Ezra Firestone is a force in the ecommerce industry, owning and operating one of the largest Shopify stores with BOOM! By Cindy Joseph.
Because of his ongoing work in ecommerce, including leading multiple trainings and courses on the ins and outs of the business world, Ezra talks to thousands of entrepreneurs every year and has a lot to say about the most common problems they face.
We got to speak to Ezra about how to expand your brand’s reach, the best way to go about promoting your products, the importance of a brand’s story and the four dominoes of scale that determine a brand’s success.
If you want the full scoop with all the details (and Ezra has a lot of details), you can download the whole talk with an accompanying guide.
But to start, let’s dive into a sneak peek.
Reaching more people: expansion is the key
According to Ezra, “the game is won or lost on the back end, not the front end.”
30% of his 115 million dollar business comes from repeat customers, and yours should too. If you don’t have a high repeat-business rate, you need to change that, so start focusing on expansion.
You can do this effectively in two ways:
1. Send more emails
Communicating with your customers directly is essential. Ezra described it as, “communicating with a group of people around a collective experience they’re sharing and offering a solution to the problem—your product being the solution.”
People are receiving up to four hundred emails daily, so sending an extra few won’t get you in trouble with your customers. Don’t be afraid to send multiple in a day if you have a big sale or product launch. Email marketing is one of the best and most inexpensive ways to communicate with your customers, so take advantage of the opportunity it gives you.
Also, diversify your emails. They shouldn’t all look the same.
Some emails should act as sales promotions, others should be for new product announcements, reformulated products, contests, giveaways or educational product information. Create a promotional schedule for your brand and fill it up, making sure there’s always something exciting and new to communicate to your customers each week.
With BOOM!, Ezra does a sale every six weeks and launches three to four products a year. He recommends other brands aim for something similar to keep up a constant stream of interesting content to talk about.
2. Utilize user-generated content (UGC)
Go all-in on UGC. It works that well.
Ezra incentivizes BOOM! customers to send in videos and testimonials about why they love certain products by offering them store credit. He then uses those videos for a myriad of content for BOOM! including ads, sales pages and emails.
UGC makes for powerful content, and it’s right at your fingertips. Use it.
Product vs story: why the story is so important
“You don’t need a unique product, but you do need a great product,” Ezra said, emphasizing that it’s not necessarily the brands with the most unique products that do the best, it’s the brands with products that live up to their promises that do.
In thinking about product versus story, most brands focus primarily on the product and its benefits. While it is important to create a quality product, the story of the brand and who the brand serves are just as important.
Fully understanding who you’re selling to and why will give you so many more ways to connect with your customers and forge long-standing relationships. Assembling those communities of people who not only believe in your product but also believe in what you stand for is key in building brand loyalty.
As Ezra said, the days of being a faceless ecommerce store are over. Brand identity affirmations are now a big part of establishing brand awareness.
Just selling a good product isn’t going to cut it anymore.
Source: BOOM! By Cindy Joseph
Ezra’s four big dominoes of scale
To make a company successful, you need to have four things down pat. If all of them work, then the business will too.
Whether you’re updating your product or coming out with new ones, always be innovating and listening to feedback to keep your offerings fresh and relevant.
Build anticipation for your new products too through email, ad and social campaigns, rather than simply sending a mass email once they’ve launched.
2. Topline video ads
Essentially, this means paid advertising. Generating awareness about your brand begins here.
Ezra explained that videos, specifically UGC videos, are some of the most effective kinds of advertising you can use.
And ads don’t have to be just used for direct conversion, in fact, they shouldn’t be.
In the same way it’s necessary to diversify your email marketing campaigns, it’s also necessary to diversify your video ads. Some people are slower to buy, and that’s okay. By creating engaging content that sometimes aims to educate, other times to collect emails and other times to make a sale, you’ll reach a much larger swath of people.
For example, say the first video ad of yours someone saw taught them about your product and how to use it. They watched it because it was fun, informative and aesthetically pleasing, and they didn’t feel pressured to buy the product right away.
When they next come across a conversion ad of yours, they might be more willing to buy because they’ll already be familiar with your product.
See how ads quickly become a conversion funnel in themselves?
4. Smart Social System
AKA content marketing.
Smart Social System is a broader category, but it has everything to do with creating content that makes the customers want to engage with the brand further.
This looks like social contests, giveaways, articles and email lead generation aimed at collecting customer data and giving them access to even more (and personalized) content.
Source: BOOM! By Cindy Joseph
5. Pre-sell articles
Pre-sell articles are articles designed to speak to the shared experience of the brand’s customers. They must be relevant to the conversations the customers are having and be connected to a product or service the brand offers.
Ezra considers these articles essential to BOOM!’s marketing strategy. For example, he might have one of his copywriters write one titled “10-minute Makeup Demo on Bringing Out Your Natural Beauty with These Simple Sticks.” This piece would be intended to get the customer in an open-to-buy mindset by pairing informative information with recommended products, turning into a pitch when BOOM!’s specific product is recommended within it.
Often, Ezra will have these articles written for email content first, and those that perform the best he’ll turn into pre-sell articles, using them everywhere from ads to product sell pages to sales events to automatic message responses.
Key takeaway: invest in your business
One of the most important parts of running a business, Ezra said, is remembering to take inventory of what you already have available to you, rather than focusing on what you’re lacking. “If you look around, there are always connections there and people who can help,” he told us.
Giving back to your business is another big one for Ezra.
Resources are generated by resources, and to get more you have to put more in. Re-investing in your company consistently is essential, and as the years go on you’ll see the compounding effects of your continued investment.
P.S., Want access to an hour-long video discussion we had with Ezra about scaling your brand? We’ve included it in an ecom strategy bundle with 6 videos and 8 guides (featuring 15+ experts) Get yours for free!