Ask Sumo Marketers Anything

Today we’re giving you the chance to ask us your #1 ecommerce marketing or business question.

You know… that one question that keeps you up at night thinking “if only I knew how to do X I could be rich?”

Now’s your chance to get it answered in the comments section of this post. To kick off the show, here’s 10 of the most frequently asked questions we get asked over email (and our answers):

Question #1 

I have no clue how to get consistent, targeted traffic to my website. How do I get fast, cheap traffic on a shoestring budget without spending money on ads?

Answer: At Sumo our #1 marketing strategy for getting over a million free clicks a year is content marketing. Here’s how to do it:

1. Identify who your target reader is (for us it’s small ecommerce businesses, >$10k annual revenue, english speaking, established >6 months)

2. Write actionable information to help that target reader (for us it’s content focused on helping ecommerce businesses grow)

3. Promote every piece of content to reach that target reader (for us we promote across email, social, ads, community sites, and more)

You can read more about how we do it inside this double your traffic case study.

If you want to learn other simple, but hugely effective ways you can increase your ecommerce traffic, these six ways are also proven to work for ecommerce businesses without paying for ads.

Question #2 

What is the best way to get sales for an online store? (without being spam boy)

Answer: There are four stages you should focus on to get sales: 

1. Getting more traffic (Awareness Stage)

2. Converting visitors who aren’t ready to buy yet (Consideration Stage)

3. Converting visitors who show intent to buy (Purchase Stage)

4. Getting repeat customers (Repeat Purchase Stage) 

For all four stages there are proven strategies for online stores:

Question #3

I have just started my business. I want to grow my Facebook group that has 570 members right now, but none of them are active. I announced a giveaway recently but nobody is interested. Where I am I going wrong? I want to sell my products via groups. Please help me grow my Facebook group. Which tags must I use? 

Answer: First, I would remember since you're new it takes time! We didn't grow overnight either. Second, it sounds like many of your Facebook members may be bots, or it may just be because Facebook's algorithm isn't showing to them. We've personally noticed Facebook is a tough channel unless you're regularly paying to boost your posts with ads. Instead, our philosophy for a starting business is:

1. Come up with 10 marketing ideas with your team. 

2. Every 2-4 weeks, test a few ideas. 

This gives you time to iterate during that time frame. If it doesn't work... no worries, you can move to the next marketing idea. If it does, great!

Building a test-oriented structure like that should help you find the marketing channels that hit in a scientific way, vs. just guessing and wasting months (or years) and then realizing you're no closer to your goal.

Question #4

How do I find my perfect niche to build passive income? (since my current customer base is still very diverse)

Answer: Here's a framework that could work well for you:

1. Identify your 3-5 highest lifetime value (LTV) customers. 

2. Reach out to them, hop on a call, talk to them.

3. Identify similarities.

4. Find out what sites they go to, and market on those sites.

If you don’t have any customer’s yet and you’re just looking for the best niche to build a business in, then I recommend you follow the “Mixed Market Method” AppSumo used inside Tip #4 of this growth study.

That method will help you find the intersection of what you enjoy doing, what you're good at, and a problem that needs solving.

Question #5

How do you devise a plan to start gaining traction on a new marketing platform or channel?

Answer: Open up a new Google spreadsheet, and follow these five steps: 

1. List every marketing idea you have in column A

2. Rank the ease of implementing each idea (hard to easy on a 1-5 scale) in column B

3 .Rank the impact each idea will have (low- to high-profit on a 1-5 scale) in column C 

4. Add your “ease” score to your “impact” score to find which ideas have the highest score in column D

5. Work down the list, starting with your highest total score idea

Test your first marketing channel for one month. Iterate as you go to improve. After a month, check your results to see if it’s worth continuing or not.

You can follow Tip #7 out of AppSumo’s multimillion dollar playbook to see exactly how to do it, and get our free marketing ideas matrix spreadsheet to do it yourself.

Question #6

How do I get started in the first place? Which is better - Shopify or my own website? How do I compete with Amazon Prime free shipping - without selling on Amazon - and still make a profit?

Answer: The easiest way is to just start with a simple landing page and actually validate people will buy your product.

99% of people don't get it right the first time, which is why it can be a costly and time-consuming mistake to try to get everything perfect from the start. Follow these three steps to validate your idea quickly:

1. Get a simple landing page up.

2. Make an offer for people to buy.

3. Pitch to family and friends, and have them share with their network, too.

This will validate your idea and get actual revenue before you start to expand. There are thousands of extremely profitable ideas out there that started with a simple landing page.

To see how AppSumo followed these three steps to launch a million dollar software company in five months check out Tip #9 in their multimillion dollar marketing playbook.

Question #7

Is it better to build an in-house content marketing team or outsource content marketing part to an agency?  

Answer: To start, it's way less expensive to hire a freelancer or two to help with writing. You could potentially find someone in your LinkedIn network by posting on there, or even find a really inexpensive marketing intern at a local university.When building a company, a philosophy we like to go by is: what's the quickest and easiest way you can get going (that's also least expensive).

Once you validate your idea, and you're drowning in sales, then it's worth expanding. But be careful trying to grow faster than your idea validates or sells.

Question #8

My toughest business question: getting testimonials for "social proof". Do you just beg for it?

Answer: You can follow this video testimonials strategy. Bon appetit!

Question #9

How can I make more progress "in" and "on" my business each week as a stay-at-home dad while also taking care of household needs and spending lot of time with my kids?  

Answer: Balancing time and family is outside what a lot of entrepreneurs think, but so important. Here's the truth: you're not going to be able to put in the pure hours that a single person can. But that's OK. It will force you to focus on the MOST important things for your business. 

Something that some of us do on our a team is every day we list the three most important things we want to accomplish that day. For you, it could potentially be in a week. Make them actionable things you can control, and make them the BIGGEST high-leverage items to grow your business. Not necessarily the easy busy work that people get distracted on, that doesn't move the needle.

Question #10

How do I get new customers to buy without resorting to discounts, freebies, % off, dollar off, and BOGO deals?

Answer: It's just the way human psychology works. People love getting discounts and deals. That's why these things work so well for growing an ecommerce store quickly. To not destroy your margins you can increase your price. 

If you don't want to use discounting at all, then one of the best strategies we’ve seen is using scarcity in your marketing. Here’s the strategy to follow:

  • Build a promotions calendar for your ecommerce store.

  • Every 10 days plan one new promotion.

  • On Day #1 open the promotion. 

  • Promote it across social, ads, and email throughout the 10 days.

  • On Day #10 send one “last day” email in the morning, and one “last chance” email 6 hours before the promotion ends.

Your promotion could be for a product bundle, a limited-stock item, or something else you come up with.

Most small stores are trying to win by creating one Facebook ad that will drive all the traffic to their store. That’s like betting your business on one lottery ticket.

Running consistent promotions with a deadline is a proven way to get new customers (with or without discounting). And it is repeatable, because you can run the same promotions that worked best the following year, and change up the ones that didn’t work as well.

This Supreme growth study is a great example to study. They never discount, and make millions with each promotion by limiting supply.

Have More Questions?

Now is your chance to tap into the knowledge of our Sumo marketing experts. Ask your #1 ecommerce marketing or business question in the comments below.

Let’s blow your business upppppp!

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