Show notes for this episode:
Build your first funnel for FREE with systeme.io (no credit card required)
Hey, everyone. Very warm welcome to another episode of the eCommerce Freedom Podcast. It's Ollie here on a very swelteringly hot day in Stockholm, having to keep the windows closed because there's traffic right outside. But what that does mean is the temperature is slowly starting to rise. So if I pass out halfway through this interview, that'd be one..
I'll try my best. So, that voice you hear there is Aurelian, who is with me. Aurelian is the founder of a systeme.io.
So systeme.io is a platform you can use to build funnels, help out your entire business to get your marketing going, to build an audience, to make sales online, to do upsells, bumps, costs, sales, all those things that we love when we're selling stuff online.
And the reason I want to get Aurelian here with me today is so we could talk about how you can actually build an audience, build an email list to go alongside your Amazon business, and how you can do that for free.
So, Aurelian. It's an absolute pleasure to have you here. How are you doing today, man?
I'm great. Thank you for having me today.
You're very, very welcome. So before we dive into all the juicy bits about how to use funnels and things within an eCommerce business, I wanna hear about you about your story, man. So, dive in, tell me what led to you wanting to build this platform and what happened in the years running up to actually making this thing go live.
Yeah, it's a good question. So actually I've been doing internet marketing since 2010. So at that time I met some bloggers - I'm French - so I met some French bloggers who were making, you know, a bit of money with their blog. Like €500 per month, €1000 per month. I had a blog of about personal development that nobody was reading - like nobody. Like if I got 10 visitors in a day, I would pop a bottle of champagne, you know?
But I was like, oh, you know, maybe that could work. I didn't want to go back to work a corporate job. I actually declined an offer for a really well paid job. I started working full time on my blog and I started making money. You know, it wasn't much, like a hundred euros the first month, €200, stuff like that. And after six months I was about to make €1000 and I was struggling in Eastern Europe. And I wanted to go to the next step.
I found out that some people were actually selling courses, online courses. So I built one about how to make money blogging. I launched it. I actually worked with marketing consultants - that wasn't cheap, I invested over €20,000 which was like half of my money at the time - and we built a product together, an online course.
We sold it through webinars. We made €10,000 and I went to Colombia to spend winter. The following year we, we did a big launch with affiliates and we did €550,000 in sales in two weeks.
Yeah, I know, it's a crazy story when people.. you know, it's always the same reaction, but you have to know that I didn't actually get two buckets, half a million - far from that. After, you have to pay refunds and then attrition, people who pay with instalment plan who’ve stopped paying, you have VAT affiliates - all the expenses related to the launch.
So in the end, I was left with around like €120,000 - which is great, you know, and I joined Jeff Walker's mastermind groups. Jeff Walker is the creator of the Product Launch Formula.
So that's kind of like the marketing strategy that we used to do that huge launch. But I never embraced that model about launches because when you hear about it, you know, you can do our entire year of revenue during two weeks, you think, oh, it's great. When actually it's the opposite.
It's not great because it's so much work, so much stress. And, you know, you feel that you don't have a business, because after the launch, revenue goes down drastically and yeah, I never liked this model.
So I left after three years and I went on my own. I was like just doing some videos on YouTube, blog posts, building my email list, creating a lot of small courses and trying to find my own thing. And I wasn't happy with the existing tools.
So I started thinking about building a software and I struggled at the beginning, I lost some time and money. Then I found the right team and we started building the product in 2017, launched in 2018. And two years later, we have almost 5,000 paying customers. So yeah, that's the story.
Wow. That's crazy, man. I can't even think of where to start when it would come to building a SAS company, you know, putting a software sounds very complicated. I'm assuming you had a very big burn rate every month to spend on building the software and all the beta testing, everything.
To me, it just goes way over my head. Bam. I'm happy to just buy and sell stuff on Amazon and coach people.
Yeah, no, it's very challenging. It's funny because like in the French market you have.. I know four people who tried to do the same because I mean, the idea wasn't genius, you know, it wasn't crazy. It wasn't like a genius idea, you know, it already existed.
And I know like four people who invested between a hundred and maybe €300,000 and who failed. I failed the first year. I had a company in Morocco during the development and we were going nowhere. So I lost one year, €30,000. But, yeah, we were spending money, but I was actually using money from my business because I was selling my online courses doing around €30,000 per month.
