Do what the competition don’t (or can’t)

The greatest opportunity to grow your ecommerce business is through the words that you use. Words are the difference between a decent year and a phenomenal year.

You can invest heavily in marketing tech. You can have the latest email, review, split-testing, pop-up & personalisation software. You can have all that plus the quickest site known to mobile man. It matters little if the words you use to identify the reason people buy what you sell do not resonate with your website visitor.

The alternative is to compete on price. That’s not a great situation to find yourself in.

The marketing tech you invest in is fuelled by words. I’ve run countless split-tests over an ever-widening range of ecommerce brands. No freshly painted ‘Add to Cart’ button can replace the impact of a compelling message that resides by it’s side.

Which email would you subscribe to?

Bad example of an email newsletter subscribe request


Good example of an email signup form

Our task is to add warmth and personality to our business through the words we use. If not, we’re just riding on the back of some template that 100’s before us have used. The stuff that our website visitors tune out.

I’ve been an ecommerce marketer for 20 years now. I can confidently say there has been no better time to be in this business. I’m not concerned how competitive your market or how small your niche. Your online customer is ready for you.

Your investment in the right tech is minor when you consider the opportunity it can provide. However. Your job isn’t to simply pass the integration across to your developer and hit ‘go live’. Your task is to understand how that piece of tech will impact upon how you present your products to your intended.

Klaviyo is an immensely smart piece of ecommerce email software. Most ecommerce companies use it in the same way they use mailchimp. They probably just like the advanced reporting which will justify their expenditure.

Take a look at the email below.

Example of Browser Abandonment Email

Let me share with you why this was a bloomin’ smart email I received.

A few hours earlier the NOMAD newsletter dropped in my inbox. I clicked the link to the rugged cable. It ticked a few boxes as I was tired of travelling and throwing out phone charger cables that lasted for a few months. I clicked, but I did not purchase. Yet.

Then, an hour later, I receive Chuck’s email above. Now, re-read that email and list the value-adds it provides.

  • It’s personalised, it’s from Chuck. Chuck had used the cable himself
  • It’s timely, Chuck knew I’d been on the site looking at the cable (prompted by their newsletter)
  • It’s friendly, ‘in case you were still thinking of ordering one’
  • It’s personal – the code to receive my 10% discount is ‘CHUCK’

This is what you could be doing with your own email automation. Yes! Automation can be personal! It simply takes a little foresight and the personal touch.

Put simply, it’s a smart way to use words to grow your business.

99% of us are content to hammer out the email newsletter and tick the box ‘done’.

Here’s a question for you, the next time somebody clicks on an email newsletter link, what are you going to do to follow up with that person? How are you going to utilise the power of automation to make your message feel one-to-one?

It’s not difficult. The technology is available to you. Your job is to create the words.

This isn’t just about email. This is about each message you write to your audience. From the homepage to the product description to the checkout process and beyond.

I don’t even know if Chuck exists. I’m sure he does. I’m sure he’s making waves at Nomad taking advantage of the opportunity his tech presents him to take ownership of the Nomad brand.

Do what the competition don’t

The following sentence in a recent Mailchimp blog ( you can read it here ) really hit home for me – Look at what everyone else is doing — then do the opposite.

I’d like to think you’ll follow that call to action. To be aware of how your competition present themselves. Not to replicate, but to be inspired to follow a different path altogether. It’s a tremendously rewarding path. Both for your business and for your marketing prowess.

You’ll find the competition are ticking all the boxes in the recently published ‘industry best practice guide’. Fight the urge to run the same playbook. Use your words wisely to build the relationship with your audience that motivates them into action. Be the most friendly, most customer-centred business in your marketplace. You may find that’s a remarkably easy reward to earn.

It’s the helpful business that the customer is more than happy to provide the honest product review for.

It’s the helpful business that sells the products the customer will happily share on Instagram. Hashtagged and all.

It’s the helpful business that motivates the customer to buy and buy again.

Helpfulness is presented through the words that you use.

Consider them carefully.

Written By:

Ian Rhodes


Teaching the art and science of ecommerce growth. Sharing what I learn through my weekly newsletter (subscribe below)

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