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How to Grow Your Business In the Amazon Era

Did you hear that Walmart (the biggest retail chain on the planet) just purchased in an effort to compete with Amazon? already makes up one-half of every dollar spent online in this country.

And now that is being backed by a company worth $144 billion…

…How can we compete with that?

This is a key question Digital Marketer wanted to answer at Content&Commerce 2016, and in this post I got Digital Marketer CEO Ryan Deiss and 4 of his best speakers to give you their #1 answers.

Go behind the scenes with me and get their key takeaways on how to start, grow and even double a business in the Amazon era.

Let’s start with the big guy himself, Digital Marketer Founder and CEO Ryan Deiss:

The theme that kept coming up at this conference again and again was this: The best way to define a business isn’t by what you sell or where you sell it, but by the people and community you serve.

Content and Commerce is about building community and brands, and it starts with people first.

So who is the audience that you’re advocating for? Where are they, and what conversations are they having?

Answer these questions, and it won’t matter whether you’re online or offline, ecommerce or brick and mortar.

Digital Marketer’s Editorial Director Russ Henneberry was next.

Russ was in charge of curating this event, and I wanted to get his answer to the big question, How can we compete online with global retailers?

This event was put on to help show small business owners how to compete with Amazon and Walmart. And best way we can do that is by creating an online shopping experience for your customer.

You don’t have to worry about the big guys if you’re telling a good story!

Russ was spot on. If you want to build a relationship with your customers, the best way to do that is by offering them high-quality content.

You can’t say tall someone “Hey, come buy my stuff!” because people don’t know you, they definitely don’t trust you, and more than likely you’ll annoy them long before they buy anything.

But how do we take the next step and take control of our prospects’ shopping experience?

That’s where the real brains behind Digital Marketer comes in.

Digital Marketer’s Vice President Molly Pitman told me all about how to create the content your customers are looking for:

The best thing to be thinking of is to create your content based on their intent. Where are they in the customer journey—have you just met, or are you dating?

I call this “traffic temperature.” It’s a way to help think about how your audience has interacted with your brand in the past.

Cold traffic would be the people who don’t even know your name, and so jumping straight into telling them why your solution is better than your competitors’ may seem too forward.

Warm traffic is the dating stage where you can start building up that relationship equity with content they trust.

And at the very center of this notion is hot traffic who are the buyers that you should be asking to buy again.

So you have to ask each of these groups different questions and change what you’re asking them to do based on what temperature they’re at, because this is the way we can tailor their experience based on their relationship with our brand.

Alright, now I had all this information about how to engage my prospects and build a community through content—but what about the commerce?

Once I have people interested in my products, how do I close the sale? And I found just the guy to answer this question.

Digital Marketer’s Director of Optimization Justin Rondeau gave a great presentation on how to optimize your offer page, so that when warm traffic gets there, they convert.

And guess what? He spoiled the surprise and just gave it to you for free!

When one of your prospects see’s an offer page, really what it comes down to is a list of six big questions. If you can answer these questions with your offer pages, you will get much higher conversions:

1. What does the product look like?
2. What does it do?
3. Will you ship it to me?
4. How big or small is it?
5. Why should I trust you?
6. (Here’s the big one) Can I return it?

If you go through and remove the doubt about each one of these questions going on in your prospect’s mind using nice page elements, you will see a huge lift in conversions.

And you’ll never have to compare your product page to the other guy’s again.

(If you would like a more in-depth look at product pages and the checklist of page element that I use on each one of my high-converting sales page, you can (read my post on winning offer pages here).

But if you think that your customer’s superior shopping experience ends after they buy your product, then you need to listen to what my man Drew Sanocki of Empire Growth Group says about the customer lifecycle:

My presentation is all about how to double your business in a year.

And the way I do that is by focusing on customer retention. Because if you already have customers, then you’re leaving money on the table by not focusing in on retention.

You’ve already done all the work and spent most of the money to make the first sale, what many people don’t realize is how much easier and cheaper it is to turn a one-time buyer into a two-time buyer.

And one of the easiest ways to do that is through post-purchase emailing.

By emailing customers after they purchase, you continue to grow what Molly Pitman refers to as relationship equity.

And believe me, if you can keep the conversation going by engaging them with great content after their first purchase, then the commerce of cross-selling other products is a goldmine.

Everything We’ve Learned On How to Beat Amazon:

Digital Marketer’s CEO Ryan Deiss told us that small businesses have no hope in 2016 if they define themselves by what they sell or where they sell it. Instead, we must define ourselves by the community your product serves.

