I’m back at Shopify Headquarters in Ottawa, Ontario…
And this time I brought some of my team members along! Those who are most involved in innovation, operations, and marketing at Zipify —
Like my Project Manager, Operations Office, Social Media Manager, and Copywriter —
To give them a better sense of the culture of Shopify and the community we’re serving through our applications.
And to get them to share their insights and experience with you!
So let’s hear what they have to say (and watch the video for a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most amazing companies in commerce).
Adam Maltais, Affiliate Manager at Shopify
Adam isn’t technically on my team; he’s the Affiliate Manager at Shopify…
But he’s an honorary Zipify-er. The guy’s also a super connector — he knows everyone, and he knows how to build rapport and intimacy very quickly. He’s also one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.
And Zipify owes a lot to him for helping to develop our relationship with Shopify, and for continuously participating in a conversation with us about the culture and marketplace of Shopify and their customers… A conversation that has inspired most of our best ideas.
What’s the difference between a brand-based store and funnel-based store?
“When people are looking at their ecommerce store, they’re either looking at it from the perspective of ‘I have one product. I want to maximize this product at scale,” and that really comes down to how good they are at Facebook marketing, and how good they are at picking those individual products to maximize those individual products…
Versus something like BOOM! where they’re looking more at LTV and the lifetime of the brand as a whole, and a product set… So they’re concentrating on different things, in terms of brand equity — building brand equity in a niche and demo — versus Facebook ad to an individual funnel or product page.”
If you’re starting an ecommerce business, you want to ask yourself what kind of brand you want to build. Will it be funnel-based or brand-focused?
We’ve seen a lot of success from both models. And even if you start with a single product and sales funnel, you can still develop your business into a more robust brand.
A lot of sellers start with drop shipping because it’s a great way to get initial revenue, but then they use that revenue to invest in a product they believe in — one that has a unique selling proposition in the market place — and they build out a brand.
Whatever your agenda is, Zipify Apps is here to serve you!
Ashley, Project Manager
Zipify Apps started as a team of creatives, innovators, and artists…
With the core value proposition that we can help you grow your Shopify store through applications that leverage our expertise in direct response marketing.
And I believe we are very good at this. What we’re not as good at is staying organized — at keeping a charter with all of our projects and making sure they are all getting prioritized correctly.
Which is why we’re so happy that we now have Ashley, our Project Manager / Affiliate Manager.
She’s responsible for making sure things get done.
What are things you look at when you come into a company, from an organizational standpoint?
#1 — “I come in and the first thing I do is assess each of the team members — and especially the creatives like you were saying — and really just see how they create. What’s their proccess? And what is the most efficient way for the creatives to create, and then for us to be able to organize it and streamline it to get projects out the door.”
#2 — “Develop a mind map, if you will, of the process to lay out — so we know who’s responsible for what, when, and how much time things take.”
#3 — “Prioritizing. What needs to be rolled out first? What’s the most important feature and how are we going to get it out quickly? And what are things we don’t need to be focusing on right now?”
What is your first step in writing a sales page or email?
“My first step when I look to writing a sales page, email, or offer a product… Is to do everything I can to understand who this is going to be for: who the customer is, what the problem is they’re facing, really do everything I can to understand their needs because that is our role. We’re here to serve a community, and the first step in that is understanding who the community is.”
Pepijn, Chief Platform Officer
How do you stay on task throughout the day?
“The way that I stay on task throughout the day is just an old-fashioned task list. I have my little Text Editor window open, and at the end of the day I make my list for the next day so I know what my priorities are… A lot of things come at me during the day, but you narrow down your top 3 priorities and get them done first thing — that’s how I stay on top of things.”
Colleen, Chief Operations Officer
How was visiting Shopify HQ different than you expected?
“The COO came in and spoke with our small group… Really took the time out of his day to talk to us about some of the core beliefs here at Shopify. And one thing that was surprising and refreshing to hear was that they really care about their partnerships…
A lot of what we do here at Zipify is that it’s about our partners and making sure we are leaving room for them to be successful too.”
What is the most important thing when dealing with multiple brands?
“Really taking inventory on what your most important projects are, really knowing what are the goals you’re trying to reach. Are you prioritizing the projects based on your most important goals?
For example, if you’re really looking to grow your revenue you’ll want to prioritize those projects at the front of your queue. Versus… Are you going for brand reach or recognition, or are you trying to participate in and provide value through other partnerships?
Take inventory of the projects and prioritize first, then making sure you have the resources to complete those projects.”
Laura, Social Media Manager
How do you figure out what content is doing the best?
“It comes from the apps we use for social media… Looking at those analytics and figuring what is engaging the community and what they want to talk about, then jumping into that conversation head first with them and being a part of it.”
Every time I come to Shopify I get this jolt of inspiration.
