Welcome back to the e-commerce marketing podcast everyone. I am your host Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest with us. Ryan Kulp who is the founder of FOMO which is a social proof marketing platform that helps Drive and convert traffic on e-commerce store fronts. Welcome to the podcast Ryan.
Yeah, not a problem. You know before we get started we're going to be talking today about conversion rate optimization and you're going to provide us some insight into that. But before we get into that, why don't you tell us a little bit about your background how you got started and a little bit about fomo?
Well, you know, my personal background was definitely a long and winding winding paths Tacoma, I grew up on the plate. You know, I wrote songs ever recorded. I toured a little bit performed around 300 times by the age of 20, and I thought I was going to be a rock star when that didn't happen. I kind of got to experience from marketing and PR the brands that Coca-Cola and Samson Network.
And then customer service and then called and then kind of Loops Thailand for bed. We've got to uh to programming finally recommended Venture Capital funds. And while I was at that Venture Capital fund about two and half years ago. I found it in March 2016. Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah, that's that's awesome yet.
So sounds like you had a pretty diverse background as you said you wanted to be a rock star so. What instrument did you play the car started with violin and I still play by probably better than I am the carpeting but it's just not very useful guitar. And even now I take piano lessons some still kind of developing that skill.
But okay primarily focused on technology and in between all of that, you know, did everything from making gold key to giving presentations for Teach for America that have everything in between? Okay. Gotcha. That's awesome. Nothing further audience members that aren't familiar with the acronym foam and I don't know if it was you that coin that term or I'm not sure where the origin of that was.
I why don't you why don't you Enlighten our audience a little bit while foam? Oh sure after kind of spelled out all capital letters at open and stands for fear has an out and you know more and more today. We're actually seeing folks use this term to talk about. Like crypto, you know, but in theory principle phone the phenomenon that we experience even just socially you know in our friends are going out and having fun and maybe we're staying home to study or we're staying home to you know, do some chores around the house.
We we can say that we have fomo. And um, so I'm really, you know, proud of our name called the kind of associate the the ethos of our platform with um with the term that a lot of folks understand but I will say though that we've traveled around the world a bit as a team for different events and Retreats and follow evidently is mostly an American acronym.
So when we went to Australia few weeks ago, for example. Nobody knew what it was. What's that mean? You know, so that's been kind of fun too. Okay. What that's pretty cool. Yeah. I didn't know that it was just isolated to a u.s. Term. But yeah, it's really cool how you guys have Associated your brand with it because I think it's a really interesting acronym NOW as far as speaking of, you know the fear of missing out and and how that ties into everything.
Of course today. We're going to be talkin about conversion rate optimization, and I know you've got a lot of experience in that majority of our listeners of course e-commerce businesses and. Well that do marketing for e-commerce businesses. So how how do you think average e-commerce business really should first approach conversion rate optimization, and I guess you may want to kind of do a quick definition of that sure.
So quick definition of conversion rate optimization or usually people will say, right. All right. Here's my traffic. Here's my product. Here's my pricing. Here's my level of service. Here's kind of everything I have to offer and let's calculate from that but extract from that how often I've able to acquire a customer.
So, you know, I get a salad hits a week on the store. I have no red shoes for 50 bucks. If I make two hundred bucks a week I get for conversions over a thousand. Obviously, that's not very good and that becomes my conversion rate and so conversion rate optimization is therefore saying. How can I keep all things the same same pricing same product same service saying website same traffic same traffic sources, but actually create, you know more Revenue create more sales.
And so that's saying how can I get the most out of what I already have right and so, you know, sometimes people think about conversion rate optimisation and they say well let's make. Better add in that kind of thing and there's something to be said there but when we get really excited about and where we you know specialize in is helping you create more sales without any additional elements without changing your pricing than without, you know overhauling your website.
Sure. Sure. Yeah. Definitely. Yeah appreciate that definition and you have to get your question, right? How should the average store approach the RO your first it's don't when you're just starting and I know you probably up with that are that are crushing it. You've got listeners who made. Starting and of course everyone between but when you're just starting even to somewhere in between, you know crl is not it's not really the best way to spend your time.
Right? Let's say in theory. You could even W conversion rate from 2% which is the average in Commerce toward conversion rate less than 2% to 4% But if you only make 100 bucks a month. Doesn't really matter right generally you should you know, increase your traffic or add more products or increase your average cart value from 20 bucks 225 bucks and everything else can stay the same.
