Andy is the head of marketing for KeySmart, one of Shopify’s largest stores. Before KeySmart, Andy managed advertising as a consultant for ad agencies, apps, and other ecommerce stores. He has advertised all kinds of products and services including $10,000 business courses at the University of Chicago and $1 million condos in Australia. The biggest lesson Andy has learned over the years is that marketing is all about uncovering why your product or service is useful.And being able to demonstrate that value to your audience in a way that really connects with them is what sells products. And once you have messaging that sells, then it’s time to start scaling.
Welcome to the podcast Andy. Thank you so much for having me. Listen to part like super seven of these episodes and there. Pretty informative. I really like the one with Scott Wingo. Okay, great. Great. I really appreciate that in any, you know a lot. Of course we're gonna be talking about today is scaling product advertising and kind of you know reaching into areas that a business hasn't necessarily launched into yet.
But before we get going into that, why don't you give our audience a little bit about your background and how you got started how you would set up the largest one of the largest Shopify stores and you know, what where you got to where you are today? Yeah. I'll go back to college. I was an economics major in college.
I graduated from college and didn't really know what I wanted to do. And I end up getting a job at University cargo Booth School of Business in the sales and marketing. Basically, it was a direct response shop. We're doing one week on programs for high level Executives and was about $10,000 per course.
So my job was to basically Target these high-level Executives through Direct Mail LinkedIn Google and you know a lot of other traditional media forms, so that's where I got my teeth cut in direct response and we had kind of. Huge budgets and I was able to kind of be a lot and learn a lot and then a friend I was doing a lot of freelance work while I was there.
I was putting my MBA they don't really pay you very much as a staff member there. So I was taking free courses in paying my MBA but also doing a lot of freelance work. That's when I was working. Different thickness a Solutions and apps and then eventually I had a friend that had an extremely successful Kickstarter was $330,000 Kickstarter and about a year after his Kickstarter proposed.
Oh, hey, you know, let me run some ads for you. If they're effective then, you know, then you can pay me otherwise, you know, you don't have to pay me just pay for the ad spend and we basically tripled Revenue within a few weeks and I left my job at Utrecht hago never got an MBA and then join this kind of weird e-commerce world, so I actually didn't set up Shopify store on my Tio.
Adventure Michael did but I kind of took over the store and all advertising and when I started in 2015, okay. Okay. Great. Well, yeah, that's that's awesome and sounds like you have a pretty diverse experience as far as marketing and advertising is concerned and as you mentioned it's the e-commerce world, of course a little bit different but these days, you know, I guess when it comes to selling if you're not selling online, then you know, you definitely should be considering if you should pee now.
You know today we're going to be talking about specifically how a business can effectively scale their product advertising to increase their conversion. So I'll paint the picture, you know, usually a business after they get going they you know, they kind of cut their teeth and doing some advertising across.
Let's say social media. They may do some pay-per-click advertising organic and you know, they're getting a fair amount of traffic and sales and things are going pretty good. But there's. Always going to come a point where they want to take it to the next level and scale it because you know, everything could be kind of flat line.
And you know, I see I talk to business owners all the time and they tell me the same thing, you know, we're doing well, you know, we're paying the bills our growth is steady, but you know, everything is just flat line. They're trying to tweak things with their advertising but everything still stays flat.
So what are some of the ways to effectively scale product advertising to increase conversions for a business that's in that particular. You know that fits that particular category. Yeah, I get you know, I think you know the really the most important thing I found is honestly messaging that really takes a lot of research.
So yes, you probably have a you know, most inventors, you know, kind of just make these ads that kind of just assumed. Everybody knows why would somebody want their product and they think of their product can firm terms of features rather than in terms of benefits and you know, you really need to once the product is out there people will start using the product in ways that you never thought of, you know, simple simple exam.
I'm reading this book called code right now and it's all about like, you know pass inventions, but for example, like when Thomas Anderson Edison invented the phonograph basically the you know, the the device that could record sound he invented it to do like Bible Bible verses and other like, you know, Help kind of you know, that's well.
It was his idea for what the invention should be and he really turned his nose up at the idea that people would use it for music right and that and years and years later and you know, eventually admitted that this is kind of a music playing machine and it was you know, unbelievably successful. So what I'm trying to say and then you know, another one was like the pop sockets those things that like come on the back of your phone.
