How E-commerce  Saved Our  Family Business Rob Snell,  Co-owner Gun Dog Supply [email_address]
homepage
 
cow
 
 
Speaker: PUBCON / SES / SMX / IRCE / Y!Summit
2008 Congress
How  E-commerce Saved Our  Family Business
homepage
 
Pictures
 
catalog
 
Classified ads
magazine
Old catalog
1972 Family business > Mail Order
Friday the 13th,   April 1979
Flood house pic
 
 
 
 
Dog Store
 
 
DOG STORE
1989-1996:   Dog Store Sales
March 20, 1996
 
CUSTOMERS
1989-Mar 1997:  Dog Store
B&w catalog Plan B
 
 
Get online   Now!
April 1997:   www.gundogsupply.com
Letter from the Snells
GDS Products & Services
FREE CATALOG request form
 
 
Online Store Builder:
Build the store in your browser
Built-in Shopping Cart
Secure Checkout
Back End: Order Manager
Now you have an online store:
May-Dec.’97  Visitors
E-commerce   makes it easy for folks to give you money.
 
June 5, 1997:  First Online Order
 
May-Dec.’97  Graph: Number of Orders
May-Dec.’97  Revenue $$$
More, please…
Bought Banner Ads
1989-1996:   Dog Store Sales
1989-1997:  Dog Store
Year 1:  Store  vs.  Web
Year 2:  Store  vs.  Web
Year 3:  Store  vs.  Web
But that was 1997…
Cashing in on Search Engines
When customers  are looking to  buy   what you  sell ,   Show Up.
 
Search engines Google graph here
Keywords   (the key to search engines)
 
 
 
 
 
How I found  search engines
Referrer example
Web Analytics Software
GA
Where come from Where traffic comes from:
What pages customers visit:
What looking for What keywords searching for:
Collect  converting keywords
21,358 converting keywords
$6,264,243.60 from keywords
Examples?
gun dog supply Your company / domain
 
leather dog  collars Generic product category:
 
Garmin  GPS Specific manufacturer:
 
Garmin Astro  220 Antenna Specific brand / model / product
 
How can I  stop my dog  from barking? Query Question:
 
What about  new  projects?
Keyword Tool
Keyword Tool
 
G Keyword Tool
It’s not a choice: Quantity   or   Quality?
“ dog beds”   HIGH traffic 40,000
“ dog beds”   HIGH traffic 40,000 “ large dog beds”   MEDIUM traffic 8,000 REVENUE PER VISITOR $ 1.00 REVENUE PER VISITOR ...
Prioritize keywords on  revenue
 
What do you do  with  all these keywords?!!
Optimize for FREE traffic (for best keywords)
Advertise  with  PPC  ads (for keywords where  you make money)
SEO
 
How I do SEO:
Pick a keyword: Dog House Heaters
Pick the most relevant page
 
Put keywords in TITLE / TEXT   (on most relevant page)
Put keywords in  LINK TEXT   (on other pages)
Create  keyword-rich content
 
PPC (paid search ads)
 
How I do PPC:
Pick keyword: Automatic Dog Waterers (and figure out how much  you can pay!)
Write a good ad:
Create a relevant landing page
…  and monitor results
 
SEO vs. PPC
Lots more here: Buy yours now!
 
So what happens when you maximize  SEO and PPC?
Year 4:  Store  vs.  Web
Things ALWAYS change
September 2003
Year 7:  Store  vs.  Web
More & more competition…
But we had a  secret weapon…
Selling Stuff  & Self-Proclaimed Experts
 
 
 
 
 
How to capture content
 
People buy from people
“ Why don’t we  put ALL this  on the Web?”
 
write buyers guides
 
 
Example
Example Review
 
 
 
