Ep. 37 - How to Properly Optimize Your Shopify Store and Outside-the-box Automation Ideas with Joe Lannen

Joe Lannen is the founder of Speed Boostr, the Shopify optimization and development agency. He is an experienced web developer, eCommerce entrepreneur and app developer. This week on our podcast, we talk to him about Shopify site optimization, how store owners can make sure tools aren’t misleading them, and automation tactics for Shopify.

In This Conversation We Discuss:

  • [1:19] Frequently Asked Questions from store owners
  • [1:47] History of Speed Boostr
  • [2:50] Content is king for any business
  • [3:20] Does Google PageSpeed matter?
  • [3:57] Tools for measuring optimization
  • [4:44] General tools vs platform type tools
  • [5:54] The truth about Google PageSpeed Insights for Shopify
  • [6:38] Google doesn’t take into consideration that the website is an eCommerce site
  • [7:40] Fixing the warning from Google PSI will be expensive and can cause glitches
  • [8:50] Best practices can sometimes not be applicable to your use case
  • [9:20] Shopify Analyzer by Speed Boostr, the specific tool for Shopify optimization
  • [10:22] Optimizations that Shopify store owners should be doing for faster loads
  • [11:05] Shopify Image Optimization
  • [11:16] SpeedBoostr’s Complete Guide to Shopify Optimization
  • [11:45] Shopify Apps: Only use what you really need
  • [13:10] Proper App Removal
  • [14:12] Single hero image vs image sliders
  • [15:32] AB-Test your image performance
  • [15:50] Use case for Google PSI
  • [16:27] Best practices for image file sizes
  • [17:00] Image compression
  • [19:03] Image file types
  • [19:26] Balance between image file size and image quality
  • [19:55] Tools to compress images
  • [20:45] Chase’s take on optimizing Shopify Apps
  • [21:53] Hard coding app features vs installing apps
  • [22:41] Redundant Shopify apps
  • [23:30] More Shopify Performance Optimization tips
  • [25:43] Sponsor: https://www.simplr.ai/honest
  • [26:30] Shopify Automation
  • [27:35] Joe’s fave email automation tactics
  • [28:05] The benefits of automated marketing
  • [28:33] Klaviyo for automated emails
  • [29:21] ConvertKit for B2B
  • [29:42] Joe’s goal for automated marketing campaigns
  • [30:00] Chase’s take on email automation
  • [30:15] Klaviyo pronunciation
  • [30:56] Electric Eye’s Klaviyo birthday flow
  • [31:26] Joe’s outside-the-box automated email flows
  • [32:58] More automated email flows from Chase
  • [33:55] More automation tactics, aside from email
  • [34:06] Affiliate program
  • [34:35] Automated fulfillment
  • [35:11] IFTTT for Instagram
  • [37:01] Automated use cases for reviews
  • [38:24] Shoelace for automated retargeting
  • [40:04] Joe’s advice for fellow ecommerce entrepreneurs

Resources:

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Transcript:

 

Joe Lannen  

I would say that marketing and growing your business is just a series of experiments. And the more experiments you run, the more you find where that next golden nugget's gonna be.

 

Annette Grant  

Welcome to Honest Ecommerce where we are dedicated to cutting through the BS and finding actionable advice for online store owners.

 

Chase Clymer  

I'm your host, Chase Clymer

 

Annette Grant  

And I'm your host, Annette Grant.

 

Chase Clymer  

And we believe running an online business does not have to be complicated or a guessing game.

 

Annette Grant  

If you're struggling to scale your sales, Electric Eye is here to help. To apply to work with us. visit electriceye.io/connect to learn more.

 

Chase Clymer  

And let's get on with the show. 

All right, everybody. Welcome back to another episode of Honest Ecommerce. I am your host, Chase Clymer. And today we have a very special guest who's going to help answer a question that I bet a lot of developers and probably agencies get. 

 

But it's a question that comes from you, the store owner, so it's going to be a good conversation that we have today. So I have the pleasure of welcoming Joe, from Speed Boostr to the show. Joe is the founder of Speed Boostr. They're a Shopify Optimization and Development Agency. 

 

But the way we met is from a really funny story. So like I said, the question that we always get, when we are signing off on projects is... 

 

About two weeks after the project, you'll get an email from your client. And it says, " Something something, my Google PageSpeed number." How often have you got that Joe?

