The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune

Making Sense Out of eCommerce Chaos

Especially when you are small and trying to grow your online business from zero to something, the analytics of it all can drive you freak’in crazy. You have a kick-ass week and it makes you think that you are going to take over the world and buy a Lambo. The next week sales fall into the trashcan and you get a few returns and you’re convinced that this darn internet is gonna drive you to the poor house.

The struggle is REAL folks.

We talk with thousands of eCommerce merchants just like you when we’re doing development tasks, interacting with them on our Shopify Help Facebook Group, and doing marketing consults. We’ve heard this same frustration a thousand times. You’re NOT alone. We’re here for you. The only path is to keep your head down, forget about daily and weekly fluctuations as best you can, and keep working the dream with solid business practices. It’s the only way to get there. And when you have than breakthrough ... it's a magical feeling.

So let’s talk about ways to get and keep customers to smooth out the bumps. Here are interesting stories curated from the world of eCommerce and entrepreneurship.

Keep at it folks ... We're here for you when you need us.

Happy Selling,
Zachary

Latest Discounts Available on Lead Plus

Lead Plus offers a ton of value, including great discounts on Shopify stuff. Here are the three latest discounts for Lead Plus members:

  • 20% off ANY Cloud Search plan for Life!
  • 20% off ANY TaskHusky Marketing Task!
  • 30% off FLEX Theme by Out of the Sandbox!

Check out all the Lead Plus discounts here — and more are on the way. Remember that membership is only $99 per year and includes everything you see here.

Sure, I Make It LOOK Easy

I send these emails from TaskHusky because I love you all. But the truth is that email marketing rocks. Email consistently delivers some of the best conversion rates in eCommerce. Our friends at Privy just wrote up an article on how to write email copy — including the difference between email content and email copy. Check it out and up your email game.

So Let’s All Do the Insta-Brand Dance!

Visual products do well on visual platforms … duh! Instagram is THE visual social media platform. If you are selling consumer products that are strongly visual, you have GOT to be there. And the place to start is with an Instagram bio for your business that reinforces your brand. Shopify has some thoughts on the topic.

Brand Now, Sell More Later

In eCommerce we spend a LOT of time, effort, and cash getting a customer to arrive at our site and make that first purchase. Modern eCommerce survival requires getting the second sale … then the third. Think about it this way — A customer will buy a product once, but they will buy a brand for a lifetime. Here are seven tips from smile.io to think about.

As Long As We’re Talking About Brand and Customer Retention

Let me throw a little truth at you …. If you want multiple repeat customers during the holidays this year, you need to get their attention, get some sales, and KEEP those customers NOW. Here are nine tips from Help.Scout to keep customers right where you want them — satisfied and happy.

Safety and Security Is Job #1

Let me assure you … the LAST thing you want is to have one of your customers hacked, tricked, or phished while visiting your website. And equally important, you don’t want them to think your site is a fraudster site when it’s just you trying to make a living. Well, not only are themes from Out Of The Sandbox well-made and secure, but they have some recommendations on how to keep your Shopify site and reputation safe too.

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Motivational Poster Nightmares

There’s a Reason People Use Sports Analogies

Sports analogies are so common that they are a cliché. Everybody uses sports to talk about teamwork, coaching, endurance, attitude … all kinds of stuff. It’s the stuff of stupid motivational poster nightmares.

But when you think about it, there’s usually a real reason why we have clichés like this … it’s because there’s some truth in it all.

So, more than a billion people around the world watched the Super Bowl on Sunday. Say what you will, the NFL knows a heck of a lot about the business of sports. They milked that thing for all it was worth and then some. Literally billions of dollars in ad revenue and hundreds of millions in ticket and merchandise sales road it. Not to mention all the sales of chips and avocados and pizza, and cupcakes decorated with footballs made of brown fondant. It is their Black-Friday-Cyber-Monday all rolled into a single four-hour window.

And it was a pretty darned-good game, too.

Happy Selling,
Zachary

Here are interesting stories curated from the world of eCommerce and entrepreneurship.

An Introduction to Unified Commerce from Shopify

We all have a happy symbiotic relationship with Shopify. The more features and stuff they pack into the platform, the more we use it. The more we use it, the more dedicated we are to the platform. The result is that it’s getting blindingly easy to sell everywhere. If you’re not, give this short article a read and think about how your eCommerce vision fits in the grand scheme of things.

This IS the Podcast You’re Looking for

We love Privy, Privy loves us … it’s like an eCommerce romance. And now Dave Gerhardt is back and he’s launched his new “eCommerce Marketing Show” as a podcast and we think it’s gonna be great. Look for more mentions here in the future as we go along, or get a jump and check it out now.

Learn or Remember About eCommerce Rich Snippets

SEO is hard these days — TONS of competition, TONS of ads, TONS of trial and error. The top ten or so Best Practices get you 90% of the way. Once you have those down, the next thing to look at is Rich Snippets. Getting them is hard, but the rewards are mighty-mighty.

