Things will never be as they were before the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and marketing is no exception. With a lot of people staying at home, digital marketing is making its way to the mainstream at an unprecedented and unforeseen pace. For the longest time, however, the industry has been dominated by the bigger players, and smaller businesses are having a hard time making their voices heard in digital platforms. Carolyn Lowe, the Cofounder and CEO of ROI Swift, is passionate about helping emerging businesses grow by amplifying their voices in a noisy digital market. Tune in to this On the Shelf episode as she talks to host Timothy Bush about some digital marketing strategies that small businesses can use to up their game in the new normal.
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Digital Marketing Strategies For Today’s Small Business With Carolyn Lowe
I don’t do a lot of this but you’re going to see that in this episode. When I have a guest, I don’t generally do the introduction at the same time that I do the actual interview. I always do the introduction later and that’s because I want to make sure that I’m going to move forward with that interview. I’m going to share it with you. I want to make sure that it’s good. Lastly, I want to know what we talked about that I can give you guys a little bit of information as to what you’re going to learn and what’s going on. In this episode, I interviewed a lady. Her name is Carolyn Lowe. She’s the CEO, Cofounder of a company called ROI Swift. Big Boxers, whatever you’re doing, this is a show for you to stop that, grab a pen and paper so that you’re going to be able to take notes because you’re about to go to school. That’s the bottom line. This is one of those reasons that I do the intro after.
I want to know that it’s worth it for you guys and that we’re going to have some good stuff for you to learn what Carolyn’s going to talk about and what her whole company is about. It’s an Amazon and digital marketing agency that excels in growing small and medium businesses. That’s you. She’s passionate about helping consumer brands grow through Facebook, Instagram ads, paid Google searches, and Amazon marketing in addition to helping our clients see larger profits. Do you see the word in the title of her company, ROI? She’s not one of those companies that wants to take your money. She’s not one of those companies that says, “Pay us $10,000 a month and we’re going to build your business.” Months later, $60,000, you find out that your business has not grown $0.01. You’re losing money because you’re down $60,000. You don’t have anything to show. I’ve heard and talked to hundreds of companies that spent dollars on marketing, agencies and nothing happened. It’s always the same story, “You didn’t have this or that, this excuse or that excuse.” Carolyn’s company has a small retainer and then they want to take a percentage of the growth of your product. When you grow, they grow. When you get big, they get big. When you profit, they profit.
That’s one thing, but she came up through Dell. She has a ton of experience. She’s going to share that with you guys. I wanted to make sure that if you’re in a place where you’re just reading this, if this is one of those days, you might want to hold off. You want to make sure you get to a place where you can write some stuff down and take some notes. This is going to be important. I’m not going to go all the way to say life-changing, but business-changing for sure. What we want to bring you are things that are going to help you do better. Part of getting your products on the shelf and part of growing your business is cashflow. Every little bit of cash that comes in and every little bit of cash that you can direct in a better way is going to help your business grow. If you’re constantly spending cash and you’re not making as much cash, then your business is going to struggle and you’re eventually going to have to shut it down. Everything that we do is in an effort to take your learning curve from my 25 years and Carolyn’s 25 years or more and crunch it down so that you don’t have to spend 25 years getting to know what we know, getting to know how to do these things.
The whole reason you’re reading is that you can figure out, how to make the most out of your money? How to make the most out of your time? How to grow your business in a profitable way that you can get big and change the world? That’s what it’s all about. Making people’s lives better, easier, faster, change the world with your product. That’s what we’re here to help you do. I was honored to talk to Carolyn and learn what she has to say. We cut short a little bit. We’re for sure going to have Carolyn back on so that we can dig into some other things in depth at which will be a lot of fun if she’s willing to do that and can give us a little bit more of her time. We had to cut things short because she had a big meeting for her company to go to. I apologize for that. I want you guys to get to know Carolyn. Without further ado, let’s get right into it.
Carolyn, welcome. Thanks much for being here.
Thanks for having me, Timothy.
I apologize. I know we’re getting started late. I appreciate you hanging in there with me. My audiences probably don’t know your company, don’t know you. Let’s jump right in with that and start with a little bit about who you are, where you came from, and how you got to where you’re at.