 

Joe Lannen  

Oh! Often enough to where... Yeah, we wrote a bunch of content and FAQs. And it's just an ongoing internal joke.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And I wrote some content about it. Now we're gonna have a podcast about it. So I'm super excited. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Sounds like a plan. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, let's take it back a little bit. Let's talk about your history and how you kind of came to be at Speed Boostr.

 

Joe Lannen  

Cool. Yeah. Hey, everybody. Nice to meet you. I'm Joe from Speed Boostr. We focus on Shopify optimization, automation, and development, custom apps, features, stuff like that. 

 

But it came to fruition because I've been a web developer since around 2011. And focusing on Shopify the last few years and performance just kept coming up more and more. 

 

So, soon as I found that I just started with Google PageSpeed Insights and really just tried to master each of these points. (I) went down that route. 

 

And just found an idea to start a business based around it, essentially, like a productized service. And I also had a burning desire to share a lot of the knowledge I've gained over the years. So a big part of Speed Boostr is the blog as well.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely, yeah. Content is king for --I think-- any business, be it an Ecommerce business or for like an agency like (what) we have.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. Yeah, I recommend it for any business, Ecommerce as well because it just helps you sharpen your own knowledge and organize your thoughts when you're trying to teach others and put them on paper? 

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So let's get into the first question and the reason we met, which is this Google PageSpeed thing. 

 

So, I guess if we could boil it down to a specific question... Well, (laughs) the question I like to pose is, does Google PageSpeed matter? Is that score relevant?

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. Well, I guess, debatable. I've done case studies, to where I would say that it doesn't really matter in the big picture. And the reason I say that is because you obviously want a faster site. Everybody does. 

 

But I've come across issues where, we'll clear some warnings or make a site faster, and then the score actually drops. So that was a big turning point to me to where I wasn't really trusting the tool as much anymore.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And the other one out there is Pingdom. That's the other report people like the ring up to.

 

Joe Lannen  

Mm-hmm. Yeah. And all these tools are great. Through the course of my career, I've used Google PageSpeed Insights, Pingdom, GTmetrix, WebPageTest.org... WebPageTest is a great one for just getting your raw metrics. 

 

The tools like Pingdom, GTmetrix, Page Speed insights, they're good with certain applications, but they're also generalized tools. So that was the major pain point that our customers had --Shopify store owners-- and that we had,  trying to explain this and never been able to get a perfect score, or even fix a lot of the warnings. 

 

And so it boils down to... You're dealing with a generalized tool versus a platform-type of site to where you have numerous third-party apps and templating, and a lack of control on some of your server processes.

 

Chase Clymer  

So I just want to highlight the key thing you said there which is it's a generalized tool. So let me break that down a bit. What this tool is doing is it is comparing you to everything else that has in its database. 

 

So it's comparing your Ecommerce store, --which has a lot of functionality going on-- and judging it with the same questions. That it's judging like a one-page brochure website that might be static HTML

 

So it's not looking into what makes your business unique as an Ecommerce store, it's not looking into the attributes of an Ecommerce store, everyone's judged the same.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yes, exactly. And then it doesn't really care about your revenue. (laughs) So that's the main thing that you want to keep in mind. A lot of times, even a bare-bones site won't score high. I guess, specifically with Google PageSpeed insights. 

 

I wrote an in-depth guide: Truth About Google PSI for Shopify, on our site. 4000 - 5000 words. It's got a lot of details and a lot of examples in the case study I mentioned before. 

 

And through the course of writing that, I did a lot of other research. So I tested different... And I tested Amazon, they didn't score well. I tested my own tool (itself), and it didn't score well. 

 

So I guess what I've been trying to do on that is just to show that it's not the only thing that you should be focused on. 

 

Doing real optimizations that are going to move your site ahead, those are great. Make your site faster. But also don't be obsessed about speed to the point where you start thinking about uninstalling apps that are helping your business make money.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, I just want to point out that out of the box, the last time I checked this, --just a basic Shopify store-- it only scores an 80 on mobile and a 90 on desktop. 

 

And I've also run it before and it came up with a 76 and a 79 for mobile versus desktop as well. 

 

So thinking about that, it's like out of the box, the Shopify platform isn't getting you in A because there are things that are going on in the background that won't allow that to happen. And Google isn't taking that into consideration.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. Well, a lot of times you might not want an A, either. One of the ones that come up... We get a lot of... We've optimized hundreds of sites, Shopify sites, over the course of the last almost 2 years. But really the last year is when we got a lot of traction and started doing a lot more interaction with clients and stuff. 

