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E120: Andrew Maff

Utilising eCommerce to Reach Your Business Goals and Avoiding The Most Common Mistakes in eCommerce

Andrew Maff

Podcast Overview

Still waiting on a £1,000,000 cheque to come through your door? Us too. Everyone wants to reach their goals in life and business and guess what? You can! There are small steps you can take to ensure your business strategy is aligned with your business goals. 

There are many challenges with clients in the eCommerce world and we all know that! But fear not, there are many ways to avoid and overcome these challenges and mistakes

Tune in to this episode to listen to Andrew give an experienced review on these topics and much more. 

eCom@One Presents:

Andrew Maff

Andrew is the Founder of BlueTuskr, a full-service marketing company for eCommerce sellers. With over 13 years of experience, he has proved himself to be a leader in the field. He specialises in branding, social media, SEO, web design, graphic design, email marketing and more. 

In this episode, Andrew talks about how to create the best experience for existing customers, the biggest challenges in eCommerce and how to avoid them. 

Tune into this episode to take your business to the next level and find out how to create happy customers. Avoid the biggest mistakes as Andrew shares his views and talks about how to really take things seriously.

Topics Covered 

1:22 – How Andrew got into the world of eCom

4:52 – What should an eCommerce company focus on right now

9:37 – What services in eCommerce are working well for clients

11:32 – How can a company ensure business strategy is aligned with the business plan

15:10 – Red flags to search for when choosing an Agency

19:51 – Biggest challenges with clients and how to overcome them

24:20 – Hidden gems you can implement today

29:24 – Where eCommerce is going in the next 5-10 years

34:40 – Book recommendation 

Richard:
Hi, and welcome to another episode of eCom@One. Today's guest, Andrew Maff, founder at BlueTuskr and fellow podcast host at The E-Comm Show. How you doing, Andrew?

Andrew Maff:
Doing good. How you doing?

Richard:
I am doing really well. We were just saying, before we came on, it's a little bit warm here in the UK. We're hitting about 30 plus today, which I think most of our listeners will be like, "What are you moaning about? It's not that hot," but in the UK that's pretty damn hot for us. Andrew, I think it'd be great to kick off, introduce yourself, and tell our listers how you got into the world of e-comm.

Andrew Maff:
Sure. Andrew Maff, founder, CEO of BlueTuskr. We're a full-service marketing company for e-commerce sellers. I've been in the e-commerce marketing business for about 15 years now. I originally started ... my father actually acquired a ... there's a company that wasn't originally e-commerce. They sold shocks for car suspension and things like that, and he was actually one of the first ones to start taking everything online and starting to sell things. It was back when eBay was the big thing. Most of what they were doing was focusing on just putting stuff on eBay.

Andrew Maff:
They were actually approached from Amazon to be one of the first companies to sell something other than books on Amazon and they turned it down, which is my favorite thing to pick on him to this day. Then went in and out of a couple other industries, still on the retail side, still in the marketing, but then about seven or eight ... no, Wow. About eight or nine years ago, I got back into the eCommerce specific side and I've stayed in it ever since. I was a partner in an agency prior to this. We ended up exiting that and now I started BlueTuskr a few years ago.

Richard:
You've got the podcast as well.

Andrew Maff:
Now I'm here and I have the podcast.

Richard:
Yeah.

Andrew Maff:
Originally, we were doing a daily podcast and it was about 10, 15 minutes long, if that. It was just quick tactical things and it was great. It was doing really well, but I got so exhausted. You can only come up with stuff after a while. We did it for a good seven or eight months and then I stopped. My brain started to hurt, so we pivoted to what we now have as the e-comm show, where essentially I sit down primarily with e-commerce sellers.

Andrew Maff:
I've had a couple other influential people in the industry. We had the founder and CEO of Bold Commerce on there. We recently actually just today, at least as of this recording, we had Ben ... Oh man, I always butcher his last name, but the founder of Privy. They got acquired from someone that I can't remember their name. We were talking about that. It's a great show. It's really interesting. I love just chatting with other sellers and figuring out what they do. A lot of Shark Tank people, so it's always really interesting to hear why they got on that show.

Richard:
They are the best sort of episodes. Obviously, there's so many different angles with eCommerce, but having actual merchants on I think is some of the best, if not the best episodes. Those stories in the trenches, guys, girls that have started maybe with nothing quite often, "Oh, we'll just sell one of these things," from their bedroom. Then now they're like ... They've maybe just gone through an exit for 100 mil or-

Andrew Maff:
THat's insane.

Richard:
They're doing their 10,000 order day, or whatever it may be. To see that journey, I think that's the beauty of our listeners. We've got a whole mix of people, whether they've just hit their first mil or they're trying to break that 20, 30, 40, 50 mil barrier. There's something in these episodes and hopefully something in this episode as well, for them.

Andrew Maff:
I'll see what I can do.

Richard:
Obviously, a lot of stuff I think we're going to cover in this episode, but I think if you had to focus on one thing right now, running an e-commerce store, I think there's a lot of talk around a recession at the moment. A lot of talk in the UK, I thought definitely worldwide as well, around cost of living and things like that, and where to focus our time and resource as an eCommerce store owner, marketeer. What would you say is the one thing that every eCommerce business should be focusing on right now?

Andrew Maff:
Right now, I'd be pretty focused on retention. A lot of sellers, they're always focused on new customers, new customers, new customers. That usually makes a ton of sense, but usually getting and acquiring a new customer is not easy and it's not cheap. Doing that approach when we may or may not end up going to recession, you're dealing with inflation right now, it's going to get more and more expensive. It feels like every other day I'm getting an email that some software is now charging us more. It's stuff like that, where you want to focus on providing your existing customers the best experience and great automation in place of making sure that they're reminded to come back and work with you, shop with you, et cetera. Otherwise, obviously you do want to focus on net new customers still, but I would be a little bit more targeted to retention right now.

Richard:
Retention. Are you leading then, towards a certain tech stack that you would look to make sure is super, super well optimized, i.e. email marketing, SMS and various other, or are you leaning towards other things?

Andrew Maff:
Yeah. Pretty much leaning towards a tech stack slash overall, or just overarching strategy. A lot of the advertising we're putting into place for a lot of sellers right now, is actually more around what you would typically do with automated emails, whether it's a customer win back, or whether we're just doing a campaign towards a completely warm audience instead of net new people. We've basically pivoted a lot of advertising dollars to more middle of funnel or preexisting people. Then just from an automation site, we're Klaviyo partners, so we're just using that thing all day long, setting up different flows just to make sure that we're hitting them at the right time. That tends to be the approach right now.

Richard:
Another shout out for Klaviyo. We are also a Klaviyo partner here as well. Fantastic company to work with. Okay. Maybe just we'll come back to the marketing piece, but obviously running your agency for so many years and being in the industry for so many years, what would you say is your number one mistake you've made running your agency?

Andrew Maff:
Oh, there's a fun one.

Richard:
It can't all be roses, can it?

Andrew Maff:
I was going to say, "How long do you have?" Oh man, it's funny. I started my first agency in college and my biggest mistake there at the time was I still had a lot of eCommerce and some retail, but I basically was just willing to take whoever came my way. I ended up still getting some restaurants and dentists and lawyers, and one of those agencies that just does everything. You can't do it all.