So the first approach to 0 is to not approach it until you know that an increase in Sierra and actually make a difference, you know to your bottom line. So first let's get sale. Get some sale like the average store converts 2% If you can even half of a percent that's fine. You won't be as good as the average store, you know optimized from price to ux and product Market fit, but if you can get 200 visitors and that turns into one sale, that's a half percent conversion rate, you know now quadruplet right?
So that's kind of your starting point, but you have to have the Benchmark before you can take the next step to improve upon it. Yeah, that totally makes sense. It's really for a new. A business that's just getting out. There isn't really how many sales it doesn't make sense. You've got to kind of get out there and like you said it established the The Benchmark now for those businesses that you know, they're getting some sales.
They've been out there maybe for a little bit and of course they want to improve their their conversion rate. What are some simple and inexpensive changes that they can make to their website or to their whole process overall to include improve their conversion rate. Sure, so really great question and I think there's a lot of answers to this question found in sort of The Lean Startup methodology.
Not what I mean out of that I went into how we often thrash and think about building software that are definitely applicable to e-commerce. And so one of those Maxim's is that the less scalable atactic is the better it converts. Okay, and so really I really good example would be live chat, you know, if you drop a live chat widget on your store and again, you're not here doing.
Think about this until you have some Benchmark, right? Okay, one percent conversion. Okay, I've got my price has got my website I've got but when you get there, all right, I want to increase what are some simple things. I can do live chat is a great first win, right you add a widget to your site, but and that's okay and if you're actually presidents and we can respond within a moment or two.
That's great. But what you can get really crazy we're now we're either scale or than a live chat widget with canned answers or fog replies is what if you put in your cell phone number and you let people. You know a few months ago, I built an app for Shopify called mobile chat. Okay, that's all I get.
It added a little Banner only visible to mobile visitors and as they scroll up and down your store time. It said, you know how question text us if they tacked it. It would actually figure out whether they were on an iPhone and Android open up their native SMS app and it would pre-fill a text message to whatever still number you connected.
Okay to the Shopify app, and he would even pre-fill content. I have a question about and all they would have to do is type in you know, your red shoes and now you're having a one-on-one conversation with this visitor and there's no we did 100 visitors and we have a two percent conversion rate. That was 98 98 of those people bounce that when you add something like a cell phone number and you create that one-to-one link between you and the customer.
Suddenly, maybe only 97 96 95, and if you can turn even to conversations per 100 into more of a relationship at the very least you have their information to send the mockers leader can't close the sale now, and if you connect something like Google Voice to be, you know for this tactic now you can actually do this a little bit at scale.
So then we want to do things that are available, but we kind of want to scale unscalable. So if you can attach a Google Voice now, you're unable to respond to these text messages from. Yeah, right. You can type faster. I mean you can have copy and paste replies for common questions and suddenly your conversion rate from one or two per hundred visitors.
Now, you're actually having done the chat and you're converting a lot of those to sales. Yeah, that would be a really simple really inexpensive and really immediate change you can make particularly if you're looking at your traffic and your analytics you just thousand visitors coming to your site thousands of visitors leaving right drop a phone number right?
Drop the live chat even just for a couple. Today if you don't want to have a bad experience with people at two am trying to chat you and your sleeping right just turn the widget on off right turn it on sit down for an hour day. If you talk to somebody turn it off so it doesn't show up and that's again a really quick quick and dirty way to.
To figure out it may be your website is lacking educational material, right? Or maybe the pricing is not great. So people live chat you and they ask for Discount really know until you you open up that feedback portal lie there why they're not to burning right? Right. Yeah. I love that advice. You know, all of that really does kind of go under the category of I guess you could say increasing the engagement that you have with the customer and that that really can make a huge difference because taking that next step.
He said putting on the live chat or doing the the messaging the Facebook messaging adding a Google Voice. You're just giving your opening up a whole another channel for you to establish a deeper relationship with the customer and then all of those things just. Allow customers to help get to trust you trust your brand trust everything that you're providing, you know, and especially these days because you know, there's so many sites.
