In this episode Callum McKeefery, host and CEO of REVIEWS.io is in discussion with Phill Manson, the Managing Director and Founder of PAASE Digital - the first EMEA Klaviyo Master Elite partner. They discuss the best approach to email marketing, SMS, retention, data usage, customer life time value, the centralisation of activity to better control brand communications and the changes in the market over the next 18 months.
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Callum: So today I welcome Phill Manson on the, In Reviews We Trust podcast today is a special edition podcast because it's the Jubilee this weekend in our office today, and it's the REVIEWS.io 90s party. And that's why I'm dressed in full tracksuit, bum bag and gold trainers. So thanks for coming in Phill. I know today's been a bit hectic to come into the office, but I really, really appreciate it. So how did you find your way into running PAASE which is a Klaviyo agency?
Phill: I spent nine years working tech side for a, for a UK marketing automation company.
I left that business coming up three years ago and set up what was supposed to be , a bit of a lifestyle business as, as you know, that kind of never works, never quite works. We were quite fortunate. We started working with a number of brands, pre COVID. and as we [00:01:00] went through that COVID period, sort of came up coming through April 20, April 20 now, the, the workload increased and actually , we moved from a freelance model, I suppose, into that.
What, what we are now is an agency, and Klaviyo pretty much been with us since day one of that journey. So the business started. July 19. I met the team at Klaviyo when it was one person in the UK, August 19. and we've been on that journey with them ever since in the UK.
Callum: Wow. Wow. Is that one person still with Klaviyo?
Phill: He is yeah. Phil Greenwood. Oh, wow. Oh, I think everyone knows Phil Greenwood in the, in the industry,
Callum: in the industry. Yeah. No. That's really interesting. So you're Klaviyo only agency.
Phill: At the moment. Yeah. Klaviyo, the first Elite Master Partner in Europe which is great it's something that we are looking at as we're growing the businesses, whether we start to look at other, you know, pieces of technology and whether they compliment, and we don't wanna lose deals because actually a brand wants to work with us, but they're using, I dunno, a Sales fForce or a Bloom Reach or whatever it may be.
So yeah, it's something we are considering for our next stage of growth [00:02:00] I think we're foreseeing some more competition coming into the email space in the next year or so, as I think, you know, if we do head into a recession, I think a number of the, you know, the Shopify agencies will look to add value in other services.
Klaviyo and email is an easy one. To do so we want to continue to elevate and involve our we've gotta step up. So we need to step up and, and work with the bigger brands. So we are looking at how we add more value within the existing core Klaviyo offering, but also does, does limiting ourselves to Klaviyo at this point, you know, add a risk.
So we are looking at potentially bringing other vendors into that space.
Callum: I don't think it does. I don't think being Klaviyo only limits yourself. I, we had a Chase Dimond on the podcast couple of episodes back, and he is such an expert in, you know, email marketing and getting the right flows and, and making sure that people get conversions from email.
And I think he's, he's a, I think he's Klaviyo only, but he does I think he's doing his own thing where he is doing a SaaS model for creating the emails. Outside of [00:03:00] Klaviyo so using his expertise on what works and what doesn't work and...
Phill: Yeah, it's an interesting one. We, we can kind of go one of two ways and I think we're just exploring those opportunities say, well, what happens if we become a more of a an agency, an email agency versus a Klaviyo specialist, which don't get me wrong has served us really well. It's it's just looking at, you know, that offering and we want to work with more mid-market brands. Klaviyo definitely playing in that space really well, but I think also going out to understand how those other platforms work gives you an opportunity in the sales process to say, well, look for you, Mr. Client we'd recommend platform A or B because of these reasons, so you've got an understanding of what's in the market, right? Whereas I think you, we had some feedback earlier in the year, whereas it was like, well you know, you are just an extension of Klaviyo sales team and that we, we want to be seen as experts just happens, that we really rate the Klaviyo platform.
