Welcome back everyone to the e-commerce marketing podcast. I am your host Arlen Robinson. And today we’ve got another very special guest Steve Chu Steve runs the popular blog my wife quit her job. And which is where he teaches others how to start their own e-commerce business. Welcome to the podcast happy to be here Arlen.

Yeah. Thanks a lot. Yeah, your domain name is definitely got to be one of the catchiest domain names. I’ve heard in quite a while. Why don’t you start off telling us, you know, just a little bit of background how you got to this point why you came up with that name? And did your wife really quit her job?

Yeah. I’ll just keep it short here. Um, basically, Wife and I when we first became pregnant with her I should say when she became pregnant with our first child. She wanted to stay at home and where we live in the Silicon Valley you pretty much need to incomes to get a house in a good school district.

And so to replace their lost income, which was 100K the time we needed to find we just had to just start a business. Okay, and I remember back when we got married. She knew she was gonna cry. And she was looking all over the place for handkerchiefs to dry her tears and we couldn’t find any of those in the US and ultimately found this manufacturer in China and then up buying a couple hundred those handkerchiefs used only a handful of them and then sold the rest on eBay and they sold like hotcakes.

Okay. And so when it came time for her to want to quit we kind of got back in touch with that manufacturer. Imported a bunch of handkerchiefs and we started our online store at bumblebee Linens that ended up generating six figures in a year. We placed her salary and then she ended up quitting and I decided to just write about it and my wife quit her job.

Gotcha. Gotcha. That’s awesome. Yeah. Thanks for for summing that up. I was really curious as how you you got how you came up with that name. But yeah, that’s that’s a great story as far as. You know her taking the kind of leap of faith and then how it really worked out for you and you’re not the only entrepreneur spoken to that has come into a business idea based out of necessity.

You know, I talked to so many business owners and they tell me the same thing, you know, they were doing something. They needed a product to fulfill their particular need and you know wasn’t there was hard to get and then that’s kind of how they got into it. So that’s that’s interesting how you got into the to the handkerchief business.

So that’s that’s interesting. But you know, as far as we’re gonna be talkin about today today’s Focus since your background is very diverse, and I know you can speak about a variety of e-commerce marketing strategies today. We want to focus on. Facebook marketing and Facebook advertising we’ve never really delve too deep into it.

And I know a lot of the listeners out there are various points in their business have either experimented with Facebook or a thinking about experimenting with it. So we want to talk about today. So for initial my initial question is, you know, how can an e-commerce business? Today get started with Facebook advertising if they’ve never done it before and you know are interested in kind of diving right into it.

Yeah, and you know, one of the problems I find with people who try Facebook is they they start running an ad they spent some money it doesn’t work and then they quit right so I would say if you want quick wins something that almost always works like I would say 90% of the time is to run Facebook Dynamic product ads and the way this works is you upload a catalog of your products to Facebook.

And then you have to instrument your site but then once someone shops on there on your site and let’s say they visit a product they will be shown in a dynamically with a picture of that product on Facebook. And because they’ve already been your site and they’re familiar with your brand and they’re being shown a picture of the exact product that we’re looking at this tends to convert really.

Well. Right right. I was wondering what that was called. I I’ve seen that a lot before at myself any time I visited various sites even on Amazon and then I go to. To Facebook. I’m seeing that same exact product that I purchased in. You know, of course since I’m in the industry, I know that is you know has to do with the retargeting and everything like that, but it kind of catches you because you see that you know, like hey, I just you know, I just was searching for that product and there it is.

And so it’s definitely a great way to convert. Um, do you feel that those type of ads convert a lot better than just? Oh, yeah absolutely give you an idea day. They convert anywhere between 12. 16x return on ad spend. Wow. The only problem with those ads is you are kind of limited by the amount of traffic that you have on your site.

Right? Because you’re bringing in repeat customers or not repeat customers that people have already been to your site back to your site. Right? So it’s for those type of customers not necessarily for the customers that. Are seeing you for the first time it’s just you’re targeting a specific set of your customers.

That’s correct. Yeah, and the reason why I recommend people start out with this one is because you get some quick wins, you get some, you know profit on your ads and that gives you the confidence to try some of the other things. Okay, that makes sense. Now, what about other types of businesses?

