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Brett:How you doing, JD?

Announcer:The biggest names in e-commerce hear tricks of the trade, from tools and software to strategies and growth hacks. Learn from the best and take your business to the next level.

JD:What are the actual, tactical things that you’re doing to attract people?

Announcer:Now your host, JD.

JD:Hello and welcome back to E-Commerce in the Trenches. This is JD, and today I’m excited to be talking in our reflections episode with Brett Owens, co-founder of Lead Dyno. Welcome, Brett.

Brett:Thanks, JD.

JD:You made it. You made it through holidays, probably had some family that has recently gone home. I know that we’ve had family recently leave. It’s kind of like, whoa. Thankfully they came, it was great to see them, but it’s like, back to work, right?

Brett:They came, JD, but that’s optimistic. I’m a little jealous. We have in-laws who keep pushing their flight back. The dream’s still going here. We are fortunately back in the office, I’ve got something to do from an 8-5.

JD:You’re not out, you don’t have your life back yet at home?

Brett:I don’t have my life back yet, but coincidentally, I did put in a whole work day on New Years Day if that tells you where the family situation is that obvious.

JD:I understand, I understand. Well hey, just want to get a little recap on Q4 and specifically holidays, and kind of the format that I’ve been using is three simple questions. What went great? If you have any client success stories. Brett’s, for those of you who don’t know, Brett is co-founder of League Dyno and runs the marketing there and probably a lot of other stuff. League Dyno is an affiliate marketing platform. You can just be set up in a few minutes to have your own affiliate program. I think it might be interesting to just learn a little bit about what does the affiliate channel, what kind of traffic and conversions, what kind of business can it generate if you have it set up well? What went well, what didn’t go so hot maybe, if there were some systems that broke down. Probably not in your case, but inevitably, Black Friday, Cyber Monday. I know that I talked to some retailers, and there were a couple common apps that we were all using that totally went on the fritz. You’re pivoting, trying to get new technology setup to be able to execute on the promotions that you’re running.
What didn’t go well, and then the third question is with hindsight being 20/20, what would you have done differently, or what will you do differently in the future? First question, what kind of success stories do you have? What went well out there in the affiliate marketing world?

Brett:Sure, JD. Yeah, so one trick that we use that I have also shared with our customers for them to use their own affiliate programs, we’ve got to do both. We have our own affiliate program for League Dyno, and we’re also helping our customers manage their own efforts. One I guess best practice that we’ve kind of discovered for the holidays is I like to send out an affiliate newsletter. They get it out, they call in seven to 10 days before Black Friday, and what we do is we then do our affiliate payments. I think I actually did them on Cyber Monday this year. I send out a newsletter, they’ll call the week before, telling our affiliates kind of what to do, what’s going on, what we have going for the holidays. Just really just staying top of mind with them.
The big part is to set up the payments, because that’s where you really get everyone’s attention. We did it on Cyber Monday this year. Really what we’re seeing, everyone not only looks forward to that, but once they receive the money there, everyone’s looking for money during the holidays. Everyone needs that extra spending cash. We’ve found that’s a great way to get their attention during that busy holiday season to say, “Hey, we know you’re swamped, but here’s some money. If you want to go on social media and start sharing your affiliate links, you click through to your dashboard and shortcuts here, and it’s a great way to earn some more money through the holidays.” That was definitely a big win that I would encourage anyone doing any sort of affiliate marketing to consider next holiday season.

JD:That’s fantastic. Love it. I love it. What maybe didn’t go so well, or do you have, I know it’s always tough. Is there anything that you can think of that didn’t go as well? Maybe it’s your own internal promotions for League Dyno? Can you think of anything?

