Welcome to the e-commerce marketing podcast, everyone, I am your host, Arlen Robinson, and today we have a very special guest, Tim Keen who is a self taught digital marketer and the Co-founder of the Loop Club, which has grown 10x in the last 2 quarters. Tim works with eCommerce brands who are spending at least $20k per month on paid media and are looking to grow rapidly, as well as marketing freelancers and clients. 

Thanks for having me.

Yes, no problem. And I’m super excited to talk to you today. The topic of our discussion is going to be really revolved around performance marketing and you going to tell us a little bit about that and how we build a specific process to drive growth in your business and specifically your e-commerce business. So I’m super excited to dig deep into that topic. But before we do, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about your background and specifically how you got into what you’re doing today?

Absolutely. So I came from I think, like a lot of marketers ended up teaching myself. So I was in a band. I was in a touring rock band playing all around the world, like driving around, playing shows like we did pretty well, like we were like on success as a band. And that was great. The thing about being in a band is don’t make any money at all, even if you’re doing just like borderline impossible. Yeah.

So I’m we’re driving around, like, plainly shows and still I’m like and I just don’t make any money at all. So I needed to figure out something like I was like, okay, how can I learn how to do this? So I started selling stuff online instead of clients, kind of just like literally got my way up when I moved to the US. I had a thousand dollar credit card and I was like, I need to learn marketing with that thousand dollars.

That’s as far as I can go down. And by the time I get to that thousand, I have to have an hour. I have to have a process that I can run that will generate revenue for me. So I just want everything. I just went crazy and figured out how to build Shopify stores, how to build stores. And then as I started generating revenue, I was I realized I could also serve clients or instead of building my way up their clients, my clients were happy.

And then I fell into an agent’s phone with six, which at the time was one of the fastest growing companies in North America. And there it’s just like drinking from a fire. I just went so fast from everything I could and kind of just like climbed on my way up, scaled a bunch of clients pretty quickly, mostly just running the same process, just figuring out like, okay, what are the things that you need to do that will unlock a lot of growth in your business?

And how can we just quickly and effectively execute those things? That’s a little bit. And then ultimately a few people and I would just like we had great relationships and well, so we fell into making it one thing and that was the start of covid. And now since e commerce, it’s covered, obviously everything is just gone crazy. And I’ve sat at my computer this whole time, so it’s been a wild ride. But it’s it’s fun.

It’s a very interesting. So just I guess the timing of it is when you guys really officially launched was what, last year about the same time, and which is when the launch launched in August last year, I think we were driving we had some clients for that around like to what’s with these clients for a long time also that we’re getting behind the scenes for a while.

I see. I see. And then I official in August when you went full speed ahead with it, I guess you could say you were kind of right on time and with everything. You don’t know if you had a crystal ball or not. But yeah, I mean, as everybody has seen, that’s in the business world, the business community, when kind of covid-19 kind of snuck up on us all businesses worldwide, we’re scrambling to figure out their online e-commerce presence.

If they didn’t have it together, they damn sure we were getting together in a quick amount of time. And so, you know, we’ve all been forced to really just kind of scramble because everybody, you know, when they everything initially shut down, really the whole world was shut down. Nobody was going anywhere. And so, you know, people still need products. People still need services. So, you know, if you didn’t have an online presence, then you weren’t going to be able to reach those customers.

So that’s definitely something that’s really crucial right now that you kind of have your your act together. Now, we’re going to be kind of digging deep into your kind of bread and butter. As I mentioned, we’re going to talk about performance marketing. So why don’t you really kind of define it? And really, how does a business really build a specific process around that to drive growth also?

So to me, performance marketing is marketing where you are measuring the results in real time and acting on those results. And that is opposed to a marketing system where just say, I’m sure you have a fixed budget for the year, you say, OK, in March next year I’m going to spend eight thousand dollars on marketing. I’ve already planned that expense. I build a bunch of apparatuses around it. I’m going to retire right on this and this, putting on ads, then you’re not necessarily thinking about the specific outcome.

