Growing Your Audience The Right Way – Ben Jabbawy (Privy)

In this episode, we talk to Ben Jabbawy, the founder of Privy, to get his best advice for growing your audience. Ben teaches us how to find the folks who are most interested in your brand and what kind of offers you should present to capture their attention.

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About this episode:

In this episode, we talk to Ben Jabbawy, the founder of an ecommerce marketing tool called Privy.

We kick things off by talking about how to identify your ideal customers and figure out where they hang out at online. From there, we discuss a handful of strategies for getting your brand in front of those prospects and presenting them with an offer that will capture their attention.

Ben layers on the insights by telling us how to properly welcome new members into your audience and how to provide a cohesive brand experience from first interaction through the point of sale and beyond. We close things out by talking about advanced growth tactics – like contextual calls to action – and Ecommerce trends that are gaining steam.

All in all, it’s a fantastic conversation, especially for the early-stage Ecommerce founder who is still trying to establish their footing or the mid-stage founder who wants to direct more attention and energy to audience growth. If that’s you, then definitely give this one a listen.

Want to be a guest on our show? Have feedback or ideas for how we can improve? Send your thoughts over to We’ll be keeping an eye on that inbox. 🙂

The Ecommerce Insights Show is brought to you by The Good, a Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) consultancy specializing in helping ecommerce businesses accelerate their growth through better research, testing, and design. Learn more about our team, our work, and our services at

Episode transcript:

James Sowers: [00:00:00]Hey Ben, welcome to the e-commerce insight show. Thank you so much for joining us today, especially because as I hear you’re coming back from some paternity leave, you’ve got a new little one that you added to the family.

[00:00:20] So time is even more valuable than it’s ever been for you. So thanks so much for taking time out of your day to join us here today. First, before I get into anything, that’s less important. How’s the family, how’s everybody doing? Adjusting the new baby. 

[00:00:31] Ben Jabbawy: [00:00:31] We’re doing great. You know, we’re having fun. This is number two for us and she’s actually like her temperaments.

[00:00:37] Amazing. So. We’re 

[00:00:39] James Sowers: [00:00:39] having fun. It’s double the challenge and double the reward. That’s what I say. At least in my experience I got to here at home too. So, um, congratulations to you guys again. So I’m so happy to hear the news and, um, hopefully you get back into the swing of things with Mark here, and it’s not too painful for you.

[00:00:52] Um, so listen, maybe we’ll kick things off. Like I try to skip the whole life story, but mainly where are you at today? What are you guys working on at privy? And maybe what’s a project that’s coming around the bend or that’s in the works that has you excited that you’re excited to share with the world here in the future?

[00:01:07] Ben Jabbawy: [00:01:07] Yeah. Uh, so, uh, I’m the founder and CEO of a privy. Uh, we are known for our, uh, site conversion tools like popups and shipping bars and cross sells. Um, we’re used by Shopify stores in the hundreds of thousands, um, and very thankful to be in a position where we can kind of coach and educate customers on how to grow faster.

[00:01:32] So, um, over the years we’ve expanded. Um, what I’m most excited about is like lately we’ve really honed in on our sweet spot, which is small brands that are, you know, doing between zero and a million. We think that’s the right spot for us to focus between the ease of use and the coaching model that we bring to the table.

[00:01:50] Um, and we’ve expanded into more of that all in one. So site conversion. Along with messaging, whether that’s through email or text. 

[00:01:58] James Sowers: [00:01:58] Awesome. That is some impressive scale. And I’m sure that as you start to target this kind of early stage SMB market, that’s only going to accelerate because we know there are more of those than the enterprise brands.

[00:02:08] And so, um, yeah, really excited to hear it, see the momentum and see it kind of continue to build through what you guys are doing. So, what we’re going to talk about today primarily is audience growth and list growth. You can kind of lump those two things together. One’s a little more technical. One’s a little more philosophical, but if we take ourselves and we put ourselves in the shoes of that early stage brand owner, kind of trying to get to their first million, maybe they’re making a hundred grand a year or something like that.

[00:02:32] How can they build their audience? I mean, the default is like 

[00:02:35] Ben Jabbawy: [00:02:35] pay for 

[00:02:35] James Sowers: [00:02:35] Facebook ads. That’s how you get attention. And then if you have a good PDP and a good product, then you’ll start selling and you’ll start capturing emails and you start growing your audience that way. Are there any strategies that are outside of the paid advertising arena that you recommend as far as attracting that initial attention and starting to build your audience when you’re starting from scratch 

[00:02:53] Ben Jabbawy: [00:02:53] a hundred percent.

[00:02:54] I mean, I like, I follow you James, on Twitter. I follow a bunch of other kind of entrepreneurs on Twitter and I am blown away at what I see. Right. Um, Matt ladies, someone that comes to mind. Um, you do a lot of this. Like, this is the type of stuff that I used to do when we were, you know, a hundred thousand in revenue pushing towards a million.

[00:03:15] Um, and it it’s something that, you know, I wish more e-commerce entrepreneurs really understood, but, um, you know, if you, if you have any amount of sales already, like. First of all, you know, clap, clap, right? Like, cheers. That’s amazing. Um, but then I think, you know, before you just like rush into buying ads, and I know that’s an important play, um, use social media, right?

[00:03:40] Like find, find your audience online. And I think one of the things that I coach a lot around is like getting super specific. So, you know, you heard it for us at privy. We’re getting tight on that zero to a million, but for you, whatever you’re selling online, like. Get really, really specific, you know, not just selling to women, you’re selling to 25 to 30 year old women, you know, in these regions.

