if anybody wants to vet them. Yeah, I think you’ve got to be really realistic about this.
It’s again, marketing has been lost in digital marketing, like why buy it? What’s the reason behind it? Therefore, what’s the key, what they look for to find this product? The guys I’ve got this problem or this keeps breaking. Oh great. We’ve got a blog post about if it keeps breaking by. One of us is guaranteed for life. And if you can break it, we’ll give you £1,000 because it’s unbreakable.
You know that. That’s a good USP.
That’s great. I love that break down because I don’t think that gets talked about enough. And perhaps it is the people that you’re calling out on that side in terms of like AdWords working out of the gate and Facebook and PPC working out of the gate, because in my experience, it never works out of the gate. The only thing you hope is that to your point, you’re not going to put £1 in and get four out or a dollar and get for it at $4.
I my thing is, hey, if you put $10 in and get $1 out, you’re probably lucky because at least is giving you something, right? And then you try to make that less bad over time and maybe that gives you some information. But there is no way you are going. I mean, you’ve got giants here in the US. Just think you’re bidding against Wal-Mart.
You’re betting against these huge brands who are also, by the way.
Right And there and they’re happy to lose money on BBC because they’re just bringing in the customer. They got a million things to sell them. So we don’t generally want to be there, not that we can’t get information, but just that notion that, hey, I can open up an account is going to work for me out of the gate, like, No, it’s going to take your money out of the gate.
We’re just hoping to get my experience opinion a little bit information. So, Nick, I don’t want to keep you forever because I know, you know, I’m taking my coffee here, and I know we got to get you a pint over there this time, but I do want to get into SEO just because you’re such an expert at it.
And we got a teaser. But from that perspective, again, let’s go to that initial store because I kind of talked through it a lot with people through my experience. But again, my experience is basically like three websites versus yours, which is you can tell me, but I know it’s probably in the hundreds in terms of how long it takes for sites to get traction from an SEO standpoint, in my experience is one of these days it’s a multi-year thing.
You might as well keep doing it, you might as well start on it now because you want that SEO in 2025, 20, 26, 2027, if you’re still in business, but hopefully you are. But what do you tell people who are getting started out from the SEO side of things? What’s a reasonable expectation and what do you advise them to do?
Because I know it takes effort, but again, we’ve got lots of battles to fight here on the marketing side.
Now, SCA is a few ways I could describe it. I think chicken and egg is a good analogy for this and the chicken and the egg, one of them is money and one of them is doing so. You can’t do SEO if you haven’t got the cash to do it. So it’s not, as you say, it takes a long time.
It’s not getting anything invested immediately. But also you can’t invest in it unless you’ve got money, but you need the done to get the money. And so it’s a chicken and egg situation where it’s a bit of a catch 22. I think the thing with SEO is you got to choose your battles. And when I talk about battles, in other words, for battles, I would say keywords.
So you’ve got to think where I think there’s tools you can use. Google keyword planning is fantastic and it’s completely free because guess what? Google want people spending stuff on PPC and if the same numbers apply in PPC, in SCA, so you search for something, you get PPC and you get SEO. Normally PPC ends up on the knees, you get them by showing.
So they’re both in the same sphere. So Google keyword plans are a good place to start, but pick your battles. So if you’ve just launched this brand new revolutionary trainer and you’ve got a USP, which is also important for SEO because you wouldn’t want boring websites up in number one and they the site might look and function in a boring way and still be a number one because that means people like it.
So it’s going to have an entertainment factor which might actually not be the design in the UK. And all those things are important. We optimize all of that and SEO, but I think the thing to think about is what makes you different, what problem solving and actually start probably with what I would call evergreen content. I like blog posts, but they’re not blog post.
It might be a buying guide. It might be in fact, you might be some clients. We’ve actually built an entire sort of like almost like a kind of collections and products structure on the website. But for us, so we’re not using the collections and products part of Shopify, we’re using pages. But your one page, it says like welcome to our frequently asked questions, or you could come up with a better name that ideally a name that people Google.
