The Unknown Tactics of Mastering SEO & Creating Visual WOW for Your Online Store | Eagan Heath | Eagan Heath

Today’s Guest Eagan Heath

Meet Eagan Heath, the mastermind behind Get Found Madison and Caravan Digital, who's been turning online traffic into treasure since 2016. He's not just a digital marketing guru; he's also the brain behind the innovative My Digital Marketing Mastery course and the former captain of the quirky pet portrait ship, Splendid Beast. Catch him sharing his ecommerce expertise on the 'What's Working in Ecommerce' show, where he leads the digital waves with tips and tales.

In the dynamic world of eCommerce, the line between success and obscurity often hinges on two pivotal elements – mastering the art of SEO and the ability to create visual 'wow'. In a recent enlightening episode with Eagan Heath of Caravan Digital, we delved into these realms, uncovering strategies that are as innovative as they are effective.

A Journey of Visual Transformation

Eagan's journey with his unique pet portrait business, Splendid Beast, is a testament to the power of visual storytelling in eCommerce. Initially, the website's images were just close-ups of paintings, lacking context or a story. By reimagining these visuals to show pets alongside their artistic renditions, Eagan unlocked a new level of customer engagement. This transformation from mere product displays to narrative-rich visuals exemplifies how creative visual strategies can significantly enhance online presence and customer interaction.

SEO: Crafting Content that Resonates

Our conversation with Eagan also shed light on the intricacies of SEO in eCommerce. It’s more than just embedding keywords into web content; it’s about understanding and anticipating what your customers are searching for. Eagan emphasised the importance of creating content that directly addresses specific queries and needs, thereby elevating your brand’s relevance and visibility in the digital landscape.

Engagement Through Giveaways & User-Generated Content

Another powerful strategy discussed was the use of giveaways and gifts with purchases (GWPs). Eagan shared how this approach helped not only in engaging customers but also in generating valuable user-generated content. This content, showcasing real customers with their purchases, adds a layer of authenticity and trustworthiness to your brand – a crucial element in today’s competitive online marketplace.

The Art of eCommerce Success: Authentic Storytelling

Our discussion with Eagan highlighted a vital aspect of eCommerce – the transformative power of authentic storytelling. Whether through captivating visuals or strategic SEO, crafting a memorable narrative that connects with your audience is paramount. It’s about creating a unique experience that resonates with your customers, turning simple visits into memorable journeys.

Eagan Heath’s insights are a reminder that in the realm of online retail, the conventional approach is often not enough. It’s about continuously innovating, experimenting, and finding new ways to connect with your audience. The secret to his eCommerce success lies in understanding the subtle blend of technology and creativity – a balance that can elevate any online store from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

For more insights and tactics from Eagan Heath on mastering SEO and creating visual impact in your online store, listen to the full podcast episode. It’s an exploration into the art and science of eCommerce that you won't want to miss.

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Matt: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the e commerce podcast. My name is Matt Edmundson and I'm your host for this conversation. This is a show all about helping you deliver eCommerce wow. And to help us do just that. I'm chatting with Eagan Heath from Caravan Digital, which I think is probably one of the coolest names for a company I've heard for a long time. We are going to be talking about eCommerce, marketing, funnel marketing. We're going to get into the whole thing, basically. It's good.

It's going to be good. Now, before we get into it though, let me just remind you, if you haven't done so already to sign up to the newsletter just head over to the website, eCommercePodcast. net, putting your name and email address, and we will. Send to you the newsletter every week with all the links and the notes from the show.

So the conversation we're about to have, if you sign up to the newsletter, all comes to your inbox automagically. It's a beautiful thing. Let me tell you. Now, today's show is brought to you by E-Commerce Cohort, which is our monthly mastermind group.[00:01:00] Why not come join us? It's a membership group. You come in every month.

We'll get in experts to come and teach on all the aspects of eCommerce. You can work alongside the lessons, do what we do, and just have some fun in there. Plus, you also get to see the live recording of this podcast. You get to ask questions directly to the guest, which is just Awesome. So yeah, come along to Cohort, ecommercecohort.

com for more information. That's ecommercecohort. com. We would love to see you in there most definitely. And of course, if you're new to the show, a very warm welcome to you. Now, let's talk about Mr. Eagan Heath. The mastermind behind Get Found Madison and Caravan Digital, who's been turning online traffic into treasure since 2016.

Oh yes, he's not just a digital marketing guru. Oh no, he's also the brain behind the innovative My Digital Marketing [00:02:00] Mastery Course. And the former captain of the quirky pet portrait ship Splendid Beast. I've no idea either, but we'll find out. I catch him sharing his eCommerce expertise on the What's Working in eCommerce show, where he leads the digital waves with tips and tales.

Oh yes. It's good to be talking to a fellow podcaster. Eagan, welcome to the show, man. Been looking forward to this. How are you doing today, sir?

Eagan: Great. Even better after that intro. Thank you, Matt.

Matt: Dude, you've got to explain the quirky pet portrait ship Splendid Beast.

Eagan: That's right. Yeah. So I also had an e commerce business. It's called Splendid Beast. You can check it out at splendidbeast. com. I purchased it from a friend. I grew it a bit and I sold it actually during the pandemic to focus on my agency. But basically Splendid Beast does a custom oil pet portraits of your dog, cat, whatever you have and any way you want.

And you want your dog as Winston Churchill. You want [00:03:00] your, cat as As Emily Dickinson whatever you want, you can do it. And they're actual handmade oil portraits and they take a, it, they take a little while to paint and then they actually have to dry and we ship them to you and you can see a couple behind me, you can see the, this cat is the Maharashi behind me and we also have Gizmo, the.

