S3 E2: Dave Burchett (Avance Vinyl): Understanding your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) to inform smart ad creative

S3 E2 PODCAST

On Retention Chronicles we’re joined by Dave Burchett, Founder & CEO of Avance Vinyl, a leading DTC shop with the highest quality vinyl, rhinestones, sublimation paper, and crafting supplies. In the episode, we chat about;

  1. what inspired Dave to get into the vinyl and crafting space,
  2. creating a repeatable process,
  3. business differentiators,
  4. knowing your target market,
  5. ad creative and targeting your ICP,
  6. social media and shoppable stores,
  7. what questions you should ask yourself around Search Engine Optimization (SEO),
  8. and rewarding your customers to increase retention.

Be sure to subscribe to our pod to stay up-to-date and checkout Malomo, the leading order tracking platform for Shopify brands.

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TRANSCRIPT

This transcript was completed by an automated system, please forgive any grammatical errors.

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

people, customer, important, company, product, vinyl, seo, retention, business, deliverable, understand, pay, ad, sell, facebook groups, sales, industry, create, purchase, talking

SPEAKERS

Dave Burchett, Mariah Parsons

Mariah Parsons 00:04

Hi there, I'm Mariah Parsons, your host of retention Chronicles, ecommerce brands are starting to shift their strategy to focus on retention in the customer experience. And so we've decided to reach out to top DC brands and dive deeper into their tactics and challenges. But here's the thing, we love going on tangents. And so with our guests, you'll often find us talking about the latest trends, as well as any and all things in the Shopify ecosystem. So go ahead and start that workout or go on that walk and tune in as we chat with the leading minds in the space retention Chronicles is sponsored by Malomo. A shipment in order tracking platform, improving the post purchase experience, be sure to subscribe and check out all of our other episodes at go. malomo.com. Hello, Dave, thank you so much for joining us for retention Chronicles. Really excited to chat with you here today. All about Vance. First, let's start off Have you give a little bit of your background. Give an intro you know about yourself and your brand as well.

Dave Burchett 01:18

Thank you. Thank you for having me. My name is Dave. We own a bunch of franchises called the plug which are screen print shops. And we created advance because we want to be able to supply the products for the stores. We also thought it was a good opportunity to get us a b2c type of market with because we have a lot of home crafters, people that do small business out their house, and they needed supplies and materials. So that's how we create events came about that.

Mariah Parsons 01:48

Yes, yeah. So awesome. I understand as well. So I'm so excited to dive into this because this is the first time I can say that we've had someone with a b2c approach or like someone even in the crafting industry in general and like supplies. So I think that's going to be really interesting. And it's to my understanding when we were chatting before you're expected to see like big growth in 2023. Correct? Correct.

Dave Burchett 02:12

So we have currently, six doors open right now between the Illinois in Colorado, but we have stores opening up in 2023 in various different states, you know, Texas, Kansas, and so forth. So it's gonna be it's gonna be a nice ride this year.

Mariah Parsons 02:31

Yeah, that'd be awesome. Um, okay. So explain to me a little bit. Like, why you wanted to get into this industry. Like, what's the what's the back, like the founding story there, I think it's always so interesting to hear.

Dave Burchett 02:46

So I was I was a educator for teacher for 15 years, I coached wrestling, I coached football. And we hit on the side, we started on those green print shop, you know, we were doing screen printing, some uniforms, things like that. And then we decided in 2018, to open up load science 20, something to open up our store in 2018. And I was kind of going to be like our proof of concept. So we wanted to make sure we create something that was replicable. And it was standardized in a lot of different areas, from pricing to training, process procedures, things like that. And then after we create the store, we realized we need the supply chain and put that in place. And that's where advanced came from. So we looked at different manufacturers overseas, went through the whole process of getting prototypes, getting demos, things like that. We got our product line in place. And then from there, we we created the company events, which actually stands for because our main product is vinyl, heat transfer vinyl. That's what crickets they use for cameos when you're making shirts at home. So we create the name of our company's advanced which is a VA and see it's an acronym it stands for all vinyl are not created equal.

Mariah Parsons 04:02

Oh my gosh. I love that.

Dave Burchett 04:08

We can't spell we just looked at the offer something Yeah. No, it's even more creative. You know, I

Mariah Parsons 04:14

hope you say to those people where it's like, oh, what what does it mean? You're like, just wait till you know this. So it's Wait, say it again. It's all vinyl are

Dave Burchett 04:23

not created equal.

Mariah Parsons 04:24

Oh, vinyl. Okay. Yeah, that was what was tripping.

Dave Burchett 04:27

Whatever you're creating a business, you want to look for differentiators. Right? And so for us, we knew the best product was stretch vinyl, but those are actually two or three companies that sell it and then they sell it at double price. So we're inside the price and we made all our products from our glitters to our regulars all stretch. So now there's no cracking and peeling that great for polyester dry fit type stuff.

Mariah Parsons 04:54

Oh, okay. I see. Yeah, yeah, cuz I remember so played I played a lot sports growing up, and just like did camps, right? Like I remember like iron on like my mom would be making us shirts because, of course that's just like what you do. And it's so fun, right? So yeah, that, okay, so the note stretching, you make those types of products and like it extends to your whole product line so that, you know, wash and wear and tear and all of that stuff.

