Sales Funnels and eCommerce Evolved

My reading list expanded a little. I got the book “eCommerce Evolved”.  I would recommend it.  It had a great deal of information, and more importantly it wasn’t the same information as other places.  At least some of it wasn’t.  It had hard numbers of good and bad operating margins, conversion rates, etc.  It also had concrete advice of what to automate and how to handle email drip campaigns.  Perhaps most importantly it has step by step market research advice.  It’s by no means perfect but it’s the closest thing to a detailed HOWTO I’ve found yet.

The book suggested reading it cover to cover once, then mulling over the info for a few days, and coming back to it.  When coming back, pick a portion of the book to try to implement in your business, and start there.  I’ve done the first part of that.  I decided, since I have reasonable traffic costs now, to implement the product funnels first.  The book suggests that a physical product funnel will convert several times better than simply pointing an ad to your product page.  In fact it says you should not spend ANY advertising money directing cold traffic to your shopping cart.  That doesn’t include email marketing or retargeting campaigns, those are still OK.

The interesting thing about this is I had been attempting to do similar things with landing pages already, but I wasn’t having much luck.  A proper sales funnel I had not built though.  The reason is mainly the difficulty of it.  I have tried to find a good way to do it with shopify, and the only plugin I found was 99 dollars a month.  That seemed a bit hefty to me for an experiment.  My entire facebook ads budget right now is about 300 a month.

I have two options essentially: Create a chain of static pages that direct to a prefilled shopify cart at the end (easy), or create a chain of pages and use the Stripe API to handle payments.

The book I read was pretty adamant about taking payment first then trying to do upsells and cross-sells, and the data tracking will be a lot easier if everything including the checkout is under my control.  This way I can tag things to be tracked in Mautic (somehow? don’t know how) and use that as triggers for things – customer email list or prospect email list.

Cruise Vacations and Bad News

Well, me the wife and the baby got back from our 1 week cruise in the carribean last weekend.  Aside from the ridiculous hurricane season this year I can only say good things about the trip.  The good people at Carnival are amazing and things run perfectly.  I had a problem with one of the shore excursions, but I’m no worse for the wear.

The bad news, however, is that a good friend of mine was murdered in a mass shooting in Plano Texas.  It started as a domestic dispute seemingly involving depression and alcohol abuse and culminated in 9 lives being lost.

Growtraffic Results

Unfortunately, grow traffic proved out like I suspected.  It is not, at least not obviously, a scam.  It is, however, useless for most purposes.

I purchased 10k visits over 10 days for 28 dollars.  These were directed to a landing page that offers a discount code in exchange for an email signup.  My results ended up being:

  • 4756 hits to my landing page (not sure why it didn’t register 10,000 but whatever
  • 0 email addresses received

Based on that confidence interval calculator I posted a few weeks ago that puts the conversion rate between 0 and 0.1%.  A very similar landing page linked to google ads got 12 out of 100 visitors to give their emails, which gives us 6.6-19.1% conversion.

Conclusion: don’t waste your money.  So far facebook ads work the best, but are also the most difficult to do right.

Common Typos in Searches

Typos are common, and for the most part when searching with google or bing, people don’t even go back to correct them.  Google has been smart enough for a long time to guess what you meant correctly most of the time.  The adwords keywords however are based on exact (but not case sensitive) matches to the search terms.  This is a time for software help.

I haven’t tried this yet but I intend to modify my bing ads campaigns using this data.


Search Ad Keyword Optimization

I read that one thing that you should do to increase CTR on your search ads is try to break them up into lots of customized ads in ad groups, each with only a few keywords.  When someone sees an ad for exactly what they search for they are more likely to click.  For example “red ink pen” should get them “Best value red ink pen, 50% off”.  Not “luxury fountain pens!”.

Naturally this entails writing hundreds and hundreds of ad groups and keyword variations.  But… you can automate this with a perl script or whatever you feel comfortable with.  Simple make templates with tags that can be subbed out.  These then get inserted into a CSV file and reimported.  Both google adwords and bing support this, although for bing you have to use their windows app to import and export campaigns from csv.