Automation & personalisation strategies without having an Amazon-like budget⎜⎜EP 142

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This is a podcast episode titled, Automation & personalisation strategies without having an Amazon-like budget⎜⎜EP 142. The summary for this episode is: <p>Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Dan McGaw of about how to leverage automation &amp; personalisation strategies without having an Amazon-like budget. They'll also dive into marketing automation, UTM campaign tracking, and how to build the right stack for your online business.</p><p>---</p><p>Crossover Commerce is Presented by PingPong Payments. PingPong transfers more than 150 million dollars a day for eCommerce sellers just like you. Helping over 1 million customers now, PingPong has processed over 90 BILLION dollars in cross-border payments. Save with a PingPong account <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">today</a>! </p><p>---</p><p><strong>Stay connected with Crossover Commerce and PingPong Payments:</strong></p><p>✅ Crossover Commerce @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ YouTube @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>✅ LinkedIn @ <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>

Ryan Cramer: What's up everyone? Welcome to my corner of the internet. I'm your host, Ryan Cramer, and this is Crossover Commerce, presented by PingPong Payments, a leading global payments provider, helping sellers keep more of their hard earned money. Hey, what's up, everyone? Welcome to again another episode of Crossover Commerce. This is episode 142 of Crossover Commerce. This is my corner of the internet, where I bring the best and brightest experts in the Amazon eCommerce space, as well as just the digital entrepreneur space, sharing their insights on the most important aspects of selling online. With that being said, before we got into all the nitty gritty details, this podcast is presented by PingPong Payments. What is PingPong Payments? No, it's not a table tennis company. It is a company that's helping repatriate your money for a great low cost. If you're selling internationally, if you're selling in different marketplaces worldwide, whether it be on different Amazon marketplaces, whether it be in different, your own direct to consumer store in different countries or just different marketplaces like inaudible or MercadoLibre or wherever that might be, you can actually use PingPong Payments to save money as well when you get your money back to your local currency. Also, if you're paying suppliers, manufacturers, your VAs in their own local currency, you can save a lot of money, time and effort by using PingPong Payments. Go ahead and sign up today with the link in the show notes below, or you can go in the comments section, ask how or you can figure it out, or just mention that Crossover Commerce sent you or Ryan Cramer. That being said, so as the podcast grows, and this is for the listener out there, you might wonder how are you able to get so many different kinds of guests that are super fascinating, interesting in different aspects of life. I would like to ask that same question because I was really excited when I got this email. Someone reached out to me on his behalf and said," Hey, we love the podcast. We want to kind of talk about a little bit different in terms of leveraging automation and personalization strategies without having a huge budget, like an Amazon like budget, we'll call it." That's what we call this episode. But I'm super fascinated because this guest today has worked for the Department of State in the United States on behalf of entrepreneurship, with countries like Mexico. He has advised and grown multiple 500 businesses, top 500 businesses, traveling, speaking at large events, and they even consider him one of the original growth hackers in MarTech. Super excited to kind of get him on here. His name is Dan McGaw of mcgaw. io. Dan, welcome to Crossover Commerce. Thanks for joining me today.

Dan McGaw: Hey, thanks so much for having me here. This is going to be a lot of fun.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, well, I thought the introduction was your intro and your bio, when it's sent over, it's so fascinating. I love to hear the insights in the background of the people, but the things that stood out to me were you call yourself the original growth hacker, which I'm all about finding different ways to grow businesses, build entrepreneurship, just build out business in general. So maybe before we dive into the deep and nitty gritty of that, who's Dan and what makes you tick? And you're down there in Florida, correct? We were talking a little bit before this. What's kind of that background? And I like to say what's the genesis of Dan, if you will?

Dan McGaw: Yeah. Great question. And really appreciate that. Definitely, I'm not the original growth hacker. I'm just one of them-

Ryan Cramer: One of the original.

Dan McGaw: So I didn't exactly call myself that, but somebody else did so I thought it was very, very fascinating, but I've been in the marketing game for over 20 years. So I got my start back in 1998, sending mass emails since before there was even mass email. So I've just been doing it for a really, really long time. I didn't really know back then that I was in marketing technology because it was just tech back then. But now if you fast forward, I mean to 2011, 2012 was when MarTech really became hot and I'd already been doing it for a really, really long time. But I'm an entrepreneur by nature. I've always been an entrepreneur. Yes. I've had a couple positions at some pretty well known companies. I was the head of growth at I was head of marketing at Kissmetrics, but I've always just been a hustler and I've always just wanted to start companies. So even while I was working full- time gigs at other companies, I've always had a side hustle or some business I was starting on the side. So I'm just an entrepreneur by nature. And like you said, I'm based in Orlando, Florida. I'm here with my wonderful wife and my three boys. It's a great place to live. I live in downtown. It's not where the Mouse is. The Mouse is like 45 minutes away, but it's a really great to raise a family.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah. Well, I was going to say so yeah, Orlando, Florida, super hot down there. I always make a joke. It's like, you feel sticky all year round. It's always hot, right? But I love Orlando, Florida, shout out to the people in Florida and the friends of the show in Florida. But you travel all around speaking at different events and conferences, so it's interesting. How many companies would you say to date that you've either built, grown or even you feel like would be, like you would consider, I had a hand in this company X, Y, Z.

Dan McGaw: Yeah, it's kind of hard to track the number of companies because the company, like what's the definition of a company, right? Does it have to have revenue? Does it have to be legally found or bound with the state? So there's definitely a lot of different things there. I would say I've probably been involved with at least 10 of my own companies or partnerships with other people. And honestly, I've been involved with a lot of other business ideas, which never went anywhere, which we started. We looked at research, never did anything. And I have multiple business ideas that I'm sitting on now. I mean, I have four other business ideas that we're kind of sitting on waiting for the right time. So it's kind of hard to give you an exact number, but I could definitely say I've been with at least 10 or I've had at least 10 businesses that drove revenue and were legally licensed with the state and stuff.