Brett:Yeah, so app-wise we’re in good shape. This is our, I think our fifth Black Friday. We’ve got our CPO on hand staring at everything through all five of them. They’ve gotten smoother as we went. In terms of the app world, we’re kind of veterans to the Black Friday rush, and we’re able once again, to handle that without a problem. Again, just due to our PTO being really good and talented.
One thing that we did in the past that I didn’t get turned around this year, probably due to just myself being busy with the holidays, is we’ve also, two years ago, we did a kick-off webinar to start the year. It was early. It was literally on either January second or January third, which meant I had emails going out to our own customer list and our affiliates during that dead week between Christmas and New Years. Of course I was around and I was working that year, but that was really the fact that we had over, I think we had 150, 200 people signed up for that webinar, kicking things off January second, third. That really set the tone for the year.
That said, I don’t have my act together as much yet. Our first newsletter is gonna go out next week. I’m hoping to kind of replicate the magic, but if I had an extra few hours that I could get back, that’s what I would spend it on. Trying to get everyone going and just hit the ground running right now. I’ve found in the e-commerce world that nobody actually takes a break. If you just kind of keep playing through the vacation, of course you want to manage your time in other ways so you don’t burn out, but really people don’t take holidays. You just kind of keep playing through and you can get that traction, momentum, and just kind of keep building on it into the New Year.

JD:Right. Man, there’s always, as a business owner, there’s always so many things to do, right? It’s back to that 80/20 or even 95/5 what are the 5% of things that I could do that will generate 95% of the revenues and/or connections, relationships, et cetera.

Brett:Yeah, that’s exactly it. Yeah. It’s funny you mention 95/5, because I tell people, I mean, affiliate marketing is not only 80/20 game. It’s usually 90/10, or even to the 95/5 extreme like you said, where 5% of the affiliates, 5% of the influencers you find really are gonna drive 95% of the traffic. You want to of course get as many partners as you can. Those are the ones you want to focus on. [inaudible 00:07:30] you could say that, because that is completely how the world of affiliate marketing is. Yeah, if you’ve got limited hours during the holiday season, or we all have limited hours every day, that is absolutely where you want to focus is on. The high impacts, high impact people.

JD:Nice. Well 80/20 and RFM is like, top of mind right now. I’m very devoted to that whole school of thought, so we’ll have to have another conversation about all of that at one point. Third question is with hindsight being 20/20, what would you do differently? Obviously you would probably have your webinar teed up to be able to do that on the second or third. Is there anything else?

Brett:Let’s see. Yeah, we would have that teed up to go. We’re going to an affiliate summit this Sunday in a camp. I would actually say I have my act together for that. I happen to be trying out my old business cards that are six years old, based on the joke from American Psycho. They’re based on the business cards of Patrick Bateman. Nobody understands it until I hand them the card. They don’t really get the joke. I figured it was time for new ones, but I’m not gonna be able to turn that around. I didn’t even have a second button-down shirt, so I tried to overnight one last night. Yeah, we’re going to a, we have a show. It comes quick because it’s right after New Years. Not at all ready for that. They’ll be able to get that together. Everything else is fine. We did keep our support, from our standpoint, we have people work everyday. We’ve got coverage everyday, so Christmas day, New Years Day, we kept support people online. We kind of keep things moving for customers so they don’t have to wait no matter what day it is. That’s also a good or great, from a freestyle standpoint, also. I think that’s what e-commerce is [left with 00:09:25].
If somebody hits your site Christmas day, New Years Day, and you’ve got somebody around to talk to them, even on live chat for a little bit, as people do, they buy stuff everyday. If you’ve got someone around to talk to them, they’ll buy from you versus a competitor or someone else. That’s the last that we’ve done that we’ve gradually increased what we’re doing. We’ve got chat kind of 24/7 going throughout the work week, and then looking to get it on weekends as well.

JD:Nice, very cool. Well, that’s three awesome answers to three pretty decent questions. Anything else you’d like to add before we close out?

Brett:Well I would encourage people to, as you’re looking at your e-commerce, as you’re looking at your marketing plan, traditionally the busy seasons for small business used to be January, so right now, until Memorial Day. Then it was supposed to get quiet over summer and then Labor Day until Thanksgiving. Then it got quiet again. I’ve found in recent years, especially in e-commerce, that’s expanded where you can do a lot of good business, well into June, into July. Maybe August slows down a little bit. September picks up, October, November. December stays hot for us until the last couple of weeks. Looking at things now, looking at your plan, what you’re gonna do on the marketing side, especially, for the next part of the year, I would look at stuff all the way out until June. Just say, “What am I gonna do every month?” Now’s the time to do it, and you’ve got more time also on the calendar. I think then you think yeah, for a year, you might have a few years to go.