Andrew Maff:
Now recently, it's been more of we're very focused on eCommerce. We're relatively focused on certain categories in eCommerce, but then it still comes into making sure that we draw that line on what we can and can't help with. That's the biggest problem with full service is, there's a gray area between marketing and customer service. Then if you have a B2B client, there's a gray area between marketing and sales. It's like, "Oh, will you help us set up these things?" It's like, "Ah, that's your sales team's role." That's been my mistake is wanting to help so much that we end up doing stuff that even though we know how to do it, I just don't have the time or the team; I got to train them to do it and that becomes a chore. Really, it's trying to stay in our lane a little bit more is-

Richard:
I think that'll resonate with everybody listening. What you've said there is pretty much my journey as well. We had a full service agency, and we are pure E-Comm. Excuse me. It's just very straightforward. Well, so much more straightforward, isn't it? When you have a very specific type of customer and a very specific type of service. It's a lot more straightforward to market your business because you've got one type, or a very narrow type of client, that's maybe working on Shopify, Magento, whatever it may be, Big Commerce , and you've got three or four services. Whereas in digital marketing, as we know in anything to do with marketing, there is probably 50 things we could list right now.

Richard:
I think that'll resonate with the listeners as well, when they are looking at what they're selling. It doesn't mean you should only sell one type of product, but there's different niches that you are in, a niche you're in or sub niche. It's a lot more hard. It's a lot harder to go completely full circle and start in a whole new product set, which is just not related. Obviously, there's quite a few caveats to that with products, but it's quite relatable I think as well. Obviously, quite a few services now still, but obviously very niche, very narrowed down. What service have you found, what sort of offering and service specifically in the e-commerce space has worked well, is working well for your clients and your brands?

Andrew Maff:
There's been a really strong change in the market, I've realized. Even at my past agency, it was a lot of paid advertising. Also, the market was doing well. Everyone was happy, a lot of paid advertising. Even when I had first started BlueTuskr, it was a lot of paid advertising. I'm starting to see a lot of people pivot to more of a stronger SEO strategy. I'm a big fan of it, because it makes a lot of sense. I'm relatively more conservative with the way I run my business, so I like the long term approach. You're building an asset, whereas in paid advertising you're renting the space. SEO has been something that's been a real strong focus for us. We've been really focused on what I think a lot of the issues are with other SEO companies, is they're focused on, "My goal is to get you organic traffic, and then from there, I don't care what happens."

Andrew Maff:
Whereas with us it's kind of like, "Yeah, we can get you traffic and we can make these blogs rank and all that stuff." That's not that complicated. The hard part is getting that traffic to actually convert. We do a big focus on overlooking the entire blog article in itself and making sure it's got all the bells and whistles on it to at least get an email or see what we can to actually capture it. We focus on the organic revenue growth as well, as opposed to just that traffic.

Richard:
A view, big focus on the SEO side. I think we are seeing quite a lot of people in the paid space, paid and Google, Facebook ad agencies, finding it more difficult. I think I'm seeing that for sure. We're actually launching a ... Well, by the time this has aired, it will have launched, actually. We have a second podcast that is all about running an agency. I know we will be talking. We have had guests on already about specifics around SEO versus PPC, if that is even a thing. Obviously, they've both got their place, haven't they? How can a company ensure their strategy is aligned with their business goals then? Ultimately, they may be working with an agency, by yourself like us, but aligning a strategy with commercial objectives. What would you say about that?

Andrew Maff:
I always, every time we start working with someone new, one of the first things I talk to them about is what their end goal is with the business. There's a lot of times that I'll talk to a seller and if they want to exit in the next five to 10 years, I actually think your marketing approach needs to be slightly different in some cases. You're going to get a higher multiple, if you're building a large audience, you have a large email list or you have a large social following or something that you can leverage that community for. Overall strategy does definitely have to have its own approach, depending on what your end goal is. Otherwise, it's relatively straightforward. You have a certain target KPI that you're trying to go for. Obviously, it's nine times out of 10, it's some target ROI they're looking at. From there, it's a matter of just making sure that you understand the whole strategy as opposed to the individual channels.

Andrew Maff:
There's so many times I'll have conversations and they'll be like, "Oh, Facebook ads isn't doing ... it's not hitting our target." "Yeah, but if you look at everything collectively, we're hitting your target and it's because your email marketing is assisting that top of funnel Facebook traffic, or your SEO is improving because you're driving more traffic and they're engaging with your site." It's one of those things where you want to be able to push and pull certain channels, but at the same time you have to look at the picture holistically, to understand is the entire strategy working? Then if we see it is working, great. How do we make it go a little bit faster as opposed to pulling back on stuff that might be working and you just don't understand the attribution side of it?

Richard:
I love what you said at the beginning there. I think we'll just step back because I think that's really interesting for our listeners. Depending on what your end goal is, it will depend. I take that as, if you're sitting here and you're thinking, "Right, ultimately I want to sell this business. I want to get a better, bigger multiplier," which is what you said. If you're very much focused on a channel that can be taken away from you and can be, it's very much out of your control, that's not a very good proposition or not as good a proposition when it comes to selling, as it would be for maybe if you had a very, very good SEO rankings as opposed to you were relying on paid traffic, which is what you're saying, isn't it?

Andrew Maff:
Mm-hmm. If you're solely focused on, "I want to make cash now and I'm not worried about the longevity," paid advertising. Don't worry about SEO. Don't even worry about social. There's no point in having community there. There are some businesses where that's the case. We actually work with a B2B client where they sell basically different types of stuff towards restaurants, and it's mostly credit card based stuff. It's one of those, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. You could have a giant email list, you could have a great social media following, but it's not going to sell you more.

Andrew Maff:
They're not sitting around going, "Oh, I wonder what my credit card accessories company is up to today." That's not happening. For them, it's more of what keywords can we go after? There is some SEO aspect to it, but simply from a transactional standpoint. You have to know your audience and understand, "Is there even a community for me to build here?"

Richard:
Yeah. Love it. I think most people that are doing a few mil plus in E-Comm, will have worked with or be thinking of working with an agency. What would you say are some of the red flags and also some of the things that potential E-Comm store owners, marketeers, should look for when choosing an agency to work with?

Andrew Maff:
Talk to who your account manager's going to be. Sometimes you'll talk to someone and they'll be great, and then all of a sudden they'll be like, "So-and-so is going to be your account manager," and it's like, "Well, who?" Then you talk to them and they're just ... they don't know what they're talking about or they're not aligned with the strategy that you had originally spoken about. A lot of times I still account manage a bunch of our accounts, if not, and I hand them off to another team member of mine. I'll be like, "I know what you need. I have an idea, but I'd like you to speak with so-and-so and understand the thought," and then we'll work it out together kind of thing.

Andrew Maff:
Way too many times you'll come up with a great strategy that you're like, "Okay, I like the approach we're going on," and then all of a sudden the seller gets introduced to someone else and they're like, "Well, and so-and-so said we were going to do this," and they're like, "Oh, I didn't know we ... I didn't think about that. That's a good idea." Don't assume that their communication is fantastic. Make sure that you speak to your possible account manager before doing anything with an agency.