You’re like, OK. And then the business will grow. And that’s one framework. That’s how people have done things for a long time. When you’re thinking from a performance standpoint, you are measuring as quickly and as accurately as possible the impact of the marketing you’re doing and you’re adjusting in real time to doing that. And this is how digitally native plants are growing over the last few years. They can identify an opportunity for finding low cost customers, whether they’re on Facebook or Google or affiliate chat or influences wherever they’re going to service the low cost customers, finding them at a cost of customer acquisition that they’re able to tolerate, and then scaling that down.

So when you find something that works and that works, I mean something that drives profitability in the business, drives your customers at a cost cutting customer that you can tolerate, you just push into it. And that’s what we’re going to do now. We’re going to find ways to measure and optimize that channel to get more efficiency and performance out of it. And we’re going to build a process around improving the way that we buy, the way that we work on that channel to drive profitable growth.

So, for example, Facebook ads has been a long historically before me. By that I mean I can for a lot of my brands, I can put a dollar in and get out very predictably. But how do you do that? It’s not that like if you if just a normal person is never on Facebook before, goes to Facebook or tries to do that, definitely won’t work because you don’t have any experience with the tracking system. You don’t have the experience in the back end.

You don’t know what kind of creative is what creative is the main weapon that drives growth. So what you need to do is isolate the variables, the letters that you have access to and then build a process around optimizing those levels to get more revenue out of the equation. So, for example, created some ads performing better than us. We can track and measure, optimize the performance of the video creative videos from ten times better than Static’s on Facebook.

But a lot of people still aren’t running video to this day. So part of a growth process, better performance marketing process is going to be, hey, it looks like your stock ads are converting anywhere near as well as they could be. How do we welcome that? Do you need a video and a team? So you need one person whose job is to make an asset and another person whose job is to measure and optimize the results of that asset.

We need those people to talk to each other and then you get better and better and better at running that process. So the person who is running the ads says, hey, turns out that, like, if you put a picture of someone’s face in the first frame, we make twice as much money. And then you send that back to the like in the video and they say, oh, okay, cool. Here’s another thing that we can do and measure and just continually feed that flywheel to really drive growth.

That’s a great definition. I appreciate that. These days it’s a lot easier to do this whole performance marketing, primarily because of what you said. All of these platforms, these ad platforms, these analytics systems have been able to gather so much data and make it really readily available to the brands that are doing the advertising that makes gives them the ability to make split second decisions, instant decision. Whereas before all of this before all of this data, before all of this, that these analytics, not that you had to really do a guessing game, per say, but I think prior to all of this, it just took a lot more time to really understand the effect, I think, of your marketing and advertising.

It took more time for that day to come in and to be tracked and you’d get reports and all of that. So, yeah, I think we’re at a time right now where, yeah, if you’re not making data driven marketing decisions, then you’re kind of still definitely steps behind because all your competitors are definitely doing it. Yeah, they’re looking at the data. They’re making pivots and like you said, just that simple example of, you know, button color or something like that.

You’re looking back at what’s effective if you make one small change. How is that affecting your click through rate? How is it affecting your conversions and then deciding how you can maximize that across all? Your channels and your messaging, so you’re very, very interesting times that we’re in right now to be able to to take advantage of all of that information in such a quick amount of time. You know, I’m a huge advocate of utilizing all of these tools, all of these resources.

And as I of course, I know, you know, there’s kind of a multitude of of ways to kind of dissect things and analyze things. But for what you’re doing and what you do in your business, what would you say are some go to tools that can really help with performance, marketing strategy? Yeah.

So one thing I would say is try to keep this pretty simple. You don’t need to build in a million different tools and systems and make your workflow really complicated. You just need a couple of sources of truth that you can look at and say quickly to yourself, am I doing a bad job or I’m doing a good job and very quickly make make it decisions based on that. And it’s very easy to get just like you said, there’s so much data available that creates a tendency to analyze every single little thing before you ask what you want to do is step out and make big moves that will make a big difference.

One tool that I see a lot of people sleeping on is the email marketing platform. So I’m seeing a lot of end of these stores that are still on sale or that they are sending from with different platforms at this point in the game. Someone’s won. It’s Clavier. You should be on a plane. If you’re not on it, get on it tomorrow. It’s going to make you more money with doing less because it allows you to centralize your customer data into one very easily usable source.

