Arlen: Welcome to the eCommerce marketing podcast. Everyone. I am your host, Arlen Robinson. And today we have a very special guest Raitis, is the Head of Marketing at Printful, one of the market’s leading print-on-demand/ drop-shipping business with more than 800 employees, and five fulfillment centers in North Carolina, California, Mexico, and Latvia. The company has fulfilled more than 16 million items since its founding in 2013. Raitis joined the team 3 years ago and has since then led the winning marketing strategy and execution and scaled the marketing team from 5 to 50 people. He is responsible for content marketing, SEO, PPC, CRO, PR and affiliate marketing.

Before joining Printful, Raitis has been growing his skills in various roles in digital marketing since 2011. In his previous role at one of the leading telcos in Latvia, he was working as Media and Digital Communication Manager where he was responsible for media strategy and coordination, as well as digital channel optimization.

Raitis: Thanks Arlen. I’m good. How are you? 

Arlen: I’m doing great. Thank you for joining me today. And, um, you’ve definitely have a diverse experience there. I’m super excited to talk to you today about. A subject that I know most e-commerce businesses are either doing currently or looking to do or need to be doing, which is, you know, content marketing.

Because these days, as far as when it comes to getting ranked on the search engines, content marketing is a big part of that. And just getting any type of online visibility, you’ve got to have a content marketing piece. Down or else, you know, you’re going to be kind of lost in the clouds, so to speak. So, yeah, I’m super excited to dig deep into that, but before we get into all of that, Why don’t you tell our audience a little bit more about your background and you know, specifically how you got into what you’re doing today.

Raitis: Thanks for having me on the show. So I’m really excited to part of this. Yeah, it’s been awhile since I got into the acting game. So nine years ago, my, my magazines is really interesting. So I’m, I have a bachelor degree as a computers teacher. You’ve been working in school for awhile, uh, really big writing.

So I worked as a journalist as well for a while, but. At that time, it was a financial crisis, actually, 2007, 2008 in the world. Then they shut down my school. So I had to look for another job. So, and as I was good in writing, I was one of the first people we joined social media agency. It was a totally new thing back then.

So since then, uh, social media and just, uh, internet ads, I, I was part of, then the Facebook ads was a smaller than my Tom. So, if you remembered that small image, it can compare how, how is now and then slowly growing from position to position. And, um, yeah, three years ago I was invited to join a new startup in Latvia Printful as a head of Mike and immediately joined just a less than five people.

That’s what it was my team. I know we’re more than 50. So and sin growing so rapidly, quickly, and we have ambitious plans to basically take over the world and be everywhere with Printful with Brendan eman dropship. So that’s been a heck of a journey and, and, and for me, and I believe also for the company, sky’s the limit.

Arlen: Okay, great. Yeah. That’s awesome. Thank you for, for sharing that I can really imagine these days. You know, any type of on demand business is, uh, you know, really kind of booming these days. And so I can imagine, you know, Printful you guys being pretty busy, you know, these days, because that’s, uh, the on demand services is really definitely where it’s at or an I introduced you.

And I alluded at our subject for today or our topic of today, rather, which is the content marketing. I was really interested in really kind of seeing your take on, on how an eCommerce business can really. You know, set up a successful strategy. And I know you have some insight on that. So, you know, kind of before we get deep into that, for people that are either just getting started or trying to kind of craft a content marketing strategy you want, how would you actually define content marketing, you know, specifically for an eCommerce business.

Raitis: I would say, content is everything. What you put online on your website and your social media in your emails and on your text messages, anything that’s the way. And it could be image. It could be text, it could be video. So it’s anything. And that’s basically is a image to a customer, how it will look like that could be my definition.

So basically anything what you put online and. You basically have to create value to the customers of the content you’re putting online. 

Arlen: Gotcha. Gotcha. Yeah. That’s, that’s really what it’s about it. I think I know several years back there was a kind of a phrase that was coined content is King because you know, it was so important to have content out there and as much as possible these days, is that still the case?

Would you still say content is King when you’re thinking about online marketing and digital marketing in general? 

Raitis: I will correct you a little bit. Uh, we had an all hands recently within the company and I had a slide that SEO is the King. Your and a, on a content marketing. We look from that perspective, basically making sure that you’re the answer to people, questions on search on Google, bang, whatever you’re using.

So, and that’s our basically core how we look on a content. And that’s why I want to say that search engine optimization is King and in our case, Of course, a lot of your content is about Elba as well, but making sure that you create content, which is searchable, which is valuable to your potential audience.