Richard:
I love that. That is also common, isn't it? Superstar salesman comes in and sells the merchant, the E-Comm store, X, Y, Z, and then they're literally it's just like crickets. You never hear from them again. Then you have your first call with your account manager, you maybe spend three, four, five, six, seven, eight hours talking to this account, this salesperson, BBM, whatever that person's role is. Ultimately sales and maybe only 5% of what you've discussed has been passed over, if anything. Then the vibe and just that general, you may have been speaking to a very accomplished experience salesperson, and now you may have been passed a junior account manager or somebody that clearly doesn't understand, say, the specifics if you're on a certain platform. You're under the impression maybe that the person you dealt with, dealing with, has got that platform experience.

Andrew Maff:
Exactly. I was going to say that one too. The other thing is make sure that agency has experience with the platforms you use. A lot of times I'll get asked questions from sellers to be like, "Oh, what's your experience with selling phone cases?" That doesn't matter. I know how to figure out your audience. I know how to target them. That, I understand. What you really want to know is we're on Shopify, we're on Klaviyo. Are you a Shopify partner? Are you a Klaviyo partner? You and I both know that becoming a partner for any of these companies is not hard. You sign up; it is what it is.

Andrew Maff:
The only reason agencies do it is because we want to showcase, A, chances are we have some rep who can help us speed things along if there's an issue. B, it just shows that we use this platform day in and day out, so we know how to use it and how to leverage it. Don't focus so much on, "Do they have experience in my specific category?," but, "Do they have experience with the platforms that I'm leveraging?"

Richard:
Yeah. Platforms, good one isn't it? Then I think also that sort of size, where you want to be and where you are. If you've got an account manager that's not used to dealing with brands that are doing 10 million and then you've got an account manager that's used to dealing with smaller businesses, they won't have potentially that sort of foresight into scaling, that experience into scaling and dealing with larger workflows, tighter deadlines maybe, a lot more urgent. You might have products in and out and not be very reactive if you're not that experienced as an account manager. I think platform specific experience, but ultimately speak to that account manager. I think that's a brilliant one, Andrew. I think that is one we hear all the time. "We sold the dream and then unfortunately didn't quite materialize." Going back to the digital marketing side then, what are some of the biggest challenges you've come across when you are working with clients, some of the thing, the biggest mistakes you see them making, that our listeners can look to avoid with digital marketing?

Andrew Maff:
They don't invest enough in their own websites. You break that, let's say that 10 million mark. You get over that eight figure hurdle, which is one of the hardest ones to get over. Almost every time, if you look at any eCommerce seller's website that's over that mark, it is a very nice, well done, not templated website. They have spent the time on it. There's way too many times that we'll work with sellers that they'll just be in the ... they'll get into seven figures but they'll still be in the single digits and they'll be like, "We want to do more Google ads. We're not getting as much as we need here," or. "We want to do more Facebook ads, we want to do more email," and blah blah, "but we're still not getting as much." They don't realize that you're doing all of this marketing to drive traffic to something that's just not elevated to where you want to be.

Andrew Maff:
It's like the dress for the job that you want sort of thing, which is I guess not as relevant anymore, since a lot of people work from home and they're usually in their pajamas. You dress for the job you want. You want to have the website for the size of the business that you want. Way too many times, we'll have someone come to us and be like, "Oh, we'd love help with social media and social media advertisement." "Great, okay, so what products are you thinking of looking at, and which ones do we want to focus on first?" Then we look at the site and we go, "Okay, hold on. You're putting your budget in the wrong place right now."

Andrew Maff:
A lot of sellers don't realize your website is an asset. If you go to exit one day, this being, having great conversion rates, having, building all that whole aspect behind the website, is a big thing. By having something that you just threw together and hired someone who was a freelancer overseas, to just throw a theme together for you because you wanted to get started, is not going to be successful.

Richard:
That is such a good one. I think some of the sites, when we get inquiries. Literally, it's like sitting in your office because it is just the same here. They're trying to do X, Y, Z, and their site is just so poor. I think just even a ... You can see brands that are spending tens and tens of thousands a month on paid ads or whatever it may be, but have clearly not spent 10,000 on their website. They've just got a template from back in the day. Obviously, things have moved on somewhat. Just to be able to invest, even a, whatever it may be, 10 grand into it, into the design aspect, it really, really, really, I think, absolutely can make you stand out, can make a massive, massive differentiator. I think that's something that quite often just gets overlooked.

Richard:
They think, "Oh, we've got a theme, we've got promoting, we're doing ..." whatever it is, seven, eight, nine, 10, whatever the number is. They're so focused on driving more clicks, et cetera, but it's not investing in the site, not investing in the UX, not investing in the brand, the brand story, the look, the feel, which is relatively, I would say, cheap to do, reasonable to do in comparison to ...

Richard:
If you're already doing a million dollars/pounds, depending on where you are in the world, to spend several thousand, obviously it varies who you are, whether it's five grand or 50 grand on design, look, feel, rebrand, it's a small price to pay usually, in comparison to what you're spending elsewhere and what the comeback will be. We see it time and time again. We don't actually do design in our business. We work with design partners, but we our design partners and web design partners, they like us a lot because we refer a lot of it.

Richard:
We refer a lot of business. Probably almost one in probably four clients of ours, goes on in time, not straight away, but obviously when KPIs are hit, et cetera, and goes on to have a redesign and whatnot, we don't do that, but definitely see the value in it. I was only probably two weeks ago, on a client call. Guy's doing paid ads with us, and I spoke to him about a week after he'd had the new redesign live. He was just like, "Oh my god, the difference is unbelievable. You were right, Richard," sort of thing, the difference. That was probably a 15 grand investment or something like that. Not nothing major in the scale of his business.

Richard:
Marketing, back to the marketing piece. Now, I think most of our clients, by the sound of it, they're running similar things, whether that's around acquisition, SEO, PPC, and then the LTV stuff. Ultimately, there's a lot of things there that different stores can be doing to drive and retain business. What would you say are your top three in the trenches, nitty gritty, maybe things that people won't be focusing on that they should be focusing on?

Andrew Maff:
We're taking the major ones out. We're not including PPC, SEO, and probably email marketing is the basics, right?

Richard:
Unless you've got something that's within PPC or within SEO, that is so, just probably unheard of, or just something ... I'm trying to think-

Andrew Maff:
Well, the SEO side, the one thing that I've rarely if ever see someone come to us and they already have it in place where their blogs, the blog at page template in itself is structured to take on conversion. Do you have a sidebar with some kind of gated content or something? Or maybe a first time discount or whatever. Do you have a popup? A lot of people are like, "I don't want to run ads on my own site." Of course, you don't want to do ads sense; that makes no sense, but why not make your own display ads for certain products that are relevant to that blog, and use them as graphic designed images and link those in, some of it, to your own ads? There are some Shopify apps where you can actually have an add-to-cart option on the blog. You're adding this top of funnel traffic and you're trying to bring all this stuff in.

Andrew Maff:
People are always like, "Oh, we're ranking really well, but we're not getting a lot of sales." Then you look at it and it's like, "That's because this whole page is nothing but text. Of course, it's not going to do anything." That's always one that's kind of interesting. The paid ad side, there's so many channels now. It used to be Google, Facebook; that was it. That was all you would do. Google, Facebook, everything else. I don't care. Now, because of the attribution and because everyone's starting to realize, I think that digital marketing is becoming more like traditional marketing since the attribution changes. What I refer to that, it's almost like a billboard now. Billboards have gotten a little more high tech. You can actually track some stuff there, but at the end of the day you still can't really paint in a specific picture to a specific billboard or what even that overall strategy's doing.