In 1999, Dell moved me down here to help with their consumer marketing division. That was when people were buying their first computer. That was the days of the Dell Dude. I ran a bunch of different areas in consumer marketing. I did that for six and a half years. I know you worked with Costco extensively. I worked with Costco. My claim to fame is I have sold $1 million worth of laptops in eight minutes on QVC. I had a lot of fun doing that. After a while, I loved making money for Michael Dell, but it was much more rewarding when we were like the little guy and Gateway was bigger than us and we were trying to overtake them. I decided I love that. Fast forward, I had two kids. I consulted for a couple of years and then went back to work for a mom and baby company. They were a small company at the time. I ran their eCommerce and their Amazon.
In 2015 I said, “I want to do this for a bunch of emerging brands. It doesn’t seem fair that only people that can afford these big agencies should get this expert help.” I started it years ago. We focus on paid social. We have Facebook alumni that run Facebook and Google. We also have our Amazon team. We run Amazon for consumer brands. Email marketing is also a big part of that. We’re also a Klaviyo email marketing partner. That’s what we do. We’re a small team in Austin, Texas of nine people and our goal is to help a thousand emerging brands. We’re at 105, 895 to go to retirement.
When you hit 1,000, you’re done?
Yes, probably and set a bigger goal.
You have nine people. Is that including you that you’re part of the nine?
Yes, and then we’re bringing on three more. The one thing that’s been nice is that we’ve been able to hire and give people jobs during this very troubling time. I know a lot of people were hit hard, but luckily online and Amazon are the few that are doing well.
Even my business, we’ve shifted towards essential retailers. I know that you’re always watching the news. I’m super concerned that we’re not going in the right direction, especially you and I. I’m in Florida, you’re in Texas. Both of our states are not headed in a positive direction as far as the virus is concerned. I’m concerned that we’re going to go through another shutdown or slow down. We’ve been focusing on central retailers like Costco and Walmart that are staying open even during a shutdown. Certainly, people are going online. They have never gone online before. They’re trying to find essential things. We’ve been doing it since it was available to do it. I know people that are like, “I did the Amazon thing.” The other thing too is, I don’t know about you but I go to the grocery store and I see way more people that are shopping for people. They’re running around with all those freezer bags in their cart. Whereas I used to see maybe one every once in a while. Now, when I’m in the grocery store, I might see 5 or 6 at a time.
It accelerated everything. My 80-year-old mother-in-law used Instacart. That accelerated people’s comfort with a lot more technology platforms and doing curbside grocery delivery. When your 80-year-old is getting on their MacBook and ordering Instacart and getting groceries delivered. That I didn’t see happening for another 5 to 10 years before this pandemic.
We’ve had a big discussion on my Facebook group. In some of my masterminds on, if you had to break it down to a percentage of all the new online users, how many of those people will eventually go back to the way that they used to do it?
Depending on the age. My mother-in-law will still want to go back to Whole Foods in her neighborhood. I don’t know when that’s going to be. This becomes the new normal. If this goes on for 1 or 2 years, they just won’t go back to the grocery store. It could be as little as 10%, or it could be as much as 100% is where I am.It’s not fair that the only people that can afford big eCommerce agencies should get expert help. Click To Tweet
We came up with a bunch of divided thoughts on that. The deciding factor is how long this goes on. I always say that my daughter was born in 2002. In her lifetime, she never got to go to the gate at an airport to greet somebody that was coming in on a flight. To her, that was never a normal thing. Because that never went back, her life just was waiting at the baggage claim. Whereas my life up until 2001 was go to the gate and see people coming right off the plane. We have to stop talking about when things get back to normal because there is no normal. Whatever it looks like, it will never be like it was before the start of the pandemic. It may get back to an assemblance of the same, but it will never be the same. We’re always going to see people wearing face masks, certain people just like when I’m in China, even though SARS are not going on or whatever’s not happening right then. When I’m on a China Southern plane inside China, the majority of the people on that plane are wearing face masks.
I’ve been to Tokyo and Singapore. This was many years ago. A lot of people on the trains and even in our offices. I worked for a global market research company and we’re wearing face masks. There will be a new normal. I remember in 2001, when September 11th hit, I was at Dell. We had people stranded all over the country, all over the world. You’ve traveled again, but air travel looked different. Things will return but they’ll look a little bit different.
