🎙️ Podcast

Watch the 2020 summit videos




In today’s episode, Joe and Christie talk about Black Friday 2020 sales in a seller’s perspective, contact-less delivery during the pandemic, packaging successful sales offer, and a sneak peak of WordCamp Austin 2020.

Listen in for more product positioning and business growth tips!

What to Listen For: Black Friday 2020

  • [00:01:00] What kept Christie busy last week?
  • [00:04:00] Content video course workshop at WooSesh
  • [00:08:26] Signing up with video courses on Stripe
  • [00:10:20] Stream recording online workshop tutorials
  • [00:12:00] The WordCamp Austin 2020
  • [00:13:31] What’s new from Joe?
  • [00:16:05] The new HR head at WPBuffs
  • [00:20:10] It’s Black Friday again
  • [00:25:55] Contact-less delivery is gaining momentum
  • [00:29:38] Product positioning, discounts, and sales 
  • [00:35:56] Packaging a successful sales offer
  • [00:39:32] Create multiple touchpoints before selling your product
  • [00:42:47] Deal offer timing: not too early, not too late
  • [00:46:01] Product originality and standing out

Episode Resources

Podcast Transcript

Christie Chirinos:

A lot of people have lost their jobs and experienced reduction in income, and so they won’t be spending as much on Black Friday and we think, yes, that is true. But the sum of that will be smaller than the sum of these three other factors. So we’re expecting the holidays in 2020 to be us the economists say wild you all.

Joe Howard:

Hey, Hey, good WordPress people. Welcome back to the WPMRR WordPress Podcast, I’m Joe.

Christie Chirinos:

And I’m Christie. 

Joe Howard:

And you’re listening to the WordPress Business podcast. Christie, I am very excited to ask you what’s going on this week because I asked you what you were going to say about what’s going on with you this week. And you got super excited about something, but actually didn’t care what it was. So I’m actually super pumped to hear about what you want to talk about.

Christie Chirinos:

I did the big gossip. Yeah, ever I’m really amped to this week. I really am because I had in the last week, two really cool things that I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time. The first one was WordCamp Boston happened this time last Friday. And at this exact time that we’re recording last Friday, I did a 15 minute virtual concert of my original music in WordCamp Austin’s virtual reality stage. 

So there were so many layers to that that were awesome, right?  One, we had a virtual reality WordCamp, everybody that’s crazy. That’s so cool. And then on top of that, I performed some of my original music, which I haven’t really done around WordPress people. I haven’t honestly really done just in general for close to a decade because that I don’t know, that’s not something I’ve been doing and going after as performing my own original music. It’s something that was a big part of my life when I was a teenager. Constantly performing, writing, things like that. 

I do think it helps me a lot in my work today. Right. You sort of learn to not have stage fright and learn to just sort of be out there. Right. But I don’t really seek out performance opportunities. So it was kind of cool to have one that was WordPress related and it was the first time that WordPress people heard some of my own songs. So that was cool and a little vulnerable. 

Joe Howard:

So cool.

Christie Chirinos:

But it was exciting. And then the day after that, I worked on a Saturday to get over the finish line, from zero to fully functioning WooCommerce store in 90 minutes workshop that we did for WooSesh on Monday morning. So we had 680 people who registered for that online workshop.

And yeah, and in 90 minutes flat, we set up a fully working WooCommerce store on a live domain with Nexus managed WooCommerce hosting using Printful. And we got to a point where we could order WooSesh swag mug off of the Printful website from your own WooCommerce store that you’re now on, with the integration, with the payment processing set up. So it was so awesome. 

I’m so excited to give that workshop, and now we also have the playlist for it, for anybody who might want to consume that workshop on their own pace and go from zero to fully functioning first WooCommerce store on Nexus. Or honestly you can do it on whatever hosting, right? I just did it on Nexus. So sort of two really awesome things that I’m super amped about happened right next to each other. I’ve been wanting to show my music and more people, and I’ve been wanting to do a very sort of skills-based workshop for WooCommerce for a long time. And they both happened within two days of each other.

Joe Howard:

Yes. Oh, I love all that. The WooSesh session sounds amazing. It sounds good for people who want to potentially set up their own WooCommerce store, but also folks who are freelancers or agency folks. This stuff’s super helpful to be able to do this efficiently and effectively. And if you can follow this really nice guided tutorial, you don’t have to spend 10 hours figuring out what settings? How I hook up my Stripe into my WooCommerce account? How do I connect Printful into my shop? We have our WP Buffs shop is actually the same, it’s WooCommerce and Printful, pretty much set up together. And definitely the easiest way to do it, I think, and pretty easy to set up. So I think we set it up fairly quickly as well. So yeah, people can go, I guess, under woosesh.com probably and click through somewhere to find the sessions from this year. Did you say they are posted right now, Christie?

Christie Chirinos:

Yep, they are. They are posted. Or actually, no, they’re not. You have to be a WPSessions member to access the recording of the workshop. But if you message me at yo@wpmrr.com, I will send you the private YouTube playlist link that we sent to the registrants so they could have the content in preparation to the workshop so that if they got lost or whatever, they could back up in their own space. We had 680 people registered. We did that so that we weren’t bombarded by questions. Right. Yeah, yo@wpmrr.com and I will hook you up with that link. But yeah, I’m so pumped because that’s exactly right. For me when I learn, I want learning experiences that are complete. I don’t like things that just explain things to me. A lot of people learn really well in that way, I personally don’t.

I learn best with the type of online content and even in-person content that is based less on how things work and more on let’s accomplish something. Right. And I learn how things work on the way. So I always did really well in things like language classes, art classes, right. Where the way that you learn is you have projects and through each project you learn, we’re going to make a sea life. And this is how you learn about shading. And this is how you learn about lining. And next we’re going to make a pot. And now you’re going to learn about 3D theory, and you’re going to learn about color or whatever, right? I don’t know how art works, but you get the idea.

Joe Howard:

Something like that, it sound right. 