The results?
Year 12:  Store  vs.  Web
7 things:
Get online   Now!
E-commerce   makes it easy for folks to give you money.
When customers  are looking to  buy   what you  sell ,   Show Up.
Collect your   Converting keywords with  web analytics.
Optimize   for free Google traffic with  SEO.
Advertise  with paid search  ads on Google.
You are  your own best Secret Weapon.
Conclusion: Sometimes the worst thing is the Best Thing  Ever .
How E-commerce  Saved Our  Family Business Rob Snell,  Co-owner Gun Dog Supply [email_address]
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  • INTRO Thanks for invite… My name is Rob Snell. I’m from Starkville, Mississippi in the Southeastern United States. CATASTROPHES I understand you guys have had a rough year or so thanks to some bankers. I’ve been there.
  • Our company, GUN DOG SUPPLY has survived two major catastrophes. Two extinction-level events that should have put us out of business, but didn't. E-commerce not only saved our company, but opened up a huge opportunity for us to radically grow our company from a local $500K mom & pop operation to a multi-million dollar business employing 25 people shipping things all over the world. Today I'm going to show you how we put OUR business online. And how we GREW our business online. And I'm going to show you how you can find opportunities for YOUR business on the Web and how to maximize them. Little background on my experience
  • Grew up in retail. Been self-employed for over 20 years. My brother STEVE and I started our business in college in 1988. Opened 5 retail stores (which we sold by 2001)
  • 1996 COPY COW copy shop
  • To get an online store built seemed doable, but I didn’t know where to start. Then Steve found >>> Yahoo! Store’s online store builder and everything seemed to come together. Rent was was $50 a month.
  • 2006 DUMMIES book
  • Regular Speaker: Search Marketing / Ecommerce events
  • And in 2008 Congress
  • But today I’m going to tell you our story, how we saved the family business by going online.
  • Let’s talk about Gun Dog Supply. We sell training supplies for hunting dogs. Retrievers. Pointers. Spaniels.
  • Anything you would need to train or work your hunting dog, we probably sell it.
  • Even high-tech stuff. Training collars. GPS tracking collars. Wireless fences. Analytics for hunting dogs
  • History Lesson HISTORY -- My parents started Gun Dog Supply on their kitchen table in 1972 as a part-time business.
  • My dad was a hunter, and he ordered some dog supplies from a catalog, and he got back a bunch of junk. He said, "I can do better than this!"
  • And he always wanted his own business, so he started making dog supplies: collars, leads, leashes.
  • To sell his collars he bought these tiny little classified ads
  • in specialty hunting dog magazines. And we still do the same today. AF -- 5000 circulation
  • Folks would order through the mail or over the phone. And to sell folks other stuff, they made a little brochure which grew into a little catalog. Every year we would make a new catalog, and hit the MAILING LIST. Notice the hand-addressed mailing label? Very low tech.
  • Sales at this point were VERY VERY small, but growing. In 1979 my parents quit their jobs to devote 100% of their time to their new business.
  • And then disaster happened.
  • On Friday, 13, 1979 the PEARL RIVER flooded. About 2 in the morning, My Uncle paddled up to our house in a boat to take me and my brother to dry land. My parents tried to save what they could, but essentially they got out with the clothes on their backs.
  • We had six feet of muddy water in our house. We lost everything. The house. Furniture. Both cars. Everything.
  • To make matters worse, most of our inventory was in our garage and completely ruined. And our homeowner's INSURANCE didn't cover floods. You guys know -- it's hard enough to start a new business when everything is going pretty smoothly, but they were starting off in the hole.
  • And even worse, the economy was terrible. In the late 70s / early 80s, I was just a little kid, but even I knew the economy was terrible. Interest rates were above 20%. Banks weren't lending. Money was tight. Then my dad's banker died new hotshot banker decides to call in the note. And we didn't have the money, so we lost our farm. Talk about hard times. But my parents were tough, and stubborn, and determined to make it, and so we muddled through the 1980s.
  • We pulled together as a family and all four of us worked in the business. Even though we were selling all over the US by mail order, customers in Mississippi wanted to come visit, so we added a retail showroom.
  • Since all of our customers had dogs, we added a few lines of premium dog food ,
  • Over time more business was coming through the front door of the retail store than through the catalog.
  • We were selling more things to folks who owned dogs like THIS. This is NOT a hunting dog. This is what WE call a FOO-FOO dog.
  • And since we catering to these folks, we changed the NAME of the store to reflect our wider customer base: The DOG STORE.
  • And by the time the 90s rolled around, my folks had built up a nice little business. They were saving a little money, had a nice life. They worked hard and deserved it. This graph shows monthly sales from 1989 to right before what happened next.