So it’s like if people constantly put the word help or treatment, I need a treatment. So you call it the treatment zone and it’s like a treat treatment zone and then subtitle is like, find the thing that you need, see if somebody is looking up. So you say like you create a I mean, I got a new bag and I can’t remember the brand of it.
Unfortunately, I would give them a shout because it’s really cold. A body bags Christmas, right? And the top rose up. It’s completely waterproof. And I was out in the pouring rain and I put a newspaper in this. How sad I am. I put a newspaper in the bag, went out in the rain, was out in the rain about 2 hours.
I was at a place, like doing stuff. I wasn’t I didn’t just stand in the rain in my head, but I went out and then I got back and opened it and the newspaper was completely dry and I was like, This is my life. So I had to make a well, I should have made a video. This is perfect content for them.
It’s a good bag. I want to help promote it and maybe I’ll get now the OPEC countries have it was say, but the point is somebody might search out full backpack but I’m sorry Wal-Mart, Amazon, eBay, they’re already selling backpacks and they’re already number one. And they’ve been there for years. And you’re not going to compete with them on the way.
Backpacks, waterproof backpacks. You might be a bit of an edge and guaranteed waterproof backpacks. So actually, people have bought water resistant backpacks, but not waterproof backpacks. Now you’ve got an edge. So from an SEO point of view, now you found a and again, this is marketing in the digital marketing space, this is marketing. You’ve actually come up with an edge, something that your customers and here’s the key word may they may care about.
We don’t like you said brand to a focus group we don’t know but they might care about that. And if they do care about that, you’ve hit the nail on the head. So do 20 or 30 things like that, where you create some fake news, like is there a backpack that is guaranteed waterproof? If that’s the keywords where you create an essay cue about that link that to like a buying guide about how to buy the right backpack that’s waterproof for you because there’s different grades of waterproof link that some blog post says in blog post linking back to that and then link it all up with your products, your collections.
So like, this is all grade one, grade two, and grade three waterproof backpacks. So you see how look, I’ve done some research, people are all Googling. Like, is that actually a backpack, this waterproof? Why not? Look easy with keyword planner to find all the backpacks people are moaning about? We’ll find that the top ten waterproof backpacks on a blogger list done a post by that bringing influencers in because influencers are so important to our SEO.
But I think they used completely wrong most of the time for SEO and and the right way to do it for SEO is to get get leads and traffic and content generation from the influencer as well. But it’s like if you could say to an influencer like you, you regularly have a blog post saying that the top ten travel whatevers we go to travel products, we would like you to review it please, but try and do something that the other brands haven’t done with that person to get out to, number one.
And we would. We also want to send you a jet wash and we want you to stand with the backpack on to get some to fire a jet wash at you. And we send you the jet wash and try on as many backpacks as you want. We bet ours will be the best. You know, we’ve already tested it has a video of it or there was a phone case company called Mouse US we work with.
But then if they’re in the US, they’re definitely the massive here in the UK, but they like every time a new iPhone comes out they put it one of the new cases, they drop it from a tower or something and see if it smashes. They drive a tank over it. Does it smash like they do crate They let you put one in in a They were blowing up a bridge, I think the army here in the UK and they put a lot of phones in their cases on the bridge.
The army blew the bridge out and they found the phones after they were working. None of the screens are smashed till like that’s a really cool advert because they realized the reason people buy a phone case is because the phones really expensive, you know? Thanks, Apple. You’ve made us all invest more in phones than cars these days and and it’s but it’s so you want it to be indestructible and there lies actually the reason people want to buy from these guys they didn’t do that on a whim.
They probably tried like three things and that’s the one that works. So if you want to rank well on SCA, the place to start is to find these niche things. The caveat to all of that is to be really, really careful. And what you want to be careful of is talking about something that’s a too much of a sidestep from the products.
We we met with a company years ago that sold they actually sold hinges. So if you’ve got like a gate on your garden, you open the gate, The hinge is the bit that makes the gate kind of move on a post or whatever I assume they call them hinges in in the US. But they did a blog post about like the different materials for hinges and everybody went and read that blog post.