Christie Chirinos:

That’s how I learned. That’s how I learned web development. I could no way look at the rules or look at a lot of that content that’s based on here in different tags. I had to immediately jump in, okay, we’re going to make a box. All right. This is how you made a box. And now I know about those, now we’re going to make, right. And so for me, I wanted so badly for so long for there to be content like that about WooCommerce, because I felt that all of WooCommerce content that we had was so explanatory. Right. 

I know that that works for a lot of people, but there are lots of people in the world like me who need to learn through doing and through project based and auditory learning. So I wanted a video course that was project based for WooCommerce. I just envisioned something where the teacher took you through every single step. I don’t like courses where it’s, well, and so before you do this, I assume you did this and that and that and that, and go set up these three accounts. No, I walked you through setting up a Stripe account. I walked you through setting up the Printful account and creating the product template. I walked you through creating the free trial on Nexus managed WooCommerce, and then we coil it all together. So it was so satisfying for me, I love doing it.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. That’s so cool. I have kind of a follow up question. This isn’t our topic for today really. But now I’m interested in all this because I love tutorial videos, the kind you’re talking about, not even just tutorials, but true walkthroughs where you actually walk through every single step that you’re totally right. There’s so many tutorials that are, it’s set up your Stripe account and it’s I just want to follow a video and know how to do that. Maybe it is somewhat straight forward, but it would be super, super easy for set a video. I found that when I have tried to do videos like that in the past tutorial videos that are super in depth, when I’ve already set up a Stripe account, it’s kind of a pain in the ass for me to set up a brand new account.

Do I need to create a new Gmail account? And just truly go from, is that how I’m doing it? How did you go about actually going through all those steps? Because I’m sure you needed to have a separate new email address and probably practice going through it once. And then once you practiced it, did you then get another email address to do the real thing? How did you go through setting up those steps to make sure I can truly, am practiced at creating new accounts and going through that redundancy.

Christie Chirinos:

That’s actually exactly how I did it. I set up a separate account and I signed up for this whole new thing and especially with payment processing. Right. You can’t just do dummy content if you want to fully take some [crosstalk 00:09:45], build content.

Joe Howard:

With Stripe you actually have to have VPIN number to put in. Right. And how do you go through Stripe when you… I assume you didn’t set up a dummy LLC to go through all this.

Christie Chirinos:

That would be committed to the game. I did not set up a second LLC, but I mean, Stripe and also most payment processors will let you register as a sole proprietor. Right. So I just put it in my information as a human. I’ve been a Stripe customer before, but I put it in my LLC number. So I was actually able to put it in my own personal information, which is not. Actually, I think I’ve done it before, they let me set up a separate account with my same personal information. But yeah, you as a sole proprietor, you can empower many businesses as you want. Yeah, so that’s how I set that up. I did use a separate brand new Gmail account. I walked through all the steps and the way that the mechanics of it too were interesting. Right. 

I think, for a while overwhelmed myself with the idea. But then when I actually sat down to do it, I decided the best way to do it was just to turn on screen recording, just screen recording. I didn’t keep my face in it. Right. So that my face can make all the weird things it wants to do. And I just started, I turned on screen recording and just started doing it. 

When I figured something out, it was okay, all right. I kind of went back and explained it, right? What do you raise a couple of the fields I had just filled in and just sort of talked at my computer and then kept going. And then I had this hour and 15 minute video that I dropped into my video editor and just sort of slashed out all the stuff that wasn’t the course? And again, that’s sort of another thing that I bring in from being a teenager in music, because you sort of learn to just do stuff and then take out anything that isn’t that thing. And that is a really great skill to have across anything that you’re doing in life. 

Joe Howard:

Yeah, totally cool. All right. That’s super interesting. I think the lesson I learned from, if you want to do a super in-depth tutorial and truly a solid walkthrough, it’s going to be a little bit of a pain in the butt and it’s not going to be super easy. And you’re going to just have to put the time in to do some of those smaller detail stuff, create new email address, walk through signing up, create another email address to sign up, have some sole proprietorship step. There’s going to be some stepping stones, but that’s kind of the cost of creating an awesome tutorial. Going through and doing all the post editing. Just kind of the cost of doing something great. So super cool. We talked a little bit about WordCamp Austin stuff and VR experience. It sounds super cool. Allie actually also spoke at WordCamp Austin, and I asked her-

Christie Chirinos:

Yeah. I went right after her. I was her anchor. Yep. She talked and then was her musical mic.

Joe Howard:

Nice, very cool. I saw, I think something come out and Tavern about like, oh, VR experience said WordCamp Boston. I was like, Allie, do you know the organizers there? Can you please ask them to come on the podcast? Because I want to talk about that. I’d never heard of that before. So I was like I need to talk with this about someone. So listeners stay tuned. Hopefully we’ll have someone from WordCamp Boston talking about that. And Christie we’ll make sure you’re in there as well because I don’t want to talk about that. I didn’t even know… And the music thing was super cool too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that at a WordCamp. I know a ton of WordPress people. There’s a huge Venn diagram intersection between WordPress folks and developers and people who do music. Not just developers, WordPress folks and music people and the center of that Venn diagram is way bigger than you think it would be. Most people I talk to are, I do this with music. 

Christie Chirinos:

It’s not strange. 

Joe Howard:

And it’s like whoa, there’s such a correlation.

Christie Chirinos:

Yeah. I’ve noticed that too. That’s actually one of the first things I noticed about WordPress. So every other person I spoke to was in somehow also involved with music in some way, and I’m not talking like, oh, I fell around the guitar sometimes. Every other person you talk to, it’s oh yeah, before he got into WordPress development, I was a sound engineer in a recording studio. It’s like, “Hold on, what?”