  • The trend in retail in the United States over the past 20 years is for these huge companies, these big box "category killer" stores to come into a market and just take over. It's not just Wal-Mart, it's every category. And it kills these mom and pop businesses. And the PET MARKET is no different.
  • Petsmart is the Wal-mart for pets. They sell dog food, cat food, pet supplies, everything that we sold and then some. Petsmart announced that come March 2006 they were opening a store literally across the highway from my parent’s store.
  • This is Jackson, MS. This is where all our customers lived. This is where OUR store was. And this is where PETSMART was opening. You can see what’s about to happen right? So could my mom. And she was freaking out. After all this hard work, 15 years worth of building our business up only to be destroyed by this huge corporate chain. What were we going to do? Look. This was partly OUR fault. We were making most our money selling commodities premium dog food -- products almost anyone else can sell and that’s EXTREMELY DANGEROUS. So if you sell the same thing as Walmart, they will CRUSH you. And they can do it several ways: Lower prices or a more convenient location, or a bigger selection, or better hours. These economic changes are more like a force of nature, like a hurricane or an earthquake. And as a business owner if you can't adapt or just get out of the way, you're gone. So something had to change. And Petsmart wasn’t going away. So we were the ones who had to deal with it.
  • And this is what happens when petsmart opens up across the street We didn’t just let them take it. We fought back with lower prices, extended hours, a loyalty program, and MUCH more aggressive marketing. our sales are off, but not as much as we feared, but our margins are tighter, our marketing costs are higher.
  • So our NEXT response was to go back to our roots. What worked before we – selling training supplies for hunting dog supplies, but not just locally, we needed a bigger market. One where one move couldn’t put us down. We decided to REBOOT the catalog Reboot Catalog And this was a MAJOR, MAJOR project. At the time, my brother and I own another company, with 5 retail stores, which had it’s own challenges, but I drop what I’m doing and for most of 3 or 4 months, I moved into my parents’ house to work on THEIR catalog.
  • We spent hundreds of hours working on this thing: writing descriptions, and taking pictures, and re-designing a completely updated version of our dog-supply catalog. We printed 5000 copies, and mailed a catalog to every single former customer on our mailing list. I’m exhausted. And what happened? Nothing. We got virtually no response — in six months we took in about $5,000 in orders, which was nowhere near enough to offset our lost sales.
  • So my MOM sees this commercial on TV about these girls selling their products online. Remember, it's late 1996 / early 1997. And she becomes OBSESSED about selling on the Internet. I had been online since 1990, but I didn't see what the big deal was. And I tried to explain to her that business on the Web were about going public, and getting your IPO, and these guys CERTAINLY didn’t seem to be interested in making a profit. And developers were charging tens of thousands of dollars JUST to make a Web site. And I didn’t see ANY small businesses, especially retailers, making money online, but at this point we had 5 of our own physical stores, so I’m sure I was pretty heavily invested in the idea of people buying things from me in our REAL stores. She wouldn't hear anything of it, she just wanted a Web site. And when my momma gets her mind set on something happening, it's probably gonna happen.
  • Brochureware Web Site So I bought our domain: GUNDOGSUPPLY.com, and got a Web hosting account, and for $500 I bought some software, and learned enough HTML to build the most basic 5 page Web site. It was practically an online brochure with About us.
  • Contact Us. A Letter from the Snells.
  • Products & Services list.
  • BUILD IT: And the only actionable item was a FREE catalog request form.
  • IF YOU BUILD IT… But if I spent all this time making a site, I wanted people to see it. I wanted traffic! How to get traffic? I did a little research and found out that the YAHOO! DIR was the secret to getting traffic in 1997. (Kinda like Google is now). So I wrote a Yahoo! DIR submission and was accepted and we started getting a lot of traffic.
  • And the way I could tell was that we were getting HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of requests for free catalogs. You know, the ones that never sold anything. So my dad was freaking out, and said either figure out how to put the catalog online, or shut the site down, he wasn;t sending out all these catalogs at a $1 a piece...
  • To get an online store built seemed doable, but I didn’t know where to start. Then Steve found >>> Yahoo! Store’s online store builder and everything seemed to come together. Rent was was $50 a month.
  • You built the store in your browser. You could add new products in less than 5 minutes. You click a button. Type in the NAME and PRICE. Upload a photo. Click another button. THIS WAS PERFECT!
  • Online Shopping Cart. No mental heavy lifting required
  • Secure Checkout. Yahoo handled all the propellerhead stuff