I’m a big believer in, do whatever you can. My big platform is just to wear a mask. Deal with that so that we don’t have to continue to deal with it for months. Let’s go back a little bit to high school. Are you doing now what you thought you would be doing when you were in high school?
In high school, I was an idiot. I didn’t think five years beyond high school. In college, I always knew I wanted to do something in marketing. I’m dating myself. I went to the University of New Hampshire. I graduated in 1987. In the business school, we did these awesome Harvard Business School cases. I even won an award for one with Barbie and Mattel. We did what’s the strategy for Stonyfield yogurt to go national. They were a little local yogurt brand in new England. I loved that part and I loved consumer brands. I loved marketing. I thought I might work for Coca-Cola someday and in Atlanta. I realized I don’t love the Coke and Pepsi. I love the Waterloos and the little guys.
I look at what my daughter has ahead of her and I look at what was there for me when I was in high school. We had guidance counselors. There was no internet. I didn’t know what a hedge fund, Wall Street, or any of that stuff. My parents weren’t big investors. The one conversation my parents never had with me was my dad was an airline pilot. We had a decent life. We were upper middle class. They never sat down and said, “If you want this type of lifestyle or above, this is what you need to think about it.” The guidance counselor was zero help. I remember not knowing anything about what I wanted to do and what was available.
I had no idea that there were truckers that drove trucks across the ice to get stuff to a mine. I didn’t know anything. College wasn’t much more help for me either. Unfortunately, I’m not one of those people that ever thought that I would run my own business. I was a retail guy. I thought I would be doing retail forever. Your first big thing in what got you into the mindset of what you’re doing. You’re talking about working with Michael Dell. Did you start with Dell? Were you one of the first people where you started at the beginning or close to? Were you working directly with him or was the company still pretty small when you got there?
The company was big. They had a weekly hiring class. My weekly hiring class had over 300 people in it. They did the orientation every Monday and mine was 300 people. We were hiring 1,000 people a month. I will tell you one of my favorite stories. We were big at the time. I joined in 1999 and he launched from his college dorm room. In 1994, they changed the name from PC Limited to Dell. I joke that I was there the wrong six years. I was there and then dot-com burst hit and then 9/11. I did okay but I wasn’t there the right six years. There were a lot of people that were there early on.
We have an expression in Austin, “Their town is filled with Dellionaires.” People who were there in the early days. I did love working with Michael. Even at Christmas time when we were small, he would come and answer phones. He would answer the phone and say, “Hi, this is Michael. What can I build for you today?” They’d say, “Is this Michael Dell?” He’d say, “This is Michael Dell.” They’re like, “You’re pulling my leg. It was Michael Dell building your computer for you and going to ship it to you.” I always thought that that was great. He was very much a man of the customer and a man of the team members.
When I had my own first business, I bought some franchise stores. Everything was Dell. My first laptop was a Dell that I own personally. I remember I had a Dell laser printer and at the time I had this humongous Dell laptop. You could never open it on an airplane. You could open it and be like looking at it. I had those for years and years. I think mine was a 17-inch. It weighed 17 pounds or something. I remember I had a guy that did it for me. We built it to the specs that we needed. That was cool about Dell at the time. You left Dell and you decided to help the little guy. What did that look like? How did you come up with the idea for your current business?
I can take no credit for this. I was working for a mom and baby brand here in Austin. They were small. They were in Target and Walmart. They never got into Costco or any of those. They didn’t get into the club stores. I enjoyed that and then a year in, they started making these $10 vitamins. That works great in Target and Walmart. That doesn’t work great on online. I went to one of the founders who was no longer part of the business but was still a stakeholder and I said, “Would you be a reference? I think I’m going to need a job.” She said, “No. You can’t leave. You’ve doubled our business. Why don’t you come and have coffee with one of my friends who’s also in YPO, Young President’s Organization and EO, which is Entrepreneurs Organization?”