Andrew Maff:
It's brand awareness. Sometimes you see way too many people who just aren't trying every single channel and then understanding what that channel's benefit is. Is it more top of funnel or is it more middle of funnel? Which of those is working the best? That's always something that's kind of interesting. Then I find that influencer marketing is often underutilized. A lot of people I see, don't want to go the influencer route, and I definitely understand why. It can be a pain. Influencers can be very interesting people to deal with. Sometimes, depending on what you're doing, they're not cheap, but we have a lot of success with just seating influencers where you just send them stuff and hopefully they post it, they like it. If the product is inexpensive enough, doing something like that can be really beneficial because you get a lot of UTC out of it. You get a lot of stuff you can do with ads.

Andrew Maff:
I always use a party analogy. If I were to walk around and tell people like, "Hey, I'm awesome," at a certain point they're going to be like, "That guy's annoying and I don't want to talk to him." If everyone at the party came up to you and started telling you, "Hey, Andrew's awesome," eventually you're going to want to come over and talk to me and see what's going on like, "Why is this guy so awesome?" By leveraging influencers, especially when you're a relatively newer brand, if you're sub eight figures while you're doing really well, people don't really know who you are. That is a drop in the bucket compared to everything else. By having an influencer approach, you're allowing other people to say, "This brand is awesome; you should check it out," and you're reaching an audience that you may not have been able to reach before. I find that that can often be relatively underutilized as well.

Richard:
I'd agree, totally. I think it's surprising how cost effective influencer marketing can be, how you can get people on board, whether, say with campaigns, relatively cheap, if not next to nothing, potentially to get things moving. I've done a couple of episodes on influencer marketing. Episode 108, I know is an episode on influence marketing, cause that's something I was looking at earlier. Fantastic. PPC agencies specifically, we have touched on them. Obviously, we both had elements of that in our agencies. What do you think in terms of the role of a PPC agency over the coming sort five, 10 years? How will that-

Andrew Maff:
Oh-

Richard:
It's a long way. Maybe a couple of years, to be fair.

Andrew Maff:
Where do I think they're going to be five, 10 years now?

Richard:
Yeah.

Andrew Maff:
Oh, man. They'll still be around. I think there's so many of them that you're just going to constantly have people starting new paid advertising agencies. I definitely understand the need for them. I actually think that they're more beneficial for sellers that have the rest of everything else you need in house. If you know what, you don't have someone in house that's a paid advertising, you want to go to someone who only does this, that makes a lot of sense, but you need to have someone in house who's overseeing email marketing, your influencer market, your social media. You need to have everything else covered. The biggest problem I've always had with specialty agencies, ones that are just a solo paid ads, "We only do Facebook, we only do Google," or maybe they do both and that's it. The biggest problem is, they'll drive the traffic to your site and they'll start pointing at click through rate.

Andrew Maff:
They'll be like, "You got a great click through rate, so we know we're targeting a right audience. If they're not converting, you might want to have someone look into your website," or, "You might want to look into getting some more options for them to get some emails." Outside of that, they don't do anything else. All of a sudden, you're paying this advertising agency and you're paying all of this advertising budget. It's not converting as well and they can't do anything to help you because they're in such a siloed lane.

Andrew Maff:
Because of that, it's like they're not talking to everyone else. There's such a gray area with all of marketing, that going with a specialist doesn't make any sense to me, which is why ... and I'm sure you guys have it the same way, where you have specialist in house at the agency and that makes sense. From doing it with a specific agency, the person in house at the seller's business, basically becomes their own account manager because the paid advertising agency has to tell them what's going on. Then they have to tell the email marketing guy or then they got to tell the social media agency and they're basically just pointing figures at different agencies, when in reality it'd be better off having it in one place or all in house.

Richard:
Yeah. Totally agree. Totally agree. It's an interesting few years I think where things will change, but I think end of the day, they're not going to go anywhere, are they? Like most things.

Andrew Maff:
Yeah, they're not going to.

Richard:
Technology replaces things. We've talked a lot about automation on different episodes and getting access to different data APIs and things, instead of saying ahead of the game that way, whether it's implementing things using API for weather or whatever. We're talking about the semi heat wave we've had in the UK recently, but I don't think they're going to go anywhere. We both hope not, but they're not. Things are just going to change and evolve. Crystal ball time then for the industry as a whole, for eCommerce. If we're sat here in year or so, what do you think we'll be talking about then? What's next in the world of eCommerce? What do you see that's that our listers need to focus on?

Andrew Maff:
I've been saying this for years now. It's starting to happen a little bit and I'm curious if it's still going to happen, if I've been wrong. Before E-commerce, you had these conglomerate, massive Walmart, Target, Kmart. You had these big places that everyone would go to. Then all of a sudden everyone was like, "I'm tired of helping these massive corporate organizations. I want to shop local, I want to shop at these mom and pop stores." All of a sudden now, all the little ones are doing well. They'll have a few locations and they'll be a decent size, but they won't be at Walmart or anything like that. I think the internet is starting to do the same thing. Everyone was going to Amazon, everyone was shopping there. Now, it's like, "Oh, we're checking out Walmart, we're checking out Wayfair. Chewy has gotten very specific.

Andrew Maff:
I actually think that we're going to start to see marketplaces that are specific to certain product lines. Chewy right now is specific to pets. Wayfair is specific to stuff you have in your house. I think we're going to start to see a marketplace for car parts, and a marketplace for strictly kitchen stuff. It's going to start to segment and you're going to start to want to help these different shops. I think one of the things that we preach here, because we do omnichannel where we try to push and pull. Do we want to do some stuff where maybe we're sending your audience to Amazon for a certain reason or anything like that? We try to leverage every thing that they have available, basically. My thought is that eCommerce seller's websites are going to become like a hub for obviously yes, you can purchase here, but you can also go wherever you're most comfortable.

Andrew Maff:
You can go ... here's a link for this product available on Amazon, which they're releasing now. They have the Buy with Prime Amazon button that you can sign up for now, that once they have their beta testing it where they underneath your buy now button on your website, it's going to link to the Amazon listing. I think Walmart will do it, eBay will do it, whoever else comes out. They'll all do it. All of a sudden when you land on a product page, you're going to have the option to buy directly from that retailer, or that mom and pop shop, or you can go to one of these conglomerates or even one of these other small stores where it's available and go shop there. I think it's going to become literally what we did in a physical aspect is starting to happen in a digital aspect.

Richard:
I love it. I love it, Andrew. That's a great one. That's a great one. I like to end every episode with a book recommendation. Do you have a book that you recommend to our listen, Andrew?

Andrew Maff:
I should have thought of this before. Oh, man. I recently read Top of Mind. Oh, hold on. I got it right here. John Hall. It was Top of Mind. Here, got it, if you're looking at it. It was a great read. It's very interesting from a very high level aspect, learning who your customer profile is and how to stay in front of them without being obnoxious. That's the biggest problem with marketers, is once we find something cool, we usually ruin it after a little while. It's an interesting approach to how you can keep your brand constantly in your target customer's mind, without being obnoxious, and without pounding them with ads all the time. That would definitely be my recommendation.