Dave Burchett 05:26

So whenever you're creating a business, you have to understand like your market, and then you have to understand how you're going to differentiate yourself from everybody else. So what is it that makes you special? What can you offer? What can you do? And for us, we looked at that product and said, We got to really separate ourselves here, we got to offer the best product, but if offer, I thought the normal price, we couldn't do what the other company because most people will just cheap out. And we've just bought a product in the cracks and fields. And we didn't want to go that route. We want to give them the same product for the same price.

Mariah Parsons 06:01

Okay, yes. So let's let's dive into that a little bit more on that like product differentiation, understanding your market. So how are you? Is it because you guys have advanced vinyl that you're able to keep, like the quality of the product high and then also have a lower price? Right? I think you said that. Is that correct?

Dave Burchett 06:19

Because we're controlled the manufacturing. So obviously, we're controlling price points. For people that don't know, you have to like understand Keystone. Keystone is where everything gets doubled over, because every hand it touches everybody has profit, right? So retail, if you're you're buying retail, they have to get it at a wholesale price, which is half the price. So I'll give an example. If it's 60 bucks, they gotta buy for 30 or it's off sell for 60. Now, if you're wholesaling for 30, you have to manufacture it no more than $15. Right that you can make your profit in there as well. So and that's what we did. We went to manufacture, we knew we had to have that Keystone in place. So we had to make sure we could wholesale it at half the price. So retail it again, double the price from that.

Mariah Parsons 07:06

Right. Okay. Yes. Totally with you with totally with you there. So another question around the stretching aspect of the product is that that's something that is that like commonly offered in the industry. It sounds like it isn't right. Price. Yeah.

Dave Burchett 07:23

Because when he gets to me, depending on who the manufacturer is, it may cost them a lot more to do that. So anything by those by manufacturing, every additional expense, you know, will deter you because people will most commonly go for the lower price item.

Mariah Parsons 07:37

Yes. Okay. Totally. Yep. And then so you had mentioned, like, obviously, product differentiation, you have to understand that when you're making your business and then also understanding your market. So let's dive into there. Because I feel like hopefully, the listeners along with myself have a good grip around, like how you differentiate that product or what your vinyl is differentiated on. So let's dive into like, how did you first start to approach now you know, like you have this great product for the price that like no other competitors on the market even have how then do you start to go towards more like selling and understanding your market?

Dave Burchett 08:20

So obviously, we have a Shopify site that we sell the product. So once you set that up, and you know where you're at, I will say you have to like, well, common mistake most people do is when they set up their website and stuff is they gear it towards them, and not their target market audience, right. That takes research, you should you know, and you can find this, you can even look up like certain companies or your competitors, and look up what their common, you know, customer looks like what the avatar looks like, and then copy it over from there. So we knew ours was women from 30 years old. So 55 years of age, just the most common. That's what our retirees looks like. I know a lot of people think well, sports would be men, but you'd be surprised a lot of the time is teen moms, teachers, and things like that. So obviously, our website was geared towards women, for that age range from there. Now, when we talk about like target market, how we started off, what we would do is we would run ads for certain areas we thought would need it right. So you could target like on Facebook or Instagram, the zip codes. And so we would look at, like for us, for example, like we start off with schools. So like, we know, the teacher, the soccer mom is our average person. Well, we'll look up probably one of the biggest schools that we want to target. Usually, you know, if they have a Roman 4000 5000, we'll use that address target them so people are entering in that building will see our ad, right. And then what happens from there is you'll start to get orders and you grow from there, right. So what we did was we started taking the orders that we received, we started targeting those zip codes, because we figured you know we got that one person. Now if that ad pops up in there or we could possibly get a testimony or referral. They, you know, obviously goes a long way right? are huge. Yep. It's the best that you get right. So we started doing that. And we started getting growth in certain areas. And then what we started to notice from that was at the doing target all these zip codes that most of our customers are ordering online. We're not in big cities. They're a small rural town. So we do more research, and we realize they have no Michaels no Joanne's. No, no Hobby Lobby's. These are areas that are kind of like deserts. So we're like, okay, we really need to go heavy on there. So when we looked at our ecommerce advertizing dollars, we started going even more in our nose, because these people have to revert online. And that's what we have as an online business. Right? So that's what we kind of did to grow in certain areas. And we're growing really, really fast in certain areas of the country.

Mariah Parsons 10:52

Yeah, it's i It's so interesting, looking into like the zip codes, and even you mentioned like schools. Do you think there's a lot of people who do that who look at like zip codes and look at where they're getting purchases and like, trying to draw all those distinctions? Because I mean, I haven't run ads. That's not my expertise in marketing. And so like, thinking about how you're trying to appeal to the consumer, and like trying to target ZIP codes, like as soon as you say, it's like, oh, yeah, that makes sense. But then, I feel like it's one of those things that weirdly could fly under the radar of like, okay, you're thinking about sports, and like rec teams, and schools, and all of those things that probably are more towards, like smaller towns, like you said, right.

