I don’t normally write update posts, but I had a number of news items I wanted to share. Specifically, I wanted to update you on how the email marketing challenge is going, let you know about my new drop shipping book and highlight some killer content I’ve enjoyed in October.
I’m also giving away 25 copies of my new book to people who comment on the post! More on that in just a minute.
Email Marketing Update
Back in April, we set out to tackle email marketing for one of my stores, Right Channel Radios. Despite having a healthy list of customers, we’d never gotten serious about email. So after an interview with Ed from Klaviyo, we buckled down and laid out an email marketing plan of attack.
Our first attempt at email marketing (in Q2 of this year) showed some encouraging results. In just three months, we were able to generate between 8% and 10% of our sales from email marketing. Unfortunately, our results in the subsequent months took a bit of a hit. The numbers below represent email marketing-driven revenue as a percent of total sales for Q3:
- July – 6.7%
- August – 5.0%
- September – 8.2%
So why the drop? I wish I had a great reason or excuse (like we spent all summer traveling in an old VW bus!) but don’t have anything quite that entertaining or convenient.
The drop was largely due to be being busy with other operational tasks, which caused email marketing to get pushed to the sidelines more than it should have. We did a good job of mailing promotions and offers in September (as reflected in the numbers), but didn’t get nearly as many out in July or August.
Also, some changes to our checkout abandonment emails caused the tracking to stop working properly, so abandonment conversions are underreported. This would have boosted the numbers only slightly, but it still makes a difference.
Going into the Christmas season, we’ll be busy operationally but I’m still hoping to take a more aggressive approach. We’ll also be implementing a pop-up to collect email addresses to grow the list more rapidly, and we’re working through how to do that in a tactful and non-spammy way.
I’ll be back in January with another quarterly report and hopefully some encouraging numbers to share.
My Drop Shipping Book
Earlier this spring, I released The Ultimate Guide to Drop Shipping, in partnership with Shopify. My co-author, Mark Hayes, and I did our best to make it the most helpful and definitive guide to drop shipping available anywhere. It covers everything from how to pick a great drop shipping niche and find suppliers to running the day-to-day operations.
The online version was warmly received, and we’ve released a print version of the book that’s now available here on Amazon. If you’re an Amazon Prime member, it ships for free. To celebrate its release, we’ll be giving away 25 copies of the new book to the first 25 commenters on this post.
How to Win a Free Print Copy: Leave a comment below letting me know what you’d do if you had a location-independent drop shipping business that paid all your expenses. But be specific! Let me know where you’d go/live, what you’d do differently, and who you might bring along for the ride.
The first 25 people who reply with an answer (using their real email addresses) will score a free print copy of my book in the mail (US and Canada only, sorry!). You can leave a comment now by clicking here.
Looking forward to reading your responses!
Great Content in October
I’ve come across a number of great pieces of content this month that I couldn’t help but highlight:
eCommerce Is a Bear
Bonobos founder Andy Dunn makes the case that it’s nearly impossible to sell other people’s products online and build a business of any meaningful size given the pressures placed on the market by Amazon.
“ If Amazon is the low cost winner of selling brands online, if they are acquiring their best competitors, and if their everyday low prices are available to the entire country via a mechanical turk algorithm which is guaranteed to beat you, how do you compete?”
Seven Essential Metrics for Ecommerce Startups
Drew Sanocki recently came on the podcast to tell the story of how he built and sold his eCommerce business. But he also writes what is quickly becoming one of my favorite eCommerce blogs at DrewSanocki.com. It’s definitely the most humorous in the space, despite my best efforts.
With his recent post on eCommerce metrics, Drew takes what is normally a pretty dry topic and turns it into a informative and entertaining read.
“Eventually I figured out that the key to increasing my productivity and getting the most out of Google Analytics was to be consistent, not comprehensive. It mattered more to review a small set of key metrics consistently than it did to review all metrics every so often.”
Google Officially “Jumps the Shark”
There had been murmurings of Google’s recent departure from its status as a benevolent, searcher-friendly giant — including my recent post on Google’s new keyword planner. But it doesn’t get more official than when Seth Godin comes out and announces that Google has turned a dark corner on his blog:
“Every company at a certain stage ends up with two sorts of employees … some that work hard to improve the experience and value for the original customers, and some that tear down that experience and value in order to please shareholders in the short run. It’s not surprising, but it’s sad.”
Scott Adams’ Secret to Success
Scott Adams, creator of the popular Dilbert cartoon, tackles on of my favorite topics: Should you be following your passion or be more “practical” in your approach to business? It’s a great piece, and one that produced the most telling quote I read all month:
“When I was a commercial loan officer for a large bank, my boss taught us that you should never make a loan to someone who is following his passion.”
Excited About My Next Post…
I’m currently working on something big for my next post. It’s a post where I get really transparent with my business, and I can’t wait to share it.
Don’t forget to leave that comment below if you’re interested in winning a free print copy of my book, and thanks for reading!