If you’re running an online store, the sheer amount of ecommerce marketing material out there can be overwhelming. You’re always on the hunt for that next big insight that will move the sales needle, but it’s hard to know where to start.
While browsing forums, reading blog articles and taking courses are extremely valuable, there’s nothing like hearing stories and specific examples from people who have successfully dealt with the problems you’re facing. It’s particularly eye-opening when you get the chance to learn from successful entrepreneurs.
Today, I’ve hand-picked 5 interviews on customer acquisition from top ecommerce podcasts. You’ll learn the skills and tactics that ecommerce experts use to get more customers and increase sales.
1. How to use SEO to get more customers
For many online stores today, search is a vitally important source of customers. It’s critical to have at least a high-level understanding of how this channel works, especially when a Google algorithm update has the potential to significantly alter how you rank for your main keywords!
In addition to being a fantastic overview of SEO and how search engines work today, Terry Lin (@itsmeterrylin) from and David Hehenberger (@davidhme) make this interview even better by providing actionable advice for ecommerce store owners.
- 13:20 — How to use keyword research and finding profitable niches
- 21:24 — An in-depth look at how Google analyzes your pages in your store
- 40:23 — What you need to look for when hiring an SEO firm
2. How to use content marketing to get more traffic and dominate your niche
In this interview, Spencer Haws (@nichepursuits) interviews Marcus Sheridan (@thesaleslion) about his success using content marketing for an ecommerce swimming pool store. Marcus shares a number of practical tactics for using content marketing as a customer acquisition channel for your ecommerce store.
- 5:58 — How to generate tons of useful content with customer interviews
- 12:22 — How to become the authority in your niche: take the mindset of a teacher
- 19:22 — How to use content marketing in the buying funnel: Marcus introduces “average pages viewed before purchase” as a success metric
3. How to use PPC for an online store
In this Ecommerce Pulse episode, Leighton Taylor (@leightontaylor) interviews Travis Phipps about how he used PPC and search ads to grow his business. A few years ago, Travis was making $500 a month, but after smartly using PPC, his monthly grew 12X to $6,000 a month. His store has been growing ever since, reaching $750,000 in annual sales in 2013.
- 26:50 — (skip to this point unless you want to hear about the company history)
- 29:25 — Travis mentions how a paid search mix of “70% Adwords, 30% Bing” is the sweet spot for most online retailers
- 34:36 — Things you need to know before you start paying for PPC ads
- 35:58 — How to use average order value as a predictor of PPC success
- 39:22 — How to make sure you’re not targeting the wrong keywords
Aside from being an insightful interview about the mechanics of PPC and search ads, Travis provides several inspiring anecdotes about how he ran out of money yet still found ways to make his store succeed.
4. How to write good product descriptions so your customers buy
The first three interviews have so far featured advice on how to get potential customers on your site. With these last two, we’ll focus on how to convert them into paying customers.
In this interview, Andrew Youderian (@youderian) discusses copywriting and product descriptions with Gretchen Roberts (@gretchenroberts). Gretchen identifies content and copy as the key differences between good and great ecommerce stores, so she provides lots of insights in this episode to help you convert more shoppers into buyers.
- 4:10 — How deeply understanding your ideal customer enables you to write product descriptions that convert
- 5:23 — Why 250-300 words is the best length for product descriptions
- 7:50 — How do you write copy for “boring” products? I love Gretchen’s answer here: the product may be boring for you, but it’s exciting for the customer because they need the product to solve a problem. Gretchen then discusses how to use copywriting to connect with that need.
- 19:40 — How to make sure your product descriptions are also helping your SEO efforts. Gretchen shares her tactics for writing SEO-friendly copy that converts
5. How to use conversion rate optimization to increase sales
At first glance, it seems obvious that you should optimize your website’s conversion rates. Test a few variations here and there, improve performance by a few percentage points and you’ve just squeezed out more customers and more sales without spending more on ads or doing time-consuming SEO.
However, as Terry Lin (@itsmeterrylin) and Francis Teo (@infinix) discuss, it’s rarely as straightforward as simply testing variations with Optimizely or other A/B testing tools. While conversion rate optimization will indeed help you convert more shoppers or generate more leads, there’s a few things you should know before you start.
- 5:01 — How small, controlled tests decrease the risk that CRO will reduce performance of your site
- 12:50 — How to use Google Analytics to inform copy changes that lead to higher conversion rates
- 33:30 — Usability testing tools and how to use them to find weak spots in your shopping experience
- 41:00 – How to spot misleading test results by understanding common factors that can bias your stats, such as seasonality and PR
- 48:00 — How having a prominent value proposition displayed on your store can have a massive impact on sales
Conclusion: Learn From Others’ Experience
There are so many ecommerce and marketing podcasts today — if you’re wrestling with an issue with your store, do a quick search to see if there’s an interview with a veteran who’s dealt with the problem you’re facing. Learning from their experiences can save you months in failed marketing experiments and precious marketing budget.
Here’s a list of the ecommerce podcasts mentioned in this post:
Know any other podcasts or episodes that I should consider for future posts?
Let me know in the comments below.