And I think it's a great tool for a lot of people. Yeah. But I suppose broadening up, broadening our horizons a little bit and going, you know, pros and cons, et cetera, et cetera, and I think we've said before, we're not adverse to saying to people when Klaviyo isn't the right fit and, or there's gaps in the platform where you need to add [00:04:00] another you know, tool and bring another piece of technology in. So it's, it's a, I suppose, an evolution of that approach of, yeah. You know what what's right for the brand at that moment in time, as I say, I think there's gonna be a lot more competition in this email space in and retention as a whole over the next kind of 18 months as people look to or brands look to consolidate, spend, reduce, spend.
Callum: Have you started to see that? I mean...
Phill: it's, it's a tough one to gauge. I think we are seeing a longer sales process anyway for ourselves purely because we we're talking to larger brands so we, you know, the owner led brands are, you know, you are talking to the decision maker from day one. That's a fairly straightforward process.
Callum: Who is your client? Who is that? Who is your ideal client? Is there a picture of him/ her?
Phill: No I think it, it doesn't really matter. It's a brand that wants to, get more out of email, more out of customer retention predominantly understands that they maybe don't know everything. They've, they've got some basic flows right. You know, they've got a welcome, but they haven't optimized, and they're willing to come on a journey, and they wanna learn with us. So it doesn't really matter whether you are selling, you know, dog food or whether you're selling, you know, [00:05:00] people like Watt Bike we with those guys, you know, and you're talking dog food at 25 pound, an order a to a Watt Bike at £2000.
So the process, the core structure doesn't really change, but the approach is different. So we're looking for brands that are really wanting to challenge what they're doing, the status quo and really elevate their email marketing all through and also know how they're adding other channels into that and really putting data at the heart of what they're doing.
Phill: Versus being channel, you know, silo channels of, you know, we've got PCO over here, SEO here, we've got, you know, Facebook marketing and they're just spending money. We're looking at brands that coming back and going, well, how do we take that customer? What's the touchpoint from an inquiry, which might be, a Facebook ad serving a quiz through to a welcome email, then a post-purchase.
Callum: Is the client? Is your customer, your client, are they a certain size or, or are they so like for reviews, the majority of our clients have already used a review platform in the past. Are, are your clients coming into this fresh and going, right? We need to look at email, or is it they've done email themselves and now need an [00:06:00] expert?
Phill: It's typically those that have done email themselves, and that could be on a you know a Klaviyo or it could be on a another platform, and they're really probably at the stage where they've got a welcome they've got a basket abandonment they've got a browser abandonment and they've got some newsletters going out but they've not put the customer journey, you know at the moment they're thinking about what's their concept that they want to send rather than what's the customer want to receive.
Phill: They're not thinking about okay as a customer I could sign up receive a welcome email then trigger a basket abandonment then get a newsletter the same day, so they're not thinking about that whole journey of email coms and frequency and or SMS whatever it may be, so it's it's those brands that are open to to opportunities to grow. Ideally you know if you put a number on it £5 million a year revenue plus online and and looking to scale up, so we work really well with brands that have got private equity backing and are you know moving that way or at that point of looking to, gain private equity backing.
Phill: They've structured.
Callum: I don't know how they, I don't know about gaining private equity in the market that we're probably going into, because I think it's [00:07:00] gonna be a bit, I dunno, where the private equity goes or not goes away, but shrinks. I know VC, you know, there's all this talks about VC money pulling back and down valuations.
Phill: I think it's gonna be harder to get, I think you're gonna have to have a stronger business case.
Callum: You're gonna have to show growth and you're gonna have to show roots of profitability.
Phill: Yeah. And I think it, again, it ties in well for us as well, cuz we are not interested in those vanity matrix of the number of followers on social it's how many people have we got in the database that the brand owns not face piece? How do, how do you get more ownership as a brand of your data? Email plays really well in that space, you know, that identify email, SMS. And how do you make the most of that in a, from a lifetime value? So it's not just about that immediate sale sale sale.
