Nirav is called an entrepreneur geek. A geek turned entrepreneur who still loves writing code 😉
Nirav has built a rather eventful track record over the last 20 years. He launched India’s first electronic magazine, a thriving web agency that went down in 2009, made a heroic return and recovery, then a string of successful product businesses in parallel. He's a published author of three books and speaks at various tech and business events.
But hey, numbers and all the claim-to-fame apart, what’s most important about him is that he is down to earth, has great wisdom and loves to help. So if you have any questions about analytics, product marketing, or running a tech business, he's your guy!
Welcome to the podcast Nirav. It's so exciting to be on the show today. Great. Great. We were glad to have you today. We're going to be talking a little bit about inbound marketing and specifically also about conversion optimization and you know a lot about that and have had much success with that and I'm really anxious to hear how you're going to Enlighten us on that.
But before we get started, why don't you tell us a little bit about your background? Specifically how you got into what you're doing today? You kind of covered quite a few pieces there, you know, so I won't repeat that. The thing that really motivated me is solving people's problems with technology and that's why I call myself an entrepreneur geek.
So I use my technical knowledge and the business Acumen to solve problems for people especially e-commerce businesses these days entrepreneur geek I think. I would probably fall into head same category as well. And then I'm jumping to her for this but as long as you've been into the business as well, you said about 20 years.
I've been in business for over 18 years, but I did start off as I guess you could say geek Computer Engineering major computer science did some programming and work for a couple companies out of college. And so I think we wear the same hat with respects to that. Although these days. I don't do too much coding.
I still can understand code a little bit, but things have changed quite a bit from when I got out of school. Yeah, so things are so easy that time right? I mean things are so complex these days if you had to do some marketing or if you had to do some code it was so easy the early days. Yes, not the same anymore, right?
It is definitely different game. There's so many different languages and environments browser platforms. It's actually I don't I don't envy you know being in school right this time. I know it's kind of probably overwhelmed for computer science Majors these days because there's a lot of directions and a lot of things that they can get.
Right Alright great. Well, you know, we're going to be talking about inbound marketing and conversion rate optimization before we kind of dive into that why don't you kind of always like to look down at it and kind of start at the top why don't you tell us specifically what really is inbound marketing and as well as conversion rate optimization for people that are familiar with that terminology correct so inbound marketing essentially is inviting people.
To come to you. It's like pulling people to you and you could do that with content marketing like this podcast is also great example. So anything that you would do to attract the people to your store your business your brand that would all go into inbound marketing. Contrast that with outbound marketing which is all advertisements email marketing and any other channel where you are actually pushing your message to people.
So the beauty with inbound marketing is that people come to you priests or Dupree convinced or already motivated they come with you know, an impression about you already in their mind. So that makes conversions a lot easier. I mean bound marketing has been there for a while, you know hotspot is probably you can create them for joining the terminals but so everybody is doing inbound marketing whether you know it or not and conversion rate optimization is.
Getting the best out of people coming to your site. So converting the maximum number of people from visitors to customers. Okay, and that's just like scratching the surface of what actually, you know, you could actually do. Conversion rate optimization or cro4 shot at various stages of the users Journey so you could do cro on your leadpages on your squeeze Pages, which is where you collect leads.
You could do them on your website homepage. You could do that on your sales funnel. You could do that in your email. So there's a whole bunch of places where you can actually optimize conversions. So all that for conversion rate optimization gotcha. So it actually looks like they almost go hand-in-hand inbound marketing as well as conversion rate optimization because if you're starting off with inbound marketing and creating valuable content valuable information and resources for a specific Niche or specific audience and you're pulling them into your your ecosystem to your site your company, of course, the ultimate goal is.
To get them to to purchase at that point. Once you got them under the site, then there are techniques and things that you will need to do to improve the rate of conversion, you know, getting all of those people that are already there that you've kind of one over via the inbound marketing him just you know, then taking it to the next level getting those people to convert.