Russ Hennebery told us the secret to competing with Amazon is to offer our customers what large online retailers don’t—a shopping experience.

Molly Pitman gave us a great content strategy on how to tailor your prospect’s experience by adjusting what content you offer and when.

Justin Rondeau told us how we could jump-start the commerce side of this content & commerce ecosystem by giving us the six questions every single product should answer.

And finally Drew Sanocki told us how we can extend our customer relationships beyond the first sale by starting the content cycle all over again, thereby turning a one-time buyer into a multi-buyer.

That’s a whole lot of top-level strategy for you to take home (or remain at home with).

And for those of you who couldn’t make it to the event this year, I hope this is enough to get you excited about Content & Commerce 2017!

Video Highlights
0:30 Engage Customers in a Conversation with Content
1:20 Russ Henneberry – Competing with the Big Guys
2:13 Molly Pittman – Content based on Intent and Traffic Temperature
3:53 Drew Sanocki – Focus on Retention
4:56 Justin Rondeau – The 6 Conversion Questions
6:18 Ryan Deiss – Define Your Business by the People You Serve
7:01 Content & Commerce Wrap-up
7:55 Content Amplification

Click Here For Video Transcript

Ezra: Hey, as we’re here with you behind the scenes at Content & Commerce, the premier digital marketing e-commerce event put on by Digital Marketer. I’m speaking down here. I’m gonna take you a little bit behind the scenes, show you what’s going on.

If you have a business and you sell things online, the way to engage people in a conversation is through content. You can’t just say, “Buy my stuff,” that’s not cool. People don’t like that. You’ve gotta engage them in a conversation about something they’re interested in, and if you have a solution to a problem they have then you can offer it to them after you’ve provided value. And so, I’m gonna be talking about how we’re using Facebook advertising, how we’re using video, to create conversations with groups of people and make offers, and I’m also gonna introduce you to some of the speakers, show you behind the scenes.

I’m in a room, I don’t even know how I got into this room. It’s one of the, sort of, you know, one of the speaker rooms back here so I kind of snuck in to shoot this. I didn’t actually sneak in, I got permission. But I got into this room, and now you’re here with me, and let’s go around and take a look.

As we’re here behind the scenes with Raging Russell Henneberry, and the thing about Russ that you don’t know is that he curated this whole event. Picked all the speakers, put together the agenda. You did a great job. If you were gonna tell our viewers one thing that you wanted folks to take away from this event that you curated, what would that be?

Russ: Well, here’s the thing. So, this sort of central thread that’s running throughout the entire conference is that, you know, you can compete with the Walmarts and the Amazons of the world if you create a shopping experience for your customers.

Ezra: You don’t have to worry about the big guys if you’re telling a good story.

Russ: Right, and that’s been the biggest thing. And I appreciate that, man, it’s been a lot of fun putting together this event. It’s the first time I’ve ever put together an event.

Ezra: Raging Russell Henneberry put together a great event, man, thanks so much.

As we’re here behind the scenes with Marvelous Molly Pittman. How you doing, Molly?

Molly: Doing great, happy to be here.

Ezra: So, Molly is the brains behind this whole thing, right? Like, you know, you see other people on stage but, from what I’ve seen, Molly’s running the show. So, if you were to give people who weren’t here, kind of, one thing from your presentation, what would it be?

Molly: Yeah, I think, on the content side of this whole Content & Commerce experience, it’s really to create content based off of intent, thinking about what’s the customer journey, what’s the thought process that your prospects and your customers are going through that lead them to actually buy.

Ezra: You coined a term that I thought was really cool called “traffic temperature”. Wanna just talk for a second about that?

Molly: Totally. So, traffic temperature is really thinking about your audiences and, you know, how they’ve interacted with you in the past. So, a cold traffic temperature would be people that have never heard of you before, so you’re obviously going to speak to them very differently than someone…you know, we probably wouldn’t be hugging right now if we didn’t have a, you know, relational equity built. Warm traffic temperature is a step further, it’s, “Hey, we’re dating now. We know each other better.” There’s a level of commitment. And then, in the center, you have the hot traffic, the buyers, the people that you can ask to buy other products from, right?

Ezra: They’ve done business with you, they like you, they know you.

Molly: Yeah, so you’re gonna speak to all of these people differently. You’re gonna offer them different things, right? You’re gonna ask them to do different things, depending on their level of commitment.

Ezra: Behind the scenes at Content & Commerce with Dangerous Drew Sanocki. Drew, how you doing, man?