And by end of the day, it’s bringing you free traffic. For example, now in March, when everything happened, so nobody understand what’s happening. The first thing, what we did, we cut down all the ads costs. And at the moment also we are spending minimum amount of money where we can afford to actually do that, where it’s more and we are getting more customers than ever.

Basically just because we did a great job of continuing to invest more and more resources to that creating content, which is not just searchable on Google, so you can easily find it, but also valuable to the customer and basically convert them to real users. 

Arlen: Yeah. That’s, that’s some good stuff. And you know, I think you’re right.

When you say as far as the way things are now, SEO is King it’s. More than just content, you know, content is a big piece of that pie I would say, but I think you’re right. It’s, it’s more than just publishing just a ton of content and throwing it online. You know, it’s the whole SEO efforts of optimizing that content is really the next step.

So you’ve create the content, you optimize it. And then of course, you know, you kind of get it out there. So it’s a lot of things or is it just more than. Content. So you’re right. SEO, for sure. It is King, as far as, you know, creating a, a solid online and digital marketing strategy. Now, one of the things, when I was, um, you know, going through reading on your information, when you submitted to be on the podcast, I think you had coined a particular phrase, which was kinda interesting.

And I want you to kind of dig deep into that. You’ve coined the phrase, what is known as the three pillars of. Content marketing done. Right. What, what exactly is that? And what are these three pillars? 

Raitis: First of all, you can acquire new customers with the content. The third is basically continuing talking about SEO, but, uh, you can’t look on SEO just from technical side.

Of course, it’s really important that you put the technical side in there that Google understands what you’re writing there, but it’s just one step to acquire them. I understand. So it helped also convert them and they’re just, it comes into the game, other contents. So the first interaction with you is probably the landing page.

So the next step is what you put in landing pitch. So basically how you get them interested. So it’s be some kind of boring stuff. So you have to write for people. So, uh, I recently listened to another podcast, so they said really easy, right? Uh, don’t mention features right. About benefits. So that’s also important.

And then there’s a matter of putting the right content and times of the way, how you do that. He does tech eaters, video eaters, image, whatever helps you to connect the customers. And third. So it’s the mean acquisition and conversion. And then, um, you can use probably name retention there, but basically to work with that content.

So it’s instantaneous for user who’s. For example left, you’re an email address. So basically sharing information or made a purchase. So the way how you work with them all over the time. So it’s making, making the best social media content, making sure that emails are there. So making sure that I know dashboard he’s using his personalized to that person.

So those would be my three pillars of the content you should constantly adjust and adapt. And for each of these stages, have the things little different. You have to choose maybe a different platform, different content. So that’s how I look at that. Then how we also, in a team try to divide these responsibilities among, uh, different, different people, different teams.

Arlen: Thank you for breaking that down. And that’s very helpful. One of the things that kind of echoed in my head when you were talking about the content on with regards to putting out their benefits, as opposed to features, I think that’s a huge thing as well, because the bottom line is like you saying, you want to make your content.

Format a, in such a way that you’re, you’re answering people’s questions. Cause the bottom line is your content has to be tied to a particular search query. And so, you know, anytime somebody is searching for something on Google or whatever search engine it’s because they have a query or question and your content has to be able to effectively answer that question.

The best possible way. And that’s really what Google is looking for. They’re going to link, they’re going to rank those sites, that answer those questions and the best possible way. And if you can look at that, that’s what you want to do. And as far as really kind of putting out there the benefits, you know, that’s what people want to see.

They want to see how your product or services can benefit them. That’s really the bottom line. And you know, of course the features are, you know, important to a certain extent. People want to see, you know, kind of all of the details, the nitty gritty, this, the specs, everything that is included in your offering, that’s that’s important, but when it comes down to it, people really don’t pull the trigger.

So to speak, unless they understand how it’s going to benefit them. And yeah, if that’s clearly outlined in your content, but really doesn’t go a long way. Um, you know, especially these days when people’s attention spans are so short, you have to really get right to it. You have to kind of nail them initially and let them know, you know, this, these are the benefits.

This is what. You’ll be able to do with our product or services. You know, here it is, it has to be clearly defined and spelled out for them. Now, I know a lot of the business owners, the eCommerce businesses that are listening are the people that are responsible for marketing these eCommerce businesses.

May have not been at the point where they’ve got really kind of a concrete content marketing strategy set up. So where do they actually begin? If let’s say you were, you’re a new startup eCommerce business, fresh out of the gate. Where do you begin with a content marketing strategy? Well, 

Raitis: how we look at that, we try to understand what kind of jobs you can get done for our customers.