The owners the founder's pet dog is a professor and he is got a little neck tie and things like that. So it was a very fun business. I had a lot of fun with it. I learned a lot. And oftentimes client clients are glad to know I've run an e-commerce business myself too.

Matt: That's a we'll stick on that point for a little bit, but then I've got some more questions about the pet thing. I'm not going to lie, we're going to get onto that. One of the things that I've always found quite fascinating about eCommerce is the amount of gurus in the world who claim to know stuff, but don't actually run their own eCommerce business.

And I've always found that quite fascinating. And like you, I thought I actually was an [00:04:00] eCommerce entrepreneur before I did the agency thing. And before I did the whole coaching thing and in fact, all the coaching came out of what we learned. in eCommerce and that always was one of those things that you clients really warm to really.

And I always I, in fact, I always used to say, I still say, because a lot of, I don't know if you found this, Eagan, but a lot of people will go to Say their web designer for help with e-commerce. It's something's not working. I'll go talk to my website guy. But that's a bit like going to a midwife and asking them for parenting advice.

The midwife is very good at one particular part of the journey, doesn't mean that they're good at everything else. And yeah. I'm intrigued by this. So you I totally get it. Actually. The fact that you do e-commerce, I imagine is a big plus for your clients.

Eagan: Yep. Yeah. And I think that's right. I think I always like the comparison also to, I don't know what you guys. Say in the UK, but here in the US, it's like when you physically build a house or a building or, anything, it's like you've got the general contractor who's overseeing all the subcontractors or contractors underneath.

And somebody has got to do the [00:05:00] electrical. Somebody has got to do the plumbing. Somebody has got to do all of these pieces. And so it makes sense from the client's perspective that they don't know about all the stuff that happens behind the scenes that they maybe had one place built their Shopify site or something like that.

But now we need to get people to that site. We need to get people buying. Those are separate skills and that makes sense to us. We know that from being in the game for a number of years, but if you're brand new and you're just trying to get some products online or just starting to sell that, that can be news to you sometimes.

And so there are separate sub skills within this world, right?

Matt: yeah, absolutely. That's intriguing. Fascinating. And I'm curious, though, what made you buy a pet portrait business from your friend? Because I don't know, just in all the times I've sat here and thought, what eCommerce business shall I do next? It never came up to paint pets with oil paintings. So I'm curious, what was it that drew you in?

Eagan: Yeah, great question. So I had started life, you mentioned Get Found Madison. We're based out of Madison, Wisconsin. It really started as [00:06:00] a local SEO and Google Ads agency. So a lot of our clients are still based out of here in the upper Midwest in the United States. And so I really knew that piece about keyword research, on site optimization, running pay per click ads.

And I had talked with my friend Ben who started Splendid Beast. And he was looking to get out of it. And he was even just going to shut it down. And I said, there's really more opportunity here. And in particular, I'd done the keyword research. And at the time, this was a number of years ago.

It was in the U S alone. It was like dog paintings was searched 4, 400 times a month. Cat paintings, thousands of times. And then variations on each of those thousands and thousands of times. And at the time it was a site, I believe on. Weebly, do you remember that one? This was pre, pre, so it wasn't on WordPress, wasn't on Shopify or anything like that.

And I said, boy, there's a lot of opportunity here. So first thing I did was, we really got, we updated it in terms of on WooCommerce and then we built out pages for dog painting, cat painting, pet portrait, everything like that. And for a little while there, we were number one in the U. S for dog [00:07:00] paintings.

We got a lot of traffic that way. So I saw the demand that we could tap into where my friend who'd started it, was really on the design side. He did the pho, the Photoshopping and things like that, and had the relationships with the painters. But I had that marketing mind and it's like anyone who buys a business, it's like you see something that maybe the current owner doesn't see and you think you can take it to the next level. Did for a while, had a lot of fun with it and realized that my, my agency was requiring so much time that I had to choose one or the other during COVID and it was sad to let it go.

I'm bittersweet about it, but basically the guy who was operating it for me, took it over, had him trained on everything and we're, we're still great friends.

Matt: Wow. What a great story. And it's interesting that you talk about doing keyword research before buying the business. Because one of the questions I get asked a lot is if I'm going to set up an eCommerce business, what product should I sell? How do I know what's a good product to sell? Would you still advocate for that today as in?

If I'm thinking of setting up an eCommerce business, I have a product idea. Would you then go and do the [00:08:00] keyword research to find the demand of that? And how would you, how would you correlate that to the competition behind that keyword?

Eagan: Yeah. Great questions. I think that's part of what I think we're talking about today too with the full funnel marketing and strategy and everything like that. I think it depends on what you're selling, depends on kind of which way you want to take things. But to me, I always want to know that piece. And it's the, it's this world of, Everything's amazing and nobody cares.

Like we forgot how special it is to be able to do that keyword research. We take it for granted, but you and I have lived long enough, like we remember the days of, the phone book and things like that, of, you knew there was a phone book, you knew you could put your business in it.

You didn't know how many times a month people opened it up and looked for businesses like yours. Now we have at least some idea about that directionally. And so if we're tapping into any sort of demand if we're selling a product that's. Something people already look for, I think it behooves you to know that, and I think if I did it now, I would, I would want to know the Amazon traffic as well, so I think it's just getting a sense of understanding that's even the, [00:09:00] those are the head terms, dog painting, cat painting, pet portrait, those are the tip of the iceberg, and then there's going to be all these others, and I went down the list, and it got so specific, it was like French Bulldog painting, that's got a couple hundred searches per month and then one of our first sales I got when I took it over was a Bichon Frise painting and I had to look that up.

I didn't my, my wife loves dogs. We don't have a dog. So I was like, what is that? People are looking for their breed of a painting and I saw it in the, the PPC Google Ads reporting basically that someone searched that phrase And you could click, clicked and bought, like that was one of our first conversions on Google ads.