It’s just so amazing to see this company, and the amazing things they’re doing, and to feel even more tapped into our community of business owners.
And I’m so happy I get to share some of that inspiration with you.
This thing we’re participating in — the ecommerce game — it’s bigger than any one of us. We’re all a part of it, and that feels very special.
Take advantage of it. Follow what Shopify is up to. Follow what Zipify is up to. Stay informed!
Thanks for reading. Until next time!
0:44 Adam Maltais, Shopify Affiliate Manager
1:02 Ecommerce Super Connectors
1:35 Brand-Based vs. Funnel-Based
3:04 Invest in Building a Brand
3:54 Ashley Sorensen, Zipify Apps Project Manager
5:10 Organizing Projects
8:07 Integrated Social Commerce
9:31 Time is Your Most Valuable Asset
10:07 Kevin Burnside, Smart Marketer / Zipify Copywriter
10:27 Writing Sales Pages and Emails
10:53 Pepijn Gooiker, Smart Marketer / Zipify CPO
11:33 Staying On Task
12:21 Colleen Taylor, Zipify Apps COO
12:25 Laura, Zipify Apps Social Media Manager
12:31 Visiting Shopify HQ
13:32 Dealing with Multiple Brands
14:17 Content Marketing
Click Here For Video Transcript
Hey, I’m here with Adam Maltais. Did I say that right this time?
Adam: You did.
Ezra: Okay. I’ve been working on that for like years, actually.
Adam: There’s different ways, so I’ll give it to you.
Ezra: So Adam is the affiliate manager here at Shopify, and, you know, we at Zipify owe a lot to him for our relationship with Shopify, for bringing us in, for giving us ideas. And Adam is like…I’ve met a few people like him in my life. I call them super connectors, which might actually be the lingo word in the industry. Like, this guy knows everyone. He’s the nicest guy you’ll ever meet, and he’s got this sort of way of like building rapport and intimacy with people really quickly, so it’s a great skill set.
One of the things that you talk about that I think is really interesting is the style of e-commerce that you see, because you get to see thousands of stores, you get so much insight into what’s happening in the industry. And you were telling me about sort of what you saw between the difference between some folks doing, like, funnel-based e-commerce and some folks doing, like, brand-based e-commerce. Can you just talk a little bit about those sort of different styles of e-commerce that you see?
Adam: Yeah, sure. I think that when people are looking at their e-commerce side, they’re either looking at it from the perspective of, “I have one product. I wanna maximize this product at scale,” and it really comes down to how good they are at Facebook marketing and how good they are at picking those individual products to maximize those individual products. And they’re focusing on those one product.
Ezra: Right. Like one product stores, one product funnels. Little niche product offer page sale.
Adam: Versus something like BOOM!, where they’re looking more at LTV, and the lifetime of the brand as a whole, and a product set. So watches, BOOM!, that has multiple products in their brand. And so they’re concentrating on different things in terms of brand equity, building brand equity, niche and demo versus product or Facebook ad to an individual product funnel or a product page.
Ezra: Yeah. And so when you’re coming into e-commerce, you kinda wanna know the type of brand that you’re looking to build. Are you looking to build more of a funnel-based thing? Are you looking to build more of a sort of lifetime customer value-branded play? Like, what is your agenda?
Ezra: At Zipify Apps, we serve everyone. Our apps work for you no matter what you’ve got. But I thought that was a really interesting distinction, you know, from someone who gets a seat at all these stores launching. And you see people successful at both models, right? Not like one is better than the other.
Adam: One hundred percent. Yeah. And I think what’s really interesting is both, they complement each other, where you can build skill sets in the cash flow business of just trying to make it work and make $100 a day from a product. Then eventually then you’re concentrating on building the brand. And all that is transferable skills.
Ezra: And I tell people this a lot, that, like, a lot of people are starting with drop shipping and starting with these drop ship funnels, and I’m saying like, “Hey, that’s a great way to go to start and get some initial revenue, but then use that money to invest in building a product that you stand behind, that has integrity, that you can…you know, that has unique selling propositions in the marketplace, and then build a brand based off of that.” So I kind of like to sort of think of it as like you’re doing that funnel-based model of drop shipping to start, and then you leverage that revenue to then build out a brand that, of course, still has sales funnels, you know.
Ezra: Yeah. So Adam Maltais, Affiliate Manager at Shopify, relationship expert extraordinaire. Thanks, man.
Hey, Ezra here with Ashley who was just giving us her kangaroo. What’s it?
Ashley: Hey, everybody. Ashley Sorensen here.
Ezra: I told her she was a tiger, and she said she’s a kangaroo. So, at Zipify Apps, you know, we focus on direct response. We focus on getting more from your store. That’s our sort of core value proposition, is how to get more from your store using direct response advertising, using sales pages, using upsales. And we’re a team of sort of creatives, and innovators, and artists, and we are not particularly organized, you know, which is why…yeah, it’s why we have Ashley. She’s our project manager, our affiliate manager, our organizer of all things. And so I just want to kinda ask you, you know, first of all, what do you think of Shopify?