Joe Howard:

Yeah. Cool. Excellent update. Long update, but super glad we went into that. We could have a whole nother episode about that. Let’s see, update from my end, nothing too much is new. I was going to talk about a little recent hiring we did. So we now have a people ops manager at WP Buffs, which has been awesome. She’s worked out excellent. She’s hit the ground running, Shay [Waajid 00:14:46] is her name. She does some work with women who code. So she manages a pretty big international team over there. And so she is stepping in at WP Buffs to help us with some of our international people ops, international HR, US-based HR, kind of all this stuff just to shore it up and make sure everything’s running solid there, help us totally revamp our hiring process and our onboarding process and stuff that was just good, but now it needs to be great.

And so that’s been excellent. So Shay has started last few weeks and that’s been great. We also have a new sales person who started. Christie, I don’t know if you know Travis Lima? But he is-

Christie Chirinos:

I do know Travis Lima.

Joe Howard:

You know Travis. So Travis is WordPress person. I actually met him at WordCamp Europe two years ago for the first time. I actually always have the memory of meeting him in my head because I’m always thinking that guy was really nice and I enjoyed talking to him. He came up to me and was, “Oh, I’ve been hearing about WP Buffs, really cool stuff you’re doing, just wanting to say hi.” And I was like, “Travis, awesome dude.” And he’s come on and he’s part-time helping us do some sales work as well.

He does work for Paid Memberships Pro. So shout out to Kim and Jason over Paid Memberships Pro. This episode is sponsored by Paid Memberships Pro. But actually one of my favorite membership plugins but he does work there, but he’s helping out and just putting a few hours here and there into helping us out with some sales time to help cover our European sales time, or time zone for sales, because we wanted to push Dean who was still doing sales. He’s really customer success. We were trying to shift him fully into customer success and Travis is going to come on and take his time. But Travis is wow. I was expecting him to be good, but he is super detail oriented. He’s really asking a lot of questions which I’m always super happy when someone feel a super engaged immediately.

It always gives me a good vibe. So yeah, I think he closed his first sale or two last couple of days. So that’s always good? Okay. You can do it. And yeah, that’s been awesome. So yeah, slowly kind of grow in the team a little bit. And it’s been good. So rest of this year and coming into 2021, we should be ready for increased sales hopefully since I’ve talked before on podcasts, Alec coming in has had a growth. And we had last couple of months, we’ve seen leads tick up, calls tick up, that kind of stuff. So hopefully it continues.

Christie Chirinos:

I am so thrilled for you. I think that hiring a people ops person, as entrepreneur is such a stepping stone. Not a stepping stone, it’s a milestone, right? It’s, yes, we’re here. We are at a size where we meet HR.

Joe Howard:

Yes. Totally and it feels weird because HR sounds so formal. And so corporate but it’s so important. I think about it as having someone who as our leadership to you, I think we’re really good at managing our team and managing people. And honestly, at the end of the day caring about them, caring about how they’re doing in their personal lives, caring about how they’re doing in their professional lives, about their professional development. We’re good at that, but there’s unlimited bandwidth that you could put into that, right? Human beings are complicated, just regardless of personal versus professional. Human beings are complicated. I think about optimizing a pipeline or whatever. That’s easy compared to optimizing a person, that’s really hard. And so we’re at that point now we have 25 to 30 people on the team now.

We need someone who’s people, people, that’s all, focusing on the people. Because we do that as leadership team, but we need someone who really is truly that’s their job as opposed to our job as leadership, which is a lot of different things. We’re managing a lot of parts of the business. And now we have someone who truly is helping people to shine, right. Helping people to be their best selves, to live their best lives, professionally, personally, all that stuff. And yeah, I totally agree with you in terms of it does feel a big step. It feels a serious step. It’s like oh wow. We have an HR department now. And it’s nice to not have to worry about having someone who manages all that as well.

Because I’m a positive person. I dabble in some HR stuff that I don’t know anything about HR. We’ve been flying by the seat of our pants for five years. And now it’s nice to have someone who’s, oh you shouldn’t be doing that. Or here are the things we need to do to make this better. Okay. So a professional. Shay has worked with Women who Code. That’s a 250 person organization. Right. So she has so much experience doing this at scale. I don’t think we’ll be at 250 people anytime soon, but she understands what we need to have in place at a smaller number in order to maybe we may be 50 people in a year, that’s possibility. 

So we need to put things in place now that are going to make sense. So anyway, yes, it feels a little serious, but it feels good to plug someone into that because it’s a turn into a serious part of the business. It always has been, but now it’s a serious and formal part of the business. It’s like we got to do this. We got to have a big focus here and Shay is that person, so woo.

Christie Chirinos:

That is so awesome. I’m so excited for you. That is so cool. And Travis Lima is amazing too. I do know him. I know him and his brother, Andrew, shout out the Lima brothers and to Paid Memberships Pro and to just them.

Joe Howard:

Yes.

Christie Chirinos:

They’re just awesome people. And yeah, Andrew worked at Caldera Forms for a short while. And so that’s how I know Lima.

Joe Howard:

Okay, cool. This is a small world, a WordPress world. Big world, small.

Christie Chirinos:

It’s such a small world. Yeah. And they are awesome and they are super committed to the project and their work. So I’m a big fan. I’m a big, big fan all around, all around. All right. That was 20 minutes of what’s going on in our lives.

Joe Howard:

A long intro, but a good one.

Christie Chirinos:

Worth it.

Joe Howard:

This is what happens when you have two super interesting people talking on a podcast, you just have to dive into every single piece of it, because it’s all incredible to talk about. But we’ll get back to our topic for the day that people saw on their podcast were like, “Oh, they’re going to talk about this today.” 23 minutes later. “Okay. They’re finally getting around to it.” We wanted to talk today about, I guess, this is kind of a timely episode in two senses. One that it’s October, it’s starting to… We’re in the fourth quarter, and we’re creeping into holiday season, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, just normal holidays, Christmas, Hanukkah, all that stuff. End of Year, Thanksgiving, Halloween, it’s all kind of a big time for e-commerce for WooCommerce.