And I said, wow, there's really something here. And the old, again, the old owner, my good friend, Ben, he didn't think like that. He didn't have that training, those skills. And so to even go down that route. And so we started to create, we had a rat painting page. We had a, we had Boston Terrier page.

We, it's like all those top breeds, like we went down the list and it's like as crazy as it seems, as niche as it [00:10:00] seems. Someone is searching for, a page, paintings of bulldogs and of their bulldogs. Sometimes it's paint my dog and things like that. And so I think any time you're tapping into existing demand, you want to know what that search volume is.

Now, you also mentioned the competition. That's a good point. SEO tools like Ahrefs or SEMrush or others, can help you estimate how competitive that's going to be. I know there's Helium 10 and others on Amazon where you can do similar work. I think it's good to know that, too. Of how competitive is it, but even just a rough and ready sort of way to check for a competition is you search those phrases, you do it incognito or in private browsing mode.

How many ads do you see, right? Are you, do you see the Google shopping ads appearing? Do you see search ads at the top? You can get a sense right there, if people are advertising on this, either everybody in the industry is incompetent and they're advertising on a keyword that doesn't convert, or there's information here in the market, right?

So right on that search page, I think there's information we can be learning from about how competitive is this, and we know it's an auction, we're gonna, we're [00:11:00] gonna be paying more per click if I see a lot of other ads there. And if there's no ads at all on a phrase, Maybe there's not a lot of commercial intent here.

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. It's, I mean it's one of those, isn't it? I think there are very few phrases that. That are undiscovered for want of a better expression, and we always every now and again, you come across them, they think, Oh, this is going to rock everybody's world. And it's, there's a reason why it is what it is.

But if you are starting again today, or I came to you to your agency to Caravan Digital, and I said, you can listen, but my wife enjoys painting pets. So I'm going to set up a pet painting business. Is that, how would you, with the full funnel marketing sort of thing that we're going to get into how would I approach this?

Because I imagine it's a lot more competitive now than when you took over from your friend. So getting ranked SEO wise is going to be complex. Google ads is going to be a little bit more expensive, I'm thinking. Yeah where would you go with that?[00:12:00]

Eagan: Yeah, that's great. And maybe it's a good time to get into that. If I think there is an element of the customer persona, probably the listeners or viewers have heard that. Is that something you guys do at your agency?

Matt: Yeah, oh yeah, I'm a big fan of understanding the customer. Yeah, oh jeez, yeah.

Eagan: Yeah. Yeah. So we actually. Put a Facebook name. We create a composite person. I can share and pull some up if we want to see some and look through some, but it's literally, who are we talking about? Who are we selling to? It's who are we serving? I think it really starts there. And from there it's, what do they want?

What are their aspirations? What are their goals? What are their pain points? Who are we talking about? Let's put a, let's put a picture. Let's put a name on it. Let's make this a real person with a, a real age, a real city, a real income. Let's let's flesh it out and then think about where are they?

Where do they spend time? Where can we catch their attention? is part of it, but it's also what sort of messaging and creative do they need to see, what's going to speak to them at each of those levels. And so somebody who is maybe they're on TikTok, maybe they're on Instagram, [00:13:00] and they've never even thought I could get a funny painting of my dog or I could create, it's like they they would need to see examples.

And that was this was an interesting example for me, Matt. When I first bought the business, I was obviously showing people, Hey, check out this site, splendidbeast.Com, check it out. And it was the old site before we redid it. And a good friend of mine who's a marketer browsed through it and she goes, What am I looking at? And it was, it was pictures of paintings, but it was on a computer and it was zoomed in just to the painting. And so she thought, are these photoshopped images themselves? Is this art? What do I do? And so immediately I got the idea, okay, we need to have people standing next to their pets so we can see it.

Or we need the pet right next to the painting so that people can understand immediately, this is this pet, right? And this is a painting you get of the pet. Is it okay if I share a screen

Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Let me bring that on. Yeah. Yeah. So if you're watching the video we're looking at a screen. So maybe just talk us [00:14:00] through what we're seeing as well. You can, for those that are just listening,

Eagan: Yeah, can you hear this on splendidbeast.Com? Again, this is my former business and it's based on that learning from my friend Helen It was like, okay We used to have it was just this painting Zoomed in and you couldn't even tell it was a painting because people see all kinds of images online They don't know this is a handmade oil painting, right?

And then we also need to understand it's this dog and so online on splendidbeast.Com now we've got Pictures of pets, right? So we've got this cat and then we've got the cat is the famous Van Gogh self portrait, right? With his ear cut off. And so we can at least understand a little better. This is my specific cat.

And then this is a painting like this, right? And so same story. There's all kinds of different types. I can have my dog in Star Trek. And if I can see, at least get a sense of here's a pet. Here's a specific pet, here's a portrait, here's, and I can see, this is actually on the wall, some of these have frames and things like that, and then people actually, this is great if you can get, user generated content of [00:15:00] people posting it.

Here's my cat, here's my cat painted as an astronaut, here's a smiling face. It's just much more immediate like that. Going back to your question was, where do we start? There might be quirky people who have certain interests, like obviously they love their pets, that's going to be a huge part of their persona and then there's some sort of quirky sense of humor where they wouldn't be embarrassed having this up in their house, they would be proud, they would show their friends and family, they would even post on Instagram to say this is something they would do so it's like we're getting a sense of what type of quirky person would pay for a painting like this, whatever, yeah.

Where can we reach them? And immediately, we understand a little better. If we just had, here's a cat in a, in an astronaut costume. It's we may not understand, you can actually do this for your cat. And hang it on the wall, right? And so it's that sort of thought, now we can pop a funnel.

