For many product-focused businesses that solve common problems, there's a world of potential customers out there. But, logistics aside, there's one barrier that often keeps them from expanding into new markets: language.
In this episode of Shopify Masters, you’ll learn from a marketer who broke through stagnating revenue growth by translating his Facebook ads into different languages.
Andrew Bedell heads marketing for Keysmart: the smartest keychain ever that organizes your keys so they won’t annoy you anymore.
We really tried everything: more emotional ads, the same ads with different view points...And the thing we had the most success with was internationalization.
Tune in to learn
- How to make it crystal clear the problem your product solves
- How to translate one ad into different languages and what to watch out for
- How to create an effective landing page for your ads
Listen to the podcast below (or download it for later):
- Store: KeySmart
- Social Profiles: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
- Recommendations: Ultimate Special Offers, Bold Multi Currency (Shopify app), Langify (Shopify app), ShipMonk (Shopify app), EasyPost, Ethercycle
Felix: Today I’m joined by Andy Bedell from KeySmart. KeySmart is the smartest key chain ever. It organizes your keys so they won’t annoy you any more. It started in 2013 and based out of Chicago. Welcome, Andy.
Andrew: Hey, thanks for having me.
Felix: Yeah, thanks for coming on. So tell us a bit more about the product itself. What is this key chain?
Andrew: It sounds kind of, it’s somewhat strange to explain it without seeing it, but basically it’s like a pocket … you could think about it as a pocket knife for your keys, but a pocket knife that you can take apart and it’s kind of modular. So you can put your regular keys inside, plus things like bottle openers, screw drivers, and now we have a built in tile location tracker built into it.
But I guess really the way it started was just a solution to simplify your bulky, you’ve got that bulky mess of keys. So to take that the big chain mess of keys that you have and then to organize it into a nice, neat fashion that looks like of sleek. So basically, that’s kind of what it is.
Felix: Got it. So you’re the director of marketing over at Key Smart. And can you tell us a little bit about the origin story? Where did the idea originally come from?
Andrew: Yeah, so our founder, Michael Tunney, he was an engineer in Chicago, he was working for basically robotics companies that make the robots that make cars. So he had a strong background in engineering. And he got the idea for Key Smart, because he was moving to a new apartment and had like … I don’t know if you, I think you live in New York, but if you live in apartments sometimes you end up getting five or six keys for one apartment. So, Michael got all these keys and thought, “Wow this is a big, bulky mess of keys.” And he couldn’t really fix the key situation and he got the idea for a key organizer that looked like a Swiss style pocket knife.
And then he basically made the thing himself. He went and like CNC’d it himself, did all his product photography and launched it on Kickstarter and he launched it at night on Kickstarter and woke up in the morning and he was already at like $14,000 in sales. So it just went completely viral. It was an organic Kickstarter back in 2013, back in the very early days of Kickstarter.
Felix: Got it. So, the company started in 2013 through that Kickstarter. Tell us when you joined and what’s your background?
Andrew: I joined in 2015. I helped out a little bit. My friends were with the owners, I went to grade school with the owner’s brother. We were in the same grade, and the owner was two years older than me. We had a small grade school in Chicago area. But so I knew when they launched it and truthfully I thought it was a good idea, but I didn’t really think it would be like a huge, viral success.
So they told me about it, I thought, “Oh that’s cool.” I shared it on Facebook. And then fast forward, I was working in advertising at the University of Chicago and they had some questions about how Google Analytics work, how UTM tags work. So I had my CEO, Michael over and basically just showed him just a little more about Google Analytics and pointed him in the right direction towards the Google Analytics, the academy. The Analytics academy. And from there, in 2015, they had a need for like an advertiser.
They had someone running ads, but they weren’t really all that effective. And so I kept kind of bugging them asking them if they would let me run some ads for them for free. And we ran some video ads, and really had a lot of success and next thing you know, I quit my full time job and was working for Key Smart.
Felix: Got it. So looking back on it, when you were an observer from the outside, what do you think made it take off the way that it did?