You suddenly stop being able to create profiles of people and tracking and analyzing things like what they purchased from you, how often they purchase. And you can integrate Kleeger very easily with things like your affiliate channel or your customer data, your customer service portal or your Shopify. I still want to try to create one place in your business where there is a centralized source of truth, where you can look and say, OK, it is doing well. If this is not doing well and in my opinion and it should be Clivia, it’s a very, very robust tool and it’s very affordable.

And I would just I would use it if I were you.

Gotcha. Gotcha. A great piece of advice. I’m very familiar with Clairvaux. We have many clients that have used it. And I hear what you’re saying where you still unfortunately, there’s still a lot of e-commerce businesses that are kind of using the male chimps and some of these other weird solutions. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with some of those solutions. And the male chimps, especially if you’re kind of maybe you’re just getting started, you haven’t really done anything as far as email marketing is concerned to kind of get your feet wet, get your hands around creating a list, doing an opt in.

You can do some basic things with it. They have some free plans and a lot of them kind of pull you in because they give you a certain amount of free, I guess you could say, subscribers and the amount of free mailings that you can do in a month. And so that’s how they I think they get people in there. But you will reach a point where, especially if you’re an e-commerce business, that there’s going to be a lot of things lacking.

And then, like you said, that’s where Clavo comes in and solutions like that that are that are geared for e-commerce businesses and understanding your customers what they’ve purchased, you know, getting them into the right funnels and all of that. So, yeah, it’s definitely a great selection for that. One thing that I think also speaking of email marketing, actually, because it’s very important, like you said, it’s often slept on by a lot of businesses because here at Edwards, I feel the software we deal with e-commerce businesses every day, all day that sign up to get our software.

So I’m looking and we’re looking at sites. Our whole team is looking at different sites. And yeah, it’s definitely one thing that I see lacking from the opting in process to creating the right funnels and all of that. A lot of businesses really don’t have that all together. So with email marketing, I think what really where people fall short is they don’t really know where to begin with regards to marketing, what are some pieces of advice to kind of get started with it if you really are just kind of don’t know what to do?

Yeah, great. So there’s two things that I would do right off the bat. The first thing is this. We see this every day. We see people sending every single email they send to everyone who’s ever subscribed to the list. I’ve seen this on businesses of every size. The problem that you create for yourself is that some people are not going to open up, just that it’s not, do they? Some people on that list have not engaged with your brand.

And yes, some people accidentally signed up for it. Some people have already purchased a competitor. It’s just not going to happen. So the. Google and Gmail and all the other providers, every time you send an email that judging you saying, OK, what percentage of people on the list opened this Gmail, if they see that a very high percentage of people on the list are opening the email, the algorithm says this is important, this is valuable information to people and they will start moving your emails to the inbox as opposed to the promotions tab.

So you’ll start creating a slightly more and more and more people open your email list, which again, is going to drive more revenue. It’s going to get you more money. So the first thing, it seems counterintuitive and it’s very painful for most businesses, but you need to rip the Band-Aid to stop sending to everyone and start sending to an engaged list of people who have opened your emails or interacted with your brand in some way in the last 90 days.

That’s going to leave. A lot of people know you’re going to think that you’re leaving money on the table. You you’re going to panic. But trust me, it’ll save you a lot of time and will making more money in the future. The second thing I would do is start building more automation’s. I see this all the time, go into all kinds of accounts. And people haven’t set up abandoned court emails. They haven’t set up a post purchase checkout close.

They haven’t set up just basic fundamental flaws. So there’s two ways to send emails to people. One is campaigns where you go in and you write an email and you send it to everyone for a segment of your list. And the other is Flo’s sort of triggered emails that are based on customer behavior or whether you just signed up for this, whether you just made a purchase, whether you just abandon your car. Those emails are relevant and specific to the context of a shop.

So they’re going to have significantly higher open rates, significantly higher click through rates and significantly higher conversion rates. So you should make those books that better so they have more value for your business and you get the added benefit. If you only do it once, you only make them once. Set them up, leave them alone, just let them make money for you in your sleep. But I see a lot of people get caught up on what am I going to send people today, today, today.

But take your best performing emails to make them automatic.