Someone who's never even thought to search cat astronaut painting can get the idea planted in their head and they can be looking at their cat thinking, huh, what does my cat's personality match or my [00:16:00] dog, how would I have them painted? So it's, I think it's that sort of idea of where can we find them?

Where are they hanging out if they're. Totally top of funnel. Didn't even know this was something they could ever purchase in the world or a commission, as we say. And so where are they hanging out? Where can we even get them aware of it? And then how do we make it like very immediate?

So it speaks to them. And so we went through anywhere on Instagram where people had tagged us that user generated content that UGC was extremely valuable and much better than any pictures that my old friend Ben had zoomed in. Nice quality of a painting, but. We couldn't tell at a distance that it was a painting.

Sorry if I went on too long about that, Matt, but that's how I think about it.

Matt: No, it's really good. And I, as I was looking at the images there on the website the one thing that I was, That I noticed about the images, as soon as you add the pet and you give it context, you're actually showing that in some respects the transformation, it felt a bit like a before and after photo, do you know what I mean, of this is what I was and then I lost 75 pounds [00:17:00] in two weeks and this is what I am now, those kind of shots which show transformation and they're really powerful because it actually tells the story, doesn't it, of where you are and where it could be, and I can imagine actually, if you just zoomed in on the painting if the paintings are any good, you might, you could easily go, what is it? It's just an image of a dog. I don't quite, I don't quite understand. So I see, and I'm imagining actually the conversion went up as soon as you did that.

Eagan: Yeah, certainly we were tracking conversion rate, everything like that, but even just the understanding if someone's scrolling through Facebook wherever on social media, they might see this. I need it to we got to stop the thumb, right? And in general, if they're social media, I'm thinking in many cases, that's top of funnel.

Back in the day, we could remarket a little better, but as it stands, it's like with. I was 14 in the pixel and everything like that. We really almost need to think of meta as a top of funnel or many of these paid social platforms as top of funnel. People have never heard of us. They don't know us from Adam and we need to grab them quickly and they need to [00:18:00] understand quickly what this is and even there's an implied sense of why would I want this?

And so for people who there's probably most people on the planet would never buy one of these, right?

I've got a dog, or my wife's got a dog, and I would certainly never commission it to have it painted, right? And even if I did, I wouldn't make some goofy thing and have him Winston Churchill.

But, there is some subset that would, and it's that's who we want to grab, and we want them to understand immediately, and start checking out, and start thinking through that process. And you can imagine some people have multiple pets and they would get one for each pet and they would, if we've got whole galleries of I've got three to five dogs and all of them have their own Splendid Beast on the wall and they send us pictures of all of them sitting on the couch below their paintings.

So it's that, that immediacy of why on earth would I want this? What is it? And how can I get one? And it's for the right people that's going to land.

Matt: yeah, Matt, very good very good. And I love how you used the imagery to tell that story and to grab people's attention. I assume you did it with video as well, on the, on Metta.[00:19:00]

Eagan: Yeah. Yeah. That's good. And I should say on YouTube as well. And we had a great, so what we would do is another thing, talking through what, how do we get started? When I took over this business, I went through and said, again, Ben, previous owner, what do we got for an email list? He goes, email. What's that?

I said, all right, we're going to grab all the, we're going to, we're going to grab all the previous customers. I'm going to put them into at the time, MailChimp, cause we were just getting started right late, later on Klaviyo. And first thing we did was. You get a free painting if you send us pictures of your not everybody, but we're going to do a contest and you're going to win a free Splendid Beast's gift card or what have you.

Send us a picture of you with the pet, with the painting, if possible, if they're still alive, right? And that was the whole thing of people memorializing their pets and things like that. Very first thing we did was, new email list, here's a giveaway, right? Enter to win a giveaway. If you like this quirky thing already, chances are you like it again.

You can give it as a gift or you can get your other pet painted this way. And as soon as we did that, we solicited a bunch of user generated content that we could then use in the marketing, put on the site, put in the ads, put in the [00:20:00] emails. So that's that piece, getting to that bottom of the funnel.

They already bought from us, they already have one, why did we disappear? If, it's like the hardest thing you know, Matt, is to get a new customer, it's time to sell them another thing. It's a gift card for another one, it's a gift card for someone else, it's that, credit toward their next pet painting, or whatever it is we, we gotta keep them engaged.

And that was a huge win right out of the gates of, New channel, yes, but also, we didn't hit them, here's a sale, come buy things right now. It was, let's get you guys re engaged. You bought this weird thing from this weird company. Who are you people? What's your story? And let's get you something free, or let's get you entered.

And, what I liked about the giveaway, too, is, it's at cost for us, it's whatever it was for one painting, but that got us, it got people opening our emails, which they'd never seen before. Some people hadn't bought a painting in years, so got our emails opened, but then also started a conversation with something free rather than, Hey, here's a hard sell right away.

So I think that helped us too.

Matt: That's a really powerful tool, isn't it, in, in terms of how to [00:21:00] Instantly get a whole bunch of user generated content is just to give people something for free, or the possibility of getting something for free. And something valuable to what you've done there with another painting and people will love it.

It's actually I'm the cleverness in it is The people that you want to produce the user generated content are the passionate people. The passionate people are probably going to want another painting off you. And so they're going to, oh, I get a chance to win, and oh, I didn't win, I'll blow, I'll buy one anyway.

Because, why not?

Eagan: Yeah. And again, it's obvious to everybody watching this or listening to this is, you get your products at cost, right? But other people receive the value over the top of that. That's why they're giving you their money in exchange. What you're selling them is more valuable than that. So anytime you can do a giveaway like that, it's like you're putting value out into the world over and above what it costs you.

And then if you can multiply it one to many with marketing with, you're getting testimonials, you're getting case studies, you're getting happy customers, pictures of their faces with the product. That's invaluable because you're going to then multiply that in [00:22:00] all your marketing.

