00:10 We’re going to be covering content marketing and community commerce with Ezra
00:25 Ezra coined the term community commerce and Brett loves this idea!
01:00 Ezra has really figured out how to make content marketing work
02:01 When Ezra got into eCommerce you could do very well relying on a single channel like google
02:32 Ezra has the goal of having his business be diverse, holistic, and have no weak points
03:05 We live in a social economy and people want to engage with the brand!
03:32 By engaging with and delivering value to your community you can scale your business!
04:08 Ezra thinks content is the key!
04:58 The content you create should be about topics and conversations relevant to your community
05:50 Ezra realized that content also helped him with direct response marketing
07:22 Content increased Ezra’s response rate to his direct response ads by 1000%!!!
08:00 Sorry, we are experiencing technical difficulties!
09:00 Ezra wins the trophy!
09:24 Being relatable to your community is really important to your brand
10:02 Ezra believes you can transform your business creating at least one piece of content per week!
11:04 You can check out Ezra’s free course that shows his model of how he uses content to grow his businesses
12:04 This stuff is golden!!!
12:45 The Llama Commerce show is is brilliant for the eCommerce community!
Click Here For Video Transcript
Commerce show, where we are continuing to demystify eCommerce
into digestible, actionable bites. We have Ezra Firestone here,
who still has the coolest name we’ve ever heard. He’s been
sharing his secrets with us this morning. We are now talking
about…We are going to be covering content marketing with Ezra
and what he calls, Brett?
Brett: Community commerce.
Kurt: Community commerce.
Brett: This is a trend. This is a brand new trend. It’s a phrase Ezra
has coined, called ‘community commerce’. I love this idea
because what’s so cool about it. Ezra, you mentioned this last
time I had you on the show. You were talking about the hippie
commune and wanting to sell there in the hippie commune. In a
commune, sales online are really the same. Like, the same
principles hold true. I think this trend, your trend you’re
calling community commerce, continues that. So, what works, what
builds really successful offline companies and offline brands,
that works online too. I think that the nut you’ve cracked is
how to really make content marketing work.
Kurt: So, as always, we have our trusty one-armed table [inaudible 01:16]
player trophy here, and whoever is providing the most value in
the show gets the trophy at the end of the show.
Brett: I’m going to slide it to me right now, because I felt like that
intro was a little bit better than Kurt’s.
Kurt: I did most of the intro, though.
Ezra: Kurt got a hat, bro.
Kurt: True that. Thank you very much, Ezra. OK. So, Ezra, now you’re saying
smart things. Continue by explaining this community commerce
Ezra: Let me tell you. I come from a content marketing background, from an
information publishing and marketing background, before I
started selling physical products. When we look at the eCommerce
landscape… What are you guys laughing at?
Kurt: We’re laughing because Brett is stealing the trophy already
[inaudible 01:55]. Sorry. I’m so sorry. You’re talking about
super awesome things, and we’re goofing around at the back of
Ezra: [Inaudible 02:00] me off the stage. So, here’s the deal. When I got
into online retail, you really could just slap some products up
for sale and rely on a single channel, like Google, and do very
well, and I did that. As the online marketplace develops, we end
up with far more channels that we have available to us as
retailers. We’ve got social. We’ve got Amazon and eBay and
comparison shopping engines. We’ve got traditional query-based
advertising methods. We’ve got contextual advertising methods.
My goal in all of my businesses is for them to be diverse, for
them to be holistic, for them to have not a single point of
failure. I fell into the trap that most eCommerce business
owners did of having a single failure point in Google. That was
a really painful experience in my life. So, I started looking at
what are the best ways for me to not have that be the case. I’m
going to share my screen with you. What I realized was that we
live in a social economy. Can you guys see that screen?
Kurt: We can now. Yes.
Ezra: OK. We live in a social economy. People now expect, when they are
purchasing products online, that they will be able to engage
with a brand, with a company, beyond just purchasing a product
from them, that they’ll be able to live chat with someone, that
they’ll be able to get emails responded to, that they’ll be able
to engage with that brand or that face or that person on social
media, when it used to be that the only way to engage with a
brand was to write them a letter when traditional advertising
methods were TV and newspaper. There was no way to engage with
brands. In this new social economy, brands are now becoming
more like people. You need to have a relationship with your
community of people, because when we look at selling physical
products, our goal is not just to generate visibility for a
product and retail it. Our goal is to generate visibility for
our product, retail it, provide an awesome experience with that
customer and that community base who is engaging with our
products. Build a relationship with them beyond just selling
them products. Talk to them about topics, conversations,
problems that are relevant to their lives. Then, make them
additional offers. That’s how you build a business that’s able
to scale, because you’re able to then repeat sales from that
same community that you’re building.