So in this case, I can highlight two jobs. One is that we allow anyone to start their own eCommerce business by offering their customer marriage. And the second part is that you can just order something for yourself. So, and those are basically typical customer groups, which are under, under which you can.

But the different types of content. So if we go after that first group, I mentioned, so launching your eCommerce store and our strategies actually super simple. We don’t have any subscriptions fee, nothing there. So we have to make sure that customer which is using our services successful is that customer will not get any orders.

Because we have no minimums, no guarantees, nothing. So, uh, he will not bring us any business as well. There will be zero value that he’s using our platform. So what are we doing? We are creating content for that person. So making sure that he’s successful. So our strategy is that we create content.

Educating teaching others how to actually launch neat commerce and even do marketing. Cause, uh, it’s pretty simply to launch an eCommerce store with our platform. Believe it’s super seamless, quicker than to get a burger and in and out joint. And drive to a line. So we tested that the hardest part starts when you have to do marketing.

So we create different kinds of hundred, which could be helpful so we can easily divide parts there. So look, what kind of stage is the customer have to go through? So basically have to get into the shoes of that person who wants to use your platform. So basically we. Person’s problem you’re solving. So asking a different question.

Okay. If he can he do that, and then you have to create content for the blog, for the, I know for, for your YouTube account and through that, you will educate your con customer who’s using you. Or you will acquire a new customer because you will create content who could be also useful for maybe under elements.

You’ll just find about your service because honestly Printful is still something new, not so many people know that something like that even existed so easy to launch or a MetLife. So we have to constantly educate the whole community hall, a society that something like that even exists. So we look at that like jobs to get done and then thinking about problems and create information on that and put that on social media, on blog, on YouTube channel or anywhere else.

Arlen: Yeah. Thank you for breaking that down and explaining that. So it’s, it’s doable. I think one of the things like you mentioned, that’s. Necessary upfront, let’s say for a new eCommerce business. And if it’s super critical is really just understanding your customer and creating that customer profile or the avatar of your typical customer.

I’ll give an example from. Let’s say a product company, a company that let’s say sells tuxedos, let’s say men’s tuxedos. Now let’s say you were going to create a product or customer avatar for that. It’s, it’s kind of clear if you’re taking like a fin, a thousand foot view, and you’re looking down on a company like this that sells men’s tuxedos.

There’s probably two major. Customer profiles that you can kind of think about. Number one is going to be someone that is either getting married or a groomsman in some type of wedding. Those are obvious customer profiles of, of somebody that would need an actual tuxedo. And then the other profile would be, let’s say someone that.

Attends on a regular basis, black tie affairs. And, you know, they think it’s worth the investment to purchase their own tuxedo rather than to, to rent. And so those are two obvious profiles. And so once you have that kind of nailed down, then you can really understanding and come up with how to craft your content.

Because like I mentioned, in that example, just based on those two different. Specific types of customers, you can even think about, you know, the amount of content that you can come up with, you know, with regards to weddings, with regards to, you know, different things associated with black tie affairs, the accessories that typically go along with these types of tuxedos, the do’s, and don’ts when it comes to the.

Care for these types of materials, how to wash it, how to clean it, that type of thing. So, you know, there’s a lot of things that can be flushed out once you understand who those customers are. So I think that’s very important. Number one to create that 

Raitis: I have at least five ideas for you. What, what kind of content you can put on the blog just by your example?

Arlen: Yeah. So yeah, so you can clearly see just by starting there, you know, the light bulbs kind of pop up right there. So I think without that really needs to be step one is creating that customer profile, that customer avatar, and then. Yeah. Going from there. Cause I think, you know, I know a lot of times talking to business owners when it comes to content and I hear this all the time, I hear the complaint of, Oh, I don’t know what to write.

I don’t know. I’m not a content writer, but I think they’re overthinking it. They have to just think about all right, what are the needs that they’re solving? What problems are they solving and who are they solving it for? And then when you start there, I think it’ll be kind of pretty clear what you should come up with with regards to your content.

Raitis: If you need ideas, you should just ask your audience. So the one way how we find ideas for new content, I know for new language, for the blog to the surveys. So we regularly survey our customers. You do, you get an order or you do not get an order. And we ask you, what was your experience? But you’d like for us to do for you, or maybe what was the problem.

And they’re alone by reading the surveys, you can probably every week back few ideas, what kind of content you can create and how you can help your customer to. 

Arlen: Yeah. Yeah, definitely. That’s number one yet, like you said, I said, that’s another thing that you can do is just really get that feedback. So even if you’re early in the business, by just, you know, creating an email list and getting people to opt in for something, you know, you’re going to offer them something and then taking the kind of a poll of feedback from them, it can also help you.