 

But over the course of the hundreds of sites that we've optimized, and then sites that reached out to us, we'll get callouts on that, like, "Oh, can you fix this specific warning?" 

 

Without going boring on the technical details too much, just a quick summary of that is the Critical Rendering Path. That's like a warning that a lot of people just like... They'll see it in Google PageSpeed Insights and want it to be fixed.

 

 But with all of these, I've dived in super deep, and I've tried to fix it. and I have cleared that warning before. It's a lot of work and it's maintenance heavy. You'd probably want an automated solution to try to figure it out because you have to regenerate CSS for every template any time there are any changes. 

 

But what I also found is I did it for a few sites and sometimes you run into problems where you'll have the layout breaks, or because a third-party app is expecting some code to load in the header when it's not on one page or not the other... 

 

So you can cause just little layout glitches and stuff like that. And between the cost of implementing, plus the cost of maintenance, plus the potential layout breaks either in the present or the future, it's one that I just generally don't recommend investing in trying to solve. 

 

But it is technically a best practice. And that's why it's in that tool. But for a Shopify site speed, I don't think that it makes sense to really stress on that when it could potentially cause problems because of the conflict with a third-party app.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And that's the thing. Best practices are just best practices. They need to make sense for your business.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah, yeah. That's 100% (correct). And all these tools... We built our own tool, The Shopify Analyzer, to solve the problem of there wasn't a tool specifically for Shopify sites. And some of these other warnings (are) just seen (on) other tools like leverage browsing caching is another one that you're just not going to fix because those are related to third-party apps, and they have a reason for setting their cache policies. 

 

You're never going to clear that warning/error or whatever. So yeah. We built the Shopify analyzer to say "Okay, here are what we think are the most important optimization points that you should do. And if you clear all those, then you're going to score a good grade." 

 

And there might be some micro-optimizations like the critical CSS rendering, or something like that that might just inch it forward a bit. 

 

But also like I said, it's got its drawbacks. So we kind of focus on that. Just try to say, "Hey, optimize what best you can, but don't go super hardcore obsessive on it." 

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So let's talk about what you should be doing. I got a Shopify store. I'm a store owner. What optimizations should I be doing or should I be considering? How can I make my site faster?

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. So, I always start with the low-hanging fruit, which is image optimization. And you can use an app for that to automate most of it. Shopify doesn't allow... Their API doesn't allow connection to all the images on your site. 

 

So for example, if you upload into your theme, use a customized theme section, you're going to have to manually optimize that. But optimization is pretty easy that I think a non-technical person can usually handle. And we have a guide on that on our blog. 

 

But I think, yeah. I can share a few blog posts in the show notes or something. Our philosophy is we're transparent. 

 

So we have a complete guide to Shopify optimization that is basically pulled straight from our internal checklist that someone can go through each step. Same with image optimization. 

 

So this stuff is available for free, and then our services are... As a business owner, you don't usually want to be wasting time trying to optimize your site. You might as well just pay someone to do it and focus on your own strengths. 

 

But that being said, a couple of quick ones. The image optimization, that's going to be key. Apps tend to be the major bottleneck that we see. So uninstalling... Apps are fun. They add engagements, you can make money off of them. 

 

But what I have seen a lot is that people just go overboard. You might have 20 or 30 apps going. And sometimes you can forget that some of them aren't even doing anything for you or that they're not driving a good ROI

 

A wishlist app is a good example that I tested at one point, that I was using on a site. And it seems like a nice feature. Amazon's got it. They're the Ecommerce king, so it must be good, right? 

 

But then, when we're analyzing the store, I just found out that people actually weren't using it. And I'm also of the belief that each page should have a single goal. 

 

So if you're not getting adds to cart but you're getting wish list adds, then that might detract conversions. So on that one, in particular, it wasn't a good ROI. 

 

All it was doing was (to) contribute to slower load speed. So that's just an example of how you want to track the metrics in your apps and make sure you're using them, and then unload them if you're not. 

 

So that's number 2, analyze your apps. And then along with that, a lot of times when you remove an app in your app section, if it added theme code, like a script in your thing about Liquid file, for example, I would probably say most times, --at least a lot of the times-- that app code is not going to get automatically removed. 

 

So, you want to pay attention to that. And again, you could do that with any analysis tool to see what files are loading. Our analyzer has it. The Shopify Analyzer has it to where you can see all the resources that are loading on your page, and then you cross-reference that with your apps. 