There's so many options when people are looking to purchase a product or service and I think people's overall level of. I guess you could say suspicion when dealing with Brands especially new branches and I think a little bit more height in these days she can agree. And so those types of things like alive Jack and can help, you know, alleviate that suspicion and so yeah, that's a great piece of advice.
Now when we talkin about conversion rate optimisation, of course the beginning we talked about, you know changes made to website you've course mentioned the simple change of adding the live chat. Now, of course a business doesn't. To have to do an entire modification to the website, you know, you never want to do that unless you absolutely have to but I think it's something we should address at one point.
Do you think of business when analyzing, you know, they're the rate of conversion. You know, what point do you think they really need to consider in an entire website redesign to improve things sure really great question. So from personal experience with website size management data part of and also personal.
Datian, most website redesign our sort of just at the Osa the Folly but they're at this sort of preference of of the makers behind it. Right? So, you know, you're on your website more than anyone else whether you have a store piece of software, even if you're a dentist, you're spending so much time on your site and it's natural that you're going to kind of find flaws in it and you're going to have hunches, you know, well, holy this was like this and if only that page looked that way, you know, we can learn more and to the website redesign.
As a tactic even though it's a big one is I kind of think common but it's not usually data-driven. It's usually just you know what I want a new site that I want to recite right? I've been looking at this for ever. I'm sick of it and I've certainly redone sites where that was my base motivation and that's not great.
But in the context of the arrow, I think at least first get a 50 100 sales and that might be a thousand hits that might take 100,000 hits before you get there. But until you've got a little bit of replicable. Process where every week you can kind of predict on a really better every month. You can predict how much traffic and how many sales they're going to get and how many reviews you're going to get and the quality of those reviews and how few returns you're going to have, you know, the basic operational components of running a store figure that out first and again my off the top is just, you know, get 100 sales first and essentially set it up to that.
Your redesign is the last that you consider because you know, I recently helped someone just about four months ago. They acquire the Shopify store. And immediately they said, you know, let's redesign it. It looks bad. And so we did it and I kind of agreed with them. You know, we were buying it to approve it right more I get to keep the status quo.
So we immediately we bought a theme we may you know, obviously tweaks to that same a lot of little HTML and then test me on different devices, you know redesigns. They're not fun Pleasant Heaven brakes stopped working, you know, and and what we found was that yeah the site looks better now, but the conversion rate is everything better.
In particular depending on your store in the type of people you attract if you have a store that relishes in a lot of repeat purchases. Let's say 20 30 percent of your business repeat, which is in my experience huge amount for any Commerce store, maybe a new redesign is dangerous because now your existing customers to have kind of gotten used to being able to navigate your site half asleep.
Now, they have to learn something new you're almost kind of punishing top customers to offer something new, but the. If 99% of your business is from new folks and you examined that your exit rate is very high from the home page or people aren't really clicking around your abs your stuff nav.
They're just not discovering a lot of your skews, but I think we designed to make sense and particularly. If you have a lot of views, you know, you can see an analytics. Wow, you know 90% of my traffic is going to excuse my goal is to increase exposure to the other nine hundred views or going to redesign make sense to but even then I think.
Start small. I think you could just drop in, you know, a better fuzzy Search tool right and track the search queries or add more tags or add more dropdowns. Not too many, but you could you could start there if that's your goal. But the idea is that I hit on my site Works. Let's redesign it. I don't think that we can qualify that as some Surefire conversion rate optimization tactic.
Right? Right. I definitely understand that and I've been there as well as. As a as a business owner, we are you know, sometimes we just like, oh, you know, we've had this site for a few years tired of it and you know, just going to redo it. But you know, like you said there's no there's no set metrics to say that we really need to do that or that doing that will actually increase our conversions.
But you know, so I think it's a it's a road that a lot of uh owners go through but yeah, you really need to make sure it makes sense because. There's a lot to it. You know, not only do you got you have the redesign, you know, there's issues that come up after its redesigned. You know, there's little always bugs that come up with a links that may not work and it's that's right.
There's always more to it than you think. So, yeah truly makes sense. That should really be the last resort or only if the data. Speaks to a redesign as far as like you said not maybe being able to reach certain excuse is easily as possible pepper navigation stuff like that, then, you know, maybe make sense to do it now as a rule of thumb one of the things that I always encourage business owners to do and empties people in general with regards to e-commerce since everything is just out there.