You tailor your content and figure out what direction to go with it with content marketing and these days, there’s, there’s so many things online to make all of this possible, you know, in your experience, what tools or other resources need to really be in place to successfully launch a content marketing campaign.

Raitis: So you probably can look from different perspective on this. So for a SEO taking call side are we’re using Sam rush and Allscripts. SEMrush is more for our SEO team and our hubs for rest of the content team to make sure that they pick the right keywords. And those are both are great tools. And for beginners, I would like suggest going to Africa.

They also offer a lot of educational content on ICO topics. So they are also very basically educating, making sure that people who subscribe to them. So make sure we know how to use the tool in the right way. Otherwise they will lose the customer. Right. So that’s the technical side. So you have to have to make sure that you basically pick the right keywords, that it will be searching on Google.

And it’s a long journey now, of course, there all the time. 

Arlen: Right 

Raitis: and be flea for like another tools. I don’t think that there’s much to suggest. So then X partners, you have to pick, uh, if you’re going on a blog direction, you have to go with a blog platform and cost in us. In our case, it’s pretty simply as WordPress and you have to have amazing writers.

So he does in house or y’all source. It’s also important. They able to keep that customer entertainment in that part. That would be my starting tool. Of course, then you can go deeper and think about the landing page creation tools. But for example, if you use Shopify on your, for your eCommerce platform, there’s much of demo their app store, but that’s would be my starting point.

There’s not so much tools for you to need to actually start doing that. That’s how you have to understand a niche and actually make sure that you can write to them that you can reach them, that you can understand them. That’s probably the main important part that you can. You’re part of their community actually.

Arlen: Right, right. Definitely. Yeah. And that’s, that’s still true. And you know, I think what you were kind of alluding to is, yeah, there’s really no tool out there. That’s going to write the content for you. You know, unfortunately we’re not in the, uh, even though there’s AI and we’ve got all of this technology advancing you, can’t just, uh, you know, have some AI bot analyze your business, uh, information and spit out content automatically.

It’s not that we’re not there yet. You know, maybe one day. 

Raitis: Give me a call when you, when you try that tool. 

Arlen: Yeah, definitely let you know. But yeah, I think we’re, we’re several years away from something like that. So in the meantime, yeah, you have to crap the content, but you did mention, there are a couple of great tools that can at least help you as far as coming up with the topics and coming up with those keywords that are, you know, going to be worth you building content around.

Cause I think what it’s about, you want to come up with content that. Is based around commonly searched or highly searched, rather keywords. And, uh, you know, you can do that by using those tools. You mentioned HRS and SCM. Russia’s some great tools to be able to do that online research and, and figure out what you should do from there.

So, um, yeah, that’s, that’s some great advice for sure. But yeah, it’s another no replacement of just getting in there and doing the research and then, you know, coming up with your own content. 

Raitis: And probably, uh, it’s not happening. It’s not going to happen overnight. So it’s a investment for the long run. So basically I have to be patient to actually see the results from the content marketing.

If you’re just using that, you can always do extra push with putting money on, on ads and stuff like that. But at the time, if you’re doing quite, you’ll just. See people coming to your site was used. So that’s the key debt that Samaritan it’s not a sprint. 

Arlen: Yeah, for sure. For sure. Content marketing is definitely a longterm play.

Um, yeah, not going to be able to just put content out there overnight and then, you know, have sales just, uh, You know, come through. 

Raitis: No, I have to, again, I have to give you an example of a recent Lavon. So there was a brand new keyword introduced like face coverings, 

Arlen: right. A while ago, 

Raitis: right? If you can, uh, find such a trend, basically super hot friends, so you can see success overnight, but it’s super, super rare.

And then also we took advantage of that, that we created a condor around that basically all already on the next day, it was, the website were ranking on the 

Arlen: keyword we wanted. Yeah, that is true. There are exceptions, like you said, taking advantage of events or things that happen that kind of go viral.

Like you said, the face mass of which have gone viral, that term has gone viral overnight, globally, just because of this whole coven pandemic. Everybody is searching for how to get face mask. And so, yeah. So there are exceptions. You are, you are right about that. Where. If you do come up with content for that, if it’s optimized correctly.

Yeah. You can, you can definitely get a flurry of, of, of traffic and sales in a short amount of time. For sure. Just because of the demand that’s out there for those items. Um, well, you know, as we get ready to wrap things up, One of the things that I always like to look at and learn from are what are some of the other top eCommerce companies and eCommerce brands doing these days, you know, with this specifically now with content marketing that we can all learn from and, you know, are there some things that, and what are, what are the things that they’re doing to be successful?

