8-Figure Ecommerce Marketer Reveals The Trojan Horse Method With Jason K. Williamson of Optimonk

EP259 Optimonk

In today’s Shopify ecommerce podcast, my guest is Jason K Williamson the Founder of E2.Agency and the developer of The Trojan Horse Method.

Jason specializes in ecommerce email and SMS marketing by helping Shopify merchants maximize their existing traffic and to explode their profits with retention marketing.

Profitably GROW and SCALE your Shopify store with the resources mentioned in today’s ecommerce podcast episode.

Tune in to today’s episode for more about Jason, Optimonk, and The Trojan Horse Method!

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​​Our North Star is to inspire founders and marketers to accelerate growth through podcasts and strategic insights. Each week, Steve Hutt and his Shopify Expert guest discuss the latest and current marketing strategies to accelerate growth and scale in 2022. You’ll learn how to improve efficiencies, profitably grow revenue, and build lifetime customer loyalty for your Shopify-powered online store. Today’s episode gets you one step closer to learning from those who are winning in e-commerce!

What You Will Learn Today:

  • The beginnings of E2 Agency and what it is
  • What is the Trojan Horse Method, and how it works
  • What is Optimonk and how to use it to your advantage

Links and Resources Mentioned:

 

Connect with Jason K. Williamson


– Website: https://jasonkwilliamson.com/

– LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jasonkwilliamson/

– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JasonKWilliamson1992

– Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonKierW

– Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/jason.k.williamson/

 

Listen To Today’s Ecommerce Podcast

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TRANSCRIPT

 

I’m getting what I want, Visa on MasterCard. You are paying same option here, email or SMS; doesn’t matter. Either way, you’re still gonna do what I want you to do, but the fact that the customer now has the power of choice, the option of an upgrade, and it’s an upgraded offer. So I know how powerful SMS is.

I’m willing to offer a little bit more to get your phone number. For example, if I, I know that you’ve already got kids and you’ve already got a wife, so this is obviously not for you, but I think you would’ve remembered when you were a young guy. Getting a phone number from a girl was quite difficult.

You’re listening to eCommerce fast lane, the podcast show to help you build, manage, grow, and scale a successful and thriving company powered by Shopify. Listen to real conversations with partners and subject matter experts. As they share proven practical strategies, platforms, and the best Shopify apps to help you accelerate your business.

The time is now for you to improve efficiencies, grow revenue, profit, and lifetime customer loyalty. Please welcome your host startup, founder and strategic advisor, Steve Hutt. 

Today’s episode is brought to you by Gorgias, the leading customer service platform for Shopify e-commerce brands, helping merchants to unlock revenue and deliver exceptional customer service. By prioritizing customer engagement brands can create deeper and more personalized experiences for their shoppers.

With rising costs of acquiring new customers. Retention is the key focus for direct to consumer brands, creating outstanding customer experiences shouldn’t be costly or a burden for your customer support team. This is exactly why Gorgias is so great. Gorgias helps you improve your customer experiences by managing all of your communication channels from one dashboard.

It provides you with the ability to customize messages and automate replies, giving Gorgias users an unparallel power to resolve customer inquiries quickly and personalized, which is why you need to improve your customer retention. Get started with Gorgias today and start managing all of your communication channels from one platform that’s designed to help you. Exclusive to my listeners is a two month free trial. So go check them out today at ecommercefastlane.com/gorgias. 

Well, hey there, my name is Steve Hutt. I’m senior merchant success manager here at Shopify. And welcome back to season five of e-commerce fast lane, whether this is your first time listening or you’re a weekly subscriber.

I seriously appreciate the fact that you’re taking time today and listening to the show. I, I know there’s plenty of podcast choices out there in Shopify e-commerce and direct to consumer marketing. And just the fact that you’re here today means the world to me. And I know it does for sure, with my featured guest. 

You know, one thing about this show, if this is your first time listening, this is an e-commerce show. We definitely have honest and transparent conversations about building and thriving with your store powered by Shopify or Shopify plus. Now, if you’re an ambitious, lifelong learner, which you likely are since you’re here today, you’re definitely in the right place. New episodes are available twice weekly and they’re available from all your favorite podcast apps, like Apple podcast, Spotify, Google podcast.

And we’re also streaming, live now on Amazon music and on YouTube, which is quite interesting, so I may check that out. I also highly recommend to get the full value of today’s episode that you click through from your podcast app to the show notes at e-commerce fast lane, and there you’ll have the transcript, all the links and all the resources that we mentioned today.

Now today’s episode, my guest is Jason K. Williamson, and he’s the founder of an agency called E2 Agency. So that’s e2.agency and also he is the developer of the Trojan Horse Method and this is why I have him on today, it’s really exciting. But his agency, what they do is they’re a service based business that are here to help Shopify brand owners to grow and scale, but he also has a full training, a full done for you service.

And there’s a one or two very unique solutions that he uses as part of this Trojan Horse Method that I wanna dig into today. So, hi, Jason. Welcome to eCommerce Fastlane.

Hey Steve, what’s up. So first and foremost, so I just wanna say thanks so much for letting me jump on this. I’m very, very excited. I love jumping on podcasts. I love talking. I love. 

That was good. It’s good to hear. 

I do love to talk, but I also love to deliver a lot of value. So, I’m very excited to be on here, you know, kind of introduce myself to some people that have never met me before and drop some bombs. 

Beautiful. Well, thank you so much for that. And I know our, just you being in Australia and me being in Vancouver and British Columbia are we have massive time zone difference. It’s end of day-ish for me, it’s early morning the next day for you. And I appreciate you getting up so early in hustling to be here today and offering this value. 

So let’s talk a little bit on high level first. I wanna understand first about E2, the agency itself, and you specifically, like what sort of day to day things do you do? And, and how does your agency kind of help impact Shopify brands?

Yeah, of course. And so E2 was basically designed on the fact that it was actually a really cool story to, to learn how I actually started this. I mean, if anybody who is either in e-commerce in business in entrepreneurship, and they’re wanting to kind of, you know, kind of take that leap, but they’re scared.

My story was actually pretty cool because what I ended up doing was I worked as an electrician one day. I injured myself for a long— I’ll, I’ll do the, you know, TLDR version— but yeah. I was an electrician and I’d been learning kind of like eCommerce and copywriting and all this stuff. One time, Russell Brunson came to Sydney in Australia.

I called in sick to my boss. I got a credit card and, and booked the hotel. I’d got one of those payment plans for the event and really just put it all on the line. And I met Russell and I said to him, “I says, you don’t know me, but one day you will.” Still doesn’t know me yet. Russell, if you’re listening. 

Well, I have his books on the wall here, so I’m, you know, seeing me, I have not had him on my show either. So maybe he needs to come to my show and meet you. 

Exactly right. So let’s, let’s make that happen one day. So yeah, basically I was in Sydney and just, I was at this event and I was, I think I was like 20, 21 years old. And somebody said to me, it was, it was all info products and stuff. And somebody says, “Jason, what, what is it that you can do? What can you offer to people?” I said, “I don’t know. I’m like a 20 year old electrician. I can’t really package any information and sell anything. I got nothing.” And he says, “Well, what are you good at?” I says, “Well, I’m good at speaking, I’m good at writing.” He says, “Can you write, copy for email?” And I says, “Absolutely not, but I can learn.”

And then I found a friend of mine. He had an e-commerce crisis. His name was Mary Edwards at the time, says, “Mary, are you, are you doing email at all?” He says, “Nope.” I says, “Well, can I do it for free?” And he says, “Yep.” And I jumped in, I had started to learn Klaviyo, I started to get some results. And then within about three months, putting up some flows, using some popups, all of a sudden he generated an extra $60,000 in revenue.

And I was like, you know what? This is a thing. People don’t have this as a, as a solution to, kind of like, this goes then to the story of, I started working with him for a little while and I injured my knee in a roof and I was in rehab. And Murray says to me, one day he goes, “Look, you have the option. You can continue down this route and become an electrician, or you can call it quits right now, fly up to Sydney. I’ll give you two or three months, you know, pay like I’ll hire you, but I encourage you in that time to get your business tied.” 

So I packed all my bags in the back of a car. Literally threw them in black bin bags, drove all the way to Sydney. And at the time, somebody, in an event in Los Angeles that I’d been working with as well, somebody had said, “Hey, and in an email guy in his name was Joshua Tate and he actually runs something called Canvas Cultures. And Josh goes, “I’ve got a guy.”