Andrew: You know, it’s the design, it’s a really cool design. It was really kind of like an a-ha moment. People see it, they understand it visually pretty quickly and they’re like, “Oh, wow I should’ve thought of that.” And people really do even write that on our posts all the time. On our ads and our posts. Like, “Oh, this is-” you know they’ll tag their friend and they’ll say, “Oh this was your idea. Weren’t you saying something about this?” And so it’s really just kind of that a-ha moment and it’s very shareable.
We used to get so many shares on our ads. When we first started. And so I think it was just very visual. It was very understandable just from a picture on Facebook. Because when it started, video ads weren’t very popular or anything. You couldn’t even run video ads. So people just see the image and I guess we didn’t even run any ads for the Kickstarter campaign. So it really is just like that visual understanding of like a classic problem that is the bulky key chain, that no one had really taken a stab at changing.
And so it was kind of a … I don’t want to make it sound like we’re Apple like in creating the iPhone, but it was kind of like a paradigm shift in the way that you really think about carrying keys.
Felix: Yeah, I like the … you know, what you’re getting at is the people that saw the ad or saw the image of the product, they’re immediate reaction was like, “Wow, this should exist.” It’s almost like why doesn’t this exist already, because it’s such a pervasive problem? And then we have the people just feel like sharing it, and that’s where the Kickstarter of our reality.
So you mentioned that one of the ways you were able to resonate with the potential customers, so well that the problem was very clear. In your marketing today and even back then, how do you make sure that you are presenting the problem that you are trying to solve front and center?
Andrew: I guess … honestly it’s been kind of a double edged sword. So to start, it was very, very easy to advertise it and show off your value propositions. It sounds kind of foolish, but our main value propositions for the original Key Smart were save some space in your pocket, get rid of that bulky mess of keys, so that you will no longer jingle while you walk, or poke yourself in the leg. And those actually really resonated with people. Just the idea of sitting down and poking yourself in the leg. Or jingling and waking up your son or your daughter, or whatever, coming back late at night.
It really resonated with people. We did struggle as we started to receive … see ad fatigue with our original ads. Like how do we dig deeper into deeper value propositions? So some brands have the opposite where it’s a little bit more difficult to explain. But then they have kind of … they really hit home on like helping people emotionally, or helping them look better, or this or that. But that being said, we’re constantly creating new videos and trying to figure out new ways to communicate the problem. And really is just those tried and true problems and trying to really just demonstrate them in like the easiest way possible so people can understand it right away.
So really it’s just these demonstration, the demonstrative type of ads that have been the most successful in explaining our product. Rather than when we tried to reach for more untangible value propositions. If that makes sense.
Felix: Yeah, how did you know that there was ad fatigue, rather than people just didn’t want to product any more?
Andrew: I mean, the overwhelming majority of people that I’ve ever met that have no idea what a Key Smart is. We might be one of the … at one point we were one of the bigger brands on Shopify, I know Shopify has grown so much. But back in 2016, when we were really rolling, there was this one study that was showing the top web traffic sites and we were like number 53. And so at the time, we were pretty big and we were kinda pushing the limits, but at the same time, we were relatively unknown in the world as a whole.
You’d ask people, they’d say, “I’ve never heard of that.” But at the same time, our Facebook ads just weren’t getting the same lift as they were before. So it’s really hard to know … they work in the same in as much as we were able to internationalize and also whenever we would go to different countries, we’d give the US a little bit of rest. So I kind of just went down, I talked to my Facebook ad rep, and I said, “You’re only working the US, why don’t you try and go everywhere?” And it’s pretty easy to ship, because it’s kind of small.
So I started basically just going to every country, and we were seeing a lot of success pretty much all over the world, and then as we gave the United States some time to rest, we would see that the United States would come back as well. And so we just basically figured that we kind of just spent too much and were kind of just running out of customers, or running out of people that we were going to appeal to. It worked to a point. And eventually you kinda hit a breaking point where as many times as you try and refresh your lookalike audiences, and you refresh this or that. Change the seed audience, change the amount of time on the seed audience. And it just stops working.
