Born Ready: Visiture’s Ronald Dod shares how eCommerce is shaping up in 2017
Just recently we sat down with Ronald Dod from Visiture to bring you the latest from the eCommerce marketing world. We peppered him with questions ranging from his motivations to serve the eCommerce industry to the best channel he thinks will feature the most prominently in the near future.
If you’re serious about taking on eCommerce as a new sales channel, take 10 mins to read what he has to say about the current and future goings of the industry. We promise you won’t regret it.
Q: Tell us a bit about your background. More about yourself and what motivates you to get up every day? What made you decide to join Grey Umbrella with Visiture.com?
Ronald: Basically, I started a company called Grey Brand Marketing back in 2012, and we’re kind of a full-service marketing agency. We started doing a lot more digital marketing, building websites, optimizing social media channels. And then we really started getting our focus on search engine optimization, and at that time we were working for a few eCommerce businesses.
We really liked working with them because you can measure all the sales. We can measure, you know, we did X amount of work and now your sales are X amount dollars. So it’s very measurable, so we started focussing solely on eCommerce.
I did a speak at Richard and Magneton in 2015 and then that was a really big thing because I met my future business partner, Bryan, with a company called Visiture, out of Charleston.
That time I led PPC or eCommerce related businesses.
So we decided to makes a whole lot of sense to merge the companies because same target market and same kind of client base. So we merge the companies together to do a full service, kind of search marketing program for eCommerce businesses.
We’re just growing now, and just trying to do good quality jobs for clients and grow the company. That’s kind of it. I get up every day because I love what I do and building companies, cultures, and impacting people’s lives everyday.
I love making change and building companies. I feel like I was born for it.
Q: Tackling digital marketing head on can be daunting, especially for companies with no experience. How can they help themselves to stand above the competition? (Most of our customers are offline businesses and looking forward to sell online, so your suggestions would be valuable)
Ronald: Fail small and fail a lot. You cannot learn without messing up and failing. A lot of PPC clients who come to us brand new with PPC think we can wave our magic wand and poof there is ROI. But that is not the case. It takes a lot of trial and error and many eCommerce businesses have years and years of data which says these are the keyword to buy and such.
Q: You’ve had many success cases over the 10 years, Do you see a common trend that defines them? What did they do well, and what can others learn from it in order to master eCommerce marketing?
Ronald: Trust in your people and vendors. The ones who are most successful hire great people and get out of their way. Usually, people get in their own way of success through micromanaging, doing it their way.
Q: What is the one thing that business owners do wrong when they carry out their digital marketing strategies, or perhaps the most common mistake you see?
I would say either doing too much themselves, micromanaging, or do not look to learn.
A lot think “this is the way it is and there is no other way” which doesn’t work in internet marketing.
It is constantly changing and if you just think of it as black or white you will be left in the dust.
Q: So, as you have a lot of experience with eCommerce sales, what do you think is the best way for acquiring new customer channel, probably like acquiring initial sales. What would be the best channels to go after?
Ronald: I would say, probably social media and then search engines. Starting off with SEO, search obviously.
The social media channels are always great, because you can use the Facebook advertising platform and more to utilize to gain customers. But anything that you can do organically is generally a good idea so content marketing is a really good idea to acquire customers.
It takes a lot of time, energy and effort and that is why a lot of people give up on it, but those are definitely the channels that can earn you the best ROI which you’re good in, you know.
Content Marketing for eCommerce
Q: Okay, so you just said about content marketing for eCommerce. Can you please explain a bit more about Content Marketing for eCommerce platforms.
Ronald: Yes, so, you know, content marketing is just kind of understanding your client base and what they’re looking for, what they’re researching for. It’s also understanding what keyword phrases people search to find what products and solutions are out there.
So a good example is a business that sells IT equipment. A lot of people are searching CAT5 versus CAT6, what do those mean, basic queries that are more research related questions. See you create content that’s more into research questions or information. Then people who are researching will find you and they will get back to you at a later point.
Q: What are the potential obstacles for going for a new sales channel?
Ronald: I think there is just a lot of learning experiences, whenever you do a new sales channel, a new customer acquisition channel. You know, you never going to do something that’s going to be successful at the first try. And that’s why a lot of people get quite frustrated and don’t do it anymore.
So, you know, the first obstacles is, are you going to fail, so fail small, learn fast and adjust as you go.
So those are definitely the biggest things when you grow, it’s the biggest obstacle, but a pretty easy obstacle to get over.
Q: What do you think about mobile commerce, where it’s heading towards. What’s your take on mobile commerce?
Ronald: Yeah, I mean, I think phones are getting bigger and as they get bigger, I think people can have the same experiences they have on desktops as they can mobile.