Behold a God Who Bleeds!*

We can’t help it. We loves us some stats in the morning with a side of hot biscuits. Fortune online thinks that Walmart and Target cracked the ice just a bit against Amazon, thus proving them somewhat less than invincible.

*Our fellow nerds will recognize this reference to a classic Star Trek episode called “The Paradise Syndrom.

My Personal Favorite Super Bowl Ad … You Guessed It

You know us, you love us, you know that we love dogs. So it will totally NOT surprise anyone that our favorite Super Bowl ad this year didn’t have any fancy graphics or celebrity endorsements. Speaking of sports analogies, this email was a touchdown!

Latest Discounts Available on Lead Plus

Lead Plus offers a ton of value, including great discounts on Shopify stuff. Here are the three latest discounts for Lead Plus members:

  • 20% off ANY Cloud Search plan for Life!
  • 20% off ANY TaksHusky Marketing Task!
  • 30% off FLEX Theme by Out of the Sandbox!

Check out all the Lead Plus discounts here — and more are on the way. Remember that membership is only $99 per year and includes everything you see here.

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Today Is A Gift

Today Is A Gift

I woke up this morning thinking that life is a gift. Some days it might not feel like it, but that doesn’t change anything about the truth of it. We are all trying to make a buck online. But nothing is more important than enjoying what you do.

Sure … there are “parts” of what we do that we don’t enjoy. No one likes doing taxes (unless they’re a masochist) or having to deal with the occasional customer complaint. Heck, every rose has its thorns, right? That’s NOT what we’re talking about.

I’m talking about the day-to-day operation of life and living and what we do to make all that happen and keep running profitably. Taking some enjoyment from that and saving some time for friends and family in the process is the magic of it all. Being able to enjoy making a little cash from our business or side hustle without the oppressive expectations of outsiders or false pressures of Instagram-attention-clones and social-media fake-preneurs pushing our FOMO buttons and intruding on our bliss.

When you master that and enjoy your work, every day a gift.

Happy Selling,
Zachary

Here are some interesting stories curated from the world of eCommerce and entrepreneurship.

Daymond John Gets All Sharky on Mad Money w. Jim Cramer

Who doesn’t love the show SharkTank? Daymond John rented out every room in his house and kept his day job at Red Lobster for five years while he started his break-through fashion business FUBU. This video lasts less than 8 minutes … watch it now, and feel good about your day.

The New “Shopify Academy” Class on Goal Setting & Progress Tracking

Watching that video made us look into more stuff by Daymond John. Shopify delivers a lot of good content and resources, and they launched a course on goal-setting that’s only available to Shopify merchants. It starts with Daymond John, which is cool as heck.

The Content-Generating Machine

GaryVee (Gary Vaynerchuk) is EVERYWHERE online — YouTube, Podcast, Insta, Facebook, Twitch, LinkedIn, Text, and he is a Twitter-Beast. He also is one of the most influential advertising and market gurus of the digital age. In this short blog post — including a mega slide deck — he discusses exactly HOW his team generates so much content every single day.

eCommerce Tactics for Instagram Marketing

We always keep an eye out for perspectives on marketing stuff. If you have a consumer brand, Instagram is the shizzle. But marketing there can be iffy. Here are a few tips. We especially like the comment about “How to identify a bottled (faker) Instagram account.”

The Moral Is, “Don’t Sell Fake Stuff”

There's a TON of fake brand and product rip-off stuff for sale online. Don’t be one of those guys. Not only is it bad karma, but the Feds might be coming for you.

Latest Discounts Available on Lead Plus
Lead Plus offers a ton of value, including great discounts on Shopify stuff. Here are the three latest discounts for Lead Plus members:

  • 20% off ANY Cloud Search plan for Life!
  • 20% off ANY TaskHusky Marketing Task!
  • 30% off FLEX Theme by Out of the Sandbox! 

Check out all the Lead Plus discounts here — and more are on the way. Remember that membership is only $99 per year and includes everything you see here.

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Shopify Send Merchants Money for Nothing

Are you excited about football? We now know that the two teams on February 2nd will be the San Francisco 49s and Kansas City Chiefs — pleasing 28 million folks in Northern California and the Midwest. That’s about 8% of the US population or about 8% of the US population. But 95% of the country seems to just be happy that it’s NOT the New England Patriots. But no matter who wins, eCommerce merchants should care.

Which brings us to this week’s top stories.

Super-Sales Bowl

We mentioned this a few weeks ago, but here’s the latest data. The National Retail Federation tracks these things and they are projecting that folks will spend a record amount this year to prepare for the big game. And we’re not just talking about nacho cheese dip and team jerseys. It’s serving dishes, decorations, new TVs, sound systems, BBQ tools, and a lot more. It’s one of the biggest retail spending holidays of the year in person AND online.

Understanding the Marketing Funnel

Entrepreneurship is hard. Marketing is the hardest part. We all tend to think in terms of a compartmentalized series of tasks — email campaign, social media posts, content, retargeting ads, etc. But when these items are interlaced and working together to build a marketing funnel their potential is realized. Our partners at Privy put up a nice post that walks through the process, so give it a look.