The guy invented it as a you know, a head like a headphone storage device and obviously everybody uses it for selfies and stuff like that. So what I'm trying to say is. As an inventor you make a product and you make it you create these features and you just assume it's obvious why people use features, but then you'll end up finding that like in the real world people will use it wildly different than you thought of and there might be a bunch of value propositions or reasons that to buy that you never thought.
Um, so really what you have to do is you have to do some research and you can do research the easy way just by searching through Amazon and looking reviews, but really that you know, you really should be sending out emails to your customer base with you know, survey questions. I was like the question what kind of person.
Would you recommend this product to because this ask them to basically identify themselves but they're not in like a you know, don't describe yourself but like describe another person that's like you so it's a really good way to get them to like tell you who they thought, you know would be a good idea for the project will tell you why another thing to do is I would recommend in the research stage is to you know, pull up and look at your like new your best performing customers and send them an email asking them to if they'd like to do a Skype interview with you for you know discount or discount or a gift card and you'll learn a ton right?
So what I recommend. Is making a list of those Top Value propositions and by value proposition. I just mean the top benefits to your customers why they why they how they're benefiting from use your part using your product and figure out you do a bunch of research and figure out which ones are those ones that you're hearing over and over again and then start create creating ads that really really demonstrate that value proposition and by demonstrate, I mean like going go through it like really go through it show physically how not having the solution would you know would be a pain or what?
You know, so that's really like really. Now why people want this and why it's valuable why your current customer base say they like it and then figuring out how you can you know, really demonstrate that through video is really what's going to turn the lever for you. Right? Right. Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned that and it's something that I think is often overlooked by e-commerce businesses as far as tapping into their current customer base to get you know, I'm it's honest feedback and opinions on the use cases for the particular product or service.
You know, it's you. Always see this time and time again. There's just this really just so much value in customers. Even if you're a product company that sells you know, kind of a one and done type product where somebody purchased it and you know, nine times out of 10, they're not going to do a reorder any time soon, even those types of businesses.
There's value there because you know, they may be like you said using. Some way that you've never really imagined and then that's that's how you know, that's how you can determine a whole nother market for your your product and it also like to add that businesses that are kind of thinking about going after a particular Niche that they don't they haven't necessarily thought about it really does come down to just trying it, you know, adjusting your messaging and you know, just trying some small tests doing some.
Google AdWords is great for this, you know tweaking some Google ads, you know with some different messaging that speaks to a different benefit and then, you know same with a little work results that you get and then just you know, kind of go from there. Yeah, and I would even expand on that for Facebook ads what could be a good way to look at.
This is get your core value propositions out, you know, like our product does this probably just that like our product keeps your car clean or whatever it is and then look through the the interest targeting. On Facebook and just go. Do you even click to say browse and then literally go through each one of the will have like all these different categories you like drill down into them and just look at them and say do I see a specialized message for this category, right, you know for like so perky smart, for example, you know, I was I did that and I saw oh real estate agents are you know possible, you know a possible Target?
Okay. Well, let me change up the copy my ad to say, you know real estate agents love when their properties are on key smart, right, you know, so. Basically look through the options that they give you and then figure out how do I take my more generalized but value propositions and kind of write them specifically for one of these interest you'll find out that 95 or 99% of the interest that they allow you you won't be able to spike personalize the messaging but some of them you will be able to and that's how you can do it.
You can test easily the create more General video that shows your value proposition and then just do copy test. Of a bunch of psyche. I honestly will do one screen have the Brows interests and another screen with spreadsheets and I'll just like write down all the ones that I think are good. And then later I'll write down the copy points of like why I think it's good for this Niche and then I'll just launch the ad.
Okay see the performance. Yeah, that makes sense that. You know, you really do not know how it's going to perform until you put it out there and that's what you said is really the quanta quickest and easiest way to to really see what the what the market says because that ultimately is going to be your answer.
Market says, you know that there's a niche for for that particular use of your product or service then, you know, you can go after it now, you know, I talked to a lot of e-commerce business owners on a day-to-day basis and I'm always talking to business owners that you know, they're at a fairly good size and there they've been having some steady growth but they reach a point where they're like, okay, I'm getting primarily us customers, but my product I think.
Really sell overseas. I have the capability to ship overseas and you know have the infrastructure to take care of that fulfillment want to go ahead and try it if a business owner is thinking along those lines. What are some things that you think they should consider when scaling internationally?