I don’t think anything is ever going to replace a laptop.
I think the screens will get smaller, I think we will still need them for working purposes but mobile, you know, I think more users are towards it because they get more comfortable using them. And I’m thinking, 55% of people search on mobile devices now than ever. Obviously, mobiles are a big pointing fact.
It’s where the kind of market is going, you know, commerce is going to have to move towards as well. And that’s what we’re seeing now, it’s a big shift towards mobile.
Q: Okay, that’s interesting. Is there any specific tactic you would recommend for eCommerce entrepreneurs to target only mobile users?
Ronald: Yeah, I mean you definitely want to think about how are mobile users going to express my content. I think a lot of mobile users want content, products, and information quicker. I think by mobile experience, how fast is it loading, is it loading correctly or are you giving the information that is the quickest. Especially in products, I mean you can’t really have a bad checkout experience on mobile because they will leave right away.
So you really want to make sure that the checkout is seamless as possible. Amazon does a really good job in making sure the checkout process is very quick and easy. That’s why so many people like Amazon. So you really just be focussed on making sure they have a really good experience, using all devices, loads quickly and as you optimize for mobile you know, the users still come and you get more traffic and sales.
Q. Many companies feel SEO and digital marketing are really unpredictable and hard to control. What’s your take on this?
Ronald: I do not blame them. Most SEO or digital marketing companies are terrible because they are just learning. The cheaper ones are usually really bad because you cannot pay a seasoned professional a good salary and produce results for people at $500 a month. We charge $2,000 a month minimum for PPC and sometimes I feel like that is too low. There isn’t enough time to make an effective digital marketing campaign for a company for less than $2,000 a month. You just cannot live off of it.
Q: What are you most excited about at the moment? You guys are cooking some new software or something like that?
Ronald: No, well, yeah, I mean we always trying to develop software. I think every company is doing something similar to that. I think we’re most excited about just kind of growing, and really kind of, you know, identifying the kind of process, our product and our service.
And I think a lot more people are recognizing that it works really well for them and that a lot more demand for our company’s box and services.
So I think we’re most excited just growing eCommerce, in fact it’s growing about 56% in the next 5 years, so we’re just really excited to be a part of an industry that’s growing quickly and being in line with it.
So just looking more towards, you know, continuing to grow our partnership with other software companies and eCommerce and obviously all our partners that’s eCommerce businesses, and just growing with them as the industry moves on and moves up.
Q: What is the process you guys follow at Visture? When you get a new customer who probably has a Shopify store?
Ronald: Yes, so generally they come to us and they say, hey we have a need, we want to get more traffic, or they want to get better keyword ranking. So a lot of the time it could be that their search ranking had suffered, their AdWords accounts have suffered over time. So we work with them identifying the problems that they have and make sure that our solutions can help them and provide them an ROI.
We do that in the discovery process and then once we can identify that, you know, then our services would help them make more money and be a more profitable company or vice versa.
We develop a proposal, we go over the proposal, you know we onboard them if they accept the proposal and then generally we do a really lengthy discovery onboarding phase. Which kind of makes us pretty unique to other companies out there.
And then throughout the course of the year we just work with them to optimize the plan that we discussed and get them a better, or more revenue returned on their advertising spent through the course of the year.
Q. In Visiture, you’ve always emphasized taking a long term view. But companies often want immediate results. How do you balance the two sides?
Ronald: Usually, the ones who want immediate results go with another agency or something. They then get burned by that agency then hire another agency for 3 months and the cycle keeps repeating itself. The ones who invest in their partners (vendors) or their employees and help them succeed are the ones with the most results at the end. No one can get results for clients within 3 months on a consistent basis in digital marketing. They might get lucky here or there but a year is a good timeframe to get results for businesses.
Q: Most of our readers are into traditional businesses, so they are having offline businesses, and they are exploring eCommerce via Shopify, Magento.
What is the one take away from this interview to our readers?
Ronald: Yeah, I would say the future is really turning towards eCommerce mobile and search engines. I think more and more people are using Google, more and more people are using mobile phones and more and more people are just using the internet to buy products and solutions, you know.
And I don’t think it’s just Amazon growing, there’s so many small merchants out there growing too and it’s just a really good opportunity and I think the second take away if there is one, is, don’t give up, everyone fails. There’s no company that just came out that was really successful at the start.
It’s taking many many years to make them successful, you know. Even though it doesn’t work for you in the first 6 months or even a year, you shouldn’t give up and continue failing, and then you’ll learn. And you know, you’ll be more successful than eCommerce.
Q: Any reading reference you suggest if our readers want to learn more about SEO and PPC?
Ronald: Yes! Search Engine Journal, Search Engine Land, and the SEMPost are my favorite online publications!