Richard:
Brilliant, brilliant. Not one we've had before. Not one I've heard of. That's brilliant. I'll have a look at that myself. Well, thank you so much for being on the show, Andrew. If anyone that's listen wants to find out more about yourself and more about BlueTuskr, what's the best way to do that?

Andrew Maff:
Obviously, our website or any of our social; it's all the same stuff. BlueTuskr, it's B-L-U-E-T-U-S-K-R, so there's no E in Tusker. Then same thing for myself, Andrew Maff, any social, I grabbed them all. You got questions, comments, concerns, send them our way.

Richard:
Brilliant. Thanks for being on the show. I look forward to catching up with you again.

Andrew Maff:
Yeah, appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Richard:
Thank you. Bye-Bye.

Andrew Maff:
See you.

 

Richard:
Hi, and welcome to another episode of eCom@One. Today's guest, Andrew Maff, founder at BlueTuskr and fellow podcast host at The E-Comm Show. How you doing, Andrew?

Andrew Maff:
Doing good. How you doing?

Richard:
I am doing really well. We were just saying, before we came on, it's a little bit warm here in the UK. We're hitting about 30 plus today, which I think most of our listeners will be like, "What are you moaning about? It's not that hot," but in the UK that's pretty damn hot for us. Andrew, I think it'd be great to kick off, introduce yourself, and tell our listers how you got into the world of e-comm.

Andrew Maff:
Sure. Andrew Maff, founder, CEO of BlueTuskr. We're a full-service marketing company for e-commerce sellers. I've been in the e-commerce marketing business for about 15 years now. I originally started ... my father actually acquired a ... there's a company that wasn't originally e-commerce. They sold shocks for car suspension and things like that, and he was actually one of the first ones to start taking everything online and starting to sell things. It was back when eBay was the big thing. Most of what they were doing was focusing on just putting stuff on eBay.

Andrew Maff:
They were actually approached from Amazon to be one of the first companies to sell something other than books on Amazon and they turned it down, which is my favorite thing to pick on him to this day. Then went in and out of a couple other industries, still on the retail side, still in the marketing, but then about seven or eight ... no, Wow. About eight or nine years ago, I got back into the eCommerce specific side and I've stayed in it ever since. I was a partner in an agency prior to this. We ended up exiting that and now I started BlueTuskr a few years ago.

Richard:
You've got the podcast as well.

Andrew Maff:
Now I'm here and I have the podcast.

Richard:
Yeah.

Andrew Maff:
Originally, we were doing a daily podcast and it was about 10, 15 minutes long, if that. It was just quick tactical things and it was great. It was doing really well, but I got so exhausted. You can only come up with stuff after a while. We did it for a good seven or eight months and then I stopped. My brain started to hurt, so we pivoted to what we now have as the e-comm show, where essentially I sit down primarily with e-commerce sellers.

Andrew Maff:
I've had a couple other influential people in the industry. We had the founder and CEO of Bold Commerce on there. We recently actually just today, at least as of this recording, we had Ben ... Oh man, I always butcher his last name, but the founder of Privy. They got acquired from someone that I can't remember their name. We were talking about that. It's a great show. It's really interesting. I love just chatting with other sellers and figuring out what they do. A lot of Shark Tank people, so it's always really interesting to hear why they got on that show.

Richard:
They are the best sort of episodes. Obviously, there's so many different angles with eCommerce, but having actual merchants on I think is some of the best, if not the best episodes. Those stories in the trenches, guys, girls that have started maybe with nothing quite often, "Oh, we'll just sell one of these things," from their bedroom. Then now they're like ... They've maybe just gone through an exit for 100 mil or-

Andrew Maff:
THat's insane.

Richard:
They're doing their 10,000 order day, or whatever it may be. To see that journey, I think that's the beauty of our listeners. We've got a whole mix of people, whether they've just hit their first mil or they're trying to break that 20, 30, 40, 50 mil barrier. There's something in these episodes and hopefully something in this episode as well, for them.

Andrew Maff:
I'll see what I can do.

Richard:
Obviously, a lot of stuff I think we're going to cover in this episode, but I think if you had to focus on one thing right now, running an e-commerce store, I think there's a lot of talk around a recession at the moment. A lot of talk in the UK, I thought definitely worldwide as well, around cost of living and things like that, and where to focus our time and resource as an eCommerce store owner, marketeer. What would you say is the one thing that every eCommerce business should be focusing on right now?

Andrew Maff:
Right now, I'd be pretty focused on retention. A lot of sellers, they're always focused on new customers, new customers, new customers. That usually makes a ton of sense, but usually getting and acquiring a new customer is not easy and it's not cheap. Doing that approach when we may or may not end up going to recession, you're dealing with inflation right now, it's going to get more and more expensive. It feels like every other day I'm getting an email that some software is now charging us more. It's stuff like that, where you want to focus on providing your existing customers the best experience and great automation in place of making sure that they're reminded to come back and work with you, shop with you, et cetera. Otherwise, obviously you do want to focus on net new customers still, but I would be a little bit more targeted to retention right now.

Richard:
Retention. Are you leading then, towards a certain tech stack that you would look to make sure is super, super well optimized, i.e. email marketing, SMS and various other, or are you leaning towards other things?

Andrew Maff:
Yeah. Pretty much leaning towards a tech stack slash overall, or just overarching strategy. A lot of the advertising we're putting into place for a lot of sellers right now, is actually more around what you would typically do with automated emails, whether it's a customer win back, or whether we're just doing a campaign towards a completely warm audience instead of net new people. We've basically pivoted a lot of advertising dollars to more middle of funnel or preexisting people. Then just from an automation site, we're Klaviyo partners, so we're just using that thing all day long, setting up different flows just to make sure that we're hitting them at the right time. That tends to be the approach right now.

Richard:
Another shout out for Klaviyo. We are also a Klaviyo partner here as well. Fantastic company to work with. Okay. Maybe just we'll come back to the marketing piece, but obviously running your agency for so many years and being in the industry for so many years, what would you say is your number one mistake you've made running your agency?

Andrew Maff:
Oh, there's a fun one.

Richard:
It can't all be roses, can it?

Andrew Maff:
I was going to say, "How long do you have?" Oh man, it's funny. I started my first agency in college and my biggest mistake there at the time was I still had a lot of eCommerce and some retail, but I basically was just willing to take whoever came my way. I ended up still getting some restaurants and dentists and lawyers, and one of those agencies that just does everything. You can't do it all.

Andrew Maff:
Now recently, it's been more of we're very focused on eCommerce. We're relatively focused on certain categories in eCommerce, but then it still comes into making sure that we draw that line on what we can and can't help with. That's the biggest problem with full service is, there's a gray area between marketing and customer service. Then if you have a B2B client, there's a gray area between marketing and sales. It's like, "Oh, will you help us set up these things?" It's like, "Ah, that's your sales team's role." That's been my mistake is wanting to help so much that we end up doing stuff that even though we know how to do it, I just don't have the time or the team; I got to train them to do it and that becomes a chore. Really, it's trying to stay in our lane a little bit more is-

Richard:
I think that'll resonate with everybody listening. What you've said there is pretty much my journey as well. We had a full service agency, and we are pure E-Comm. Excuse me. It's just very straightforward. Well, so much more straightforward, isn't it? When you have a very specific type of customer and a very specific type of service. It's a lot more straightforward to market your business because you've got one type, or a very narrow type of client, that's maybe working on Shopify, Magento, whatever it may be, Big Commerce , and you've got three or four services. Whereas in digital marketing, as we know in anything to do with marketing, there is probably 50 things we could list right now.