All of a sudden I got four brand new clients on the way driving to Sydney. And I’d never had that before. So my business kind of started from there and E2 was kind of founded from there. Because it was, I realized there was a gap in a market where nobody was giving this specific eCommerce solution to email and, and then later on to what it evolved to being SMS as well.

So to answer your question in a long way, I like to tell that story because I feel like, I feel like what it is is it’s when you tell the universe and, and I’m not gonna curse on this channel, but let’s do the PG version of what Tony Robbin says, but when you wanna take the island, you gotta burn your butts. Right. 

So I think I strongly believe that’s what I did. Cause I remember my dad says to me, he says, “Well, what’s plan B?” I says, “Well, plan B is that plan a works.” 

Yeah, exactly. 

So I strongly believe that when you tell the universe as something you want, and then you take gigantic massive action where like literally I was two months from being fully qualified as an electrician. Fully qualified. Just had to get my ticket written. I’d done all the schooling. I’d done all the costing. I’d done five years in my apprenticeship. All I had to do was get a signature from my boss that said he’s capable. And that was within the next two months. I would’ve been a fully qualified electrician for the rest of my life, but I said, I don’t wanna fall back on that.

I don’t want that as a plan B. I don’t want that in the back of my head and I quit. And I think that’s such a powerful story because it just goes to show that when you tell the universe exactly what you want and there is no going back and I’ll either die or, or succeed, people tend to succeed, right?

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. You’re definitely preaching to the choir up and entrepreneurship is in my DNA too, right. From the early days. And even though I’m, full-time employed with Shopify, I also have this podcast and kind of doing my thing and it is quite exciting. And, and thanks for, you know, you know, for sharing that.

One thing I noticed when I was doing a little bit of research before recording today, that I understand that you who maybe you can tell a story better than I can, but from what I’ve read, Davey Fogarty from the, who designed this really neat kind of hood slash pajama thing, that’s really comfy and blew up and did really great. And he’s got an amazing YouTube channel that I follow, but somehow you got associated with him able to just talk. I just, I want one last little nugget out of you about, I guess, paint the picture of Jason and who you are aligning yourself with. You have this passion, but you’ve also have gotten very fortunate and aligned yourself with the right people who gave you a shot at it. So that’s what I’d like to hear. 

Yeah, sure. So it’s the old ad edge that your network is your network worth. And, I’m a big, big believer in connecting and networking with people and building relationships. And my philosophy in business has always been, I don’t focus on the money. I focus on the relationships and the value that I can bring to my well, I consider my friends most of the time. Like, you know, there’s, I don’t work with clients that I don’t like.

So I end up becoming friends with them and those friends open doors. They open opportunities in this particular one. I actually met Davey, funnily enough, Davie’s from my city here in Adelaide. I knew that never met him, but I met him for the first time in New York. So I went to an event. It was called Geek Out, and that was in New York and I was speaking there. Again through my network, I was speaking and connecting with people. So I got to go speak at this event. And, and whilst we were all doing our little, you know, meet and greet, there was Davie. 

The, the thing about Davie, right, is you don’t know who he is because he’s so humble. He’s so kind, he’s so humble, he’s so quiet. Instead of like, I mean, the, the man of the, his success, he should be, you know, bouncing around the room, beaming smiled kind of like being very, especially at his age, you would imagine kind of being a little bit obnoxious a little bit cocky. But he’s so humble. So at first, when I met him, I was like, is this the guy that, you know, is supposed to be like, he’s so quiet and so chill.

And we just became friends. And, he actually wanted to work with me in regards to email, but it was me and another company. And I really don’t like competing with other companies. I feel like if you have the choice between me and somebody else, you should take the other person because I’m not gonna compete. Like, I know my value. If you wanna work with me, you wanna work with me. And I don’t want any kind of conflict between that. So I says, look, I’m more than happy to back out that conversation, do your thing. And then all of a sudden he says, “Well, you know, I really still wanna work with you. Can you do SMS?” And I says, “You know what? I can learn. It can’t be that different, right. It’s similar principles, just different software.” And yeah, that’s kind of where I stumbled upon it. So a lot of networking and a lot of, relationships and, and kind of one of the nuggets, if you wanna get out of that, if anybody’s listening for a nugget, right there is attend masterminds, attend events. Network with people, meet people because you do not understand the doors that open. When you start to meet people as an agency service based business, my leads start to slow down as COVID hit, because I wasn’t able to get out there and meet people. I’m a big believer in when you meet people. My, my coach, Daniel Tolson always says this and, and I like to tell this little caveat story.

Right. So have you ever heard of Brian Tracy? So my business mentor, Daniel Tolson gets [to] teach one on one by Brian Tracy. And I think he’s something like $4,000 an hour. So he’s, he’s a big investment. And one time Brian had to speak in Asia and he got, I think it was tonsillitis or something, or he got, he got sick. And everybody that he could turn to, he turned to Dan and he says, “Dan, I need you to speak on my behalf.”

Dan’s held in very, very high regards, especially from people like, you know, Brian Tracy. Dan always says to me, it’s one, one of the big, biggest things he always says to me, he says, “Jason, over zoom. You’ve gotta get your face in there. You’ve gotta have great audio quality. You’ve gotta have a great camera.” He says, “But nothing can replace nose to nose, belly to belly.” So whenever you have the opportunity, meet your clients, meet your friends, go see them. 

Because having that ability to meet nose to nose, belly to belly, you might not drink, you might not do anything. But one of the things that I tend to do is I get together with my friends at these events that I’ve met and we build these bonds in these relationships often through drinking.

Me and Ben Mallor became, very, very, very close friends through just going out and partying together. And eventually that turns into business. So going to events, going to masterminds and building your networks, and just really becoming friends with people without expecting anything, just really, how can I deliver value and become a, a person in your life that you love to have around. Eventually opens up doors cuz when people like you, they want to help you. 

I love that. It’s funny. I have a, a mug on my, desk here that someone sent to me cuz they felt that I was just really helping and offering value to them through this podcast. And the mug just says, “How am I contributing to others?”

And it was just a reminder that stares at me like all day long. It’s all I wanna do. Like you, I just wanna give value back out into the world, cuz I know this law of reciprocity happens where you just do things without expectation of getting anything in return. But it just, for some crazy reason, the universe, whatever it comes back to you tenfold by just being kind and just giving everything you got. So I love that. 

It really does. Doesn’t it? I think there was a story from Tony Robbins one time when he was broke and I think he called it Smoger’s Bogue. I don’t know what that is, but I think it sounds like some sort of buffet. And he, yeah, so he talks about how he’s got, like, I don’t know, $15 and 82 cents in his pocket.

And you know, this young kid sits down, he pulls out the, the chair for his mother and he sits it down and Tony just goes over there with a beam and smile. And he says, you know, like, oh, like I’m so in awe of this, kid’s, you know, aura and stuff like that. And he says like, “Hey, like, I’m so impressed. Like the way that you pulled out your chair for your lady and, you know, you sat her down. And the fact that you’re taking her out to dinner.” 

And apparently the kid just smiles and goes, “Oh, this isn’t my lady, this is my mom.” And he goes, “I’m not taking her out to dinner. I’m just a kid.” And he just smiles with the beaming smile as Tony does. And he, and he just puts the money on the table and he says, “Yes, you are taking her out.”

And then apparently, you know, he just walks home. He’s got no money in his pocket. And as he gets home, some guy who owed him money had left it in the mail, like a check in the mail with extra. And the story was that, you know, when you give the universe gives back, it’s, especially when you give without expecting, if you give with no, you know, kind of restrictions and stuff like you give and the universe will give back. So I’ve always taken that in into heart. 

I wanna talk a little bit about now about getting into some of the tactics, a little bit of the strategy around what it is that you do. And, like one thing that comes up, obviously you’ve mentioned that this Trojan Horse Method is something that I’ve done a little bit of research on.

And, and part of it, I think is, you know, is talking about SMS as it relates to some kind of an opt in strategy and potentially email as part of that. So I’m gonna let you kind of direct the conversation a bit around the Trojan Horse Method generally. And then we might go on a few tangents around SMS, kind of the, the legal things to consider.

And then maybe some of the tools and tactics that can kind of facilitate all of this magic that I know is able to happen with your solution. 

Yeah, yeah, of course. So, yeah, the Trojan Horse is something that it’s really exciting for me because as I was building my business, and building E2 back in the day, one of the things that I used to always use to get huge results and I still do to this day is popups.

I feel like popups are a great way to capture interested or wondering visitors. They, it’s a great way to turn website visitors into subscribers, and then. You know, utilizing email, utilizing SMS. Now it’s a great, great way to turn them into customers. 