They went it bought a competitor’s products and as much as we tried get in to buy their products, no one bought their product cause it wasn’t relevant for the problem. People were actually searching up that the blog post solved. We also did it with a hosting company, the host of WordPress Magento websites, and they write a thing about how to fix an email inbox problem.
And the issue with that was everyone was coming on getting the answer on how to fix their email inbox problem. Weren’t very interested in hosting, they weren’t buying hosting, so it wasn’t relevant enough. So I think you’ve got to keep it relevant and using Google Keyword Planner, you can find some keywords of problems. People are searching issues, people have them.
What you can do is go on Google and search them in and see who’s already ranking for those things and come to a conclusion yourself. Okay, are we going to rank for this? If yes, how town can we go on this? Can we create some cool video content and link all of that back into this blog post or embed that in the page, Get some traffic on YouTube, YouTube’s search engine.
So you’ve got to be really tactical initially. And as you say, Bre SEO for the first however long you’re doing it, I do want to say a year or a month or whatever, because one brand that do all of that alongside some commercial stuff with a ton of PR. So Google’s seen all this great trust and awareness. They’ll get 10,000 reviews and trust products that pbks match, or actually they’ve just done a linkup where the massive car brands like you can buy a hi fi system.
This also in this lovely Mercedes or Jaguar or something and you can buy the same hi fi for your house and waiting a link ups everyone’s going to saw. I was going to see that and whack you up the rankings, which is just about everything. So those things are really good. But let’s face it, we can’t do that.
There’s only so much shop window space in that space. I think it’s finding those niches, picking your battles, but keep it associated to your product because we don’t. It is drive traffic that doesn’t convert because then it’s all been a waste of time and that’s what the bad marketing managers get. Your web traffic is up 400%. How much is sales up that down 10% because now the traffic is irrelevant.
Thank God. I’ve got to pick your battles.
I love I love so much of that. That is excellent. In terms of the landscape, the trust zone instead of the fake news or the treatment service treatments are that fixed. That’s a real smart, subtle point that most people who are writing for websites don’t think of, right? You think of, Hey, what is that? And user What is the potential customer typing into Google?
That’s where I want to be. Let’s keep on that thread. This would be the last one for me here, Nick, but I can’t let you get out of here. And we kind of tease it a little bit with the influencer side. So how would you use the influencer side? I like how you said the blog post. We’ve actually only had one user and that was a friend of mine who’s savvy kind of business owner like yourself, where he was most interested in looking for a full interview with blogs where they could then create the content.
But we’re talking really web based content, write stuff that sticks versus the real versus the post. And you know, my head’s in it all day and I’m kind of biased because we get the Shopify store on us. We’re looking for this and then we try to match them up and provide them with this, right? Whether it’s a static post or a real I mean, you guide them a bit on this side, but I’m in it on the influencer side.
You’re looking from the digital marketing side, like you said, an emphasis on marketing. So from your perspective, what’s happening? Where do you see these trends with influencers? What are you looking at today? You know, what’s up? They’re getting into your head on the influencer, creator, micro, whatever the heck we want to call them. What are you thinking there?
Yeah, and what we call them is always been a topic on the podcast is like we, we will call them influences on the kind of industry sides. A lot of them are like, I’m not, I do influence, but I’m a content creator and they’re quite precious about their content and some of them have really, really cool content to have been precious about.
So I say from my size, but I think in terms of the site and blog posts are great for SEO. So think about this for a second. You say you pay a nano influencer, a micro influencer like $100 for a post. Those are what goes into it. It’s great post, but they put it out there. How long does that last on Instagram take to, you know, like a day, a week?
If he’s really, really good to the guys like Bay Borrow, people might come back and check it later if they’ve got enough followers but you’re talking like that’s just little bits of water that didn’t make it into the cup. It just kind of falling out your blog post if you imagine the traffic flow that water and so that that doesn’t really stick.
