18 episodes

Hosts Jon MacDonald and Ryan Garrow want to help businesses be more effective at driving high quality traffic to your site, and making sure that traffic converts from a visitor to a buyer, by sharing the secrets that have helped some of the brands big and small to drive the right traffic to their sites, and convert that traffic into customers at a rate well above their peers.

Drive and Convert Jon MacDonald and Ryan Garrow

    • Marketing
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Hosts Jon MacDonald and Ryan Garrow want to help businesses be more effective at driving high quality traffic to your site, and making sure that traffic converts from a visitor to a buyer, by sharing the secrets that have helped some of the brands big and small to drive the right traffic to their sites, and convert that traffic into customers at a rate well above their peers.

    The Halo Effect of Google Shopping

    The Halo Effect of Google Shopping

    We know that internet traffic doesn't operate in silos. No matter what method you are using to drive traffic and sales, there's always going to be a halo effect. Today Jon and Ryan chat about Google Shopping, but more specifically the effect it has on other channels.


    TRANSCRIPT:
    Jon:
    Hey, thanks for listening to Drive and Convert. Before we jump into this episode, just wanted to take a quick second and let you know that during this episode we had some recording issues and the audio quality is nowhere near where we would normally like to see it. But because the content was solid, we decided to keep it as is and get it out to you. Hopefully you can see through this less than perfect audio, but a big shout out to our editor, Josh, for helping make us sound pretty solid, despite all of the technical shortcomings. We do have some improvements in audio quality on the way, so thank you for listening and on to the show.


    Jon:
    Ryan, we know that internet traffic doesn't operate in silos. No matter what method you are using to drive traffic and sales, there's always going to be a halo effect. We've all heard this famous quote from 120 years ago, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don't know which half." That is still true today, even with all of the attribution and digital advertising tracking we're able to do. But the good news is that with all of the data we have these days, it allows us to know that there is a halo effect and to know how much that halo effect is worth to each brand.
    I was recently checking out a presentation you gave [Aclavio 00:01:44] and you showed data for some real clients that blew my mind and I actually just found out one of them is a shared client of ours, which made me even more excited.


    Ryan:
    Yeah, maybe some of that's due to you.


    Jon:
    Hey, I'm not going to take credit for this, but the data was a comparison of revenue and performance before and after implementing Google Shopping. I'm talking 1800% increases in revenue in both of these cases. Tens of hundreds of thousands of dollars in newly found revenue.
    Now, it seems to me that Google Shopping itself didn't account for most of this revenue gain, but rather that it could be attributed to the halo effect of implementing Google Shopping correctly. Today I wanted to chat about Google Shopping, but more specifically the effect it has on other channels.


    Ryan:
    Oh, man. It is such a unique topic that doesn't get brought up enough. I'm exciting to really dive into this. I don't even necessarily know if halo effect is a technical term that anybody really uses. It's just kind of how we refer to it internally at Logical Position and what we're seeing.


    Jon:
    But I do think it makes sense though. You said halo effect originally when we started talking about the topic for today and I immediately got it. Here you are inventing another term, perhaps, that makes a lot of sense. Ryan, tell me. What is the benefit of understanding the halo effect of Google Shopping? Maybe we just start there.


    Ryan:
    As you're understanding conceptually, and most I think business owners, marketing teams understand that attribution paths generally look like bowls of spaghetti at this point in time, as people can really easily do research and understand what they want from a product as they're finding it and then coming back to business that they had maybe found it somewhere on. What I've learned, through the last decade plus in digital marketing and a lot of that in eCommerce, is that I'm weird in the eCommerce transaction space. I have a very linear conversion path. I see it. I click it. I buy it. Every company on the planet can track my conversion. It's just very simple. If I've bought from you, you know exactly how I found you. Maybe I don't do enough research or I do enough research before I actually go search for the product. I haven't done a

    • 23 min
    Discounting for Conversion Rates

    Discounting for Conversion Rates

    So many Ecommerce stores offer discounts. Should you? Today Jon breaks down why discounts are probably doing more harm than good for your brand, and offers some better alternatives.