Well, one thing that’s interesting too, I find, and you know, the stats proven this is that, you know, mostly about 90% of a website’s traffic is kind of unknown.

And I think, I think what you’re suggesting is that there’s really no way other than anonymously remarketing them through, you know, through either custom fired pixel and some custom solution, or going directly to Facebook and Google, and then having them retarget them there. But with quality product, which I know we’re gonna talk about one in a second, that actually allows you to capture that information either in email or a phone number in exchange for something, it could be a first time visitor, and you’re offering someone of a discount in exchange for having to opt into something. It could be some kind of an instant download. It could be, there’s a lot of interesting things that you can do in exchange for getting that opt in. Because the truth is that it’s quite expensive to drive traffic to a website.

And then if you’re not doing an opt-in of some sort strategic opt-ins and I mean strategic, cuz there’s some interesting solutions. I think that more than just the homepage, there’s a lot of intent based kind of popups that are very interesting as part of the buyer’s journey. So I’m in alignment with you in there.

I totally agree that it may appear to be intrusive to some people, the reality is it’s easy for someone to click X. They still love your brand they’ll move on, but a lot of people do opt in and that really helps, grow your list, which then helps promote your different offers. 

Yeah. So exactly what you said there, Steve you’re a hundred percent, right. I think when you are relying on a pixel, if you’re relying on like retargeting through Facebook, through Google, whatever it would be, even maybe TikTok these days, the thing that you’re doing is you’re giving all of your power to Facebook. You’re giving all of your power to Google. You never ever own any of your data.

So I think number one, what we’re doing with popups here and capturing emails and capturing SMS is we’re building our lists and we’re building our data. We’re owning our data. So that’s the first and foremost thing. I, I see it as like a little safety net. Like you said, 90% of website visitors, we have no idea where they came from.

We’re probably not gonna be able to retarget them again, so I like to offer something super juicy. In eCommerce, a lot of the times, from what I’ve found in my experience is just a direct offer of say $10, 10%, whatever it would be is the best way. Because the psychology that goes into why a customer does something and I’m not a huge fan of those spinning wheels.

I love giveaways, but the way that Hodge twins, when I’m working with them, the way that they do a giveaway, I think is super smart, is that all of the giveaway is contingent on a purchase. So you actually earn points and stuff for a purchasing that goes towards your giveaway. But if you do a giveaway, like the spinning wheel, which is a, like, just potentially get something for free, and we know that most people don’t give anything away for free, but I believe that the intent of the customer who signs up for that often is to win something and to get something for free. So their psychology is they want something for free. 

When I offer and I, I stick to eCommerce, but you’re right, that you could do like a download if you like a service or a SAS or an info product. But in eCommerce specifically, I like to offer a direct benefit offer basically 10% off $10. Simply because I believe the psychology and intent behind that is that they’re signing up to get a discount on your product, that they will end up buying.

It’s interesting. I went to the official hodgetwins.com website, and that’s one of the things that pops up right away. Congratulations. You’ve unlocked a bombshell discount. Ready to see what you got. Put your email in reveal my code pretty compelling. I, I can tell this works. 

Yeah, it does. That was actually got almost a 15% opt-in rate.

So almost 50% of that traffic that visits your website turns into a subscriber. And then on top of it using the Trojan Horse Method, about 50% of them turn into SMS, but we’ll explain a little bit how to do that layer and it actually will give away exactly. So if anybody’s listening and wants to stay along, I actually do give away, more than happy. And I’ll tell Steve exactly how I do it. So if you’re sat listening and you want to figure it out, you could literally listen to this and, and almost word for word follow along and, and build it out. 

All right. Well, let’s, let’s set the foundation a bit about some of the pieces that make all of this work.

So we mentioned that there has to be a solution of some sort to allow for this opt-in to happen. So, and then obviously there has to be in most cases, an SMS solution that helps facilitate this also. So, maybe let’s talk about the two pieces of two or three pieces of technology that you see working well before we kind of dig into the actual method itself.

Yeah. So that’s, that’s a great question. Is what, what type of, platforms, what type of software have we got right now? And I think that’s, what’s interesting about SMS. So much is that back in the day, we didn’t really have a scalable solution that was open to everyday people for SMS. And I think that’s, what’s really been cool is in the last two, two to three years, SMS has been, become available to the everyday person who, who started a Shopify.

It’s just as easy to start a Shopify store, right. So what’s interesting is, is you kind of have like two destinations and you have almost like a bridge and the bridge kind of like has, you could just imagine the bridge has like a fork in the road that you can decide whether or not you go an email or whether you go to SMS and all roads lead to Rome in this scenario you know. So everywhere leads where we want them to lead, it’s just kind of, they choose almost their path. So you can imagine that the customer is at the start of a bridge and they walk across. And then all of a sudden this bridge would be what I use is OptiMonk, which I is the most phenomenal popup tool, simply because I have a lot of power when it comes to my settings.

So I can create these very personalized and I do know the OptiMonk is actually moving to even more personalization. So their goal in the future, as I’ve been speaking to their CEO, the goal in the future is to create these hyper personalized popups that would basically make the customer feel as if that website was made just for them.

And they use popups to do this because popups a very, very low code. They have very low impact on website speeds, and it’s a great way to create personalization that makes a customer feel, Hey, this website was built straight, like directly for me. So I love to use OptiMonk for that simply because it works right now with all of my solutions.

I think we talked about this earlier, when, before we jumped on this call, we talked about like the way that it synergizes it has to work with my other solutions. And that is one of the fantastic things about OptiMonk, cuz it is about doesn’t they’ll help me do it. And when it does, they’ll help me perfect it.

And right now we’ve worked together so much that we’ve made sure that it works perfectly with all of my solutions to make the Trojan Horse work. So if you’re collecting emails, if you’re collecting SMS, whatever you’re doing, it works perfectly. So I was gonna say, so just kind of like the ending is you get to the end of the bridge, which would be OptiMonk, and then you have two choices.

You have the choice of email or SMS. I mean, ultimately you’re gonna be asked with email first and this is why we call it the Trojan Horse is that email kind of acts as that Trojan Horse for SMS to come through. And at the end of that bridge, you you’ll kind of get there and we’ll say, Hey, would you like to upgrade to SMS as well?

And where we use email is, is we use Klaviyo, but I don’t like to use Klaviyo when it comes to SMS. Right now, their solution’s not what I need. I use something called PostScript. The reason being is there’s two things and you, you touched base on it earlier with compliance. PostScript is huge on compliance to make sure that their customers are safe. Cuz SMS is it’s very fruitful, but very dangerous. If you don’t plan on being a good. I guess merchant. 

There is a lot more, the telecom industry is different than can spam act it’s yeah, you just can’t randomly text people. Whereas maybe emails a little different long as you have an opt out legally can spam.

And it says, well, if you have an opt out, you’re fine. There’s just a deliverability challenge, right? But, okay. So I get the legal compliance part of, of that. And I think Shopify’s been really, good at helping people, especially on the plus side, to be able to have from within checkout dot liquid, like the actual theme file, to be able to have a proper, a compliance kind of little check box of saying, Hey, that you, you know, you may get charged for receiving text messages and you authorize us to send you occasional kind of cart recovery or promotional things, and this and that.

As long as you have your some basis covered there, I’ll put links in the show notes for that one, cuz that one is a important one to have, tight in your checkout flow. 

They actually, you probably already know this. I mean, absolutely know this, but it was probably about a year ago. Maybe six months now, I’m not too sure.

They actually opened, opened that exact feature that you’re talking about to regular Shopify stores. So again, anybody who just starts up their store can going to check out, click a button. And all of a sudden, now they’ve got underneath the phone there’s and, and just kind of touching base on this real quick, let’s compliance is a big thing, cuz this kind of just naturally caveat and into compliance, compliance is, is dangerous.

So let’s kind of just quickly touch base on the, the dangers of SMS and, and I don’t like to scare anybody else so that, so if you hear this, don’t get terrified. All you gotta do is make sure that you do it right. The risks are that if you choose to non compliantly collect SMS subscribers, the risk is that you could potentially get a $500 to $1,500 US fine per message sent.

So if you had an abandoned card that was collecting the subscribers, non compliantly and was sending out, you sent a hundred, that’s a potential, a $500 times 100 messages fine and I think this happened to Colorpop. They got done for like 1.8 million, I think, plus legal fees or something. They ended up being like 3 million, Victoria’s Secret as well.

Got done for 5 million. So these things do happen maybe to bigger brands. And a lot of people might think, “oh, but I’ll get away with it there”, looking at me, I just wouldn’t risk it. I think my sleep is more important. So all you gotta do, not being too scared is just understand that what does compliance mean?