So yeah, I think they really do go go hand in hand. Alright, and yeah, so I think you know another thing that I would like to point out is a big lesson that I learned the last year which is that intuition is killing our business. Okay. Most of us aren't the good news, you know, we make choices we make decisions based on gut feeling based on intuition.
Now that's good for a while, but it is actually killing our business because we may be making wrong bad choices and. Well, I was thinking about it. I thought you know, it's really the data that should drive decisions and I came up with a 10x formula a formula that could actually 10x your business.
And honestly, I was very overwhelmed at that time. You know, I was like, there's so many things to do so many opportunities bought so many challenges as well and what to do what not to do. I was looking at my Google analytics and I hate this formula, but. Essentially the formula is that you triple your traffic double your conversions and double your average revenue per user that would give you 12x returns.
And even if you had some shortfall you end up with 10x revenue and when I started thinking about growing the business in these three distinct components, It made it a lot easier to actually strategize our marketing campaigns to actually work with the team and we've got phenomenal results by focusing on these individual compounds rather than just saying, oh come on, you know, I need to grow my sales 20% or any to double this year and things like that.
Yes, so that's that's a really interesting and it like you said that that's a huge difference between going based on your gut intuition versus looking at the data and the thing that they always say is that. Data and numbers don't lie and that's what should be dictating most business decisions. Not necessarily gut.
I know a lot of people some people who may be beg to differ and a lot of business owners, you know have gut feelings about doing certain things and making certain decisions and they do act on that and sometimes they are successful. Maybe they've been in the game for a little while and they're basing their decisions off of wisdom and past experiences and you know, that type of thing can be.
We'll both at the end of the day. If you know, your overall direction isn't really strategic enough where it's based on those decisions and key markers that you you've been pulling, you know from tools like Google analytics as you mentioned, then it may not be really solid and it says it's kind of hard to base budgeting decisions and resource decisions on on just a whim.
So yeah, I think it is definitely a lot stronger to sell. A decision off of solid data, so you're totally right about that the question that I have because of course, you've got a lot of e-commerce owners that are listening people that are working with e-commerce marketing overall. Question I have is for those businesses that are there just getting started maybe a startup company that is kind of fresh out of the gate that doesn't really have a lot of data to dictate a decision.
How does a business like that base decisions on if there's really not a lot of data. What's your recommendations in a situation like that? Yeah, so that you bring the very valid point. So data is available everywhere. If you actually Google for something you will get tons of data, right? So even for example if you want to do inbound marketing and you didn't know what to write.
So what you would then do is you could actually list down a few options. You could list down. You know, what are the problems in your linen? Each has what are the problems that these guys typically face and then you just probably try to do a Google search about them. Like when they have a problem.
What is it that they will be searching for and immediately you will come to know that there are so many topics. That people have already written about which are similar to maybe thinking and Google will also suggest you, you know, Google will provide you alternative Search terms that you could actually look at to figure out that okay, what else people are searching for now?
These are great leads. If nothing else, I mean there are tools that you could use to do keyword research. But even if you didn't do any of that and if you just looked at things that Google is already suggesting you I think that is great amount of you know inspiration in there and then you can start from there there is definitely so true, especially nowadays more than more than ever just because of the amount of data.
That's made available to really the public prior to like you said Google and prior to the explosion of the internet and all of this information that's out there that can easily be pulled via, you know via analytics tools. There are several tools out there for analyzing data a great tool that many marketers really swear on that.
I we do here internally at Omni starts whereupon his is a traps, which is a keyword and SEO Analytics tool. It can really give you the world. So to speak it's just there's so much data available to that that even if you're fresh out of the gate your new startup e-commerce business. You don't have to worry that fact that you don't have any data.
You can just easily look at some of your competitors competitors that are in your space see what they're doing with regards to. You know decisions with regards to marketing whether it's inbound marketing and keyword optimization what keywords are they're using so it's all of the data is truly out there.
So you can't use that exist as an excuse. I guess you could say that you're a new business and you don't you don't have data. Excuse me. You don't have any data. It's because it is all there now. You did spoke a little bit about the inbound marketing and I'm curious with all of the experience that you've had.