    The Essential Guide to Ecommerce Sales Promotions [78 Tactics] :


    https://thegood.com/insights/essential-ecommerce-promotion-guide/


    TRANSCRIPT:


    Ryan Garrow:
    Jon, I come across this all the time, and I found myself accidentally suggesting these things to maybe my wife's business or some friend's businesses. When it comes to conversion rates on websites, one of the easiest ways to increase an e-commerce site's sales rate is to offer discounts on products or site-wide. I see it all the time, and I know you have your favorite email popups for 10% discounts and your Reelio spin for discounts on every Shopify site on the planet two years ago.
    When you see all these discounts out there, it gets stuck in the back of all these e-commerce marketer's minds that it must be a good thing to do. And I think some companies get addicted to it. In fact, one of my wife's favorite stores is Michaels, it's a craft store, and I get the wonderful job of picking up her orders on the way home from the office. And as I'm looking at these receipts, as I'm picking it up, there is not an order she puts in online for store pickup that doesn't have some crazy discount codes.
    It's at least 40% on every order that Michaels is giving away on these orders. And that blows me away how they must have a lot of false front on their pricing to be able to do that and that limits what they can do outside of direct consumer marketing like in Google Ads or things like that. But Jon, technically these discounts increase conversion rates and may, in fact, be increasing new-to-file customers in their database. Given those two metrics, why does a brand need to be careful if they're using discounts on their site?


    Jon MacDonald:
    Well, I think there's a couple of things to be thinking about here, first of which is that discounting is not conversion optimization. It's margin drain. These brands who are engaging in discounting, what they're really setting themselves up for is to always be a discount brand in the eyes of their consumers. And just like you're saying with Michaels, your wife is never going to pay retail price at Michaels. She always knows there's a discount code or some special that they're running.
    Once you dig that hole, it's so hard to climb out of it. It really just becomes impossible. Once you're a discount brand in the eyes of the consumer, you forever are going to be a discount brand. It's just not something that you can easily really recover from. And I think a good way to think about this is the real estate market. A good realtor will tell you, or almost any realtor will tell you, that every house on the block, no matter how ugly, will sell at the right price.
    And so my point of view on this is that if you have to discount that severely, you likely just have a pricing problem or you have a product problem. And most people try to solve those by just severely discounting, or what they try to do is to get those new-to-file customers in by offering an initial discount. And those just become really, really complicated to recover from.


    Ryan Garrow:
    Now, are you saying that 10% sales or sales throughout the year are bad across the board, or does it occasionally make sense to have a sale of some sort?


    Jon MacDonald:
    Well, let's talk about what sales are, because I think there's a ton of ways to drive e-commerce revenue without using discounts. A sale could be anything that is different than just a discount, right? So you could do different types of promotions. So you could do buy one, get one. In essence, you're basically giving somebody a free product, but you're not calling it a percent off. You could say something like buy three of these, you get the fourth free, someth

    • 24 min
    Buy on Google and Your Brand

    Buy on Google and Your Brand

    Google recently dropped all commission fees on their "Buy on Google" platform. On the surface-level this seems like a very intriguing offer. But Ryan here is to explain why "Buy on Google" may not be the best thing for your brand.


    TRANSCRIPT:


    Jon:
    Ryan, a few days ago, I sent you an article I read about Google's Buy on Google program and how they were dropping all commission fees for their sellers as part of the program. Now, to me, this seemed like a pretty good deal. Who doesn't like freeways to sell products and utilize a huge platform with lots of awareness like Google search? At least that was my take, but when I asked you about it, you said, and I'll quote, hopefully this is okay, "That product was dead in the water before this change. Some merchants will of course test it, but it will compete for ad presence with their regular Google ads." Honestly, this was not what I was expecting to hear from you at all.
    I was really interested in connecting with you a bit more about this and just seeing your thoughts on it and getting some more information about the program out and seeing where and when it makes sense for all of our eCommerce listeners to take advantage of it. I guess just to jump right in, Ryan, on a high level, just so we're on the same page, what exactly is Buy on Google?