Richard:
I think that'll resonate with the listeners as well, when they are looking at what they're selling. It doesn't mean you should only sell one type of product, but there's different niches that you are in, a niche you're in or sub niche. It's a lot more hard. It's a lot harder to go completely full circle and start in a whole new product set, which is just not related. Obviously, there's quite a few caveats to that with products, but it's quite relatable I think as well. Obviously, quite a few services now still, but obviously very niche, very narrowed down. What service have you found, what sort of offering and service specifically in the e-commerce space has worked well, is working well for your clients and your brands?

Andrew Maff:
There's been a really strong change in the market, I've realized. Even at my past agency, it was a lot of paid advertising. Also, the market was doing well. Everyone was happy, a lot of paid advertising. Even when I had first started BlueTuskr, it was a lot of paid advertising. I'm starting to see a lot of people pivot to more of a stronger SEO strategy. I'm a big fan of it, because it makes a lot of sense. I'm relatively more conservative with the way I run my business, so I like the long term approach. You're building an asset, whereas in paid advertising you're renting the space. SEO has been something that's been a real strong focus for us. We've been really focused on what I think a lot of the issues are with other SEO companies, is they're focused on, "My goal is to get you organic traffic, and then from there, I don't care what happens."

Andrew Maff:
Whereas with us it's kind of like, "Yeah, we can get you traffic and we can make these blogs rank and all that stuff." That's not that complicated. The hard part is getting that traffic to actually convert. We do a big focus on overlooking the entire blog article in itself and making sure it's got all the bells and whistles on it to at least get an email or see what we can to actually capture it. We focus on the organic revenue growth as well, as opposed to just that traffic.

Richard:
A view, big focus on the SEO side. I think we are seeing quite a lot of people in the paid space, paid and Google, Facebook ad agencies, finding it more difficult. I think I'm seeing that for sure. We're actually launching a ... Well, by the time this has aired, it will have launched, actually. We have a second podcast that is all about running an agency. I know we will be talking. We have had guests on already about specifics around SEO versus PPC, if that is even a thing. Obviously, they've both got their place, haven't they? How can a company ensure their strategy is aligned with their business goals then? Ultimately, they may be working with an agency, by yourself like us, but aligning a strategy with commercial objectives. What would you say about that?

Andrew Maff:
I always, every time we start working with someone new, one of the first things I talk to them about is what their end goal is with the business. There's a lot of times that I'll talk to a seller and if they want to exit in the next five to 10 years, I actually think your marketing approach needs to be slightly different in some cases. You're going to get a higher multiple, if you're building a large audience, you have a large email list or you have a large social following or something that you can leverage that community for. Overall strategy does definitely have to have its own approach, depending on what your end goal is. Otherwise, it's relatively straightforward. You have a certain target KPI that you're trying to go for. Obviously, it's nine times out of 10, it's some target ROI they're looking at. From there, it's a matter of just making sure that you understand the whole strategy as opposed to the individual channels.

Andrew Maff:
There's so many times I'll have conversations and they'll be like, "Oh, Facebook ads isn't doing ... it's not hitting our target." "Yeah, but if you look at everything collectively, we're hitting your target and it's because your email marketing is assisting that top of funnel Facebook traffic, or your SEO is improving because you're driving more traffic and they're engaging with your site." It's one of those things where you want to be able to push and pull certain channels, but at the same time you have to look at the picture holistically, to understand is the entire strategy working? Then if we see it is working, great. How do we make it go a little bit faster as opposed to pulling back on stuff that might be working and you just don't understand the attribution side of it?

Richard:
I love what you said at the beginning there. I think we'll just step back because I think that's really interesting for our listeners. Depending on what your end goal is, it will depend. I take that as, if you're sitting here and you're thinking, "Right, ultimately I want to sell this business. I want to get a better, bigger multiplier," which is what you said. If you're very much focused on a channel that can be taken away from you and can be, it's very much out of your control, that's not a very good proposition or not as good a proposition when it comes to selling, as it would be for maybe if you had a very, very good SEO rankings as opposed to you were relying on paid traffic, which is what you're saying, isn't it?

Andrew Maff:
Mm-hmm. If you're solely focused on, "I want to make cash now and I'm not worried about the longevity," paid advertising. Don't worry about SEO. Don't even worry about social. There's no point in having community there. There are some businesses where that's the case. We actually work with a B2B client where they sell basically different types of stuff towards restaurants, and it's mostly credit card based stuff. It's one of those, you just have to be in the right place at the right time. You could have a giant email list, you could have a great social media following, but it's not going to sell you more.

Andrew Maff:
They're not sitting around going, "Oh, I wonder what my credit card accessories company is up to today." That's not happening. For them, it's more of what keywords can we go after? There is some SEO aspect to it, but simply from a transactional standpoint. You have to know your audience and understand, "Is there even a community for me to build here?"

Richard:
Yeah. Love it. I think most people that are doing a few mil plus in E-Comm, will have worked with or be thinking of working with an agency. What would you say are some of the red flags and also some of the things that potential E-Comm store owners, marketeers, should look for when choosing an agency to work with?

Andrew Maff:
Talk to who your account manager's going to be. Sometimes you'll talk to someone and they'll be great, and then all of a sudden they'll be like, "So-and-so is going to be your account manager," and it's like, "Well, who?" Then you talk to them and they're just ... they don't know what they're talking about or they're not aligned with the strategy that you had originally spoken about. A lot of times I still account manage a bunch of our accounts, if not, and I hand them off to another team member of mine. I'll be like, "I know what you need. I have an idea, but I'd like you to speak with so-and-so and understand the thought," and then we'll work it out together kind of thing.

Andrew Maff:
Way too many times you'll come up with a great strategy that you're like, "Okay, I like the approach we're going on," and then all of a sudden the seller gets introduced to someone else and they're like, "Well, and so-and-so said we were going to do this," and they're like, "Oh, I didn't know we ... I didn't think about that. That's a good idea." Don't assume that their communication is fantastic. Make sure that you speak to your possible account manager before doing anything with an agency.

Richard:
I love that. That is also common, isn't it? Superstar salesman comes in and sells the merchant, the E-Comm store, X, Y, Z, and then they're literally it's just like crickets. You never hear from them again. Then you have your first call with your account manager, you maybe spend three, four, five, six, seven, eight hours talking to this account, this salesperson, BBM, whatever that person's role is. Ultimately sales and maybe only 5% of what you've discussed has been passed over, if anything. Then the vibe and just that general, you may have been speaking to a very accomplished experience salesperson, and now you may have been passed a junior account manager or somebody that clearly doesn't understand, say, the specifics if you're on a certain platform. You're under the impression maybe that the person you dealt with, dealing with, has got that platform experience.

Andrew Maff:
Exactly. I was going to say that one too. The other thing is make sure that agency has experience with the platforms you use. A lot of times I'll get asked questions from sellers to be like, "Oh, what's your experience with selling phone cases?" That doesn't matter. I know how to figure out your audience. I know how to target them. That, I understand. What you really want to know is we're on Shopify, we're on Klaviyo. Are you a Shopify partner? Are you a Klaviyo partner? You and I both know that becoming a partner for any of these companies is not hard. You sign up; it is what it is.