Matt: Yeah. And actually that, that, and there's something quite clever about that as well. I always, we've always talked about this on the show that actually a gift with purchases offer the often better than discount. So I can discount by 10 percent and if your average order value is a hundred bucks that's a 10 discount.

Whereas if I can find a gift with purchase, maybe it costs me three bucks, but the perceived value of that is say 27 bucks. Then. I'm making more money by doing the Gift With Purchase because I'm losing three bucks rather than ten. But the customer's getting something of a much higher value. So instead of getting ten bucks, they're getting twenty seven, right?

Eagan: Yeah that's spot on. I'm gonna, if it's okay, man, I'm going to pull up the presentation a little bit

Matt: Yeah, go for it

Eagan: I did a recent, so I did a recent workshop basically about how to create a marketing strategy that actually drives results. And you're reminding me of this slide here I created.

It's just, what does strategy entail? This is me and feel free. This is not the final word. I don't claim to be a guru, Matt. I'm just, I'm here along with people trying to learn it. So we talked about. Our [00:23:00] customer persona, who are we marketing to? Who are we serving? What's the problem or aspiration addressed?

How are we going to help them, right? And by the way, with the pet paintings, just as an example, I know we can talk about other examples too, but it's what is what is the problem addressed here? What is the aspiration? It's worth thinking through. And one thing we found was, oftentimes, a major use of these paintings was people wanted to memorialize their pet.

In many cases, we had to work from old photos because the pet's gone and they want to remember them. And that's a use case into itself. Another one is just, we want to celebrate this weird animal, and when people come over to a party we want to see it on the wall, right? That's a separate use

Matt: Yeah.

Eagan: You're talking about the offer. What are you selling? What's the price what's entailed, right? And I think what you're saying, what we're agreeing about, Matt, is how do we make that offer more valuable, throw in something else, right? Of here's a way to maintain this. Here's what else you can do with this.

Here's a free guide. Here's a free PDF. Here's a checklist. Here's a, inexpensive gift on our end. That's going to add value for you. Those are all ways to increase that average order value and [00:24:00] increase the value that your customers receive, right?

Matt: Yeah, absolutely.

Eagan: And then obviously that's going to affect our messaging.

One of the things I changed on the website right away was custom oil paintings of your pet, right? Before it was just sort of Splendid Beast, figure this out, right? Here's an image, good luck, right? And now it's get really clear. There's this whole element of competition. We can or cannot go into that today, right?

Channels, where are we going to reach our prospect? We've talked a little bit about that. Are they already searching Google? If so, I would call that middle of funnel. If they don't even know this exists and we're running ads top of funnel on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, wherever. That's, I'm calling that top of funnel.

They've never heard of us. And then bottom of funnel is they've heard of us. They've gotten on the email list and now we're moving them along. So each one has its place. I think there's time and or money to invest. You mentioned the SEO piece of the complexity around that. It's complex.

It's difficult. It takes time, but if people are low on budget. It's like there's always organic strategies to work on, but they cost you time, right? Are you putting in the elbow grease, are you putting in the sweat [00:25:00] equity into your company with organic, or are you trying to go faster by running ads, right?

So that's the budget. There's obviously a measurement piece of this, but we want to do direct response marketing and that's the idea there. I think there's more to this, too. We could certainly add to this list, but Matt, I think, who's our customer persona? What's the problem or aspiration?

What's our offer? I always, I throw in what's the copywriting. We could also say, what's the creative, we could say what's going to be in the images. We could say, how are we different than the competition? What are the channels we're going to reach them at? We could talk more about the, channels at different points, top of funnel, middle of the funnel, bottom of funnel, and then budget and measurement, I think we're starting to get.

A strategy once we have these pieces, what do you think?

Matt: I think it's a very comprehensive list, Eagan and I think it's it's, I love where you start and I love where you end with that. And yeah. I was very good. Very where did you do that presentation?

Eagan: So I do workshops here in Madison as well, and I'm often teaching other marketers or, small business owners. There's a mix of eCommerce and other, local businesses and things like that. And I [00:26:00] absolutely love doing it. I think it's engaging. We can just be on our computers all day, crossing our eyes, looking at Google ads and looking at spreadsheets.

So it's nice to get out and talk with other marketers and bounce things off each other and I always learn from them and I, I, I think they get enough value out of it where they keep coming back. So I'm a huge fan of, if you like teaching, if you like this stuff, and you're an agency or you're a consultant I think it's worth checking out because it's a, it's reinvigorates you if you like that sort of thing.

So I do the, I do the in person workshop and then I'll basically, I turn those into the online courses that people can buy as well.

Matt: brilliant. Do you just switch and tack very slightly at this point. You do your own podcast. We mentioned that at the start of the show. And that's how we met. I ended up on your podcast and I'm very sorry about that. But we chatted about eCommerce and I've I obviously connected to your show.

A number of the guests that have been on your show have been on this show and a whole bunch of people whose faces I don't recognize. One of the reasons I love doing this podcast, Eagan, and I'm curious if you can talk to this because [00:27:00] Every week we have an incredible guest come on the show, and they share their stories, they share their insights, and I take copious amounts of notes and go back to the team, and we have a conversation about how we can run our eCom businesses better, and here I am, a bit like you, I run my own eCommerce business, I have my own agency, I'm an eCommerce coach, we have eCommerce cohort, the group I have clients all over the world, And I still struggle with this concept of being an expert because an expert feels like I've achieved something, whereas actually I, I think I'm more of a learner, that actually there's still so much to learn because tech, everything moves so quickly in this industry.

And part of the way I do my learning is to do these shows is talk to people like you. Yeah.