JD:Nice, very cool. Well Brett, if somebody wanted to connect with you, where would they do that? Where’s the best place to send them?

Brett:Oh sure, yeah. League Dyno dot com is our website. You can talk to anyone there. They can get a hold of me. Brett at Lead Dyno dot com, B-r-e-t-t at Lead Dyno dot com, is my email address. That’s where to find me. Brett, B-r-e-t-t O-w-e-n-s on Twitter. Lots of ways to get a hold of me. Anyone on the League Dyno team can get a hold of me for you.

JD:Fantastic. Well, thanks for taking time out of your morning here. All the best in the new year. Hopefully, you’ll have your home back here pretty quick.

Brett:Thank you, sir. Yeah, I’ll believe it when I see it, but we are looking forward to it.

JD:All right. Well, thanks, Brett. We’ll talk soon.

Brett:Okay, sounds good. Thanks, JD.

JD:Bye-bye.
Recording: This call is now being recorded.

JD:Welcome back to E-Commerce in the Trenches. This is our reflections episode with awesome vendors that we have interviewed in the past. Today, I have Scott Desgrosseilliers with Wicked Reports. He’s gonna be sharing with us some really cool stuff that happened in Q4 of 17. Scott, are you there?

Scott:I’m there. How you doing, JD?

JD:I’m doing fantastic. I have been battling a little bit of a cold, so if I exit stage left, I’m just gonna be coughing over there. I will definitely mute myself. Anyway. Yeah. You know, kind of the format I shared with you prior to pressing record is we just wanna talk about what went great with your clients in Q4 and obviously the closer to Black Friday, Cyber Monday in any nitty-gritty details would be great. Then what maybe didn’t go so great that you had high hopes for with your clients? Then thirdly, with hindsight being 20/20, what would you do differently? I know there’s some super cool things, that is actually kind of a fourth question, a bonus question. That’s what is the future look like for data-driven decisions in e-commerce? What went great in your business and your clients’ businesses in the fourth quarter?

Scott:I usually can’t share any of my clients’ successes of getting their approval ahead of time. One guy, who I do have approval to share, Mark [Maine lobster 00:13:43], I pulled up his Wicked Reports stats for when you asked that question. He did 1018% ROI just in the last 30 days, which is phenomenal. He spent 45,000, he made 545,000. Granted, Christmas does do well for lobster. People like to give it as a gift, but this is new ground for him, I’d say.

JD:Wow.

Scott:Pretty incredible.

JD:Wow.

Scott:Yeah. I was excited, because we went through and used his data from last year for email at the same time. Looking at his Facebook data and kind of distilled it down to a simpler way to take action, which then made me rethink how can I make it even easier for people to go to business with data? It was like, very exciting. The process of creating what he was going to do was based on data. The fact that it worked so well has me super psyched, and the clarity brought for how we’re gonna bring value to all the other people. I was pretty pumped. It was a good Q4 in that respect.

JD:That’s fantastic. I love marketing. When I had an agency, you would get to test a lot of different things, and then when something did work amazingly well, or you got an insight that you’re alluding to, then you can roll that out and actually acquire more clients, or you can apply it to all of your client base. One of the things that I want to ask you is everybody on the Facebook side that runs ads, and I’m talking about people that have clients that were spending $50,000 on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, $25,000 a day leading up to Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Pretty significant ad managers. They were saying that look, it’s just, if you’re looking to go acquire a customer prior to Black Friday, unless you’ve got like, a $100 price point and you’ve got crazy good margins, it’s just gonna be too expensive. What was it, three and a half million advertisers at the end of 2016, weekly advertisers on Facebook, the end of 2017 there were six million weekly advertisers on the platform.
It’s just very, very competitive. Everybody knows that it’s working, relatively speaking. With Get Main Lobster, were they going after cold people, or was the majority of their spend, that 45,000, remarketing to people that they’ve already gotten their email and maybe they’re coming back for second, third, fourth purchases? What can you tell me about that?