So in one sense, it’s timely there, but also just because of COVID and things happening right now in the world. There’s this kind of both those two things are coming to a head at one time also, especially with cases starting to potentially lead into a second wave, it could get more serious again in the future. So it’s a complicated time to say the least. I think that to everyone listening is like, yes, Joe, you don’t need to state the obvious, but I am going to say the obvious and it’s true. So we wanted to talk a little bit, I think today about what immediately is coming up, right? Christie’s Black Friday’s coming up. WooCommerce and Black Friday coming together. We want to talk to folks who maybe own some WooCommerce shops about things that they can do as WooCommerce store owners.

We want to talk in general about what we’re expecting to happen. Around Black Friday and also, I guess in this fourth quarter and then also talk a little bit with about agencies and hosting and what folks can do from that perspective to make sure they have a successful Black Friday or their clients have a successful Black Friday. So for WordPress professionals, obviously it’s very important. You can help them to have successful Black Friday. They will pay you more to help them do that. And Christie, I think you’ll be an excellent resource for this, because most of this stuff, I’m just going to, I know some things, but from an WooCommerce background, you have I’m sure a lot to say about it. So did I miss anything from the agenda? Anything else that you wanted to touch on?

Christie Chirinos:

No, I think that’s a good overview. We’re overall doing state of the holidays in 2020. I think it’s an interesting and important conversation to have right now. It’s going to be different. I can tell you that from the hosting perspective, where at the bare minimum, our entire job is to make sure your site stays online. This is a huge conversation, right? We are freaking out and that’s because we’re anticipating the Black Friday holiday, which every single year trend with standing it’s bigger and bigger, right. And then on top of that, you have COVID-19. So we’re expecting it to be even bigger. Why? Because people are at home, because actually this is important. Why? Number one, people are at home.

People are going to be shopping more. They haven’t been doing the shopping that people normally do throughout the year is the trend that we’re seeing. And we’re seeing e-commerce trends that are compensatory. So when things open, it seems that all the backlog spending that wasn’t happening, happens. It’s not people just say, oh, well, I didn’t spend a dance, I’m not going to spend it now. That’s super interesting. From an economic analysis standpoint, we didn’t really know what to expect from that. Right. We didn’t know if that economic activity would never happen, if it was just lost into the nether or if it would compensatory.

Joe Howard:

Because the economy did go down people were starting to stop a little bit of their spending. So we’re waiting to see, I guess what’s going to happen at the end of the year, if all that shopping spend is still going to happen this year, it’s just all happening at the end. Or if that just kind of went away forever. It sounds like it’s going to push at least somewhat into the holiday season.

Christie Chirinos:

Yup. We’re preparing for compensatory spending. Number two, we are also expecting that… Oh my God, I just lost my train of thought.

Joe Howard:

Bradley doing your job.

Christie Chirinos:

Bradley, you’re going to end this up. 

Joe Howard:

Starting from compensatory, I think that’s the verbiage you used compe-

Christie Chirinos:

Compensatory. 

Joe Howard:

Compensatory, I don’t even know the verbiage, compensatory spending. So it’s all pushing back into the spending for the fourth quarter the whole year spending more. That’s going to be pushed into the fourth quarter. Anything else from just in terms of what you’re expecting? I mean, that’s a big thing to expect. That’s what people want to know. It’s like is Black Friday and holiday spending happening at a large scale digitally and I guess the answer’s yes.

Christie Chirinos:

There’s another big point there for why there’s two things. One is the expectation of compensatory spending. And then the second reason that everybody’s anticipating a bigger than usual Black Friday due to COVID-19 also has to do, oh my God, I’m supposed to know these stuff.

Joe Howard:

Do you want to take a second to look it up? It’s totally fine. I’m trying to think, because maybe that help and walk. COVID-19 economy, right? Economy’s been down almost a year, but it did rebound. I mean it’s rebound pretty well in certain areas. Everyone’s going online. A lot of stores are building out their eCommerce stores. 

Christie Chirinos:

Thank you. That’s what it was. That’s what it was. Yep. Yep. Yeah. It’s new skills in disease management. So number two, we have noticed that people who didn’t know how to shop online, know how to shop online now. This is something that we’re going to see trends going into 2021, right? So you had your grandparents or whatever, right? Who would just go buy everything at the store because that’s how they’ve been doing it for 70 years. And now because of this pandemic, they had to learn about curbside delivery. That’s not going away, right? Your grandparents now know about curbside delivery. It’s faster, it’s easier. They don’t have to walk around the store and they’re going to keep doing it. So we’re anticipating more e-commerce upticks that are longer lasting because of what we call skills gaining, now more people know how to shop online.

They know the benefits because they had to learn, right. Before there was no real incentive for people who haven’t traditionally shopped online to learn how to shop online because you can get most of the stuff you need in person, but now everyone had to learn how to shop online. So we’re seeing that. And then of course the third reason we’re going to expect Black Friday to be bigger is because people aren’t going to be standing in crowded lines for Black Friday. 

So Black Friday is still going to happen, but it’s not going to happen in our physical space the way it normally does. It’s going to go somewhere though. And that means that it’s going to go online. And what’s really interesting is that we think that these three effects are going to be bigger than the income loss that we’ve seen on the other side. Right? Because the counter argument is, well, could Black Friday be smaller or could these three big drivers be mitigated by the fact that a lot of people have lost their jobs and experienced reduction in income? And so they won’t be spending as much on Black Friday. And we think, yes, that is true. But the sum of that will be smaller than the sum of these three other factors. So we’re expecting the holidays in 2020 to be as the economists say wild you all.

Joe Howard:

Quote her on that. I thought that it was super interested in the part about gain skills because it’s like once something gains a technology element, you don’t just take it away and kind of go back to the old way and in a lot of cases, right. It’s like I remember when I discovered Instacart and I was like, “Oh, I can do grocery delivery, that’s cool.” I tried it and I was like, “Oh, all my groceries just got delivered. I didn’t have to spend an hour and a half going to the grocery store, shopping, checking out, bringing all the stuff home. I tried to unpack it and put it in my fridge and freezer.” And that was it. Yes, maybe sometimes there’s a squished avocado or I ordered something and number of things instead of pounds or something.