Ashley: Shopify is an amazing organization. Holy cow, I walked through the doors of this place, and it’s like an amusement park if you’re here working at Shopify, so I’m really honored to be here.
Ezra: It’s like a tech Great America for you Californians. So, you know, what is, like, kind of one of the things you do? Like, you came into our company, and Zipify was, for us, like from an organizational standpoint, almost like the company that gets the least attention, because we have BOOM!, we have Bee Friendly, we have Smart Marketer. And so there was a lot to do to, like, get us sort of moving in a, like, more efficient manner. So what are the things you look at when you come into a company from an organizational standpoint?
Ashley: Yeah, absolutely. So I come in, and the first thing I do is I assess each of the team members, and especially the creatives, like you were saying, and really just see how they create, what’s the process, and what is the most efficient way for the creatives to create and then us to be able to organize it and streamline it to get projects out the door. So that’s the first thing I assess.
Ezra: And, like, where are the bottlenecks and how can we…quick process.
Ashley: Exactly. Shift those around on the processes, and then just develop an actual kind of mind map, if you will, of the process to lay out so we know who’s responsible for what, when, and how much things take. And then number three is prioritizing. So what needs to be rolled out first? What’s the most important feature? How are we gonna get it out quickly? And then what are some things that we maybe don’t need to focus on at this point in time?
Ezra: Things we had not thought about ahead of time before Ashley came around. We were just creating stuff. And it’s going well. Now we have you, we’re super happy. Thanks for coming on the tour of Shopify. We’ll introduce you to some of our other team members. Ashley here, kangaroo.
Ashley: Thanks. See you guys later.
Ezra: You missed that, but there was just a clap in front of my face to sync the audio, and my team is cracking up in the background here. So we’ve been at Shopify for the day. And every time I come here, I get just, like, this jolt of inspiration, because our community is actually really big, and we’re doing amazing things. Like, this company is doing amazing things. They are changing the way that retail is done, and we get to be a part of that, which is really fun. And so I wanted to just share some of that inspiration with you and let you know that, like, this thing is bigger than any one of us. It’s all of us. And to be in this community and to get the opportunity to participate in it is a really special thing. Like, we are alive at a special time, and we have this really amazing opportunity. And so you should take advantage of it. You know, you should follow along with what Shopify is up to, follow along with what we’re up to. Use our blog, use our apps, you know.
And so some of the things that we were talking about today. We met with the COO, we met with the apps team, we met with a bunch of people, and things like integrated social commerce. So what’s coming is that, you know, people are gonna be able to visit your website, see one of your products, and then be inside of a social network like Facebook, like Instagram, like Pinterest, like Twitter, and literally make one click never leaving that social network to make a purchase. Things like purchasing, and user engagement, and customer data being passed to messenger, just like a lot of really exciting stuff happening.
So I really enjoyed bringing my team up here, even though for me there’s not really like a quantifiable value that I can assign to spending like tens of thousands of dollars to fly my team up here. Maybe around 10 grand, I don’t know the exact number, but it’s a lot. To fly my team up here, put them up in hotels, you know, take the time off of work and like have this experience. But I think that, like, us really understanding the culture of what’s happening in Shopify, how we can best serve them, how we can best be a partner to their company, because that’s what we are, how we can kinda see where they think things are going and kinda modify our game plan based on that information. I think it will be extremely valuable for us, even though there’s no way to really kinda put a price on that or to be able to tell how that’s doing. We are willing to invest in this, because we believe in it. And we believe in you as a community, we believe in what we’re doing, and we are super thankful that you, you know, are willing to follow our blog, and, you know, use our apps, and spend time with us. And so I think that your most valuable asset as an entrepreneur is your time. And when you spend that with me, I really appreciate it, and I’m gonna make sure that you get value from it.
I’m gonna do a few little interviews here. I’m gonna ask my team kinda what they thought of the day at Shopify, and a little bit about what they do in their role, and kind of how they see things, because I have an amazing team. You know, I get all the credit, but really it’s my team who is producing most of this stuff, you know. So that’ll be fun. I’m gonna do that right after. I just wanted to say thanks for coming on the tour and bye. Bye from me, and now we’ll introduce you to just a few other members of the team who are up here today. So Ezra over and out.
Kevin: My name is Kevin Burnside. I’m a copywriter at Zipify and Smart Marketer. What I really liked about Shopify was the culture here. The people who I’ve met, who have worked here are very warm and welcoming, and it’s not an overwhelming tech environment. The people are very friendly. Everyone seems to know each other. So my first step when I look to writing a sales page or an email, offer a product, is to really try to do everything I can to understand who this is gonna be before, who the customer is, what problems they’re facing, really do everything I can to understand their needs, because that is our role. We’re here to serve a community, and so the first step in that is understanding who the community is.