Scott:The answer is both. The strategies were different, because people will react differently based on the familiarity they have with their brands. That’s the case in any industry. It was the case in Lobster. I kind of stumbled across three new truths to e-commerce marketing. I’m potentially gonna call them, I don’t know. The one is new leads take time to buy. You need a strategy for new leads, because they’re not familiar with, customers don’t buy from brands they don’t already know. The less known you are, the longer it takes to make the sale. That has to be taken into account. For the new leads, they were running their historically highest new lead ROI offers against the ad sets that they have been able to pluck the highest lifetime value customers on, passed.
They did experiment with a few new targets, but they kind of went back to the well. They said, well, look at these customers over time have really spent. They ramped up their spending in late November to start accumulating new leads from those places based on offers that have attracted customers in the past. Then old leads react much differently than the new leads to various marketing efforts. The stuff that they saw in their step that had worked well on, I guess I’d call it old lead re-ignition ROI, they used those offers on those. Different customers have wildly different values. They had to take different strategies, so that was kind of from the Facebook in Ad Words, their approach was a two-pronged approach. Show these things were trying to get new leads, and then show these things to people that are already on our list.
Then it makes the targeting easier, you either include or exclude your existing email list. Then you know that you are taking a data-driven approach that you have managed the targeting that backs up where those ROI numbers are coming from. Then from an email perspective, we looked at all the emails they had sent the previous year. You know, if you’re an e-com marketer, you generally have your new deals you want to run, your new strategies you learned at conferences, but you got to combine it with what’s worked in the past. You don’t want to get rid of emails that have crushed it in the past to people. We went day by day and looked at what emails they had sent in December, and whether it was better or worse than their average revenue email. The ones that were better than average they kept, and the ones that were lower than average they jumped. That was where they were gonna put their new ideas.
We put all that together and it turned into 1100% ROI. Change. I was pretty excited. That’s quite, I mean, anyone … Anyone’s gonna be giddy. I didn’t realize til right before the call [inaudible 00:19:52]. I know I can share their data, I want to check. I was pleasantly surprised it was through the roof.

JD:That’s fantastic.

Scott:Validates that approach. It was actionable. It wasn’t like, okay, I have to dig through every single line of every combination. It was hey, show these to people not on your list. Show this to people that are already on your list. Send everyone these emails on these days. That was it.

JD:Well, and it’s the holy grail for a business owner, you are looking for those high-leverage decisions, right? You’re looking for, okay, if I put this amount of pressure and the fulcrum is here, it’s going to produce an 100% ROI. I think I want to do those things.

Scott:Yeah.

JD:It dumbs it down. I love it.

Scott:Yes, yes. I was pretty ecstatic for that. On a personal, well not personal, but business-wise with reports, we found our offer, we found the right offer, which actually wasn’t a decrease or a discount or any of that. It was more just a better pricing model, which is our offer. We tied pricing to business size, because that really aligns with the value we want to bring, which is grow your business. We did it based on revenue tier rather than anything else. You could have a limited tracking, a limited whatever, users. If we don’t grow your business, we’re not gonna make anything more on your original subscription price. That really tied our reasons being with why people should be buying if they want to grow. Therefore, they grow, then we get a small tiny uptick of that. If not, we don’t. By changing our offer, it made all of our marketing work better, because then people like the offer better, which got me thinking. Again, sometimes you get great leads and you’re just sending them bad emails or bad offers. If no one’s buying from the offer, your marketing might be fine. It might have just been a crappy offer.

JD:Right, right.

Scott:We had experimented. We thought tying our services to advertising spend made the most logical sense. Everyone logically agreed with it, but when people looked at that page, they did not buy, I don’t want to say none of them bought, but our sales were not growing like they normally would. Then when we adjusted it, we did it like gang busters.

JD:Fantastic.

Scott:That’s another thing for any e-commerce, you know, might be why is my marketing not working? All these leads are bad. No, it might just be your offer stinks. Hopefully not.

JD:Right.

Scott:You’ve got to consider that. That actually is what happened with us when we experimented with an offer. We need to get better with it, so we did. Life’s been good there now.

JD:Nice, very cool. What didn’t go as well as you had hoped, with some analysis or some of the clients that you work closely with?

Scott:Well, what didn’t go well with us was the couple weeks with the bad offer til we fixed it.

JD:Right.