Yeah. It’s not perfect. But that saved time to me, it was totally worth those small mistakes. And now that I’ve done Instacart once, I’ll go to the grocery store every once in a while if I want to have that experience. But 95% of the time, I don’t want to have that experience, I just want my groceries at my house. 

So I totally get what it’s like with things moving more into technology now because we have this contactless delivery. Every restaurant commercial you see as contactless delivery, contactless delivery. Well, it’s not just going to go away. It may not be a requirement from a legal standpoint, but once people get used to that, once people gain that efficiency and they have that experience a few times and understand how much easier it is just to plug something into their phone and have it delivered an hour later, it’s going to stick at a significant rate.

Again, maybe not for everybody, but at a significant enough rate that it will change eCommerce. And so it sounds for this year, from what you’re saying, we’ll see a bump, but it’s a wave. It’s not just going to stop. It will continue probably into future years. And this is probably going to be a big bump because like you said, most people are not waiting in lines. Amazon Day, I think it just happened, two Amazon days or whatever.

Christie Chirinos:

Yeah, it was two days ago. 

Joe Howard:

Just happened. And you always read the stories after the Amazon days about how Jeff Bezos’s net worth just gained $20 billion in two days. Yes. Well, it’s because that was a successful day and probably, and as a lot of people are probably not super happy about how he’s doing so well during COVID because he takes advantage of a lot of these things. I don’t want to get into that conversation. I’m just saying e-commerce and online shopping continues to grow. I think it probably will continue. I think you’re probably right. All right, I think we’ve-

Christie Chirinos:

That’s could be a whole other podcast episode.

Joe Howard:

Totally. 

Christie Chirinos:

[crosstalk 00:32:45] vacation of the economy.

Joe Howard:

For sure. 

Christie Chirinos:

But that is why we’re expecting a crazier holiday season than normal this 2020. And so what does that mean for WordPress Professionals, Joe?

Joe Howard:

Yes. WordPress Professionals/WooCommerce store owners, people who were checking out Woosesh and watched your 90 minute video on setting up a WooCommerce store. How are you going to prep for holidays? We’re using Black Friday, I guess here as an example, but I think it probably applies to everything around the holidays. 

A few other kinds of tactics we’ll talk about here for store owners, but also for agencies and freelancers people that are helping folks to not only set up a run and manage and market through e-commerce stores. How can you help them to navigate the holidays and continue to grow their stores? 

So the first thing we have here is just around a Black Friday/Cyber Monday discount pricing. You see a lot of folks doing big, big discounts for Black Friday Cyber Monday. From a WooCommerce perspective, Christie, what do you usually advise people in terms of what kind of discount they should do? Does it depend on kind of what industry they’re in? Does it depend on what they’re selling a high price ticket item versus a low price ticket item? What do you usually say to folks in terms of, should you do a 5% discount that probably won’t get noticed very much? Or do you need to do a 75% deep discount?

Christie Chirinos:

So this is all about context. It depends on the product, right? From both of WooCommerce perspective and an entrepreneurship perspective, it depends on your product. The most important thing that I think I always drill home is pricing communicates value, whether that’s right or wrong, it’s a different conversation. But the fact is that we have been taught and we generally equate unconsciously or consciously higher prices to mean better. Not always true, but a lot of the time we think, well, if this is going to be so expensive, it must be better. And so when you think about discounts for Black Friday, you want to think about your products positioning in the market. 

If your positioning is we’re economical, we’re big bang for your buck, then a deep discount makes sense, right? If you’re usually experiencing success with 30% off sales, with flash sales, with promotions that take on the strategy of offering a discount to cost-conscious consumers so that they accelerate purchases after they’ve heard all your marketing, then Black Friday, 30% forget that for two days, we have 75% works really well. But if you’re selling a premium product, or if you’re selling a product doesn’t unusually go on sale.

If you’re selling something where you’re trying to position yourself, as we know we’re not cheap, and that’s not the point you come here because you are focused on quality and you don’t care what it costs. Then deep discounts are kind of silly. You probably won’t see a lot of success with them because the rest of the marketing that you’ve done throughout the year, hasn’t been boosting that same message. If anything, you could potentially hurt yourself because people might say, well, why is it so cheap right now? 

So when you think about that type of product, what you actually will experience some success with, depending on the product is bundling, right? So we’re not lowering the price at all. We’re just throwing in an additional free thing. That tends to work really well for premium products, premium brands, especially a physical good brands, right? If you’re actually selling things are really great Black Friday sale to run for a premium physical goods brand is.

And then if you buy during Black Friday, you will also get this additional free thing. That’s a really great way to get someone who is excited about your brand differentiator to also say, “Oh, I’m going to buy this right now because I’m going to get the thing I want, that I would be willing to pay whatever amount of dollars for, but then I’m also going to get extra stuff.” That’s exciting. Right. And so we could go into sort of deeper discounting strategies, but I think for the vast majority of our listeners, those are going to be the two that you really zone in on.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. I think probably a lot of people going back to Amazon Day, they’ll see on Amazon Day, oh they’re selling Amazon Dots or whatever. And they’re 15 bucks a super, super deep discount. And then they’ll think, oh, I need to do a super deep discount. But if we take a step back and we realize, oh Amazon’s actually just discounting it so much just to get the Dot in more people’s homes so they can listen to more people when they’re not asking for it. So they can market to more people because Amazon web services makes so much money that they don’t have to make a profit on the Dot selling of Amazon Day.

There’s a whole nother conversation for a company like that. So don’t look at what other huge companies are doing because it doesn’t really apply to a smaller company, even a bigger company in the WordPress space is nothing comparatively to like an Amazon.