Well, compliance just means that you have to get explicit consent from the customer. They have to totally understand what they’re signing up for and they have to do it consciously. So what does that mean? Well, that’s where Shopify came in with the solution that, for example, you have your email and right underneath it, by default, you can select a pre-check box that says, sign me up for emails and offers.

That’s okay. That’s totally fine. Like you said, with email, if they’ve got an optout, it’s pretty good. Nobody’s gonna get hurt. You probably might just have deliverability issues at worst, but SMS is far more dangerous. And Shopify did come in for the clutch with this, with regular brands, cuz prior to it, check out Liquid, you can only do it through a custom code, where it would be like a custom SDK that you would use.

So it was not a solution for everybody. It was only just for the, I guess the elite Shopify brands, but now anybody and everybody can go into their checkout settings and underneath where it says, pre- default email, there’s now a new option that says collect SMS subscribers. And then what you’ll see is a new box comes up underneath the phone number a field on your checkout. And it literally says exactly what you says. You can put any language you want. 

My advice for anybody is I would do an offer there. I think SMS subscribers are very, very juicy. I think they’re very powerful. So the more that you can give them to get their SMS the better. So I would do something like 20% off your next purchase when you join the SMS club or whatever it is that you wanna do.

But when they click that button, another dropdown will come up, which if they’ve already put their phone number in, it will already have their phone number entered. So it just confirms that that’s the number they wanna subscribe to. And then it will have all of the compliant language. So that’s the other thing you need explicit consent.

So the customer has to consciously sign up. He or she has to completely understand that they’re signing up for SMS and then they have to understand the terms behind it. I’m signing up for marketing. I think there’s also that you’re kind of, and this, most solutions will do this automatically for you or give you the text compliance language, but you kind of just have to explain, you’re signing up for marketing.

You’re gonna get stuff like a bag and cards and the frequency of it, and here’s how you stop, and here’s how you get help. And that’s kind of the TLDR version of that. But again, summarize, they have to understand completely explicitly sign up. So even if they send a text message to a certain number with a keyword, they know that they’re getting an opt in there because they physically send in their keyword. You basically can’t trick people into joining your SMS list. That’s ultimately what it is. 

So there’s the three tools that we’re kind of talking about today. So, Klaviyo is kind of like, quote unquote, the defacto standard a little bit, for a lot, from the email perspective. PostScript, is, you know, definitely they have their flag in the sand when it comes to Shopify exclusively.

They actually call themselves the, the Klaviyo of SMS.

There you go. 

That’s what they started calling themselves at the beginning. And it worked actually, I was a big user of Klaviyo, so I was like, “Oh. Interesting, this.” 

That’s awesome. There are other interesting players in SMS, for sure. I love PostScript though. I think, I think they’ve got a lot, lot of great benefits and then OptiMonk is the other solution.

And I know their, their solution, which is interesting to me is, e-commerce fast lane. Just kind of like the media property is running on WordPress, cause it’s not an e-commerce site. So it’s more of a content strategy around it. And I downloaded and installed their plugin and WordPress plugin. And it’s so interesting. Some of the campaigns, and this is probably part of a pivot that we’ll talk about a minute about your, your whole solution here and how the Trojan Horse Method actually works. But I just love the fact, you know, I’m not trying to pitch this product, but it’s so interesting where they have a lot of these, popups and exit intent things, all designed by goal.

So, you know, like build your list goal or stop a cart abandonment goal, or you know, how to guide your visitors or collecting feedback and promotional offers. And they have predesigned and very easily editable, very attractive in all different types, embedded, full screen, sticky bars, pop ups, exit intent, gamification surveys.

They’ve got quite a few things and I find this is actually, to me, I’ve seen the other kind of modal popup solutions. You can go to the app store and see them. They’re all Klaviyo, and all the tools. They all have certain types of collecting email addresses and SMS kind of built into their tool. But it’s nice this one, because you can create a lot of original campaigns. And it’s almost like a, like a canvas is a good starting point of, “Hey, I like how it looks. I’m gonna make a slight tweak to the colors and the branding and the logo and what I’m trying to do”, but the bulk of it is there all based on your goal and the type of message that you wanted to deliver on your website.

So it’s pretty interesting. And that’s the choice that you’ve picked and that’s ironically the one that I’ve picked too, so. 

Yeah. I honestly think OptiMonk has such a beautiful user experience. I think, from the onboarding to getting your stuff live, like you said, there’s lots of different options. There’s lots of different already pre-built campaigns based on goals. There’s a lot of great templates, actually look fantastic. And like you say, it’s, they’re always good starting points too. A lot of the times, my team, even my partner, my now fiance, which I always call her partner, but she doesn’t like that anymore. As of a couple days ago, she prefers the word fiance. 

Okay.

But even she, when she jumps on cuz she does a lot of work with me. She, she works with a lot of brands. She actually specifically works the, the health and beauty space, you know, like supplement bra— well like makeup brands or wellness brands. And she jumped on the other day, she had to make a popup and she was like, “I’m so scared, I’ve never done it before.” And I was like, “Don’t worry about it, like just jump in OptiMonk and I’ll walk you through it.” By the time I got downstairs, Steve, she’d already built a fully fledged popup. It looked great because she just was like, “Oh, I just found a template.” Like, there was like, how do you wanna build it?

She was like, “Well, I wanna collect leads.” And she was like, “Well, what template do you wanna use?” And she was like, “Well, this one looks really good.” And I was like, “So you, you don’t need me anymore?” She’s like, “No, no, I’ve got it. It’s done. I just need to know how to connect it.” I was like, “Okay, well I can help there.”

The that’s easy part, yeah. Yeah. Just the creative part. But you know what? Just select the right template, tweak it. Boom. Ready to go. And I think you just get better and better at it. It’s nice that they have lots of options. So there’s no, there’s, repeat visitors start coming back. There’s no kind of like popup or banner blindness because you’re changing campaigns.

I’ve, I’ve even noticed even in the back office, they have things, all around themes too. If it could turn into summer theme and Cyber Monday and Easter and Mother’s day and Children’s day and Father’s day. And like there’s stuff in there to really, I almost like build some creativity as a good starting point. So you can really rotate through different options to still, they didn’t eat in the opt-in at one time. Maybe they’re gonna opt in this time, right? So. 

Theyre, they’re almost better at research than I am. Sometimes I’ll jump on OptiMonk when I wanna know what sale’s coming up, cuz they’ve always got templates ready to go. Black Friday’s coming up father’s day here or, or anything. So yeah, they are fantastic when it comes to that. And then on top of it as well, like I was saying as well, their user experience. If I wanna build a popup from scratch phone, if I wanna build a popup blank, it’s so easy to do. It’s a drag and draw builder, super, super easy.

Everything seems to be responsive and work, you know, for the better part of things and all it takes a little bit of tweaking just to get it up there. You know, you can do mobiles, you can do desktops, you can do hide elements on desktop, you can hide elements on mobile. So you can create these fantastic cause I’m a big believer in that, right?

When I create popups, one of the things that I need to do is make sure that my desktop and my popup looks completely unique, but I need to make sure, and, and this is what I love about them, is you don’t even have to hide a button. You can literally switch the mobile view, and now you’re only editing the mobile version.

So if I want that mobile call to action button, you know, the text me my offer or the reveal my discount. If I want that to be fatter, bolder, more juicy, more clickable, I can easily do that by selecting the, the mobile phone version and then going ahead and just tweaking anything to what I want and making sure that it looks fantastic and clickable and responsive. And it’s super, super easy to do so, just even, even using the templates and tweaking them or starting from scratch, everything is so, so easy to do.

And that’s one of the things that I love about them is because as an agency owner, I’ve worked with probably more than 400 brands, 500 brands by now, just a lot of time inside builders. That’s a lot of time doing popups and there’s a, and not on top of that I wanna scale my agency. I want to, you know, bring in my team.

It needs to be a good, easy user experience for my team. And then on top of it for any enterprise brands, I believe like I’m a, I consider myself a power user. It’s just so easy to do what I need to do and, and make it work and make it make sense and look good. That that’s one of the things that pulls me to it is that it’s so easy to build a fantastic popup and understand the software that it just makes my life easy. And I think a lot of the times we are looking for things to make our life easy.

Thanks for supporting our incredible sponsor, Gorgias the leading customer service platform for Shopify brands. They help customer success teams fulfill a promise of delightful customer experiences. This leads to higher customer retention and brand loyalty for your Shopify store. Now don’t forget to click the link in the show notes.