How often have you booked a travel is a really good example this he booked a holiday and like I’m going to let you booked a hotel today for what trip we’re going on. And I Googled back. Let’s see about the book. I turn. I thought, I’m going to Google it. I Google the hotel when on TripAdvisor, check the reviews on an Instagram.
But the fact that his own a TripAdvisor TripAdvisor told me what the reviews were. I found a and I always go on YouTube as well and look at YouTube videos and this is where I think YouTube and blogs last a lot longer is I won’t be able to necessarily find I mean, I think go on Instagram, but I’m only looking at the last ten, 20 posts, most of which weren’t influencers.
It was just like when I’m there, I might go, you know, here’s a selfie. Nice dinner with the wife at this lovely hotel and you know, the work trip. It might be a if they ask me to leave a review, I might say, Yeah, the WiFi was amazing. I went for 2 hours when I got there on my laptop.
A really good environment was a quiet place is actually you can go. It does work. Great hotel, five stars, that’s all good user generated content. But if you’re going get an influencer to see some of that, you know in two days, you don’t want that to disappear overnight. So if you had a if you find an influencer who’s done like the top eight hotels in New York and your hotel in New York, you can go, Hey, come, stay, stay.
Make it the top nine hotels especially. It’s a blog post that you can see is already ranking well or it’s like 2023. You could message. You mean like August, September and say, are you doing month 24? Because if you are, we’d love you to come stay in our hotel before then, you know, when would you like to come and you see how much do you see, Bret, how much more traction you’ve certainly got from that.
And then from the outside, we’d make sure we get what’s called a guest post, so we’d ask them to actually write a blog post, to go on our blog, to say like, then we can send out to all of our customers and also people that might find that of like somebody’s search is staying at the brand New York hotel if that’s such a thing.
Staying at the Grand New York Hotel, they find the New York Grand New York hotel, own blog post done by X-Y-Z travel blogger. And the beauty is they don’t even need to be these massive, like A-list celebrities. This could be anyone. And you be like, Oh, I wonder who that is. Check out their Instagram. Oh, they’re quite cool, actually.
And they criticize quite a few things. They’ve been really comprehensive about this. That’s even more authentic to me now.
So yeah, and then you’re using their profile for the author. So they’re they’re on your site, but you’re using their profile within WordPress.
And you’re now linking back to them, which from their own SEO on their blog, that one so becomes a reciprocal thing. So they peplow questionnaires, you put up log in and you could even write then another blog later saying like, these are all these are the, you know, snapshot of people that stayed in the hotel recently. And you can list the ten influencers that you’ve worked with on this thing and be honest, saying this one didn’t like the décor because they don’t like red.
And our hotel is features a lot of red. But if it’s Christmas, red is the color. Come to our hotel and you can say that without saying anything rude to them. They can be authentic and real and say wasn’t my cup of tea in terms of the color, but the food was fantastic, The bed was comfortable and actually the parking was nice and easy.
It’s interesting you say there’s lots of good and easy things you can do without without it costing a million $1,000,000. And I think on the CEO side, you’ve got to think of like this where I love it so much more than like just an Instagram post is still Coke talking about. And I lots influencers do that and I just love because you can do multiple contacts.
You can have like three or four blog posts. All of those can rank, they can have something on on Instagram and that links back or whatever, but their own blog post can rank as well as is five things now. They’re evergreen. They can post a YouTube video, which means in YouTube videos they still get found years after they were created.
And every hotel I’ve been to, I’ll always find some have been there. Watch the videos. He’s now watching someone walking around vlogging on a camera guy like, Hey, check me out. I’m at this hotel and they’re so influencers. You can find an influencer as well. I think it’s fantastic because they’re not going to cost tons of money, but they’re going to be really good.
And like we said on the series you did on, on our podcast as well. Brett like make it more than a single thing. So actually if you’ve got multiple products, you could say to him, like, we want to send you on a trip with our products every three months, you could even link up with a travel company like a local travel agent is trying to themselves out there, Why don’t we join pay this, you cover the cost, The holiday will pay for the influencer and they’ll take our product with them so they get paid.