  • Order Manager. See those graphs at the bottom. I didn’t know how important they would be
  • And we had all these pictures and text from the paper catalog. All we had to do was cut and paste. So we built this online catalog literally in a matter of days. We had an online store. The lesson here is, don’t REINVENT THE WHEEL. Nowadays some company probably has an easy and cheap way to do ANYTHING you could possibly want to do online. So do your homework!
  • And we already had traffic from that Y! DIR listing.
  • And two days after launching we got our
  • first order and it was for a
  • $75 retriever dummy launcher. (and it’s the same price today)
  • And orders started coming in. Not a lot, but still. A trickle.
  • Here’s the revenue graph for 1997 --
  • But here was the kicker: All it cost me was my time. We didn't have to print anything. We didn't have to mail anything. We could make changes to the Web site and update the catalog in less than 5 minutes. We could build it as we went along . Initial Sales were good, but we needed more traffic.
  • WRC Banners And back in 1997, banners were pretty much the only form of advertising on the Web One of the first things I did was to poke around, and try to find all the popular DOG sites where potential customers would hang out, so I could buy some banners. And I found a site that was perfect—it was about retrievers and had a HUGE user base of hunters and did regular e-mail newsletters. As I told my dad and he said, "I'm not paying $750 for three months of banners." And after our track record with the catalog, I don’t really blame him. But we had to try something so secretly I put it on MY credit card. But this time it worked! And sales started rolling in. And my Dad STILL didn’t have a clue. He said, "See, you don't have to spend any money on advertising to make money on the Internet"
  • TO RECAP: Dog Store Sales BEFORE petsmart
  • The first year AFTER petsmart now notice that blue –dotted line – that’s the high water mark of THE DOG STORE in sales. Ever.
  • Now Year 1 of the Store vs. Web (red is the Yahoo! Store) See WEB catch the Store in less than 6 months?
  • Year 2 of the Store vs. Web WEB just takes off while store is still sliding
  • Year 3 of the Store vs. Web Notice the SCALE of the graph has changed. WEB is 4x the Store.
  • So now, you're saying, ok, great. You got on the Internet in 1997 when just showing up means you win. What about 2010? Well, a lot has changed, but there’s more opportunity than ever because there are more PEOPLE on the Internet than ever. If you can do a better job ONLINE selling what you sell than the competition can, it’s not too late. Thanks to search engine marketing, you can INSTANTLY buy traffic and jump start an online business. I mean, like TONIGHT.
  • I attribute at least 50% of OUR online growth and sales to understanding how our customers use search engines. Our sites get millions of visitors spending tens of millions of dollars. Just on OUR web sites! 2- THIS IS THE MAIN IDEA: When customers are searching online to buy what you sell, you need to be there!
  • Whether in the natural tresults Or through buying paid ads OR BOTH
  • Some search engines are better than others 4 – You want to know where are folks searching? Google gets 300 Million searches a day in the US.
  • When customers are searching online to buy what you sell, using the keywords that are relevant to your business, you need to be there!
  • How Search Engines Work 6- So when someone does a search on Google for a Orange Dog Collars, a search results page appears. Like this: SERP
  • 7- Two kinds of listings appear: free search results and paid search ads.
  • The “free” search results (editorial/organic) down the left hand side come from Google’s list of all the Web pages it knows called the INDEX. The results are ranked in descending order by RELEVANCY using a secret recipe called the ALGORITHM which Google changes to keep spammers from manipulating the organic results.
  • Google Also mixes in results from SHOPPING, IMAGES, and even video results 9 – UNIVERSAL
  • 10 -- PAID SEARCH ADS The paid text ads or sponsored results appear on the right-hand side (and sometimes at the top) of the search results page. These ads are ranked in descending order by PROFITABILITY. Whoever pays Google the most appears at the top of the page.
  • As orders came in, many would show the REFERRER, or the Web site a customer came from before they visited my site. AND If the referring site was a search engine, the order would also show me the keyword they searched for. For example, I noticed a ton of sales from our BANNER ADS… Also, plenty from our YAHOO DIR listings. But then we started to get traffic from places I had never heard of. Infoseek. Excite. Hotbot. Google. Search engines had crawled and indexed the site and were sending lots of customers our way.
  • But how do you know the converting keyword? Your Web Analytics software tells you. What is Web Analytics Software that tracks users across your site to give you information which you can use to improve your site Very powerful software.And fortunately baked into Yahoo Store I also run
  • If you don’t have WA already, Install Google Analytics. It’s free. It has tons of good info in it 15 -- tells you where customers and prospects came from. See how SE is 73%. Understand why I love SE?