You get an exclusive two month free trial of Gorgias, or you can head on over to eCommerce fast lane.com/Gorgias. So Jason, we’re gonna pivot to the, I guess, the actual strategy now. So we understand the software side of it, you know, OptiMonk for sure. Potentially PostScript as your SMS, platform Flavio, very potentially as your email marketing solution.

So now, let’s walk us through now, what happens and how does this Trojan Horse Method actually work? Share as much as you can. I know we’re going to dig into maybe some offers at the end about how to get into some massively hardcore training or how quickly you can get up and running. But just would love to, you know, whatever you can share over the next few minutes.

I think people would love to understand more. They agree with these tools likely I’ve spoken to all of them on this show before, but they’ve not heard about the Trojan Horse Method. 

Yeah. So the Trojan Horse Method is what I believe is, is the best way to capture SMS subscribers. And the reason why I I’m so focused so heavily focused on SMS is I believe that SMS is gonna be the biggest channel of marketing when it comes to retention marketing of the next decade.

The reason I believe that is because we’re already spending most of our time on our mobile phones. We’re almost symbiotic, right. We, we have our mobile phones within reach and distance. So do you have your mobile phone within reach and yeah, exactly. Right. If I was to send you a text message, would you get it within the next four hours?

Yeah. 

You’ll get it in the next you get it within the next half an hour or less? 

Yeah. 

Yeah. By the time you finish this podcast, you check your phone, you say, ” oh, Jason’s texted me. “

Yeah. A hundred percent. 

Funny enough, I actually dunno where my mobile phone is. That is rare. 

It 7:00 AM for you. 

But I usually actually I do, it’s it’s in my hoodie. It’s actually in my hoodie pocket next to me. So a big focus of mine has been, how can I capture more SMS subscribers compliantly? So we have to look at another thing where people kind of tend to forget is when iOS 15 came in and kind of did all that tracking stuff that made it very difficult for anybody uses Facebook iOS then also introduced something called MPP, which is mail protection privacy for anybody using an iPhone.

Basically what happens if they was to select it and I think it asked them when they upgraded to the new iOS, it said, “Hey, do you want us to allow people to track your emails?” And they people, most people are like, “no, please don’t” and, and they created something called MPP mail protection, privacy. And what that does is it’s basically like a proxy.

So it’s like a, it’s basically like a robot. If I was to send an email, it opens it for me and then sends it to me. It kind of like safeguards all the, the, the track. So what I did, it means that some robot or some proxy opens my email and then sends it to me anonymously kind of, I never know now who opened my email, what happened?

I don’t know any stats anymore. So deliverability actually suffered dramatically in the last, probably 12 to 18 months. If anybody’s doing email, they would realize that they’re hitting more spam traps and they’re hitting more like Gmail spam and all those folders. And I actually heard a statistic from Klaviyo probably about a month ago, maybe six weeks ago that spam went up by like 300% in Google. Yeah. And then you look at pretty much every brand that I’m ever following right now. Even the big brands like UDI sometimes end up in my spam folder. 

So deliver, deliverability is a very interesting challenge, I think, for a lot of brands and, and it talks about like list hygiene and stuff like that, and just having active subscribers and just, yeah, it’s pretty scary world out there.

Sending to the correct segment for me has been the biggest savior. Actually, trying to just caveat from that, just to drop a little bit of extra value, I guess, for everybody listening is when I started working with the Hodge twins, the brand that ran it before, I think kind of did a bit of a churn and burn in my opinion. 

I noticed that their open rates was, you know, 10, 15, 20%. And you might be like, well, 15, 20, percent’s not that bad. Well, mail protection privacy was about 30, 40% of the list. So about 30, 40% of the list they may have been or may have not have been opening. So when you got an inflated stat, like 20%, it actually could realistically be 11 to 12.

We don’t know, but what was happening there is they didn’t know who was opening. So when you don’t know what’s opening deliverability is that of basically Google, Gmail, Hotmail, you know, Outlook. They’re all trying to basically cultivate the, the content that’s been sent to your email and make sure that it’s relevant and, and important to you.

And if you are sending emails as a sender and you’re sending to somebody who’s not opening, it basically tells Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail, “Hey, this person doesn’t really care whether or not is customers or her customers are opening. They’re just gonna keep sending.” So they’ll kind of put you in that same list of those types of people that are just gonna spam.

That’s what they consider spam. If you are sending me an email that I don’t care about, well, that’s spam. So what the problem that that caused is we actually don’t know who’s opening. Gmail doesn’t know is opening, Klaviyo doesn’t know who is opening. And then all of a sudden, we are going in spam because we are sending emails to people that we don’t know is opening.

We think they are. So now you might be sending to somebody who’s not opened your email in five months. And now it might be gone to spam and you keep continuing to send that. And what it’s saying is, “Hey, you are not caring about whether or not this person’s open, clicked, replied, you don’t care. You’re just gonna keep sending.”

So that’s actually kind of why I moved over to SMS was that problem was so difficult to solve. And I actually don’t see a way around it just yet. I don’t know how they’re gonna get around it other than being far more aggressive on my segments of who I send to that wants to receive my emails. So again, I, when I worked with the Hodge twins they, when I did any spam test, I was getting about 45 to 50% spam rates.

And I’ve never seen that in my entire life. What I had to go ahead and do is I had to take a, a step back for about six weeks. I started to send to very, very, very, very highly engaged segments. This was like people who had opened five times in seven days. You know, people who had opened five times in seven days and clicked four times.

And I just had to do that for a very long time. And, and, and then I’d slowly start to open up the throt order. I’d go seven times in, you know, five times in seven days and click four times. Well, now I can send it somebody who’s done it 10, 10 days. And it sounds aggressive, it sounds difficult; and it, to be honest, it was. But they were in very bad standing and we went from poor health, like poor sending reputation to healthy within about six weeks.

Just being very careful who we sent to. You’ve also gotta look at things like, you know, SPF records on your D-marks and things like that. I would highly encourage that. If you don’t know, just probably reach out to an expert, somebody can help you. There’s probably somebody online. I don’t really focus on deliverability too much.

I, I did have a guy who did it. But I just find somebody random, like anybody else would just make sure that your D mark, your SPF records are all up to date so that you’re doing all the right things when it comes to sending emails. And then again, just goes to your segments, send great quality content, great send very clickable.

And then the final thing that I think was a touch on it, for me, something that I thought really, really worked well was I’d ask a lot of like good questions that would ins— it would inspire a reply. Replies are a very good way to know, I mean, at the end of the day, mail protection, privacy cannot go ahead and reply for them it can’t click either. But the replies show to Google that they’re a person that they want to be on the list. So you’re a good sender. You’re a good, you know, you’re a good company. So if you can inspire people to reply to you, my advice would be to put this in your welcome series for your new customers, it would be, Hey, like, you know, for example, I was building a brand called Puppy Toes which was, it was mine and my partner’s brand.

And we did harnesses and custom leashes and leather and all this type of stuff. And it was these beautiful, you know, things for dogs, cuz we got two German shepherds. Funny enough, none of the equipment that we made would fit them, but, yeah. So, but when I was doing this, it was, it was, it was just like that.

I was always trying to figure out, well, how can I inspire or reply? So for me, I would ask the question that I know that people want to answer. Tell me the story of when you met your dog, like when was the first time you saw your dog? What, what was the reaction? And then I’ll tell a little bit of my story.

Mine was, I opened up the door, this guy had brought him down from a farm. It was just one, his name was Spencer. And I remember as the guy opened that door, Spencer popped his little head around the corner. He was about eight weeks old, nine weeks old. And then his big fluffy, German, she head just died, bouncing down the hallway to the point where he tried to stop slid, smacked into the wall. And I was like, that’s the one. And I know that people wanna reply to that. They wanna tell me those stories. So you want to create these feel good replies and a reply will really help your deliverability. 

So going back to it to summarize that I, I just really wanna drop that. Cause I know that that’s been a struggle for a lot of people be sending to very, very highly engaged segments. Understand where you stand right now with your, you know, your deliverability by just doing a couple of checks. I think there’s the softwares out there. Like Mail Genius, I think is free and you can send that. So probably try that out and then yeah, sending to high segments, getting replies, just making sure that you, your list is very healthy, like you say, but that was a quick caveat.

I kind of wanted to touch on that. Cause I know a lot of people are really struggling with it. For me. I went from, it was literally like we went from like 10 to 20% open rates to now we’re getting like 70 and 80% now. I totally understand that that’s not accurate, but we’re probably getting 43 to 35% opens, you know, take MPP away.