    Ryan:
    Buy on Google is the little colorful shopping cart icon that shows up in Google shopping. When you start filtering and sorting, you actually transact on Google and then the merchant fulfills it. It's basically a Google trying to be this marketplace saying, "Oh, we can trust Google because I'm buying it here." It's a shopping ad set that you're able to get when you push your inventory into Google and say, "Yes, I'm willing to sell this on Google."
    Previously, there were commissioned tiers to sell different products. It ranged somewhere from five to, I think, 12%. It was a 12% number that Google [inaudible 00:02:07] because it was less than that Amazon 15%. That came out, man, I want to say maybe three, four years ago, maybe in an alpha-beta four years ago. I think it did cause some Amazon changes within their system on what they were going to be charging to try to have more parody with the Buy on Google scenario. Yeah. It was basically give Google the commission that you would maybe be paying Amazon and we'll push your product out there. There's no advertising costs. Google's the one putting it out there and then you just get the sale and give commission to Google.


    Jon:
    They're trying to create a marketplace without really holding any inventory or doing any fulfillment. They literally just take the money, take their cut and send everything over to the retailer?


    Ryan:
    Yeah. From a high level, it sounds like a great idea like, "Okay. I have all of this work. I'm spending all this money in Google ads and shopping and I've got agency fees or employee costs or my time in it. Now, I can just go to Google and you're just going to take a commission and it's a fixed cost, so I don't have to worry about what my return on Google shopping is." That theory sounds phenomenal. There's not many business owners are going to be like, "Yeah. Here, take my products. Sell them for me. I now know that I'm only going to be paying 12% of my revenue for my advertising cost." There's no scenario in which that doesn't sound like a good idea.


    Jon:
    That definitely makes sense. How does Buy on Google differ from Google Shopping? This is a complete novice asking that question.


    Ryan:
    It's part of Google Shopping. You only see the Buy on Google when you're in the Google Shopping tab within Google space. It used to be a little more prevalent on the first page of Google, but I believe it's only showing now in the Google Shopping tab. It's one of the filters you can put on there.


    Jon:
    Okay. Then, really Google Shopping is getting your listing of products u

    • 26 min
    The Future of CRO

    The Future of CRO

    How can you prepare your businesses for operating in a future that has yet to be determined? Today, Jon explores the future of CRO. With such a high volume of transactions happening on Amazon and Shopify are we nearing the end of incremental improvement from CRO?


    For help with your CRO visit:
    https://thegood.com/


    TRANSCRIPT


    Ryan:
    All right, Jon, as a business owner and strategist, I'm constantly thinking about the future and how I can prepare my businesses, my teams, clients for operating in a future that has yet to be determined. For me, it's just kind of fun to think through. Recently, one of the things that's been on the top of my mind has been the future of CRO and how do we continue moving the needle to improve our sites, but doing that like five years in the future, what is that going to look like? With such a high volume of transactions happening on Amazon and Shopify, are we nearing the end of incremental improvements in CRO? That's kind of the thought that's going through, and I guarantee you have some serious opinions on this that I have no idea about. So I'm excited to learn from you what you're looking for in the future.
    But it also came top of mind because of a recent Google announcement that they're going to start including site experience into their organic algorithm. And so let's just start with that. Based on what you've heard and what you know about Google, what do you expect this to look like when it rolls out?


