Expert Digital Marketer, Mike Mayer's Perspective on Modern Business Practices
There are LOTS of things people don't know when they are starting work on E-Commerce, or making an app! There are so many directions you can go, and steps you can take towards expanding your business in new ways on the internet. It's easy to get off on the wrong foot!
Learn how to avoid mistakes in this area with our CEO as she discusses important topics with Mike Mayer. In this blog, Hollywood Branded learns effective strategies for B2b marketing, e-commerce, and mobile launches.
A Little More About Our Guest
Mike Mayer is the owner and CEO of Main Event Digital, a digital marketing agency that specializes in web design, SEO and e-commerce services. With over 20 years of experience leading digital transformations for billion dollars businesses, Mike is an expert in all things e-commerce and digital. He is a regular guest speaker at industry conferences, has published numerous articles on digital marketing and has also helped launch three startups in the digital consulting, consignment and online retail fields.
Interview Transcript Highlights
Question: When a company comes to you, what's the first thing you do? How do you figure out what their strategy should be versus telling them that laundry list that you just gave and having them literally flee out the door, because they're so overwhelmed and they know that they don't have the budgets necessarily to tackle all of that at once?
Answer: Typically, it starts with me asking a lot of questions and getting to know them, their business model, and how they operate. I love to tap into any existing analytics they might have that they can share. I like to do an analysis of what type of marketing they're already doing - what their user experience is on their website. Based on that, I draft a strategy and build a roadmap. I prioritize that, based on a potential return on investment. I can even come to the client with potential returns on investment, so that we can make educated decisions on what we're going to target, first, second and third.
I have packages on my website with different services, but in reality, every customer is unique and every customer needs a custom package. There's definitely no one size fits all - even if I'm working my third or fourth lighting wholesaler, it's not the same approach. Everyone needs their own approach. I build the custom roadmap and we just start going down the list, running through the strategies, executing on them. Revenue attribution is the center, the base, the key to everything we do, to be able to track to be able to see if these activities are working. Then based on what we see after the first few activities, we might change course. It's an ever living, breathing strategy and roadmap that needs to be tweaked based on the analytics and what's working and what's not.
Question: What are your top three that if someone doesn't do, they're missing the mark?
Answer: The foundation of every single customer is their website, so it all starts with we QA. I have a full-time QA guy, so we test their website. We make sure that thing is working perfectly. We do an analysis of the user experience. We do some user experience improvements. We try to optimize that conversion rate and make sure that it's fast and responsive. Once we have that, that's usually number one. First thing we do with almost every client, because we've got to get our house in order. Once we have that website working perfectly, or close to perfect, then we go into more of the marketing strategies.
We almost always start on SEO strategy, day one. Although, typically, we will not see an immediate response from SEO. It sometimes takes three months, six months. The fastest I've ever seen it has been a week.
If it's less of a unique business, then we focus on the long-tail keywords that don't have a ton of competition. We build out the lengthy pages on the website about those keywords.
The other thing that we've found is low-hanging fruit is marketplaces, and most of our customers had no presence on Amazon or Walmart, and there's nothing more immediate. We launch their listings and the next day we're seeing activity and sales. For some, those that don't have map policies to abide by and that are selling the same products as everyone else, the automation of pricing is ever so critical, because it's a race to the bottom and whoever has the lowest price wins. We set that up where there is a margin floor that we don't exceed so that even if we hit that lowest possible price that the wholesaler is willing to go down to, they're still making enough margin to make that sale worthwhile. Getting the house in order with the web design, SEO, paid search and marketplaces, those are my go-to with all clients. Then we kind of build out from there.
Question: Everyone wants an app. It used to be that everyone wanted a website back in the day, but apps are very different than websites and they're a different beast entirely. What are some of the tricks and tools that use to make sure an app is actually relevant for a brand?
Answer: Most of the apps that I built accompany the mobile website or the e-commerce site for my customer. They're a full functional, and they actually have more functionality than the e-commerce sites themselves. They do help to drive business, because on a mobile phone, especially on a mobile device, it takes more effort to go into your Safari or you Chrome, type in a URL or go to your favorites. Having an icon on your home screen that with one finger you tap, and you're shopping, makes life a lot easier.
You can also add some additional features, using the native functionality of the phone to make shopping easier. One thing that we've used with a lot of success if using the camera and using that for scanning products, especially scanning bar codes. That can bring the product pages directly up. Someone in the B2B world, a lot of our client's customers have stock rooms of some sort and what we do in those stockrooms, or what we advise them to do is, or provide them, are barcode labels that they can put on little bins throughout their stockroom. So when they're getting low, they can pick up their phone and just scan that label. If they still have the product in stock, in their stockroom, they can just pick the product and scan that too. That helps with the inventory management and keeping their inventory up to date.
Besides that, I think having the voice recognition on a phone saves our customers a lot of time, where they can just click to talk and talk their search right into the search box. The camera, we also use to if you have a part that you need replaced and you can't identify it. We build out capability to take a photo of that part and then submit it to our tech support in whichever client, to identify what part that is.
Beyond that, we try to make the e-commerce site and the apps easy to shop. First, we automatically sign them in, because having to resign in every time is a nightmare. Then they can shop their custom catalog of a mix of things they've already purchased from us, either offline or online. Or, products they've added to a requisition list. We try to add these features that make shopping easier and especially when you're on a mobile app.
Question: Is it more important to give people a seamless download, where they're able to jump on and they're able to starting surfing and swiping and poking away? Or, is it better to actually capture their information?
Answer: I think the user experience is at the core of every decision that I make. That's the foundation. Making it easy to use, not requiring login, or using facial recognition or thumb, your finger print to get in. Everything we build has a B2C side and a B2B side. For the B2C side, you're probably looking at list price and not your discounted custom pricing. You're able to search the catalog; you're able to build a cart. You could check out as a guest, you're not getting your discounted price, but at least you can do your research and pull down specification sheets and watch videos on the products. Maybe that's all you needed to do, so why do I need to put a barrier in front of you to login. That's how a lot of B2B e-commerce sites are built. They require a login to do anything.
That's a big no-no. Let's give them everything they possibly can do without logging in, and then if they want to get to a point where they want to get their special pricing, view their previous orders, use their net 30 terms, use their tax exemption status, then yeah, you're going to have to require a login at that point. But the other huge hurdle I see a lot of my, well, previous competitors, a lot of wholesalers putting into place is requiring an account manager to set up an account for a customer.
Question: Any last words of parting advice?
Answer: If you build it, don't expect people to come. Your potential customers and your current customers, you need to educate them from every possible angle, and that's what we do. It's tough to do that on your own, so find an expert, find a specialist that can run your paid campaigns, run your SEO, get you in the marketplaces, affiliate programs, loyalty programs, content creation, social, so on and so forth. There's a lot to do there and we've been replicating our model. You definitely need someone that knows what they're doing and has learned from making the mistakes, which I have, and has the experience. You're going to spend more trying to go at it on your own.
Check Out The Podcast!
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