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Optimizing Email Capture w/ JustUno CEO Erik Christiansen

JustUno CEO Erik Christiansen joins the podcast to talk about how to improve your email capture rates and email marketing.

Episode Transcript — Optimizing Email Capture w/ JustUno CEO Erik Christiansen

00:02 Announcer: You're listening to the Spend $10k a Day Podcast. Brought you by the performance marketing experts at Mutesix. This is your source for cutting edge insight into the world of online advertising, from the team with more Facebook case studies in 2016 than any other agency on the planet. Here are your hosts, Steve Weiss and Stewart Anderson.

00:25 Stewart Anderson: Welcome back to the Spend $10k a Day Podcast. I'm Stewart Anderson, your single host for today, Steve will be back during the next episode. Today we are honored to be joined by Erik Christiansen, the CEO of Justuno, a great platform for increasing the number of emails that you're converting or that you're gathering from the traffic that you're getting. So obviously if you're doing a lot of paid acquisition, you're paying a lot of money to Facebook and Google for traffic, you wanna make sure that that traffic is getting a great return, Justuno's platform helps you do that in many different ways. Erik, thank you for joining us.

00:58 Erik Christiansen: Yeah, thanks Stewart, happy to be here today.

01:01 SA: Absolutely, absolutely, we've been looking forward to this for a while. I've been following Justuno for quite a while, you guys have been around for, I believe about five or six years. Your platform has grown a little bit, changed a little bit over the years, but still a very, very large player in the CRO space, the email opt-in space for especially e-commerce stores.

01:24 EC: Yeah, constant innovation, we've been growing, so excited to share where we are today.

01:30 SA: Awesome, so I think first let's kind of talk a little bit about maybe an overview of your platform, it'll help kind of inform the conversation. Talk to me a little bit about maybe a 30 to 45-second pitch on what Justuno is and how it can help primarily e-commerce store owners.

01:47 EC: Yeah, well it's really about, for us, investing in your current website traffic. For everyone working with partners like Mutesix for the paid acquisition, what we really want is for businesses to focus on their current traffic to grow a sustainable business model. Because to survive long term you need to really lock down your conversion rate optimization 'cause that's where you're gonna see the best ROI long term.

02:16 SA: Definitely, that's awesome. So let's use that last part, let's talk a little bit about ROI. So obviously when you talk about something related to email capture, one of the factors that's gonna obviously determine the success or failure of campaigns is really the value of an individual email. Depending on how many emails you've gathered and how much you're valuing those emails, you're either going to get a high return, a low return, based on how much you spent. So how do you go about determining for, let's say, a newer store that doesn't have a lot of historical data? How are you kind of assigning that value to an individual email that somebody's gathered?

02:55 EC: That's actually a great question and one that's really unique for each business in a sense, in terms of their product, their industry, average order, all that type of elements. But with email, ROI-wise, for every $1 spent, email is every year still the number one category. They're saying about $40 to $1 spent, whereas SEO's about half that, at about $22. Banner ads are the lowest at $2. Keyword ads about $17, which you guys know those numbers probably better than anyone. But when it comes to email, if you think about it, why do you get such great ROI, is that it's free to send an email. And once you capture that email, you own it, and you can just constantly be every month with your marketing campaigns, retargeting those users for free. And the open rates in a segmented email and someone who's interested in your brand, the open rates are gonna be higher.

04:11 SA: Yeah, absolutely. I agree and I think it really is something that, as I said, the question that new store owners, they kind of have to do a little bit of guesstimation. They might project how much they're expecting to make from email marketing and then do some calculations a bit on that. But once you actually have some store data rolling in, and you see how email contributes to that, it's actually fairly easy to build a model that you can tweak over time in terms of how much an email is really worth to you, and how much is this email marketing bringing in revenue wise, how many emails do you have on the list? It's fairly simple calculations, then you get a really good idea, "Okay, this is what I'm comfortable paying for an email address, 'cause I know in the first three months, six months, 12 months this is how much money I'm gonna make, on average, from each person."

04:58 EC: And what I like to do, exercises to run through, is really kinda step back and look at some basic metrics that people can understand and actually set the bench marks. So if you look at your website today, you look at your new visitor versus repeat visitor, and in retail traditionally, you're gonna be in the 70 to 85% range a new visitor, which some business owners may... It's just reminding them that, about these basic bench marks. You forget that, "Oh, man, every day, I have, 80% of my traffic is someone who's brand new, whose email I don't have." So if you focus in on that one subset and try to increase the number of emails you're capturing, it's gonna help you not just this month, but multiply that by six, eight, 12 months into the future so that, come Black Friday when you're ready to send out your marketing email, that list has been growing, it's compounded growth. So every month you add new emails, when you're ready to have a sale, you have an audience, a captivated audience that you can then target.