    Jon:
    Well, I think that the biggest concern for brands and the biggest concern they should have is that if you haven't been optimizing your site's consumer experience, it's going to severely impact your rankings, and thus your organic traffic is going to go way down. Google was kind enough to tell us now, even though it's not going to roll out until 2021. So we're recording in mid 2020. So they have given you a six months heads up, which is very nice of them.
    They also have provided all the tools you need to be able to improve your site experience, including one of my favorites, Google Optimize, which is their A/B and multivariate testing tool set that they've released that's great. So they're not only just giving you the tool sets, but they're also giving you the guidance on the fact that they want you to have a really great consumer experience. Say when they go to Google and search, and then they end up on your site, that they have a great experience and that they love the search results that Google is producing. So that's what Google cares about right now, is they're saying, yes, everybody knows if I need an answer, I can go to Google. But a lot of those sites that rank first have made the experience so poor in an effort to get listed higher that they don't have a good experience on those search result pages.


    Ryan:
    How much in your opinion, and maybe you can assign a percentage, is the actual act of converting on a site the experience? Can you break that out into its own piece, you think?


    Jon:
    Well, without question, I think Google has been very upfront about this. Normally they'd never release a specific percentage that anything weighs into that algorithm, but they are saying that it's going to be one of the top factors.


    Ryan:
    Is the rate of conversion on a site?


    Jon:
    They can track conversion to some degree, but I think what they're looking at is how long are people staying on your site? How many pages are they looking at? Are they converting is definitely a factor in there, but are they bouncing right back to Google? And I think they're looking at a lot of other metrics too. They're looking at page speed. They have a whole bunch of algorithms and artificial intelligence, AI, that has gotten really, really good at telling things like, do you have a popup on your site where it, as content loads on the screen, that popup kind of moves around a little bit, and just because the pag

    • 24 min
    SEM Budget Forecasting

    SEM Budget Forecasting

    Today, Jon asks how to determine what your SEM budget should be...and Ryan explains why the answer may actually be to have no budget at all


    For all your digital marketing needs:


    https://www.logicalposition.com/


    TRANSCRIPT:
    Jon:
    It's a common question that I hear quite a bit. "How much should I be budgeting for search engine marketing and how do I even forecast what I should be spending?" Well, securing the SEM budgets is always a challenge, right? So when you do spend on search engine marketing, you want to ensure that you reach your performance goals, but there are countless traps and ways to actually overspend or even underspend on your search engine marketing budget.
    And even if you follow all the best practices, you could still end up with some inefficiencies, so correctly addressing the ways to misspend requires paid search experts to consistently monitor campaign performance and budget spend. And also they need to have a pulse on what the company is trying to accomplish. So luckily for us, we have access to Ryan and he has access to 6,500 search engine marketing budgets to learn from. So today we're going to talk about ad word budgets and how to forecast what your brand should be spending and how to ensure you don't overspend or underspend. So, Ryan welcome.


    Ryan:
    Thanks, Jon. It's a big one. This topic is constantly top of mind for CFOs and there's constant tension, I think, between marketing teams and finance teams over budgets. And for me personally, it's one of my favorite topics and also my least favorite topics, just because of all the tension around it. It's my favorite because almost every company needs to be educated in how to forecast and plan budgets. But it's also my least favorite because it's always an uphill battle with changing the opinions of business owners, executives, finance teams, even marketing teams that don't understand forecasting and budgeting. It's a difficult conversation to have, but I'm happy we're going to be diving into this and hopefully doing some education. Hopefully making people think about what they're doing and how they can be maybe looking at SEM forecasting a little bit differently.


    Jon:
    Awesome. Well, I'm looking forward to being educated on this. This is a topic that we were chatting before we started recording, and you have some unique perspectives on this that I've never even given thought to. So.


    Ryan:
    We both have [inaudible 00:02:32] all kinds of things, Jon. It's great to be able to do this with you, but when this topic came up in our sequence of things we're going to be talking about it. I get all hot and bothered and excited and adrenaline starts flowing and I talk fast. So bear with me, but very similar to how you get when somebody's got a discount email pop up on a site is how I get when somebody tells me what their budget is X number of dollars a month. And don't overspend. It's just, I'm on a personal mission to eliminate SCM budgeting for 99.9% of the population. It just doesn't make sense for most companies.