Dave Burchett 11:40

So I think when most people start a business, they don't put that much research behind it. Obviously, they know they have something, they're good at something. But you have to first put together a marketing budget, right? So I don't care what when we first started was fine. You know, we scraped together five grand, but we knew we need to have it right? You can create a website, I have a copy, we have great products, great services. But if you can't sell it, nobody can see it, you can't get it out there, then it's really I can go anywhere. But when you have such a small budget, when you're starting off, now those ad dollars becomes very important. They're crucial. So we didn't want to just wasted and say, Hey, we're just gonna put together Facebook ads, but Facebook was pick our audience, which is the worst thing you can do. We understood who are we built on our avatar who our customer was, and then we hit a target those areas. Now, while we're in the beginning, we were looking for just like a two to one ratio on returns as far as what our ad was, you know, obviously, our goal is to get the five to one ratio. That's where everybody wants to be, but you can't just jump there. So when you don't understand your customer and understand your avatar, then I think it helps you spend your ad dollars easier. You can Google on YouTube, a lot of things on Facebook ads and how to actually play some. But it's really important that you're not just wasting ads, or even if you're doing PPC pay per clicks, you know, wasting Google ads on the wrong people. You want to get it into the right hands, people that actually will visit your site that may share your site, and things like that. Another way to go about it that won't cost you any money is join the Facebook groups, if you understand your customer, now you know what group to join, right. So we knew we're looking for soccer moms. And of course, there's a lot of sports, people jumped courts, the basketball, football, but what's majority going to be in those groups? A lot of men, a lot of coaches, right, we figure we'll get the moms in the cheer groups, because they're also going to be the cheer moms for the football teams, and things like that. So join those groups, because we know our customer who our customers, were able to like comment and leave things that we grew very, very fast in that in that space.

Mariah Parsons 13:45

Right. Yeah, yeah. So one thing that came to mind, as you were talking about, like those Facebook groups, I've also so just with podcasting, in general, of course, a little bit different because like, it's not, you're not buying a product with a podcast. But I've also been advised by other people in the industry where there's just like, oh, like Facebook groups, and like Slack communities, there's a lot of power to them just with one like, for learnings, but also just exposure and meeting other people and you know, everything that comes along with great connections, right. So super interesting to also think about, you know, what you're saying of those being customers being in front of them and just making them aware of your product. And a question that came to mind was do you think that that notion is unique to the industry of crafting and supplies that go into it, no shaking hands,

Dave Burchett 14:47

I would recommend it to anybody who runs any business. You know, when you when you're running when you start off a business, it's not just one way right? You just can't advertise through Facebook or advertise through Instagram or you're just doing SEO, or you're just doing PPC See, you know, Google ads or something like that, you have to, like, put together a good marketing strategy that it's gonna include a lot of different things. And I would definitely encourage people to join networks. So, you know, I mean, most common networks, people think our chamber of commerce is right, or business networks. But those Facebook groups are networks as well. They become, you know, what you're looking for, as connectors, when you join these networks, you want to get a connector that eventually becomes a multiplier, and a multiplier somebody. So like, for me like, so if we're looking to sell supplies, like a multiplier, for me would be some type of like, screenprint sales rep, right? Because he has declined. So of all the businesses that need to buy our vinyl, the buyer screens and things like that, if you're in sales, actually, like screen printing, and your, your, your Connect, your multiplier could be an insurance agent, or a bookkeeper or something like that, because not all their clients are, you know, they can say, hey, well, if you're looking for a print, you know, look for apparel, yep, I see you're paying this, you can get it over here. So but in order to get those connectors from all suppliers, you have to get in these networks, which can be easily be chamber commerce. They could be business networks or Facebook groups.

Mariah Parsons 16:11

Right? Yeah, totally makes sense. Okay. Yeah, I definitely think there's an application for, you know, whatever channel you're going through, like, even, like Slack communities as well. That notion of that you just explained of having a connector, and then a multiplier and, you know, hopefully an advocate, of course, for your brand that, you know, someone sees like, Oh, see someone posts like a friend of theirs and says, like, I need XYZ for screen printing or whatever. And then someone says, you know, advanced vitals great, like worked for them before. And I think that taps into our conversation, we talked, we talked into it just a little bit, but like social proof, and like getting some of that word of mouth marketing, I think that's also a huge play in those communities like Facebook groups. Because you don't even necessarily, you know, hopefully you got to the point where it's not you, Dave, who will be posting, but say someone else, who is that multiplier that then connects you to other people?

Dave Burchett 17:17

Yeah, so I mean, we do that a lot. And eventually, you'll get to the point, we have influencers and things like that. I just don't recommend people jumping to that point. Because in the beginning, nobody's better to get your message out than you. And then from there, grow and grow. And you'll build that network. And you'll have people that are those multipliers that feed you a lot of work, you know, versus you have going out and hunt down all that work.

Mariah Parsons 17:41

Yes, yeah. I like that distinction. Thank you for adding it. And I want to segue a little bit into social media, because I know we said obviously, like Facebook groups and communities. But can we talk more about your strategy there, whether it's tapping in with like, paid ads, or just overall social media, like organic social media presence.