  • prioritize what PAGES of your you work on based on what you CUSTOMERS tell you. Notice this page orange dog collars < this is a page I made up for talks like this one. Almost 3500 PVs. Pretty nice,
  • 18 – GA also shows you what keywords they used AND GA will tell you how much keywords are worth TO YOU. This is VERY IMPORTANT.
  • If being found when folks are looking to buy what you sell is important, this is HOW you do it… a converting keyword is a phrase that a prospect typed into a search engine, FOUND your site in the results, clicked on your listing, shopped your Web Site **AND** gave you money. I collect converting keyword phrases,…
  • AND I know from my WEB ANALYTICS software that these phrases have generated
  • some keywords more than others, and we’ll talk about that in a bit ok?
  • INTENT -- Keywords give you a good idea of the intent of the searcher. You want to make sure you have what he’s looking for so he buys from YOU and not the other guy. Let’s look at some examples of different types of converting keywords As well what they might be looking for
  • Over a million dollars in sales from name/domain queries 332 unique variations
  • If you aren’t on the Web yet, or don’t have any keyword data, OR you’re looking for NEW opportunities, What should you do you do when you want to see what keywords you should go after??
  • Nowadays, there are many, many different companies offering keyword tools Today I’m going to talk about Google Google has a free keyword tool for advertisers , but you don’t even have to be an advertiser to play with it. Google tracks how many searches there are a month for each keyword phrase, how much advertisers are willing to pay for clicks from those searchers, and lots of other cool things. If you want to find it, GOOGLE KWT YOU HAVE NO IDEA HOW VALUABLE THIS INFO IS. Back in the Stone Age, we didn’t have keyword tools. In 1997 we had a list of TOP 100 most popular phrases and half of those were PORN
  • all you do is type in a KEYWORD and you instantly get data … like
  • The keyword you asked for AND Google Suggests keywords you’re missing (shock collar) Google shows you CPC (define) AND advertiser competition Find new ideas for business opportunities (wifi fence) How many searches a month How Seasonal the word is,… And you can even CLICK a link to add the terms you find STRAIGHT into your adwords account
  • There are all kinds of filters. If you guys are targeting something locally, you can set it to show ONLY results from ICELAND (or wherever you want to sell something) AND over a few searches you can get more keywords than you ever thought possible for what you sell… IDEAS: Find ideas for new content (How to Stop Barking Dog) Find arbitrage possibilities ($10 bills for 60-cents)
  • One concept I see my readers and retailers having trouble with is they all want to chase the most popular and competitive KWP. There’s nothing wring with that, but there are You know the $6MM in sales The First million came from searches for my company name – and I pull those out because they are SO easy to rank for AND make it look like you’re doing better than you really are, The second million in sales came from my top 20 keywords (and this is where most folks STOP) The third million in sales came from the next 180 keywords The fourth million from #200-1000 The fifth million came from around 2500 And the last million came from 16,500 DIFFERENT keywords with one order each. TO me, that last million is JUST as good as the first million, but most folks don’t see that opportunity…  37 – It’s not Q OR Q
  • # visits, # orders, revenue figure revenue per visitor then I compare to how I rank on Google See all kinds of stuff I built this in EXCEL.
  • Optimize and advertise
  • Search engine optimization SEO = SE-friendly Web site SEs find you, read your pages, know what you’re about, and send folks looking to buy what you sell to YOUR Web site (sound familiar?) Purpose of SEO? Ranking better gets more clicks More clicks get you more sales Rankings? Traffic? I’m more interested in SALES(CONVERSIONS) Someone buying something. That’s why I collect CONVERTING keywords.
  • OK. Here’s a SERP for the KWP DHH This is GREAT. I almost couldn’t do better than this. Someone searches for a dog house heater and WE SELL EM. GOAL; Remember: 90% of clicks come from page1
  • Pick an engine (google) Know what keywords you want to rank for (ckwp)
  • For any given CKWP, there’s 1 page on YOUR web site that is the MRP
  • When you write the page, Put keywords in the TITLES, TEXT This is the PAGE TITLE, VIP SEO element Page TEXT is second
  • Next when you link to this page, you want to use KEYWORDS you want to rank for in the text links I have this built into the Yahoo Store template LEFT -- NAV RIGHT -- THUMBNAIL
  • Create keyword rich content – talk more about content in a bit This is a STEVE SAYS snppet on the heater page – Steve talks about mild MS winters compared to places more like here. I think I need a dog house heater LAST NIGHT.
  • 222,000 web pages in the whole wide world -- and we’re number 1 for DOG HOUSE HEATER. Go figure.