[00:04:05] Right. And once you do that, then. Everyone lives online. Right? So you can find whether it’s Facebook groups or Cora responses, which is somewhere where I used to spend a lot of time or Reddit or Twitter search, like wherever that is, or Instagram search hashtags, right? Like use that stuff. Find the people that are relevant to you that you want to sell to and help them.

[00:04:29] Right. Don’t, don’t rush into, you know, selling in the comments, but, um, if there’s real questions that are coming up where you have expertise and you can add value, do it. And I find that like, I’m still doing that, you know, and we’re, we’re, we’re above 10 million, right? Like, but that’s the type of stuff that, you know, everyone says it doesn’t scale.

[00:04:49] I think it really does scale. And it can help you build a brand kind of in a grassroots way alongside that paid effort. If that’s what you’re doing as well. 

[00:04:59] James Sowers: [00:04:59] Yeah. A bunch of interesting elements in there that I picked up on one is this kind of concept of working in public, which I love. It’s like, Hey, share your rough draft.

[00:05:06] Ben Jabbawy: [00:05:06] Like share your 

[00:05:06] James Sowers: [00:05:06] wireframe, share your half-baked product, like where it’s on the assembly line, not quite finished and like be a little bit vulnerable and say, Hey, I’m not sure about this material. Like, I feel it, it’s not super soft. It’s like soft enough, but like, I want it to be better. What do you guys think?

[00:05:19] And like engage your audience in that way. Um, the other thing I heard from you is really. Nailing down who that audience is not just like, um, people who are outdoor enthusiasts, but people who specifically like to go on long treks through the mountains that are 20 miles or more. I don’t know something like that.

[00:05:35] Right. Like getting super niche. And I think a lot of the objection that you’ll hear from people is, you know, my, my audience isn’t online. Right. Well now more than ever, I bet they are because. Outside in the real world, things are starting to slow down or shut down and they got to find a home and they’re not just going to like abandon their hobbies or their interests or their work or whatever it is that your product addresses.

[00:05:56] They’re going to go try to find it elsewhere. So there are going to be those watering holes online that you can hang out with the point there though, I think is make sure that you’re leading with value, not with the sale, right? Like you want to be. The trusted advisor is, is the mantra or the persona that I try to embody.

[00:06:11] It’s like, I want to be your advisor to help you make a good purchasing decision. And I’m confident. And I stand behind my product, that mine is going to end up being the best, but you don’t lead with the product, right. You lead with the value 

[00:06:20] Ben Jabbawy: [00:06:20] a hundred percent. And you know, I think like you can be doing this weekly.

[00:06:24] That’s the beautiful thing about the internet is like, Uh, search on Cora, you know, today for people hiking and, you know, the Appalachians or whatever, like whatever you’re selling into, um, will reveal something. But I guarantee like in a week or two weeks, uh, that same search will have a more recent kind of thread on it.

[00:06:45] And so I find that like, just getting in the habits and, and blocking time weekly to respond, to add value, to just support the community. Um, authentically and then yeah, like maybe you can afford to sell it, send them a free, um, sample of what you’re launching right ahead of launch. Um, get that feedback, honest feedback, uh, that sort of thing.

[00:07:10] I think just, you know, it’s um, if you can, if you can get in the rhythm of doing that stuff early, you’re going to build a name for yourself and your brand within the niche that you’re trying to target. And then, you know, the beautiful thing about that is you’re, you’re working to build content, ensure the content originally starting for, um, you know, maybe these question and answer sites or work or on social, but then you can, you can kind of templatize it and turn it into stuff on your blog to grow organically and have that be the gift that keeps on giving.

[00:07:44] That’s another thing that like early on, you just don’t see a lot of e-commerce brands. Doing like how many brands that you check out their site even have a blog these days, you know? Um, but I do find that they are very engaged on social and they’re creating all this, you know, creative for, for ads. And I think if they just kind of repurpose some of that and repurpose some of that authentic, organic social media stuff, um, you know, and they do that early, that’s going to really give back over time.

[00:08:13] James Sowers: [00:08:13] Yeah, it’s kind of like a flywheel, right? Like it’s, it’s hard to push and get moving in the beginning, but once you make it part of your standard operating cadence, then it gets a lot easier and it starts to drive better results too. Um, awesome. So they’re hanging out on these online watering holes.

[00:08:26] They’re being value-added members of communities. They’re using their personal network. They’re getting out there and starting to see some of that initial traffic, new prospect hits their website. How do you advise brands to prioritize like the. Audience building like capture the opt-in versus, you know, that could potentially get in the way of a direct sale.

[00:08:46] And so in the early days, like you don’t want to come between a customer and the purchase, right. But at the same time, you do want to retain that person through audience because you want a subsequent purchase. You want a referral, you want to maximize the value of every touch that you get. So how do you advise brand owners to kind of weigh those two options?

[00:09:03] Do I want to prioritize list building? Do I want to prioritize the sale? 

[00:09:07] Ben Jabbawy: [00:09:07] Yeah, there’s a lot there. I would start by just being brutally honest about what you’re selling, right. Is this a considered purchase or is this say, you know, something that someone sees on an Instagram ad and they they’ll buy it today?

[00:09:24] You know, um, and I think whatever the path like, that’s totally fine. Right. But I think if you understand that and get that input from your customers, um, then I think you can make better decisions here. Right? So, uh, like I’ll give you a good example. So we’ve, we’ve worked forever with this awesome company called project Repat, which is one of these things where, you know, you send in a box of nostalgic t-shirts that you have.