Andrew Maff:
The only reason agencies do it is because we want to showcase, A, chances are we have some rep who can help us speed things along if there's an issue. B, it just shows that we use this platform day in and day out, so we know how to use it and how to leverage it. Don't focus so much on, "Do they have experience in my specific category?," but, "Do they have experience with the platforms that I'm leveraging?"

Richard:
Yeah. Platforms, good one isn't it? Then I think also that sort of size, where you want to be and where you are. If you've got an account manager that's not used to dealing with brands that are doing 10 million and then you've got an account manager that's used to dealing with smaller businesses, they won't have potentially that sort of foresight into scaling, that experience into scaling and dealing with larger workflows, tighter deadlines maybe, a lot more urgent. You might have products in and out and not be very reactive if you're not that experienced as an account manager. I think platform specific experience, but ultimately speak to that account manager. I think that's a brilliant one, Andrew. I think that is one we hear all the time. "We sold the dream and then unfortunately didn't quite materialize." Going back to the digital marketing side then, what are some of the biggest challenges you've come across when you are working with clients, some of the thing, the biggest mistakes you see them making, that our listeners can look to avoid with digital marketing?

Andrew Maff:
They don't invest enough in their own websites. You break that, let's say that 10 million mark. You get over that eight figure hurdle, which is one of the hardest ones to get over. Almost every time, if you look at any eCommerce seller's website that's over that mark, it is a very nice, well done, not templated website. They have spent the time on it. There's way too many times that we'll work with sellers that they'll just be in the ... they'll get into seven figures but they'll still be in the single digits and they'll be like, "We want to do more Google ads. We're not getting as much as we need here," or. "We want to do more Facebook ads, we want to do more email," and blah blah, "but we're still not getting as much." They don't realize that you're doing all of this marketing to drive traffic to something that's just not elevated to where you want to be.

Andrew Maff:
It's like the dress for the job that you want sort of thing, which is I guess not as relevant anymore, since a lot of people work from home and they're usually in their pajamas. You dress for the job you want. You want to have the website for the size of the business that you want. Way too many times, we'll have someone come to us and be like, "Oh, we'd love help with social media and social media advertisement." "Great, okay, so what products are you thinking of looking at, and which ones do we want to focus on first?" Then we look at the site and we go, "Okay, hold on. You're putting your budget in the wrong place right now."

Andrew Maff:
A lot of sellers don't realize your website is an asset. If you go to exit one day, this being, having great conversion rates, having, building all that whole aspect behind the website, is a big thing. By having something that you just threw together and hired someone who was a freelancer overseas, to just throw a theme together for you because you wanted to get started, is not going to be successful.

Richard:
That is such a good one. I think some of the sites, when we get inquiries. Literally, it's like sitting in your office because it is just the same here. They're trying to do X, Y, Z, and their site is just so poor. I think just even a ... You can see brands that are spending tens and tens of thousands a month on paid ads or whatever it may be, but have clearly not spent 10,000 on their website. They've just got a template from back in the day. Obviously, things have moved on somewhat. Just to be able to invest, even a, whatever it may be, 10 grand into it, into the design aspect, it really, really, really, I think, absolutely can make you stand out, can make a massive, massive differentiator. I think that's something that quite often just gets overlooked.

Richard:
They think, "Oh, we've got a theme, we've got promoting, we're doing ..." whatever it is, seven, eight, nine, 10, whatever the number is. They're so focused on driving more clicks, et cetera, but it's not investing in the site, not investing in the UX, not investing in the brand, the brand story, the look, the feel, which is relatively, I would say, cheap to do, reasonable to do in comparison to ...

Richard:
If you're already doing a million dollars/pounds, depending on where you are in the world, to spend several thousand, obviously it varies who you are, whether it's five grand or 50 grand on design, look, feel, rebrand, it's a small price to pay usually, in comparison to what you're spending elsewhere and what the comeback will be. We see it time and time again. We don't actually do design in our business. We work with design partners, but we our design partners and web design partners, they like us a lot because we refer a lot of it.

Richard:
We refer a lot of business. Probably almost one in probably four clients of ours, goes on in time, not straight away, but obviously when KPIs are hit, et cetera, and goes on to have a redesign and whatnot, we don't do that, but definitely see the value in it. I was only probably two weeks ago, on a client call. Guy's doing paid ads with us, and I spoke to him about a week after he'd had the new redesign live. He was just like, "Oh my god, the difference is unbelievable. You were right, Richard," sort of thing, the difference. That was probably a 15 grand investment or something like that. Not nothing major in the scale of his business.

Richard:
Marketing, back to the marketing piece. Now, I think most of our clients, by the sound of it, they're running similar things, whether that's around acquisition, SEO, PPC, and then the LTV stuff. Ultimately, there's a lot of things there that different stores can be doing to drive and retain business. What would you say are your top three in the trenches, nitty gritty, maybe things that people won't be focusing on that they should be focusing on?

Andrew Maff:
We're taking the major ones out. We're not including PPC, SEO, and probably email marketing is the basics, right?

Richard:
Unless you've got something that's within PPC or within SEO, that is so, just probably unheard of, or just something ... I'm trying to think-

Andrew Maff:
Well, the SEO side, the one thing that I've rarely if ever see someone come to us and they already have it in place where their blogs, the blog at page template in itself is structured to take on conversion. Do you have a sidebar with some kind of gated content or something? Or maybe a first time discount or whatever. Do you have a popup? A lot of people are like, "I don't want to run ads on my own site." Of course, you don't want to do ads sense; that makes no sense, but why not make your own display ads for certain products that are relevant to that blog, and use them as graphic designed images and link those in, some of it, to your own ads? There are some Shopify apps where you can actually have an add-to-cart option on the blog. You're adding this top of funnel traffic and you're trying to bring all this stuff in.

Andrew Maff:
People are always like, "Oh, we're ranking really well, but we're not getting a lot of sales." Then you look at it and it's like, "That's because this whole page is nothing but text. Of course, it's not going to do anything." That's always one that's kind of interesting. The paid ad side, there's so many channels now. It used to be Google, Facebook; that was it. That was all you would do. Google, Facebook, everything else. I don't care. Now, because of the attribution and because everyone's starting to realize, I think that digital marketing is becoming more like traditional marketing since the attribution changes. What I refer to that, it's almost like a billboard now. Billboards have gotten a little more high tech. You can actually track some stuff there, but at the end of the day you still can't really paint in a specific picture to a specific billboard or what even that overall strategy's doing.

Andrew Maff:
It's brand awareness. Sometimes you see way too many people who just aren't trying every single channel and then understanding what that channel's benefit is. Is it more top of funnel or is it more middle of funnel? Which of those is working the best? That's always something that's kind of interesting. Then I find that influencer marketing is often underutilized. A lot of people I see, don't want to go the influencer route, and I definitely understand why. It can be a pain. Influencers can be very interesting people to deal with. Sometimes, depending on what you're doing, they're not cheap, but we have a lot of success with just seating influencers where you just send them stuff and hopefully they post it, they like it. If the product is inexpensive enough, doing something like that can be really beneficial because you get a lot of UTC out of it. You get a lot of stuff you can do with ads.