Yeah, and I definitely think it's worth taking a quick step back. I definitely think that if you're doing well in the United States with your Ecommerce store with Facebook ads, yeah, and you can share. To internationally, then you really really really should be thinking about good. That's a really great way to scale.
They say about 13% of e-commerce is happening in North America. And so that means that 87% is having outside of North America. That means that you're leaving about 87% of the world and it's just that's North America's that's counting Canada us and Mexico all in one. So if you're just if you're just in the u.s.
you're leaving a ton a ton of money. Just sitting there on the table. Man, on top of that you might be also creating an opportunity for some competitor and a foreign Nation to basically just steal everything that you've done great their own store by not doing it. You're kind of putting yourself.
You're leaving a lot of money at risk and you're putting yourself you're leaving until I'm on the table and you're you're risking never being able to get that money because you're giving maybe somebody else can get a first mover Advantage but assuming that you okay if you decided our I can ship there and I'm going to test it out.
What I recommend doing is if you're on Shopify download the Bold multi. Currency app it's free. You want to be able to make it makes it so that wherever they land that's going to check their IP address and give them the right currency for where they are. Okay. So if somebody if somebody comes to your website in Europe, and they see that they can see that the products are denominated in u.s.
Dollars. They're not going to convert as well as somebody that the way they say if they landed on the site and they saw their so the first step is to get the get the currency converter. Shopify has available for bold the multi-currency app and it's free. There's no reason why you wouldn't use it.
Then the next step. I would say is duplicate your best performing ad and set up a new set up a new campaign as an international campaign and Target that campaign at English speaking countries like Australia UK and Australia UK, Ireland New Zealand and Canada. Those are all rich newest be speaking English speaking countries that generally perform really well and since they all speak English you don't have to translate.
Website and that can be a really really great way to kind of get your MVP or minimum viable product to say can we can we internationalize this once that starts working? If you start seeing success there then it's time to actually translate your website and you don't want to use Google Translate because it's basically like a robot and it doesn't sound right, right.
And so you then you're going to have to you know, you have to have to translate your site and what I built out as a team of like a language in country translators, you really want to have people who can localize your you know, your copy and the the basically the example I always give is where things get really kind of really tricky with different, you know dialects and slang because you want to write your copy like, you know, like a friend wrote it and so often times that involves slang and it's not the most proper cop, you know, for example, I live in Chicago.
You said you're from Chicago. Yeah, you know in shh. In Chicago when you get a Coke, you ask if you call it a pot right exactly. I gotta pop right you when I'm in oullette when I'm in LA and I can I say, oh, yeah, you know what kind of Pops do you have people like look at me? They're like, oh you're from the Midwest aren't you?
You're like a Midwestern Weirdo And so, you know, hey, yeah, so and then imagine if then you have the you know, you have pop in your copy and you send it over to a German translator and they're like what the hell is that? You know what? I mean? Like they just don't even know and so there's all these like little traps that you can fall into.
Where you're not properly localized we saw I've seen that when you actually translate in like two German like that. Germany is like an insane like it's not just like so you once you start translate. I always recommend that you translate into German Italian Spanish French and then also Latin American Spanish because in Spanish was paying so different from Latin American Spanish, Mexico is actually really good place to advertise me, but you know and really well what I'm trying to say is like if you in it also pays dividends because.
Germany for example if your site translate into German German, you can actually now advertise in Germany, Austria Luxembourg. I think like tin sign or something that's another country. So there's like there's like five countries that you can in Switzerland. So they speak German and all those countries.
So basically I've kind of gone through all the countries and I have a list of like what language I kind of start with like my ad campaigns with what language and then I pick all the countries that speak that language and I set my ad set up that way. Okay, and it's really been like it's honestly been shot.
How cheap some of the ads use how cheap you can get Clicks in some places like in Brazil. You can get clicks for like seven cents or six cents a click and you can really really scale your business. I've seen most of the companies that I've worked with that we that we internationalize it ends up being that the u.s.
Is only about 40 percent or lower of their total volume. It's hard to believe and I guess a lot of businesses don't really realize that there's just you know so much that like you said that they could be just really leaving on the table if they don't explore that and you know what you I think. You mentioned is very key because it when you're thinking about it, if you're not doing it International, I think a lot of businesses probably seem overwhelmed in the fact that okay, you know, how am I going to offer this internationally what I got to think about, you know, you mentioned a bunch of things as far as the translations is concerned, but it sounds like you can you can kind of use your way into it you like you said the first thing you want to do is really, you know, make sure you have something that's going to show them their particular currency so that you know, when.