Eagan: Yeah, I think that's right. I'm a book nerd. I like books. I like audio books in particular. So I go on long walks and listen to audio books. And at one point I'd heard on a podcast or somewhere else. It's like by the time something makes it in a [00:28:00] book, it's almost stale this day and age, right?

If it's a, if it's an evergreen thing, if it's a timeless principle, If it's, the Stoics and things like that's one thing. Like to your point of these platforms are changing all the time. The economy's changing all the time. This is a big macro picture. That's quite complex.

I think talking to people in the trenches is really how you keep up to date on what's going on. And so I had a I had another agency owner. People always jock me too on my my podcast are you getting business from that? What's the deal on this? Or kind of bottom line on it. And I'm like, Hey, this is, we're just over a year into it.

I'm meeting all kinds of great people. I'm learning a lot or, building relationships and things like that. To me, I'm not, I'm like, that's almost not the point. Even if we never did, if we weren't. I think I would keep doing it because I'm it's engaging in this way that the other parts of our work are not, and like you said, we're always picking up new pieces, new thoughts, new ideas that are hot off the press, totally fresh things that people are trying right now and that are working in the wild.

I don't see what, to me, it's [00:29:00] I'm never not going to have a podcast. How about you?

Matt: Oh, I'm exactly the same. I started this we started the eCommerce podcast in the early days, it was called the Kuriosity Podcast. I don't know why we called it actually I couldn't, it was our agency at the time was called Curious, spelled with a K cause we wanted to be quirky.

And so we called it the Kuriosity Podcast. We ended up changing it to the eCommerce Podcast cause it just made an awful lot more sense. But I remember that, and I tell the story often, we had an occasional guest the first sort of 19, 20 episodes. But the majority of them was just me talking to a microphone about what I knew about eCommerce.

And I remember saying to Sadaf who's the show's producer and been with me for a while. She's just an adorable person. And I remember saying to Sadaf, I'm just getting bored at the sound of my own voice, if I'm honest. I'm just like, I, and so we started interviewing people. And, at first, we were like, how in the world do we get people to come on the show?

We were hustling, I was calling all the contacts do you want to come on the show? They're like, no, not really. No, come on, you [00:30:00] really do. And we had to really work hard the first few seasons to get guests on the show. Whereas now, I think we're a hundred and, I don't even know, a hundred and 40, 150 episodes, somewhere around there and we have a wait list as long as you're armed to come onto the show.

'cause people now want to come on it. It's one of those things that it's, and I look at the downloads occasionally. I don't look at them every week maybe, if I'm honest with you, every six months. Unlike e-commerce stats, I don't ever really pay attention to my podcast stats. 'cause it, it is what it is.

I'm doing this mainly for conversation to meet interesting people, to learn stuff. The downloads are they're great, but they're secondary, if that makes sense. And I think back now, and I just think back to some of the people that we've had on the show, and I thought, what a learning experience.

So I absolutely would keep doing it, even if there was no work that came out of it, and I think, I'm hoping listening, you'd be able to do it listening, you'd be able to tell me if I'm wrong. I'm hoping that comes across. That actually it's just, it's a passion project for, one for better expression rather than a [00:31:00] profit project.

But I make money out of it in so many ways, but it's the passion thing first. But yes, so like you, I would keep doing it and I would definitely enjoy every episode.

Eagan: Yeah. I think people can tell if you love it, if you're doing it for the right reasons, that, that comes through and that's part of why it's such an intimate medium too, of just, people can hear your voice, they hear that authenticity, I think, as, there's a lot of questions about AI and what's going to happen and what are humans going to be doing, and I think we're on to something here, even though, AI is going to be doing more and more, it's like, That, what's the human piece?

I think we've, I think we've got our thumb on it somewhere here. So we gotta keep it rocking.

Matt: yeah, absolutely. Cause for me, it's all about conversation, meaningful conversation. That's what I say to people all the time. It's all about meaningful conversation. And AI will never be able to have meaningful conversation. It may at some point be so clever that it can predict what you're going to say, what I'm going to say and write the whole thing and even create its own podcast.

But it's not [00:32:00] a meaningful conversation as it's not got that humanity behind it. But yeah, fascinating. Absolutely. Wow. It's interesting. You've been going a year already. Happy birthday.

Eagan: Thank you. Yeah. It's, I don't know about you, to me, the logistics of it and stuff really took a while to get lined up. And like you said, you've got to have a helper cause you're busy running an agency. So once I got a good production assistant, I think that's, things moved a lot faster.

Matt: Yeah, and I think there's a confidence as well, isn't there, and I've been in podcasts since 2012. In 2012, we did our first ever podcast. The eCommerce podcast was not our first podcast. In fact, our first podcast was called Jersey FM because our company was called Jersey Beauty Company. In fact, I think I still own the domain name jersey.

fm. We obviously don't do the podcast anymore, that business I sold. And it was absolutely fascinating. It was one of those things where there was just three of us stood in a room with microphones and an old fashioned sound desk. And we just started talking about things to do with the beauty industry.

And so it [00:33:00] actually did wonders for our business. And I think if you're listening to this and you're an eCommerce business wondering, should I do a podcast? Honestly, I, you probably should. I think there's some strategy to think through. But I think as a form of marketing, we totally didn't plan to talk about this, Eagan.

I appreciate this, but as a form of marketing, I think it's quite fascinating. Like you say, deeply intimate, deeply personal medium of communication.

Eagan: Yeah, I'm very I'm so curious to know more about that, but it sounds like every time you've done it, it's worth it. Is there a, year one, two or three, is there like a time that people need to hang on to make sure you make it this far to really see the results? How do you think about the results?

Matt: I think you have to defi let's go into this a little bit. I wear two hats. I have a full disclosure to everybody listening. I do have two hats. One hat is eCommerce and the other hat is podcasting. So we have a podcast agency. 90 percent of people that do podcasts stop before the 10th episode.