And that’s so that’s part of the email, part of the, part of the solution. So then with SMS being, you know, I mean, like you said, my phone’s right beside me, the open rates, all the stats are here. I mean, anybody that doesn’t have, PostScript or attentive or SMS bumper, one of these tools in your ad, in your admin right now, and just even just using the automation sequences that are built into browse and cart recovery, those just on their own will generate significant revenue for you and more than pay for the solution. Just that alone. Just automation. 

Yeah. And a lot of the time you don’t have to pay Steve. A lot of the time it’s with these SMS solutions, it’s kind of the pay as you play. Right? If I don’t make any money, I don’t buy any credits and I might buy $5 worth of credits. But if I’m not making money, I don’t buy more.

So that’s one of the, the best things is that you don’t have to put a lot of money down to start this. You just buy the credits and, and if you make money, you just buy more. 

No, that does make sense. But every brand that I have that has automation turned on for SMS, they’re all making money and they just, just keeps the engine flowing.

It’s just it’s money and left on the table, by not having automation and SMS for cart recovery. Since, as you said, I mean, I’m only used on the plus side. So with these kind of customized kind of legal opt in kind of things, and it’s nice that Shopify core has the built in now to all the regular core plants.

But automation turned on with PostScript would be like, Table stakes now. And I think it it’s where your method, this Trojan Horse Method is kind of the next step. So let’s, let’s talk about the next step now. So we’ve got these three solutions and let’s let’s, let’s unpack it all. 

Yeah. So the reason why I kind of talked about it before is you have to understand the importance of why we are doing what we’re doing.

So knowing that there’s a lot of the iOS problems and I wanted to touch base on delivery just in case somebody’s listening, but knowing there’s a lot of iOS problems, knowing that you’ve got your phone right next to you, knowing that the statistics are that people, text messages opened slash read within the first four hours, 98% of tax read.

So that’s huge. And my experience on automations click through rates on SMS can be anything from 10 to 20 times higher. The email, my open rates that sometimes I’ve had click through rates, the same kind of statistic as an open rate for an email, the way that I do the Trojan Horse Method, actually for some brands that I work with has like a 70 to 80% click on the first takes that we send, which is absurd.

So you gotta understand the importance of why the Trojan Horse came up and, and again, SMS is so important, it’s gonna be so much more important. And I knew from a very young age, probably like 21, 22 years old, that popups were the best way to capture website visitors. But I also knew the email was so important and I didn’t want to take that away.

So when I started working with Davey, he said, you know, like, how can we set up past SMS? So we went ahead and set it up. And we, we did our usual checkout that you’re talking about. But back when we started, Steve, you could get away with the same pre default checkbox that says, email me and text me with news and offers.

And that was okay. But then about two years ago, I think obviously there’s a lot of Shopify brands. A lot of people was doing it. I think people may being gonna spam through text that they weren’t necessarily understanding that they were signing up for, carriers intercepted. There’s like, “Hey, you can’t do this anymore. You have to get explicit consent.” That’s when the, the new check box that we talked about came in. So here’s the issue. We went from like three, four, $500,000 a month because we were capturing pretty much anybody and everybody who entered their phone. Right. It went from about $500,000 a month because we were able to send these campaigns.

We grew our list to a hundred thousand people. We were sending abandoned cars, nearly everybody to abandoned car, and nearly everybody was clicking it. Right. But here’s a problem. The moment they introduced that, all of a sudden we couldn’t do what we were doing anymore. We went from about half a million dollars a month to about 50. Huge drop.

And for maybe six months, we were sat there going, how in the world are we gonna do this? How are we gonna get back to those numbers without interrupting what is already our email? So this is where the Trojan Horse came in. One day I went to a, drive through, I think I must have been, if you’ve heard this email, I’m not fat, but I’m, I’m a little bit of a big boy so I can eat.

So I love to eat. And I went through a drive through, I think I was busy and I said, oh yeah, I’ll just get a medium whatever meal. I’ve got a regular regular meal. And as I got to the, to the window, she says, “Hey, would you like to upgrade that for just $2?” Or whatever it was and instinctively so easily, I was like, “Yeah, yeah, whatever.” Boom paid in my card. As I got to the end, I was like, ah, I didn’t really need that, but for some reason I just upgraded, it was just so easy to do. And I just, and I thought to myself, well, wait a minute. What if I was to do that for my emails and my SMSs? What if I was to upgrade their order?

Just like a drive through just a very, very simple, do you want fries with that method and will start collecting their SMSs? So to anybody who’s wondering what the Trojan Horse is. It basically is that we will use email as a very, very low risk, very low impact. Very easy to say yes to offer. I might say, Hey, do you want 10% off?

Just enter your email here. They’ll say yes. And then on the next page, I’ll go, Hey, would you like to upgrade from 10% to 15% or to 20%? All you’re gonna do is join the SMS club. And then I’ll give ’em the extra benefits SMS club, you know, users get 24 hours or 48 hours early access. You also get told and notified about brand new products before it goes live to the public.

Do you wanna join our SMS? And I always give the option, right? You know, this probably better than anybody, but what is one of the closes best closest: Visa or MasterCard. 

Visa. 

But all roads lead to Rome. Either way, I’m getting what I want. Visa or MasterCard, you are paying. Same option here, email or SMS? Doesn’t matter. Either way, you’re still gonna do what I want you to do. But the fact that the customer now has the power of choice, the option of an upgrade, and it’s an upgraded offer. So I know how powerful SMS is. I’m willing to offer a little bit more to get your phone number. For example, if I, I know that you’ve already got kids and you’ve already got a wife, so this is obviously not for you, but I think you would’ve remembered when you were a young guy, getting a phone number from a girl was quite difficult.

It’s quite a hard task, right. I genuinely approached a girl one time in, in a bar and I was talking to her and I was like, “Hey, can I get your phone number?” She says, “No, but I’ll give you my email.” So even then we’ve gotta understand and appreciate that the answer has the phone number for somebody who’s a very, very intimate thing.

We have direct access to them. So we need to offer more. So this is where I do it. So I give the customer the power of choice. We first get them, we break down their walls by saying, here’s an email offer 10%. Once they’ve said, yes, it’s much easier to get ’em to say yes again, we upgrade their offer 15% now, and we give them the power of choice.

Do you want me to text you your upgraded offer or do you just wanna stick with your 10%? You have the option of yes or no. If they say no stick with email, they go through their regular route and they just go an email from us. And then later on in my email sequences, later on in my campaigns, I’m gonna then try and get them to join my SMS list again.

But if they say yes, I simply take ’em to another popup. It’s just the next step of the popup. It says great to join SMS, all you gotta do is enter your phone number here, click submit. And then underneath that is our compliant language that says, when you join our list, you’re getting marketing from us and they simply say yes, and then they go through to the next step, which would be close the popup.

And they’ll get a text from us almost instantly. When I joined an email list, and then I try to get my, my code there’s so many things that can happen here. And I’m email first, I love email. But if I was to get my email, enter my email into the flow, and I would say, yeah, so I want my 10%. It’s actually happening to me the other day.

So I was, you know, I was flying to Istanbul, for a little bit of a trip. And I went to this, this place called Strandbags. And as I’m sitting there, my, my partner sees this “20% off if you join their email list” and we were like, eh, like I could always unsubscribe. So , so I joined the, the email list, but it wasn’t for five minutes, did the email trigger five minutes?

I was stood around and at this point I got distracted. I looked at everything in the store. I keep open in my emails to find it. And I’m not getting a notification when this comes in because it’s coming in my updates on my promotion. So I don’t get notified when this turns up, I have to manually check.

So when I go to those tabs to manually check, I also get distracted by multiple emails that are trying to get me to click. So I’m going through and I’m clicking other emails and I’m getting distracted. But what SMS does is it cuts through that noise. I don’t get distracted. I get that Bing, that notification that pops up on the top of my phone.

I click it. My offer’s right there. It’s instantaneous and I can follow through. That’s why my click rates are 60, 70, 80%. And if anybody wants to know it, well, Jason, what do you even say in that text? Very, very simple. I say, “Hey, welcome to the club as promised. Here’s your discount code.” And then I’ll do a nice little spiel, you know, like for example, for the Hodge twins, I’ll just say, get your patriotic merchandise and become, you know, one of America’s biggest fans or something like that.

I’ll always give them this nice little, little benefit driven snippet, and then I’ll be like, blink. It’s super, super easy that you get your code, you get a nice little snippet of benefit, and then you get the link. So, so simple, so easy to follow. And that’s why the click through rate is gigantic because you gotta understand the timing.