To your site. They see you as dollars. They don't you know, they don't get turned off because that's I think up front. That's really important. I can remember a couple months ago. I bought an app that was recommended and all of the currency was just in pounds or Euros, you know, I was definitely very leery.
I was like, all right. Now I got to figure out the conversion so, you know went to the Google converter and you know find out how much it actually was in u.s. Dollars. And then yeah, I spent a good few minutes just debating like all right, you know, I just. No, I just wasn't that comfortable even though it was a legitimate company.
They were recommended by someone. I felt uneasy with it because you know just wasn't US currency and I can imagine other people will have the same experience if they're overseas. They come to a site in its in its us. So I think doing that upfront at least taking that step and then like you said the next step is look at the English speaking countries and then figuring out how you can open up your ass.
To reach those particular areas definitely important. Yeah you go ahead. Yeah. I was gonna say it's open for a lot of dip businesses a lot of different types of businesses. But I mean in your opinion for what you've seen I like are there any specific. Per se or product categories that really are more ripe for international and international audience.
I think so, that's a really really good question. I think the biggest thing to think about is just how big is my product if it is really large. It's going to be very difficult to shift from the US and there you're going to go to like a 3pl or different country and that is honestly it becomes much more much more complicated.
So if you're shipping grills, for example, it's going to be cost an ungodly amount to shipping the u.s. To the UK. And so it's just not going to work out as mode so if you have smaller products that are lighter or just easier to ship. Okay, so that's the first question is like how much is it going to cost me to ship from there?
Assuming it's going to cost you an arm and a leg to shift from shipped from the US in some people actually get away with really expensive shipping from the US and papa. But anyways, once you figure that out the next question, Does my product work technique does the tech work in another country? So I have a friend who runs SEO shower and it's like this this really cool little clip on thing that you can add to your showerhead to make an aromatherapy shower.
Okay, and he does well in the United States, but when they try to sell it in Europe, they realized that that the shower heads are different there and it just doesn't work. So the product itself doesn't work. So you might want to do a little bit of research to make sure there's my product actually work in this country.
And then the next thing is is contextual. So if you're dicing. With more like T-shirt stores, if you have a very contextually relevant T-shirt stores the United States I'd say, you know, you're just say you had an American T-shirt shop is All American flags and you try to internationalize that while you're probably not going to get too many people in different countries buying American Flag t-shirt every might but who knows, right?
Who knows but even then like, you know, I was give the example of like Seinfeld like Seinfeld was very contextually relevant to the United States. A lot of jokes that were headed to a pop culture. It didn't make as much sense for people in different countries. That didn't understand. What was. Be American so it didn't perform as well as some kind of some shows like, you know Married with Children and some other things that are little bit more slap sticky.
So the more you know, the less visual the more contextual it is the harder it is going to be for people to understand but beyond that I mean the the so if you if you've got to the point where you know the tech the tech works and you know, how do you figure out if the technology works? Well, you might maybe send it like a sample to somebody in the different country find them.
I don't know if you know somebody there. Maybe get some find somebody on five or works there and be like hey, would you just be a product reviewer so I can see if this thing works or you can just literally just start running some ads and check to see what the you know email the people once they get the product and see hey did it work?
So all those things you the biggest honestly the over the biggest biggest thing is just make sure that you can get shipped there because if you can't ship there that's a deal-breaker, right? But yeah, it's assuming that you can ship there then it's does the technology work and then does the it contextually work and that and that's pretty much it.
Okay, and you know from the businesses that you've seen just kind of your experience dealing with this your I guess internally or just other businesses that you're familiar with. What do you see as a common mistake? That companies make when they're attempting to make their products available to an international audience while the biggest state in mistake is not is not translating your site the right way because it's difficult.
You have to you have to end up sending out to natural language translators though. Sometimes they will you know, they don't send it to the right people or they could just get really bad translations back or if they want to go with a reputable company like trans perfect is a good company, but it's like really really really expensive she often.
Up with this option of like cheaper methods that aren't that good or like the super gold-plated method that is honestly not right for most small and medium-sized businesses. And so that's why I created a like a like rating service called translate my store.com. Okay, it really helps. It really helps you translate your Shopify store were specifically kind of set up for Shopify stores.
So I apologize anything in the audience who's not a Shopify store, but really specifically set up around translating and getting Shopify stores in language and then translating Facebook. That they can run the ads like the video ads and all the copy in language and then also translating your email, you know abandoned cart emails.