Dave Burchett 18:09

So like, when we open up a store, right, you know, so like, I always hang my hat on the Colorado store. Because the fact is, we knew nobody in Colorado, right? We had one friend, or we didn't have family or anything like that. So we went out there, obviously, we knew we had to start from scratch, and Illinois, everybody kind of needs a plug in and, you know, it has a cache and stuff like that. So but when I tell somebody when starting off, you know, the way you know, the first very first thing, you do have to build an audience. So you build an audience a lot of different ways. So like, for us, we know, we got to get to 1000 followers, 1000 likes on our Facebook page immediately, that that race to 1000 is very, very important. So once we knew the location, once we do it, we're good even before the store opens, we're building it up. And there's five ways you can post you can engage, you can inform, you can sell me like a creative sale, you can inspire or you could track analyze metrics. So when we're a poke, build, trying to build that audience, we got to go about it five different ways. So, you know, we just can't have the same I see some people I see a lot of companies, they just run the same ad over and over. You see, that's it, you see, and they have just one approach to social media. You can't you have to find ways to engage engaging is you know, you know, like, you know, say your your sports team won championship, you know, you know, you can create a topic like that, you know, question on there a poll, something like that, they just people interacting with you, that's not even meaning based on your product, or your service, but you get you're getting people to interact, and then now they're gonna start following your company and forming now you're gonna educate people on what is it you do, what is it you're selling? What makes you different, you know, and from there, you can help build a smaller audience in that. Selling, creating quick sales, quick things like that. Buy it now. Things like that. inspire a lot of inspirational quotes, it's easy to gain a following, if you're motivating people. So, you know, we pull up things like, you know, quote of the day, we've done things, you know, you know, you know, different inspirational things that you see, like, you know, it gets on a mountaintop, or, you know, things like that, you know, track analyze, will do things that, you know, well, we know, we'll get a lot of likes, you can post a top popular meme. But what that does is that lets you know, who likes it from here, I can track male female age city where they're from, from there. So that helps again, when you do all tracking, that's helping your avatar, so you're able to narrow in on your target market audience. But yeah, but those are things I would sell somebody with social media, is you have to get above 1000. Right away, your goal should be get to 20,000 or more. But you have to build that audience and you have to approach it in those different ways.

Mariah Parsons 20:53

Yeah, so a couple of logistical things that are 1000. Is that like, unanimous across the board? Or is that like something? Like is that like?

Dave Burchett 21:06

Started off? I would say that's your base point. Because anything under 1000, you don't really get in front of what the polls something you're not getting in front of a lot of people. Yeah. You know, in the beginning, we don't really look at all the likes, what we look at is the shares, comments and share. So comments are very important. So that's why we're doing a lot of engaging, because the more a person comments, the more it keeps coming up in people's feeds. Yeah, the more impressions, everybody wants to focus on the likes, you can get 1000 likes, but doesn't mean it's gonna pop up people's feeds, whether it's the comments, it's the shares, the shares are very important to us, because that's helping us build our audience. That's getting us to that 1000. But I will say 1000s, your minimum is your base point. So I think you know, anybody with a online business, or that that needs to look at their social media and see where they're at, then from there, they need to make conscious effort to get above that.

Mariah Parsons 21:53

Yeah, yeah, I was asking you if it that totally makes sense. Because I do think, like, with just how social media algorithms work, if you want to, obviously have more impressions and more engagement. And that's really, like, more important than the likes. So yeah, I was curious if like, that was like Facebook setting out 1000 of like, you need 1000 followers to get whatever, but it's

Dave Burchett 22:18

just kind of what we kind of came up with just see, you know, as we looked at other companies that were a lot below 1000, how often do you see there's a fee, we will track this type of stuff, we will you know, you know, just like keep looking things like that. But I think once you get to 1000 in your area, I mean, I think you're good. Once you obviously once you get past 2000 5000 You're gonna see your numbers jump a lot your likes jumbled way more your comments, when you post something, jump a lot more, and things like that. And that's what you want, you know, but even when you're going and doing a Facebook ad, that's very important, because it not just goes on for the entire marketing. It's also going for your for your current customer base, whoever's following. So the I think that number is very important. I think a lot of people don't pay too much attention to it. But I think it's crucial.

Mariah Parsons 23:06

Yeah, yeah, it definitely is to get that base and grow that base. And so also quick logistical question, because we've been saying Facebook, is that like, truly the Facebook platform? Because I know with meta, obviously Instagram is roped in there. Some brands are comparing Meta and Amazon ads. So

Dave Burchett 23:25

I say Facebook, I do mean Instagram. Okay, yeah, they're linked together. I do. That's why I love about Shopify, it links to different platforms. So we're able to sell directly on Instagram, directly on Facebook, and they have to come to our website to get those. So, you know, I think that's what's great about those platforms is they meet they're able to connect everything for you.

Mariah Parsons 23:47

Yes, yeah. Yeah, that's what I was. I feel like most people now when you say Facebook, like mean, Facebook and Instagram. So I just wanted to clarify, because I knew it came to mind for me. Yeah, that's, that's super interesting. And I think also, just with coupling that like having a social media presence, obviously and using that in to inform your ad strategy. Like we were talking about a little bit of like targeting those zip codes and getting in front of people. I also feel like I mean, maybe this is just my own social media algorithm working well for me, but I get like, a decent amount of exposure to like people crafting and like crickets, and DIY hacks as well. So I wonder if you like Do you have any ideas or any any perspectives or opinions on like, if the craft community is like very heavily weighted on social media as opposed to like other people because I feel like I see a lot of people on like, just creators or influencers or just people sharing be like, Oh, I tried out this hack and like it works out well, so I wanted to share it with other people like it feels very awkward. Yannick in that sense.

Dave Burchett 25:01

I think there's just the way our society has gone. So I want to learn something. First thing, the people who were on to his YouTube or these groups, there's a group for everything, you know. So yeah, they're really cooking. If you're saying to hunting, things like that, you know, there's a group for everything. So I just think understand as a business owner, that this is the way people operate, you know, you have to understand that it's not like it was 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, you know, so that you know, where you have to be and how you have to get in front of them.