So I’d say the two things I think about are, a SAS product versus a productized service as well. You mentioned kind of packages and putting things together. If you’re a SAS product, you may be able to afford a bigger discount because your profit margins may be a little bit better and your products a little more scalable. You’re actually selling a product. You’re just people buy the thing here’s the code. Okay. That scales better than a service. We did a deep guest discount four years ago, 40% off the care plans. And it worked horribly because we just attracted a bunch of terrible customers. And so that’s my story. I don’t even have to describe it anymore. I would stay away from deep discounts for services companies, which includes productize services company.

Because at the end of the day, if you’re doing a service for costs the other thing I do think about is if you do a big discount, 75% off for a week and you shoot it out to your email list, everybody on your email list is going to know you do a deep discount around this time, and there may not buy from you the rest of the year. Because they may wait for that one day of the year, one week of the year to buy stuff from you. Sometimes that can be a positive strategy. I’ve heard a lot of people, I’ve talked to people who run courses on stuff online and they say they do a huge discount around Black Friday and they make 75% of their yearly revenue from Black Friday sales. 

I’m like, that’s cool. It’s one way to run a successful business, getting all your revenue in one spot. But it’s also sounds a little what if it doesn’t work out very well one year? It seems you’re putting all your eggs in one basket. So I usually think similarly to you, Christie, in terms of, I stick away from big, big discounts. Also we position ourselves as a premium brand. We provide premium care plans for people. We’re not the cheapest by design. If people are looking for cheap options, there are a lot of other care plan companies out there, Subscription management companies that you can find for cheaper than us. 

I used to say that in sales calls, we’re not the cheapest for sure. If you’re looking for cheap, you can find somewhere else. If you want premium, if you want something that’s actually going to work for you then this is where you want to be. And so we brought on the right kind of customer. So as a premium brand, we don’t want to do deep discounts. We almost never do deep discounts more than 10% on subscriptions. And sometimes we do 20%, but it’s only the first month. So just to intro people and we only test that very occasionally. So yeah, anyway, I agree with pretty much everything you said.

Christie Chirinos:

Yeah. I can’t take off my professor hat in this conversation because I think that it’s so important to look and analyze what makes successful Black Friday sale with this lens, right? What you’re saying lines up exactly. WP Buffs is not a low cost brand, you’re doing a premium service for a premium price. So of course, deep discounts would be a terrible idea for you. Most of the people that are listening to this podcast are not competing in the realm that stores like Amazon, or I even want to say the Walmart’s the best buys, right? The stories that we maybe associate with deep Black Friday discounts, you’re not playing their game. They’re playing a low cost supply chain management game. That’s massive warehousing based. You’re not doing that. You’re not doing that. You’re playing a niche differentiation game. And so it’s totally, totally different.

When we think about why these types of strategies don’t work for smaller businesses that has everything to do with the fact that people aren’t shopping you because you’re cheap. So doubling down on a message that isn’t your existing message isn’t going to work. Otherwise the bundles tend to work and they’re giving away extra free stuff tends to work because you’re just getting more interesting things, right? People are shopping you for interesting. I think that a lot of people will say, well, I don’t even know what to bundle. I think another Black Friday strategy that I’ve seen that’s super successful is partnering, right? So you put together a bundle with two other companies that provide complimentary services. And then those complimentary services create a sort of existing value that can be impulse purchase. That’s another key thing with Black Friday, right? Airlines don’t necessarily have Black Friday sales. That would be silly because who impulse buys plane tickets, you usually buy plane tickets for a reason.

Some people buy impulse plane tickets, but most people do not. Right. And so that can be an interesting way to package a Black Friday offering that can be successful. When you talk about the online course creators, that makes so much sense to me because when you think about it with that professor hat on, right, the game that online course creators are playing is they are the low cost alternative in education. If you don’t buy an online course, you’re buying “traditional education” which is a really expensive. Online education is coming in and filling in this gap for people who don’t want to sign up for a class at the local community college, because it’s thousands of dollars. For people who don’t want to hire a tutor because it’s thousands of dollars.

So instead we’re the next best alternative in terms of competitive theory to an online course is a much more expensive in-person or university course. So of course, deep discounts work for online course creators. They’re playing a low cost game, right? The people who are already paying attention are paying attention because they want to save money. So if they sent out a message that says you can save even more money, the people who are already up in that sales funnel of awareness are going to accelerate their purchase. They’re waiting for the right moment to go from, I know about this, I trust this brand, I care about this brand into I’m a customer of this brand.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. Yep. Totally. I can’t add onto that because you said it perfectly, so thumbs up Christie. I agree. 

Christie Chirinos:

Good luck store owners. 

Joe Howard:

Yeah, exactly. Next thing we have here on our list quickly is just emailing your email list about it, throwing it out on social media. This is kind of about an immediate audience. So letting your media audience know and just communicating it to folks. So if you have an email list of 10,000 folks, and you’re doing a Black Friday sale, you should probably let people know, “Hey, I’m doing the sale. Come in during this time.” Then a day before, “Hey, this thing starts tomorrow, come in.” And then maybe once the day before it ends, or two days 48 hours before it ends. “Hey, just so you know, so if you want to still grab it, you can grab the rest of the year for the normal price. But if you want your 20% off you come and grab it in the next 48 hours.” And maybe one hour before, “Hey, we’re ending in one hour.”

Whatever people want to do. But yeah. The important thing about this I think is the communicating to your existing audiences is not too difficult, right? You email people, you throw it out on social media. It’s pretty basic stuff that the tricky part is having that audience. And so this is part of Black Friday sales, I guess that’s well, this is something you should be doing all year. You should probably be collecting email addresses all year. You should be writing content all year. You should be having good touch points with your audience. The first email, someone to email us gets from you in six months should not be a Black Friday email.

You should have been emailing them some of the content, because he’s like, “Oh no, please don’t do that.” Yeah, you should have been emailing some of the content you’ve been writing. Maybe some of your podcasts episodes, YouTube channel stuff you’ve been doing. Maybe you just write a monthly newsletter, maybe it’s simple. Hey, here’s what I’m doing this month. This is Joe. I’m the founder of this company. Ah, we tried this didn’t work. Tried that, it worked. So yeah, we’re keeping on this month.