Ryan Cramer: So you're a founder of businesses. You're an ideas person. It sounds like you're the conceptor, but also the builder as well. So that being said, what your favorite part about doing what you do on a day to day basis? Is it just the idea portion of it or just seeing it come to fruition, seeing it become successful? Because all have different roadblocks, maybe specific things you have to do in order to see it become successfully go through. What's your different part about growing a business or what's your favorite part about growing a business?

Dan McGaw: Yeah, I definitely, I would have to say. One, I just like building things in general. I'm very lucky that in my career I've had a lot, I've worn a lot of different hats. By no means am I a developer. I'm not that technical, but I understand what developers do very, very well, especially coming from my time at codeschool. com, we're one of the pioneers on online education for developers. So I spent my entire job was to get developers to learn more about development. So I definitely am really, really technical. So I like being involved with the building of it, so the creation of the brand, I like being involved with the rollout of the marketing. I like building products. So I think building ultimately is something that I'm really, really passionate about and I get really excited about, so those are probably the biggest parts of the reason why I start companies. That being said, where my entrepreneurship comes from is when I was a kid, I grew up really, really poor, but I was lucky enough to go to the richest prep school in the city. So I had this dichotomy of getting on the school bus every single day of being extremely poor, lived on welfare, lived on food stamps. And then I had to go to school with a bunch of millionaires' kids. And seeing that dichotomy was what really caused me to become an entrepreneur because I noticed that a lot of the people that I went to school with their parents were successfully either they owned businesses or started businesses or involved with big businesses. But the only way for a poor kid from the ghetto to really make that jump to that level, you either have two paths, right? Either you start a business and are successful in business or you do the school route and you go to school, get a master's and do all those things. And I'm just not a big person who's a fan of school. Don't get me wrong. I love learning, but I chose the other path. Let's go start a business. That would be my way to generate money. And it's worked out very, very well. I mean, as you can tell, I probably don't live on welfare. This is one of my spare bedrooms.

Ryan Cramer: It's really nice that you've discussed it very well, Dan. Very nice bedroom in there for office, I would call it, but-

Dan McGaw: It is an office in a spare bedroom, yeah.

Ryan Cramer: So fascinating. Let's dive it into that a little bit. Your mindset came from, and this is what I love seeing what entrepreneurs do is the mindset mentality of what sparks their push and drive to kind of figure it out. You can have a," Hey, I have a great idea or I had this kind of upbringing where it wasn't as great and I wanted more and I kind of was exposed to that." That's a drive, having better life for your kids, your family, yourself, so on and so forth. But it almost, for people like that mentality, do you have a sense of what is enough in that regards? Does that make sense? Because you can say like," I want to do more. I want to continue to build and grow." And then maybe sometimes, not you yourself, but sometimes people forget to look around and like," Oh man, I really did a good job. I have created what I've wanted. Maybe it's time for me to stop." Do you feel that sense that you have to kind of look around every once in a while and say," Darn, I did a great job, but I want more."? Does that make sense?

Dan McGaw: Yeah, no, it totally makes sense. I'm living my childhood dream. So I have enough. So for me, growing up the way that I did compared to the way that I live now, I have everything that I need and I'm super, super grateful for everything I have. So that doesn't mean that I'm not going to continue to go and try to accomplish more. For me at the end of the day, it's about constantly getting better. It's about constantly improving. And in many cases, when you're getting better and improving, you're still growing or obtaining other things. And in our company now, whether that be McGaw. io or, we're super focused on growth. How can we help more people? And that's really what our mission is about is how do we find a way to help more companies be successful with their customer data, be successful with their tech stacks, be more successful with their marketing. So at this point in my life, I have everything I need, I don't really need more. It's not about acquiring. It's about more about how do we help more people be effective at what they're trying to accomplish. And naturally, growing our company is a byproduct of that. And we do want to grow our businesses, but I don't think it's because I need more of something per se. And that's something that we talk about internally a lot is how do we stagger our growth to make sure that we can still have a good life? We don't want to be Amazon. That's not our goal. And if anybody knows about Amazon, when they first started out, I mean working 16 hours a day, six days a week, seven days a week, that's going to kill you. That's not the model that we're going after. So it's not just about more for us. It's really about fulfilling the mission to help more of our customers.

Ryan Cramer: You brought up a great point. People will get in entrepreneurship, specifically excelling online or developing online businesses because it used to be this mentality of I'm going to do it as a side hustle, which it still can be, but it's really become this new, not nuance. It's become a full- time job, but more. There's more things to overcome. Specifically, it's finding the right product, doing research, finding the right product product to stand out in a vast ocean, if you will, a never ending ocean of product services, ideas that are getting thrown out there on Amazon's platform or online selling those products and services. You also have to be optimized and you have to stand out. You have to drive marketing, you have to build a brand. You have to actually now more than ever overcome sourcing logistic nightmares as well as cost nightmares. So those barriers that were super low 2015 or so back when it was super easy to sell online, even 2010, they keep increasingly get higher and higher. So it takes more effort to overcome and get over those barriers. How are you helping overcome those kind of boundaries and making that a little bit easier to climb over, automate certain processes, but maybe also make it look at the data and then also help them grow their business in the meantime?

Dan McGaw: Yeah, I mean, at the end of the day, I mean our job is to help companies better understand their data, to be able to remove barriers from growth. So understanding where we're going to focus, where we're going to target, what kind of segmentation are we going to do? What is going to be even the niche of products that we're really going to focus on, so that way we can be successful. So we do try to do our best to look at the data and have the data really inform what our decisions are going to be. So that way we can make the best outcome. And a lot of times that could be like," Hey, listen, there's a huge barrier to entry because of logistics that you may have with a product or something like that and trying to better understand the situation." But if we went three degrees to the left, there's still the same opportunity, but there's less barriers in regards to your logistics. So it's about trying to figure out how to remove those barriers by really researching and understanding whatever data we have access to, understanding the analytics, to really get rid of any of those barriers. And then when you think about the automation, it's really to try to figure out how do we make it so that we can accomplish more by doing less. Naturally, if we can have something that's automated do the work for us, we always want that to have happen. So by getting the ability to automate things and not have to add more bodies to accomplish something, you reduce a barrier as well because labor is cost. Automation is much cheaper. So there's a lot of different ways that we try to reduce the barriers of entry of anything that we're working on and make things easier. But at the same time, it really comes down to what is the product? What is the positioning? Where are we at with that project or product?