06:07 SA: Yeah, that sounds great. And I think it's one of the things that you and I have discussed often as well is you really wanna build a systematic approach, you wanna systematize what you're doing in email capture and then obviously on the email marketing side. Talk to me a little bit about something... Some of the things that you see that people can do with the way they're using pop-ups, the message in your using their pop-ups, something on site messaging that can help people build a better lead capture system, so to speak, or something that people can use to improve the results they have in building their list right now.

06:43 EC: Yeah, this is the type of stuff I love talking about. Myself, I'm a business owner today, and the retail business regrew from 2005 to 2010. We're implementing the same principles of sustainable growth and with the lead capture, where I would say the first place you try to improve is understanding your numbers, so set a benchmark, what percent of your daily traffic, your new visitors, are you capturing today? Is it 0.5%, is it 1%? We love to see people focusing and being in the 3 to 5% of their new visitors, capturing email addresses from them. So we start there, and then the next step is: How do we engage and communicate with these visitors? When it comes to ROI and sustainable growth, if you're spending... You have your marketing budget for say AdWords or Facebook, that traffic coming in, you've paid for that traffic, and it's criminal to not try to capture more information from that traffic. Half the battle is getting them to the site, you really need to focus on converting them, and the best way we found for that paid traffic is that they're interested but they're not sold yet, so they have a higher bounce rate than your traditional organic search traffic. So what we recommend is doing a giveaway.

08:13 EC: If you own your product, the perceived value is the retail value, but the actual cost on those goods are at your wholesale cost or at your actual cost, so if you do a giveaway, you're actually getting double the marketing value for that because of the perceived value. Host a giveaway. And for someone that is interested enough to click an ad or to come to your website, they're probably interested enough in your product to win that product. But they're not ready to buy today, so capture that email and then you can drip on them.

08:51 SA: That sounds great, it's, as we've said in this podcast earlier, if you're paying for traffic, you really, really need to make sure that you're doing something there to capture information from people. If you're driving traffic and you have no plan to actually get them further along into the funnel, you're just burning cash. These tips are really really valuable and helping people improve results... Do you have any other best practices for how people can use pop-ups to generate more emails, are you seeing any other things really really work? We love giveaways. Are there other things that people can be doing that really show great results, generating emails at a high conversion rate, low cost. What are you seeing out there in the market?

09:44 EC: Yes, definitely. I like to start two areas, whether or not you're new to pop-ups or you've been using them for a while. We often have people that... I call them cynics, at first they're like, "I hate pop-ups." And then three months later they'll come back, be like, "Oh my God, this is... I'm putting my whole team's focus on this." Because it truly does work, and the two areas are: The first one I explained with the new visitor, and the second and most important is looking at your shopping cart page. And this you can see instant results, where if someone's on your shopping cart, they've added an item and they're leaving, you can present an exit offer that says, "Hey, here's today's special, use this code." We've had clients that overnight went from like a 0.58 sales conversion rate up to 1.5. Overnight. And that's certainly...

10:45 SA: Almost double.

10:47 EC: Almost double, and that's actually where the foundation where Justuno started, is we recognized that people were Googling "Sierra snowboard coupon code" or variations of that. And that traffic, once they found a coupon code and came back to our website, this was back when Google would show you your search traffic, the actual keywords, had a sales conversion rate between 8% and 11%, meaning they had extreme purchase intent, it's just they were coupon hunting. And that's why businesses like Retailmenot were able to grow so big is that they understood the consumer and retailers need to accept the reality of how people shop online, and once they do that, they'll be comfortable presenting coupons at very strategic points in the process to convert that sale.

11:38 SA: Yeah. Definitely, and I think, not to give too blatant a plug for Justuno, but you guys actually have a feature in your platform that allows people to show customized offers based on the contents of their cart, right?

11:51 EC: Correct.

11:52 SA: That's awesome.

11:53 EC: Cart value, you name it. Our platform is... You can segment as deep as you possibly need and we have...

12:01 SA: Yeah, that's amazing 'cause, especially when we're doing the performance marketing side, a lot of the ads we drive, we're trying to get sales and we always tell people, it's like the more that you can actually customize the bottom of funnel experience as close to checkout as possible, the more that you can provide personalization, and a real-time offer's a big part of that. I mean, that's when you really start seeing conversion rates jump up. That's a hugely valuable thing. You can also, it's an opportunity to targeted upsells as well, which we love, increase that average order value. We love that stuff so that's pretty great. Any... Yeah, go ahead.