[00:09:52] And they turned it into this beautiful quilts and they do it here in the U S it’s really a great company, um, and, and great story. And. They know that like the first time someone comes to their site, it’s just, it’s highly unlikely. They’re ready and they’re going to buy it. Right. Because they’re like, Oh, there’s some work involved, whatever.

[00:10:12] And so I think for them, they recognize that early and they, they did everything they could to optimize the first site experience around capturing, and then educating them through email and bringing them back to the site when they’re ready, uh, versus like Connor on my team. Who sells, um, a couple of different things on, on Shopify stores.

[00:10:35] Um, one is, uh, these like presets or filters for your photos. It’s a digital product. And he knows that, you know, within a day or two. Of someone coming to that site, if they don’t purchase, then they’re never going to. Right. Um, and so I think like once you understand where you sit in that spectrum, then you can design experiences to optimize for the right thing.

[00:11:00] Um, one second, my wife’s okay.

[00:11:09] Um, cool. Okay. So, you know, I think once you, you know, where you land on that spectrum, then you can design the right experience. And so I think I’m always a fan of, of capturing an own direct relationship, whether that’s email or text, I think, um, you know, for obvious reasons I’ve been preaching about this for eight years, but, uh, I, I think there’s nothing more valuable than, than that.

[00:11:35] And so. You know, I would just say like, if you’re on the fence, you’re probably on the fence because you’ve encountered really a negative experience before, around like forums and pop-ups, and these things have come a long way when it comes to like design and targeting and triggers. Um, and so, you know, maybe, maybe what you want to do, if you’re on the fence about it is let that person come have a great experience on the site.

[00:12:01] Track their behavior in their first visit. And then like a little bit later, if they’re showing signals of intent, but non purchase, then you can prompt. Right? Um, like if they’ve looked at three products, this session and scrolled all the way to the bottom of the story page and now are leaving, Oh, that’s someone that, you know, that’s pretty solid, right.

[00:12:23] Versus someone who just hits the home page and balance it. Right. 

[00:12:27] James Sowers: [00:12:27] So it sounds like there are a few variables to consider there. Maybe, maybe one is even price point. If you have like a high ticket item people, generally, aren’t going to purchase that on first landing on your page because you know, it’s not a discretionary decision that they’re making.

[00:12:38] So that might be an opportunity for you to build your list and nurture that lead through education or content or whatever else you have. Whereas if you’re selling 

[00:12:46] Ben Jabbawy: [00:12:46] $8 Photoshop 

[00:12:48] James Sowers: [00:12:48] lighting presets, that’s more of kind of a knee 

[00:12:50] Ben Jabbawy: [00:12:50] jerk. 

[00:12:51] James Sowers: [00:12:51] I need this right now. I’m working on. Um, a client project, or I want to do one of my personal photos.

[00:12:55] So I’m going to buy this today or I’m not going to buy it at all. Um, maybe that’s where you get out of the way and just let that sale happen. Um, so yeah, that, that’s super interesting and I love how you broke that down for us. Now, I’m curious in terms of when that kind of opt in, um, offer or request is made, how do you recommend that happens?

[00:13:15] Because like you said, these things have come a long way. And at the good, we always talk about how we hate those three second. 

[00:13:21] Ben Jabbawy: [00:13:21] Pop-ups 

[00:13:21] James Sowers: [00:13:21] right. Like the, what three seconds I just hit the site. I don’t even know what you do really, because my friend sent me here and you’re already offering me 20% off, positioning yourself as like, kind of a discount brand.

[00:13:30] I don’t even know if I want the thing yet. Right. But you’re asking for my email. So what if I close that? Pop-up and then I decide, I do want the discount because I actually read your landing page. Like, I don’t know how to get that back. Right. And so those kinds of experiences are poor and I’m hoping that you and I can agree on that, but, um, In terms of the tooling that powers, those kinds of things, that’s come a long way.

[00:13:50] And if it’s done correctly, both in terms of what the actual offer is, right. The incentive is, and when it’s presented, then I think it can be a crazy growth lever for the audience and for your sales. So how are you guys thinking about that now, as we sit here in 2020, like. What are some of the best practices you’re seeing in terms of leveraging a tool like privy to present an offer at the right time and the right context to maximize whatever your conversion is, whether that’s a list signup or an actual purchase.

[00:14:14] Ben Jabbawy: [00:14:14] Yeah. Yeah. Love it. I mean, so I think, you know, the most important part of, of designing for conversion is, is probably to remove friction at each step of the buying process. Right. And so, you know, we know that there’s, there’s certain things that, that drive friction like. You know, uh, not understanding shipping early enough in the buying journey.

[00:14:38] Right. So of course, okay. Start with that dynamic shipping bar or free shipping bar, if that’s something that you offer. Um, but as it relates to like going for the list, sign up. You know, I think, um, I think there’s a couple kind of tools in the toolbox that, that are really important. So the first is what’s called a tab.

[00:15:00] So a tab is something that you can customize, like where this sits and how it looks. It can look like a, a notification bar that spans the page. It can be like one of these little dialog boxes. It can be, you know, just a little bit of, uh, texts with an image. And you can put it anywhere. And what I’ve found, or what we’ve found is that letting the visitor prompt the form itself, using copy and design, and the tab is going to lead to really, really high intent signups.

[00:15:33] Um, and you know, I actually recommend that people do pair that with some automatic triggers, like the tab you’ve got to click it. So we call it a manual trigger versus like, Exit intent, uh, paired with some, some advanced targeting rules. So, you know, I think that’s an important thing. Um, and you know, like you said, like it may not make sense for you to load a pop up on unwelcome.