 

So, if I see appabc.js script is loading in this tool, but I remember uninstalling that app a couple of weeks ago, that means it's still loading in your theme file. 

 

So, you need to remove that. Yeah. Those are the low-hanging fruit. The image optimization, and then just make sure your apps are in check. 

 

And then I guess like the third point that someone could do just today, that's easy is to use a single hero image on your homepage instead of a slider. Because sliders, they look cool. They're fancy. But they also... 

 

That critical space is above the fold, so anything that you're loading there needs to load first. That's going to give the best first impression. 

 

And those images are big typically, so if you have 3 to 5 large images loading right there, you're also having to load the plugin. Which is typically going to require jQuery, which is also a library that needs to be loaded in the head as well. 

 

So, you could do that or you could just have a single image that kind of welcomes people to your site and gives them the first impression that you want to give them. 

 

There are also case studies that show that people don’t actually interact with sliders 

 

So again, it comes back to creating a plan to see what people are actually interacting with. And if those elements are useful. 

 

So three... To summarize, 3 main points, you could do there: Image optimization, analyze your app usage and remove what you don't need, and then remove your sliders and try a hero image. 

 

And A/B test it if you want to. If you think your sliders are doing great, then consider doing an A/B test with your theme just to validate because the data always tells the truth. 

 

Chase Clymer  

I can't agree more with what you just said there. So I'll walk through it from my perspective. So on the first one, seeing which files are big on your Shopify page, this is actually somewhere where Google PageSpeed can help. 

 

It tells you how big these image files are actually on your homepage load. That's the way you could use it.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah! It's good for clues. You can get some clues. It is a good tool. And I always emphasize that I'm not bashing the tool, in my communications about it. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Oh, I am. I absolutely am.

 

Joe Lannen  

(laughs) It has its place. But just for Shopify, specifically...

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah.

 

Joe Lannen  

...that's our niche. It's just not a good tool for that. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Alright. So, let's talk about these images really fast. And I know that number is very... There's some wiggle room with this. But do you have any best practices when it comes to the sizing of images for certain applications in a store?

 

Joe Lannen  

Ideally, if you can get all your images under 100 kilobytes each, at the maximum size, that's great. If you have one big hero image that's 150 or 200 kilobytes, that's fine. You usually don't think you need to have anything over 200 kilobytes. 

 

And then as far as best practice is, just making sure they're compressed. That's the main point of image optimization because you won't lose resolution and all you're doing is stripping out the metadata

 

And image compression does some algorithms to prevent the amount of color being loaded. Some super technical stuff. But as long as the images are compressed, and then you're not loading a 4000-pixel image, on a mobile screen. 

 

Mobile screens (are) typically going to be around 400 pixels or so depending on the device. So, without bogging it down with details, --we have information on that as well-- but you can look up on scaling server images

 

So you can just use some code to load a specific image size for different screen sets. So that's a little bit more technical. 

 

But on the basic level, as the store owner that just wants a quick fix, compressing the images and then making sure the image size isn't... The dimensions aren't just huge, like 1500 pixels max for any screen. 

 

And then I would say probably around 600 to 700 pixels for a mobile screen.

 

Chase Clymer  

So we're on the same page there. So the numbers I used to throw out would be like if it's a hero image, 300 kilobytes max. Anything else, 150. But you're even going lower. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Oh yeah. It's going to depend on how the image is. How detailed it is, as well. So that's...

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Joe Lannen  

...why I say like I don't... Because you want to have an image that portrays exactly what you're looking for so I wouldn't like to set hard numbers. I would say, just as long as they're mostly optimized, it's going to be in that age. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

 

Joe Lannen  

And then another key point is when you use a tool, you might see an image, it's like a megabyte or more like, "Wow! How is it that big?" 

 

And then you look and it's a photographic image that is saved as a .png. So, that's the third point of image optimization. Making sure you use the right file types. 

 

PNG is great for graphics or things that need transparency. But if it's a photograph, then it should be JPEG

 

Because otherwise, you could make an image four-to five-times larger, with the exact same quality.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. The only thing I want to say on image optimization, on top of all that is just make it as small as it can be without sacrificing the quality. It's going to get a little less sharp, I guess, is the word I want to use. 

 

But if it's getting really bad and really ugly, you also need to know the purpose of images to sell your product or to improve your brand. So if you're trying to hit an odd number, the number is arbitrary. You still need the picture to look good.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah, yeah. I'll agree with that. And for me, I use 2 tools to compress an image. One is Crush.pics. That's a Shopify app that does most of them on sitewide. 