Ryan Cramer: So what's a good example? You said you had a couple different companies you've been involved with. What's something that my listener can look at and say," Oh, that makes sense. I didn't realize that that could be something that I could automate or it helps our life be a little bit more easier and better and operational."

Dan McGaw: Yeah, I mean there's a lot of different examples in regards to how we've automated stuff to make it better. I mean, naturally one of the big things that we've focused on and this doesn't apply to the Amazon marketplace or anything like that, but it's really when it comes down to doing lead scoring, lead scoring is a really popular concept that you typically hear in the B2B world, but we also use it in the B2C world a lot. So as an example, somebody visits your website, they visit the pricing page, they get 10 points. Somebody views a product. Every time they view a product, they get five points. If they view that product enough time, or products enough times, of course, they're going to get a high enough score and they're then going to trigger or have a tipping point to be able to do something. So those lead scoring models can be built in just about any marketing automation tool, but what they are is a leading indicator to tell us," Hey, somebody's interested in buying a product." And when somebody reaches, let's say 100 points in that lead score, which is all automated, what we then do is have our marketing automation service, then add those people to Facebook audiences or LinkedIn audiences or whatever it may be, we're having them added to those audiences. So that way for the customers that we know are more likely to purchase, we add them to a higher dollar retargeting pool or advertising pool to get them back into the funnel after they leave the site. So lead scoring is really, really commonly used to be able to get those people into those audiences, to be able to make sure that you have the customers you're paying for them because there's a common mistake where I put retargeting on my website and I retarget every single piece of traffic that comes to me. And that's really, really wasteful. Because now you're spending dollars on people who just came to your site, viewed one page and left. That's not always going to be the most profitable conversion path for you. So if you use that lead scoring to make it so, okay, they need to visit four products or they need to be in this category, you can automate getting them into the right audiences in advertising. And you can also make sure that you can email them using automation as well. So there's a lot of different tactics that you can deploy there.

Ryan Cramer: So you said a lot of people do the wrong thing. A lot of that makes sense to me. So if I'm not a seller, you want to make sure that it's not just a browsing, like they're not window shopping, right? That's the term we like to use in either retail or online. They're not window shopping. Their intent is to either engage with your brands, one. Two, purchase a product or service or maybe be a repeat customer. So essentially you're looking at three potentially different pillars, if you will. So you would have three different campaigns for one" view", if you look at that way, like people would look at that view on your website or on your product and they wouldn't know how to distinguish it. How are you helping people coach them through, let's be tactful about this instead of throwing a shotgun approach at it and say they might be a repeat customer or they might be looking to purchase or they might just want to engage with my brand. How are you helping people understand that?

Dan McGaw: Yeah. Well, the first part you have to get set up is you've got to make sure that you have good analytics and tracking. Google Analytics is not going to cut it when you're really trying to dig down and understand what the customer behavior is, and then be able to kind of track them. So you've got to get more reliable analytics, a platform like Amplitude, which is completely free for up to 10 million events per month is really good. A platform like Mixpanel would be helpful. Even Kissmetrics, one of the companies I used to be at would be really, really good. And the big difference with these platforms is that one, they can track the customer in their lifetime. So what happens is, is with Google Analytics, it just tells you somebody viewed a page, maybe told you that somebody purchased, but it doesn't tell you who did that and it doesn't also track that over a long period of time. It doesn't give you lifetime value, repeat purchase rate, anything like that. So when you're leveraging a tool like Amplitude and you set that up on your site correctly, one, we know who the person is. So if Dan McGaw came to the website and signed up for a newsletter, that information is saved and stored with my profile, which allows me to really understand how are these people interacting with the site? And then when you configure Amplitude, it can of course track every page you went to like Google Analytics would. But the big difference is that if I make a purchase, it will track that. It will attach that to my user record. If I make another purchase, it will also track that. So it can track lifetime value. It can track repeat purchase rate, it can track a whole bunch more. It's a little bit easier to use than a Google Analytics. But when you have analytics like that, you can really start to understand the behavior of the users on your website and then come up with better automation strategies on how to get them back in. So going back to your point about maybe they're a repeat customer, if we know that we have a low repeat purchase rate, we can roll out strategies through marketing automation and advertising to help solve that problem and help get people back into the funnel. There's a lot of different strategies there, but if you don't have the analytics to see that, and you don't have ability to really understand why or why not? Are they not coming back? You're running blind. So it's really, really important to get those analytics set up first. So that way you make the right decisions on what tactic or strategy you're going to roll out to get them back in the funnel.

Ryan Cramer: So you touched on so many good points, and I actually come from SaaS background. There's so many, my job was to help Amazon sellers grow and use data in order to know keyword metrics, know product potentially for products that would fit into a model where the audience was. But a lot of people, this is the problem. I think maybe a lot of entrepreneurs kind of fall into the trap of, is there are so many tools that can help you eventually get to the right answer, but it might be overwhelming with all these tools and which ones you actually need, versus which ones are duplicates or replicas. If I'm an entrepreneur and I go to Dan and I say or you, I should say, Dan, which ones do I need in order to have my bases covered as an entrepreneur? What does that look like? Do you have almost like this very easy, this will cover your website. This will cover your email so on and so forth. Or is it a little more nuanced than that?

Dan McGaw: Yeah, it's definitely way more nuanced than that. At the end of the day, every stack for a company should have basically at least one thing going for it, which is marketing automation and a way to track your customers. So you need a CRM or a marketing automation tool, no matter what. And especially in e- commerce, you're more focused on a marketing automation tool, whether that be an active campaign, a Klaviyo, I mean, there's 250 of them out there. So that's where it gets really nuanced is that you have to understand, there's certain tools you're going to need. You're going to need analytics. You're going to need marketing automation. Okay, great, we know those, but it's very, very nuanced when you actually have to pick the specific tool. And that's just because you have to choose the tool that's going to work with your stack. And if you're selling through a Shopify store compared to selling through a WooCommerce store, compared to integrate it with Amazon, the options are very, very different for those three different platforms. So it does get very, very nuanced. I do cover this a good amount though in my book. I wrote a book called Build Cool Shit.