Within a month, we said, “We’ll form this company.” There are all these smaller brands that are $1 million, $2 million, $5 million that can’t afford these experts. They go with these small agencies and they burn a bunch of cash and then they go out of business. It hurts me personally to see that they deal this work to raise money and then they end up with an agency who doesn’t know what they’re doing. They burn through it all. There’s a business in Austin that started about a year or two before me. They grew, they had taken $60 million in cash. They announced that they’re shutting down and laying off all their employees.
A lot of my audiences are in the process of taking their line of products to retail. Also, a huge amount of my clients are Amazon sellers that now want to diversify into retail. They’re in the process of figuring out whether they can do that too. They have enough margin and all that stuff. One thing that what I find is most of my clients, when we get down to it, they have no idea how much money they’re spending on Amazon, pay-per-click, sponsored products. They know how much the dollar amount is, but they don’t P&L it out. I might be doing $500,000 on Amazon. How much am I making in a month? I’ve had many clients that put their sponsored products in a whole other marketing. When it comes down to it, you’re not making that much as far as money in their pocket.
They don’t know that. The only way that they know that they can get to the top or on the front page of a certain search is to spend money on sponsored products. That’s the advice they get from other people. They hire certain agencies, gurus or they tune in to this show or that show and do what that says and then they burn through a ton of cash. Maybe it moves the needle a little bit. Whatever it moves the needle is way overshadowed by the money that they’re spending to get that needle moving. What will happen is they run out of product, they’re dead in the water. They lose their momentum before they can get another shipment and the whole thing is a mess. I’ve seen it happen again and again. What is different about ROI Swift than some other gurus, agencies or people out there that just don’t work?
We see this all the time. We’ll do a complimentary audit. If someone reaches out to us, “Can you help us?” We say, “We’ll tell you if we can help you or not.” We’ve done this before. We’ve said, “No, you’re doing everything right. We can’t help you. We can’t do any better.” We’ve done that on the Facebook site. There are a couple of good agencies out there. Usually, they’re doing everything right. On the Amazon side, there hasn’t been anybody who is not doing everything right. That’s one of the first things. We started working with a natural cleaning brand years ago. They’re also in Walmart, Target and they’re in grocery. They had this fledgling business. We went through every product with them. I said, “These are all the products you’re losing money on. Let’s stop selling these products. Let’s make these 2 or 3 packs. Let’s look at all the weights. Let’s calculate out all your fees.”Small businesses need help to optimize their marketing in digital platforms. Click To Tweet
At least if we know before we spend any money on advertising, we’re at 50% between the fees, the shipment fees, and FBA fees. We go in and say, “Let’s look at your advertising.” All of our clients, typically our average what we call, total A cost, spend as a percent of total revenue is 10% or less. We’re saying, “If most of our clients have 60% to 70% margins and their fees, we try and get them down to, 30% to 40% max.” They’re paying to Amazon for FBA and referral fees. Their advertising is 10%. We try and get people to, “You’re making 50%.” If they have 60% to 70% margins, they’re making 20% off the door. The first thing we do is before we take someone on is, can you even make money? There’s the sweet spot of products. The last thing you want to be doing is selling $49 microwaves because you’re never going to make money on those or cases of water. Think about how little a case of water costs and how much it costs to ship it. Our favorite items are things like, “That’s a great gray shirt you’re wearing.” We love the $30 to $100 items that weigh less than a pound. Those you can make money at all day long.
This is a question for me that I’ve had and nobody’s ever been able to answer it in a fashion. I’m going to give it to you and no pressure. I had a client. We grew their sales on Amazon tremendously but Amazon was always holding back more than 50% of their money each pay period on the reserve. No matter what we did and we were over a year of sales. I understand why they do the reserve and they want to make sure that if you’re a fly by night and you go off the platform that they have money to offer refunds and this and that. Over 50% of your money, pay after pay over a year’s period of time, I can never find at Amazon that can help me understand, why it was that way and how I could fix that? Have you ever run into that?
We’ve seen it a couple of times. When you’re a new seller, they keep most of it to cover. Make sure that you don’t take the money and run. That’s only 90 days. What we’ve seen a lot of times is if people use their payments to pay for their advertising, then they will hold back more of your money. We totally recommend putting it on a credit card instead of it being deducted from your payment. One, it’s great for your cashflow. Two, you get all the advertising, and then you don’t have to pay your credit card bill for another 30 days. You get the float there. They’re not holding back as much as your money or throttling back your advertising if your advertising cost to sale is pretty high.