  • 70% of traffic from search engines comes from the free, natural search results, which means 30% come from clicks on paid ads / sponsored results so you probably need to be buying paid search ads Paid search ads are great because  instant  -- control over landing pages  -- control over what the  buy traffic for words you don’t rank for  Test all kinds of offers, different landing pages, The sad thing is you have to pay for it. We spend maybe $125-150K a year on PPC and we try to only buy PPC ads that make money
  • For example, let's say you sell dog collars. You tell Google that you want YOUR ad to appear any time someone does a search for "orange dog collar." You tell Google how much you're willing to pay per visitor. Google uses an auction-based system to determine what advertiser appears where, so the more you pay, the higher you rank. And so your ad appears and they click on it. Google charges you for the click and sends the visitor to YOUR web page,
  • REVENUE PER VISITOR is a pretty important concept Between that and you GROSS MARGIN (COST OF GOODS SOLD) wholesale cost, you know what you can pay for a visitor… REALLY SIMPLE example
  • Write a good ad. Kind of hard to do in that limited space. One secret is make sure you use the KEYWORD itself in the AD’S link or HEADLINE
  • Create a RELEVANT landing page. Something that has to do with what they’re looking for. Don’t just drop them on your HOME page It helps to use the KEYWORD on the page, too… “ Hey that’s exactly what I’m looking for…”
  • And monitor results. It’s really easy because Google has built in tracking code in GA, Adwords also has separate tracking code… You can see what ads and keywords are working and which ones are NOT
  • Any way, remember this MAIN point: When someone is searching to buy what you sell, you want them to find you in the search results, in the paid ads, or BOTH…
  • SEO isn’t REALLY free either. If I had to pay for all the time I spent keeping up with this stuff, reading, experimenting, trying to see what happened when things change – I bet I spend way more on SEO than on PPC… I probably had my head wrapped around SEO by 2002, 2003 maybe? I’m always learning more… And I’m still working on PPC. It’s hard. Outsource that to someone like Kristian and his pals if you can,
  • Year 4 of the Store vs. Web Again, notice the SCALE of the graph has changed. WEB is over 6x the Store and at this point we sold the DOG STORE to concentrate on the Web…
  • In 2003 things were going great, sales were growing, we had challenges, but we had to deal with something a lot more severe than a Google algorithm change. In September of 2003 my Dad was working on his farm when he suddenly dropped dead of a heart attack. Completely out of the blue. He was in good health, so it was a pretty hard blow to the family. My brother stepped up, and took over as President of GUN DOG SUPPLY. By this time, Steve was pretty much running the company… My Dad was the soul of the business. Everything has HIS name on it, and he wanted to sign off on anything more than minor on the Web site. Plus at this point, I think he was afraid to turn loose because of what all had happened. We were all kind of in shock for about 6 months after, going through the motions, shipping boxes, selling dog supplies, but we kind of let our guard down…
  • The following summer, our sales growth STOPPED and there wasn;t a single thing we could put our finger on to show what was causing it. Looking back now, it pretty looked like the competition caught up with us We were ahead for so long just by showing up first, but now… Internet marketing is so transparent Our sales weren’t falling, but we were flat for the first time in seven years. We weren;t in PANIC mode, but we weren;t far from it…
  • It’s SO easy for Competitors to watch your every move. They place an order and get on your customer list Competitors start copying you – every tactic -- Your pricing, you promotions -- channels SEO -- More competition in SERPS PPC – anyone willing to pay would rank Every OFFLINE competitor NOW had a Web site Every Web site had a shopping cart Everyone was selling for pretty much the same prices Most folks were using the same pictures and descriptions
  • What could we do that they couldn’t copy? What did we have that they didn’t have?
  • What could we do that they couldn’t copy? What did we have that they didn’t have?
  • ASIDE: One strategy where my Dad & I completely disagreed was on OFFER -- He preferred to offer things for sale and let folks want to buy if they wanted to VS EXPERT --- I saw things differently. When I shop, I want an expert to tell me what to buy that’s going to solve my problem. I don’t know what I need. I don’t know what’s available. I don’t even know what I don’t know. WERE EXPERTS Both my dad, and now Steve were dog training supply experts. They had personally trained and worked DOZENS of dogs and solved 10 times more problems than the average customer, much less working daily with tens of thousands of customers, solving their problems. They knew a LOT about dogs. SELF-APPOINTED -- Problem was, my dad did NOT want to come off looking like a self-appointed expert. I understand where he was coming from, and I appreciate that, but at the same time, you need to give folks the confidence that YOU know what you’re talking about. I DON’T KNOW A LOT -- People who know me know that f I don’t know something, I’m not afraid to admit it, And I don’t know a lot about a LOT of things on the Internet: selling on eBay, or Amazon, or the Shopping Engines. I just don’t. but at the same time, if I tell you I DO know something, you can bet 100% that I sure believe it, and I’ll fly all the way from Mississippi to Iceland to tell y’all about it…