So in 2017, actually, we lost like €10,000 but you know, it wasn't the end of the world. It was okay. So we would strap like I'm the only founder of the company.
That's awesome, man. So no investors, nothing else, just selling courses, generating the revenue yourself, putting it into the business, building up from the ground. That's so inspiring, man. That's amazing.
No, it's true. So today, a lot of people listening to this are thinking, well, you know, I don't want to build a software. I want to sell eCommerce products and I want to sell on Amazon.
So what I wanted us to talk about today is things that you actually have experience in - for two reasons, right? And building this email list of customers to sell eCommerce products to. I mean, you know, there’s two reasons, probably more.
Number one, because you built a business and you've sold a load of products and you've sold your software, right? You've obviously had to build an email list to do those things, but also you've actually built the software that enables people to build the list, so people can actually use that software to build the list.
This is why I thought you were really perfect to have a chat about this stuff. So I would love for you to just tell me a few things that having an email list has helped you with over the past 10 years.
Yeah. It's a great question. You know what, I'm an email marketing guy. I mean, my email list - that's the core of my business. Everything I do online can be like.. I don't know, I have a lot of affiliates right now. I don't do a lot of content myself, but back in the day, I was doing YouTube videos and blog posts, stuff like that, but everything was made with the purpose in mind to build my email list.
So for me, it's so important. When I look at an online business.. I had some customers, I was coaching them, and the first thing I would look at was actually the number of new opt-ins per day. That's so important in my business. Every day I look at how many people subscribed to my email list the day before.
So today it's around 700 people, 700 leads. And you know, I'm always paying attention to this indicator and trying to make it improve.
Such an important key metric. Isn't it? So obviously now your business is doing crazy amounts of revenue and you're bringing in 700 leads today. How does that compare? So when you were doing like, I dunno, like you mentioned, you were doing 30K a month, roughly how many leads were you getting back then
Yeah, it's a great question. I think I was around… because I had a side business, like a blog about learning English that was kind of to prove people that I could build a side business - it was getting many more leads, but they were less valuable. So my web marketing business, when I was doing 30K per month, that was not that many, I think it was like, I'd say 60.
Wow. That's the funny thing. Isn't it? When you look at any business, the business owner focuses on so many things, you know, maybe Facebook followers, Instagram likes, all these other metrics, which tell a story, but nothing quite tells a story of how successful at businesses as the number of leads coming in every day.
I think you can instantly tell how big a business is when you see the daily leads that are coming in. So it's the same with any eCommerce business. You know, once you've got, say, a couple of products selling on Amazon, if you really want to scale and supplement the income coming in from Amazon, getting these leads coming in, getting these emails coming in really, really does make a massive difference.
So let's talk a little bit more about the benefits of having an email address. Cause I know a lot of people - sorry, an email list. A lot of people are probably listening to this show thinking, well, I just want to sell some stuff on Amazon. I just want to sell a product and I just want to get it to sell.
So why would we bother also creating an email list alongside selling on Amazon?
Yeah, no, that's a great question. And it's so important for our listeners, because I believe that as a business owner, you have to pay attention to the risk you're facing. And if you're only relying on Amazon to sell online, you're taking a big, big risk. I think you agree.
A hundred percent, man. Yeah. I mean, Amazon, I think, is the best platform to test things, to get things moving, but you know, if they wanted to, they can pause your account. At some point. It doesn't happen very often, but it does happen. So yeah, it's certainly a risk. Okay. Carry on.
Yeah, you can, you can get kicked out or your Amazon rankings can go, you know, sour. I mean you can do some rankings and stuff. So I think it's great. You have to try to use the platform as much as you can, but I think that's to hedge your risks, it's better for you to kind of diversify and try to build your own source of fleet.
So for example, you could use a freebie, like a free PDF, a free guide, a preview video, the format doesn't matter much. You know, it's pretty much about the premise that you're doing to the prospective lead. So you're giving out this free content in exchange of his email address. And so it's a way for you to build your email list.
And, you know, as a business owner, you should pay attention to the risk you're facing. So I think that it's very important to diversify, try to build your own customer list because that's the most valuable asset in your business. And then it comes, you're marketing your offers. So yeah, it's very important.