Ryan Cramer: You beat me to the punch, man. I was going to say, I started reading this and you beat me to the punch, but anyways, go ahead.

Dan McGaw: Yeah, no. So I wrote a book all about this, on how to build the modern tech stack. The way that we thought about marketing, the way that we did marketing five years ago and 10 years ago is very, very different than how we're doing it now. So I wrote the book to help people understand that, I know there's 9, 000 tools out there. I know it's hard, but if you build your stack in the right way, it's not going to really matter. You can swap tools out. You can bring them in, you can bring them out, but it really comes down to having the right foundation. And I'd love to give your listeners a free opportunity to get a copy of my book. One, we have a cool text bot, which is built into our stack, which is a lot of fun to play with. So if you pull out your cellphone, what I'm going to do is I'll give you a number you can text and you can get a free copy of my book through that. And we'll walk you through getting your address and everything. But the phone number's going to be( 415) 915- 9011. I'll say that again. It's( 415) 915-9011. And if you just text the word MarTech, so M- A- R- T- E- C- H to that. The text bot will collect your address, your name, all your information, to be able to help you get a free copy of my book. So definitely something that will help you kind of get pushed over. But back to the question, I mean, at the end of the day, I think the most important tool for an e- commerce business outside of your website and shopping cart is probably going to be your marketing automation tool. And you need to pick that very wisely. I highly recommend looking for a marketing automation tool that does email, onsite popups and things like that, but also does SMS. If it does not do SMS, you're really going to miss out because SMS is probably one of the biggest things that helps e- com right now. It's much more reliable than email.

Ryan Cramer: Well, and this is something, to be honest with you, that has popped up a lot in our recent conversations with marketing industry experts, and then also tool builders. Like I said, I come from the SaaS background on Amazon and one of our friends over at Seller. Tools, Troy Johnson, who's also in Florida believe it or not. This must be a Florida thing, if you will, touted, he goes," Ryan, what's the most, the number that stays with you longer than your social security number?" And it's your cellphone number, which I thought was super fascinating. And it's one of the truest forms of communication that one can get to the person because A, we're all walking around with cellphones. B, younger and younger generations are getting cellphones earlier. So you can actually start to build out that legacy that tap into the younger market if you so choose or need to. But also I'm not sure if this is a thing and that's why I want to ask you, Dan. Can you target with SMS? Can you see where they're located, not just by area code, which would be a very fascinating tool to use, like who from this area code is purchasing my products or using my services, but can you actually see where they are in the world at the time of purchase because my cellphone might not be, area code might not reflect where I'm actually located. Can you do that in SMS?

Dan McGaw: Not through SMS, to my knowledge. No, SMS doesn't have any location data that's necessarily with it. I mean, an iMessage would, I think to my knowledge, but I don't think with text message, you can actually tell where the person is located, but I could be wrong in that.

Ryan Cramer: Okay. Well, with that being said, a lot of people are saying it's more trust, more and more people are trusting SMS communications, whether it be brand engagement with it or just marketing in general. Why do you think that's the case? Why would somebody sending me a text message that's automated, which in the back of my mind, everyone seems to do that other than email or a social message or anything of that sort? Why is text and SMS more trustworthy and having this grip now, having a moment I should say, or it's going to continue to have moments of strength in marketing?

Dan McGaw: Yeah, I don't know if I would say that it's trusted more than another channel. I think trust for SMS has definitely grown over the past 10 or 20 years. It used to be text is a very, very personal thing. It's something where I'm only going to text my friends. And I think over the last 15 years, people have attempted to use it as a marketing channel. That being said, most of the marketing that was done via SMS was very, very batch and blast and spam. And it wasn't until the past few years where we were able to get a lot more segmented, a lot more personalized and a lot more targeted with a lot of these SMS messages. Technology has just finally caught up to it. I also think a big part of the shift is the fact that, I mean, honestly, the society has changed over the last 10 years, right? When you think back 2010, yeah don't get me wrong. We were all playing on Facebook and we're all using our email inboxes. Messenger really helped change the game. WhatsApp really helped change the game because these are apps that were meant to message on our phone, and we started getting communication and marketing through those channels. I think the people that are now communicating through SMS are getting much better at what they're sending over SMS compared to just batch and blast spam. The technology has finally caught up to SMS. So that way we can send authentic messages that are rightly timed. They're personalized. I just don't think that the technology was there five or 10 years ago. So I think maybe we trust text messages more because we're getting much more familiar with messaging on our phone anyways. And the lines are getting blurred between what is messaging with our friends compared to what is a marketing message, and the messages that we're now getting are much better than what they used to be. You used to get a lot more spam 10 years ago through phones than you do now. Now you still get spam, but you also get those authentic messages from brands where they're trying to help you do something. So I think perception has changed for sure, but I don't know if people trust text messages more than email or trust text messages more than Facebook ads. So I don't think it's like it's the most honest channel out there, but I definitely think people's perception of that channel have changed over the last five years.

Ryan Cramer: Right. So I like how you put that spin on it. It's definitely growing. And for those of you who are listening, Dan's book, we put that in the comments section, which is why I'm moving around and shifting all over the place. I have hundreds of different tabs on my thing. And I finally found it where you can actually opt in and either go to that SMS and text what Dan said earlier. At the 22 minute mark, we'll go ahead and say that or you can actually go to that link on their website and check that out as well. So either way, hopefully that was okay, Dan. I was trying to scramble it along and get that in the comments section. It will also be in the show notes, but SMS to me is fascinating. I personally would agree with you. I don't trust as much, but I'm starting to see it more, almost like a rewards point system, almost like it will be a notification. It's a notifier. I feel like people will talk one way to me and I'm okay with that. But when they start to ask about engagement, that's when I really start to be tentative about that. SMS isn't supposed to be really sort of like an engagement back and forth. It's like," Hey, be notified of sale XYZ, or hey, check out promo code Dan's book and you'll get a free copy." or something along those lines. You can take that promo code. Someone utilizes that in the cart. You know for a fact that you're only pushing that through one channel, SMS. You know for a fact that the conversion rate, if you're sending out to 100,000 people and 10, 000 convert, it's a 10% close rate. So there's a lots of different, excuse me, lots of different factors that you can say," Hey, SMS is converting at a higher level than maybe email or onsite from a code or popup or anything along those lines." Is there a scalable nature that you have seen success one over the other in terms of marketing or in that regard?