And then once you kinda span the globe, there’s not as much to do, you kinda have to start playing with creative and trying to figure out are there different value propositions that I can go down into? That are gonna be effective? Or do I need to go out and take my original value propositions into new ways to really explaining them to really give it … explaining them to people who didn’t maybe work on the first time, or explain it in a different way that mattered for them. It might even be just trying to figure out, how can I create a new video that has a new hook and a beginning that can really just get people to stop and watch?
Felix: Got it. So you saw that when you tried to change the targeting wasn’t really working, so it wasn’t the audience itself, but when you did stop advertising for a little bit and then started back up, that people were more receptive to the ad. And then eventually decide, “Okay, we have to change the creative, change the messaging, change the hook.” And that’s where it started to work for you.
So how do you go down that low? Because it sounds like at first, you guys, it was very easy to demonstrate the value proposition because there’s a very practical solution to a very easily understood problem. But then when that creative, that angle was tapped out, you had to dig deeper. What does that mean? What does it mean to go deeper than that?
Andrew: Well it’s just if you’re doing research on your product, you’re gonna find that there’s gonna be a lot of different use cases that people … reasons that people love your product. So you’ll start to get emails, and people give us all different kinds of reasons that they like your product. If you were doing it from kind of a data driven way, you would kind of categorize all those use cases. So people telling you that they like the Key Smart because it saves space in their pocket. And people saying that they like the Key Smart because it prevents them from jingling. Some might say they like the Key Smart because it prevents them from getting poked in the legs.
But then as you go down, there might be some people that are saying, “I like the Key Smart, because it keeps my keys in the same spot and so then I always know which key I can open the door with.” That’s kind of a lower down in the value proposition level, because you just might not have had as many people report it as a key value proposition in your emails or whatever. So, just discover that there a bunch that you haven’t ever made an ad about or ever really wrote copy about. A bunch of these use cases that might come to you.
You might find that as you start to go deeper down and you’re spending money to make video ads that demonstrate these things, you might find that they’re only a small subset of your customers actually care about those things, and it’s not gonna move the needle on the new customer acquisition. So that’s kinda what I mean. It’s just really you kind of exhausted the top reasons that people say that they like your product, and now you’re having to dig deeper for new reasons. Or maybe just … yeah, so that’s kind of it.
Felix: What are some examples of like you said, a more emotional message that you could put into an advertisement?
Andrew: More emotional? Well trying to go for that deeper message. Why you actually need a Key Smart. You might say that it fits better in your pocket, but what does that really mean? That you like to be a minimalist, you like to just have the minimum amount of things and be nimble, or just be able to be free, right? So as you kinda can go into more emotional, it’s not like they would describe it as there’s a practical reason for using it, but what’s the deeper reason that you’re looking for.
For some products it’s, for a lot of fashion brands and stuff like that, it’s like, “Oh I like this product,” but what you’re really looking to say is, “I’m this kind of person. Or I’m trying to attract this kind of person.” So with KeySmart, it really is, it’s more of a novelty item that we’re not going super deep on these more emotional deep branded connections. Like when you think about an Apple product, you think joy and happiness, because they kinda take over the airwaves with these really creative, nice looking ads that really make them seem like they’re the greatest, most stylish company.
For us, as we’ve done more stuff like that where it’s more abstract, it hasn’t worked from a direct response angle and we just don’t have like the underlying business that can really afford to spend tons of money on branding without receiving those direct response dollars back.
Felix: Got it. So you’re shifting from this practical reason, the practical value prop to how to asking, to getting the customers to ask themselves, how can this product help define me? Or help define the type of person I want to be? If you can, should you always try to go for the more emotional messaging? Especially early on, like right from the beginning? Or do you recommend people go for more of the practical value prop, like the way that you guys approached it?
Andrew: I mean I definitely recommend the direct response more practical approach. Like the emotional approach is definitely something that can work. We haven’t honestly been able to make that work for us very well. It’s always been the very much more direct demonstration ads that really show the problem, with the old saying it’s the problem agitates all ads. So you show the problem that someone would have if they didn’t have your product, you agitate those problems by showing how bad it would be if you didn’t have it, and then you solve the problem with your product and everything’s great.