12:40 EC: Well, building upon that, what's nice about it is, the platform is built so the simplest user can create that exit offer. That was an example from Katoa, Joey, he's running two Shopify stores. It wasn't pretty but he built it overnight, I say, drinking a beer in just 15 minutes, set it up at home after hours. And then you go to the whole other spectrum, with cross-border international sales growing at 20%, this is the next huge market is cross-border. We have clients like Levi's that on their Mexico website, they have targeted language, so they're running promotions in the localized language. You can take this as far as you possibly want to, it's just a matter of starting somewhere today with new visitor and the cart, but then investing in that on-site experience which I know, Stewart, you're a CRO man so you appreciate it.

13:46 SA: I do.

13:47 EC: For me [chuckle] it's like, even still today that the stats aren't... I'm always questioning stats, but I believe it 'cause I work in it, is that they say for every $92 spent to drive traffic, $1 is invested in converting that traffic.

14:01 SA: Wow.

14:02 EC: And it's just crazy, right? It's just not sustainable. So let's get [chuckle] that focus back to the onsite visitor and the businesses will grow.

14:16 SA: I completely agree, completely agree. Any other little tips, tricks people should be using to incrementally boost their results? I mean we've tackled some really great opportunities and some of the really valuable low-hanging fruit out there. I mean, the real-time offers and the checkout experiences is a huge one. Any other little tips and tricks?

14:39 EC: One I really love talking about is the basics, understanding your numbers. This is what we provide in the dashboards, look at your traffic and think about what percentage of your traffic are you serving up an impression to, meaning it could be a pop-up, it could be a message bar at the bottom, it could be an exit offer. We wanna see people... The higher impression rate you have to your visitors, the higher engagement rate you're gonna have, and an engagement is either an email acceptance or accepting a coupon, and then tracking your sales conversion rate. Those three core metrics are gonna allow you to figure out what you need to do to experiment to increase those numbers. Tidbit, what would be a tip? Well, if you sent out a marketing email today saying, "Hey, Memorial Day is this weekend," you're probably gonna say, "We're having this big sale, use this coupon."

15:42 EC: Well, that's great, but that person's... Those have really low redemption rates but you caught their attention, so what I'd recommend is when that visitor lands on your website, put a message bar, we call them uno bars at the bottom of your website or the top, that reinforces that marketing message and even match the branding 'cause you probably are gonna design that email and spend a lot of time on that email. Well, let's take the extra effort to spend 15 minutes, create an uno bar with that same messaging and design so that when they land on the website, the marketing message is reinforced and you have a higher rate of purchase.

16:21 SA: Yeah, I'm also, I'm gonna add to that because this is an issue that we have seen with, in some of our clients and a lot of e-commerce companies out in the market. Your point about reinforcing that marketing message is great, but also stores need to make sure that they don't have conflicting messaging on the on-site experience and the email. If somebody clicks in an email and sees a specific promo, and then they go to the site and they're seeing something else, that's a big issue, especially if the thing that they clicked on, were enticed by, is outdone by some other offer. They're like, "Oh man, well now I can save an extra 10%," or something like that, or if they're seeing something that confuses them and they say, "Oh, well, where's my offer? I'm just seeing this other thing that isn't related to what I clicked on." You'd be surprised at how many times we see that and it's not intentional, I don't even think it's due to laziness.

17:12 SA: It's just sometimes especially in marketing in e-commerce, there's a lot of moving parts and it's easy to lose track. It's really, really important that if you're investing any time in trying to create these promotions that you really make sure that people are seeing the proper experience, they're getting the proper experience and they're being driven from email to site to product to checkout in a way that makes sense. You don't want conflicting messages. Go ahead.

17:39 EC: Well, yeah no, I mean, a couple points there. For me, it's like you get out of it what you put in, and if I could inspire anyone, there's only so many hours in the day, and retail is just brutal, it's trench warfare. You're fighting for slim margins and your days are crazy. So it's like carve out that time to focus on your current traffic, just as if you had a brick and mortar store. If you had 100 people walk in every day, and 80% of them turned around and just walked out, you would be freaking out. And if those remaining 20, five of them walked up to your cash register, and out of those five, four of them dropped everything and just walked out, and only one person purchased, you would stop everything and try to fix it. And that's how we wanna try to relate it to the online experience.