Phill: Well, if I spam these people, which some brands do and lose the five of them. So if I've gone from 10 subscribers to five, well, my lifetime value is, is worth less. So how do we keep getting more people in think about the right customer right message right time and, you know, predominantly right channel as well. So I think it's about [00:08:00] how we align those channels to work much more effectively together. So your, we were chatting to, the guys at Triple Whale, which were doing attribution the other day. Awesome. Really great bit of tech.
Callum: Done a great job on Twitter. Haven't they tight? They're blowing up.
Phill: Jesus. And you you're looking at that going well, actually, you don't want to switch off your social spend because actually that traffic is driving awareness and driving people to site. Actually, if you can then think about how your email channel can capture that and own that day. So your, your, your last click response is poor and social, but actually it's increasing lifetime value. Cause you've got more email addresses, more opt-ins and everything else. So I think there's gonna be a transition on how we report as businesses and at least think about last click attribution and also that wider channel attribution as well.
Callum: Yeah. So when it comes to things like, I mean, we, we work with a lot of companies that use Klaviyo and they use Klaviyo's email provider, but they use another SMS provider. Obviously Klaviyo's using SMS, you know, they've got an SMS solution. So, what do you do there? Do you use, do you [00:09:00] generally?
Phill: It really depends on the use case is now...
Callum: Is it getting better?
Phill: Yes. Yes, it is. Whether it's getting better at the rate that we would like it to, you know, that's a different story. And I think you can see where Klaviyo offering SMS and say the US where they've got the, the two, a coms, they've got the integrations into the Gorgias help desk of this world.
Phill: And the Zendesk, et cetera. That's what it is as a channel. You come over to the UK and it's a liftable bit more limited at the moment there. There's definitely, I think a, almost a proof of concept feel about it is that let's get something live get the channel going, now the roadmap looks strong.
Phill: The question is can they deliver it as quickly or are they gonna lose shared to say in attentive or whoever.
Phill: Now, that being said I'm firmly to believe that, to try and get all of your customer coms points being delivered from one channel so that you can start saying, that customer's in that flow - right. Their preferred channel choice is email versus SMS.
Phill: It's that piece there versus running two silo campaigns in two different platforms.
Callum: Well you can also drop, you know [00:10:00] if you've not used Klaviyo, you can build flows and then you can build your email flow, but then at the end of it or in the middle of it you can drop an SMS or you can drop...
Phill: You're kind of, you're running out two platforms you're siloing yourself and you, there's challenges there, and it's interesting, you talk to the guys at, Blueprint et cetera.
Callum: One of our staff Lewis, went to work there, yeah.
Phill: Yeah really great guys, again they were delivering SMS through their own platform, and now what they're looking at is almost then how do they run the rules engine and import that into Klaviyo and allow Klaviyo to be the endpoint for delivery.
Callum: Very interesting.
Phill: That makes it so much more powerful in my view again you are centralizing the columns in one place if from a scale as your business scales and you talking about okay we've got a customer complaint you're going to one end point to look up what what comms does that customer receive. You're not going to this system and that system. There's that centralisation becomes key, but what I like about it is Klaviyo sort of saying well we don't have to own the rules piece, we'll open up the API and plug in best of breed breed, which I think is so much [00:11:00] stronger than say some of the legacy platforms.
Phill: In this space which are definitely you've brought email. You have to use our SMS so otherwise they don't talk to each other.
Callum: Yeah, yeah I mean everybody, you know if you're an app developer, you you kind of, once you've built your app, you then go and look at how you integrate with Klaviyo.
Callum: And then that's how it is. I mean, we've just launched, I don't know whether you've seen it yesterday, we launched a new brand called Freddy Feedback. I get, it was the wrong way around Feedback Freddy we've got both domains.
Phill: Yeah. Yeah.
Callum: And yeah we've now done the app and we've now launched but now we we've gotta integrate with Klaviyo.