 

And then I use TinyPNG.com. It does JPEGs as well. 

 

But with both of those, with their standard settings, I find that there's not a loss of resolution. So I'm happy with that. But you can. That's called lossless resolution

 

You can do lossy which you crank up... You drop the file size even more, but then it starts to get blurry. I don't like that for an Ecommerce site, especially when you're trying to show premium products. 

 

So, with either of those tools that I mentioned, you should be fine as far as resolution goes.

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. And then moving on to your next point, which was the apps. I'm not gonna say who, but actually that we have two of them now. 

 

We've worked with some sites and we're auditing them and helping them with some redesigns and some other optimizations and they had over 50 apps installed. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Whoo! (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

And to explain it in layman's terms, that's 50 JavaScript calls plus whatever else is in the theme, every time a page loads. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Mm-hmm. 

 

Chase Clymer  

So that's something to keep in mind. And then what you said, I hadn't thought about it that clearly. It doesn't uninstall that code. 

 

So you're going around trying to get rid of all that stuff. So (what) I like to think the best rule of thumb is, do you really, really need it? 

 

Joe Lannen  

Mm-hmm.

 

Chase Clymer  

Apps are not worth it because of what they're going to do your optimization and your performance. People are testing them all the time, I think that's a bad way to do it. Ask around, get the right one, and use it. 

 

And I also see sometimes people are using three apps where one app could do all three things. Just pick one.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. Yeah, that's one. If an app feature could be hardcoded into your theme...

 

Chase Clymer  

Oh, yeah, 

 

Joe Lannen  

...that's typically a better way to go. For example, I saw an app that shows... It'll load a secure badge on your product page. See, to me that's something... That's nice. It's a quick solution. Someone might just want to download that. 

 

But for an optimization point of view, you just want to put that in your Shopify theme because then it's loaded from Shopify's... From your same servers. 

 

From Shopify's CDN, which is going to be fast and deliver it from anywhere rather than using a third-party app that you're going to have to keep track of. 

 

It's going to load its own resources and that is probably not going to be serving it as fast as if it was on your Shopify server.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Some other examples I see are apps that are redundant. Our apps for making forms on your website, like contact forms...

 

Joe Lannen  

Mm-hmm.

 

Chase Clymer  

...you can hard code that. Free-shipping bars at the top, easy to hard code into a theme. I’ve seen some tutorials. You can do that thing yourself, even if you're non-technical. And another (one) is pop-ups for emails and stuff, all three of those are super easy to hard code in. And then even some of the more advanced apps can be hardcoded in its features. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah, a lot of it can. It comes down to a balance of what the budget is if it's worth it for that specific scenario. But if max performance is the ultimate goal, you definitely want to try to hard code as much as you can. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Absolutely. So with the conversation topic of optimization and performance, is there anything that we missed on that you think you want to share.

 

Joe Lannen  

We could go on forever just about this. Optimization and everything. I think those are like the low-hanging fruit. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. 

 

Joe Lannen  

And not to bore the audience with too many deep dives into it. But I think just using tools, every once in a while, just to do a check-up on your site. At least once a quarter, just using any of the analysis tools just to make sure your site's looking it and good health. And, again, it's not like... 

 

The Google PageSpeed Insights, it's not about the score, it's more about just looking for things that stand out and just making sure that you don't have any big wastes. One time... I put a case study in a blog on this one and so it pops into mind. 

 

But we found a site that had... There were over 1500 extra server requests loading on collection pages. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Why? (laughs)

 

Joe Lannen  

And so... I guess I should make a chart. An infographic or something that says "Hey, here's the average amount which you should expect. Here's the low-end. Here's the high-end. I think I'll do something like that. But for now, you might... 100 requests on that page would be good. 150 would be a little higher. 

 

Anything higher than 200 in total would be like, "Oh. I don't know. Something could be optimized there. But this one had about 1700 or so. And dude, we found it was from an app. Which a lot of times, an app analysis will uncover stuff like that. 

 

So, I guess it's just like checking in to make sure that there aren't any big bottlenecks like that. And any of those tools are... And then that's why we exist to Speed Boostr. We do a free expert analysis to see if anything like this is going on. 

 

So, if anyone does want to dive into the technical details, we do that for free on the initial consult. No problems there. But just being aware of things and learning at least a little bit about optimization and what you'd be looking for as a store owner, I think those would help.