Basic stuff doesn’t have to be super advanced, but you want to have multiple touch points with people before you were emailing them about Black Friday sell before we try to sell them something, right. You have to build that trust. You want to give away a lot of free, good stuff, content, whatever. So that when it comes time to ask them, they don’t just feel the first thing you talked to them about was buying your thing, which almost never works. So yeah, building out your list once steps out, it comes out, it’s a little late to start doing that. But you should start now for next year’s Black Friday. So it’s never too early to start building a list and stuff. So that’s pretty basic one. Anything to add Christie.

Christie Chirinos:

No, I totally agree with that. You saw my cringe face. Yeah. Don’t be that company that I haven’t heard of. I haven’t heard from years then emails me about Black Friday. Oh no, it’s so bad. The worst is when I’m like who is this?  

Joe Howard:

Its happens once or twice a month. 

Christie Chirinos:

Why am I on this list? Have I ever purchased something?

Joe Howard:

Exactly. And it’s either from maybe I registered for a webinar that shared my email address across a few different people or companies I didn’t know about. Or it’s honestly someone who bought a list and is emailing. And it’s dude why do you think you could buy a list, you can email people it’s going to work. I guess for people who are starting off in marketing and they don’t really understand how email stuff works, maybe they’d buy a list or something. Okay. Yeah. Just PSA, don’t buy an email list and try to email people and sell them stuff, it doesn’t work. Cool.

Christie Chirinos:

If you take nothing else away from this episode. 

Joe Howard:

Yes. That’s it, that’s why I’m titled this episodes, don’t buy email lists. Timing is an interesting one as well. You wrote that down here as a note and I’d be interested to hear kind of what you have to say about timing around when you do a Black Friday sale. Because obviously you could do it on Black Friday, or on Cyber Monday, but maybe you’re doing it the whole weekend. Black Friday through Cyber Monday. Ooh, maybe you started a week earlier, started two days earlier than that. So that around Thanksgiving, people are starting to buy and the last two days, because you want to give them a minute change people to buy. We usually say around timing around Black Friday and that kind of communication.

Christie Chirinos:

Not too early, not too late. If you do it too early, you are potentially creating a situation in which people stop buying from you to buy from you over here. Again, discounts, sales, coupons bundles, blah, blah, blah. Right? All of these things, what they do in terms of purchasing theory is they accelerate purchases. No one who was never going to buy from you, buys from you because you’re created at discount. You’re not creating things, you’re accelerating purchases. Sometimes what we want is to accelerate purchases. We want this to come in now. We want to create an add value later. And so think about it as a tool that does that. That means that you have to already have these people’s attention. And then you’re just going to get to buy then. Which means that if you do it too early and they’re going to hold off and you’re going to kind of dry up before you burst out. So don’t do that.

With that side, you don’t want to announce it the day of Black Friday deal, bam. Right? Because humans are humans, humans like to plan, humans want to know what they’re going to buy. They want to set reminders on their phone. And most of us, especially listening to this podcast, don’t have the kind of reach or the kind of existing brand power where we can just throw out the deal the morning of, right. Some companies can, most companies cannot even best buy will tell you which TVs are going to be on sale a week before Black Friday or something like that. That’s sort of my take on that, it’s really not too late. The other thing that I have a strong opinion on is when it ends, it ends when your customer decides it ends. Here’s why, why would you turn off a hose of money?

It’s like, okay, are we cutting off the deal on Monday? Yeah, sure, if the Black Friday attention that we were getting is done on Monday, then let’s close it out on Monday. But if on Monday and on Tuesday, people are still buying at a higher rate, why would you be like no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Please go away. We don’t want, we don’t want. Let the sale last for as long as your customers say it’s going to last because at the end of the day when you’re running a Black Friday campaign, it means that you’re asking for people’s attention during this pre-established cultural shopping moment. And so most of the time, the attention is going to fizzle out by Tuesday, Wednesday. And if it’s not keep it going, right. 

Joe Howard:

Yeah, I agree. I think that was a smart way to do things. It’s a good way to get feedback from customers and do what’s best for them because there are a lot of times doing what’s best for your customers and responding to what they want is best for your business as well.

Last thing we have here is originality. And you put this down here as well. It’s just a hard time to be original, hard time to be unique because everybody’s trying to grasp for your attention right now. Actually, maybe that means it’s an easier time to be unique because everybody’s probably trying to grab for attention in the same way. How can you be unique and original in the ways in which you’re trying to get people’s attention as well? Is this a gamification sort of thing where you’re doing something fun and crazy? Or is this just you really are heightening the quality of your communication and the professionalism, standing out from the crowd. What do you usually advise people in terms of how do I versus the 10 other people that do what I do online? How do I make my Black Friday sale the one that people are, that was the one I liked, I enjoyed, and I wanted to buy from?

Christie Chirinos:

If I had a strategic management textbook, a framework for originality, the way I have one for purchasing theory and how price communicates quality and the sales funnel, I would be a millionaire by now.

Joe Howard:

A multimillionaire probably.

Christie Chirinos:

A could be a millionaire by now. Yes.

Joe Howard:

You’d have a yacht, you’ll rolling around in your yacht, hanging out. 

Christie Chirinos:

Because that’s the hardest part. In Lake Austin with my 300 best friends. Yes. I would be on rap music video, but originality is the hardest part. And yet it’s the most important part, right? All this stuff, our boxes, you need to check off and make sure you’re getting right for your business and your message. But at the end of the day, the ultimate question is how do you stand out? I don’t know that I have a framework for standing out, but I do have thoughts which is what kinds of things have caught your attention lately? Especially sitting at home, looking at the same computer screen stuff every single day. What are the things that have stood out in your mind? What were the things that made you crack a smile or laugh or stayed in your head for a couple of days? That’s how you look at originality, you borrow from other artists.

