16 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
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

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.

    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
    What Makes SEM Difficult to DIY Well?

    What Makes SEM Difficult to DIY Well?

    There are so many folks selling “search engine” services these days. And a lot of that is “snake oil” –– especially when you talk about “search engine optimization” or SEO. And this no doubt bleeds over into the SEM – or “search engine marketing” field too. Today Ryan unpacks just exactly why SEM is so hard to do yourself.


    For help with your SEM:
    https://www.logicalposition.com/


    TRANSCRIPT:


    Jon:
    There are so many folks selling search engine services these days, and that is a lot of snake oil out there. Especially when you start talking about search engine optimization or SEO, this no doubt bleeds over to SEM, or search engine marketing field, as well. The challenge that I see here with SEM is similar to what often happens in my world with conversion rate optimization. There are a ton of free resources out there, checklists, how-to articles, online trainings and certifications, and most of them are too high level and broad to actually be helpful with the e-commerce site. In my view, this really makes SEM very hard to do yourself, especially if you're an e-comm owner.
    Ryan, today I'm really interested in your thoughts about search engine marketing and why and what makes it so difficult to do it yourself? I really can't wait to get schooled by you once again. Ryan, let's start maybe with what your definition of search engine marketing is.


    Ryan:
    It's not complicated, for me. Search engine marketing involves making sure that you are showing up when people are searching for your product or service. As long as there's an intent or a search around that and an active process of putting something in, whether that's voice or typing, texting, it's ... they are searching for it. For me, the biggest ones are obviously Google. Bing, which is now Microsoft Ads. And then I consider Amazon Ads search engine marketing. Yahoo's in there but they usually just get powered by Google and Microsoft Ads themselves. In all of those platforms they are searching for it, and you can design a specific ad in that system to attract that searcher.


    Jon:
    That's interesting. I just heard something that brought up an interesting point for me. I've always thought about search engine marketing just being on search engines, but there's so many things out there that are search engines right now. YouTube is the number two search engine. Would you consider showing up in results and marketing around YouTube part of this?


    Ryan:
    I guess ancillary, to a degree, yes. It's part of Google. Google owns YouTube and you advertise on YouTube through the Google Ads platform. When you're capturing searches on Google looking for your particular product, you can also have YouTube ads, as far as remarketing.
    The difference I see on YouTube versus general search engine platforms is that a not a lot of people go to YouTube to find the product to buy. They may be doing some higher level research on looking for reviews. If I'm looking to buy a Bluetooth speaker, my dad just bought one for his neighbor, he had to do some research and figure out which one was going to be easiest because she's 80 years old. You can go on YouTube and find some reviews about ease of use or older people using Bluetooth speakers, and see which one's easiest. It's a research process, more, on YouTube, then it'll be, "I need a Bluetooth speaker now. I'm going to go to YouTube and buy one."
    Generally that's not how people are trying to transact yet. They can transact with Google or go to the website and buy it, or they go to Amazon and buy from the Amazon platform.


    Jon:
    That definitely makes sense. It's ancillary there but it's not the main way you would define it. You're thinking Google, Bing, those type of search engines at this point?


    Ryan:
    Yeah. They're actually searching for the product or service. That, for me, is the big key. In the paid realm, it involves a lot of thing

    • 24 min
    Optimizing Category Pages

    Optimizing Category Pages

    Today Jon takes a look at how to improve your category pages on your website. He'll explore what you should know about headers, footers, navigation, bread crumbs, and more!


    For help optimizing your category pages:
    https://thegood.com/


    TRANSCRIPT:


    Ryan:
    Hello Jon, and welcome to the podcast.


    Ryan:
    I was digging through one of our shared clients analytics, and this is a rather large international brand that most of our listeners would probably recognize if we mentioned their name. And outside the home page, the largest volume of traffic to their site is condensed into just a couple category pages. Now that's not unusual for a lot of major brands because of Google's algorithm, on the organic side, favoring category pages over product pages. But it also means that there's a huge opportunity for a brand capturing a lot of this traffic to really make that traffic work better on category pages specifically.


    Ryan:
    So through this, I'd really love to hear some of your suggestions and best practices on improving those category pages. And maybe even at least some tests people can be testing as they're looking at their category pages to make some improvements. Kind of like our CRI name we coined. What do you think of that category pages and the importance of them? And should we continue down this path?


    Jon:
    I love it. Let's gain some knowledge on this.


    Ryan:
    Fantastic. So most of the listeners probably haven't had the amazing opportunity I have of hearing you talk about landing pages as much, and just seeing some of your tear downs. And so as with most of these, let's start at the top and kind of work our way down, and even some of your general best practices, probably, in header navigation can be applied to other places of the site. Especially if you keep it consistent. But do we need to think about mobile and desktop separately in this scenario? Or just pick one and go with it? What's your usual recommendation?


    Jon:
    I would recommend that we start with desktop and keep it to that for today. The reason being is that even with e-com, I think we're seeing the vast majority of traffic is now on mobile, but still a very, very large majority of conversions are happening on desktop. Now that varies from site to site, of course, but I do believe in what we see here at the good on a daily basis is conversion kings is still on desktop. And so it always makes sense to start there. The other reason is that if you fix your desktop experience and you have a responsive site, that should, for the most part, filter down to your mobile website. And so there's no longer just a desktop and a mobile version of a site. It should be responsive or adaptive for the most part. And so with that in mind, I would highly recommend starting with desktop. And then of course you could look at mobile later, but I think for the point of today's show, we could just stick with desktop.


    Ryan:
    Yeah. And if you do maybe have a mobile site and a desktop site, you may need to contact us because we may have some abilities to fix that [inaudible 00:03:12], because that's probably a struggle for your business. There's maybe some lower hanging fruit for you, before you get into Jon's conversation about it.


    Jon:
    The number of sites I still see, it's dwindling. But there is still a number of sites out there that they have mobile on a separate domain. And that's always... It's like M dot, the domain dot com. That's when I know there's a bunch of opportunity there to increase sales and conversions.


    Ryan:
    God, John knows he's going to make that company a lot of money when they listen to them.


    Ryan:
    Okay. So let's start right at the header, very top as you're scrolling down this page as soon as you come onto it, a lot of companies do things that are not great in the header. What are some of the things that they're putting in there maybe that aren't needed or that

    • 34 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

Lukes10k ,

If you want your business to be better, subscribe.

Awesome content, communicated clearly without any Jargon. If you are, or want to get serious with your digital marketing and conversion optimization, listen in. Heaps of great advice and real world examples.

DavidChapin ,

Drive and Convert teaches you how to do just that!

This show helps demystify the process of converting web visitors into revenue. There’s lots of inefficiency and "snake oil” in this sector, but not from these folks. They know they’re stuff; they’ve been doing it a long time and they’re the best!
If you make any money from e-commerce, you can make more; you should be making more. Listen and learn.

David Hoos ,

Great insights into DTC growth

These guys really know their stuff. Definitely worth subscribing to.

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