Phill: I think I think it it's the way forward and that centralisation of brand control. We work with a lot of brands around things, if they're certainly Shopify plus how do we get consistency with their Shopify order confirmation emails in terms of brand can feel the other advantage of of maybe deploying it, you so if you are Shopify sort of standard or normal versions you can design the creative and import the copy back into Shopify, so brands fair. If you are plus you can run those coms out of Klaviyo, which gives you emails [00:12:00] that are being delivered with a 75 plus open rate. They're also cookie seeding Klaviyo. So again you're enriching that profile to say ah this person's had this email and they've come through to the website, so you are tracking because it was zero party tracking becomes much stronger as well.
Callum: It's almost you know like the deliverability the SMS and the email is the, is more like a feature of Klaviyo, isn't it? And more like you are the customer and everything about the customer all of its attributions and all of the data about that customer is what Klaviyo does.
Phill: Yeah It's a in effect it's a data platform.
Callum: Yeah It's it's not an email although it looks like an email platform, it's more of a...
Phill: Yeah, and I think you'll see more of the you know with their new brand, we've talked about this in the past. They've elevated the brand.
Callum: So what do you think about that?
Phill: It's grown on me.
Callum: Is it grown on you?
Phill: It's it's grown on me a lot.
Callum: It is.
I mean, I, I think it. When you look at some of the brands they're signing. So we were with them at IRX the other week that, yeah, they've got box of Doc Martens on the books, you know, big, well known brands.
Phill: I suppose it, the, the, the losing of the icon and the typeface elevates it [00:13:00] from a Shopify owning the app into a...
Phill: Into a, a CDP ESP of its own rights depending on how you define those two terms. So... Yeah it's an interesting one, and I think again, they're, they're really separating themselves out from the likes of, you know, a MailChimp, which would've probably historically been seen as the competitor.
Phill: It it's bringing itself much more into that space where potentially historically dot digital would've played with Magento clients et cetera so...
Callum: I was gonna say it's the biggest competitors out there for Klaviyo were the the MailChimps Dot Digital, and who else would it be?
Phill: I mean if if you are talking know that lower what I suppose the the owner led into maybe the small business space.
Phill: Yeah, you you are looking at the MailChimps who now buy, Intuit QuickBooks
Phill: You've got you...
Callum: And that was a strange purchase, I don't think...
Phill: I think it's quite inspiring.
Callum: You think so?
Phill: Well, if you if you want to corner that market of those overlay brands.
Phill: That that piece, they've got, I think one of the directs on the board is is also on the Shopify board, so they've reconciled their differences between that [00:14:00] integration of which is...
Callum: I never understood why they got kicked out I never understood what whether whether they did get kicked out ... MailChimp those who are listening who don't really like know what happened MailChimp was in the app store, and then wasn't in the app store for like years.
Phill: Oh it was two three years.
Phill: You need to put a bit of middleware in there to get 'em to talk and connect.
Phill: And it wasn't great, and Klaviyo has given their due, just went in both feet, and seized the opportunity.
Callum: Oh, they, they, they...
Phill: I mean, it was, you know, you couldn't have made the timing up, so the fact that they've reconciled, I mean, you...
Callum: It's a little bit late in the game because Klaviyo's took all of those customers then.
Phill: Yeah, and this is why I think MailChimp almost rebuilding from, if you've got QuickBooks, you're an owner of their brand, you, you, you combine it with MailChimp for your, you know...
Callum: Small business.
Phill: Small business.
Phill: With a bit of Shopify site.
Callum: And they've got their own e-commerce platform, aren't they?
Phill: Yeah, and they just brought a two SMS coms business as well. Mm. So, you know, you've got that. You've got...
Callum: But it's really at that lower level, isn't it?