Mariah Parsons 25:29

Yes, yeah, for sure. I yeah, I think it's probably not just unique to the industry. But I think it's yes, yeah, I think it's more just creative energy. I feel like that's where we're going towards with social media. And I wanted to ask you, as well. So we've been talking a lot about social media about ads. But I also think, like, just in the marketing playbook, SEO wanted to touch upon that as well. And how do you share your opinions around

Dave Burchett 26:01

SEO stuff? It is, but it's important. So I always look at social media, that's our short term solution right there. But our long play is always SEO, search engine optimization is key. It's gonna it's gonna definitely, you know, show you a lot of things from Google Maps to Google to even like the different groups and all that type of stuff. So I think it's important when somebody's looking at SEO companies, that they, they follow three different steps. I mean, it's three key things, I think that's a big part, that maybe like people deterred from SEO, because there's a lot of companies out there, a thing with advertising, marketing is no guarantees. So you know, you can spend 5003 month period doesn't even mean you're gonna make back that five grand, you know, so I do think people should research how to vet their SEO companies. I think that's very, very important. We've gone through our string of different companies, we've, we have one now that we're happy with, by now, we've learned a lot throughout the along the way. So there's three key things, I think, when you're vetting a company, and for one, you have to understand that you're interviewing them. It's not the other way around. Of course, they're trying to learn your company. And they're trying to figure out how they can help you. But you have to understand your everyone. So you have to understand what they're offering. So the number one thing I always ask right away is, how are the deliverables? You know? Are you on time? What's your process when you're off track? You know, how are you communicating? Is there a time period, so you have some companies like say, it's a website update, they'll say, Okay, we know this day, you know, well, if we're behind, we're gonna notify you 24 to 48 hours before, you have to find out their process, if they can get huge red flag. But deliverables are important, no more frustrating when you're paying somebody to do something, and they're in there telling you it's gonna be done by Thursday, and Thursday is here and it's not done in, you know, you're trying to get hold, you shouldn't be getting hold of them, they should have a process in place, knowing when they're going to make the deadline. So that's number one. And I always ask SEO companies to is, you know, the budget. So you should know your budget going in what you're willing to spend and what your what your marketing for that. So within that, when you're talking about budget with this company, you understand what the desire contract is, because it shouldn't just be open ended, you're, when you're dealing with SEO companies. The first you got to give some time to work, but there should be some type expectation at a certain period of time. So if they're saying it takes a year, huge red flag, right. So you should be seeing some type of traffic, measurables analytics, things like that happening in a much shorter period of time, three to six months, somewhere in there, you should be seeing something. But whatever you decide, you know, basically understand this is your budget. This is what our desire contract looks like, you know, the length, the duration, and in there should be you know, you should require certain Reporting Analytics to understand are they sending out weekly reports, monthly reports, what to look look like? Are they going to teach you how to read those reports? What those reports, break them down. So that's the number the second thing I always talk about. And then the third thing, when you're looking at a company, this probably comes down to more when you get past the first so is the knowledge of our industry. What do you do have other customers like me, you or are you mostly doing construction companies and fast food places? You know, odds are, you're not gonna know how to get up, get my customer get up and build our business up. So that's very important. If they're dealing with other people that like you, then obviously that's a company that's experiencing your industry. And they're gonna know about how to go get growth and, you know, customers and, you know, converted sales and things like that.

Mariah Parsons 29:42

Yeah, yeah, for sure. I think those are great takeaways, like really tangible things for someone who's listening to be able to say like, oh, I, I've actually been meaning to get like someone who's an SEO expert, and that a company or an agency that would help me do work on that. So I think those are great. Um, Question for you are a couple of questions I guess I should say. So Well, the first one is actually a comment. I do think like your first one about, like, just like make sure that you are interviewing them and understanding what they're offering, and looking at, you know, like the deliverables and like, really comes down to the accountability. Part of it, right. I think it can be super interesting that like, are not super. I think what's interesting around that point is that it can seem like you're, it's just the company like that you're working with or the company that you hired that it's like, okay, if they don't hit a deliverable that's like on their team, but I've also worked with agencies who if they don't hit their deliverable, like our schedule is also thrown off, because we are planning around them hitting their deliverable. So I just wanted to add that to the mix, because I think that's also important because it has like a domino effect of like, okay, now, so, you know, if you have to schedule this website revamp, or this blog post going out, or this piece of content, whatever it is, like, if that has to be shifted around, then what else is being moved? Like, okay, now, if you're posting that tomorrow, what are what you're going to post tomorrow? Is that now being shifted back a day, and then like, you have to kind of scramble if you know, you don't have that enough notice. Like, if you're told that morning, when you know, something isn't going to be hit? It's like, what do you do then? Right? You have to scramble or like, how can you fill that spot,