With your business in the many businesses that you've been involved in what are some specific inbound marketing tactics that have worked for your company specifically what we focused is content marketing, you know, SEO content marketing generating valuable content that can actually pull people in there are number of things that we could do, but we focused only on these aspects and their work worked phenomenally well for us, And there are some principles that we go by we say that when you're writing something make it the best content out there on that topic.
For example, we wrote about rfm analysis rfm analysis is a marketing term. But essentially it means that you analyze your customers based on recency of the purchase frequency of the purchase and the value the monetary value. And based on these three factors, you actually create segments of customers.
Now, we wrote an in-depth article about this like we actually studied, you know, academic white papers. We studied all the products available out there and then we made something that was easy to understand it was not. Technical mumbo jumbo or statistics and we actually kind of simplify the whole thing.
It is a long piece, but we made it very easy to digest and quickly. We got into Google search results and even today if so, if you search for other rfm analysis will be there and know that has given us a lot of leads into our Analytics. Because we've actually also included this rfm feature into our Analytics tool so it could actually automatically create the rfm and take away all the hassle of number crunching.
So essentially what I'm saying, is that whatever solution you are offering figure out problems that it's also people and then think about what kind of content they could be searching for right the best content out there make a video these days, you know, it's important. Look at the search volume include those keywords and then you know, you could actually have a Content that people will love and it will grow it will grow Avenged.
There are slowly but then it is a more sustainable more solid growth that will have right at that is so true and it adds actually also goes hand in hand with. Ultimately, what were Google tries to do which is find the best answer to people's questions? And so if you're able to to do that with your content everything that you're creating that really not only will you be providing I'll get some kind of value to your audience people coming to you, but you're going to look good in the eyes of Google and then ultimately like you said, it's not going to be an overnight thing.
But over time it will become more sustainable because you've really created a solid content out there solid game. You probably have solid organic. Listings and search results in Google and unless you do something crazy, you know the next day your listings are your rankings aren't going to go anywhere.
You never know what Google will do, but for the most part if you stick to that Foundation of. Solving people's problems answering questions the best way that you can view your content that part of Google. I don't think it's really going to ever change. So I don't think we have a concern about that exactly and and there are always hacks that you could do like.
If you have a long article, essentially what will happen if it's interesting enough if it's engaging if enough people will spend more time on your side and that's a factor for Google right? They will they actually watch how much time people spend and if you have on site links within your article.
Let's say that you're even if you have a long article and you split it into two pages and if people click link from the first page to go to the next page, they're actually means even more. So that plenty of these little hacks that you could do. I know you know these days a lot of people basically do not like SEO as such it's got a bad name at times also, but you know pure content marketing delivering great content.
You can never go wrong with that. Like you said, you know, Google is looking for the best content based answers to people and do that. You will actually find visibility right for sure and. Ultimately, it's going to come down to the fact that once you got yourself established. You've got the solid content.
You're answering those questions the best way you can you're solving those problems that people have you're going to be, you know, Golf Course growing your traffic and then you know, the next step that you mentioned of course is going to be how to most effectively convert all of those users to your site.
And you know from your experience. What is some water some things some other things that you can do to I guess you could say tweak or improve your your conversion rate because you know, once you get people at the site, you know, the bottom line is you want them to buy you want to answer their question solve their problems, but you want them to ultimately pull out the credit card and complete their purchase certainly.
So in my experience what I've found, is that a lot of us, Are leaving a lot of money on the table because we not actually optimizing conversions and simple things like changing your headline or changing your sales page or moving things up and down can have tremendous results. I'll give you our own example.
So we sell this Analytics tool called Butler which is basically an e-commerce aggregation it Aggregates transactions gives you insights on that right? It's a SAS product and last to last year. We actually revised the website and I actually change the pricing page to be a conversational pricing page and one of the lines that I put there.
You know when people come to the pricing page, I have a heading that says I looking for the pricing table and then I tell them actually that you know before you look at the pricing table, look at these factors. I'm actually addressing objections before they even look at the pricing. Okay? And this gave us six times Revenue.