Definitely, man. One of the great things about it as well is I can think of many times when I've been in sticky situations in business where I've got like a unexpected tax bill I wasn't expecting, or I need to just basically I need some cash.
I've gone to my email list and I've promoted something and I've been able to generate pretty much exactly the amount of cash I need, you know, whether it's 10, 20, 30K, within a week, just because I have a massive audience full of people who are ready to buy things, you know?
So not only does it make you make things more stable, but it just gives you so much more opportunity to solve problems, right? Cause in the business, there's always problems.
Let’s say you need to order some more stock from China and all of a sudden, the rates for shipping go up; say you need to spend more on marketing - if you've got access to get more cash at any time well, who wouldn't want that?
So let's talk about how we actually make this happen. Let's say we've got a product on Amazon, it's doing 10K per month in revenue. Or maybe even 5K per month in revenue. What would be a good first step to say, okay, I'm getting these sales off Amazon. How do I begin to build a list? How do I begin to get customers to actually buy stuff from me on my own funnel?
Yeah, exactly. So you have different ways. I'm not an expert at selling physical products because I've sold mostly digital products like online courses, coaching programs, and software. But you know, you have different ways.
It depends on the source of traffic, like where you can find some traffic to get your leads. But then I would try to identify who is my ideal customer, you know, who is this ideal customer that's buying these physical products on Amazon. And who is he? Is he a he, is he or she, how old, what does he do for a living? What are his dreams, aspirations? What are his fears, emotions?
I would try to start with this, who's my ideal customer. And that would be like, okay, so what are his dreams and aspirations? And then what are his fears and pain points? And I would try to set up like some free guide, free content that would help him either reach his goals, achieve his dreams or solve his pain points.
Yeah. So let's say - we were talking just before the episode started, we were talking about.. an example is a moth trap on Amazon for some reason, it's a very, very hot selling product. And just a little piece of, I don't even know what it is, piece of fabric with some pheromones or something that attracts moths and then traps.
So let's say your ideal customer is someone who wanted to buy moth traps. And so you would get maybe one of the biggest frustrations, what are the emotions they're feeling, which is, I just want to get rid of moths from my house. I want them to stop eating my clothes. I've got loads of holes in all my tee shirts. I want to get rid of these moths.
So we could create a PDF - I don't know, nine ways, to get moths out of your house or something like that. Is that what you mean?
Yeah, exactly. Like how to get rid of these insects - and I didn't get the exact name - but as I see what they are. So how to get rid of blah, blah, blah, nine ways, seven best ways to get rid of blah, blah, blah. You know, some headline with benefits and some mysteries so that people are enticed to take action and actually get it.
Yeah. And they put their email in, in exchange for the PDF, and then now you've got them on your list, right?
Yeah, exactly. And you can actually set right after the opt-in like a… that's something that we do a lot. So right after the opt-in, you send them straight to a sales page - and this works, this works great. But then you have to come up with an offer that's really irresistible. So lowest price possible, best deal possible. And then you can actually upsell them right after the payment.
So you can do one-click upsells, you can do it with systeme.io. You can actually add downsells. Downsells are upsells that are presented to the buyer only if he declined the previous upsell. Okay. So you can maybe, you know, like the first upsell could be like your insect trap, and then the first upsell could be like, hey, do you want more, you can get three for the price of two.
And if people will say, no, then you're like, oh, you know, maybe it's a lot of money, I understand. What about this? A three-payment plan. Okay? So yeah, you could totally do this for example with systeme.io.
Awesome. So you think of your ideal customer, they want to get moths out of their house, you send them to a landing page first of all, that says, hey, here's something really cool that’s free and you can download, just give me your email. Right?
And then, maybe seven ways to get rid of insects from your house. And then after they do that on the thank you page, there's a sales page there straight away that just says, here's another way you can instantly get rid of all of your moth problems or insect problems by this, a heavily discounted irresistible offer for this moth trap. All right. And then they buy that.
And then after they bought it on the next page with one click, they can instantly buy several. And on the page after that, if they want to, maybe if they don't buy it and they say, no, thank you, they could maybe buy less or get a payment plan or something.
So this is really, really powerful because one of the big questions people have when they're looking to build their email list is, you know, yeah, okay, I've got to get emails, but how am I going to send that much traffic to the landing page?