Dave Burchett 31:37

depending on what the deliverable is, you can build into your contract certain compensation. So if you'll for us, like you know, if something's crucial for us is a website on the right for adding a new product. And your sales will be up by Thursday, and I'm telling everybody, this is available Thursday, it's got to be available Thursday, if you don't, then we might be looking at 15% back in a month, you can build that in your contract, you have to understand like what those deliverables, what's important, what will affect you, and knows if those are going to be an issue that you feel like they are, you can build in compensation back in that contract for yourself sold out here. Because this might cost us sales, you know, that's very important, or like, say, if it's a scheduling thing, if it's gonna affect our scheduling, that's important, you know, so there might be a penalty built in that contract. I think most people don't get the I think that comes all the way around where the SEO companies interviewing them, is because it's not their field. So I don't know you don't know much about it, you know, I didn't know much about it going in. So obviously, you're relying on them being the expert. But the last thing you want to do is when you're paying somebody, let them drive the car. So, you know, it's important that you educate yourself, understand what you're looking for out of them. Because what you don't want to do, like most people, including myself, that, you know, you spend a lot of money, and you feel like you've got nothing in return. And then you go on to a new company, and you're starting all over, and things like that. So you kind of want to help yourself out a little bit. And the reason why most people feel uncomfortable, and they let them drive the cars because it's not their area needing educate them. So they do any research. So I feel like when you start doing research, we don't know what you're looking for, you know, what you're expecting out of the company? You know, you're reading reviews, you're kinda like, ones that have stuck a heading in the ballgame. Are there?

Mariah Parsons 33:19

Yeah, for sure. Yeah, I definitely think it's, it's perhaps easier to fall into that trope of like, Oh, they're the experts. So I'm gonna put my faith in them, or I'm gonna trust that they know what they're doing or will deliver whatever you put in that sentence. So I think it's always a good reminder to have that where it's like, no, just because you're not the expert doesn't mean that, you know, you don't have to dictation

Dave Burchett 33:43

we thought by tomorrow, so many different strategies, right? Like you might be able to SEO company that is into blogs, and they say, Well, this is how we build up our customers. We write a blog. So that takes a really long time. Right. And, you know, we have one company for a year they Roblox, Dallas, a lot of traffic but no conversions. Yeah. When we went, obviously, when we moved on from them, we went to another company that was based around PPC, you know, Google AdWords, and we start putting immediate results, and they got there faster and double, they moved away from from a blog. So your industry may be not one, a company that uses all blogs, you know, like I said, that's why it's important that they have knowledge of the industry, because they'll know what strategy will work for you.

Mariah Parsons 34:29

Yes, yeah, that's okay. So that kind of answered one of my follow up questions for that second category that you had of, you know, the budgets and having making sure that you're setting those expectations before you know you enter into a professional relationship. And so you kind of touched upon it, but like metrics to look at I know obviously, it depends on whatever that company is an expert in, like you just said if they're like PPC or blogs or or whatnot. But do you find like, our other kind of safeties for like any industry, across the board, that would be, like, a good thing to consider, even if you're doing like blogs? Or if you're doing Pay Per Click ads, you know, like, Is it always like, you should always be concerned with website traffic? Or specifically blog traffic or conversion rates? Or is it really, it depends on the industry and what works,

Dave Burchett 35:29

I think it depends on the industry, some get a faster growth than others. But I do, you know, obviously, you mentioned the website clicks and things like that your traffic to your website is always very important. Conversion rates are very, very important things like that. So those are, you should always be conscious of, but you also have to be realistic. If I say this is what I'm going to spend, you know, a common question I ask most SEO companies is, at what point? Do you start paying for yourself? So I need to know what that path looks like? Is it you know, six months, is it a year, they're going past a year, I would say find somebody else. But you know, usually within three to nine months, they should be able to have a path saying we should be able to hit this amount of traffic, this amount of conversion, and we know you're paying, say you're paying $3,000 a month, we gotta get the 6000 to lease covered his bill, you know, you're not profitable to reach 6000, you know, stuff like that. Now, of course, your profit margins will come into play with that with that number, but they should be able to map that out for you. If they can't map it out for you, then definitely, you know, keep looking.

Mariah Parsons 36:37

Yeah, red flag. And then so another follow up question. Say, in your opinion, so you find you know, the hit number one and number two, feeling good about the relationship, but they haven't worked with someone in your industry before. To you with that, would that be a deal breaker or

Dave Burchett 36:59

deal breaker by probably do a shorter lease. So I'll probably say here, we're gonna do a three month contract. And this is what we're gonna be we're gonna you know, and this is where we're expecting to beat it three months, this is what you're promising you can get to, you know, don't promise anything you can deliver on. And then from there, you know, if you say, we can hit this benchmark, and three months, now, we'll look at another six months, we're going to look at that, that relationship with a little more caution. We're not going to give them as long of a lease, most SEO companies one a year, something like that. You know, so we, you know, we feel confident and they there, they know what they can do. They just haven't worked in history, you might just look at a shorter leash with them.

Mariah Parsons 37:37

Yeah. Okay. That's super helpful. I appreciate you sharing that. Yeah, those are great takeaways, I think, for anyone who's considering and to like, even outside of SEO, right, like, of just anyone that you're working with, I think you can take high level, those learnings that you've had, through working with different companies and different agencies, and different experts in different fields have like, make sure that you're keeping yourself and your own company accountable when you're entering into these relationships or these contracts that like you're checking these boxes, even if it isn't specific to SEO. Right?

Dave Burchett 38:16

Yeah. So hopefully, you know, we may come across company, they don't know anything about what we do. But say there used to work on our products, and they got huge, huge numbers and upselling or cross selling, right? So this is something we're going to look at, say, well here, you know, obviously, this is going to raise our customer average spend, you know, these are, you know, they may not know, final, but you know, obviously they can learn it, they can get to understand it. But what they're doing with these other companies, you know, are impressive. So, take those key factors into play.