[00:15:58] Um, you know, I think the, the thing about popups is you can design them any way you want. They can look amazing or they can look awful. Um, they can add value. They can make you laugh. They could make you cry. Like, you know, it’s, it’s really just, uh, an Avenue for designing something that gets in front of the user.

[00:16:18] So the thing that matters most is what you’re saying in it and how it’s targeted and triggered. So I think what you’re saying in it, um, you know, matters a lot because we’ve seen that actually has the biggest impact on conversion. So we call it the offer. Um, but it really can be a number of things, right.

[00:16:38] It can just be join our email list and you’ll be like part of our VIP club that gets access to stuff. Um, or it could be more of a discount, which is join our email list and we’ll give you a code. Um, but there’s other kind of crafty ways to do this too, which is like join our email list and you’ll get a free gift with your purchase for joining the club.

[00:17:00] Right. So I think there’s, um, there’s a lot of different ways to do it, but. Um, you know what we said, and what we’ve seen in the data is that, um, you can start anywhere. You can start without a discount, you can start super targeted. And you’ll what you’ll see is you’ll end up converting about 1% of traffic.

[00:17:19] And then, you know, that’s like, just join my list, right? And then if you, if you start to experiment, whether it’s free gift with purchase or, you know, 10% off when you join like those things, and this is why you see them. So prevalently is. They convert much higher percent of people that see it. 

[00:17:37] James Sowers: [00:17:37] Right. That makes a lot of sense.

[00:17:38] I think maybe the core message at least that I want to communicate here is like the tools have gotten better. You’re, you can be way more creative with when you present these things and how the visitor has to interact with them and even what your call to action is. But I don’t think that brands have like, come with that along with that journey.

[00:17:56] Right? Not most of them, some of them are, are taking advantage of it and they’re doing fantastic. I’m sure. Um, but still consistently when I hit a site, Within three seconds, Fullscreen pop-up takes over everything. I’m doing 20% off that kind of stuff like that drives me. Batty. Even an exit intent would be better than that.

[00:18:12] And it might not convert as high, but from a user experience perspective, it’s a little bit better. Like if we were to continue our hiking example that we used earlier, Maybe an incentive for something like that. That’s a little more creative than a straight discount is, Hey, this is a big purchase. You’re about to make.

[00:18:26] Cause I know those backpacks aren’t cheap. I don’t do a whole lot of hiking, but I know those overnight, those big overnight backpacks where you’re gonna hike the Appalachians, like hundreds of dollars. Right? So what if instead of offering a discount, you had a slider or pop up or however you want to present it that says like, here’s our buyer’s guide to help you buy the perfect pack for your trip, right?

[00:18:42] Like your size, how big you are, what you need to take with you, how far you’re traveling, all this stuff like. Here’s a buyer’s guide that tells you the whole landscape. So you make the right decision and we’re confident that our product will stand out above the rest, but we’re gonna help you make this purchasing decision either way.

[00:18:55] I don’t, to me, that feels a little bit more, I don’t know, organic is not the right field, but like a little more, a healthier way to form a relationship with somebody than just like. Here’s a discount or even a free gifts, not as bad, but like the discounts really drive me crazy. It’s like, you’re just slashing your margin just to get somebody in the door.

[00:19:12] Is that really how you want to start any relationship? Right. Like, you know what I mean? It’s, it’s like a compromise versus like let’s let’s, um, again, begin with value is, is kind of this common theme that I’ve been 

[00:19:22] Ben Jabbawy: [00:19:22] sharing. Yeah. Content offers work. Yeah, for sure. Right. I think like, you know, you’re not, I’ve learned this a lot this year, working with Dave on my team, like.

[00:19:33] One of the biggest things that I realized is like, everything you do in marketing needs to center around in offer, that doesn’t mean it’s a coupon, but it needs to be something of value if you’re trying to get the consumer to do something. Right. So in your case, it’s, it’s actually, Hey, I think I can help you with your considered purchase by writing the best guide to buying a tent or whatever.

[00:19:56] Right. And that’s, that’s an amazing offer. Right. So I think, you know, um, It boils down to that. Right? So can you come up with something that really adds value to your customer? And if you can, then you a hundred percent should because, and I’d argue everyone can, it just takes effort really, and strategic thinking.

[00:20:20] And you know, what would you just describe that content download? That’s going to perform better than a form that just says join my list for sure. Right? Yeah, right. Um, and then, you know, the other side of it too, is like, I think, I think there is a economic equation, right? Like we’ve seen it in, uh, like, um, in, in the ad spend world, right?

[00:20:46] Like, you know, you hear it all the time, like CAC and LTV and all that stuff. Like when it comes to email acquisition too, like there is a revenue per contact number. And people who have really well implemented email programs see that and they say to themselves, Oh my gosh. Like if I can grow my list, you know, I’m willing to sacrifice a little bit at brand equity because I know that I’m going to make it on the backend.

[00:21:15] And that’s what we’ve seen is like, you know, not everyone on your list is going to make a purchase, but, um, like we just, we just updated. Our numbers is actually over 20 bucks per lead 

[00:21:26] James Sowers: [00:21:26] a while. Nice. Yeah. And the difference between that and paid advertising through something like Facebook is on Facebook.

[00:21:33] You pay. $5 per person to even get in front of them. Right. Whereas like there’s no chance you’re even paying a dollar per person through a tool, like privy to have a list of five that like you’re not paying $5,000 a month to get an ad in front of them, but you would on Facebook. Right? And so the, the, the return on that investment in terms of growing your list and staying in touch with them and nurturing those relationships is potentially much higher than straight paid advertising that somebody might be used to.