  • Steve is my baby brother, and he’s not here to hear me tell you this, so let me brag on him a bit. That guy knows his stuff. Steve got the hunting genes AND the dog genes. (I got the marketing genes)
  • STEVE HAS THE BACKGROUND Grew up in the business Worked and lived with dogs his whole life
  • Traveled and hunted all over the US with his 13 dogs He’s solved more problems than any one customer Hunting season? He’s hunting! “ research and development” Field-testing products that’s what he tells his wife… I have to honey, it’s The JOb
  • HE HAS THE OPINIONS Unofficial product developer for ALL of our suppliers All the manufacturers send him test units before they’ll release a new product because he’ll tell them EXACTLY what they NEED to hear. This is a problem. This is broken, Change this switch. This feature doesn’t work. The competitors do it better than you. The engineers love him for it. The Sales folks? Not so much.
  • STEVE ON THE PHONE w/ customers So when a customer calls, you get to hear the softer side of Steve. Folks have questions? He’s got answers. Or at least options. He has these MARATHON 30 minute phone conversations with customers who don’t know what they need. He does a good job of listening, walking folks through their options, and he offers his opinions and SUGGESTS what folks should buy based upon their situation.
  • Our tagline- "We train our dogs with the products that we sell." Steve has 13 dogs. He is just like his customers. He uses the products that we sell in the field. We are actually selling solutions to people's problems. If you can leverage who you are, your experience, the things that you know, it is very difficult for competitors to copy you when you are doing things that are just intrinsic to your DNA.
  • Write Buyer's Guides We started writing these buyer's guides and telling folks what to buy. And we noticed in our analytics that folks entering our website on a buyer's guide page had a 50% higher conversion rate than folks entering on a typical category or section page.
  • Recommend products that solve your customer's problems When you call Steve on the phone and you have a problem, he is going to recommend the one specific product that you need that is going to fix your problem. If you are tired of losing your birddog when you go hunting, he is going to say, "You need to buy this specific dog tracking collar."
  • Tell folks what to buy You probably offer hundreds, or thousands, or tens of thousands of products. When somebody is looking to buy what you sell, they don't want to wade through your products. Tell them what to buy. Tell them what is going to fix their problem. My dad didn't want to offend a manufacturer. Well, my brother is not afraid to offend the manufacturers. He will tell you, this product rocks, this product – not so much. And that increases your sales.
  • Share product knowledge Share product knowledge with customers. Once we figured out if we say, "Hey, your dog is barking. You need to buy this." "Hey, if you don't want to lose your dog, you need to buy that." "Hey, if your dog is running into the street and he is 100 yards away and you need to stop him, you need to get this."
  • Express your opinions We sell hundreds and hundreds of different types of dog training collars, dog tracking collars, and regular collars. Some are better than others. For example, this is the only electronic training collar that Steve will use and he says it on the website. And I am not saying his endorsement is going to change the industry, but it changed our sales. The product he used to use, the sales went down. The product he uses now, sales went up.
  • Tell folks why they should buy from YOU
  • It’s SO easy for Competitors to watch your every move. They place an order and get on your customer list Competitors start copying you – every tactic -- Your pricing, you promotions -- channels SEO -- More competition in SERPS PPC – anyone willing to pay would rank Every OFFLINE competitor NOW had a Web site Every Web site had a shopping cart Everyone was selling for pretty much the same prices Most folks were using the same pictures and descriptions
  • This shows the last 20 years worth of sales see here how the Web has completely ECLIPSED whatever the DOG STORE was doing. This is the biggest hit of my career. And this is where we are today. Will you look at that? PETSMART doesn’t even show up as a blip on the 20 year graph The worst thing that happened to us turned out to be the best thing EVER.
  • I attribute at least 50% of OUR online growth and sales to understanding how our customers use search engines. Our sites get millions of visitors spending tens of millions of dollars. Just on OUR web sites! 2- THIS IS THE MAIN IDEA: When customers are searching online to buy what you sell, you need to be there!
  • If being found when folks are looking to buy what you sell is important, this is HOW you do it… a converting keyword is a phrase that a prospect typed into a search engine, FOUND your site in the results, clicked on your listing, shopped your Web Site **AND** gave you money. I collect converting keyword phrases,…
  • Rob Snell Iceland Keynote