Andrew Maff:
I always use a party analogy. If I were to walk around and tell people like, "Hey, I'm awesome," at a certain point they're going to be like, "That guy's annoying and I don't want to talk to him." If everyone at the party came up to you and started telling you, "Hey, Andrew's awesome," eventually you're going to want to come over and talk to me and see what's going on like, "Why is this guy so awesome?" By leveraging influencers, especially when you're a relatively newer brand, if you're sub eight figures while you're doing really well, people don't really know who you are. That is a drop in the bucket compared to everything else. By having an influencer approach, you're allowing other people to say, "This brand is awesome; you should check it out," and you're reaching an audience that you may not have been able to reach before. I find that that can often be relatively underutilized as well.

Richard:
I'd agree, totally. I think it's surprising how cost effective influencer marketing can be, how you can get people on board, whether, say with campaigns, relatively cheap, if not next to nothing, potentially to get things moving. I've done a couple of episodes on influencer marketing. Episode 108, I know is an episode on influence marketing, cause that's something I was looking at earlier. Fantastic. PPC agencies specifically, we have touched on them. Obviously, we both had elements of that in our agencies. What do you think in terms of the role of a PPC agency over the coming sort five, 10 years? How will that-

Andrew Maff:
Oh-

Richard:
It's a long way. Maybe a couple of years, to be fair.

Andrew Maff:
Where do I think they're going to be five, 10 years now?

Richard:
Yeah.

Andrew Maff:
Oh, man. They'll still be around. I think there's so many of them that you're just going to constantly have people starting new paid advertising agencies. I definitely understand the need for them. I actually think that they're more beneficial for sellers that have the rest of everything else you need in house. If you know what, you don't have someone in house that's a paid advertising, you want to go to someone who only does this, that makes a lot of sense, but you need to have someone in house who's overseeing email marketing, your influencer market, your social media. You need to have everything else covered. The biggest problem I've always had with specialty agencies, ones that are just a solo paid ads, "We only do Facebook, we only do Google," or maybe they do both and that's it. The biggest problem is, they'll drive the traffic to your site and they'll start pointing at click through rate.

Andrew Maff:
They'll be like, "You got a great click through rate, so we know we're targeting a right audience. If they're not converting, you might want to have someone look into your website," or, "You might want to look into getting some more options for them to get some emails." Outside of that, they don't do anything else. All of a sudden, you're paying this advertising agency and you're paying all of this advertising budget. It's not converting as well and they can't do anything to help you because they're in such a siloed lane.

Andrew Maff:
Because of that, it's like they're not talking to everyone else. There's such a gray area with all of marketing, that going with a specialist doesn't make any sense to me, which is why ... and I'm sure you guys have it the same way, where you have specialist in house at the agency and that makes sense. From doing it with a specific agency, the person in house at the seller's business, basically becomes their own account manager because the paid advertising agency has to tell them what's going on. Then they have to tell the email marketing guy or then they got to tell the social media agency and they're basically just pointing figures at different agencies, when in reality it'd be better off having it in one place or all in house.

Richard:
Yeah. Totally agree. Totally agree. It's an interesting few years I think where things will change, but I think end of the day, they're not going to go anywhere, are they? Like most things.

Andrew Maff:
Yeah, they're not going to.

Richard:
Technology replaces things. We've talked a lot about automation on different episodes and getting access to different data APIs and things, instead of saying ahead of the game that way, whether it's implementing things using API for weather or whatever. We're talking about the semi heat wave we've had in the UK recently, but I don't think they're going to go anywhere. We both hope not, but they're not. Things are just going to change and evolve. Crystal ball time then for the industry as a whole, for eCommerce. If we're sat here in year or so, what do you think we'll be talking about then? What's next in the world of eCommerce? What do you see that's that our listers need to focus on?

Andrew Maff:
I've been saying this for years now. It's starting to happen a little bit and I'm curious if it's still going to happen, if I've been wrong. Before E-commerce, you had these conglomerate, massive Walmart, Target, Kmart. You had these big places that everyone would go to. Then all of a sudden everyone was like, "I'm tired of helping these massive corporate organizations. I want to shop local, I want to shop at these mom and pop stores." All of a sudden now, all the little ones are doing well. They'll have a few locations and they'll be a decent size, but they won't be at Walmart or anything like that. I think the internet is starting to do the same thing. Everyone was going to Amazon, everyone was shopping there. Now, it's like, "Oh, we're checking out Walmart, we're checking out Wayfair. Chewy has gotten very specific.

Andrew Maff:
I actually think that we're going to start to see marketplaces that are specific to certain product lines. Chewy right now is specific to pets. Wayfair is specific to stuff you have in your house. I think we're going to start to see a marketplace for car parts, and a marketplace for strictly kitchen stuff. It's going to start to segment and you're going to start to want to help these different shops. I think one of the things that we preach here, because we do omnichannel where we try to push and pull. Do we want to do some stuff where maybe we're sending your audience to Amazon for a certain reason or anything like that? We try to leverage every thing that they have available, basically. My thought is that eCommerce seller's websites are going to become like a hub for obviously yes, you can purchase here, but you can also go wherever you're most comfortable.

Andrew Maff:
You can go ... here's a link for this product available on Amazon, which they're releasing now. They have the Buy with Prime Amazon button that you can sign up for now, that once they have their beta testing it where they underneath your buy now button on your website, it's going to link to the Amazon listing. I think Walmart will do it, eBay will do it, whoever else comes out. They'll all do it. All of a sudden when you land on a product page, you're going to have the option to buy directly from that retailer, or that mom and pop shop, or you can go to one of these conglomerates or even one of these other small stores where it's available and go shop there. I think it's going to become literally what we did in a physical aspect is starting to happen in a digital aspect.

Richard:
I love it. I love it, Andrew. That's a great one. That's a great one. I like to end every episode with a book recommendation. Do you have a book that you recommend to our listen, Andrew?

Andrew Maff:
I should have thought of this before. Oh, man. I recently read Top of Mind. Oh, hold on. I got it right here. John Hall. It was Top of Mind. Here, got it, if you're looking at it. It was a great read. It's very interesting from a very high level aspect, learning who your customer profile is and how to stay in front of them without being obnoxious. That's the biggest problem with marketers, is once we find something cool, we usually ruin it after a little while. It's an interesting approach to how you can keep your brand constantly in your target customer's mind, without being obnoxious, and without pounding them with ads all the time. That would definitely be my recommendation.

Richard:
Brilliant, brilliant. Not one we've had before. Not one I've heard of. That's brilliant. I'll have a look at that myself. Well, thank you so much for being on the show, Andrew. If anyone that's listen wants to find out more about yourself and more about BlueTuskr, what's the best way to do that?

Andrew Maff:
Obviously, our website or any of our social; it's all the same stuff. BlueTuskr, it's B-L-U-E-T-U-S-K-R, so there's no E in Tusker. Then same thing for myself, Andrew Maff, any social, I grabbed them all. You got questions, comments, concerns, send them our way.

Richard:
Brilliant. Thanks for being on the show. I look forward to catching up with you again.

Andrew Maff:
Yeah, appreciate it. Thanks for having me.

Richard:
Thank you. Bye-Bye.

Andrew Maff:
See you.

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