There’s no distractions. It goes straight to my mobile phone and I can click the link straight from there. And I get back to my experience and, and what I believe that to be is a very frictionless commerce experience. 

Oh, this is lovely. I think one, my takeaways are, are one, I agree with you have to build your email list cuz that’s table stakes today. I know that attention is difficult and deliverability, I think all those things are difficult. And I think even itself, you really gotta take a look at your, as you said, your D mark, your SPF records, all these different things. There’s technical things, but also some segmentation things from email, you still have to be compliant around that.

So please don’t just, you know, pray and spray on your email list. You know, you really have to be very targeted about like open rate and click rate of, of these contacts if they’ve purchased or not, you really gotta be really sensitive on all that. So I appreciate that you called that out. I’m in complete alignment about SMS.

I subscribe to SMS offers and you’re right. You get the attention as a brand, to the end consumer quite quickly. And, you know, I have like Dr. Squa, for example, like the soap company, they text me different offers and things, and you know, there’s a few others that I get that I, because I want to get them. And I’m excited. 

I’m part of, I feel like it’s a very, it feels interruptive, but it’s okay- interruptive. Cuz if I don’t like it, it’s easy to type in, stop send and that’s done. But knowing that, as you said, in like four hours or less well for me’s probably that very 15 minutes probably I’m checking my text messages could be my wife and other people, right. 

And so knowing that, that just shows the power, there’s so much you can do with text message. So you’re looking at it from the marketing perspective of trying to get the intended outcome, the business outcome, it’s either email and then a conversion or SMS and a conversion. End of the day, you’re still getting, you’re going down that journey of getting that conversion. And then you also have some opportunity in the future for other campaign building. And it’s just, it’s a larger scope of opportunity here. 

Yep, absolutely. So, yeah, exactly like you said, we, we get their email up front; that is imperative. I don’t think I should ever take that away. And then, like you say, within 15 minutes, you’re often gonna open it. I think the statistics could have been even lower, but I like to say within four hours, 98% open, cuz maybe somebody’s at the gym or maybe they’re in a class or maybe they’re at school, maybe they’re at work. People don’t have the luxury that we do, you know, to be able to check our phone, very frequently.

But yeah. And then, like you say, you’ve got so many opportunities then to continue building that list through your email, or you’ve got the opportunity to send a text blast whenever you launch a new product to our new offer. And there’s, there’s so many avenues you can go down. The one that I love, the thing I love about Trojan Horse is again, it’s not interruptive.

You still go ahead and build that email list. You actually just, just so you know, as well, the statistics behind this, I actually trialed the whole “hey, we’ll give you 10% off if you give us your phone number upfront” and the signup rate was about 1%. I actually worked with a brand called Lions Not Sheep sounds like I’m very patriotic, but it just seemed to attract those types of brands.

So I worked with Alex from, Lions Not Sheep and he was using PostScript’s popup. And when we did the mathematics, he was getting about a 1% sign up. But when we did the method that I’m teaching, the same one from Hodge twins, which was “Hey, like you’ve unlocked a mystery discount?” Our wording was different, our pitches were different, but it was somewhat the same idea.

He was getting about a 15% in the end 15% opt-in right. He actually, crazy enough was getting about, because he went for a double your discount, which is one of the offers I talk about. So I’ll quickly caveat after this, onto what types of offers I believe that you could do. But he, he offered double your discount and he got about 70% of users to say yes.

And what it worked out to be is his original popup of directly offering them 10% for their mobile was getting about 1% signup. But when he used the Trojan Horse Method, he effectively was getting 10% of his website visitors to turn to SMS. He 10x is, and he’s even on my website saying the same thing.

So he 10x his SMS subscribers using the Trojan Horse Method, because it was, again, an email was a very, very low risk offer. People understand that to get something, they put their email in and they’re more than happy to do that. And then when you upgrade them using the Trojan Horse Method, it’s a very unintrusive, unaggressive way to do it.

And the other caveat, by the way, Steve, if you’ve ever seen it, I’m not gonna curse, but there’s a big, mm. When somebody does this to me, my partner hates it. Cuz she goes on a lot of, you know, beauty brands or a lot of these, you know, fashion brands and, and they say, “Hey, do you want 10% off?” And she’s like, “yeah, I’ll get 10 sent off.” Here’s my email. “Hey! You’re so close to unlocking your 10%, just one more step, enter your phone number.” And she’s like, “No.” Like that, wasn’t the deal, you know what I mean? So exactly. It’s almost like you’re holding their, their discount at ransom, right. And nobody likes that. So we don’t like to feel trapped.

We don’t like to feel out of control. And I think that’s what the Trojan Horse does. So just to give you a quick case study, that’s what the Lions Not Sheep went from like 1% using that direct offer. Somebody might be like, alright, but look, what if I was to just offer SMS front? Well, they went from 1% to 10%.

They 10x their SMS leads just using this strategy alone. So it’s very, very powerful. I think one of the things I wanna talk about as well, just in case anybody’s wondering is like, what should I offer? What you should offer. Right? So that in my experience, I think there’s four different offers. I go with first and foremost, if a brand you might be a very premium brand and you might be like, Hey, like we’re giving 10% off, but we don’t wanna give anymore.

Well, you can go ahead and do some what I, what I call the convenience offer. It’s simply that of, “Hey, would you like us to text you your code?” You don’t have to upgrade it. You don’t have to do anything, x-rates. It’s just, “Hey, would you prefer if we text you the code, it’s just easier to get to. And also you can join our club, you know, for 48 hours early access to sales, get new products before anyone else.”

And if someone’s an avid fan of your brand, they’re gonna do it. And my experience is that about 30 to 40% of people are gonna say yes to this, and they’re gonna choose SMS over email, very low risk offer. Very easy to do. Yep. Convenience offer, cuz you’re just simply allowing them the convenience of receiving their code via text, not email.

The next one is the upgrade your offer. So that’s, if you’re 10% just upgrade your offer to 15%. The next one I like is my personal favorite, which is double your discount. I use the words, “Hey, you’ve got 10%. Do you want to double your discount?” The, to uptake on that is about 60, 50 to 80% in my experience.

Hmm. And that’s huge. That’s powerful language. That’s huge. When you think about it. Yeah. Double your discount. Cause you’ve already kind of, they’ve kind of semi committed maybe to 10% off, but it’s like now, now a 20% off, like, oh, okay. Yeah, you can have my phone number.

But it’s, but it’s behind something again, all roads leads to wrong, but it’s behind something that we want. We know that there theres message juicy. We know that they click through rates are, you know, sometimes 10 to 20 times higher. So I’m willing to offer them a higher discount. The higher, the better for me, like double discount. Sounds good.

And it always works really well if I, I don’t really mind giving them, giving them a double the discount because it is just on the first purchase. Now I’ve got their SMS. and I can continue to market to them. I own their number, which is huge. And then the, the final one is a free product. So we’re testing it right now with the Hodges, we’re just working out the, the mathematics behind it, but we might give away a free wristband or something like that. So join the SMS club and get a free wristband with your purchase, which the uptake, when I figured that out, a couple of brands that I worked with the uptake was anything above 80%.

I like the W discount more because I think it’s easier to set up, but if you can be free product with any purchase, you can even do a free mystery product and just set up in your warehouse. Like, Hey, like, you know, whenever we’ve got product stock that we just can’t seem to get rid of just clearance stock, maybe like, you know, low.

What I like to go for by the way, is high value, low cost to you, risk spends super high value to the customer for some reason, but when it comes to us super low cost. So it’s things like that. Does that make sense? Does that make sense? 

Definitely does I have, I have like copious amount of notes. When I say life of learning, that is definitely what today is all about. I had a general knowledge of the Trojan method based on my kind of looking around a little bit, but now it’s really clear to me and I love these offers. I love the flow. I love the fact that the tools that we get to use play nicely with each other. I think we talk in the green room about that whole thing about OptiMonk working well with Klaviyo and PostScript.

And, and then any other tools that you may, have connected to your Shopify store, it’s all part of your marketing strategy. They all talk to each other correctly and the flows are there and they just, it just works. And like you said, all roads lead to Rome. So if you’re gonna just take us on the SMS or the email offer first.

Fantastic. If you’re gonna double your discount and we’re gonna get your phone number to have the better open and click rates, which is what we want. That’s the future of commerce, so to speak kind of being on your phone mobile first, I think that’s pretty cool. Thank you for, for sharing all this one thing I, I wear near and the end of the show for today.

But one thing I, I really wanted to bear with everyone is that you do have a course and there is, you know, some access to some tools and things. I wanna make sure that I get that out into the wild, because I think there’s people listening today that would agree that this is a great strategy and a tactic. These tools and this strategy, I think is very interesting, but maybe there needs to be a little more handholding to kind of make it a reality.

