Ecommerce Marketing Case Study: How an Online Shoe Retailer Retargets Customers for Less than $0.03 per Click with Email
Today I’m going to show you an ecommerce marketing case study of how a French online shoe retailer used product bonuses to retarget visitors for one one-hundredth the cost of Google or Facebook retargeting.
Retargeting by email also gets him click through rates in the 14%+ range — a massive improvement from typical PPC retargeting click through rates.
He did this without spending hours on social media.
And he did this without fancy web design tricks.
He also didn’t have to spend tons of time creating new content — he just used what he already had.
Let’s meet him.
Meet Maxime, the owner of a French ecommerce shoe store
Maxime and his partner Valentine are the owners of Jacques & Demeter, an online store of high-quality French shoes.
Side note: Don’t they look like they wear really nice shoes?
But he didn’t always run Jacques & Demeter.
Before starting the store, he ran an audit firm (exciting!). But he had always dreamt of having a business based on his passion for really nice shoes.
In his own words:
The job at the audit firm was boring. I wanted to be my own boss because I couldn’t bear to receive orders from some people who have one and only quality: to be older than me.
Well said, my man.
So, in 2011, along with Valentine (who was a graphic designer), he started Jacques & Demeter. Since then he’s built it into a business that supports him full time and is growing.
Operation Leave Boring Audit Firm = Success!
Ecommerce Marketing Rule #1: Don’t “Waste” Visitors Who Don’t Buy
Like any beginning ecommerce business owner, after the business was up and running (and making money!), Maxime started learning all he could about marketing his ecommerce business, including converting more of his visitors into customers.
Getting traffic is already hard, so when someone comes to your site, they’re a pretty “hot” lead. In the entire universe of sites, they’re interested enough to come to yours.
Which means: 98% of these ultra hot leads end up NOT buying.
That’s just business. But wasting those leads is bad business.
That’s why remarketing and retargeting are so popular.
What is retargeting?
In short, you put a some code on your site that puts a cookie on the device of folks that visit your site. So now Google, Facebook, or whoever know when one of your past visitors is on their site. Then you pay them to show ads to these past visitors.
So people who visit your site end up seeing your ads all over the internet.
This way you don’t “lose” or “throw away” those leads.
In fact, because these people have already visited your site, they click on your ads twice as much as everyone else.
The two problems with retargeting: Money and CTR
But the problem, though, is two-fold.
First, that “twice as high” click through rate (CTR)?
It’s still only around 0.2%! (Ads just don’t get a high CTR compared to email, more on that later.)
Second, you have to pay Google or Facebook for those clicks. How much you pay is heavily dependent on the details (as anyone who has done PPC will tell you), but people routinely pay in the $1 – $10/click range, and I’ve heard of people paying a lot more for a single click.
Not everyone who clicks is going to buy (duh), so it can take many $1 – $10 clicks to get a sale.
For Maxime, when he tried retargeting through Facebook, it took him 3000 impressions to get one click (0.03% CTR), and that click cost him $3.15.
Yes, he only got 1 click, so $3.15 doesn’t indicate his long term CPC. But being a two person, not-yet-profitable operation at the time, he knew he didn’t have the budget to scale this, and he knew that even if we did some ad optimization, he wasn’t going to get much lower than $1 CPC (at best), so he stopped.
Fortunately for Maxime, a failed retargeting campaign wasn’t the end of his conversion optimization efforts. He found a method that was far more effective and costs a fraction per click.
It’s a method I called the Ecommerce Product Bonus, and Maxime discovered it on my blog.
Now most people read blog posts and go back to watching Empire on Netflix, but Maxime took action. Here’s part of the email he sent me saying he implemented it:
How the Ecommerce Product Bonus Helped Maxime retarget to 122 visitors at a fraction of the cost and with a 466X higher CTR
I’ll explain exactly what the Ecommerce product bonus technique is in a bit, but first let’s look at the results Maxime got.
Through 2 bonuses on his product pages, he was able to convert 1.7% of his product page visitors to his email list.
That’s a solid conversion rate, considering we’re talking about shoppers (not loyal niche blog readers, or another uber-engaged group.).