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome.

 

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Chase Clymer  

So, thanks for that. Now we're going to switch gears to one of my favorite topics in the world, Automation.

 

Joe Lannen  

Oh yeah! Oh, man. Me too. (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

It's a long-running joke that I'm trying to replace myself with a robot within the business. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Hey man, that's a good goal for any entrepreneur. 

 

Chase Clymer  

I've actually named our Zapier robot. His name's Rob Halford. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Oh. Nice! (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

So, if anyone gets where that's from, you get a $1 for me, I guess. 

 

Joe Lannen  

I will not get a $1. I don't know. 

 

Chase Clymer  

It has to do with our agency’s name, too. So those are all the clues. And I hope someone emails me about this when this episode comes out. So let's get in automation though. So...

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. 

 

Chase Clymer  

...I'm sure the number one low-hanging fruit there is email automation, right? 

 

Joe Lannen  

Mm-hmm. Oh, for sure. 

 

Chase Clymer  

So, that is one of my favorite topics. And anytime I see someone using a standard, --just push a button and you blast-- whenever I see that, I'm like, "No, no, no, no. You're leaving so much money on the table."

 

Joe Lannen  

Mm-hmm.

 

Chase Clymer  

And then I see some people that are in the junior leagues. There are a few that are getting into it. I'm not going to name any names. But then there's like the big leagues of email automation. 

 

And those are the ones that I'm always pushing. So I guess, what are some of your favorite tactics with email that isn’t like the out-of-the-box ones?

 

Joe Lannen  

To start off, with automation in general too, the reason why I love it as well, we connect on this. So, I've (always) just been (a) multiple business owner and just always working on so many projects. And I was like, "Man, I need to like free up some more time." 

 

So automation has become a passion of mine and would be in an Ecommerce for a few years now. I've just seen paperclip prices rise and rise more and more. 

 

So I'm always trying to find automated marketing tactics because those can be unloaded, unleashed, and they're making money on autopilot. 

 

And that's kind of the other half of Speed Boostr. We optimize and then, --I guess as an extension of me being obsessed with automation-- we try to do a lot of that as well. We build solutions. 

 

We promote marketing automation stuff like that as well. 

 

So, yeah. For email, yeah. I love automated flows. Klaviyo is neat. It became my favorite email service, prior this year. 

 

So I've been using them. I set up Klaviyo automated emails on the store doing about 10k a month. And within a month, email was contributing over $1,000 to revenue and mostly on autopilot as well. So...

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Joe Lannen  

Your standards (email automation) are your abandoned carts. I like doing a welcome sequence to where you offer what would you call your standard discount. Like 10%. 

 

And what that does is that gives them a reason to join your sequence. Now they're in. Okay, great. 

 

And then you can follow up with automated emails to introduce them to your brand, show different products. And there are just a million ways to segment with Klaviyo in particular, that's why I like it. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Yep. 

 

Joe Lannen  

And I also use ConvertKit. I don't like ConvertKit for an Ecommerce store but I like it for a B2B like for Speed Boostr. We use ConvertKit.

 

You're quite experienced in email marketing, so you probably the pro on these, but I've just found it. A good... Just to get some basic automation setup is going to drive a positive ROI. 

 

And that's my goal with any marketing campaign on automation, I'm not really concerned about what it costs, but is it going to drive a positive ROI without any input, then it's 100% yes.

 

Chase Clymer  

Mm-hmm.

 

Yeah. I don't know why I was being so secretive before. Maybe the Chipotle's making me feel funny. But no, yeah. 

 

Klaviyo is number one that I like. I'm not a big fan of Conversio because it's like Klaviyo Jr. and I'm not a big fan of MailChimp because it's just not even in the same realm of possibilities of what Klaviyo can do. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah, I actually switched from MailChimp. And once I got in to... Yeah, you're right. It is pronounced Klaviyo. (Clay-V-Oh)

 

Chase Clymer  

No, I don't know if it's right or not. I'm going to the (Klaviyo) conference.

 

Joe Lannen  

No. It is. I always say Klaviyo (Claw-Vi-Yo). I learned about it while I was in Colombia. Everything was in Spanish. So I just pronounce it as it is in Spanish. So, but then I talked with Klaviyo and I watched some other videos. And then I'm like, "Oh, it is Klaviyo." But they said they don't care. I can pronounce it however... (laughs)

 

Chase Clymer  

No, yeah. They don't care. They know that they've got the worst name ever. But they've got a great product.

