Email Marketing Challenge, My Book & Great Recent Content

Email Marketing Challenge, My Book & Great Recent Content

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.

Drop Shipping Cover

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.

With yet another quarter of revenue growth and a net profit loss for Amazon, this piece is timely and well worth the read.  Hat tip to forum member Miracle Wanzo for recommending it.

” 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?”

Read the Full Piece Here

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.”

Read the Full Piece Here

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.”

Read the Full Piece Here

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.”

Read the Full Piece Here

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!

Andrew Youderian
Post by Andrew Youderian
Andrew is the founder of eCommerceFuel and has been building eCommerce businesses ever since gleefully leaving the corporate world in 2008.  Join him and 1,000+ vetted 7- and 8-figure store owners inside the eCommerceFuel Community.

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74 Comment

TiffanyNovember 4, 2013

I would keep our current home base in Bend, Oregon because it’s a wonderful place to live and I want our two children to always have a home. My husband would quit his job and start doing something he is more passionate about that is also location independent. Then we would travel regularly. The first trip would be a year long trip across the US in an RV. After that, we would spend a month or so at a time around the world, maybe 3-4x per year. Thanks for letting me dream!

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Andrew YouderianNovember 5, 2013

Sounds awesome, Tiffany! Have always heard Bend is a great place, sounds like a good town to have roots.

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JasonNovember 4, 2013

If I had a location independent business I would keep my location the same and change my life instead. I’m a full time web developer of 10 years. Those ten years have kept me strapped to a desk, drained my enthusiasm, and ruined completely ruined my back. The journey of starting my own business is what sounds most enticing to me. The destination not so much. I would love to wake up and feel enthusiastic to make the most of my day. I would love to be able to work when I wake up and take a 2 hour gym break half way through the day. I would love to have something interesting to share about my day with my wife. So for the sake of this comment lets call it a life independent business opposed to a location independent business.

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BarbaraNovember 4, 2013

I am interested in learning more about drop shipping. It definitely seems to be a way people are making money on the side with some creating a whole new business. I will have to check the book out.

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RichardNovember 4, 2013

I would move out! I would re invest a lot of it into starting another drop shipping business. But I would save up to buy a house and depending on how successful look into an office to further my expanding business.

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RichardNovember 5, 2013

I would also like to jump on the bandwagon for posting in different time zones! UK here 😀

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Andrew YouderianNovember 5, 2013

Next time I’m doing a giveaway I’ll try to publish in another time zone. Maybe even the UK?

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AlexNovember 4, 2013

I would keep my current location as a sort of main base, then travel around the world visiting friends and family located in Europe and Asia. I would also never wake up to an alarm again.

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Quinton Hamp @ The Lost CyclistNovember 4, 2013

Man! I loved reading all of the dreams listed by the readers almost more than I enjoyed reading your post!

(Although it is good to see you update)

When — not if — my location-independent ecommerce business gets going, I’m headed to Africa to start schools. Got really inspired by the book “Three Cups of Tea” and for the past 3 years that’s been the aim. I think I’m finally getting close to making it happen.

Loving Drew’s blog! Great Share!

Keep being inspirational!

-Q

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Andrew YouderianNovember 5, 2013

Thanks Quinton! I’m with you – reading all these dreams / plans is a blast. May have to do this more often….

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TomNovember 4, 2013

Andrew, looks like I’m late to the comment party. 🙂 I live in Thailand, so I’m sleeping when you’re posting. 🙂
But, I figured I’ll post anyway. Frankly, I’d continue doing what I’m doing. SE Asia is a fantastic place to be to start a lifestyle business, I would just travel more often, and visit family back in the states more often. If anybody reading this has any interest in relocating or visiting SE Asia, I’d be more than happy to answer any questions.
Andrew, If you’re feeling especially generous to a latecomer, I’d love to read a pdf version of the book. 🙂

Thanks,
Tom

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Andrew YouderianNovember 5, 2013

Sorry about that, Tom! Wish I could publish in all times zones at once. You can definitely read the whole text online here:

http://ecommerce.shopify.com/guides/dropshipping

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Different TomNovember 5, 2013

Ha! I just followed that link to check out your drop shipping guide (excellent, by the way). I just wanted to say that the photo of the helicopter taking a load to “drop” on a ship is hilarious. Congrats on the new book! The podcast is awesome and is probably the only one I listen to where I don’t touch the fast forward button at all.

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Andrew YouderianNovember 6, 2013

Awesome, thanks Tom! As someone who uses the fast forward button occasionally as well I really appreciate that.

I loved that photo, too, and wish I could take credit for finding it. Have to credit my author Mark Hayes for that gem.