And those ads have worked really well for us, and we make them nice, and we make them branded, and they’re fun and they’re good videos. They’re not just straight direct response [inaudible 00:15:17] which seem a little bit more gimmicky. But, so that being said, on the emotional side, you really need to have a lot of investment dollars in your brand in order to kind of spend enough to get that message out there that your product is really known for this emotional value point.
So really to start, it’s really difficult if you were gonna start with emotional ads that don’t really demonstrate why someone would like your product in a really obvious way. So for smaller businesses that are starting out, I definitely recommend that you start with a very direct response heavy … you create your ads to really explain why somebody would want your product. And do things like copy overlays that really explain why you would benefit from this product. And as you get further and further away from that, it becomes more difficult to show an ROI. And those can work for bigger brands as you grow, but it’s more of a branded effect that you’re looking for. Kind of like a halo effect rather than something that you’re looking for a direct revenue from, if that makes sense.
Felix: That makes sense. It’s usually probably a longer term investment where you put in a lot of money up front, but you might not recoup that for a long time. And for a lot of businesses, that kind of dried up cashflow is not going to help them last long.
So when it comes to the direct response copy, where you’re showing them the problem, here’s our solution, why our solutions the best, or why our solution will benefit you. THat’s the process you guys are going with and you’ve discovered that. Because this works, let’s expand this and let’s go international. So is that the approach that you decided to move forward with?
Andrew: We really tried everything. So we tried making more emotional ads, tried making the same ads with just different view points and all other kinds of things. And really the biggest thing that we had most success with was internationalization, because we’re really just taking the messaging that’s tried and true, and bringing it across the world.
And Facebook is really great for international advertising and if you have a product that you can ship anywhere, your Shopify hosts the sit seamlessly around the world. So yeah, internationalization really was the silver bullet that has allowed us to keep finding new customers and really I think the stat is that only 13% of sales happen in North America. So if you’re not advertising internationally then you’re kind of leaving 87% of the world untouched.
Felix: So where did you guys go first?
Andrew: You gotta go first to English speaking countries. So the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Ireland, are all good international, they’re like good rich countries that all speak English, so you don’t have to do any translation. And I recommend downloading the bold multi currency app that’s free, and it’ll make it so that when people like land on your page, they’ll see it in currency. We noticed a huge drop off if people didn’t see the prices in currency. So yeah, I would always recommend that people download that bold app and start with English speaking countries like the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and Canada.
Felix: What was the first non-English speaking country that you guys went to?
Andrew: So I went to Spain, Italy, I just went everywhere in Europe. And Spain and Italy worked really well. Germany didn’t work well for us. We had kind of a distributor thing going on, so I wasn’t allowed to advertise in France. And then who else? So I literally just went to every country in Europe and this was an untranslated website as well. And I just went down the list of top GDP per capita countries. I studied economics, so it was like gross domestic product divided by the number of people. So you’re just seeing how much money people have in each country.
And I was going all the way down to Malaysia and Indonesia, so I’ve advertised pretty much in every … not every country in the world, but in most. Most countries. And it honestly worked in places that you would never really think of. Places like Brazil where Brazil is decently rich, but it is still kind of … it’s not fully developed. But you’ll find that you’ll get six or seven clicks on … six or seven cent cost per click on Facebook. And while sometimes your conversion rate isn’t as high, the clicks are just so key for it.
Felix: Got it. How do you get the translation right? How do you make sure all the advertising and do you also do internationalization for the site itself?
Andrew: Yeah, okay. So, that was a big jump for us. Like I did, because I knew English internationally and network pretty well, but you start to see that the ads would stop working. And I wanted to translate my ads, but I didn’t have our website translated. So I couldn’t actually figure out how to translate the website. Google Translate was pretty poor. It sounds like you have a foreign robot that translated your website instead of a real person.
So, what we ended up doing is we downloaded the Langify app on Shopify. Langify is like you basically download it and it takes your website and turns it into like this what’s called a PO file, and it just basically takes your website and turns it into English strings. So you can send it off to a human translator.