 

Joe Lannen  

They have an amazing product and that's why I'm so stoked on it because I've they're just ahead of anything else I'd used before. And I saw the results instantly.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. So I'm trying to think of some out-of-the-box... Outside of the box. I don't know.

 

So we're Klaviyo experts at some level. We keep getting up in their little expert column thing. 

 

So we always try to come up with fun flows for our clients and the birthday flow is like the easiest one to get set up. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Mm. Yeah. 

 

Chase Clymer  

And it's open rate is insane.

 

Joe Lannen  

Right. Yeah. I haven't personally experimented too much with the birthday flow yet, but I can see that.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah, that one's really fun. I'm trying to think of some more.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. You know what I like that I've been experimenting with is 2 tactics. If someone buys one product from a certain collection, and you have another collection that matches that product, or if it is a complimentary item, maybe like a... 

 

Depending on how often you like to communicate maybe a month or two later, you can say, "Hey, I know you like that. If you're digging the product, get the matching top or the matching accessory or whatever. Check these out here." 

 

That one's another one that can be on autopilot, and just statistically gonna drive you sales because some of the people are going to be interested in that other product. So I like that one. 

 

And then another automation one that I use that if you're a clothing brand or something or if you have a product to where you're constantly releasing new designs, if someone bought something from that collection, then you can send an automated email. 

 

You can see exactly your average repurchase time from a customer --to use data to make that-- 

 

But you could ballpark it as a few weeks and have an automated email and say, "Hey, we got some new designs up on the site. Here they are." And they are filtered by new arrivals. 

 

For someone that's a t-shirt company, if someone likes t-shirts, and they (maybe like) "Oh. Let me check out the new ones. I might need to grab a new t-shirt." So those are free, --essentially free-- marketing because you're just... You set up an automated flow.

 

Chase Clymer  

That made me remember a few more specific ones for clients that we had. So one was for clients that offer... We have one client that offers a few subscription products for very specific products. 

 

And if you just buy one of them, it'll email you when he thinks it's going to be out and be like, "Hey, do you want to subscribe to the subscription so you don’t..."

 

Joe Lannen  

Ah! Yes. Nice one.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. And then we have another client that has a product that isn't really supposed to be perishable if you're using it the right way. It gets raggedy and you're probably going to want a new one. And the price point isn't huge. 

 

So he times that out to when people usually would actually want a new one. And he's like, "Hey, we've had some customers tell us that they've used this so much. They love it so much. They just want another one." 

 

So then having that touchpoint, too. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Mm-hmm.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. If you can dream it, you can build it. And that's the fun thing about those platforms.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah, yeah. For sure. Those were great.

 

Chase Clymer  

So outside of email, is there anything else that you guys have been dabbling in with automation?

 

Joe Lannen  

Oh yeah, man! I got a bunch here. So just at the top of my head. Starting an affiliate program is great because you'll get influencers, you get people talking about your brand trying to sell your product and you'll get backlinks. So it's like a back-end SEO tactic as well. 

 

So I like that. It's pretty much automated once you set it up. A couple of the things that I automated for clients and businesses, --Ecommerce business I run-- is fulfillment. So right now, Amazon Fulfillment is the biggest one. You can connect it to Shopify (and) automatically fulfill your orders there. 

 

I'm really curious to see how Shopify’s new Fulfillment Network --that they announced this summer-- is going to play out. I haven't personally used it yet but if they can compete with Amazon, on delivery and price... 

 

And it will be huge because you could do your own custom branding. Fulfillment is just taken... You don't have to deal with it as an owner. 

You ship all your inventory, it's done. I also like doing... A social media automated tactic that I use and that a lot of people might not be aware of with is... Do you know the tool called If This Then That

 

Chase Clymer  

I do, actually.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. So, I always browse there to find... ifttt.com is what it is. So they're just little automated scripts that you can do. 

 

So the one I like to use on that... I think for most Ecommerce brands, product-focused, Instagram is going to be the primary marketing channel. 

 

So as an efficient social media strategy. If you're big, you can have someone managing every single platform. 

 

But what I always recommend and implement for smaller brands or even mid-sized brands, if you have a social media manager posting content every day on Instagram or whatever your main channel is, you can use IFTTT script automatically... 

 

Well, you can share on Facebook and it'll share the image and that's good for Instagram. But then you can use IFTTT to also share that on Twitter automatically, but with a native image. Because if you try to just share it on Twitter, it only shows a link. 