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Bill DAlessandroNovember 5, 2013

Wow, you’re a published author! Very cool. I saw you’d done the e-book, but what was the decision process to get it printed? What was involved in actually getting it done and listed on Amazon?

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Andrew YouderianNovember 6, 2013

Thanks Bill!

Have to credit Mark Hayes and Shopify for doing all the heavy lifting to get it published. To be honest, I did a lot of writing but didn’t get involved too much in that aspect of the printing process. Was definitely one of the benefits of working with them. 🙂

But the thought behind getting it printed was to increase both our credibility and authority in the space with a printed guide that really could be referred to as a comprehensive guide to drop shipping – hopefully the best one available. It is self-printed, and we’re making very little (if anything) on the sales. But we wanted to offer it as a resource and also as a way to let people know about both of our brands and stories.

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ChiNovember 6, 2013

Great post Andrew. I’m working on my site and hope to one day get a shout out on the show.

Cheers

CHi

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Andrew YouderianNovember 6, 2013

Thanks Chi!

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David CornerNovember 7, 2013

Dang boy, how many arms do you have?

Just downloaded it and looking forward about being surprised how the professionals actually do it -:)

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Andrew YouderianNovember 7, 2013

Thanks David! 🙂

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LemichaelNovember 7, 2013

This book has me pumped up. I actually have two jobs and work 70-85 hours a week. It’s a life i definitely want to work myself out of, I am just trying to figure out how. I just subscribed to your site and I look forward to learning alot from your content. I have a little money saved up so im ready to “bust a move”.

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RennetteNovember 13, 2013

Andrew, If I had a drop ship business that paid all my expenses, I’d spend my time doing the following: create a new product to manufacture and sell myself, develop apps to sell, buy real estate for equity appreciation and additional cash flow, find ways to volunteer to help causes I believe in (especially for youth), and travel, travel, travel. I’m just getting started, but what I like about the eCommerce business with drop shipping is it’s a low investment startup, it’s not required to have a lot of overhead to run it, and you can be anywhere in the world and still fulfill and grow it. Thank you for sharing SO much good content. I get a lot of emails daily, but I try to search and open yours.

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nandiNovember 14, 2013

Hi Andrew

What an eye-opener stumbling in your blog and learning so much at a short space of time! I m hooked completely as I am planning to start my first online store soon. I cant wait to read your book and feed off your worthy experiences as an e-entrepreneur! Keep up the good work and don’t stop sharing with novices like me.

Regards

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avi langNovember 14, 2013

Hey i just saw this. cool post i always follow you can i get a copy of the book please.

thank you

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avi langNovember 14, 2013

If i owned my own drop shipping business i would be living in a house in New york and prob buy a apt building to make more money renting them. i got a family of four and would love to use the money to support them.

thank you i know i am a little late but just saw this post just now.

thank you

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Tomasz SiemienczykNovember 15, 2013

Hi I am newby in this field.Looking to enter e business. Definitely would like to read good book.
Looking for webinars and even classess.
So if I can have e version would appreciate your help in my development.
sincerley
Tomasz Siemienczyk

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PatrickNovember 24, 2013

With a location-independent business that paid all of my expenses, I’d fly around the country (in my own plane – I’m a pilot), visiting family, friends, & helping other entrepreneurs become successful in business.

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Ravi RajDecember 12, 2013

Hi Andrew,

I am really impressed with the work you are doing and the way it is being done. Dear Andrew, I just wanted to ask you one question that during the startup period… how often do you sat on your online store, I mean to say that how much time you have giving during that period per day.

Moreover, how you have promoted your store, as I had seen in your biography, the process you told there in few sentences is worth it, but is there any post or article which shows the detailed publishing strategy of your store. To be true, I am running a technology blog and still not getting that much of visitors daily.

Any help will be appreciated.

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Steven AFebruary 7, 2014

I know this is late , but I just found you. First off I am about to loose everything in my life and need to take a new direction, so I have been researching drop-shipping and really looking to get in to it. So any advice you can give or help with would do me and my family a world of justice.
As for your post comments in November, When I build this up, we are going to by a little motel and bar in Jaco Beach, Costa Rica and put the boys in private school and just finally enjoy life with out having to worry if the bills are going to get paid. We would take any of are family that wanted to come, but for sure take both are moms, since both are disable and low income.
Thank you for everything you offer everyone and we wish you the best in your life.

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Kingshuk GhoshalSeptember 9, 2015

Hi Andrew,
Thanks for the informative blog… Looking forward to read your book as well. I am sure implementing what I read in the blog, in our e commerce business will show boost. Looking forward to some more of online business training from you.

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