So we were able to get the website translated using Langify, and then team native translators from all over the world, there are like 12 different languages, or 11 different languages at the time. And so we had all our Facebook videos. Our Facebook videos didn’t have voices in them, they just had text, so we got all the text translated. We translated the ad copy, and then we translated the website using Langify and extra language translators. And then you could even, you should probably even translate your cart emails, your welcome emails.
So that was honestly, it was a huge pain in the butt. It took forever to figure out how to get Langify to work and how to work through it and then we’re trying things and it wasn’t working. Blah, blah, blah. It took a while to figure out how to use a PO file, which is what Langify gives you. But eventually we got everything working and we got the website and everything translated, the videos translated, everything uploaded to Facebook. And we turned on the ads, and it just went bonkers.
We were in language in every country all at the same time and places like Germany who didn’t work at all before, were now working really, really well. And so it was just … and you get really good return on investment in those translations, because like take Germany for example. Once you translate your website into German, now you can run ads in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, what’s the other one? Leichtenstein or something? There’s like five other countries in Europe where people do speak German. And they kind of all speak similar languages.
Anyways, if you can get Italian, Spanish, French, and German then you’re gonna open up a huge amount of possibilities for running your ads around the world.
Felix: Got it, now what about the logistics? How do you make sure that you are able to get all the shipping set up and everything to deliver to all these countries?
Andrew: Okay. That’s the difficult part too. That’s obviously the first step in making sure that you go international. We already had a warehouse, so we already had the ability to ship internationally. We’ve had a company called Ascendia Mail who they’re partnered with the Swiss … I think the Swiss Post actually owns them. So that’s who we use for our international mailings. And they charge us, we actually get really good rates. I’m gonna say like five dollars a shipment almost anywhere in the world, I think is what our rate is.
So for us, we had reasonable rates. We had a decent amount of traffic already going internationally, because the Kickstarter was not just in the US. It had some international traction. So we were able to negotiate pretty good rates internationally. And our product is decently small. It doesn’t weight that much, so some people are gonna … you know if you’re selling grills or something like that, you have like 100 pound grill, this might not even be an option for you because of the cost of shipping is just gonna be prohibitive.
But if you have a 3PL, I know there are some people who work out of Chipmunk, or Easy [inaudible 00:23:37]. You can ask for a 3PL for their shipping rates internationally. If you have a warehouse, then you just need to contact a shipping company. But if you don’t have a long history of shipping internationally, you might not get very good rates. So, kinda like a chicken and the egg kind of thing.
Felix: Right. Has there been a country or language that you’ve targeted that hasn’t been worth the investment yet?
Andrew: Yeah, some of like the more northern European countries weren’t … if I were to look at like when we translated into Finnish, Finland is, I think we probably made our money back, but there was a technological problem with the product. So a lot of people have what are called Mortise keys in Finland. So they’re like these big long keys that you would imagine in like a fairy tale. And they just don’t fit on the Key Smart. So, we ran into a couple technological problems where people are like, “This doesn’t work.” And for that, we translated, we ran the ads, we started seeing Facebook posts and emails. We translated those and people were just posting that it didn’t work.
We might’ve been able to do a little research beforehand to figure it out, but honestly it’s somewhat difficult to find out if your product works in every country in the world as well.
Felix: Were there any unexpected challenges with going international that you guys ran into?
Andrew: Yeah, I mean, it’s such a huge opportunity and it really did so much for our revenues, but then it almost became like a prison to tell you the truth. Like it went from me just having to think in English and having to think about my workflows of just creating new ads, and creating new marketing materials, and just changing the website, to now I had to think about I have to add in translation service with all of this stuff.
So it was kind of like it took a lot of my focus off creating new marketing materials in English and shifted my focus to basically trying to juggle this new translation thing, because it basically lengthened all of our processes. And just made it more complicated. So yeah, that was our biggest problem was just time and just having to think how is that now appearing in the new language, because it might’ve been broken when we actually changed the site, and we didn’t change the Languify translation yet. Same thing.