Dan McGaw: Yeah. I mean, I've seen a lot of success in regards to SMS, email and popups. So I wouldn't compare any of them directly. Obviously they're part of a larger strategy. We definitely have seen success when we are not just sending, so like you had talked about sending somebody a promo code and then measuring that when somebody uses it. We definitely have seen that process work and where we see SMS when it is most successful is when it is treated like a two way communication channel compared to just a batch and blast. When you send 150,000 text messages and you send all these people a promo code, or even you send 150 people just a promo code, many times that scene kind of just is inauthentic and you're just trying to get in my inbox and you get a lot of unsubscribes from that. So what we try to focus on whenever we're doing SMS is you wanted to have it triggered or be delivering value to somebody in a promo code. While it is valuable, it is not valuable to them. It's valuable to you because you're getting them to purchase something. So you really want to make sure that when you do SMS, you try to find unique trigger points to be able to send them things or be helpful. Don't get me wrong. You can still send promo codes and stuff like that. But at the end of the day with a text message, you can still send a URL. So what's the point of sending a promo code when you can say just," Hey, why don't you go to the site and buy it?" And they click on a link. They go to the website, you can have the promo code already applied. You then have all the tracking built into it. But we do see the most success when using text messages in the manner at which most people use text messages. I mean I don't see, does your wife send you promo codes? Do your children email you and say," Hey, listen, lunch is at three. Here's a 10% coupon."? No, I mean, that's not how that happens.

Ryan Cramer: If I get that message, I swear, Dan, I'm going to flip out. First off, my son, he's five or excuse me, six. And if he sends me a text message, I'm going to be worried. Why do you have a phone? And I don't know, what's going on, but you're right. Sorry to interrupt. But that's a good point.

Dan McGaw: Maybe if you ask the questions along the lines of something where people can respond and give you feedback, you get a much, much better thing. So you're always looking for a way to engage them in the same means at which they use that channel. Email has really crossed the line of where we're so used to getting spam. You got to remember when email was created, we created spam the next day. It wasn't anything different. So with text messages, spam was not the first way that we used that channel. We communicated with people. So you still have to remember that's the goal of SMS is to communicate and use that medium the same way that people would use it. And you're going to see much better success. So going to the text bot that I just shared, so you're going to text that number or word. It's going to text you back. And then it's going to ask you a question and then you're going to text it and then it's going to text you and you're going to text it and it's going to text you. That's how we use SMS. So when you just say," Hey, here's 10% off your lunch." And there wasn't a trigger that started that and you're just kind of spraying that out there. Your engagement is going to be much less and that human element's just going to be lost. You're going to get a lot of unsubscribes.

Ryan Cramer: Right, and also you want that engagement because you know they're an involved customer or potentially a highly engaged customer. It might be something that, you know for a fact like that that's going to be a customer you can rely on for product launches or any sort of feedback and whatnot down the road. Fascinating steps. What about we actually had someone listening right now. We have Lisa, who's actually saying chatting with the bot right now. So thanks, Lisa, for tuning in watching and listening to this in real time and chatting with it, Dan's already excited. He's like," Yes, it's working." So Lisa, let us know how it goes. And so with that, is there a way that with SMS, is it I found marketing messages and trying to capture information. It's data points that any sort of business ultimately wins and it's valuable information, whether it be to send out market automation to potentially target audiences on social media or whatnot. The one that I found the most engaging is it's information, but you feel like protective of it. You don't want to give someone your email address right away, because you instantly think," Oh, they're going to try to spam me or try to send out emails every single day or every twice a day." But the one I found most engaging is," Hey, put in your zip code to see if you qualify or phone number for, if you qualify for free shipping." It was something along the lines where the message itself was more engaging and palatable than," Hey, give us your contact information if you want to learn about us." It was almost like a passive thing, but this one was like," Hey, if you want to see if you qualify." It kind of like," We'll check for you and look in our computer system." It's almost like I'll go to the back of the store, see if we have your shoe in your size and then they'll come out and let you know if you don't or not. They always do. They just don't have it on the floor. But with that being said, is there ways to make things more palatable to gather information to make your automation work for you? Does that make sense?

Dan McGaw: Yeah, I mean-

Ryan Cramer: Like the marketing tool, does that make more sense?

Dan McGaw: Yeah. I mean, there's two kind of paths here. So one, progressive profiling is really, really important. So not asking somebody for all their information up front and grabbing it over time is really, really important. I think the strategy that you talked about with getting the zip code first is really, really important. That is a great way to progressively profile somebody and to be able to kind of build that on, but what you're talking about there as well is what we would call as a micro- commitment or a micro conversion. And at the end of the day, one of the things that's most successful, whenever you're trying to get somebody to give you their email is give them four micro commitments first. We work with an extremely large mesothelioma law practice, that if you've watched TV and you've seen a mesothelioma lawyer commercial, chances are it's one of my clients. When we're getting people from the TV commercials, and they're going to the website to fill out the lead generation form, the first thing that we ask them is not through email. We ask them a series of questions beforehand to give small micro commitments. One, we're collecting information, which enables us to be able to better power our analytics, better power automation, but we're getting them to do four micro commitments before we ask them for their email address. And the reason for that is one, we're progressively profiling them. So we're adding that to our analytics. We're adding that to our tools. We can now add them to certain audiences and advertising, but by the time they get to the end, they're like," Well, I've already given them all this information. I might as well give them my email." So by leveraging both of those tactics, progressive profiling as well as the micro commitments, you're going to get them to ultimately have a harder time saying no at the end. And this is a cognitive bias that people have. There's the cognitive bias of sunk cost. So I've already invested this much. I can't just leave it now. If you use that cognitive bias, you'll be able to increase your conversions. It's a very common tactic and strategy that we see done is give them four things, give them a little bit of value, then hide the last little 10% of value by them giving an email address and you'll see your conversions go through the roof.