That’s interesting because in the retail world, deduct from an invoice for advertising is a better way to go because if you’re doing an email blast with Costco.com, they’re going to deduct it from your next invoice. You might not have to do any. You don’t have to put any money upfront. I would not have thought, deduct from an invoice from Amazon would be bad, or at least on advertising. That’s a great tip. I wish I would’ve known that.
You are paying your advertisement every two weeks. If they’re deducting it from your profits, versus with credit card, you would go all month. Then you would get your credit card bill at the end of the month.
Nobody could give me that answer. I’m glad that that seemed an easy one for you. Let’s talk a little bit about something that blows my mind too which is Facebook advertising. I know that a lot of money can be made in Facebook advertising. There are not that many people that I found that know how to do it right. Even when I’ve gone to agencies for my clients to try to find somebody. It always seems like they’re guessing. I understand that there’s got to be some testing that goes on, some AB testing or whatever. We’re going to try these different things. Once we figure out which one works, we’re going to pour some gas on it. I never saw anybody figure that part out. It always seemed like we were going to wait a little longer. How does Facebook advertising work? What’s wrong with what most people are experiencing? If you could narrow it down one thing that people could do to change their Facebook advertising, that would make a huge difference.
I get this question a lot. These people come to us and say, “They’re gun shy. Facebook advertising doesn’t work. I tried it, it doesn’t work.” It’s like anything. If it’s not done correctly, it’s never going to work correctly. The one thing that I would tell people is there’s your top of the funnel, the middle of your funnel and your bottom of the funnel. Top of funnel, they’ve never heard of you. Middle of the funnel, they might’ve engaged with you, engaged on your posts or your ads or anything. Bottom of the funnel is they’ve been to a product page on your site but didn’t buy. The bottom of the funnel, if you only have a little bit of budget. We normally tell clients like if you don’t have $6,000 to $10,1000 to spend, it’s hard to do prospecting effectively because what you do is you don’t give enough data to Facebook’s algorithm for it to effectively learn, get better and lower your cost per acquisition.
We had a client come to us with a $400 cost per acquisition on a $300 average order value. I said, “These guys are lighting your money on fire over.” For months, we then got it down to a $55 cost per acquisition, but you have to spend enough. You have to get 50 conversions a week typically for the machine to work. People will say, “I only want to spend $20 a day or $50 a day.” You’re better off putting down two months of solid spend, $5,000 to $8,000 on that top of funnel. You make sure that you retarget those people that didn’t buy. It’s the whole cycle. If people say, “I only want to spend $1,000.” I say, “Don’t even try to prospect with $1,000 because you’re never going to get enough statistically significant data. Spend that money on your middle of funnel and bottom of funnel people.”
How do you spend money on the bottom of funnel people? Most people put an ad on Facebook and they have that demographic, maybe that they’ve chosen their keywords. For those of us that don’t know how to determine what your top, middle, and bottom-funnel are, because most people that I run into, they don’t have $8,000 to figure things out.
A lot of people that come to us don’t too. We did this for them because Google has free shopping listings because they want to help out smaller brands. Most of our clients are on Shopify for their eCommerce site. What they’ll do is, there’s an easy app called Flexify. You can set up a catalog and it links to your Facebook account. You can run a retargeting ad that will show you that shirt that you looked at, plus 2 or 3 other items. Believe it or not, it’s fairly easy to set up that. That’s the lowest hanging fruit ever. Are the people who went to a page looked something, but didn’t buy? That’s where you can recapture some of that demand. The other thing people make the mistake with is following people around for either too long or not long enough. When you’re doing your retargeting, you can say anybody who was on my page within the last seven days with a mom and baby brand. You don’t get them in the first 2 to 3 days, they’re gone. They’ve moved on.
They need whatever it is they’re looking for, they’re going to find someplace and buy it.