Mariah Parsons 38:47

Yeah, definitely. Situational. I would say for sure, like, as nice as it is to have these different steps that you're gonna walk through and try and check your boxes. It's like you can't say to you can't be so objective, that you're not taking things into consideration like that, like if someone is impressive numbers, and you're like, okay, like that, that speaks to a lot as well. Yeah, so

Dave Burchett 39:13

you're giving them a three month period or four month period, you know, to really show what they can do it and this also puts some ownership on them, like they're probably not working that way. But if they really want that business that they want your business, then they're gonna they're gonna go to work for you.

Mariah Parsons 39:28

Right? Yeah, they're gonna prove it, right. Like, yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So I know we've been talking obviously about a lot of the marketing learnings that you've had running advance vinyl and whatnot. I'd like to transition and talk about the customer experience of someone you know, through your DTC store purchasing. Can you walk us through a little bit of like someone lands on your website purchases from you post purchase is obviously where Malomo lives in. So we're definitely really interested Is it? To hear about that? Or just have you share about that? And just like more, shift the conversation more towards retention plays?

Dave Burchett 40:08

Yep. So for us, obviously, for any, any business retention is huge, right? Like, you know how much marketing you spend on I saw a question, how much is on customer acquisition, how much is on retention, and the begin the beginning part, you're going to be heavily customer acquisition, once you get to a certain point, you're going to get to light you're going to scale back to become more customer retention. So when you're 5050, you know, that's where you ideally, you want to be 50% customer acquisition, retention, for us how we work with customers, is very important. So we offer, you know, obviously, you know, we use Klaviyo in with their SMS text messaging, so that's a great way most people do like the text messaging. So offer discounts deals, we also have the clover system, which is great because the clover system offers rewards. And what it does, if they download the clover Go app, whenever they walk into a place that has Clover already, they it automatically lets them know you have this many points for this month discount. So if Walgreens has clover, shoes, they walk in the door, that's going to tell them so and that's huge. And people like that people obviously want to keep if they like a place and they see something like they want to keep going back, they want to get those discounts, right. So I would always recommend some type of reward system, whether you're doing your Shopify site, or you're doing in store, your point of sale system, you definitely should have some type of reward system. Another thing that we do is a lot of times, you know, because we're shipping out products that people are crafting with, we're always like, you know, when it when it's sent out, we see it's delivered, we send an email, thank you, you know, we hope you love it pills for feel free to contact, send back some images of what you made with it, right? What happened was the end product, and people love showing off their work. So we get a lot of calls. And a lot of times we'll feature on on our Facebook page or Instagram page, and we'll you know, these were the projects that were made with our product, you know, people can see you, we give shout out to your company. So it's great for them, they get a small bit, you know, whilst you know, like one of our Facebook pages like 20,000 followers, so when we shout out somebody you know, so you know, for but you passing along that recognition to the customer goes a long, long way.

Mariah Parsons 42:25

That's a really cool application of like getting people to send back images with the crafts that they've made. Because I think about that with like user generated content. And my like, quickly, my mind goes to just like beauty products of people showing off like, Oh, this is what it looks like on. And I yeah, I just haven't thought through what that would look like for a craft store. And like craft supplies and people who are crafting. And I think that's so cool. Because it also of course lens to like you see in the branding of like, look at all of our awesome, customers look at all the awesome things that they're doing with our supplies.

Dave Burchett 43:12

Well, because if they have a small home business, you know, when people get to visit their page, we'll see a lot of it, a lot of things like that. And there's a lot of other things you can do as well. But the main thing is you have to when you look at customer retention, you know you're building that relationship. So you have to find ways to where, you know, you're doing things for them. So I have a thing I always call with them, what's in it for me and love that. Are you talking about customer acquisition? I mean, I'm sorry, customer retention, that's someone thing. What's in it for them? As a you know, as a discount is a recognition? Is it you know, it could be any number of things. But the main thing is, you have to know your customer and know how do you feel rewarded? If you do that, then you can build that relationship. And we definitely follow our customer retention rate.

Mariah Parsons 44:02

Yeah, yeah, that's, I really love that. That take on it of like, always trying to think through like what's in it for them, what's an incentive to come back and shop with us again, and have repeat purchases, because that's really when you start to see retention pay off. And that acquisition cost also pay off of if you can get someone to keep coming back and love your products and love your brand. And so I think it's very, that's such a unique way to do it. And I'm also like my mind now just because of our expertise being in post purchase flows and emails, it's like, okay, how could you even show that off when someone purchases and be like, This is what someone else has made with the product that you just bought? And like even Ropin that user user generated content right there when someone is like most excited about their product when it's on there on the way to them. Right, and they're like, so excited that the package is going to be writing. Really, really cool application there.