Ryan Cramer: Right. I think one, how you describe that to me was I was targeted for a message. I think it was for Scott's Lawn Care, for example. They're like," Hey, see, what plan that would fit your garden or for your lawn care." And you go through a series of things you think about, oh, they're going to look at where I'm looking in the United States to determine what kind of grass I grow, all this other stuff. What's my address? So you get them their address. You get micro targeted for that. They're like," What's your preferences?" And you go through like," Do you like to take care of your lawn? What do you like?" And all these different things so that they can start feeding your coupons for the specific kinds of brands and fertilizer. And at the very end, they're like," Hey, we've curated your personalized profile.", super fancy words. And we've curated it just for you to get access to it, put in your email address. And I was like, of course I spent 10 minutes putting information in this stupid thing. Of course, I don't want this. Email, boom, I love that concept because it's like at the very end, it's like instead of starting with the thing you feel most guarded with email addresses, most often than not, you get that at the very end. Like you said, it's a micro commitment. And at the very end, you're like, well, I might as well. Why don't more companies conceptualize it? Is it because they just don't have someone like you in their corner that say like," Hey, let's make this easier or marketing for us and automate it for us?" Why don't more companies do it that way?

Dan McGaw: Well, it's not obvious. I mean, I think that's the first thing. It's not an obvious method to go. Most people just put a form on the website and go with it. They copy their competitors to do something else. And it's not like I invented this. I learned this through research online through conversion rate optimization experimentation, and even looking at other studies and stuff like that. So I think most companies just don't have the experimentation kind of mindset. They don't have the growth mindset and they're not running a lot of experiments. One, it's not easy to do in many cases, but it's also kind of nebulous to many companies. They don't know what they're getting into or how to get it done. So I think a lot of companies kind of just fall short there. They just don't have the experience or bandwidth to get that that going. And there's plenty of articles out there. If you do your own research, excuse me, I gave up coffee so I'm yawning even more than, but there's definitely plenty of articles out there on the internet that talk about this stuff. If you were to visit instapage. com and go to their blog, all of this stuff is covered. So really, really important stuff to see there.

Ryan Cramer: Right. You sound like a guy who is constantly learning and growing too. What were you getting? Were you constantly learning and growing and tapping into the information out there? There's so many forums that can blast you with information. Are you reading a lot? Are you just reading a lot of blogs? Like what podcast, what's the kind of, how do you figure out," Oh, I didn't know that. I want to like learn more every day." Because that's where I'm at in my professional career, I want to continue to learn about something every single day that I don't know about and kind of tap into that. Is that where you're at in your career?

Dan McGaw: Yeah. I mean, I'm always learning. I mean, as a CEO, your job is to constantly be evolving and improving. So I think over the years, the way that I've learned these things has definitely changed. When I was more on the marketing side and I was more doing conversion rate optimization myself and working with this, a lot of it came from other blogs, other internet articles, things like that. I remember when I think it was what, like 12 years ago, when I really dug in on social media marketing. I had run a Facebook development, Facebook application development company for a while there. I spent like three months just researching on online reading blogs and then of course going and doing it and trying to build stuff. I mean the best way that I've learned to learn things is really by doing it. But I definitely think the ways that I've got my inspiration for what I'm going to go do is change. And originally it was blog posts, things like that. Over the past few years, I think a lot of that has changed to reading books. I mean last year I read 42 books. This year, I've already read 15, a little bit slower this year on my reading, just because of life in general. So I would say most of my education now, most of the stuff that I'm growing with is coming out of books, less on articles. I do watch videos from time to time. I definitely am not a big podcast listener. I listen to the Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday. That would be the main podcast that I say on top of because I'm mainly listening to books compared to listening to podcasts. So my team keeps me pretty fresh on stuff now. But as a consultant, the reason why I get to learn so much is because I get paid to do research for companies. So in that case, I mean, my job is to do demos, research how taxonomy and documentation works for these products. But most of my learning now comes from solving problems for my clients compared to reading blog posts about that stuff. I no longer am an independent contributor, so I don't read articles like I used to about how to do CRO. Luckily I get to see the proof in my client meetings where my team shows me a successful test and there's a winner.

Ryan Cramer: Amazing stuff. Well, I want to give you a quick shout out, as mentioned, Chris Kinnard, who's actually with PingPong now. He said it's been a long time since our Kissmetric days. So I don't know the background. This was news to me. I don't say like, yeah. So Chris has been with our team for gosh, over a year plus now. And really he's out there in California. Haven't met him-

Dan McGaw: Congratulations on your wedding, Chris. You're doing great things. I keep seeing you on Facebook. So Chris and I worked at Kissmetrics together, and out of, I don't even know 30 people on the sales team, Chris was, I think him and Chad Supers were two of my favorite people to ever work with. So super happy to hear that you guys got him. He's a badass. He's a lot of fun.

Ryan Cramer: All right, Chris, take this, give it to our boss, Kenny and make sure we have this on record. It's officially out there, but no, that's fantastic. Chris is a wonder to work with, and I know all of our clients are really happy with him too. That was really funny. I wasn't expecting that today, Dan, so made me smile this morning, but he's up early man, for being on West Coast still.

Dan McGaw: He doesn't mess around.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, I know.

Dan McGaw: He doesn't mess around.

Ryan Cramer: So yeah, so on the back half of that, that was amazing to talk about. So Dan, you said you're constantly working with different clients and kind of on this back stretch, if you will, of this podcast in this episode, I'm curious to hear what's kind of the thing that you get excited about the most in this world of MarTech technology, just business development, as innovation continues to find new ways to stand out in this e- commerce world? What excites you and what do you think this trajectory continues at?