[00:21:59] Totally 

[00:21:59] Ben Jabbawy: [00:21:59] and like, look, there’s no skirting it, right. It’s November 9th, we’re recording this. So, you know, we’re two weeks out from the biggest selling weekend of the year. Um, I saw last week there was like an outage for Facebook ads. And so, you know, I think what I’ve seen now, eight years in, in, in black Friday is basically that the brands that have really.

[00:22:22] Put as much effort into psych capture as they do into their email nurturing or their CRO or their personalization are the ones that really shine on black Friday because you know, like even if Facebook goes down, like you’ve been building your list all year long. Yeah. That 

[00:22:40] James Sowers: [00:22:40] makes a lot of sense. Um, Yeah.

[00:22:43] I mean, maybe there’s this good, better, best kind of outcome. If you’re paying for traffic during this high volume time of the year, the good outcome is that they at least like explored your site and they got familiar with the brand. The better is they joined your email list and the best is they obviously purchased.

[00:22:56] And you want to make sure that you’re checking the box for all three of those to maximize the investment that you’re making there, I suppose. And like a lot of people say, Oh, nobody reads email anymore. And I always say, Yeah, they read the ones they like, like they read the good ones. Right. And your goal is to be the good one, right?

[00:23:12] Yeah, sure. They send a lot of stuff to spam. They archive stuff without reading it, but, but the best ones do still shine through. And those companies who are behind those are doing really well. Well I’m sure. 

[00:23:21] Ben Jabbawy: [00:23:21] Yeah. And by the way, on that know the people that do it the best are the ones that actually are engaging with their customers.

[00:23:27] Like we said, in your first kind of question for me, which was about building an audience, like the people that understand their customers best and are the most specific. Can create the most valuable content, whether that’s a content download or in an email. And I think like that’s how you, you win is engaging and speaking with your customers around topics that they actually care about.

[00:23:49] Right. 

[00:23:50] James Sowers: [00:23:50] Couldn’t agree more. Um, so, so we have, uh, um, hypothetical company that’s gotten through the early stage, like going from zero subscribers to a thousand is one thing I imagine going from a thousand to 10,000 is another thing. And it continues to get harder from there. So like, um, and maybe that’s a false assumption, but what are some of the differences between.

[00:24:10] Early stage audience building getting that initial traction versus like the mid or late stage audience building where it’s like, you have this foundation here, maybe the same tactics don’t work, uh, as you, as your business grows, or maybe there are secondary and tertiary tactics, you need to layer on top to grow things even more.

[00:24:28] Are there any best practices you’re seeing for the more established companies that already have some audience, but are still trying to continue that growth? Yeah. 

[00:24:35] Ben Jabbawy: [00:24:35] In the beginning, like there’s. I hate to say there’s formulas because there is none for growing a business, but, you know, I, I feel confident that I could help a entrepreneur that has at, you know, a hundred percent less get to a thousand pretty quickly with some of the standard types of things that we do.

[00:24:55] Um, when you get a little bit bigger, The theme of continuity is something that stands out for me. And like, I hate the word personalization so much kills me. Um, you know, I, I think it, it, it feels cumbersome for a lot of marketers out there, but continuity is something that makes more sense. Right. So if you’re doing ad targeting or, you know, you’re, you’re driving traffic to your store, uh, for, you know, uh, segments of people on Facebook that are into camping.

[00:25:24] And the ad creative that you spent time and money building out, uh, shows a orange tent, right? Like when you’re presenting your content, download through a privy form, it should probably show that same orange tent. Right? Like that’s, that’s what I mean by continuity and like, Those concepts are actually really simple to, to unlock.

[00:25:48] Um, you can hit just the audience that clicked that ad. Um, you know, what ad it was, and you’re presenting them with, with, with creative and a content, uh, offer that, that marries that experience together. And like, that’s the type of stuff that is the level two Oh one, as opposed to the level one-on-one. Um, and.

[00:26:07] You know, I, I, it’s always like this aha moment when marketers realize they can do that stuff. Um, because it it’s, it’s something they already do and understand, and their paid worlds, it’s something they already do and understand, and they’re triggered email world. Um, and, and this is really just making sure that you’ve got it in the middle of your funnel as well, which is your, your website.

[00:26:29] Right? So, um, if you’re not doing that stuff in your businesses is that, you know, a couple of million in revenue. You know, I, um, I’m willing to put a lot of money on the line that you could be growing way faster. Um, with a little bit more thought into how the traffic’s coming to the site and creating a matching experience on the site to go for the outfit.

[00:26:49] James Sowers: [00:26:49] Yeah. It can be totally disorienting, right? Like, imagine if you, uh, Walked up to a store and it said Nordstrom, but then you walked in and it was like an old Navy on the inside. And it’s like, what? This is not, this is not what I signed up for. Right. This is not what I was expecting. So it can be super jarring.

[00:27:03] Ben Jabbawy: [00:27:03] Yeah. And that, and you guys talk about that too a lot, right? Like that could be, um, even something as simple as male, female. Right. So if I, if I’m clicking on a male oriented ad, like just driving into the right experience, right. You already know. Um, I would, I would add you, are you that on top of that, you need it.

[00:27:22] You need to add the right type of opt-in and you shouldn’t be asking, excuse me, if I’m a, a male or a female, right. In that pop-up because that experience should, should drive that at least, you know, relatively accurate assumption for you. Sure. 

[00:27:38] James Sowers: [00:27:38] Um, so one, one strategy that I wanted to specifically get your thoughts on for this kind of mid stage late stage is partnerships or cross promotions, right?