We kind of focus on klaviyo emails. Okay, that's our kind of our system of choice just because that's kind of like taking over the Shopify system for emails, but really making sure that the customer gets, you know, the ads they're getting her in language the website that Landing onto in language.
The abandoned car emails are getting Korean language and then the welcome series is also in language and if you don't you lots of times people will do half of. Like they'll get the website translator, but then there are the abandoned car and then of other stuff translated, right and so then it becomes a pain because we're basically just leaving money on the table.
So that that's really it's like it can work. Right it just like you could be making more money. Yeah, why wouldn't you like to make more money right? You know, so that's really and if you go to my site the transit W translate my store.com will give you kind of a free consultation. We're kind of in the beta mode right now.
We have a few customers that were translating their sites for them. We're still in beta because we don't want to get like overwhelmed because you know, we do have. Translators who are working there. So if we got like a thousand, you know leads right now, you know, I'd have to scale up my translations, which is totally possible.
We just kind of way to get a better a better idea of demand before we totally scheme. We totally scale up so we plan on the full launch in the in the fall right now. We're just taking on new taking on the customers that are right for us and everybody else kind of get in the backlog. So you should sign up and I'll give you kind of a full, you know, puff free consultation on just like where to start and how to get things going.
Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. That sounds like an awesome service. I think you're right. As far as a common mistake is the is a translation and you know, that's that is a big thing. Of course if people can't read the copy. I mean, they can't do anything really they're not going to proceed to any way any further with that and you'll find if you if I could interrupt you once I can you find shopping.
I just did a study and they said you're the stats of this directly from the shop by study. I think it actually work with static or something like that, which is some sad thing. But anyways, 75% of people want to buy products from Brands talking their native language. 59% of people say that they rarely or never buy from English only e-commerce brand.
So wow and 67 percent prefer navigation and content in their language. Okay, so you could you can see that like I can tell you that when we ran ads in Germany and English, they never worked but when I ran ads in Germany and German, they worked like Bonkers, right? So some countries like Italy, for example, I was able to run English-speaking ads to Italy and it actually works decently.
Well, you know, we were leaving a ton of money on the table because we. Italian yeah, but it actually worked. Okay, so but German example did not work at all. So there's some people who literally will not buy from you unless it's in you it's hard for us to imagine because we're America everybody kind of comes, you know to you know, it sounds like kind of conceited but you know, everybody can know is like they we kind of were the first people on the Earth, right?
So people were used to seeing, you know, American dollars and you know greenbacks are kind of like internationally-known right, but you can imagine if you were to if you were if you were in America. Land on a site and the pound was in it was it was in pounds just like you said then it seems all weird.
Right? Yeah. And so people in other countries feel the same way now, they are onion with the one caveat being that they're probably more used to the US dollar than any other currency outside their own, but they're still thinking. Is this site actually for me or is this for Americans? Yeah, that's that's what it is.
It's there's a level of comfort there. I think for them even though like you said everybody knows US Dollars and you know, it's not like they're going to say oh, you know, this is not in my native currency. Is this really a legitimate site and not thinking that but it's just yeah, like you said it's a comfort level and them thinking that it may not necessarily be for them.
And so it can make a big difference and I like I said before I had that experience for the first time and yeah. Was it was definitely funny because you know, I'm so used to just purchasing seeing the US currency and then you know, it's buying a legitimate product but it didn't have the US currency and I felt funny and I almost I almost actually jump ship.
I think I got all the way through to the checkout I hesitated and then at the last part of the checkout I said, let me just double check. Is there another product that's you know, just a US company that has u.s. Dollars and I looked around a little bit but then I went back to it was highly recommended by somebody so I said, okay, let me just go ahead and continue.
With it. So I definitely understand the pain point that that can put people in well, and if you've provided a whole wealth of information with regards to to scaling ads specifically internationally as I know it's going to help out a lot of the businesses that are that are hearing because this definitely makes a whole lot of sense and specifically because of those stats that you mentioned and leaving so much money on the table.
So if anybody wants to get in touch with you, how do they do it by the easiest way is Andy at translate my store. Calm okay or just fill out the form on translate my store.com. Okay. That sounds great. Well, thanks again any for joining us today on the e-commerce marketing podcast. We appreciate all of the tips that you provided cool take so much Arlen have almost got to have them.
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Head of Marketing, KeySmart