So if you get past 10 episodes, you're ahead of 90 percent of podcasts already. If you get through, I think [00:34:00] episode 20, you're ahead of most people. And with podcasting, the thing is about consistency and do it as a passion project rather than focusing on the download numbers would be my advice. Because then it's authentic and people would, will listen into it.

But yeah, I think if you're going to do it, you've been doing it a year, you've got in the rhythm, you've got a system. There's no reason not to keep doing it. There genuinely isn't.

Eagan: Thank you. Yeah, we'll be crossing the hundred episode mark here. And I know, like you're saying, I'm just, you hear those things, you're like, just keep going. That's the piece. And it seems like you have to be, who's ever doing it. You gotta be genuine. You have to be genuinely interested in what you're talking about or you're not going to stick with it or that's going to come through.

Right.

Matt: Yeah. And I think actually that's true for any form of marketing, isn't it? Bring it back to your, your system your strategy. One of the things that you mentioned was copywriting, right? So And you go back to the pictures that you had originally, you could see the oil painting.

But as soon as [00:35:00] you switched it around, there's a bit of quirkiness, there's a bit of personality, there's a bit of passion you can feel in those images. You can feel that in the copywriting. And this is where I think and Eagan, maybe you can share your thoughts on this, but this for me is how, what I call the digital Davids, David and Goliath's story.

It's like, how do I as a digital David, a small e-commerce entrepreneur, take on Goliath? How do I do that? And I think you do it with that type of thing. Amazon, you'll never be Amazon at the commodity selling. Because it's massive. It's had billions to invest in. It's got algorithms that have figured stuff out way more smarter than I have.

And so I'm not going to beat it on that, but what Amazon can't do is it can't be me. It can't bring my voice. It can't bring my story. If I've got a podcast, it can't bring that. There's that whole personality side of things which you, which get lost very quickly on Amazon. And I think that passion, that personality has to come through in all forms, not just podcasting, but in all [00:36:00] forms of communication.

And that's how ultimately you'll beat Amazon at their own game, I think.

Eagan: Pretty interesting. We need that human side in all your marketing. It sounds like each channel of. Make sure a real human's touching that and thinking through, are we connecting with the humans on the other side on their device?

Matt: Yeah, I think you have to, don't you? And I think it's a super powerful thing because this is one of the, I know you can go to AI, you can go into ChatGPT and you can go write me an Instagram thing about this, right? Or I can give ChatGPT the transcript for my conversation and go write me a blog post, and it's good because it's quick, but if that's all I ever do, it's also lazy.

And I think people spot lazy. Because every blog post will start sounding like the next one because ChatGPT is always sounding like the next one. So I think you have to look at it, you have to edit it, you have to go into it, you have to bring your voice, your personality and go, actually I wouldn't say that, I would say this, so I need to swap that out.

[00:37:00] Yeah I

Eagan: and that was true before ChatGPT, right? You could hire inexpensive VAs in the developing world, you could get cheap blog posts it's not different in kind from that it's faster, it's cheaper, but it's the same piece of, eh, you give it a B, right?

It's and, it's it's 80 out of a hundred. It's okay. And it's, I don't ever want to be on record saying AI is never going to be able to do this or that. Like I think it's only going to keep getting better and better. So I'm not, I don't ever want to sound Pollyannish and say here's the human piece, here's the machine piece.

And I know the difference. I think it's important to, to use the new tools and take advantage of them and see what they can do. It's interesting with. Respect to Splendid Beast because I knew, okay, I saw more and more competition coming in one before I sold the business. And some people, some of the competitors were just, they just printed on canvas.

It's not handmade oil. So it's like that piece of it's cheaper, it's faster in that respect. With this whole piece about GPTs of not just chat GPT, these custom ones that can do different things. There is specifically one now that's a GPT of make my pet a funny thing. So it's it is.

[00:38:00] It has already happened, it's touching us, but there's still this element of, in the same sense that, hipsters use, typewriters and vinyls coming back, it's

Matt: Yes, so

Eagan: you what's the artisanal thing going to be? Maybe it's going to be handmade oil paintings that AI didn't do.

So it's maybe the down market stuff is fully automated and humans don't touch it, but maybe there's still this kind of like experience economy. And even again, thinking of what are the reasons that I buy, maybe I'm telling, I'm signaling to the other people in my life that I hire artisans, that I actually, I'm in the same sense of, I listen to vinyl, I've got a typewriter, I write old fashioned letters on just to, just for whatever reason, it's like that same sort of.

That same sort of signal is maybe being sent of, I'm, I pay for real things from real people. I think it, it's, the market could go in that direction too.

Matt: Yeah. I think you're totally right. And for me, having this conversation around AI has been really fascinating recently. Because like you say, AI is [00:39:00] just going to get better and better. And it doesn't seem to be going anywhere, as in we're not, it's not like we've all got together. The governments have gone shut down everything that is AI.

To be fair, AI has been around since the eighties and in many ways, but. One of the things that is becoming more and more obvious to me in this whole field is the fact that if you are mediocre at something that AI can do, you have got a real problem. So if you're a mediocre graphic designer why would I go to you when I can just go to mid journey and get it to do what you would do, but it's probably going to be a little bit better, a little bit quirkier, and at least give me some ideas.

The way you're going to stand out, I think is to be a craftsman, to be that sort of quality person. I think, and I, having sold very expensive saunas for a part of my life spas and steam rooms and things like that, I became very acutely aware that actually the mediocre companies were all competing with amongst themselves with people that had [00:40:00] very little money.

Whereas if you had something that was really high quality, something that was craftsmanship. And I'm thinking, the oil painting versus a screen printed painting. There's a reason why I don't, I could have a poster of the Mona Lisa on the wall, but actually it's not going to be as good as having the real thing on the wall, is it?