Felix: So this copy on the ads and stuff, does it translate that well between languages? Or do you … have you tried now like starting a copy from scratch in that language?
Andrew: That’s a really good question. It does translate pretty well generally. You have to have an experienced copywriter to write who really understands the screens. So like sometimes when people have slang, that can get really bad… I like the example that I always give is I live in Chicago, and I call a Coca-Cola a pop. And it’s kind of like a mid western thing. It’s a little bit of dialect. And if I go out to New York or somewhere else, people will say … like if I say pop, they’ll kinda look at me like I’m a funny mid westerner.
Andrew: Yeah, so instead, like you have to have a copywriter that can really understand it. We communicate with our copywriters so we built out a team international copywriters that are native to each language, or native to each country, generally. The main country that we’re trying to target. And you just have to have a good relationship with them and they’ll send messages back and forth if they don’t understand something. So sometimes you have to explain to them, “Oh this is what that meant, or this is what-”
But generally speaking as long as you have decent copywriters, they’ll be able to work with you to get it … they’ll be able to work with you in order to get your Languify translated. Now if we weren’t using Languify and we were using Shopify’s … like if we just made a different instance for each store, which we’re kind of starting to do, but then you have to manage like 10 different stores. Then it would make more sense to just start from scratch with translation, because you’re not trying to juggle everything in the same format. If that makes sense.
Felix: Right. So when you’re looking for these copywriters, or people that are translating the copy for you into their language, their English has to also be very proficient? Or what is the threshold there?
Andrew: Yeah, you want their English to be really good. So we generally just start the interviews with just a Skype call with them to see if they can understand. If it’s very difficult for them to communicate with you, it’s probably not gonna be a very good relationship. So lots of times there are people who have spent time in the United States, maybe they studied here and they have a very strong grasp of English and their country. And they usually understand cultural context too, because they’ve been here before.
So it’s, we’re usually looking for people who really understand the US pretty well, and understand their home country.
Felix: Got it. So when it comes to, is it Facebook ads that have been the biggest driver of traffic and sales to the store?
Andrew: Yes, yes. Facebook ads have definitely been the biggest driver of traffic to our store. Probably like most Shopify stores.
Felix: Yeah. Now what’s your strategy? How do you guys begin the path of starting a new Facebook ad campaign? What do you guys think about first?
Andrew: Now we think about creative first. Creative really is the thing that will make the difference for your ad. So for us, we’re a gadget company. So we have to really kinda figure out what are the value propositions that we’re trying to get across to our customer, and how are we gonna demonstrate them? I was just listening to … I can’t remember the name of the guy, but he was talking about starting up an anime t-shirt company. And his ad strategies … it was a cash goods center store, his ad strategies will be totally … like the way he would think about creative is totally different than us, because it’s really design and just kinda showing off the design.
So for us, we’re really thinking about how can we actually demonstrate how your life will be worse if you don’t have this product. And we want to be like a gloom and doom kind of thing. But we really want you to feel that if I don’t have this product, that things are gonna be worse for me, so I should buy it today.
So we’re really trying to think about, we’re just trying to sell key chains, so we don’t really get into, “Oh life’s gonna be horrible.” You know what I mean? But it’s more just like imagine if you lost your keys and you couldn’t find them and you had to look for them all day. Now you can get a Key Smart that has the Tile location tracker in it, and you wouldn’t have that problem.
Felix: Is it like tongue in cheek? Or do you really try to drive that knife into them to make sure they really feel the pain?
Andrew: Definitely tongue in cheek. So we’re not having like … it’s not like that infomercial style where things look really shady. So we do things like you’re locked out and just kinda comical representations. But we do really do want to get across the point that when you’re locked out, it does stink. And you could get a Key Smart and that wouldn’t happen. But we do want to show, even if it is like a fun toned ad, we do want to demonstrate what the problem would be if you didn’t have this.
But at the same time, if you think about it, there’s really not a real serious way that you could talk about getting poked in the legs. Most of our value propositions are just kinda fun anyway.