If you’ve got a $400 pair of boots, you’re going to think about those aren’t an impulse buy. We’ll follow those guys around for a little longer. The one trick I would tell brands is in Google analytics. You can see how long it takes customers to buy. You can say, “80% of my buyers buy within three days.” I’m not going to retarget the past five days. Google Analytics will tell you how long people are taking to buy your product.
In general, you have a company, let’s take an average audience of ours. They have a product on Amazon. Maybe they have their own website. Maybe they’re in some specialty retail and their big goal is to get into Costco. They’ve spent all their money, creating, producing, and getting their product over here. It’s now in their garage. They sent some of it to Amazon. How do they get from there to build enough cash to where they could dump $8,000 to $10,000 into some serious advertising? What’s the progression?
With us, what we say is, “If we can’t get you a two return on ad spend, you spend $1, you get $2 by the end of eight weeks, then we have a guarantee. We’ll give you half your fees back if we can’t do that.” The first thing to do is to understand those metrics. A lot of times people say, “I’ve made this money but they don’t look at their website.” We’ve been working with a client who, a lot of the stuff in your website, like Google is a partner of ours and they said, “If your website takes more than four seconds to load, 40% of your traffic is going to abandon your site.” You don’t want to throw good money after a bad website. There are 4 or 5 metrics that we look at around. What is your conversion rate? What is your bounce rate? What is your page load time? Before you spend any money, you should know those things.
Four seconds is a long time. I’d be feeling like I’m on dial-up if it took four seconds to load. My audiences are called Big Boxers and most of them don’t know what dial-up is. Unfortunately, I’m dating myself, but I was back in there.
We used to ship AOL disks with Dell computers when I first started at Dell.
When I was in college, I had the little Apple computer. It was square and I used to play Zork with the floppy disk. The whole screen was green. I thought that I was living the life. I, at least, had a computer. Most of my roommate had a typewriter, at least I had a dot matrix printer to print my stuff out on. My daughter is a competitive ice skater all the way through high school. She did a private online academy. It was all on her computer and it’s all different. You guys have a couple of metrics that you look at. Somebody comes to you, what’s a typical investment for a small business that they need to figure things out? What’s that going to cost them at ROI? I know there’s probably a ton of factors in there. Every audience are mowing the lawn, cooking dinner, and driving on. What are they looking at?
In terms of what they should do for ad spend or fees?
It’s to work with you guys, what would that be? You can say it depends on the business.
It depends on the business. The number of skews. Our retainers for any of our services are all below $4,000 and there’s a percent of revenue. We’re incented to grow your revenue. People in Facebook agencies will say, “It’s presenter spend.” They just spend all day long. We like percent of revenue because we only get paid when you get paid.
If everybody could do two things or even one thing to make a change, make something different, make something happen as far as grabbing the attention of people that are out there. They want to bring those people. People’s attention is the biggest thing. If they were going to do two things to gather or gain more people’s attention to their brand, to their website, their product, what are two things that they could take action on other than calling you guys?Amplify your voice in a noisy digital world. Click To Tweet
On the Amazon side, it’s very different because Amazon is bringing those 300 million people to you. I think the biggest thing you can do is optimize. Know your numbers for Amazon. Amazon, just like any online, is all about conversions and traffic. What can you do to improve your traffic with your organic listings? We have the Seven Killer Image Listing playbooks. We have this whole playbook on how to optimize for Amazon’s algorithm to show up organically. On the conversion side, if your conversion is below 20%, on Amazon, go and figure out why people are not buying. Is it your PPC advertising you’re sending bad traffic there? Is there something wrong with the product page or product description? Those are the types of things that you can do right away that aren’t going to cost you any more money. There’s a bunch of tools out there that we like to use.
We use Helium 10. We use Jungle Scout. We use MerchantWords. We have access to some Amazon beta tools since we’re an Amazon agency partner. I would say know those numbers and go. That’s not going to cost you a dime on your own website. I love a brand called Kettle & Fire. I know Nick, one of the brothers who cofounded it and they did an amazing job. They were passionate about it. He was a soccer player who got injured and nobody could figure out how to fix his leg. He discovered bone broth and launched Kettle & Fire. They did it all through unpaid influencers. They found people who were passionate about what they did and they didn’t spend a dime on advertising for a very long time.