    1. 1. How E-commerce Saved Our Family Business Rob Snell, Co-owner Gun Dog Supply [email_address]
    2. 2. homepage
    3. 4. cow
    4. 7. Speaker: PUBCON / SES / SMX / IRCE / Y!Summit
    5. 8. 2008 Congress
    6. 9. How E-commerce Saved Our Family Business
    7. 10. homepage
    8. 12. Pictures
    9. 14. catalog
    10. 16. Classified ads
    11. 17. magazine
    12. 18. Old catalog
    13. 19. 1972 Family business > Mail Order
    14. 20. Friday the 13th, April 1979
    15. 21. Flood house pic
    16. 26. Dog Store
    17. 29. DOG STORE
    18. 30. 1989-1996: Dog Store Sales
    19. 31. March 20, 1996
    20. 33. CUSTOMERS
    21. 34. 1989-Mar 1997: Dog Store
    22. 35. B&w catalog Plan B
    23. 38. Get online Now!
    24. 39. April 1997: www.gundogsupply.com
    25. 40. Letter from the Snells
    26. 41. GDS Products & Services
    27. 42. FREE CATALOG request form
    28. 45. Online Store Builder:
    29. 46. Build the store in your browser
    30. 47. Built-in Shopping Cart
    31. 48. Secure Checkout
    32. 49. Back End: Order Manager
    33. 50. Now you have an online store:
    34. 51. May-Dec.’97 Visitors
    35. 52. E-commerce makes it easy for folks to give you money.
    36. 54. June 5, 1997: First Online Order
    37. 56. May-Dec.’97 Graph: Number of Orders
    38. 57. May-Dec.’97 Revenue $$$
    39. 58. More, please…
    40. 59. Bought Banner Ads
    41. 60. 1989-1996: Dog Store Sales
    42. 61. 1989-1997: Dog Store
    43. 62. Year 1: Store vs. Web
    44. 63. Year 2: Store vs. Web
    45. 64. Year 3: Store vs. Web
    46. 65. But that was 1997…
    47. 66. Cashing in on Search Engines
    48. 67. When customers are looking to buy what you sell , Show Up.
    49. 69. Search engines Google graph here
    50. 70. Keywords (the key to search engines)
    51. 76. How I found search engines
    52. 77. Referrer example
    53. 78. Web Analytics Software
    54. 79. GA
    55. 80. Where come from Where traffic comes from:
    56. 81. What pages customers visit:
    57. 82. What looking for What keywords searching for:
    58. 83. Collect converting keywords
    59. 84. 21,358 converting keywords
    60. 85. $6,264,243.60 from keywords
    61. 86. Examples?
    62. 87. gun dog supply Your company / domain
    63. 89. leather dog collars Generic product category:
    64. 91. Garmin GPS Specific manufacturer:
    65. 93. Garmin Astro 220 Antenna Specific brand / model / product
    66. 95. How can I stop my dog from barking? Query Question:
    67. 97. What about new projects?
    68. 98. Keyword Tool
    69. 99. Keyword Tool
    70. 101. G Keyword Tool
    71. 102. It’s not a choice: Quantity or Quality?
    72. 103. “ dog beds” HIGH traffic 40,000
    73. 104. “ dog beds” HIGH traffic 40,000 “ large dog beds” MEDIUM traffic 8,000 REVENUE PER VISITOR $ 1.00 REVENUE PER VISITOR $11.00 INVENTORY VALUE $40K INVENTORY VALUE $88K
    74. 105. Prioritize keywords on revenue
    75. 107. What do you do with all these keywords?!!
    76. 108. Optimize for FREE traffic (for best keywords)
    77. 109. Advertise with PPC ads (for keywords where you make money)
    78. 110. SEO
    79. 112. How I do SEO:
    80. 113. Pick a keyword: Dog House Heaters
    81. 114. Pick the most relevant page
    82. 116. Put keywords in TITLE / TEXT (on most relevant page)
    83. 117. Put keywords in LINK TEXT (on other pages)
    84. 118. Create keyword-rich content
    85. 120. PPC (paid search ads)
    86. 122. How I do PPC:
    87. 123. Pick keyword: Automatic Dog Waterers (and figure out how much you can pay!)
    88. 124. Write a good ad:
    89. 125. Create a relevant landing page
    90. 126. … and monitor results
    91. 128. SEO vs. PPC
    92. 129. Lots more here: Buy yours now!
    93. 131. So what happens when you maximize SEO and PPC?
    94. 132. Year 4: Store vs. Web
    95. 133. Things ALWAYS change
    96. 134. September 2003
    97. 135. Year 7: Store vs. Web
    98. 136. More & more competition…
    99. 137. But we had a secret weapon…
    100. 138. Selling Stuff & Self-Proclaimed Experts
    101. 144. How to capture content
    102. 146. People buy from people
    103. 147. “ Why don’t we put ALL this on the Web?”
    104. 149. write buyers guides
    105. 152. Example
    106. 153. Example Review
    107. 157. The results?
    108. 158. Year 12: Store vs. Web
    109. 159. 7 things:
    110. 160. Get online Now!
    111. 161. E-commerce makes it easy for folks to give you money.
    112. 162. When customers are looking to buy what you sell , Show Up.
    113. 163. Collect your Converting keywords with web analytics.
    114. 164. Optimize for free Google traffic with SEO.
    115. 165. Advertise with paid search ads on Google.
    116. 166. You are your own best Secret Weapon.
    117. 167. Conclusion: Sometimes the worst thing is the Best Thing Ever .
    118. 168. How E-commerce Saved Our Family Business Rob Snell, Co-owner Gun Dog Supply [email_address]

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