Wow, just changing copywriting on that page. Give a six times the revenue and it is not one instance. We recently revised pricing page and you know, like the landing page for one other product and we had eight times results eight times Revenue just by these changes. Gotcha invention. Yeah, that's that's definitely a different model than the you know, then that the typical, you know, just displaying the product options in the pricing right there.
All right, so, you know, I have this saying that I share with other people that I say that copy Trump's design. You know people like us who are perfectionists to like good design. We spend a lot of time, you know, tweaking the design of our products or making sure the you know, the pages look nice the site looks nice, but at the end of the day people are obviously looking at the design that gives them the first impression, but then they start reading your site and then you want to pull them in and in my experience.
I've observed that good copywriting will give you better results than good design. And I think it's a small thing that all of us can do easily. I mean, it's so easy to just go to your website and tweak your headings is this more difficult to you know, have a new photo shoot done or it's more difficult to do a whole website design done.
You could make small tweaks another example that I can give you is like, you know, we were looking at Black Friday Cyber Monday season this year and we we looked at the last year Trends and we said, okay, what are the kind of offers that we should run? And we actually realized that we were losing a lot of people in our sales funnel.
So, you know, the sales funnel is when people view the product they added to the cart. We actually check out and they complete the check out in this process. We were actually losing a lot of. We did a few optimizations here. Like we reduce the number of steps to reduce. The number of fields. We actually added things are linked trees the trust and credibility and we had the best Black Friday Cyber Monday season ever.
So I think it is changes like these which could actually be small changes, you know, 80/20 principle is everybody's probably heard of that big fan of Pareto Principle, right? So these 20 percent changes which will give you 80% results. I think that comes from copywriting that comes from tweaking these little aspects.
So I would definitely recommend everybody to you know, go look at their website from a visitor's perspective. Like a best Prospect and see if when they come to your website can they find solution to the problem that they had will they find your website trustworthy enough? Will they find the product description enough to solve all the questions they have will they find your pricing justifiable or do you have some reasoning some way of taking care of their objections to that?
I think that can give you phenomenal error. That is so true. I think a lot of times businesses forget about what it is to be the customer and the other end, you know, you get sewing engulfed into you know, your product your services and it's you know, essentially it's your baby so to speak and so.
You're looking at it from a different vantage point and not the customers vantage point. So it's a hard thing and I know speaking from a business owners point of view. It's hard to take a step back and look at it from a customer's point of view. So I think a lot of times you have to elicit the opinion of others that aren't maybe in your direct Circle maybe other relationships that you have with other.
Colleagues that can give you true feedback and then some other things that you can do is there's actually plenty of sites out there where people will you can actually pay a fee to have people go through your site and either record a video as their screen record rather as they're going through the site giving you the live feedback and you can exactly see where they're going if they have questions if they don't think something is clear you can take a look at that from totally fresh eyes.
These are people that have never been to your. Your company's website or for one such site is actually called usertesting.com. That's a pretty good company and I think there's a several others that do that. So, I think that's something I would highly recommend for any business and it's something that you kind of always have to look at it from that that point of view as far as fresh eyes are concerned now on top of.
Improving your conversion rate optimization and making these small tweaks. Like you said, you don't have to change the world sometimes sometimes it's the small things that make a difference making the small tweaks then analyzing using your analytics what changes this this has on your bottom line.
What effect this has so it's always good to make just small incremental changes and then study those results one of the things that I always. We encourage people to do is that in we talked about this a little bit about this earlier that there's so much data out there of things that you can do with regards to inbound marketing with regards to conversion rate optimization.
I always like to look at and follow the leaders in a particular industry when it comes to to anything marketing. So with respect to e-commerce companies when it comes to leaders. Who would you say are some Leaders with regards to inbound marketing that have also have a truly solid High conversion rate that people can kind of look at and gleam some ideas from and the industry.
I think that uh plenty of people who are doing a good job, right and our actually recommend people to look at the best players the top layers in their own niche. Because it is not only that they were the first order the biggest they became biggest for a reason and I think if we look at whoever is doing well in our own nature will learn a lot from them.