Let’s say service type businesses. They’re not selling any products any retail. Could they utilize that same particular feature that same type of advertising is um, so the dynamic product ads are mainly if you have like kind of like a larger catalog but I would say if you were just running Services just a straight retargeting ad would be good enough.

So for example, if someone. If someone clicked all the way over to like the checkout form for your services or the contact form, I would say then you can show them an edge just to kind of remind them that you exist and to come back and complete the purchase of the contact form. It’s the same thing.

It’s just not Dynamic right? If you only if you’re selling services chances, are you only have a handful of services and for those, you know, you can just write create individual ads for those right, right? Yeah, that totally makes sense. I know the retargeting these days are. You know, they’re definitely something that can be very, you know, very effective for sure and I see that all the time these days now every business these days no matter what size they’re in or what particular time period they’re in their business.

There are always concerned about their budget their marketing budget and so. With e-commerce business getting started is there typically a minimum ad budget that you recommend starting with if you’re going to be using Facebook. I mean for Facebook, here’s my general philosophy on just advertising in general.

Like if you’re making a profit, there’s no reason just to max out your budget. So I guess we want to talk about some minimum guidelines whenever I personally run some ads just to test things and I’m talkin about top of funnel here going to cold customers. I always put at least 10 to. Team dollars per ad set.

Okay, and and here’s what’s complicated about it. So everything kind of when it comes to Facebook it kind of all goes together, right your top of funnel when you’re going to cold customers because you are interrupting someone from browsing on Facebook. Like we don’t go on Facebook to shop right we go to check out what’s going on with friends and see what’s going on.

So people aren’t really necessarily in the mood to shop on Facebook, right? So as a result when you’re targeting brand-new customers who are unfamiliar with your brand, it’s generally a lot harder. To just send them to a product and have them by so the strategy I usually use is I give him some sort of really enticing offer or piece of content just to get them on the site become familiar with our brand perhaps getting on our email list or our messenger list and that sort of thing and then you retargeting to actually close the sale.

Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. That’s I totally makes sense. And I know a lot of businesses these days can kind of preciate that and that’s something that you know, they can they can think about doing. And every business of course has a different advertising budget as different amount that they can spend with but what I usually always recommend and suggest is a lot of a budget is going to have to depend on the effectiveness of that particular spend, you know, of course have to spend enough to see some results in like you said, you got to be getting enough traffic through enough eyes on that to see if it is effective.

But then over time, you know, you’ll be able to see as it working. If so, you can definitely. Put more more money into it, but you don’t you have to start somewhere and then you know just really measure the results. Yeah, I mean if it’s working there’s no reason just to put as much money as possible into it.

Right, right exactly. Exactly. But getting to this point, I mean, I like to usually just. The way Facebook ads works as you kind of experiment and things don’t work things don’t work things to work and then you find that one thing that works and that’s where you put all your money in. Right right exactly now with Facebook, of course, you mentioned the a great way to start which is the the retargeting type of.

For those businesses that may have experimented with that or kind of already in there doing a few things. What would be kind of The Next Step? What are some other things that you’ve seen businesses have success with? Yeah. So so some of the easiest ads to make money with kind of fall under the same vein.

So Facebook will. Automatically show products to people who have actually already purchased from you too. I call these ads Dynamic cross sell ads. So someone’s actually made a purchase on your site. You can then show them products that perhaps other people bought in conjunction with that product in an ad that Facebook automatically populates.

And once again that converts super well as well. Okay conscience gotcha. That sounds great. And I know one of the things that we didn’t really mention earlier prior to start in the record. But I guess it could be as relevant now because of everything that’s going on with Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg appearing before the uh, Congress of the senate committee are things like that something to be concerned about as far as you know, the end consumer or the in person on Facebook being concerned about their data.

Is this whole thing do you think really going to have an effect on businesses and the way business happens on Facebook? Well, I’m curious as to what your opinion you know, I don’t think so because. Like as a consumer, I’m shopping for these items and I’m clearly interested in these items. So I actually want like whenever I go whenever I go on Facebook, I actually enjoy seeing these ads because a lot of times it’s stuff that I’m actually interested in buying so from the consumer perspective like consumer and politics are a lot different in my opinion, right?