I've got this PDF and I've got all this stuff. I can't send anyone to it because I'm going to have to spend 50, a hundred, £200 or $200 a day on advertising. And the awesome thing is if you're selling stuff straight away, you can actually make back the money you spend on advertising from the sales. So it's just a great way to actually get moving for free. Right?
Exactly. Yeah. You can build your email list for free.
So powerful, so unbelievably powerful. And then what happens is you make sales of the product in the process, which is good. But even if you just broke, even on those sales, now you have an email list - and every month, every week, you can continue promoting to people.
You know, you can continue offering them different products, maybe different designs of moth traps, or maybe complimentary products, like instead of a moth trap, it would be like a fly lamp for outdoors or something else, some other kind of trap for some other kind of pest, right. Or maybe something else to go inside the cupboard with the insect trap.
There's just so many things you do. And then you're starting to think now about building a brand rather than just selling one product. So this is awesome.
So let's say people wanted to get started and let's say, they thought, well, I'm looking for a software, Aurelian seems like a cool guy. Maybe I'll try his one out. So how would, how would we go about building a funnel like this inside systeme.io?
It's very easy with systeme.io. Our entire business relies on systeme.io - like everything we do, we use systeme.io.
So we have a list of about, I dunno, 80. I mean, I cleaned it recently. But I think it's around 80,000 people. We send 4 million emails per month on our email list.
This month we're going to do €250,000 in revenue. So that's the software, the courses, the coaching programs. That's mostly in the French market, but we launched in the English market and we're getting more and more and more new English speaking customers. And it's great. People are very happy about it.
We get amazing feedback that people say all the time it's easy to use because actually, you know, the theory says that when you want to build your online business, you should get the best landing page builder, you know, could be like click funnels, lead pages. I don't know.
Then you should get the best auto responder, maybe active campaign and maybe the best membership site builder, if you want to sell some online course. But you know, the thing is that in entrepreneurship and especially when you're big, when you're starting out, you have very limited resources. You have little time on your hands, a little money.
So actually it's so much work to have to pay and set up and integrate these different tools. So if you have everything under one roof, it means it makes things so much easier. And that's the feedback we get all the time. It's that it's so much easier to use. So that's why with us, you can build all kinds of sales funnels. You can manage your email lists and newsletters, email campaigns, you can build your blog.
Actually, that's a feature we launched a few months ago and we run our own blogs with our own tool. You can set automation rules, you can create a membership site, you can run your affiliate program.
So yeah, you have a lot of features and you can try it for free. You just go to systeme.io. I mean, I will give you a special link, Ollie, that you can give to your audience, so they get 30 days instead of the regular 14 days. And yeah, you can try it for free.
You don't even have to enter your credit card details. So, you know, we want people to be able to try it out and, you know, see if that works for them. But yeah, we got it.
People could just get something set up, maybe like a landing page or something, they could sign up for free, no credit card details. Just try it out, try creating a page, try collecting some email addresses, try creating a PDF and just see how it goes for the 30 days. That's awesome.
You know, Ollie, if you don't mind, I have a quick freebie I would like to share with your audience regarding like an email list of for eCommerce. Are you interested?
Yeah. You know, actually when the COVID crisis started, I have one of my best friends - he's in France - he actually sells Spanish ham. Okay. So physical products. So they sell in fairs. Okay. Markets, fairs, or around friends, and they supply restaurants, and they also have a website.
But the website, I mean, I think they made the year before like a hundred thousand euros. So it's not, it's not big. Okay. It might sound big, but it's not big. That's not their main way to sell. And when the COVID crisis hit his business, he took a very hard hit because restaurants were closed and were not buying his ham anymore.
And it's funny, you know, because it's only like, oh, okay, so I'm going to send an email to my list. He's got an email list of customers. People who purchase either at the fairs, but like individual consumers, or through his website.
And he showed me his email. I was like, hey, you eCommerce guys, you always make the same mistake. You just send one email. No marketer would ever do that. I'm an email marketing guy. I told you we sent 4 million emails last month. So I would never send just one email. Okay? It doesn't work. It doesn't work like that.
So I gave him a very simple structure to promote an offer to his list. And I've been promoting offers on my list pretty much every week for, you know, almost like the last 10 years. So I told him, the first email… that's interesting for people in your audience who wants to build their email list and then make money out of it after the initial purchase.