18:36 EC: And so it's about getting the basics too. That same brick and mortar store in the front window, every holiday you're replacing those signs with, you go into a car dealership and it's Memorial Day banners everywhere sale. Or maybe it's father's day. Whatever your local holiday is, your grocery stores always dedicate an entire alley way to that holiday. Simple thing is, holiday calendar. If you just set it and forget it, your pop-ups, you're gonna have good results. But if you actually spend the time to tailor that promotion to the current holiday, you're gonna see a higher rate of engagement and sales conversion because there's a sense of urgency like, "Oh, this is their Memorial Day sale. I better buy this now because I don't know if this sale's gonna be around".

19:31 EC: The consumer psychology starts playing in. And then on a different kind of fork is talking about, you brought up the whole chain of the experience going through. If someone's clicking, if you're running your ads, your paid programs, you're investing a... Mutesix is investing a lot of time into that campaign. Well, if you're driving some to a specific category or product, you can run personalized promotions where if they are leaving, you can present, "Hey, we see you're interested in this shoe, would you like to sign up for a price drop alert?". That's level two or three of things that you can do. But for the most part, that's where you start getting into some fairly higher level CRO stuff. And we probably shouldn't get in that today but once you get started, you'll really start... It's a fun game.

20:27 SA: Yeah, definitely. Absolutely. Really, really good points there. We have a few minutes left. And there's a topic I really wanna discuss before we have to jump off. Obviously, Google and Facebook both are kind of, they're both very conscious of on-site experience, user behavior. They've started changing policies regarding how people can use pop-ups on landing pages that they're driving traffic to from paid ads. And then Google also has actually factored the... Especially on mobile, I think, how pop-ups land to the SEO process. I think you get penalized if there's a... Is it a pop-up that shows within the first few seconds of somebody moving?

21:11 EC: Yeah. A full-screen takeover at first. Yeah.

21:15 SA: Yeah. And then Facebook I can tell you, I know that their policy now when they do manual reviews on landing pages for ad approval, I'm trying to think of the exact thing. 'Cause it's not fully fledged out yet, I don't think, but they have restrictions on what kind of settings you can have in a pop-up. I think exit intent might be problematic. I'm trying to think off the top of head the exact policy, but if you're too aggressive with the pop-ups on a landing page for Facebook, they might ding the ad. But that's fine. If you use pop-ups in the right way strategically, especially on an e-commerce side, you should have no problem kind of getting approved by Facebook. So what is your advice to somebody who's maybe a little bit nervous now about using them? What tips do you have for people about creating a good effective pop-up that generates great results, while also kind of complying with some of these new policies?

22:15 EC: Yeah. My advice is always, stick with best practices.

22:18 SA: Yeah.

22:19 EC: And that's the type of thing where our team is constantly working to keep up on these policies and documenting them. Where if you even google Google's policies on pop-ups, we're I think number two right now. We've been documenting this with the mobile and the desktop for a long time. Best practices, they're always gonna change. The game is always being updated. Right now with mobile, what I like to recommend is... What the big players are doing in the space? What are the Macy's doing? What is, even the news outlets. What are they doing? And follow in line with them, type thing. And with the Google mobile, what we recommend is, we provide themes that are mobile friendly, so to speak. Right?

23:10 SA: Yeah.

23:10 EC: So when you actually create a promotion, we did this, I think it was two or three years ago, we actually separated our platforms. So we have a desktop/tablet platform and a mobile platform. So when you create a mobile promotion, it's a different experience. Because we recognize early on that you can't just count on responsive design and expect that experience to carry over to mobile. That's how we've really approached it from the beginning. And with that, comes the best practices.

23:44 SA: No, that makes perfect sense. Perfect sense. So I think, Erik, we are quickly running out of time here. I wanna thank you for joining us today. Do you have any kind of last parting thoughts that you have for our audience? If you want, feel free to give a last plug for Justuno as well. We're big fans.

24:04 EC: What I tell everyone is invest in your current website traffic, in your customers. And you're gonna see... That's how you're gonna grow your business in the long term. That's how we built Serious Snowboard to $20 million in online sales with zero marketing budget, is we just try to understand what the customer's looking for and accept it and go for it. We believe content education is the greatest sales tool and so that's why we invested heavily into our blog. Grant Thomas does an incredible job reporting work and bringing in guest blog posts as well. So my parting plug would be, please visit our blog, blog.justuno.com and start investing in your current visitors.

24:54 SA: Well, thank you, Erik, so much. Again, this is Erik Christiansen, the CEO of Justuno, who's joined us today. We wanna thank him and the team at Justuno for making this appearance happen. We are going to be having more great guests on the Spend $10k a Day Podcast coming up soon, mostly from the Shopify ecosystem. If you have any questions or requests for future content, you can email us at podcast@mutesix.com. Thank you for joining us again for another great episode and we will see you next time.

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