Dan McGaw: Yeah, I think the biggest thing that gets me excited is architecture. You know, I think that's the thing that nobody talks about when you're thinking about marketing technology, sales technology, any of this stuff. But when you're stringing together 15 different tools that are integrated with all these different platforms and it has to pipe back to revenue operations, that architecture of how that all gets set up and integrated is probably the most exciting part for me. I could care less whether we use Marketo or Pardot or Salesforce marketing cloud or Klaviyo. At the end of the day, that comes down to what's going to be best for the company and that's going to be choose. But where I get really excited is how are we going to set up Klaviyo with Zapier, with Segment, with Kissmetrics and all these tools? How do we design the architecture for the data? That's really what gets me kind of jumped up. But it's funny because working with Chris at Kissmetrics, I mean the whole reason why I was brought into that position at Kissmetrics was because I really understood the stack. I understood how the analytics worked and things like that. And data still me extremely excited. I don't think analytics gets me as excited as it used to because I've just been in it for so long. But that's where I'm trying to take into consideration the larger architecture of what we're creating gets me most excited.

Ryan Cramer: Very cool. What is it that you hear from clients or wish that you would hear from them ask you a question? Like you say like, if you're meeting with them for the first time, what do you wish that clients would ask you or potential clients would ask you first instead of going through all this back and forth? And you're like," All right, just tell me what you want." Or anything like that.

Dan McGaw: The biggest thing is when can we get started? I mean, at the end of the day, that's the question I want. When can they get started or when can I pay you? I think, working with a consulting company like ours, so McGaw. io is an elite agency. We are not your bread and butter shop. So we are not going to be able to compete with other companies. I really get annoyed in the sales process when people are trying to constantly change scope so they can save$ 500 or even$5, 000. If you're a company where you constantly were reviewing scope over and over and over again, it gets a little frustrating for us because at the end of the day, this nickel and diming of the scope is the way that we take it. It's really not going to change your price. It's really not going to change the process. At the end of the day, if we can just get started 95% of the time, we're going to wind up in a really, really good spot. It's the customers, the 5% that nickel and dime that scope of work, they don't know what they want. They don't know what they're doing. They don't know what's up. They don't know what's down. Once we get into the project, they still don't know anything. And then we're telling them," Well, we know you should do X." But they still nickel and dime our feedback and our opinion. So the questions that I always want to hear is like," Hey, when can we get started? How can we move this faster? How can we move this along?" The clients who are asking us," Well, what about if we did it this way? And then what about if we did it that way?" And those are the conversations for like fucking weeks in the sales process, I don't want to work with you. You're going to be a problem client anyway. So consulting is not like SaaS. It's not a product. It's a lot of gray. It's a lot of hammering things out. And if we can't hammer out a scope of work in the first place, then we're never going to make progress inside the project, because you're not going to be able to hammer out the hard questions or the hard problems you're going to have to solve with us. So when can I pay you would be the question I would want to hear in my meetings.

Ryan Cramer: So as a CEO for a business, I'm assuming, knowing where your income is coming from would be a nice thing to know. But I guess my final question for you, Dan, would be what industry or client out there that you know for a fact that you could figure out this problem, that you see pretty plainly and obviously, and you want to work with? They just haven't picked up the phone and say," Dan, how can I pay you?"

Dan McGaw: Yeah. You know, unfortunately I don't think about the world like that right now. I mean, we're not in hunt mode, so trying to work with clients. We're extremely overwhelmed with our demand. I mean, we're basically sold out until the end of the year. And we're very lucky, most of our clients are doubling if not tripling their engagements with us over the course of a lifetime. So I don't have any clients that I really, really want to work with, though when they come up from time to time, that's cool. My favorite brand to work with, we work with King's Hawaiian bread. I don't know if you know who King's Hawaiian bread is, but they're-

Ryan Cramer: They're delicious.

Dan McGaw: They're amazing. Who would've thought we would help them build their stack and build out their e- commerce efforts. So after I worked with some cool companies like that, I'm pretty satisfied. Once again, I'm pretty easy to make happy at the end of the day. So there's no one client that I'm trying to go after. If there's any one thing that frustrates me in the market that I wish I could be more involved with solving, it would be Apple and their hypocrisy with this privacy bullshit. I would love to help the consumer understand that Apple is ultimately just trying to make you feel like everybody else is stealing your data, when Apple has more data about you than any other company in the world. This phone tracks every single thing you do and Apple saves all of it. The only difference about Apple is they don't sell it to other companies. They sell it to their other divisions. So while the phone is tracking it, iTunes knows what's going on. iPhone knows what's going on. iCloud knows what's going on. It's shared with their divisions. So while they're not like Experian, who has your credit card and sells your information, this pissing match that they're doing with Google and with Facebook, at the end of the day, the only person that all of this is going to hurt is the small business. Because the big businesses who can afford me, they're not going to have a problem. They're just going to switch to first party cookies, service side tracking. They're going to fix it, but it's the small businesses that are really going to suffer. So if there's somebody I could help, I would love to figure out a way to better help small businesses. So these changes with apple iOS 14, as well as the changes coming with the cookie- less world, which is bullshit, I would love to figure out a way to help them, but I'm not going to be able to do that on a one- on- one basis.

Ryan Cramer: Right, no, I mean, I guess we have a few minutes in that regards. I know a lot of people are trying to understand it's affecting not just small businesses, it's affecting how people in marketing operate because eliminating cookies, is that on just Apple products? Is that what the whole nuances is no longer able to drop a cookie, which a cookie for a listener out there in Kalamazoo, Michigan, if you're listening to this and you might have found the wrong podcast, but a cookie would actually be a tracking capability to actually know what they're doing, almost like breadcrumbs, know what they're doing on your website. They've gone to the product page. They've gone to a service page, about us, facts, whatever it might be, you know that information. That's why you have to say," I accept all cookies." at the bottom of every single website you go to. Now, it feels like you can either prevent it by clearing your cache and your history and whatnot. But at the end of the day, most people don't know how to do that. That's why we have information available. You're talking about Apple just guards it all and keeps it to themselves. Therefore can sell you products to however they want based upon their automation sequences and whatnot. But Apple has its own thing. Google has gone a different direction and said," We're going to track less." Is that a little bit better in your mind? Or is it the same thing, just masked differently?