You only pay for the holiday. That’s the influencer now, but they’ll promote two or three things in one guy and we’ll come up with this campaign. In fact, let’s send five of them on a trip. Now one of us can go on the trip and I’ve actually been on trips like that, was speaking at like a small conference in Antigua years ago.
I was there with about 60 or 70 bloggers, YouTubers, content creators, and some of the content guys, they don’t have their own channels. They were just really cool photographers and stuff like that. So I think there’s so much more you can do with it. And how much more exciting is it if you look at like five product images and two of them were submitted by an influencer as well.
It’s another amazing angle to use and you can also like click through from there, opens in a new tab, keep your website open and open it in a tab and goes to that post on their Instagram. So you’re going to see like this is a real person. They’ve got 200,000 followers now and they’re only 10,000 when you work with them, but they look much bigger than they were when you see you didn’t have to pay the same.
Right. You know, it’s not just based on the followers, but I think it’s I think this is a lot of multi-pronged stuff you can do on SCA.
Yeah, very cool. I love that. I love all those ideas. And I think from a mechanics standpoint, when you’re negotiating that and on the influencer platform or where you’re talking with the influencers, both what I like to kind of coach our brands to do and in the light of everything that you should ask for, according to Nick, that’s one of those things you can say, Hey, here’s what I got for the collab offering $200.
Let me know what you can do. I’d like to kind of leave it open ended so that they can come back with their list of things and then that’s where you can kind of tweak. And if they’re going to do a real on Instagram. Well, to your point, Nick, YouTube blasts Facebook forever. It’s a great search engine. So it’s the same effort to produce a real post on Instagram.
They can post the same thing to YouTube to their channel, or maybe they’ll give you the video to post on yours if they don’t have a channel. So you can still get that out there, but it’s now forever something that’s helping you out instead of just temporary. Yeah.
Yeah, well, I could talk to you forever, Nick, but we got to send people to the winning with Shopify podcast platform. There are tons of recorded episodes, including the series that we’ve done a couple of times, and the influencer and affiliate marketing side of things. We will get the links under our video here so people can listen to and subscribe to winning with Shopify.
But how can they find the podcast?
Yeah, if you search winning with Shopify, it comes up all over the place. I’m told we yeah, we got a not an award, but three bloggers reached out to us recently about our own influencers saying that they put us as the top podcast above Shopify Masters, which is run by Shopify.
And asked for a link back. I mean, yeah, sure, because go because they featured us. So it’s another good way influencers but yeah winning we Shopify podcast where mostly makes me listen on on iTunes most are based in the U.S. so though I’ve got a very posh British accent, it’s mostly us Yeah, us listeners, which is cool and B etc. on Spotify, Apple, iTunes we get away with Shopify dot com, find us on there we are all say if this is of use to anybody we’re posting more and more on YouTube at the moment.
I’m actually posting the full episodes as well. So if there is a video, if you want to watch it and see Bret myself having to come say I personally prefer watching stuff, I find it much more engaging. I am, although I shouldn’t say it to anyone, but I watch everything a 1.2 times spate because I find you can still understand it all perfectly, but you get through a bit quicker.
So yeah, we post an episode every Friday. So yeah, please come check it out and, and also reach out to us. We’d love to know what sort of stuff you want to cover, and I’m sure you’re the same as well.
Brown Yes, that’s I love chatting with you because you talk naturally in one point too, so we can cover a lot of ground, a shorter period of time here. There’s there is no time wasted. Yes, I like the videos also. So that’s what I usually post while we chat is is a full video. But you guys are on all the platforms, iTunes and all that stuff.
So we get those out there with. Well, Nick, thanks so much for joining Nick Jeremy with the winning with Shopify podcast. Look it up. We’ll get the links here. YouTube, Apple, Spotify, all that good stuff. Thanks again for joining next.
Thank you, Brett and FC. Pleasure. Lovely touch again.
Yeah, always fun to talk with you. Appreciate it.
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