Scott:With our clients, I haven’t seen … I guess it’s if they don’t go in and use their data, then they just continue to fly blind. That’s a couple reports I’ve had from my analyst. You get on a call and someone didn’t realize the gold mine they were sitting on in terms of hey, it turns out these ads that you want, that’s a common use case for us is you know, you have sales coming in from ads you’re not running from the leads. That means, that’s a good thing. That means it may be time to turn those ads back on. It gives us some time to buy.

JD:Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Scott:For us, it was more if we got on the people that missed that opportunity had not seen it. That was what I … It wasn’t so much the specific strategy, actually, more of a general missed opportunity that occurred in a few situations.

JD:Which is kind of a recurring thing probably for your business, huh, is just getting people to use the data that is presented there?

Scott:Yes. Yeah, exactly.

JD:Yeah. This is kind of a little bit of a side note, but Facebook’s attribution window is 28 days. Isn’t that correct?

Scott:It is.

JD:Okay. For myself and others out there, what happens when a conversion comes in past that 28 days, that the person originally connected with the brand once or maybe even twice but didn’t buy, who’s gonna get the attribution for that? Are you just gonna be blind to the first …

Scott:Well, that’s one of the reasons we were creating was because we never lose that point. There’s two things factoring against you on Facebook attributions. It can be really good if you’re stuff’s click and buy right away, which not many things are, but if yours is, then it can be pretty good. Facebook uses 28 days. It goes back and looks at the last thing viewed in their platform. There’s two problems with that. One is if you might not be what made them buy, the further in the past it was, the less likely it is the reason. The other thing is it ignores other platforms, which is your email. It doesn’t differentiate if the person already was familiar with your brand or not, which is quite important, in my opinion. If it takes longer than 28 days, then it misses that also.
We see a ton of businesses where leads take longer than 28 days until they buy. Pretty much everyone that buys us that uses Wicked Reports, which is like, that’s 400 businesses right there. I mean, that’s just a small sample of how many actual online businesses that are out there. Generally, the more expensive your product or the more that requires education, the less known your brand is, the longer it’s going to take for someone to become comfortable to buy. They’re not gonna buy from someone they’re not familiar with. That process of making them familiar with you clouts where you found them. They’re clicking on things, viewing things, Ad Words is saying hey look, it’s this ad that they scrolled by and didn’t click on when they were on their Fantasy Football site, which is when I happened to see mine.

JD:Right.

Scott:Then Facebook says the last thing that was used, their last one. The whole thing of looking at the last thing before the order is inaccurate, because you gotta find out where you found them first. You gotta find out where they first heard you, and then what made them give that commitment of hey, I’m willing to put up with your emails, and then what made them buy by looking at all the different platforms that claim credit, and figuring out which one deserves it.

JD:Very cool.

Scott:It can be challenging, but it’s not if you have the right software or it’s worth it, because then you can find those pockets where your message really hits home with a particular market. Then you can map where you found someone first with what made them take the next step, where you find always what emails actually are getting interest and then what emails are making people buy. You can start reverse engineering the high-value customer acquisition, and stop spending on the bad leads. I’m sure they get people with just bad leads.

JD:Right, right. Exactly. Not profitable people for your business. We could talk all day about this, but the world really is moving, 80/20 is for sure a reality where 80% of your business comes from 20% of your customers, 20% of your efforts, 20% of your ads, however you want to slice it. It really does feel like we’re even moving into more of a 95/5. We talked about this on our original conversation on the podcast. I mean, the 5% of the people who really get it, who are doubling down on the winners and cutting the losers, they’re going to be the winners. They’re going to be the businesses that are going to be around, you know, or the business owner or owners that are gonna be around. They may be pivoting from business to business, or you know, offering different products, different, you know, expanding and growing and learning their customer base. Isn’t that true, don’t you think, Scott?

Scott:I do, I do. One or two little pocket ad sets, you might try, let’s just take a Facebook world to make it simple. You might have 30 different things you target. Then it could be that maybe three of them, I guess that’d be 10%, let’s use 50 of them and three is 6%, might be where all your highest-valued customers are coming from. Rather than continuing, if you don’t know, so you start on Facebook, you spend, you make some money, you’re excited. You try to spend more, and you don’t grow, once you get to a higher spend level. Then you can’t scale it, so then you get frustrated and you stop spending, but then your business growth drops, so you know you have to spend. You can’t touch it, because you don’t know where to turn it off and where to turn it on.