Dave Burchett 45:07

You know, so there's a couple other ways to so when you look at like customer retention, you know, it also ties into referrals, right? So we looking at, you know, so we all come in on cross selling is with the baking industry, right? They sell you more services, and that locks you in as a customer, right? You have to look at your business and say, Well, what else? So if we sell the vinyl, obviously, they're gonna need the vinyl or what goes with that vinyl remover case, they make a mistake, they're gonna need that. So, you know, obviously, we're cross selling the different products that help keep them with us. We don't want to just sell one aspect of the product, and then they gotta go somewhere else to get something else. Because what if they sell the both things as well. So when you're building out your business, look at that cross selling has to be important, because it keeps that customer with you. And it helps with referrals, because they're gonna say, well, they have this. So a great thing referrals, what we do a lot of times is, say, someone can cheer group somebody refers us for like, the cheer uniforms. And they'll say like, because they'll tag us, right? You'll see, yeah, right. We can order off that a lot of times we'll message I'll message that person back and say, you know, thank you for the referral, customer Play Store, we're gonna give you five or 10% off your next order. You know, it's almost like a commission for that. Right? If you're gonna pay a salesperson, why not pay your current customer? Let them become your salespeople? Because what they'll do was naturally start referring you more? Hmm. So yeah, there's a way for them, right. So

Mariah Parsons 46:37

yeah, I also I love that of like turning your customers into, like those affiliates or into sales, because they're some of the strongest people, you know, you could have advocate for your brand and suggest that when, you know, a friend says, oh, I need to do this, like, or that looks beautiful, what you did, how did you do that. And, you know, the rest is history, like word of mouth marketing and referrals, there's so much power to them,

Dave Burchett 47:01

people do it naturally. rewarded, if you're in 5% 10%, shouldn't be the mean, that's what you will pay a salesperson. That should be nothing for you to be able to give that discount to a current customer, somebody who's advocating for you. So

Mariah Parsons 47:18

yeah, and also goes right back into the flywheel, because then, you know, they're motivated to purchase again with you. So you know, it all comes back around. And I love the point that you made about the about cross selling with having, you know, someone's buying vinyl then having remover. And I also think, like part of that, is also it's just convenient, like to have something pop up. And I think that's something that's so wonderful about the internet is like, yes, data, privacy, all that stuff. But it's also just to have something pop up and be like, Oh, I didn't even know I would need that or like, didn't even think, to purchase that. And then you have, you know, this platform or this store this person telling you like, oh, you should also get this because we know you so well, or we know other people like you so well. And we've paid attention to it that, you know, we found you kind of want these tools together and it makes your life easier. And if you have both tools, and they come together, isn't that you know, isn't that just better? And I think even when, like someone may be a starting out who hasn't ever or who is just getting into trying to make uniforms or vinyl of having that convenient cross sell right there being like, Oh, I didn't even know I would need this thing. Or if I had this it would make my life more convenient. I think that's also part of the conversation there. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. And so with, are there any other I know, you mentioned Clover for for rewards. And so is that also part of I'm not I'm not familiar with clover. So is that also part of the DTC experience? Because I know you said like, walking into a store, like any examples of Walmart, is that also part of the DTC?

Dave Burchett 49:16

Correct. So over is just a point of sale system. So that's the point Sale system in the store registered up with what um, there's different point of sale systems rather be you know, they Shopify actually has one pay per square. There's a lot of different companies out there, I would say always recommend make sure they got a reward system built in, make sure they got an inventory system built in, make sure they got they, they their reporting tracks who your customers are, you know, so like ours. Tell us not only like for this month, we had, you know, 1000 customers out of 1556 repeat customers. So that's huge right there for that number right there at this so we were feeling it'll break Get down with all the items sales, how much how many people pay cash by credit card paid? You know, check, you know, things like that that's very important. You know, so, but just make sure your point of sale system has certain attributes when you're deciding to go with the.

Mariah Parsons 50:14

Okay, gotcha that helps clarify there. And then so because I think this might round out everything we've been talking about nicely, how do you use, you know, that post purchase data that you're getting of like, who just bought from you? How does that also fuel like social media and ads, and kind of what we were talking about earlier in the conversation, like to use that data to say, you know, this person purchase, let's target this area? Does that also feed into what you were saying about the zip code? And like, school districts and whatnot?

Dave Burchett 50:48

It does, you know, so, in the beginning, that's what you're doing. You're collecting data, right? It's very, very important. You have to collect data you have to be because, you know, you may think your customers one time, but there's seasonality to a lot of businesses. So that avatar may change. So we do it by month, right? So we may say like, we're heavily teachers, a, you know, you know, women teachers for the month of January, because MLK birthday, all the plays that go along with that are people you know, going back to school, the teacher, stuff like that. But that may be different from say, like June, which is Father's Day, and there's Juneteenth and things like that, or versus, you know, Fourth of July, there's, so we'll track that data and look at we take it by month. So this way, we know what our customer looks like. So when we run these Facebook ads, when we run these Instagram ads on, tick tock, whatever it may be, we know for this time of month for this, for this event, what we're looking for, this is what we need to run, this is what we're gearing towards, because again, we want to get the most out of our ad dollars, I don't want to spend $60 to get $40 in orders return. On ads, I want to under $40 and return on sales. That's very, very important. So I would say collect as much data as possible. Use what's available. Shopify has great analytics, use all that to your ability, but then break it down by month or by quarter. So you can understand what's your best and every business different. Some might move quarter. So maybe doing first half second half of the year, things like that. But at least it tells you how to spend your ad dollars.

Mariah Parsons 52:26

Yeah, yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. And I'm not surprised to hear that right. Like data. Super important. I think that's been a common theme, you know, whatever topic we've been talking about that's running throughout it. And so I think that's a great spot to end this wonderful, wonderful and very educational chat. So thank you for coming on the podcast. It's been great just getting to learn more about events vinyl and learn more about, you know, all of your learnings throughout creating such a wonderful brand.

Dave Burchett 52:55

Thank you so much. I appreciate it. Thank you