Dan McGaw: At the end of the day, I mean, I think it's very, very, very similar in the fact of what they're both trying to do is protect their data at the end of the day, well Google is telling you that they're getting rid of cookies and things like that. One, they just pushed the date back to 2023. Third party cookies is where all of this is a problem and things like that. First party cookies are staying. It's the third party cookies that they're really trying to get away from. At the end of the day, Google has all the tracking it needs. It's on all of your phones, it's on all of your devices. So again, they're building a garden wall to protect themselves. It's their moat, just like Apple is doing. What Apple has done is it's not just the cookie what Apple has done is. Intelligent tracking is what Apple is really against right now. And it's the cross device tracking. So somebody clicks on an ad and goes to your website, on the end of that, there's an FBCLID, an FBCLID equals. That is your user number, and it's also mapped back to the ad that you clicked on. Apple's really trying to out that intelligent tracking. So that way we can't track users across different websites. We can't cross device track them. All of this is going to happen. I mean, it's just what Apple's trying to do. But at the end of the day, there's plenty of workarounds around it. There's plenty of ways to get around this process, but it's the small business marketers that aren't going to be able to solve this problem who really pay. And it's just Apple trying to off Facebook and Google ultimately. They're trying to protect their own data too. So it's all, it's just a pissing match between these giant companies, unfortunately right now, and they're trying to masquerade it like it's helping the consumer all the time when it's really not at the end of the day. Most of the reasons why companies do this is to provide you a better experience. The people who sell your data are not Facebook and not Google that's selling your data. They're leasing the data ultimately. So it's not like they're handing somebody that data. We just are now able to show you ads. If you really want to go after the people that are selling your data, go after companies like Experian. Experian literally sells your transaction data from your credit card. So if we want to talk about bad people, I mean we should be pointing our fingers at the banks, but nobody's going to do that in the tech world because they of course are dependent upon the money from the banks. So either way, I'm now venting. I don't know if I'm on track with you or your listeners.

Ryan Cramer: I think I opened up a wound in everyone. I think Dan, well, this is what I say ultimately, no matter what position you might be in as a person, like I try to put Switzerland here as a podcast host, I have my own opinions, but let's say everyone can point to everyone and say," You're a bad actor. You're a bad actor." Everyone's doing, hopefully not the wrong thing. They may be pushing the envelope too much. At the end of the day, you're talking about data. And I want to go back to that core principle of data in itself. Everyone can capture it in a multitude of different ways. A lot of people today are very protective or they think are protective of it. But you have an avatar, no matter where you might go on your phone, your computer, your televisions even now, however you access all this information. It just got smarter over time. Of course, there's certain data you don't want to continue to share, but there's nuances. People act like that. You can't get access to it. It's not true, like just the technologies at work or at home that you're using. There's going to be, it can build. And it can look a lot like you at the end of the day, because of your search history, because of your profile, your age, your information, even your email address. It follows you around. And that all is like another social security number or anything like tax ID. It all ties back to your profile X, Y, Z. So I, I think that's what you're trying to get at is, is it just doesn't make sense for everyone has the same information as a third party business owner to not get access to that is kind of like you said bullshit. To steal a phrase from your book, it doesn't make sense like you said. It is just to protect themselves and ultimately people don't get access to it. They can't make money off of it. It doesn't make sense. That's where I think you're getting at.

Dan McGaw: Yeah. I mean, we're only trying to improve your experience, so we're not trying to steal your children.

Ryan Cramer: Exactly, right. And technology can be used for good, everyone. Let's think about this. That's why it was created, to be used for good, not to make people richer, more money. That's a byproduct, but it's to make the experience more good instead of wading through all this garbage and trash, that could be out there potentially. Anyways, Dan, I know we kind of crossed that border. I want to reel us back in real quick. Besides the book that you're out there, which I'm going to definitely download, or I'm going to go through the processes on your website, people can check out that. What if people are like," I really want to invest or talk to you or get in touch with you." What's the best way to do that or your team just to kind of pick your brain or potentially work with you?

Dan McGaw: Yeah. Best place to find me is on LinkedIn. So Dan McGaw, I'm on LinkedIn. You'll be able to find me, my pretty face is there. It's the easiest channel to get ahold of me. So I definitely recommend LinkedIn. And you can also go to McGaw. io. On our site, we have a ton of free resources about this. Just scroll down to the bottom of the website, to the downloads and resources section. And we'll be able to, I mean, the site will be able to give you a bunch of free information to help you get started with your stack.

Ryan Cramer: Awesome. Well, thank you so much for your time today. I know you said that you have so much going on, you as a consultant, just to spend the time with us to kind of educate on a very high level. We could have probably gone down. I feel like a big dummy, with all the questions I'm asking today, but thank you for sharing your insights and time with our audience to educate and help them grow in that capacity. It's a lot of fun talking with you. So thank you again for hopping on Crossover Commerce today.

Dan McGaw: Absolutely. Thanks for having me.

Ryan Cramer: Yeah, awesome. And thank you everyone again for hopping on Crossover Commerce. This is episode 142. Dan was amazing and fantastic. If you have questions, make sure you go ahead and go to those links in the comments section portion that's below. And then also you can go back to, I want say it's around 22 minute mark around when we give out that phone number to text and go through that cadence, get a free book or you can just go to McGaw. io and you can go ahead and go through that cadence on those webpages as well. That being said, this is day two of my week long live podcast series. We have so much content we're covering to tomorrow. It's actually going to be quality control and product compliance, two important pillars of successful e- commerce business. We're going to be talking about that with Raul tomorrow. So make sure that you subscribe to all of our channels on social media in order to be notified when our new episode's going live, and then you can listen to the audio formats as well. Those links are going to be in the show notes, in the comments section below. Go ahead and check those out. But I'm Ryan Cramer. This is Crossover Commerce. We'll catch you guys next time on our episode 143. Take care, everyone.


Ryan Cramer of Crossover Commerce talks with Dan McGaw of about how to leverage automation & personalisation strategies without having an Amazon-like budget. They'll also dive into marketing automation, UTM campaign tracking, and how to build the right stack for your online business.


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Today's Host

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🎙 Ryan Cramer - Host

|Partnership & Influencer Marketing Manager

Today's Guests

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Dan McGaw

|CEO of