JD:That’s right.

Scott:The other 95/5, and you’re doing, hey, my ad sets number one and two, where all the high-valued customers come from, you could just pour all your spending into that.

JD:Right.

Scott:In particular, as you mentioned with the Facebook inventory, we have over half of our advertisers get alerts if their bids are too low. That’s why their things aren’t performing. We’re building in, like, vivid alerts that people know, hey, you’ve got to raise the price. Well you don’t know if you can raise the price if you don’t know what you can pay to acquire input.

JD:That’s right, that’s right.

Scott:You get more of a math game to further it. 2018’s going to make Facebook much more math-driven, I think.

JD:Yeah. I think you’re right.

Scott:Which is interesting for us, obviously. Ad Words is a lot more technical now because the inventory gets bit up. That’s what’s happening on Facebook now too.

JD:Cool.

Scott:I completely agree, yeah. You gotta be able to find, because then you gotta reverse engineer how you did those top 5% to keep filling that area, hopefully, first. Then worry about all your other growth ad games after. Go for the ones you can already nail.

JD:Mm-hmm (affirmative). Very cool. Well, as always, the data wizard, Scottesgrosseilliers, you’ve got some fun things coming up in the future. Are you at a place where you can share a couple things and tease us into them a little bit?

Scott:Yeah, yeah. We’re evolving a couple things. One, we have a Chrome extension coming out that we think is gonna just hopefully melt peoples’ brains in happiness. That’s our goal.

JD:Nice.

Scott:That’s coming out January. Then we’re evolving our platform to be sort of a data-driven playbook around my business cards. In addition to having all our juicy numbers, if you’re not a numbers person or you just don’t care necessarily to dig into numbers, you just want to know what you should be doing or turning off, we’re trying to evolving towards that. It’s not even so much more, it’s gonna be a little more visual, but more instructionally-based rather than here are the numbers, make sense of them, or watch a training video to learn it. It could be more hey, we’ve already induced what these numbers are telling you. Here’s what it’s telling you to do. You can act on that or not. Bridge that next step of getting the data for you to take the right actions.

JD:Fantastic. Well I appreciate your time. I don’t want to keep you any longer. This was just fun to kind of reflect on 2017, on Q4 of 2017, and obviously we’re all excited about the new year, new opportunities and new challenges, and how to navigate those challenges and turn them into opportunities. All the best to you and the team at Wicked Reports, Scott. Thanks again for coming on the call.

Scott:Thanks so much for having me, JD. Take it easy.

JD:All right, thanks.
Recording: This call is now being recorded.

JD:Hello and welcome back to E-Commerce from the Trenches. This is JD, and today it’s a reflections with some of our service providers that are vendors or provide services for e-commerce retailers. Today I have Faheem Siddiqi with Social Within. Hey, Faheem, how’s it going?

Faheem:Going really well, JD. How are you?

JD:I’m doing great. Kind of the structure of this reflections call is you can open it up as wide as you want to, but looking back at either holidays or all of 2017, I’d love to just get your reflections. We’re after Christmas, we’re in that week between Christmas and New Years. It’s always fun, right, to look back on our life, on our business, and ask some great questions. I want to ask you three questions, and I’ll lay them out right now, number one, what went well? Number two, what didn’t go well at all, or as well as you had hoped? Then three, now looking back, what would you do differently, knowing what you know now? Let’s just tackle this. You good?

Faheem:Yeah, yeah. It’s a good exercise to go through. I actually was planning to do a fast-forward and a quick rewind this weekend, so this is a good warmup. Let’s do it.

JD:Good, awesome. By the way, you and I had lunch last week, and you shared with me your fast-forward, rewind concept. Man, you have had my mind just racing. One of these days, or maybe you can even allude to it just a little bit here. I know we don’t have much time and I want to honor that, but let’s just tackle number one, what went well for you, looking back?