But this is also something that you can actually sell as a service to restaurants and business owners. And my friend started doing just that because it works so well. So I told him, so the first email that's the opportunity. Okay.
So for example, in your case, you have a big discount on a product, so that's a short email - hey, 30% off blah, blah, blah, this product, and email, hey, I would like to let you know, we have a big discount, blah blah. So that's the opportunity. That's the first email.
The second email, it should be some kind of content. So don't send another email to say the same thing. It's annoying. Try to add some value, try to add some content. So, could be like an answer to a frequent question. Oh, Nadia asked me, do we have to pay for shipping? No, you don't. You know, shipping is included if your order is about fifty euros, whatever.
It can be like a case study, can be an inspirational story, can be like some testimonials, can be like how to do these, how to get rid of insects in your house... And actually you can send as many content emails as you want. Okay.
I had launches lasting for as long as two weeks, but then you have the close and the close, you have to send two emails. One in the morning that says it’s the last day to enjoy the offer. And very important. Don't mess with this. Don't miss on this. You have to send another email out around 7:00 PM, okay, that says, these are the final, last hours.
So my friend, he made €40,000 in one week and he was sending me messages on WhatsApp. It was like, oh, €20,000, €25,000. He actually wrote to me, I love you. Okay. I was moved.
Yeah, no, no. It was great. He made €60,000 the first month because he kept making offers. And since then he's been doing between 30 and €40,000 per month. And I told him, you know, you have so many eCommerce people who have an email list and who don't use it.
And that's a huge opportunity because you have like a, I think it's called an underutilized asset, and you can just go after them and offer them to actually, you know, run promotions on their list, selling their products. And you know, you charge us some money.
And actually he started sharing on LinkedIn, hey, I have this marketing friend who gave me some advice and you know, I made some promotions on my list. I was about to make 60,000 the first month. And yeah, he got in, he got contacted by people on LinkedIn and he sold one consulting gig for €300 per month to have some guy, I think it was like some olive producer, to sell his stuff.
And the guy I think they made €4,000 the first time they made a promotion on his list. So, it’s very powerful. It works great. Simple structure you can use to promote stuff on your list and you can actually go see like some businesses and do this for them and have them make money out of their email list because they all have an email list that they're not using.
This is a big, big market. Isn't it? Cause it's so funny because I've done this exact same thing. People listening will be like, yeah, have probably noticed Ollie does that all the time. You know, maybe once a month or something, we'll offer something, do a few content emails, and there'll be a thing that's closing and they'll be like, yeah, that's you. I recognize that.
And they'll probably start to realize actually lots of other marketers do it as well, but it's only marketers that seem to do it. Like if you go to like other websites and sign up to other email lists, they'll send you like, almost like a brochure as an email once a month, like Walmart or whatever, but that's it, you know, and yeah, they're leaving money on the table.
So this is a really underutilized market and you can go up to businesses and just be like, look, I can make you some cash if you have an email list, I can make you some cash. That's going to be a whole new way to raise capital. It could be a way to raise capital to buy new stock, to sell on Amazon. So yeah, that's amazing.
Thanks so much for sharing that, man. That'd be really, really valuable.
Yeah. I hope it helps.
Awesome. All right, man. Well, it's been amazing catching up today. By the way, if you want to have a play with some funnels and you wanna maybe go try set up a landing page and you want to do it without having to commit any money or any credit card details or anything, just go to systeme.io – that’s system with an E on the end .io. Is that the right address, Aurelian?
That's what it is. And I will give you a special link, Ollie, that you can share with your audience so they can actually enjoy 30 days instead of the regular 14-day free trial.
Perfect. So in that case, if you go to ecommercefreedom.com, find the podcast episode with Aureliean - it should be right at the top - you'll see the link in the show notes. And then yeah, you can enjoy a whole month free without having to commit, have a play around, see if you can get some leads or could get a hundred leads in a month, if few share it on Facebook, share it with people you know, get things moving, and who knows, you could build, send out an email campaign, like the guy who sells ham did.
Who knows how much you could bring in. Alright, Aurelian, thanks so much for being on the show today. It's been really enlightening. You've shared so much wisdom and yeah, it's been an absolute pleasure.
Thank you so much, Ollie, have a great day.
You too, man. Speak soon.