Phill: I, I think so, and I think it's very quickly to kind of grow out of that space. So you've got MailChimp, you've got the campaign monitors, some of the legacy platforms,[00:15:00] you've got, you know, the OmniSense, which are kind of those apps, so I think Klaviyo's positioning is getting more and more into that. You know, that mid-market enterprise space, which is great. It works well for us as, as an organization too, but you are then playing against brands that want particular feature sets. So you are looking at, rather than maybe plugging an app in to do something. You want to be able to do everything in one place. So it will mean, and they're working on, you know, those new reporting suites coming through and things like that. So it's, it's, it's mainly having to up their game, which is great for us as a business. Cause we are pushing for those feature sets as well for, for our brands that we work with. So. You are gonna get to a point though where you are, you know, back back in my pre or I suppose my corporate day is in effect of almost doing a, a sales process to an IT manager.
Phill: And being an IT led decision, then...
Callum: You're just like that, you're just lengthening that process.
Phill: And, and you're into this kind of tick box exercise of feature set. So can you do AB testing? Well, yes I can, but nobody really looks under the hood and go, well, what do you mean by [00:16:00] AB testing? Oh, can you do this, you know, we've talked, I've talked to various people around, you know, how Salesforce, you know, people, IT people enterprise by Salesforce cuz the consultants come in and they buy into Salesforce.
Phill: It takes 'em two years to deploy...
Callum: if ever.
Phill: If ever. Yeah, they're using 15%, of the feature set they've got consultants on expensive day rates telling them that need to do this.
Phill: Versus the agility and quickness of go to market of plugging a Klaviyo or some other platform like that. That is really, really good at that, that feature set.
Phill: But a bit like the old ad is you never get farther buying IBM.
Phill: It's a really difficult decision. Once at a corporate level, you signed off...
Callum: That's that is, that is Salesforce all over. You never get five for putting Salesforce in.
Callum: And that's yeah, it...
Phill: But they, you know, I, I look at those, they're almost heading into that legacy space. We, we could argue the same with, you know, trust pilot again. Yeah. I've got brand positioning. Yeah, because of their time in the market.
Callum: A hundred percent.
Phill: But you know, when we use trust [00:17:00] pilot, you know, it's a strong platform, but it doesn't have those integrations that we wanna see with, you know, an email tool. So we wanna be able to take some of that data out and feed it in and use it. And actually, but it can't, they want you in your, their ecosystem. Yeah. Whereas I think, you know, the platforms like yourselves, you know, where it's a bit more open and it's, it's feeding data and going, well, we don't want to be an email, an email platform delivering the review request, we'll plug it into a Klaviyo.
So I think, you know, Typically advise our customers say, well, look, take a free trust pilot account. Cause it's definitely worth it for brands, but...
Callum: We say that to our clients. I mean, you know, trust pilot, if you exist as a website, trust pilot scrapes, and we'll set you up an account and try and get some reviews on you and it is difficult then, and you most eCommerce founders then get frustrated. As soon as they get a couple of reviews, it then goes to a salesperson, Trustpilot does the hard sell, yeah gets on the phone and, and it it's a, funny sell, it is a funny sell. it it it [00:18:00] it's got a weird feeling about it that sell and that that I think that's why we do so well as a review platform, we don't do that hard sell and we we trying and be free.
Phill: It's a partnership piece I think comes into it, and especially when you've got brands that potentially scaling up from that bin in the bedroom at home or had a small office to a larger office, they want to own that data, they wanna be able to...
Phill: Action it, and I I think and they wanna be able to learn from it quickly, and so well we've got a positive review here, let's bring it into this flow, let's change and you don't get that functionality, you you are very limited without buying another feature.
Callum: Well yeah and you want tag it in you know if someone's left you a positive review that person is a brand advocate, now we want to get that brand advocate into a different fly, we want to get them a special offer, we want to bring them in.
Phill: We want play it back on the website against that product.
Phill: We you know we want that Eugene piece that I think is so critical now
Callum: Yeah. Brand advocacy is so important in, in, you know, if you can understand your customer and understand that, that customer's a brand advocate, and if you harness that relationship properly, it's such a [00:19:00] big revenue driver and some brands that do it well.
We we've got one client who does that really, really well muscle nation. And they harness all of their, their brand advocates to drive their brand and drive more sales.