It’s one thing to try to influence a vote. It’s another thing to be shown products that you might actually want to buy right. So that’s my opinion. Yeah, you’re right. It’s two totally different things. Yeah. So for the. Advertisers, you know, ultimately they’re just they’re just trying to sell their products and if they can drill down to a specific as possible demographic of somebody interested in that, you know, they’re going to want to do that and that’s that’s really the power of Facebook being able to to have all that data and then drill down.

As far as you need to to reach, you know, you’re certain potential customer. Yeah now with Facebook in our business here at OSI affiliate software. We talked to business owners all the time, and I know a lot of businesses out there don’t really have. A some don’t really have an in-house. Let’s say graphics person or you know, sometimes creating graphics and creatives can be a pain for you pain point for many businesses share what in your experience that what types of ads and their creatives are typically performed well and are things that can be easily implemented by a small business.

Yeah. So I found that video ads especially for the top of funnel like when you’re when you’re targeting someone who’s brand-new and. I’m familiar with your brand video ads work the best and you don’t really need a video crew to do this. You can just create a nice slideshow with captions that clearly outline unique value proposition those type of videos work.

Well, you can use services like Animoto or video to create really short Square videos that tend to capture the attention of someone brand-new. Okay. Gotcha. Yeah. I see a lot of those these these days and I think one of the trends these days is most videos nowadays even the videos. You see from some of the major newspapers and news outlets.

They all have captions because they know everybody that’s looking at Facebook is, you know during the day they’re probably at their job, you know, they’re they’re flipping over there when they should be doing some work. They looking at their Facebook feed and you know when they’re scrolling down there they know by default.

It’s the volume is going to be muted there. Yeah, in order for that message to get across you’ve got to have the captions. So yeah, that makes sense. There’s a lot of tools like you said out there and Emoto into mother’s where you can quickly and easily create a video with captions and you know, your video will really fit right in where it won’t be unusual that you have a video like that that has captions and you know, as you know, hopefully some type of call to action where you’re either driving your customer to your website.

Are offering you know some type of special promotion. Yeah, absolutely. Yep, you know with the amount of users that are on Facebook, you know, there’s so many different types of demographics and you know for all of the world where you could you could Target it can be a little overwhelming. I know, you know personally dealing with Facebook.

How at the beginning how broad or how narrow should target audience actually be and what should have business do initially. Yeah. So the way I like to proceed is if I’m starting from complete scratch. Chances are I have some sort of idea who my Target customer is so I’ll start out just targeting based on interests.

Like what magazines are they read? What websites do they like and just Target them with like a video for engagement? And what I’m trying to do here is I’m trying to get an idea of who’s watching my video more than 75% and then I immediately create like a look-alike audience these people and then I run that same add to the look-alike audience and instead this time.

I might Target for. Versions may be add to cart conversions and once I get a significant amount of add two cards, I’ll create another look-alike audience and kind of build things up and kind of narrow down the people who actually have purchase intent over time. Okay, see that makes sense. So you’re not just jumping out there with selecting just such a broad audience.

Your initial run is really to give really gather data and deterrence correct? Yeah, who’s really looking at it and and the initial engagement that yeah, that really makes makes total sense now. Facebook we know. Of course. There’s a lot of power in it. There’s so many businesses that are are successful with Facebook ads.

I hear testimonials, you know all the time. One of the things that I’m always concerned about and I ask a lot of my guest is with social media and with all of these different networks coming and going, you know should have business be concerned about, you know, putting too much into it or relying too much on Facebook where you know, let’s say.

Amount of this is gonna happen, but let’s say five ten years from now, you know, the next big thing comes out in Facebook really, you know, really starts dropping as far as becoming effective. Do you do you see it? Should that be a concern for business? Yeah, you know what? I think that if you’re spending money on likes to your page or building up a fan page that you know, Facebook has proven over the years is going to have diminishing returns.

All right, they continuously Nerf the reach organic. I should say of your pages and your groups and So based on their track record, you know, I wouldn’t be spending a whole lot of budget. Just trying to build up a page in that sort of thing. Okay ads however our something that you know, those things come and go like let’s say Facebook decides to.

It becomes less popular over the years. Well, you’ll find another platform put your money in. I just wouldn’t spend the money building up any native sort of platforms on Facebook at this point, perhaps out. So I take that back. I mean right now I’m spending a lot of money on Facebook Messenger.