When I look at selling my physical products, I’m looking at building a
community of people and engaging with that community of people
in every way I can and making them offers that I believe are
relevant to them, based on the information that they’re giving
me. The best way I found to do this is through content. On our
eCommerce businesses, what we are doing is every single
business, we have a face or multiple faces of the brand, and we
create content, usually in the form of short-form video content,
like this. Short-form video content or long-form audio content,
in the form of podcasts and videos, in the form of videos.
The reason why we do video or audio is that different people prefer to
consume media in different formats. So, if you’re doing video,
you can then transcribe that. You can create a .PDF out of it.
You can strip out the audio so that people can listen to that.
Some people will read your stuff. Some people will watch your
stuff. Some people will look at your pictures that you create.
If you look at what Google is doing, every Google search query
has multiple different media formats in the search result.
There’s going to be a video. There’s going to be an image.
There’s going to be a news reel. There’s going to be a blog.
There’s going to be a channel for a physical product query. So,
Google understands that different users prefer to consume media
in different formats.
So, we create this content that is not necessarily focused on our product.
It’s about topics and conversations that are relevant to the
lives of our community. For example, if we’re in the cycling
community, we’re talking to them about the Lance Armstrong
debacle, what’s going on there, and what our opinion is of that.
Because what people want is to know what you think about the
topics and conversations that are relevant to your community.
So, we create this content. We transcribe it. We put it on our
blog. We email it to our community. We then share it out on
Facebook. We share it on Google. We share it on Twitter. We
share it on Google+ and LinkedIn. We pull out the audio, and we
upload that to iTunes for a podcast, and that’s enough. Right?
Just creating content and sharing it with your community. That’s
good for search optimization. That’s good for engagement. But
what we realize is it actually helps us in our direct response
marketing, because what we do is we run ads on Facebook. We
promote each piece of content. I’ve lost Kurt completely.
Kurt: That’s alright. I’m coming back. I just went to grab a notepad. I’ve
got to ask questions here.
Brett: You know what’s really good, though? I’ll interject this since
we stopped for just a second. I think what merchants have to
understand is that the product is just part of the story. Right?
It’s part of the process. So, you have to have a great product.
You have to have the products people want, but real success is
much more than that. It’s about developing that customer and
maximizing the overall customer value. That really comes through
relationship. So, I think that what you’re saying here is you
got to move beyond just the product. Right?
Ezra: That’s right. You don’t necessarily only have to retail your product.
We cross content marketing into all of our businesses. We do
webinars and educational courses. All of our physical product
businesses have now become content and information publishing
businesses as well, because it’s just a community of people, a
community of people who are interested in the same type of
thing, who are interested in physical products, interested in
experience-based things, live events, interested in courses and
content and coaching. It’s a group of people who you’re
communicating with. Yes, you’re offering them physical products
to start with, but that’s not the only thing you’re offering
them. What we realized was…We promote each one of these videos
on Facebook. Right? We run ads to it. These videos, of course,
have a link back to our product page or our website. This one
doesn’t. This is just a link back to YouTube. The videos are
solely content. Now, these videos end up making us money and
soft-selling, and we do end up making money from these videos.
What we realized was that when we would then run a direct
response ad on Facebook to that same group of people, it doesn’t
have to be our fans. It’s just the same targeting group. So, the
same targeting group on Facebook sees our videos in their
newsfeed for two to three weeks, just content videos. They see
our brand. They see Cindy’s face, in this case. And then, all of
a sudden, they see a direct response ad for a product. The
response to our direct response ads for products went up 1000%,
when we started what we call ‘third-contact direct response
marketing.’ So, we’re not hitting them with a direct response.
Did I lose you guys? Guys? Dudes? Dudes?
Kurt: Flex this together or something?
Brett: We are back and live.
Brett: We crashed the internet. There was so much eCommerce brewing,
so we crashed the internet. Now, Ezra is calling again.
Kurt: We are an internet company here.
Brett: We are back on now, and I’m going to share this with you again.
Then, we can pick up right where we left off, hopefully.
Kurt: See, we were just talking about being raw and relatable, and so we
thought we would demonstrate that…
Brett: Oh. We are.
Kurt: By actually having the internet crash and having all these issues. We
just talked to someone on the cell phone, live on the show. So,
this is about as human [inaudible 11:44] as it gets.