    Jon:
    So explain that to me, I'm interested to learn more. Why is that? Well,


    Ryan:
    we get into the conversation because finance people want to see what numbers are going to be and understanding what's going to be coming in and out of accounts.
    And so it's for the last a hundred years of CFO's doing work to prepare bank accounts. Marketing has been a line item on the P and L that they've paid attention to and set goals around on how much are we going to spend? What are we going to do? How much are we putting into magazines and newspapers and TV ads and billboards? So it's understandable, but SEM is in a very unique position that it's not a normal P and L line item. Let me just use an example because here's what normally happens. Finance meeting, all right, the owner is, "What the heck," gets all red in the face. "What the heck is this $350,000

    • 25 min
    CRO's Role in Ecommerce Growth

    CRO's Role in Ecommerce Growth

    In every business there are tools specific to that industry or type of business that will help them grow. Ecommerce is no different. CRO is one of the most important tools to grow an Ecommerce business. Today, Jon dives into the role CRO plays in Ecommerce businesses.


    For help with your CRO:
    https://thegood.com/


    TRANSCRIPT:


    Ryan:
    Oh Jon, most people start businesses because they've got skills, knowledge, and the desire to control their work and what they're actually doing on a day to day basis. I would also guess most business owners want to grow and in every business there are tools specific to that industry or type of business that help them grow. E-commerce, as we know, is no different. You and I both know CRO is one of the most important tools to grow an e-commerce business and it's never a bad time to grow.


    Ryan:
    Today I'm really excited to dive into the role CRO plays in e-commerce businesses. You, Jon McDonald, knowing more about CRO than anyone I know, can you start us off today by giving us your thoughts on CRO and the growth process of an e-comm business, at a high 30,000 foot level?


    Jon:
    Yeah, sure. Well I think the best way to think about this Ryan is that there's only a small number of ways to grow your company just at a high level before even thinking about conversion rate optimization. You can get more new customers, you can get your current customers, or even those new ones, to spend more with you, and you can get your average customer lifetime value up by getting those customers that have purchased to come back and purchase again. Those are really the only three mechanisms you have for earning more revenue out of your business.


    Jon:
    So, of course, traffic generation can hit that first one really well. We might argue, and maybe you could fill in on this a little bit Ryan, but traffic generation, when done well in digital marketing, can help you also increase average order value. Then remarketing, you can resell to the people who have already purchased perhaps and you can run campaigns around that.


    Jon:
    But I think if you're really looking to impact the first two of those in a major way, conversion rate optimization is really going to be how you're going to get a higher return on that ad spend and how you're generally just going to convert more of your visitors into buyers. So if you're thinking about growth the biggest lever with the highest return on investment, and of course, I'm biased, but I think that the highest return on investment is going to be conversion optimization because with a small investment in making it easier for people to purchase on your site you're going to get a high value back that's going to be sustainable over time.


    Ryan:
    Well yeah and I think even on a previous podcast we talked about CRO after the sale even and increasing some of that lifetime value in areas I hadn't even considered actually being CRO. Like even some of the things in the shopping cart post purchase which would increase lifetime value had never even occurred to me.


    Ryan:
    I think it does play in all three, but I think for most people as they're thinking through their entire e-comm business they're going to probably see CRO in those first two buckets of growth. As you're looking at e-comm businesses and you analyze tons of businesses, is there a place in the growth curve of an e-comm business where you really see CRO as being the most impactful? I'm thinking in my head of a bell curve and growth or maybe you're growing up to a plateau like where would you in a perfect world insert CRO?


    Jon:
    Well I think that you need to have enough traffic to effectively do certain types of CRO. Let's break this down a little bit. Let's look at this bell curve in three chunks. The first chunk would be the folks who are just getting started, maybe we'll just say less than a million dollars in revenue, which is a pre

    • 29 min

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