Okay and Gathering messenger subscribers because there’s so many people on Messenger right now and I’m building up that list because right now that marketing platform is still very new. Okay, so the open rates and click the rates are fantastic now, I’m going to run with Messenger as long as it’s good but as soon as it starts getting diminishing returns, maybe I’ll put my money elsewhere.

So it’s kind of like something that you just you just need to evolve your strategy over time, depending on what the environment looks like. Right? I told them makes total sense. Now, you mentioned the Facebook Messenger. I know like you said it’s fairly new how exactly does that work as far as advertising through that and building the subscribers.

Is it more of you just. Hang out like a notification about a promotion or content. What’s typical with it? Yeah. I mean it behaves the same way as a regular Facebook ad. The only difference is when someone clicks on the ad they are taken to messenger where you have like a Facebook Messenger bot interact with them and you can get email addresses you can send them to offers and that sort of thing.

It just starts. With Messenger as opposed to going directly to your site. I see I see so in essence it can is another further way to kind of pull in that customer and have some initial engagement prior to you sending them to your site or giving them an offer and the messenger you typically I guess most companies will create a bot where maybe there’s going to be.

What is it a series of questions. Maybe you ask for you know, their email address or get them to subscribe to something is that typically how it works. Sure. So the beauty of subscribers subscribers are osoon as they respond to your messenger bot. They are instantly subscriber on messenger. Okay.

And after that point you can send them messages. Okay. Okay. Yeah, that’s that’s great. And you know there’s a lot of rules about that. Facebook has been getting those if you want but there are certain rules on what you can send someone once they’re on your subscriber list. Okay. Gotcha. Gotcha. So I think it is much just because you know.

It’s a little different because it’s not like I mean in a way they’re opting in, you know, they’re opting in just like opting into an email news list, but it’s a little different because you’re kind of having a direct you’re sending them really almost a direct notification. So it’s a little bit different so I can see how those rules would be a little different when dealing with that.

Yes, that makes sense. But as far as you know a business now just to kind of wrap things up. What do you think is one? Facebook advertising strategy that a business and e-commerce business can do today to start seeing, you know, an increase in traffic and sales within 24 hours or is that too much to ask I mean within 24 hours you can just start with the dynamic retargeting ads the cross-sell.

If you already have a bunch of existing customers chances are a lot of people who have shopped on your store probably haven’t shopped in a while and just kind of drum up business from existing customers who are already familiar with their brand but haven’t purchased in a while you can run ads just to those people as well.

And if you aren’t running any sort of retargeting ads whatsoever, you can just take people who have already visited your site and try to get them back. So that’s like the lowest hanging fruit. Okay, right. To Target brand new people with traffic that takes a little bit more time. You want to probably put together a really good video that clearly outlines your unique value proposition and do some exploratory missions to see how well that add performs and then start running it to look like audiences for people who have actually purchased.

Okay. God can judge retargeting ads. Okay, that makes sense and that actually brings another quick question that I have is I’ve talked to a lot of other businesses that. They may be targeting. Let’s say let’s say you have two different types of two different businesses and they’re targeting a similar audience.

I’ve seen it where sometimes businesses will kind of collaborate and they’ll share each other’s audience. Do you see that a lot in is that ever appropriate or you know, do you not see that? Because you’re kind of tapping into your competitors? Um Market, I haven’t seen that as much I know there’s people that actually sell their audiences.

Okay, so you can tap into. I have not actually experimented with that. Okay myself. Okay. I know it happens, but I just don’t have a lot of experience with it. Gotcha. No problem. I was just curious about if that was something common. Well great. Well this um, I think was very worthwhile. The appreciate you joining us here today on the e-commerce marketing podcast.

Now if any of our listeners are that are out there want to get in touch with you. How do they do? Yeah, just head on over to my wife quit her job. I actually offer a free mini course on e-commerce. And if any of you guys are getting married I can hook you up with some handkerchiefs and Bumblebee Linens.

Okay, great. That sounds awesome. Well, thanks again Steve. I appreciate it and you have a great day and thanks for joining us on the e-commerce marketing podcast. Yeah, thanks for having me Arlen. Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast to access eCommerce videos and other resources.

Help your business. Grow. Please visit get forward slash videos subscribe to us on iTunes by searching for e-commerce marketing podcast, and please leave a rating and a review. Thanks for listening. See you next time.

Podcast Guest Info

Steve Chou
Co-Founder, MyWifeQuitHerJob.com