Raitis: So I have one really, really good example. It’s a, someone has been following you when probably I knew that a content marketing as a term exists. So it’s on a eCommerce store cat called bath 19. At 19. So they actually did sell silly stuff, which you can buy as a gift for your friend. And they have an amazing YouTube channel.

So go and check it out at 19. So they put any generic content on there. They have the world’s largest gummy bear. And that’s the things they are selling and they create an account how, how quickly you can eat large awards, largest gummy bear, or, uh, they are doing this super crazy entertaining stuff, right.

Or with help. They basically, they’re pulling wild content every week out there. And with that content, they get attention from. Basically people who just want to barely get entertained on YouTube. And then that brings in traffic to their store because of course under that fun video, there’s called action.

Go through at 19 by that and hundreds of other gifts online, which could be anything. So that’s one of the strategy and they’ve. Taking advantage of a YouTube platform, YouTube algorithm. That’s totally different world. It CEO basically they’re that platform. So that’s my favorite example, how you can actually use a condom marketing, maybe a little bit different way.

Does that technical SEO stuff, which I explained on the block. 

Arlen: Right, right. Yeah. I’m glad you mentioned that. I had never heard of that site. Before a vet 19 would the VA the 1819 is on visa, Victor. Yeah. Yeah. I was just taking a look at their website. Yeah. They definitely have some pretty interesting products.

Like you said, the world’s largest gummy bear, a lot of different type of, kind of unique gag gifts. And they’re really, like you said, it looks like their content and even their videos that they’re coming up with are just kind of unique, interesting things that. Are out of the ordinary we’re in there.

They’re kind of maximizing on that, on that content, because it is so different. You know, there’s a lot of companies out here that sell these types of gifts, party, favor, types of things, but it seems like they’re, they’re taking a really different spin on it and are really. Maximizing their, their content creation around their uniqueness.

So, yeah. That’s awesome. I appreciate you sharing that as well. And, um, great. Well, yeah, thanks for that example. And, um, yeah, it’s, it’s really been a pleasure having you on, um, read this. I’ve learned a lot and I know our listeners have as well, uh, with regards to coming up with the content. Marketing strategy.

And I think mainly one of the things that has one of the things that’s really just kind of echoed in my head is just the key takeaway is before you, I guess you could say put pencil to paper, so to speak, you’ve got to understand your customer. I think that’s really the main thing. What are your customers needs their wants, and what problems are, does your product or service solve.

And then once you identify that, I think the content creation piece will go a lot smoother and you’ll know what direction to go to. So I think that’s kind of one of the. The main takeaways that I got, but what I’d like to always do now is to just kind of switch gears a little bit, just so our audience can get to know you a little bit better.

What as well, one fun fact that you can let our audience know about 

Raitis: yourself. So, uh, I play handball and, uh, I play team handball, which is not such a popular sport. And then us. Right, but it’s a huge for here and here in Europe and actually being, while working as a full time job. I’m head of marketing. I, I represent, uh, my national team Latvia and I played in a European championship finals this year.

Arlen: Okay. Awesome. Okay. That’s that’s some good stuff. I didn’t know. There was such a thing as team handball, so yeah. Learn something new every day. I recall handballed one on one handball. I think I played it probably. Middle school. I believe the way they actually had it as a sport during our physical education, the classes that we had.

So we did have like a one on one hand ball, but yeah, I didn’t know. There was such a thing as team handball. Yeah. That’s exciting. Congratulations for taking it to the championship. 

Raitis: Yeah, thanks. Uh, it was, um, my, uh, when I did a search on YouTube, but handball, what is that? What you just explained? So it’s a pretty huge part here in Europe.

I know soccer is here, basketball, and then probably it says handball. 

Arlen: Okay. Okay. That’s a good stuff we have. Thanks again for sharing that. And, uh, yeah. Right. As if any of our listeners would like to contact you and pick your brain anymore about content marketing or digital marketing or anything under those subject lines, what is the best way for them to contact you?

Raitis: So you can, uh, find me on LinkedIn, right? Putting soar just on social media. Um, tried is putting in shunned, Twitter and Instagram as well. So send me a message. All 

Arlen: right. That sounds great. Well, thank you once again for joining us today on the eCommerce marketing podcast. 

Raitis: Thanks Michelle. Thank you. 

 

Podcast Guest Info

Raitis Purins
Head of Marketing at Printful