And so yeah, I think you're right. And I think this is where, if you want to know how to succeed in the world of AI, I think you just get really good and stop being mediocre. And I think you'll be really fascinated by the results.

Eagan: And I wonder if part, maybe part of your getting really good is using AI where it's appropriate to.

Matt: Oh, without a doubt. Knowing how to use

Eagan: it's not.

Matt: Yeah.

Eagan: It's not about being a purist and saying, I do everything by hand. It's know when to use the tool, know when to add the value on the human side, and be multiplicative that way.

Matt: Yeah, absolutely. Like I've got a friend who doesn't do something similar to the pets, but he paints houses. Using watercolor [00:41:00] paints. And actually what's really fascinating is his technique for doing that, because he gets so many orders, he has to speed up the process so he has to hand paint them. So is he spent a lot of time thinking about how do I make this process faster?

How do I use the tools that I have yet still create the end outcome with that craftsmanship? And it's exactly the same, isn't it? I have to know how to use ai. I use ai, we use it a lot to generate content. But the content that we put out there is, having experimented a little bit, it can't be the final content that the AI gives me, if that makes sense.

There has to be that tweaking. So it's part of the process, but it's not the whole process.

Eagan: It's the first draft, yeah. And I'm excited for some of these things. Spin me up a webpage, spin me up a logo. I'm watching this stuff too, Matt. I've, I'm yet to say this is it, this is ready for Showtime. In many cases I say, that's interesting, not there yet. And then I still hire a designer and pay them because, um, we, we still need that quality hire.

And

Matt: We do. [00:42:00] We really do.

Eagan: I'll be the first to switch to AI when it can do it. But yeah, it's, if it's not there yet, that's that's part of what we're bringing to it. If you've been in the game a long time what's good, you can see this as a good one and this isn't. And some of it's interesting right now, but I haven't seen it.

Build me a website. Build me an eCommerce website. Here's the pictures. Here's the persona. Go nuts. Like it's not there yet. It will probably get there. But part of our job is to watch and see when that is.

Matt: Yeah, but by the time it gets there, here's my thing, by the time it gets there, when it can do that, somebody somewhere who's a clever chap, who's really good at what they can do, has moved on. And so when 100 percent of people can get something really good over here from AI for next to nothing. The guys that stand head and shoulders above that, who have moved on and innovated, that's where people like me are going to go to and go, dude, you need to do this for me, and I'm willing to pay you money to do it.

It's that's where I think it'll be interesting. The whole AI conversation, totally unplanned, just like the podcast conversation, but it's fascinating the humanity of marketing [00:43:00] in a lot of ways. Eagan, listen, I'm aware of time. And that we've been chatting for a wee while now and it's been a fascinating conversation, man.

Listen, if people want to reach out to you, if they want to connect with you, what's the best way to do that?

Eagan: Yeah, check us out on caravandigital.com you can also connect with me on LinkedIn. I'm Eagan Heath, E A G A N H E A T H. And if anybody wants to listen to the What's Working in eCommerce podcast, you can find that on YouTube or on your podcast player. So thanks so much for having me on Matt. It's been great.

Matt: Nah, it's been fun. Fun. I'm curious, why Caravan Digital?

Eagan: We were, it was really the rebrand of figuring out of, we're not just based here in Madison anymore. We're not just a local SEO agency. We got to go. And so it was really working with my team, they're young people in their twenties. And so we looked at different options. It was a whole thing of the first, the first time it was like, go fast, but trying to go far, go together.

And we went through a whole process and that was, that's what came out the other end of. We're, we're globally distributed. I've got somebody in India, somebody in France, and we're all about, [00:44:00] digital nomads, being digital nomads and traveling and, taking advantage of what we can now.

And so it all just fit of we're on the journey with our clients. We're helping them bring their markets to the, bring their goods to the market, and then we're also a global company as well. So that's the idea.

Matt: I love it. I love the name. I think it's just great. I think I'm, I like the name. I'm in the process of doing a van conversion myself. And I just, all that kind of stuff. I'm just now feel like I'm part of that community if I'm honest with you. But no, it's great. Listen, again, thank you so much for coming on the show, man.

Super, super appreciate it. Love the conversation, love the spontaneity of it and love your insights, man. I love what you're doing and thanks for sharing some great value and appreciate you sharing the stories of the pet business as well.

Eagan: Right on. Thanks so much, Matt.

Matt: We will link to Eagan's info in the show notes, which you can get along for free with the transcript at ecommercepodcast. net. Of course, if you sign up to the newsletter, it's going to be coming straight to your inbox. But yeah, all the stuff that [00:45:00] links to Eagan, we'll put in there. And what a great conversation.

Love to love that. Also a big shout out to eCommerce Cohort, which enables you to bring this show. Like I say, it's the membership group that we run. If you want to find out more, great. We would love to see you in there. eCommercecohort. com. Prices start at just 14. 99 a month, but obviously no pressure.

Just keep turning up to the eCommerce Podcast, listening to these great conversations. Follow the podcast wherever you get your podcast from. Because why would you not want to? It's just. It's a bit posh, isn't it, for me to say that maybe, but I don't know, I don't understand why people wouldn't want to hear it.

Anyway, just in case no one has told you yet today, let me tell you, let me be the first to tell you, you are awesome, yes you are, credit awesome, it's just a burden you have to bear, Eagan's got to bear it, I've got to bear it. You've got to bear it as well. Now the eCommerce Podcast is produced by Aurion Media.

You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app. The amazing team that makes this show possible is the [00:46:00] fantastic Sadaf Beynon and Tanya Hutsuliak. Theme song was written by Josh Edmundson. And as I said, Everything is on the website, ecommercepodcast. net, if you want to know more.

So that's it from me. That's it from me again. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.