[00:27:45] Like I’ve kind of exhausted the L the watering holes that I know exist for my audience. Most of those folks are already on my list, but there are other companies out there, other brands that kind of have some overlap between our target market. Maybe I can go with them. I could do a webinar or workshop a live event, whatever makes sense.

[00:28:01] And then typically when you co-host, or co-brand an event like that, There’s some kind of audience, um, sharing, right? Like that you, you capture the signups for that. And then those are kind of shared across the organization. So I’m curious how you think about that. Just purely in terms of a growth lever, further down the line, but also like, what is the best way to consider, um, getting those new folks?

[00:28:24] Integrated into your audience in a way that’s respectful. Like, um, you know, sometimes it might not be the best move to just go ahead and drop them into your marketing sequence. Right. So how do you handle, I mean, you’ve, you’ve done a lot of, um, educating upfront and you’ve delivered a lot of value already.

[00:28:39] But it feels like maybe it’s not the right move to just drop them onto your main list and move on to the next event. So I’m curious how you think about one. This is a strategy and two, just the logistics of how you manage the interested parties after the event’s over and you’re ready to integrate them into the rest of your audience.

[00:28:54] Ben Jabbawy: [00:28:54] Yeah. Look, I think there’s no better way to grow your audience since then to partner with someone else that has a similar but different audience. Right. Um, look at what you and I are doing. Right. I’ve got my e-commerce marketing school podcast. You’ve got this podcast. We’re both on social media. We’ll we’ll share it around or this’ll help grow both of our shows.

[00:29:20] But I struggled on the shared email capture side. I really do. Like, I I’ve seen a lot of brands do it. Um, they do a landing page and, you know, there’s all this text that says like, Oh, by, by signing up, you know, you’re going to probably get emails from both. I think it’s confusing. Um, so I’m, I’m a huge fan and all for it.

[00:29:44] Uh, In terms of like top of funnel before capture, especially on social media. I think that could work really well. And then whatever the event is, like, if it’s a podcast or if it’s a zoom or a, an in-person event, when that stuff happens again, like you kind of need to nail it, nail that experience so much that the right people come forward and express interest.

[00:30:09] Like I haven’t really seen too many. Um, co-marketing initiatives work that just like drop people into, uh, the newsletter and people are like, wait, what is this thing again? Like, you know, I, I think you could certainly like increase the likelihood of success there by tailoring it and making it like, Hey James, thanks for joining my shared, you know, podcasts with Ben, you know, like, um, that might give you a better shot, but, uh, I think it’s, you know, you kinda kind of went over the hearts and minds in, in the event itself.

[00:30:41] James Sowers: [00:30:41] Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. And you know, this is a different world. So I’ll share an example that we’ve done at the good through the agency world, but maybe there’s something that an e-commerce brand owner can take away from it, but we’ve done webinars with other brands and they say, Hey, here’s the email list from the event?

[00:30:54] Like, thanks for coming to be a cohost. And so I’ve never felt great about just dropping those folks on our list. So what I do is I have kind of a template email that I customized by say, Hey, just following up on the event, by the way, here are the slides that we presented with all the speaker notes in there.

[00:31:07] So you’ve got that. That’s kind of like the recap. And then I say, Hey, if you have 30 seconds, I just want to introduce you to us. And some of the other stuff we have going on, I think it might also be valuable for you. And we lead with all the free stuff. Like here’s 

[00:31:17] Ben Jabbawy: [00:31:17] our podcast, 

[00:31:18] James Sowers: [00:31:18] here’s our insights newsletter that we publish every Tuesday, you know, the, the free value I give them, um, a bonus.

[00:31:23] So I like to like frame it as a bonus. Thanks for attending the event. Here’s your bonus resource? It’s our black Friday cyber Monday preparation guide, right? Like, there’s that right up front, because this is an important time of year and we want to help you. And then in the back end at the very end of the email, it’s like, by the way, here are services and some of that more like, um, transactional type of stuff.

[00:31:40] But w in that email I have. Well, a link that says, click here. If you want to automatically be added to like our insights marketing list and that’s it. And the folks that do that are the right folks and the folks that don’t, that’s fine because they’ll see us somewhere else at the next event. And the next event and seven exposures to us might result in that ultimate signup.

[00:31:57] But to me, I’ve always felt like that’s a fairly respectful way to maximize the value of the partnership, but also respect the attendees time and attention in their inbox and get the right people in the door because we all know we don’t want to pay for 50,000. Email list if only 10,000 of them are even interested or whatever byproduct.

[00:32:15] I mean, maybe we do, I don’t know, you’re the expert there, but, uh, I know from a budget standpoint it can get pretty pricey to have low quality members on your list. So I don’t know how you think about that example or any reactions you might have to that, but I’d love to hear them. No, I think 

[00:32:27] Ben Jabbawy: [00:32:27] that’s smart.

[00:32:27] And look, I think, you know, in a, in a big ticket or high average order value world, you can take that time. And if you’re selling, you know, $30, um, Average order value, you know, you might not have that luxury. So I think, um, you got to pick and choose wisely. Um, I do think, I think there’s tremendous value in sharing audiences, but I think just gotta be careful with how you execute on it after the audiences.

[00:32:57] James Sowers: [00:32:57] Yeah, for sure. Um, yeah, just a couple more questions for you here. So. How do you think about once somebody has effectively built their list? They’ve gotten somebody to opt in. Um, what are some of the things like post opt in that brand managers should be thinking about? Right. Like whether it’s experiential or whether it’s from a sales aspect, like, what are some of the, you know, Low-hanging fruit is a term that I hate, but what are some of the things they should make sure that they’re checking the box on in terms of like, as soon as somebody joins your list, you probably want a welcome message.