Felix: Yeah, it’s a very I guess gray area … not gray area, but there’s a very thin line right between creating an ad to show them the pure benefit versus showing them an ad that would show them that if they don’t get this product, their life would be worse without it? Which I think is an important point to point out is that the agitation is stronger right? When you approach it that way where people almost feel urgent to buy this thing today, otherwise their life is already subpar to what it could be in an ad that you showed.
So what are some ways that you think about creating the creative to demonstrate that?
Andrew: It’s a really good question. So for us, like I said, you really can’t go too deep into agitating problems. But I think a really good company to look at is Purple Mattresses. All their ads are done by the Harmon Brothers, which is a really awesome video ad company. It’s impossible to work with them, because they have so many people that want to work with them. They did Poo-poutri and Squatty Potty. Basically, I recommend looking at their ads, because they do a really good job of capturing attention. Like you see it and you’re like, “Oh wow, what’s that?” And they really, really dive into these really elaborate demonstrations that show, really, really show why you want the product.
And so, if you’re sitting there and you’re thinking, “Show me this problem that you can solve for me.” Watch their ads and you’ll see very clearly what the problems would be if you didn’t have a Purple Mattress, and why you’d want one. And you’ll probably, by the end of watching that ad, you’ll probably want one. So really, what you need to think about is really one of the most important things … the people that make Purple will talk about this, they just came out with a course. So it’s like how are we gonna capture their attention in some way that we can transition into talking about the problems and the value propositions?
So that is very difficult. It’s honestly difficult to do with this, capturing attention. Our original ad captured attention with kinda just like a question that we asked with copy. And it was how often do you think about your keys? Or have you ever thought about your keys? And most people probably hadn’t thought about their keys, so that alone just kinda kept them listening and then we transitioned into all the problems and all the value propositions.
But Purple or Harmon Brothers really capture attention through really creative set designs and costumes and stuff like that. It’s honestly probably more expensive than most Shopify stores could afford. But so you kinda want to follow, you just really want to think about what’s either a creative piece of copy, or some costumes, or a set, or a scenario that would really work well to capture attention that would then transition into showing off my problem?
Felix: So you’re video ads today, are they done in house?
Andrew: Yes, they’re done in house. We have a videographer, Keith and then a script writer, Alyssa who … Alyssa spends a lot of her time researching, taking new products and figuring out why people say they like them, and trying to figure out ads. Trying to write that into value propositions that we can turn into a video ad. So it’s pretty … it’s honestly pretty in depth and we’ve had a lot of really big successes and then other ads that we spent a lot of time and money on that we thought were gonna be a huge success, that really just amounted to really not much.
Felix: Right, that’s the hard thing with video ads, right? When you first start with back in the day when there’s the most … to I guess to today. The tech space, the PPC advertising is a lot easier to AB test and switch things around. And it got a little bit more difficult with photos and images, and now it becomes even more difficult and more expensive to AB test and switch things around with video ads. How do you guys make sure that you can dial in as much as possible? Like maybe through testing or some other kind of research to make sure that you have the right kind of messaging in the video ad without wasting too much time going through iterations?
Andrew: I mean it’s a lot like doing your initial up front research, like we talked about with value propositions to make sure that you have the value propositions that people are saying that the real reasons that people love your product. And then figure out how to demonstrate those. Just thinking about like, okay I have a value proposition, this is what everyone is saying they like it. What are the ways that we can demonstrate this value proposition? Demonstrate how this would solve this.
And they always kinda talk about how the first step is how it helped them. So you’d say, let’s demonstrate how this product would help you do something, and then we take it a step further and say, how could we demonstrate what life would be like if you didn’t have this problem yet, or kinda create the problem.
So, yes. It’s just thinking about really that. Do your research to figure out what value proposition you want to tackle, and then how can we really visually show it? But other than that, it’s just kinda like gut instinct, because you really don’t know what’s gonna work until you try it.
Felix: Yeah, so I guess in your case, you guys have that research through feedback from your customers, from other people that might not have as large of a customer base yet, maybe just seeing what works with your image ads, the ads that are much cheaper to swap around and then try and understand what the value prop those success wise are doing before you invest the time in trying to recreate that value prop to something more expensive like a video ad.