Carolyn, thanks much. I appreciate you coming on and sharing what you guys have going on there. Any company that’s willing to participate in the sales a little bit and help keep the overhead down. I think for audiences like mine is a big win. It’s hard to cut through all the noise out there as far as who’s going to help you. I appreciate you sharing some of what you’ve learned over the years. I wish you the very best in your business.
Thank you much for having me, Timothy. I enjoyed meeting you and I hope your audiences took something away from this.
I know that I did I’m sure that they did as well. Thanks much for being here and we’ll talk to you soon.
Big Boxers, we’re back and as promised Carolyn has left. I know you guys are feeling like, “What? It ended soon. We need some more. We want some more information.” Hopefully, you had a chance to take some notes. I was not kidding. She’s crushing it out there and hopefully, some of you got great nuggets. Some free things that you can do. One of the great things I thought that she said, which I know is a big problem. I see it, again and again is, know your Amazon numbers and figure out. If you get a lot of page views, but you’re getting a 1% conversion rate, something’s going on with your pricing and page. Don’t just say, “I’m getting a lot of page views, I’m driving people to my page. That’s great.”
If your conversion rate is low, that’s a problem. That’s what you need to focus on. I thought she gave some great free advice on things that you could do, ways that you could make some changes that don’t cost a dime. If you are interested in getting in contact with ROI Swift, Carolyn, and her team, you already know how to get ahold of her. For those of you who have never read the blog, there are tweetable quotes in there that you can tweet to your social. Any time we mentioned a website, a book, a piece of product or somebody’s profile, whatever it is we mentioned, that’s always pulled out at the end and you’re given links to all of that that you can quickly find, “What was that episode? What was that website that Tim said something about, or Carolyn mentioned?”
That’s also where you can leave a comment, leave a question, be part of the conversation. I want that for you guys to interact with more so that we know what you’re dealing with and what you’re struggling with. Carolyn, thank you much for taking the time to come and talk to us and to the Big Boxers. It was awesome and I appreciate it much. I can’t wait to have you back on. We can pick a couple of subjects and do a little bit of a deep dive into those. That will be super beneficial. A couple of housekeeping things before I let you all go on with your day to do whatever it is you’re going to do. The VIP Facebook group if you go to TLBConsulting.com, go to Consulting, go to the bottom. There’s a little tab for the VIP Facebook group, click that and join into that. That’s where we’re getting into the nitty-gritty. That’s where you’re going to be following me. What I do, who I talk to, conversations that I’m having with buyers, with retailers and what it’s like to be at TLB Consulting and talking to these people in real-time. We’re going to be having discussions about that. How can you be ahead of the curve? I’ll give you a good example.
I have a client who’s in the mentorship program and we’re at the end of the mentorship program. What we’re doing is all role play and he reaches out to me, as a buyer of a company, Urban Outfitters, Costco, whatever. I get a prospecting email from him and then from that moment, it’s on. We’re doing real role play starting from first cold contact all the way through a Zoom video pitch meeting. I’m giving him the best of what I have as far as my 25 years of working with buyers. The good buyers, the crappy buyers, the mean buyers, the nice buyers, I’m giving him all of that in an effort. If I can show you what you’re up against and then critique what you’re doing, then when you talk to buyers, you’re going, “This what’s happening here.” Being in a buyer meeting is not all about having this agenda that’s in your head and you’re just trying to throw it up onto the person that you’re talking about. Being in a buyer meeting is about you having a pitch that you’re doing, but that pitch is fluid. It’s ever-flowing and changing based on what the information that you’re getting. You have to be able to take the information in from the buyer and then use that information as it comes back in this conversation. Often, we’re nervous.
We’re thinking, “I have to get these points out that we forget.” This is a conversation. I talk, you talk. I listen, you listen. In this latter part of the mentorship program, when we’re not interacting any more as a student. People were role playing constantly. We debrief the role play and we talk about the good, the bad, and the opportunities and how you can improve. It is the best part. You’ve done everything to get ready to start talking to retailers. I’ll give you another example. I have another mentorship client who we talked about and you guys have known me talking on the show before about the one time where I was through the motions. Calling buyers and I left a message like you do a thousand times. The next thing, the phone rang and it was that buyer. They called me back seconds later. I wasn’t even prepared. I didn’t have anything in front of me. I talked to buyers for a bunch of different companies. If I don’t have that product’s information in front of me, then I could get jumbled and I’m back on my heels. That’s what happened. This person, “You just called me. What’s up? What do you have?” This was years ago. That was a lesson for me that every call has the opportunity to talk to the buyer.