Drew: I’m doing well.

Ezra: So, Drew’s actually from New York…

Drew: Energetic Ezra.

Ezra: Energetic, that’s a good one. So, what are you talking about here, man?

Drew: I have no idea. I’m going on in a half hour.

Ezra: Normally you do, like, data analytics.

Drew: Yeah, that’s my talk, How to Double a Company in a Year.

Ezra: If you had to give one tip to our viewers about, sort of, that subject matter, what would it be? Just one thing that they can do in their business.

Drew: If you’ve already got customers, then I think you’re probably leaving money on the table if you’re not focused in on retention. So, retention.

Ezra: And so, retention would be, like, having an email that goes out at a certain point in time to remind them to check out another product, or…?

Drew: Yeah, changing a one-time buyer to a two-time buyer is probably one of the best things you can focus on.

Ezra: Dangerous Drew Sanocki, Content & Commerce, 2016. Catch up with you later.

Drew: Great to be here.

Ezra: All right. And we’re here with Jigsaw Justin Rondeau. Justin, you just came off a great presentation about conversion. If you were to give our viewers one thing that they could take away from your presentation, what would it be?

Justin: Really, what it comes down to when you’re looking at product pages, you have to answer six main questions. If you can answer these six questions, then you’re gonna be able to get more conversions on these product pages. And so, the first one I do is, you know, what does it look like, what does it do, can I actually receive this – will you ship it to me – how big or how small is it, do I trust these people and, here’s the big one, can I return it, all right? If you can answer those six questions and you can do that, you know, in a nice way with, you know, between a bunch of different elements on your site and how they’re laid out, then you…video, text, copy, you know, ratings, anything like that. You will see a huge lift in conversions, and you’re never gonna have to worry about whether your product page is, you know, sub-par, not hitting up and being…you know, what’s taking away from your average order value or anything like that. So, that’s the tip.

Ezra: Thank you for conversions, Jumping Justin Rondeau.

Behind the scenes with Ravishing Ryan Deiss.

Ryan: And the most adorable microphone you’ll ever see.

Ezra: Little.

Ryan: Yeah.

Ezra: We are literally behind the scenes.

Ryan: Quite literally.

Ezra: Actually.

Ryan: The actual scenes are over there. This is us behind them. Whoa, sorry.

Ezra: Oh, look at that thing. Actually, potentially, being this far behind the scenes is not…

Ryan: It’s a little dangerous.

Ezra: Not the best idea. So, you know, you put this event together, and if you were to give folks who weren’t here, kind of, one thing that you would want people to take from this event, what would it be?

Ryan: I heard the theme come up again and again and again. The best way to define a business isn’t by what you sell or how you sell it. So, you’re not, like, an e-commerce business or a brick-and-mortar or this, but instead you define your business by the people you serve, by the community you’re serving. I think that we’re talking about content and commerce, building community and brands. It really does start with the people first. Who are you serving, who’s the audience that you’re gonna advocate for? Once you figure that out, then you can…

Ezra: What conversations are they having? What do they want?

Ryan: Exactly. Where are they? You know, and so it doesn’t matter, like, online, offline. You wanna be where they are because you wanna serve them.

Ezra: Ezra here, wrapping up the Content & Commerce summit in Orlando, Florida. These events are so good. I think it’s because you sort of step out of the routine and stimulation of your daily life and are able to really just focus on your business. You’re not taking out the trash, you’re not cleaning the cat box, you’re not doing the dishes. You just really get to put some time and energy focusing on your business, so you can see, you know, tremendous growth at events like this. This one was really cool because the name of it is quite descriptive. I mean, what we do as business owners is we create content that engages people in a conversation about a topic that they’re interested in, and then we show them the solutions that we have for whatever problems they’re facing or whatever interests they have, which is our product.

So, great event, big takeaway, start with a conversation. Don’t just try to sell people stuff, you know? Start with, “Hey, how are you? What are you up to? What are you interested in? Here’s a piece of content.” Content amplification is where things are going for online business. It’s already most of the big businesses’ strategies; our strategy, for sure. Amplify content that is interesting to people. When I say amplify, I mean create the content, post it on social media – places like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Google, YouTube – and then use paid advertising to amplify that to more people And then, the people who engage with that content, follow up with them to make them offers. Don’t just amplify offers, don’t say, “Buy my stuff.” Create a piece of content, put that out there and then, as people consume it, follow up with those people

Ezra here, hope you’ve enjoyed a little behind the scenes of Content & Commerce. I’ll see you at the next one.

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