[00:33:23] And then what is the most important stuff to think about after that? 

[00:33:26] Ben Jabbawy: [00:33:26] Yeah, there’s a couple of things. So first, um, You know, remember that they’re on your site, they just put their email into your form and they submitted, right. So whatever sort of expectation you set leading up to that, like if you offered a content download or a coupon code or whatever it is, or a free gift with purchase, like while they are still on your site, make sure like with a hundred percent certainty, they understand that it worked right.

[00:33:54] Give them a confirmation screen over your website and show them how to access. Whatever you promise them. Right? Um, cause I think a lot of people just assume like, Oh, if I send them an email, that’s fine. But without that confirmation, like I may not know that it worked. I may have to leave your site to go get it, which is a huge no-no in my mind.

[00:34:16] Like you worked hard to get them there. Just make it clear that you’ll send it later or here’s the code or whatever. So that’s step one. Um, then, like you said, I think a huge missed opportunity is not selling, sending an immediate welcome email, right? Like there’s so much context and specificity there that like, you got to nail that.

[00:34:34] And that sets the tone. A lot of people don’t and just like, wait until their next like broadcast or whatever. And then it’s like, You know, I I’ve looked at 30 other websites. I’ve bought something on Amazon. I’ve watched a show on Netflix. Like, I might’ve just completely forgot who you are and just opt out of your newsletter.

[00:34:52] Right. So I think the welcome email or the autoresponder, whatever you want to call it is pretty key, critical after sign up. Um, and then another thing I would say is like, you know, once you’ve captured the email on site, It’s important to recognize that, right? So if you’re driving traffic to your site, especially from email or anyone that is, you know, let’s you cookie them, you want to make sure that you’re excluding those audiences from pop-ups.

[00:35:21] Unless you’re actually trying to target them. In which case, you know, you shouldn’t be asking them for their email ever again. Right. So, um, there’s a little bit of work there. Just make sure that like you understand top of funnel and postform middle of funnel as it relates to the traffic coming on your site.

[00:35:37] Right. So I think, um, you know, those are just a couple things to think about after the opt-in. 

[00:35:44] James Sowers: [00:35:44] Sure. And I’m just purely curious. So in terms of, it’s pretty interesting that somebody can opt into your email list and then the next time they visit your site, they don’t see that pop up like that. That’s something that a lot of people probably aren’t doing, and that’s probably as easy as toggling a switch or checking a box and making sure that doesn’t happen.

[00:36:00] So go check that out and whatever tool you’re using. Um, but I’m curious, like, has technology evolved to the point where, um, let’s say somebody, a cold visitor comes through Google hits my site joins my email list. They get their incentive, whatever it was. Then the next time they come to my site, can I show them a new call to action?

[00:36:18] Like if, if I got the 20% discount up front, the second time they come back, I want them to download a free guide or whatever. Like we can kind of dynamically insert that based on where they’re at in their customer journey. Cause that’s, that’s next level. That’s pretty awesome. 

[00:36:31] Ben Jabbawy: [00:36:31] A hundred percent. And that’s like, you know, when you talk about like, uh, our mid-market business, right?

[00:36:37] Like the, the brands that are growing that are using privy, like. That’s that’s where the magic happens. Right. Because I know that they’re on my list. I know. What did they do on that purchase? Right? Did they, did they make an order or not? Right. And based on those things, you can hit them with like a little fly out and like, Hey, you know, um, you were checking out this product, like.

[00:37:01] Yeah. Did you have any questions, you know, like or whatever that is, or you, you forgot this in your cart, maybe they forgot it and we saved your cart for you and your size and all of that. Just click here to get back to it. Right? So, um, there’s a number of things that you can do, or, Hey, you, you signed up last time, you were here and we gave you a unique coupon for, you know, free gift with purchase.

[00:37:22] Like let’s just show them that, remind them that. Right. Um, there’s all sorts of stuff that you can do there that we’ve seen to be really effective. 

[00:37:30] James Sowers: [00:37:30] Ooh, that’s pretty incredible. That’s just a sign of what we keep saying. It’s like the technology has taken this leap forward. Um, go, go read the user manual for whatever tool you’re using.

[00:37:39] Cause I bet it does some really cool stuff because even I’m just thinking here, um, the default is pop up with 20% discount, whatever. So what if we just flipped it around? And the initial CTA is that tent buyer’s guide, right? Like, and if they download that. And inside of that PDF that they get, there’s a link to your tent.

[00:37:55] If they click to that, through that and come back to your site, then show them the big pop-up and say, Hey, thanks for downloading the guide. Right? Notice you’re checking out the tent. We recommended here’s 10% off on it because you know, you’ve gone through the first two steps and shown some interest or whatever.

[00:38:09] Like to me. That’s not just a more respectful way to present it to the customer, but I’m probably a more effective way. Like you probably your conversion rate on that tiny little funnel, not your big picture conversion rate, but on that tiny funnel for that tent through that channel is probably going to be crazy if you lead with value and then present the discount when they’ve shown it, trust 

[00:38:27] Ben Jabbawy: [00:38:27] their percent.

[00:38:27] Yeah. I love that. Love that vision or, you know, a couple other like site segments that could be interesting to target would be, uh, like repeat visitor, non purchase. All right. So this is your second or third or fourth, whatever you choose visit to the site and you still haven’t made an order. Um, one that I talk about a lot is what we call cart saver, which is, you know, you can, you can identify how much money someone has in their cart.