If you’re out there prospecting, getting to talk to the buyer is hard and you don’t want to throw that away and blow that off. I teach that hard because it was a lesson I learned years ago. On this particular client, she was calling the corporate office of this small retail chain to find out who the buyer was and get their email address. She was going to plug them into our CRM and send them an email. She gets on the phone and she says, “I’m trying to find out who the buyer is for this.” She’s like, “His name is Frank. I’ll transfer you.” She’s like, “What?” In her mind, she was wanting to get a name in an email. In reality, she’s got seconds as the phone is being transferred to this buyer. Luckily, we talked about that. She had her information in front of her. Frank actually picks up the phone, they have a conversation and she’s sending Frank not a cold email, but now it’s a warm email.
Even though Frank was busy and he didn’t have a lot of time for her, she still was able to get out the basic concept and he asked for more information. She sent a warm email, “We’ve already spoken. Thanks for taking the time.” Not here’s the information and I’m trying to shove it down your throat, but, “Here’s the information you requested.” Had we not talked about that, she would not have been ready. In a lot of cases, I’ve seen people that they hang up. “I don’t want to talk to that person.” That’s part of what the mentorship program is about. In some ways, some of the stuff we’re going to be talking about in the VIP Facebook group on a much larger scale. It’s only $19 a month. It’s not going to break the bank, but the value you’re going to get 100x. Get over there and join up because we’re getting ready to schedule our first actual live call. I’m super excited about that. That’s all I’ve got for you, guys. I appreciate you much.
I wish for you guys, health, happiness, and safety. If I can leave you with one thing, whether you agree with this or not. I know that you guys see that our country’s going in the wrong direction as far as COVID-19. I’m in Florida. Our state is one of the worst. Carolyn, when she was talking to me, she’s in Texas. Her state is one of the worst. It’s not getting better. Let’s suck it up and wear a mask while we have to. I guarantee you if this continues to go in the wrong direction, it’s not going to be good for you. It’s not going to be good for me and we will wish that all we had to do was wear a mask. It will get to the point where we will say to ourselves, “You remember when we could have just worn a mask to fix this?” We are going to wish that opportunity to be back.
If you’re going out, go into the store, you’re going out to get stuff, just put a mask on. Let’s suck it up, “I don’t want to wear a mask.” I don’t like wearing a mask either, but I’m going to. I have people at home. I have a mother-in-law who has cancer. I can’t afford to bring something home to her. My wife is at risk. My daughter’s skating coach is at risk. I can’t afford to bring anything home to them either when I have those interactions. What we’re doing? We’re wearing a mask and we’re going to wear it as long as it takes to bring this curve down, to bring the cases down. In Florida, we’re growing by 4,500 cases a day. In my local area, the testing locations to get tested are shut down. I’m not getting it. We have to do our part. We have to take accountability, responsibility for ourselves, and do what we can. That’s one of the things that we can do. I’m going to leave you with that. Until the next time. I look forward to talking to you and to look forward to seeing your products On The Shelf.
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About Carolyn Lowe
Carolyn Lowe founded ROI Swift in 2015 to help emerging consumer brands get expert help in Amazon, Paid Ads for Facebook/Instagram, and Paid Search. So many smaller businesses were being taken advantage of by paying agencies big dollars for no results, and Carolyn thought that was wrong. Her team grew an apparel and footwear company from $0- 12M in 18 months through paid Facebook and Instagram ads. Carolyn’s goal is to help 1000 brands grow profitably. So far, they have helped 102, so she is 898 away from retirement!
Fun facts about Carolyn: She once won $10,000 on the radio and wished she saved it to invest in Google or Amazon two decades later. After leaving Dell, she founded ROI Swift to follow her passion of helping emerging businesses grow. She is the mother of two children and has her pilot’s license, though no time to actually fly anymore.
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