Everything is all available on the internet. I always look to get gotten really advice. Get some direction from what some of the other top companies are doing top eCommerce companies are doing so what do you what would you say are some top eCommerce sites that a business can learn from with regards to conversion rate optimization or doing things that are pretty optimal with regards to converting customers.
So a few examples and I'll I'll probably just mention some formal clients that you see our product in action as well that even without Soma installed. Sizes are excellent examples and case studies for e-commerce. Right as a standalone grams. So one of them would be Kettle and fire. They sell bone broths and soups chicken bone broth beef bone broth.
This is kind of like the stuff you'd have created a Vietnamese restaurant. Okay, really healthy for you some people use it as a meal replacement and I think it is really tasty obviously had it a couple of things that they do really well. I want they have just an insane volume of reviews. Okay, so when you're when you're communicating with customers during the system process after they get the product deliver, you know, of course you want to review but a lot of us don't do a great job asking for it.
Ask for that the right time, right? We might ask for a review before TV delivered or we know it's been delivered. We're smart enough to track that but we haven't asked we asked for it before it's been consumed. So if my, uh, bone broth is delivered on Sunday probably don't ask me on Sunday, you know.
To be sitting in the box at my front door. I consume it for a few days. And so they really nailed the exact moment at which a customer's likely took consumed their product and is willing to talk about it. Okay. And so when you go to their site, you'll see literally found that reviews, you know, you can spend 30 minutes reading lots of different perspectives 3 star 4 star 5 Star, you know, here's why I like to here's why I didn't and ultimately that helps the consumer make the best decision for them because they don't they don't care what you say about you.
They care what other people say about. All right. So that's the later really well another client fellow, you know, install partner is surely the bracelets there. Uh, the reason Shopify actually so Kettle fire not that any of that really matters, but they have done some case study on Shopify blog as well and that shares a lot more of their kind of details about how they go about it what apps that use how they've had the success they've had but one thing they do that.
I really love is they just have a point of view. You go to their website, they sell bring sweat to they sell different things. I think primarily to younger women and so I'm not middle-aged but younger man, it's not exactly I'm not exactly the target audience. When you go to the site you get sucked in by their story you get sucked in by the social good that they do and the way that they work with artists that is in the way that they donate to Costa Rica all these things kind of into your brain space and just browse through their items and a lot of stories don't achieve that a lot of stories are just giving you.
Buy now button, that's fine. And you want you know your visitors to take those objectives, but sometimes the the shortest path is with the long way around it's good to have a point of view to send someone to a piece of content and then they'll come back really supercharge to buy it like one more claim on that note that kind of combines the kettle and fire approach as well as the to of approach from my friends and this is a piece torso different size and black teas and long.
And what I really like about the other day actually started as a Blog so all they did was review different. Here's what we think about this, you know, a couple few paragraphs. Here's sort of like the flavor profile. Here's a photo of what it looks like. This is maybe it would be good for like the morning for the afternoon or it does or does not have a lot of caffeine.
They started as a Blog T reviews and then they had at the store component later. So now the built-up organic traffic get built up Trust. Peppa current visitors who come back and say great. I'm going to go to these guys the authorities for recommending good teas and what they did Captain is because they already started the blog on the main domain.
They added their Shopify store to just shop. Okay, and now you go again going to company is not a big sales pitch. It's just too resource toward about tease, but if you are interested in shopping, you can head to just the storefront and that's something that I'm seeing more and more successful brands do.
Commerce is put your brand and your story and your content on the main domain and put your shop kind of where it belongs, you know, just put it on shop or by dot. You know, your whole business is just a storefront and you have slash blog maybe kind of doing it wrong. They're not saying that that's really wrong.
I think that there's you know, there's trends that have started to take off that demonstrated. This is a good strategy so store that started five years ago. You know content what's the best important just not being on Amazon was important right now adays, you know, we kind of are looking for a little bit more and so those are a few clients I think are doing really well.
They're all using some. Okay. They're all you a lot of different apps for conversion optimization. Okay. I think all of them also have great case studies they've done on their own to kind of calculate how they have succeeded. Okay, great. I appreciate those examples. Those are some great solid examples.