And I know you put together a course, and we’re not necessarily here to pitch it, but you know, at the end of the day, I think some people like that sort of learning where they get a learning platform and they get video and, and PDFs and things that they can kind of work their way through it in, on their own speed.

The end of the day, they’re getting the end result that they want out of their brand. So maybe I’ll open the floor to you and you kind of share a couple offers for today. 

Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate that. So I’m not big on pitching either, but I do think, I think it, Alex Amoy once said when I was listening to his book, a hundred million offers, have you read that, that one?

I have not, but it’s on my audible list. So I’m would. 

You gotta get around to ASAP. 

I will.

It’s, it’s so good. There’s one thing that he says that he says that when he is pitching or when he tells these salespeople, you know, Hey, you gotta pitch this off of blah, blah, blah. He says that, you know, people are very gentle.

They’re very soft. Some closers don’t try too hard, but what he realizes that at the end of the, the sales quota, they make more sales than they did the whole time. I think it was something like the last three days they’ll make more sales than they did the whole month. And the reason why is that their urgency is.

And he says that he loves to close people because he knows that this could be his last opportunity. And if he doesn’t, then they’re not gonna join. And if they don’t join, they don’t get the value from his service or his business or his gym, and I think that’s really important. The reason why I like to do these things is that I know that you are gonna get value if you join the training.

And I, we created this training super, super affordable, super low risk. If anybody’s trying to skip the learning curve, right? If anybody wants to jump on this and learn these strategies and figure out what I do with an over the shoulder approach, I very much like I don’t like trainings the way they do fluff.

And you know, they like, oh, like here’s the, the theory behind it. I don’t do theory. I’m a very visual, very kinesthetic learner. So the way that I teach is literally build out every single thing that we’ve talked about from the popup using OptiMonk to using PostScript or Klaviyo. If that’s your choice of, you know, your poison of choice.

And I literally over the shoulder build everything out. People have sat there. I’m very charismatic in my training. So it’s, I think people enjoy it, cuz I’m very like much like I am now. I kind of just talk a little bit, I’ll go on a little bit of rants. I’ll kind of tell some stories and people really enjoy it because it’s very like follow the bouncing ball over the shoulder training. So it’s very low risk there’s there’s not much to it. I think we did a very affordable price of like, I think it’s $200, but if you get it today, I think with, through your training, we did a 50% off. So it’s like 97 bucks. And literally you can skip all the hours of learning.

I mean, you could go ahead if you really wanted and try to figure it all out. I’ve literally told everybody everything that you need to do in this training. I hold nothing back. Like in this podcast, I held nothing back. It’s everything, but if you just wanna watch and you’re a visual learner and you wanna figure it out and you wanna get it set up potentially within two hours and be profiting within 24 hours, for 97 bucks. It’s a steal. 

Yeah, no, absolutely. I’m on that link right now and yeah, it’s complete training, full two hours. A lot of it, there’s like a lot of extra bonuses and things like that. So, so much of that offer. I think, I think the OptiMonk offer is also quite interesting. I know we mentioned a bit about getting half off for the first three months. So if, if you’re not using some kind of a popup tool connected to your SMS tool or to your email tool, then this is certainly something that you need to have a look at. I’ll have all of these links in the show notes. Once again, their offer is great at 50 off, for, for three months. 

Yeah. 50% for three months is crazy.

Like that’s. When people are like, come to me and I tell ’em all my clients, all my customers, everybody that I work with, I always say them, Hey guys, like OptiMonk, it’s we have to use it. There’s no option. And they’ll say, what about Klaviyo? I say, I don’t care. Like you have to use this. I’ll be like, oh, like, you know, what about the price?

And I’m like, it it’s super cheap and affordable to begin with. You know, if you make no money, it’s free, the kind of plans are very affordable. But for me, It makes complete sense. It like it’s money for money. Like you, you give OptiMonk a little bit of money. And in my experience over like eight years, they give you a lot more back.

So even if you were to pay full price for steal, it’s a steel, but then you paying 50% off. The first three months is even better. So if you’re, you know, if it’s a low risk, again, a very low risk way to get involved, I think that’s a great offer. 

Another thing too, is that, they do have their A/B Testing options. So when you talk about your different types of opt-in offers the convenience, offer the upgrade, the double, your discount, or the free product, then imagine, you know, if you have, you know, obviously at scale, you a certain amount of traffic to make it, the data justify the A/B Test, but knowing that you can do that sort of thing, their solution will do that for you and round Robin.

Yeah. A, a quick caveat from that, Steve. So you can’t actually, you can split test creatives. But you have to understand when you create a creative like that, the backend is different. So if I was to offer 10% and then I was to change it to 20% or 15%, if I wanted to test between 15% and 20%, my SMS flow would have to be different.

But they have a very cool tool that I actually have as a bonus in the training, which teaches you how to split test campaigns, not creatives. So you can actually run a split test between the, the two different campaigns, which would then be two different backends. So I actually teach that and how to do that in the training.

I just wanted to kinda explain that it’s not exactly like that, but I think they’re the, one of the only companies that I’ve seen that allow me to split test my campaigns. And you could do the same thing with email too. So you could run a 10% versus $5 and you could literally run as campaign split test, which again is, is one of the bonus modules.

So if you know, you wanted to learn how to do it right there, but you could literally run well, how did my list respond to $5 verse 10. And the back end’s completely different. The email sequence is completely different and then you can literally physically see through numbers and data what’s best.

This has been an epic recording. I’m gonna be honest with you. I massively appreciate you just like being completely transparent and open and sharing and just you’re a class act. You really, you really are doing the work, helping. You’re really helping a lot of brands and you’re proving the value of kind of what you’ve built today. And, you know, I just appreciate this offer.

I know the show notes will have everything in there. I know I have ecommercefastlane.com/trojanhorse. That’s gonna go to your landing page, but you know, those that wanna take you up on your offer for half offer, gosh, $97 for your training is in the grand scheme of kind of what the upside can be and will be.

And then same with OptiMonk, same idea again, with 50% off or three months. I mean, You know, it’s an epic tool. I have it and I’m using it. And I highly endorse it. So just wanted to thank you for coming on the show and just sharing. And I wish you continued tremendous success with the Trojan Horse Methods and your agency.

So even those looking for kind of a done view service, I know you have that option. We’re not, today was more about the Trojan Horse and, and using OptiMonk, but there is some opportunity in the future for your agency also for that a done for you service. 

Yeah. I think some people as well, like I know that some people are super busy.

So if they’re looking for anybody who wants to just take it completely off their hands and get it done for them and get it done right without having to even go through the training and figure it out, I’m always there to do that to my website. Like you said, e2.agency, or even jasonkwilliamson.com you can find me, the other thing as well is like, literally, if you have any questions, I don’t, I said to you earlier, right? I’m more about relationships than I am about money. I think money comes in the long run. If anybody has any questions, if they have any concerns, if they wanna figure anything out and they’re like, oh, I wish I could speak to him.

Literally find me on Twitter. I think it’s like @jasonkierw or find me on Facebook. Literally just type my name in Jason K Williamson. You’ll see me. I got a big yellow background at the time of this recording. You should find me very easily. More than happily, add me as a friend, send me a message. Any questions you have about what I just talked about

I am, as you can see, very transparent, I’m more than happy to talk to you. Sometimes I even jump on calls with people just to help them out for free. I really don’t care about money. I just love helping people. 

Yeah, this is great. Well, thank you, Jason, for coming on the show today. Again, I just, like I said, I wish you tremendous success and continue.

Thanks for putting your flag in the, the Shopify sand to kind of help these brands, continue to grow and scale. And this is a, a great program. People should implement it. It’s not just, it’s not just listening it, it’s the execution side. So take what you’ve learned today, or get the course or go to your agency and have it done for you, but do one of those three, please. I think that’s one of the big takeaways for today so.

Thank you so much for having me on Steve. 

All right. Take care. 

Well, that’s it for today’s episode, I’d like to thank you personally for being a loyal listener of e-commerce fast lane. It’s my hope that this podcast is offering you a ton of value through growth strategies, tactics, and exclusive insider tips on the best Shopify apps and marketing platforms.

All with my personal goal, to help you build, manage, grow, and scale as successful and thriving company powered by shop. Thanks for investing some time today and listening to the show. I’m so proud and excited that you have a growth mindset and are a constant learner. I truly appreciate you and your entrepreneurial journey.

Enjoy the rest of the week and keep thriving with Shopify.

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