Yeah, makes a lot of sense. As far as with emails concerned, is there a rule of thumb as far as the particular content? Because I know that’s another thing that people struggle with. A lot of times it’s a fine line between educating and informing your customer and then selling your product or services you want to. I think that’s where a lot of businesses kind of dance between. They don’t want to be too aggressive and too salesmen always in promotional emails that just kind of people glaze over.

But at the same time, you know, they want to educate. But what how do you meet that fine line there?

It’s a real challenge. I think you need to look at the kind of business that you’re and make decisions based on that you can make decisions based on the kind of product that you sell. I’m talking here about e-commerce businesses, the kind of products that you sell, and then also the tone of the brand, the style. Have your customers used to getting discounts all the time? If so, you might need to keep flossing with this to get more aggressive.

Do you have a product that really lends itself to education? Is that something you can learn about other different ways to use it? That might be advantage the way you want to spend less promotional focused emails and more kind of the lifestyle of more content from users? What I would say is, is give value in every direction. Like you just don’t want this to be pointless. The reason people convert on emails with a discount code is because they get something out of it.

They get a discount. But you can there’s plenty of other things you can give to your customers and give them a joke, give them a smile, give a piece of information, give them a photo and a real review of someone else using the products. All those things give something to the customer I think you want to get in that mindset would be like, what am I actually giving this person? What is their incentive to open this email and take action?

Why would they want to do that? And if you stop thinking about the people on the other end of the emails as real people who are going to make decisions based on the content that they look at becomes much easier. And you can just write just right. Like you normally write. Write something about the brand. Use user generated content, leverage images that other people have made for you. All that stuff is perfect fodder for email.

OK, great, great, good stuff and appreciate those suggestions. Now, if we put all of these things kind of under the umbrella of different marketing activities that are performance based, whether it’s the email campaigns, you know, how many click things are getting, what’s the conversion rates or whether it’s paper click advertising or whatever it is, whatever channel you’re advertising, what are some of the key performance indicators to really monitor the success of these campaigns?

So first of all, it’s so revenue is the name of the game, whether it’s short term or long term revenue. It’s up to you and your business to make a decision about what revenue numbers are important. How quickly do you need to see results from this activity and what is considered a good result? That is that has to be the top decision. Otherwise, you’re not if you’re not driving revenue through your marketing, you’re just taking it off. Your goal is to make sure whether it’s even brand, even random stuff where the goal is, I don’t want to make money right now, but I want to cultivate a brand that people will purchase from over time.

We all have the same goal. So keep that at the top level. Then you want to look at some metrics that will give you an indication of whether what your specific activity is doing or successful. So I love CPA cost per new customer, the customer acquisition. How much total spend do I have to make in order to get a new customer? It’s a very telling metric because you can then model a lot of other things that how many times the customer to purchase them to be profitable.

What’s the total cost, value and need to sell to someone to make it worth my time? Really, really rich and useful metric and you can build it. You don’t need to just rely on what’s written in that platform so you can build in all of the other marketing activity and build in all the other stuff to really model that metric out. Another one that I’ve been using a lot that I think will start becoming more popular over the next year is what’s good.

So this is media efficiency ratio that is really a blunt instrument. How much money did you make? Divide that by how much did you spend on marketing?

That’s it. That’s the whole point.

If that is a good at a big number, you’re doing better than a not doing as well. The nice thing the nice thing about that metric is it motivates everyone like you want to drive more revenue. Obviously, everyone wants to drive more revenue. They also want to drive revenue efficient. Now, it’s difficult to accurately measure the efficiency of any single ad. If I go to Facebook, they’re going to tell me one number. They’re going to Google to tell me another number.

If I going to emails and number some people and this is again, we do this as well. Some people get hyper granular about all these different segments, like complicated modeling to figure out exactly if the competition can Facebook or Google. That’s one way to do it. The other way is pick a simple number that drives a lot of activity and empires. It’s beautiful. The lovely metrics.

Great. I hadn’t heard that before. But you’re right. That’s it. Simple, you know, what is it that you’re learning from all of the media that you have out there and yet you’re going to get your answers as to the effectiveness of what you’re doing. So, yeah, great metric to just focus on know as we get ready to wrap things up. In your opinion, whether these are businesses that you’ve worked with or brands that we’re all familiar with, what are some businesses that you, of course, can identify that have had a fair amount of success with the performance marketing?