Once they’re on his list, he sends them through an autoresponder and emails them about deals, tips, how-tos, etc. That way, they are constantly getting value from him.
His emails are sent to between 1500 – 3500 potential customers and typically get a 35% – 50% open rate and 12% – 16% click rate.
Think about this for a second. A typical retargeting banner ad on Google gets a 0.2% CTR and is considered “good.”
But nearly 50% of people who get Maxime’s emails are opening them (and are exposed to the messaging, tips, deals, etc.). And 12 – 16% click to go do something on his site.
Look at the difference:
Of course, you could argue not everyone who visits his product pages opts into his email list, only 1.7% so far. If we account for that, email still wins:
But this is only the tip of the iceberg. Let’s look at the cost…
Cost per click of remarketing by email instead of PPC
Now how does remarketing by email compare to PPC in terms of cost?
Say you wanted to remarket to 10,000 people.
Taking Mailchimp’s costs as an example, if you sent them 10 emails per month, at a 3.3% click rate (average), you would get 3300 clicks and pay $75 to Mailchimp.
TWO CENTS PER CLICK.
Are you kidding me?
Other email providers prices differ, but not by enough to make that a difference. Hell, you could pay Infusionsoft $200/month, and it’d still mean you’re paying 6 cents per click.
But did the product bonus reduce product sales? No!
One key question I always get about this technique is: but does offering content for download in your store reduce sales of your product?
Let’s look at what happened to Maxime.
He offered the download in his accessories pages, and he started offering it in mid-September.
Here are his accessories sales over the past several months:
The arrow points to when he started implementing product bonuses on his accessories pages. Clearly, accessories sales have been on a massive rise and the product bonuses didn’t seem to hurt it one bit.
Clearly, offering his shoe care guides did nothing but help.
Now that you’ve seen the results, let’s look at how Maxime set up his ecommerce product bonus
Step 1: Pick a product category to give away some content
The ecommerce product bonus technique doesn’t mean you’re slapping customers with some PDF you want them to download all over your store.
Sure, if you have a small, niche store, you can offer something sitewide.
But it’s generally best to pick a particular product category and offer the bonus there.
For Maxime, he picked his accessories pages.
Why? Because customers shopping for shoe repair accessories are the perfect audience for his content piece…
Step 2: Create or Repurpose Content That Genuinely Helps Your Customers
Maxime had already created some high-value PDF content on his blog. The content was on taking care of shoes:
So he offered it on his accessories pages. People there are looking to buy things to take care of their shoes, so, naturally, they’d be interested in a guide to help take care of their shoes.
Step 3: Give it away for free, in exchange for an email.
This step is simple but is the one place where you need some technical chops or a developer to hand off to.
You just need to offer it somewhere on the page in exchange for an email.
Maxime used Leadboxes from Leadpages to do this.
The steps involved in this (regardless of what form/software you use) are:
1. Upload your PDF to your optin service (like Leadpages) or your email provider (like Mailchimp).
2. Put a form on your product pages advertising the guide (or, you can use a popup like Leadpages or OptinMonster)
Now, when someone opts-in, you have to find a way to actually deliver the guide to them. You can do that a couple ways.
If you use single opt-in (in other words, they don’t need to confirm their email first before they are on your list), then check out this blog post by Optinmonster on the different ways you can deliver a lead magnet. In short: You can link to it on the thank you page, or redirect them to the pdf url itself once they optin.
Or, if you are using double-optin, then you’ll need to create an autoresponder in your email provider that sends a link to the lead magnet after they opt-in. Check out the bonus below to get a free guide on how to do that.
Next Step: Do this Yourself
To help you (and your team) execute on this method on your site, I’ve put together a simple one page checklist that outlines the steps of this method. And I have a step by step guide on how to hack autoresponders in Mailchimp so that you can have people get different lead magnets depending on where they opt-in but still be put on the same list.
You can get both of these PDFs, for free, by clicking here and telling me where to send the PDFs:
Any questions about commerce product bonuses or Maxime’s story? Ask me in the comments. I’ll answer every question.