Faheem:Yeah. I think from a business front, I mean, we’ve grown the business by … I think last December, I did a fast-forward exercise where I pretended like I was already living in December 2018, even though it was December 2017. I wrote down exactly what I have accomplished, in other words, what I plan to accomplish. I read that fast-forward end of November, beginning of December. Fortunately, like probably luckily, for me, I feel like I’ve exceeded those expectations that I had set for my business back in December 2017. Our team has grown by essentially 2X, the business has tripled. Everything is heading in the right direction. What went well? I mean, I’ve been able to hire the best people on my team. I feel really good about how the structure’s sort of coming together. Yeah, I think you know me and it’s always been about the people. The clients we work with are the most important to me, and the people who are on my team are equally important. Putting together the right infrastructure was sort of the core focus of 2017, and we were able to accomplish that.
Performance was also good, but I think to answer your next question around what could have gone better, I had very high expectations and as a result, high standards that I put into place for my team. I feel like for most people, like from their expectations and from their front, we crushed Q4, we crushed Q3. It can always be better. I have this bug, I grew up playing competitive sports. I’m very type A, very competitive. If you’re getting a 3X return, then how do we make that a 4X? If we’re getting a 4X, how do we make it a 5X? How do we just continue to push forward and continue to scale and be as aggressive as possible? I feel like there’s always room for improvement there. I think it could have gone better.
What didn’t go well at all, I don’t know. I feel like I was a crankier man. I’m very lucky, blessed to have nothing but gratitude. I legitimately couldn’t answer that question if someone asked me. I feel really good about where things are headed, so I may have to table that, maybe reflect on it. There’s probably something I could think of.

JD:Let me pry. Let me pry just a little bit. I don’t want to be the guy that’s focusing on, you know, on pain, but I want to assume, and maybe I’m wrong. I’m going to assume that you’ve probably launched some campaigns for clients that flopped.

Faheem:Yeah, I mean, the reality though is that’s just trade off, right? That’s the opportunity cost of trying to scale. The reason why I’m struggling to say that that didn’t work out at all is simply because I look at things from a holistic perspective. There’s the hygiene of a business, which is short-term revenue. Then there’s the health of the business, which is long-term success. Good leaders, from what I’ve heard, and what people that I try to talk to, they’re all trying to talk about getting the hygiene in place that the health is good. It’s never been just about the hygiene, it’s never been just about the health. If you look at things from more long-term perspective, and short-term day-to-day campaign failures, that’s just part of the gig. It’s hard to put a finger on that.
I mean, I wish for me, like I could have grown even better and faster and more efficiently. I feel good about where we are now, but I mean, I think from that front, I wanted to invest in a couple of ad technology areas in the spirit of trying to codify myself, I have some logic-based, campaign media buys to ad tech. I think that was one of the things I wanted to start working on in 2017, but it’s getting pushed onto 2018. That’s one thing that I really wish I had put into place.
If you were to ask me maybe, I just didn’t reflect on it. I don’t know if anything completely fell apart.

JD:Yeah, well, here’s what I love. It’s all contextual, right? There’s business owners that don’t live in your world of, you know, failing as a part of finding out what succeeds, especially with ad sets, ad creative, ad copy, ad targeting. You’re constantly, and I don’t know your business intimately, but you and I have talked enough, that you’re constantly narrating until you find that vein of gold, and then you’re focusing heavily on that until that vein of gold runs out. Is that accurate?

Faheem:Yes. I think it’s this infinite loop of test, learn, iterate. In the beginning, you build this sufficient funnel, you start testing. Look, you may not get the revenue targets that you’re trying to go after the first three tries. Then you find that one acquisition target in prospect, I don’t know, wherever. All of a sudden, that ends up generating a quarter million dollars in a month, right? Those two audiences, those three creatives, they just blow it out of the water. It’s just a matter of putting the right pieces in play.
Just like a professional athlete, you identify the ultimate goal, okay. Then it becomes the best player in this given sport, and then you reverse engineer it, right? Then you say, okay, this is what I need to do today to get to where I need to go. Applying those same principles to for e-commerce, just acquisition efforts, you reverse engineer the desired outcome, and then you start to figure out day-after-day what needs to get done, campaign after campaign, week after week. All of a sudden, you thought you were hitting a certain target Announcer day. Then 28 days later, with the attribution window kicking in, you’ve just been crushing expectations. It’s a matter of having those things in play.