So, I want to talk a little bit about the website. So is this website also done in house? Or do you guys have a design team that works on it?
Andrew: Most of the stuff is done in house now, although it was built by an agency and a lot of our updates were originally done by an agency. Now, about 90% of the work is done in house. And if we need something done that’s beyond our scope of work, we usually either ask Ethercycle or another agency.
Felix: Got it. What’s your favorite page or part of the website?
Andrew: My favorite page? Probably the learning page we made for the Kay Smart Pro. So about a year ago, we teamed up with Tile to make up a new Key Smart to make a Key Smart Pro, it’s got a location tracker in it. You should go buy it now. No, we made a landing page, it’s www.getkeysmart.com/locate you can find it. And it’s just a little bit of a custom page. It’s got a nice video at the top, and if you scroll down it’s got quantity breaks that guide people to purchase more than just one Key Smart Pro. So we find a lot of people buy two or three Key Smart Pros. And then buy accessories for each one. So that’s really been able to increase our average order value.
So that’s probably our … we did this in house and developed it in house. So yeah, that’s probably my favorite page.
Felix: I think learning pages, specifically on pages for products, they especially the ones that you’re really pushing for a launch or one of your flagship products, it makes a lot of sense. What do you think is important to go into a learning page to make it effective in converting visitors?
Andrew: That’s a really good question. I think the start is obviously the trust badges that people want to see when they come on. To see your third party, if you’ve been on any kind of TV shows or websites, or you’ve had any influencers. So something that just shows some kind of customer testimonials. Something that really shows people like your product. I think having all of our PR links above the fold was definitely a big difference maker for us.
If you don’t have any PR mentions, because you’re just starting out, then maybe moving some blogs you were featured in, or moving in some single customer testimonials in that position might work just as well.
Felix: Got it. Any applications that … obviously you are using a few applications on your website. Any ones that you are really a big fan of?
Andrew: Yeah, I really like Ultimate Special Offers. It allows you to just make really easy to use buy one, get ones. Or buy two get ones. And it also has just all different kinds of special offers. And it’s available in the app store.
Felix: Got it. Any kind of configuration on that particular application that works well? It sounds like you’re bundling products together. Have you played around with what kind of combinations work best?
Andrew: I mean it really depends on what you’re selling. For us, we just do, take a Key Smart and take a couple accessories and then bundle them together and it launches an email blast that is a sale. Or something like that, is really what we’ve done. Before we were creating new bundles, as a new product within Shopify, it became kind of a headache, because we’d have to like message the shipping team, they’d have to kinda figure out how they were gonna assemble that and they’d have to notify all the people on the shipping team and packing that there’s this new bundle. So just being able to add in these kinda special offers.
And it really just allows you to bundle any way you would want. It’s been a big help for us.
Felix: Got it, thank you so much for your time, Andy. So getkeysmart.com is the website. Where do you guys want to take the business next?
Andrew: We have a new backpack coming out. And we’re working with a couple different licensees. So maybe getting some different brands on the Key Smart. So I can’t really speak to any right now. One that I’m pretty sure we’re gonna move forward with is Mossy Oak is like this camouflage brand that we’re gonna move forward with. Probably also gonna move forward with the Marines. So having like the Marine branded Key Smart. We’ll move into like the armed forces as well. Some TV shows and stuff like that.
So, because the Key Smart really is like an open canvas. It’s something that gets used every day. So we can kinda paint that canvas with whatever brand, whatever kind of brand loyalty that people like. So that’s kind of an interesting, cool opportunity that we have. All different kinds of things that every day carry audience likes.
Felix: Awesome, good. Thank you so much for your time, Andy.
Andrew: Thank you so much, Felix.
Felix: Here’s a sneak peak for what’s in store the next Shopify Masters episode.
Speaker 3: I know that there’s always space for a new drug surplus.
Felix: Thanks for tuning into another episode of Shopify Masters. The e-commerce podcast for ambitious entrepreneurs, powered by Shopify. To get your exclusive 30 day extended trial, visit shopify.com/masters.
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