Pepijn: My name is Pepijn Gooiker, and I’m the chief platform officer at Smart Marker and Zipify. You know, Shopify is different in that I was expecting a more corporate culture. Even though I knew it’s a young company, I was not prepared for anything that I saw here today. There were TPs. You know, I’m looking right now behind the camera is a wall, a green wall of plants. There’s an awesome cafeteria with vegan options, which I like. People are, you know, dressed kind of casual. Yeah, so many things. I could go on but…and every floor is completely different. I think it would take me about three months to know where I am in this building if I were to work here.
So the way that I stay on task throughout the day is just old-fashion task list. You know, I have my little text editor window open, and at the end of the day, I make the list for the next day, and I know kind of what my priorities are, and I know that I wanna get at least these three or five things done, and I’ll feel good. And, like, everything else is a bonus. If I make this list at the end of the day, the next day usually goes really well. And sometimes I forget. You know, a lot of things kind of come at me during the day, but I feel like if you kind of narrow down your top three priorities and get those out of the way first thing, you know, that’s how you stay on top of things.
Colleen: My name is Colleen Taylor, and I’m the COO of Zipify Apps.
Laura: My name is Laura, and I am the social media manager here at Zipify Apps.
Colleen: Visiting Shopify was different than what I expected. Because, first of all, the COO came in and spoke with our small group, took the time out of his day to really talk to us about some of the core…just the core beliefs here at Shopify. And one of the things that struck me that it was surprising and really refreshing to hear that they really save room for their partners and they really care about their partnerships. And that was not only surprising but really, really nice to hear, because a lot of what we do at Zipify is it’s about our partners and making sure that we are leaving room for them to be successful, too.
Laura: Shopify, I don’t know if I’d say it was different than what I expected. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting. It was really, really me, just the community here, and everyone is just kinda hanging out but also working. It’s really kinda, you know, just a chill space where you get things done.
Colleen: I would say the most important thing when you’re dealing with multiple brands is really taking inventory on what your most important projects are, really knowing what are the goals you’re trying to reach. Are you prioritizing the projects based on your most important goals? For example, if you are really looking to grow your revenue, you’ll want to prioritize those projects in the front of your queue, versus are you going for brand reach or recognition, or are you trying to really participate and provide value through other partnerships and really kind of take inventory of the projects and prioritize first, and then, you know, set about making sure that you have the resources to complete those projects.
Laura: So figuring out what content is doing the best really comes from the apps and things that we use for social media. Looking at those analytics, really figuring out, you know, what’s engaging the community, what they wanna talk about, and jumping into that conversation head first with them and being a part of it.
I think when you have a…people want to buy, and Ezra actually said this before, they wanna buy a promise, they don’t wanna buy a product. And I think building a community really gives you that longevity. So one of the ways that we kinda figure out what content to bring to our community is what is going to engage them. What’s gonna get them talking to each other, to other people in their community, that keeps them on our page longer, that makes them go back and forth to our other pages? And that’s when we show them, you know, our products and things like that. But really, when you’re pushing content to your community, you want them to talk to each other, you know, more than selling to them.
My favorite part of my work week is probably going down a rabbit hole. It’s probably my favorite part of my work week. With social media, you have to look for hashtags, you have to look for trending things, you’ve gotta look for all those things, and sometimes it brings you down this…where you never thought you would go, hashtag and things you never thought were possible hashtags. And it’s fun, and it’s new, and it’s different, and it’s exciting.
Most embarrassing? The most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to me at work is this morning, in downstairs at Shopify, I spilled a latte all over myself and a little bit of my team. I got a chief operations officer with some milk, burnt my pants. I smelled like milk the rest of the day. It’s gotta be, yeah, it’s up there, the most embarrassing thing, yeah.
Colleen: My favorite part of my work week is definitely Monday morning team call, where I get to kind of check in with everyone and see everyone’s smiling faces. We meet via Zoom, so, you know, whenever we speak, we get to see each other on camera. And so that’s my favorite part of the work week, is just, you know, welcoming everyone into a brand-new week and seeing what everyone’s up to.
The most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to me at work I would have to say would be just trying to get here to Shopify, which is in another country here in beautiful Ottawa, Canada. We did get stopped at immigrations, and we just had a little trouble getting in, but eventually Canada showed us some love, and we were allowed in. But it took a couple of hours. One of the main reasons we were stopped is because Mr. Ezra Firestone allowed us to drive his vehicle, however, he was not in the vehicle with us, so they were wondering which one of us was Ezra Firestone or Mrs. Firestone, and none of us could provide identification. So, yeah, that was sort of embarrassing.