Like we talked about HubSpot with they've done great content marketing similarly Sumo.com, you know the guys from appsumo Noah. They've done phenomenally well using content Marketing in the last year itself. And it put up case studies. They also write Amazon is a great example of conversion rate optimization because they tweak every little thing and so, you know rather than actually talking about one or two examples.
I think it's better that each of us look at the best players in the industry and and people and the companies that we admire and just track to question it like, okay. Why are they doing it this way? You know, why do they have their Pages structured this way? Can I learn something from them? I think that's more useful and I would also actually recommend looking at your own site.
I mean, I already told looking at it from a visitor's perspective, but and you can use it as taking but there are even other tools like heart jar or inspect light or Heap, you know, we use inspect late again, it's a tool to record the user session on your site. So what it does it it will actually record the entire Mouse.
As the video and there are many other tools like this, but I remember that back in the days, you know, we used to actually spend hours looking at in speculate and my steam still does it and we actually figure out there on this page. This is a section where people are spending more time. This is where they're skipping so we can then actually understand what is going on in their mind and it is not based on.
One person's opinion. We actually can aggregate across all the visitors and that I think is truly powerful. So putting all this data together analyzing in a way that makes sense is kind of like really critical piece that moves the needle I say numbers tell stories. What do you go to find them right numbers by cells are not going to be any useful you go to link them together and you go to see cause and effect relationship you go to see that.
Okay, if I tweaked this number here what kind of impact will it have on the bottom line? And that's how things actually move forward, right? Yes, that is that is so true. And you know, like you said you can't really just give a few examples with regards to leaders to you know, gleam things from you can look at.
Who would be in your particular Niche and what are they doing? Why are they making these changes? Because you know, the main thing is these leaders one thing you have to always keep in mind is these leaders the decisions that they are making are based on data that they've Acquired and based on. A lot of resources and money that is being spent so you can definitely rest assured that this the decisions that they are making are solid, but you just have to see how that would apply to your company and if it makes sense for you to do those things.
Well in the rav, I really appreciate you coming on to the e-commerce marketing podcast and then telling us about your experiences with inbound marketing and conversion rate optimization. You've provided a whole wealth of information for sure. And what I would like to do is I always like to close out now and just to kind of changing gears here and so we can find a little bit more about you.
What is one thing that you think our audience would be surprised to know about you? Okay, right. So I actually got into this whole business because I might bill. Wow, and that also at the age of 18? So this is the time of Windows 95 and Bill Gates was coming to India for the first time. Okay, Microsoft organized a competition for all young kid.
Asking them to imagine what the coolest computer could be like mmm. It was called imagine the magic I was I was one of the eight winners from the Forty thousand entries and you know, I got to meet Bill Gates when he was here in India for the first time we flew down to Seattle, you know, visited them in the headquarters and all that and that I mean, I was interested in computers from earlier, but I was actually going to do my MBA and you know probably do some joint some company.
After this I said, okay. Well actually make my career in computers and that is what I think got the ball rolling. Wow. That's an interesting story. That's really exciting that at such a young age. You got to meet Bill Gates and I'm sure that really set the ball rolling from there. I could just imagine, you know, being 18 and being able to do that and just experience really you're just kind of at the cusp of so much going on there.
Like you said 1995 Windows 95. Without this was really the very beginning of the internet at that time. So it was a lot of changes underway the rubber. I really appreciate you sharing that and you know that inspirational story as well as you being on the e-commerce marketing podcast, if any of our listeners would like to get in touch with you, how do they do it?
So I'm on Twitter. You can contact me at need of meta on Twitter or I'm also happy to. On two emails. That's probably the best way actually and I'll give you my email address is near of and Ira we at Matheny rev.com. So, it's like my first name at my last name first name.com, but we can put it in the love, you know transcript as well.
Okay. Got you will definitely have that in the transcripts as well as the link to your to your main company site as well. Well, thanks again for being on the e-commerce marketing podcast. It's been a pleasure and you have a great rest of your day. Pleasure is mine and look forward to hearing more from you.
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