Brett: I think we’re more likable now. I think people will love the
Kurt: My wife is in the background. I don’t know if you can see her. OK.
The trophy goes to Ezra already, because his internet stayed.
Brett: His internet works better.
Ezra: Where did you guys lose me?
Brett: We lost you at… Kurt was dialoging about…
Kurt: I was trying to dialogue. You’re just so fast that I was having a
hard time jumping in, but then we thought it was your fault that
we dropped. I was talking about how relatability is really
important in the brand.
Kurt: And how actually, the imperfection of humanity plays a really key
role in creating those relationships. Whereas before, it was
like the clandestine, untouchable brand that was the name to
Brett: Million dollar production value always had to be.
Ezra: Low production value is better. Shoot it on your iPhone, with a
little rode lav microphone, so you have good audio quality.
You don’t need high production value. That’s one of the things
that freaks people out. They feel like they can’t create content
because they don’t have high production value, but you don’t
need it. Yeah. I don’t know what else I was saying. Basically, I
think to summarize this whole thing here is that what I believe
you should be doing is creating at least one piece of content
per week in your business, not just for the SEO value, not
anything for that, but that you believe is relevant to your
community of buyers and subscribers. And if it is, they will
engage with it. It’s not sales content. It’s just content that
you’re creating to engage with your community of people, beyond
just retailing them products. Of course, you still do your sales
promotions. Of course, you do everything else. You just add on
this engagement, and you end up building up communities. I do
this over and over with clients.
I helped a gal in the Waldorf School. She has the biggest Waldorf toy store
on the internet. We built her a massive community, really
quickly, through weekly video content. She now has an
educational component to her business, and it just completely
transformed this business from just a physical product business
to a relationship/community/content information marketing
business as well. It’s ripe for the picking, and nobody’s really
doing it, and it’s not very difficult.
And, I have a free course on Shopify’s eCommerce University that teaches
my whole 15 videos that show the whole model of how I do it.
Brett: Awesome. What’s so cool about that is that whether you’re
wanting to keep your eCommerce business, or whether you’re
wanting to sell it, either way, building that community makes it
infinitely more valuable. Either you’re going to make a lot more
money long-term, or whenever you go to sell that, it’s going to
be a lot more valuable because you built that community around
Kurt: Although, can I just say? Don’t ever build an eCommerce business to
sell it. Build it because you believe in the value you offer the
market. That will actually drive the best sale, if it ever does
happen. You want to sell your business because you just can’t
refuse the offer being made to you, not because [multiple
speakers] looking to sell your company.
Ezra: Channel diversity gets you an extra multiple. I’ve sold eCommerce
businesses. I know. If you’ve got one channel and one single
failure point in Google or Google AdWords, that business is not
as valuable as one that’s got multiple channels.
Kurt: Less dispensable. Yeah. Exactly. Very good. Well, hey, this is great,
like golden stuff from Ezra Firestone, who is practicing this,
guys. This isn’t just a matter of his theoretical approach to
eCommerce. He is in the trenches, practicing this everyday
himself. So, phenomenal stuff. Ezra, thank you so much for
sharing your wisdom and your experience with us this morning. I
think we’ll have a lot of people that are served by these
interviews. So, thank you very much. You definitely get the one-
handed table tennis player trophy.
Brett: How does that feel, Ezra, to win a prestigious award like this?
Ezra: Like going to Disneyland. No, no. It feels good. This is fun. I like
this. I think that you guys are doing something so brilliant
here. There’s a few little tidbits of eCommerce-specific regular
content. My blog is one of them, and I don’t even do just
eCommerce content. You’ve got a couple podcasts, but there’s
nobody really has a video format show that shows specifics and
technicals and visuals. It’s a really cool thing. It’s bite-
size, and it’s digestible. I’d like to participate in it more. I
think that you guys are going to build an awesome community of
eCommerce business owners, and I’m going to market both these
videos that we just did. I’ll put them out to my community. I’ll
run Facebook ads to them and stuff, because I think that this is
a really special thing that you guys have built that we should
all be participating in as a community of eCommerce business
Kurt: Well, Ezra, we really appreciate that. Of course, you’re just
complying with that endorsement clause in the contract we had
you sign before the show. Good job.
Brett: That’s awesome. Well, thank you, everybody. Get out there and
create some content. Hopefully, this inspired you to get your
own content, to build your own community. With that, we will say
keep it classy.
Kurt: Llama commerce.
Brett: Llama commerce.