5 hot takes on social ROI and the perfect price for e-comm from Connor Gross
By Daniel Murray
I’m ecstatic for you to get to know Connor Gross!
Connor is an entrepreneur who scales businesses and has worked with some of the greatest marketers on planet Earth.
He kicked off his career while he was still in college. Connor and his friend founded Cardly, a phone accessories e-comm brand, as a side hustle.
Then… they scaled to $1M a year in revenue (LEGEND).
Connor sold Cardly and focused on building bootstrapped e-comm companies, a real estate company, and a media biz, a.k.a. his podcast The Next Generation.
Here are some of Connor’s hottest takes on marketing from The Marketing Millennials podcast, in his own (lightly-edited) words.
1. What you can learn from superstar marketers:
Marketing legends know the power of momentum and constantly launching new campaigns — it’s just intuitive to them.
When I would work for people who weren’t as fluent in marketing, they would try to make everything INCREDIBLY ATTRIBUTABLE.
They’d launch one campaign per quarter or one campaign every half year.
You’re like… “What else are you guys doing?”
You should be pushing the envelope and making a name for your brand in the space.
The great marketers I’ve worked with, understood that people buy because they RECOGNIZE a brand, not even necessarily because they’re the BEST.
Those top marketers are creating content and putting marketing campaigns out that humanize the brand.
They’re putting the employees at the front of the brands. They’re showing faces.
They’re using copy that’s actually conversational.
They also recognize that marketing is a long-term game. You’re not just in it to get this quarter’s numbers up and try to attribute everything perfectly and have this exact funnel.
Famous brands are not built OVERNIGHT. This trust is not built OVERNIGHT.
The top marketers get that (*mic drop*)
2. What a BAD e-commerce company looks like:
A bad e-commerce company is one selling a product for under $40. Just not enough margin.
If you’re in that category and you even have a 70% margin — so about $25 profit — you still have to…
- Run Facebook ads
- Work with influencers
- Pay SEO agencies
- Cover fixed costs
You have to cover all the costs built into acquiring each customer for under $25.
And let’s say you do it. Great. You make $6 every time you sell that product. You still don’t have a ton of room to reinvest into inventory.
It’s very, very difficult.
3. How to build a scalable e-comm machine:
The best e-commerce companies sit in that $60 to $100 price point.
They have GOOD MARGINS, but it’s not breaking the bank for anybody who wants to purchase off a first impression.
They’re able to really drive that LTV (~lifetime value~).
Maybe you’re not profitable in that first purchase, but customers are coming back and purchasing time and time again.
Then there’s the actual weight of the product. It’s LIGHT.
Shipping costs are going up. Things are delayed at the port.
If you’re selling a heavy product these days and you’re shipping it in from overseas, you are not having fun right now (retweet).
The last thing to look at — you want to get validation from customers before spending a ton of cash on ads.
Give yourself a couple months to build up data points on what customers want and how you can improve your messaging.
Get some editorials, work with influencers, and build that brand up organically.
You’ll get a ton of customer feedback.
4. Why CX = branding:
Creating a brand for your product is REALLY FREAKING HARD.
I know a lot of people will start to spin up an e-commerce store, and their main intent is to sell it in 2-3 years.
It often causes you to think short-term.
“If a customer had an issue, okay, no worries.”
(If you’re not caring for your customer, wtf are you doing??).
In my opinion, the best brands are the one thinking in 10-year increments.
They say “Hey, if we’re still running this brand in 10 years, do we still want this person talking poorly about our company and our products? Or are we going to make it right?”
They say: “Oh, you had a defective product. Hey, we’ll refund that totally free. I’m so sorry about that — and by the way, here’s a store credit.”
Our customer says “Hey, I really want you to go and launch these products.”
You say, “Okay, cool. I appreciate that.” You leave a mark down in your product requests. You launch the product six months later and send a personal email.
As consumers right now, THE BAR IS LOW. People have bad experiences with a lot of brands and they realize that to them, they’re just a number.
People get ripped off on the internet a lot.
The best brands show up time and time again and try to make things right (Chick-Fil-A is the best at this).
5. How social pays off:
Getting involved in social media, whether that’s tweeting a lot or running my own podcast — it has probably the HIGHEST UNATTRIBUTABLE ROI of everything I’ve done in the last 2-3 years.
That includes starting different companies, selling companies, buying real estate — there’s a lot of fun stuff that I’ve done.
But when I look back on it and I’m like, how did I get to where I am today?
It was CREATING CONTENT that I’m not trying to sell off of (provide some free value, besties).
I’m just sharing ideas in the wilderness, hoping people listen and resonate with it, think it’s interesting and connections come out of that.
That has been hands down one of the highest ROI things for me.
People have a really tough time thinking about this from a company standpoint.
But if you really want to BUILD A BRAND for your business, you have to be willing to sacrifice some of those wins in the short term to play that longterm game.
“We’re going to give you content. We’re going to give valuable information that’ll make your life better.”