Speaking of Funnels ….

Once you have your marketing funnel working, you need to capture sales as the visitors start filtering in. If that last step in the customer’s journey came from social media, you’re going to want that Shopify landing page optimized for that traffic. And our partners at Shogun wrote up a blog post talking about just that.

The Rise of eCommerceand Shopify

The accountants are still adding up the total numbers for Q4, but 2019 was another banner year for eCommerce. I’ve heard a few folks start to say that the disruption of the internet is past. But as powerful a force as it is, online sales still account for less than 11% of retail no matter how you slice it. And Shopify has just 1.7% of all online stores. So both eCommerce and Shopify have a lot of room to run.

Shopify Will Send You Money for Nothing … What?

When I heard about this, I didn’t know what to think at first. Shopify is “loaning” money to start-up merchants. At first, you think that there’s got to be a catch. But it is one of the most unique loan arrangements I’ve ever seen. It works like this …. If you are a new merchant opening a store, Shopify will “loan” you $200 in seed capital. No credit checks. If you start getting sales, Shopify will take loan payments from your online sales. If you don’t, they won’t. So you only pay the money back if you generate sales. Check it out.

Latest Discounts Available on Lead Plus

Lead Plus offers a ton of value, including great discounts on Shopify stuff. Here are the three latest discounts for Lead Plus members:

  • 20% off ANY Cloud Search plan for Life!
  • 20% off ANY TaskHusky Marketing Task!
  • 30% off FLEX Theme by Out of the Sandbox!

Check out all the Lead Plus discounts here — and more are on the way. Remember that membership is only $99 per year and includes everything you see here.

All that football talk has got me craving nachos.

Happy Selling,
Zachary

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How Do Shopify Merchants Break an Amazon Addiction

This time of the year is always problematic. I keep writing the wrong year on checks. Half of the country is depressed that their football team is out of the playoffs. School is ramping up. It’s like the entire world hit the reset button. But we are quickly approaching mid-January already and — gosh darn — it’s starting to feel like a normal workweek again.

Time to sell some stuff online. Here are this week’s top stories.

1. Is It Time to (Shopify) Blog Yet?

We’ve helped dozens of Shopify stores work on their SEO with our TaskHusky SEO Audit. Sure, there are a lot of tips and tricks and best practices that we share. But one of the most important things is the production of regular content. And a blog is probably the best way to do it. If you don’t think you can blog, you’re wrong. If you need inspiration, we’ve got it.

2. A Couple of Stats to Think About

There is a report out there called “2019 U.S. Top 1000 Report.” It takes real stats from the top thousand eCommerce sites and crunches the data. The full report costs nearly $2000 and we don’t think you should buy it. But we can’t share the report because that’s wrong too. But we CAN share the teaser stats that they are using to promote sales of the report — and that might help a few of you out there.

  • Amazon grew by 20% Y/Y, but a full third of the list (342 shops) grew even faster. The average growth was 16.7%.
  • The average conversion rate of the top 100 sites was 2.6%. Compare your results to that number.
  • Only 17% of the top online retailers offer free shipping on all orders. And another 40.7% off free shipping with a minimum order ($50 was the most common point). That means that more than 42% of them DO NOT offer free shipping … so think about that for a minute.

3. You Can Now Buy Walmart Ads

Did you know that not only can you link your Shopify store to Amazon as a sales channel, but you can also pay for ads and placements on Amazon? In fact, Amazon made $9.8 b-b-b-b-billion selling just those kinds of ads to merchants on their platform. Walmart is chasing Amazon and their online sales were up 41% in 2019. And now you can buy ads on their platform too.

4. How Do Shopify Merchants Break an Amazon Addiction?

Sure, tons of folks are addicted to online shopping. But a lot of Shopify eCommerce stores are addicted to Amazon as a sales channel. Make no mistake, we are all about omnichannel. But if you get most of your sales via Amazon you are living an unbalanced life. In part three of the latest “Unofficial Shopify Podcast” our friend Kurt Elster talks about migrating sales OFF of Amazon.

5. Shopify List of the Week — Print-On-Demand Products

There are a lot of Shopify stores that use print-on-demand (POD) products to fill-out their offerings. And there are even a few stores that sell nothing but POD products. If you are a designer, photographer, artist, musician, or anyone who had a distinctive style and brand, POD can be a good way to get some additional conversions. They’re not for everyone, but Shopify recently put out a list of ten of their favorite supplies that plug right into your Shopify store.

Latest Discounts Available on Lead Plus

Lead Plus offers a ton of value, including great discounts on Shopify stuff. Here are the three latest discounts for Lead Plus members:

  • 20% off ANY WeGlot plan for Life!
  • 20% off ANY Rise.ai plan for Life.
  • 20% off ANY Re:amaze plan for Life!

Check out all the Lead Plus discounts here — and more are on the way. Remember that membership is only $99 per year and includes everything you see here.

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Shopify Help - No Commitment