I wasn't familiar with those with those companies, but one of the things that I that I think. Rings true especially if you're in a space or whether you're offering a product or service and you're in a fairly crowded space where you know, there's a lot of competition. I think I mean you've got to take it the next step and do whatever you can to set yourself apart whether like you said with the bone and broth, they've got the tons of reviews, you know, they try to identify with the customers.
They try to you know, set the story of how they created it all like you said all those things do matter. You know when you're developing a site, you know, you've course we've all seen the sites where like you said, it's just some product information by now buttons and said he you know, and so, you know, those can work.
Of course, you know, you do get those customers that know what they want. They've already decided what they want and they know they're going to buy from your site and you know, just going to do it regardless because you know, they're not concerned about you necessarily as a company or your brand.
They just want the. And so you're going to get those customers but there still are a lot of people these days that need a little bit more than that to you know to really win them over. So yeah, those are all great examples and I think they have the display the fact of taking that that next step now before we wrap things up.
I'd like to you to see if you can share one final conversion rate optimization tip that you know business could do immediately and start seeing a you know, a turn around. If that is possible sure, I'll actually approach is around here some things. I think you should absolutely not do okay to try to increase conversion rate.
And if you are doing them the value of you'll get from this that you'll free up 10 20 30 minutes a day to do other things. Okay, you live chat do not change your button colors did not. You know hired photographers and redo every single photo must have terrible probably get more value from just compressing them or using an app that turns the background into a kind of white space that looks nice gets a 8023 without all the cost but not spend a bunch of time figuring out whether you should trigger your your emails at 10 a.m.
Or 2 p.m. People are living all over the place 10:00 a.m. For you is 3 a.m. For them forget about it or they're traveling. It doesn't matter. And I just think if you if you take quick stock of the small tweaks, you are making to your site to your store. And these are the smaller in terms of the easy ones.
Right? So it's really addicting. Well today. I did this activity, you know, I made 15 tweaks 1515 things I did but if they're really kind of inconsequential they actually what you could have done instead spent those 45 minutes talking directly to five people live chat most rieta 5 sales. Which one of those is more effective than so.
Yeah tempting to say. Well, I'm trying to do things that scale and work forever. But the things that scale and work forever and our effective are not the quick and easy things like changing button colors. So as a framework way of thinking about it, hopefully this will free up some of your time to do the bigger hairier goals.
Right? Right. That's that's true. Yeah. I think that's some great advice because it does come down to maximizing your time because I mean, that's the one thing that we all. You know really can't buy anymore. There's only 24 hours in a day. And so it's you've got to be careful the time that you're spending.
And so, you know, we've all been there where we can kind of caught up doing little tweaks things that you know, I guess you could say are busy busy work that aren't really adding to the bottom line and it's you know, it's hard to not get sucked into that rabbit hole, but you know taking stock of all of your time spin is very important and it can definitely up other activities that can help improve here.
You can view your conversion rate. Now. One thing I would like to kind of wrap things up with some for we close things out is one kind of throw in there. Just kind of a quick fun question. What's one thing that our audience would truly be surprised to know about you? Well, I might have already spilled the beans here earlier a couple maybe a couple things.
I used to make gold teeth for a living. Okay. Wow, the market had to learn a little Korean in the process. Okay, the Korean guy and you had a shop very. One, okay, go and kind of show me the ropes there working in a kind of Quasi Factory and uh, yeah really fond memories don't know if there's too much applicable Knowledge from that experience and persistence and learning minutia that those are those are important things to pick up.
Okay, great web awesome yet. Definitely one thing I would never I wouldn't have guessed that you you had you've done in the past or any ability to do making gold teeth. But yeah, I appreciate you sharing that fun fact. Well, Ryan will be definitely appreciate having you here on the e-commerce marketing podcast your tips and information about conversion rate optimization.
I know will be invaluable to everyone listening and you know, thanks for taking the time. So if any business owners or anybody listening that would like to get in touch with you. How do they do it? Sure. You can email me I'm Ryan if you want to try out. I'm happy to extend a longer than usual trial to put it on your site.
See how it goes. You can also tweet at me. I like to tweet and blog about marketing and conversion optimization at Ryan's he called calm. Okay, great. That's awesome. Well, thanks again Ryan for joining us today here on the e-commerce marketing podcast. Thank you. I really appreciate it. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast to access the e-commerce videos and other resources to help your business.
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Founder of Fomo.com