And it’s the key to success. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that you get all the foundational stuff right. And then you want to make sure that you do something that sticks out in people’s heads. When they’re looking down the lists of aggregation of WordPress deals, which always come out a few weeks before Black Friday, how does your deal stand out? Sometimes that’s because it is so outrageous, sometimes it’s because it’s so unusual because you’re a company that never does deals. Sometimes it’s because you put together such a unique bundle, such a unique position. And really thinking about how to stand out in a way that brings in your humanity, that makes you think about what things stand out to you, I think is how you succeed with originality.

Joe Howard:

Yeah. I actually think that’s super excellent advice because I think during this COVID time there’s a lot of folks who are hanging around at home, watching more TV. Sorry, can you hear [inaudible 00:54:20], he’s a little bit loud. He’s having a grumpy day. He’s a little sick today, and all snotty. 

Christie Chirinos:

Oh, poor baby. 

Joe Howard:

I’m going to move to the other room quickly just to dampen the audio a little bit. That’s okay. You’re fine.

Christie Chirinos:

He’s all good. We all know you just had a baby. It’s all good. I feel whenever I’m on a work call, so everyone’s working from home people who don’t usually work from home even, and you see their kids and they’re, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry.” I’m like, “Dude, you have kids? It’s okay.”

Joe Howard:

Totally. 

Christie Chirinos:

Stop being sorry, stop being sorry. 

Joe Howard:

If this video just got cut and I’m now in a different room, it’s because there was a baby doing stuff. I like what you said a lot about getting ideas from other sources, because I think a lot of people are watching more TV at home and tuning into more Netflix and streaming services and YouTube stuff. I don’t know about other people, but I would assume a lot of people kind of feel bad that they’re spending a lot of time in front of a computer, or in front of screens. I know I do. I think sometimes I watch too much TV for sure. I’m in front of my phone too much sometimes definitely.

Christie Chirinos:

Joe, I stayed up till 3:00 in the morning last night watching the entire season four of The Good Place.

Joe Howard:

I love The Good Place.

Christie Chirinos:

It was so good, continue. 

Joe Howard:

With TV comes ads. I don’t like watching ads a lot, but I do like watching ads from the perspective of the marketer, because I actually like to see what sticks with me. I remember the Chevy commercials for a long time were really good about how are they were comparing their stuff with other car. It was different than other cars, stupid car commercial. I was like, “Oh, that was a good commercial.” I know Chevy now, it sticks in my head. 

The Liberty Mutual commercials are kind of goofy, but I thought they kind of went into Geico’s playbook and the guy who was like Liberty, Liberty, misquoting his movie lines. I thought that was a hilarious commercial and has always stuck with me. So I don’t know if it would make me buy Liberty Mutual insurance, but it did stick with me.

And the first step is sticking in people’s brains a little bit with something original. And so that’s I think an easy way for folks who are maybe feeling bad that they’re watching a little bit too much Tube. Well, use it to your business advantage, watch the commercials. You know the commercials on YouTube that come on that are, “Hey, I’m in my Ferrari, don’t you want to own a Ferrari, take my Amazon affiliates course.” Obviously, maybe that does work for you. It doesn’t work for me, not something that I’m interested in. And something that actually totally turns me off at this point in my career, but that’s on good not example for me. Right. I definitely don’t want to do that. How do I duplicate the kind of things other people are doing? I think it’s very easy to get ideas around that kind of stuff. 

So yeah, if you’re watching a little bit too much Tube, hey, use it to do some a little bit of analysis and see what do you think about cool products right now? What’s stuck in your head a little bit and you can try and use that some of that originality to implement some of your own stuff. So I think it’s a good idea.

All right. Okay. We’re going to talk a little bit about hosting, but we’ve already kind of been on for an hour, but maybe you have a two minute hosting, how do you just like… Because it’s like no [crosstalk 00:57:42].

Christie Chirinos:

Joe, it’s a whole other episode. It’s a whole other episode, let’s do it next week. 

Joe Howard:

Yeah. Let’s do it next week. 

Christie Chirinos:

Let’s do it next week. Yeah. 

Joe Howard:

And it’ll still come out. 

Christie Chirinos:

Let’s Black Friday, the agency perspective. 

Joe Howard:

Yes, let’s do it, because I think there’s more to talk about. So we’ll leave it fair for today. Those are some good tactics and strategies to push forward on Black Friday/holiday sales. These are some good Black Friday stuff there, but these applies all the holidays email people before holidays come up, December is slow for some people. Well, let’s speed up December by using some of these tactics. And so, yeah, cool. All right, Christie, if people want to leave us a review, that was super awesome. Right?

Christie Chirinos:

They should leave us a review. If you go to wpmrr.com/itunes, you know how to spell iTunes. WPMRR is spelled W-P-M-R-R. Then you can leave us a review and you can tell us that you liked this episode and that you want to hear more about Black Friday.

If you are a new listener, you can go listen to the whole backlog of episodes. I do sometimes think about how our first episodes probably weren’t nearly as good as these episodes today, but that’s okay. You can go back and judge us. And maybe you can write in the review, most improved podcast.

Joe Howard:

Five stars.

Christie Chirinos:

Email us your questions if you have them to yo@wpmrr.com, we love doing question episodes. So please, please send us your questions if you have had them [crosstalk 00:59:20].

Joe Howard:

Tweet us. You can tweet us. 

Christie Chirinos:

Yeah, tweet us. 

Joe Howard:

I check Twitter more often than I check email. So if you tweet us, I’ll see it. And if you email us, I’ll see it eventually.

Christie Chirinos:

Yeah. And if you want that 90 minute WooCommerce workshop from zero to fully functioning WooCommerce workshop, you can also send us an email at yo@wpmrr.com. Or you tweet us, I’ll just give you the link. So that’ll be great. And yeah, check out the wpmrr.com. Thank you for tuning in. 

Joe Howard:

Yes. All recent virtual summit sessions are now up on YouTube. So if you just go to wpmrr.com, there are links all over the place to go check out the sessions. So feel free to go, watch, subscribe, all that stuff. Cool. We will be in your podcast players again next Tuesday. All right. Secrecy.

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