 

You can have it post the image so now, your Twitter's covered. 

 

You can have it automatically share in Pinterest and pin it to certain boards depending on what hashtags you use. So that's another cool one. 

 

And I've seen Pinterest work really well for some brands and just not work at all for others. So if you are a brand that where you think Pinterest would work, something like that is pretty nice because you could just automatically be posting a lot of content over there. 

 

So that's just a way to nice[ly] spread your social media postings without having to hire or having to spend time doing it. 

 

Chase Clymer  

I love that tactic. 

 

Joe Lannen  

And I think another one that I really like for automation, it's email related, but I use it through a reviews app. So just automatically sending a review request to customers, and then including a shareable discount code for the people that leave a good review. 

 

The way I like that as the automation is, A you're getting your reviews and the negative reviews are a good opportunity for feedback. 

 

So you automated your feedback and reviews, and then you're using it... You can use it as a back-end automated marketing channel by including that shareable discount code. 

 

So I'm always trying to find fun ways to engage with people by email. 

 

So it's finding the right wording to fit the brand's identity to be like, "Hey, thanks for that five-star review. I'm glad you love our product. If you have any friends that or do you want to get anything else, here's a code for X percent off. If you want to share it with a friend,  feel free. We're all about building the community." Something like that. 

 

So again, statistically, just by throwing it out there, you're going to get some people that are sharing it, and then you're going to acquire new customers like that. So it becomes an automated customer acquisition strategy.

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. I fully recommend that one as well.

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah. And then the last one that pops into my mind is automated retargeting. There's a bunch of apps out there. The one that I've used is Shoelace. They got pretty expensive recently, so I don't know if they're going to work for every brand. 

 

But there's a handful of apps. You can look at them at the Shopify app store but you could do retargeting yourself. 

 

But if you don't feel like learning how to do that, then you just install an app and they set it up and retargeting converts quite well better than cold ads. 

 

And if you use an app, it's essentially 100% autopilot. So you just install it and then you get it. You get free sales. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Shoelace builds a very quality funnel for people that are in... I would say it's for people that have sales already and they're trying to get them that retargeting element, but they don't have the ability to hire a dedicated person. I think Shoelace works very well for them. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah, and I would say, probably like $5,000 monthly revenue and higher is when it would probably make sense for an app like that to make sure it's ROI.

 

Chase Clymer  

Yeah. Absolutely. Well hey Joe, I cannot thank you enough for coming on the show and sharing all this with the audience. Is there anything else that you want to leave or say before you go?

 

Joe Lannen  

Oh, not too much. I just.. Yes, it's good talking. I always love talking with fellow Shopify entrepreneurs and... 

 

Chase Clymer  

Nerds? (laughs)

 

Joe Lannen  

... (laughs) people on the agency. 

 

And I guess if I could leave one piece of advice just on how I've grown through my Ecommerce business and through Speed Boostr is just as listening to podcasts, talking to other people. I got a couple of ideas from you on this call as well. 

 

So I think it's always good to just be finding people and talking to people and going to meetups and stuff like that and just experimenting. I always say that marketing and growing your business is just a series of experiments. 

 

And the more experiments you run, the more you find where that next golden nugget is going to be.

 

Chase Clymer  

I love that. So where can people get ahold of you? Where can they talk to you? Where can they find out about that cool analyzer tool?

 

Joe Lannen  

Yeah, so speedboostr.com. That's with no 'e' at the end. That's our website. The analyzers on there, you just click the Shopify Analyzer. We build custom apps and solutions. I am also going to be submitting our first Shopify app to the store. 

 

Probably tomorrow, just doing some final testing, and it automates some order processes. So if you fulfill your products using Amazon, it's gonna be the key target for that. But yeah, I don't have a link for that. 

 

So they don't want to go into the details too much. No, but you come to our site. I'll have it up there soon enough. But essentially, we're just trying to build solutions to automate processes. 

 

So if anyone needs their website optimized or wants to see if their website is optimized, or is looking for any automated solutions, that's what we're here for. And that's what we're trying to help Shopify store owners save time and save money. 

 

Chase Clymer  

Awesome. Thank you so much. 

 

Joe Lannen  

Cool, man. Thank you.

 

Chase Clymer  

We can't thank our guests enough for coming on the show and sharing the truth. links and more will be available in the show notes. If you found any actionable advice in this podcast that you'd like to apply to your business, please reach out at electriceye.io/connect.

 

Annette Grant  

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