[00:38:53] So let’s say your AOVs 20 bucks, but someone has a hundred bucks in their cart right now, and they’re looking at their cart and then they’re exiting. Right. Like, that’s an interesting opportunity, right? So I think it’s, you know, the, the big message here is, um, really like the same level of thought and detail and targeting you’re putting into your triggered messaging or your, your ad buying or your second version.

[00:39:15] Like you can, uh, you can add continuity and relevance from on-site displays. 

[00:39:21] James Sowers: [00:39:21] Yeah, a hundred percent. Um, awesome. Well, just one more question for you. So if you picture kind of you guys always like to highlight some of the brands using privy and the great work that they’re doing with them and using some of these more advanced tactics, like the one that we’re talking about, uh, I’m curious, have you seen any interesting or emerging.

[00:39:38] Trends coming in this space, or maybe that takes the form of, Hey, here’s a brand that’s doing a great job at not just a lead capture, but also using email marketing after the lead capture. That type of thing. Like if I were going to point folks in some direction of like either this is a trend that’s emerging, you should keep an eye on it.

[00:39:55] Or this is a brand that’s really nailing this and you should go subscribe just to kind of like see and look over their shoulder and see how they’re deploying this. Uh, anything jumped to mind for you in that regard. 

[00:40:04] Ben Jabbawy: [00:40:04] Yeah, I think there’s a couple, couple trends that we’re seeing. So the first is, um, just a lot of people thinking about the strategy of collecting email and SMS and, uh, you know, I think, you know, what, what should they prioritize?

[00:40:20] Should they prioritize text or email or whatever? And I think, um, when you get into the nitty gritty of it, um, You likely don’t want to abandon list that you’ve been building over the last five years, even if you are excited to test SMS. So SMS list is always going to be much smaller than your email list.

[00:40:41] It’s a bit more of an intimate setting. And so what we’re seeing, um, is some interesting tactics around growing both, which is, uh, you know, ideally you’re using a tool like privy where you can, you understand if someone opted into email. Um, and taxed separately and, and can sync to the right places. Right.

[00:41:00] But, um, you know, we would, we always recommend prioritizing email capture first and then based on other attributes, like. Uh, you know, maybe they’re back to the site or maybe they’ve spent Mt with you and they’re back to the site. Like those are great opportunities to capture the phone second, um, from like further down the funnel, or we are seeing a lot of success right now with people that are front page, email capture, second page, um, with an integration, uh, to, to postscript a partner of ours, uh, capturing foam.

[00:41:31] So, you know, that stuff works too, but that’s, that’s a hot button in the industry right now, but I think, um, For my money, I would still focus on building the list at the top of the funnel, the email list and targeting specific audiences that are either already on your email list or have rejected that for a number of times, or are super loyal before prompting.

[00:41:53] Um, and then, you know, the other kind of new trend we’re seeing is around like cross sell. So using all of this data that we’ve talked about, To kind of increase AOV through fly outs or popups. Right. So, you know, I think like the, the ma the more you can lean on a singular, uh, technology and cookie tracking and targeting, um, the more interesting things you can do to piece together, a conversion experience that adds value and drives more sales.

[00:42:24] Right. And so, you know, you know, someone’s on your list and, you know, what’s in their cart right now and you know, what other products might go well with that? Um, you know, you see this on Amazon or Wayfair, they’re suggesting other things, right? So you can, you can use all of that together. And that’s another area, uh, where we’ve seen a lot of these mid-market merchants really, um, squeezing more out of the traffic that they have.

[00:42:47] Yeah. 

[00:42:48] James Sowers: [00:42:48] I’ve seen a few of those in the wild too, and they just seem so smart to me. I’ve seen, so the related products one, but I’ve also seen related brands. I don’t know if you’ve seen co-op commerce yet. Um, but it’s a new or tool. I think that is like, okay. You bought from us and because we are, um, organic grass fed beef or whatever, you might also like these three brands it’s right there in the checkout.

[00:43:08] Uh, I thought that was just super smart. Um, Obviously you would probably want to keep that in house as much as you could, but in the absence of like selling cross selling into one of your products, cross selling into a brother or a sister brand type of thing, um, would be kind of cool too. So. Awesome.

[00:43:22] Thank you so much for sharing that. Um, listen, Ben, I’ll let you get back to your day. I know you got the little one back there and you probably want to go for some cuddles. So, uh, if I, if I could give you a couple of minutes here at the end of the show to, uh, tell folks where they can learn more about you, more about privy and anything else you’ve got working on, this is kind of your opportunity to take the stage and plug anything you’d like.

[00:43:39] Ben Jabbawy: [00:43:39] Yeah, for sure. So a big part of our brand is education and being a destination to learn. Uh, part of that is our daily podcast that I run the e-commerce marketing school. So go check that out. Um, and if you’re not using privy, uh, you can be growing your list faster and driving more sales,

[00:43:58] James Sowers: [00:43:58] Awesome. Awesome, Ben. Well, thank you so much. We’ll let you get back to the rest of your day, sir. And I really appreciate the time. Hopefully we’ll have you back here for some new, big feature launch in the future. Cause I know you guys are always cooking something up over there. You don’t have to share it today.

[00:44:10] It’s okay. It’s okay. Um, but uh, I know there’s something in the works, so I can’t wait to see what you guys come out with next and we’ll have you back on the show to talk about how merchants can use it more effectively. 

[00:44:19] Ben Jabbawy: [00:44:19] Awesome. Thanks James. [00:44:20] James Sowers: [00:44:20] Cool. Thank you. Cool.

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James Sowers

About the Author

James Sowers

James Sowers is the former Director of The Good Ventures. He has more than a decade of experience helping software and ecommerce companies accelerate their growth and improve their customer experience.