What specific things have they done to do that?

So one of my clients I’ve been working with for about three years now, grassroots co-op, they’ve done an amazing job driving growth through performance marketing. So when I started with them, I think they were around being around 40 a month in revenue. We drew closer to a million now with three years. And what I would say is it’s not there’s no silver bullets here. And exactly like we talk about the stock, it’s running a process that improves over time.

What variables that you want to measure, the metrics you want to measure, think about all the different ways you can influence those metrics to be creative. It might be Facebook ads, might be mass. Make a prioritized list of what’s the most useful thing to do right now that’s going to help me grow my business. Do that first. If you do that over three years or two, three years, you’ll end up doing a ton of stuff you didn’t expect to do.

You’ll end up testing new channels. You didn’t expect to test the person you created. But the business is you’ve. But the metrics right in the first place, you’re all running in the same direction. And especially in e-commerce right now, there’s a lot of opportunity on the table, like most businesses have something that they could do that would drive rapid growth for them about figuring out what it is.

No good stuff. Yeah. Thank you for identifying that. And there’s always room for improving. And that’s kind of the beauty of the performance marketing philosophy is because you’re constantly looking at the results of what’s happening and does it make sense to either continue what you’re doing or do you need to change and modify? It shook things up and it’s just really kind of an evolutionary thing. It’s definitely not a set it and forget it type thing. You know, that’s what this is about for sure.

Yeah. You can’t set it and forget it. Oftentimes when you do that, you’re going to you know, you may reach a point where you you get to spike your sales and your traffic, but eventually, if you don’t monitor and pivot, change things, it’s going to it’s going to plummet. So it’s very important to keep that in mind. What’s in it’s been awesome having you on. I’ve definitely learned a lot of your listeners have as well.

So hopefully they take heed to your advice and you kind of get things together with regards to their performance marketing. But lastly, before we let you go, I always like to shift gears here and ask you kind of one final fun fact question. If you don’t mind sharing, if there’s a particular fun fact that you think our listeners would be interested to know about you, that would be awesome if you could share it.

Yeah, I’m a drummer. So in my role in the other side, the drums, that’s like really what I love to do. And yeah, I mean, it’s hard to keep a life outside this crowd sometimes, but that’s OK.

That’s good stuff. Thank you for sharing that. You did mention that you were in a band, but like you say, most bands don’t make if you’re in a band, you’re not going to make a lot of money unless you’re you know, unless you’re in the likes of these huge bands like the whole place of the world or the kind of horse historic bands like the Rolling Stones or The Who or things like that, unless you’re on that level, it’s hard to scratch out a living.

It’s a hard as it is.

It is. Well, that’s great. Well, thank you for sharing that. One quick question. Just out of my curiosity, since you’re a drummer, who’s your favorite drummer of all time, who would you say would you look up to?

That’s a hard question. This guy, actually drummer named Jim White Australian as well, is a real semi jazz drummer. Some really, really cool stuff. So I’ve got a lot out of life. And I at one time, it was one of the nicest or the most amazing things I’ve ever done.

OK, that’s awesome. It’s awesome enough to be with him, but thank you for sharing that. Definitely look him up. I’m always interested in different musicians and things like that is right. That’s why I asked. Well, thanks for sharing that time and thank you for joining us today. But lastly, before we let you go, if any of our listeners want to reach out to you and pick your brain any more about performance, marketing or anything, you know, e-commerce, marketing, what’s the best way for them to reach you of?

The best way to reach me is my stand in in Dasht, AWB and all. Go to our website www.youtube.com.

Great, Great. Well, thank you for sharing that, Tim. I definitely encourage our listeners to reach out to you, connect with you on LinkedIn or check your you out on your website. And we’ll definitely have the links in the show notes as well. And of course, thank you for joining us today in the e-commerce market. And podcasting has been a pleasure talking to you.

Thanks so much for having me. No problem.

Thank you for listening to the e-commerce marketing podcast. 

Podcast Guest Info

Tim Keen
Co-founder of the Loop Club