JD:Fantastic. I love it. To finish my thought, and thank you for adding color to it, but a lot of business owners, because we don’t live in your world doing the magic that you do- I call it magic because it’s art and science- we view things as very binary. Either it worked or it didn’t work. You’re iterating. I love that test, learn, iterate. Test, learn, iterate. I wrote it down as a graphic on my paper here. Yeah, it’s a holistic approach to running ad campaigns, and getting those 3X, 4X, 5X, on some client campaigns that you’re investing a significant amount of money. Are you at liberty to share, obviously we don’t know your clients, but kind of just to expand the horizon of some of our listeners, kind of the money that you were investing in some campaigns? Especially in the fourth quarter.

Faheem:Yeah. We had brands spanning well above $50,000 a day on just Black Friday day, just that one day. Generally speaking, our portfolio’s pretty diverse. Our smallest accounts will spend 10,000 a month. Our largest accounts will spend closer to a million dollars a month. It’s a very diverse portfolio, and there are a lot of interesting learnings that happen through and through. Not everyone’s spending a million, not everyone’s spending a half a million, and not everyone’s spending 10,000. You take small batch tests that you learn from a $10,000 account, and then you’re able to apply those learnings to a million dollar account and do small batch testing there. Similarly, the way you’ve been able to scale, a half a million dollar account or $700,000 a month ad spend accounts, you can bring those learnings to like, a $10,000 account. It’s really fun to switch gears and think about the portfolio in such a manner. It’s a very diverse portfolio and that’s how it’s structured. Yeah.

JD:Very cool. All right, I promised I’d get you out quick. Knowing what you know now, looking back, what would you do differently?

Faheem:Pioneer my team January 2017 instead of later in the year. I think just having, I’m very lucky to have the best team in the world, and I think for me I would have slept more probably. Legitimately, I might have told you this during lunch, but there was a point in time where I was working 9:00 AM to 2:00 AM, seven days a week. Like, clearly 17 hours a day, for months on end, months on end. I got sick in the middle and I wouldn’t have, I know you asked what didn’t go well? Sleep. I wish I got more.

JD:Wait til you have a baby.

Faheem:Oh my gosh, yes. I’m practicing, I guess. My campaigns are the baby.

JD:That’s right, that’s right.

Faheem:It’s just, yeah. I think health and fitness, I think I probably need to look at that to some extent. When you’re playing ball, it’s high threshold, especially with ad spend as much as being, as high as they need to be. It’s literally it requires a lot of attention. There’s no such thing as setting it and forgetting it. At least not in the Facebook ads world. I haven’t gotten a sense of it. If there’s someone that knows the trick, I will pay you to tell me what that is. You almost have to be super prescriptive and hands-on to make the magic work. Yeah, I mean, looking back, I wish I had put the pieces in place earlier and learned to trust my team and hire them soon enough and then trust them soon enough to where I can take a step back and be more strategic. I do that now, but if I had done that earlier, I probably would have saved myself from sleepless nights.

JD:That’s great. Well Faheem with Social Within, thank you for taking time out. I know that you got a call at the top of the hour, so I’m gonna get off of here. If people want to connect with you, where’s the best place to go?

Faheem:Yeah, you can reach out to me. My email is Faheem at Social Within dot com. That’s F-a-h-e-e-m at Social Within dot com. I’m also starting to get somewhat more active on Twitter. I’m sort of checking it every day at least for news and such. I guess you can hit me up on that, my handle is just at Faheem, F-a-h-e-e-m S-i-d-d-i-q-i. If you just want to have a conversation, you can find me on LinkedIn. Really you can reach me wherever you want. I think those are probably three best avenues.

JD:Nice, very cool. Well as always, you’re amazing. It’s great to talk to you. Thank you for taking time in between calls and running your business. I appreciate it. Happy New Year to you, Faheem.

Faheem:Happy New Year to you, JD. Let’s connect when you’re back in town and we’ll do lunch again.

JD:That sounds great. All right, talk to you later, buddy.

Faheem:Take care, bye.

JD:Thanks for listening to E-Commerce in the Trenches, brought to you by Unific. Visit Unific dot com to start turning your receipts into revenue, through highly-segmented order confirmation campaigns and more.