Phill: And I think the, the key piece is transparency and honesty as well, because you look at, you know, you go on Amazon now and the reviews where it's very clear that the product's been changed.
Cause the reviews that are against that product don't match the product. So you, you kind of like, well, how do you get to that point where you build trust with someone that they've never met and that's through talking to a friend, you know, like this guy, well, duh. Or it's by seeing those real reviews. And, and I think that's where the video comes in really well.
Cause it's tangible product.
Callum: Yeah. Video's sit so strong videos, so strong across everything. That's why you seen TikTok explode
Phill: Was interesting. We, we were with, I dunno if you know the guys at video wise the other week. Yeah. You know, to create those shoppable videos.
Callum: Awesome, love it. Brilliant. Love it.
Phill: Just really strong, very simple, but almost here. Why bloody hell. Didn't I think of that. It's those sort of ideas you think that's gonna do really well. And you know moving onto that we were chatting to another business on Monday [00:20:00] around almost creating those 30 minutes shoppable videos So what they're building out at the moment is a process where Uber concession on a website to say let, let's take Watt Bike, for example.
So. It's a £2000 bike, you know, it's an expensive considered purchase. It's not something you just do on the whim where you can, you know, that, that this technology would come in and say, you could book a 30 minute session with an expert who would video it, come around and show you the features of the bike.
Maybe show you the accessories. And at the same time, serve your content that says if you'd like that accessory, here's a link to add it to your basket. Yeah. And then you transact through the shop before store or? Yeah. So there's that sort of pieces coming through. I don't think it's gonna get the mass market appeal, because I think it involves, you know, someone at the other end of the screen.
Phill: But for those considered high value purchase of a couple of thousand, I think that's the sort of...
Callum: Know what, years ago, I was an expo in Seattle and I met a guy, but he was a CEO of a company called Needle and what they did and it was really amazing what they were doing and they were getting product [00:21:00] experts to run the chat So they were running the, the live chat for I think it was like TaylorMade golf, so TaylorMade and the people who were running the live chat were ex golf pros, and they were coming in like people were talking to me and it was ex golf and he was going well I'm this ex golf pro and I'm this is what I'd do.
Callum: And you're getting that one on one advice and that's kind of it but obviously that was live chat I think video takes its that next level but it's very similar to what you just spoke about.
Phill: It's that kind of you know I I liken, we've talked about Octane (AI) in the past as well, you know that online for me it's like a it is building on that concierge, so you you've come into a website a bit like you've ordered a shop and God, God where do I start. All these tools are designed to file you down to a particular product.
Phill: But actually it's not just a product that the brand wants to sell cause it's on offer It's got the best margin It's the product that's right for that customer at that time because that's what builds brand advocacy .
Phill: And that customer lifetime value.
Callum: Yeah Yeah, so for those who don't know what octane is, Octane is a quiz. [00:22:00]
Phill: So it's, yeah, it's a, it's a couple of features. We, we tend to use the, the Shopify quiz. Yeah, so what you do is you, you know, you build out a, we always recommend you start with the personas at the bottom.
So say you start with four personas and you'd have a set of three products for each of those four personas that you'd recommend you in effect, funnel people through a quiz to those personas. So we did this with, Curl Smith, who have just sold in the us for some causal money. They gained tied in actually, and we talked to multichannel at the start tied in with, paid social.
They gained a hundred thousand subscribers in seven months and profiled initial 85,000 of the existing base with moving from just email address to full product rates. And how much are they sold for 150 million us.
Started in 2017.
Callum: There's one. So 150 million. Interesting. Did they raise any venture?
Phill: I think they had some, they've had some funding over the, over the years, but sold to a us brand.
Callum: Do you know this brand, Obvi?
Callum: So these are guys are [00:23:00] amazing, amazing brand. Now they've put, I noticed this the other day. They're talking. Octane, these guys are, are basically, it's a protein collagen protein solution.
And these guys have put Octane on their, product pages yeah. To find out which product is right for you. So you take the quiz to find out which protein is right for you.
Callum: And apparently it's doing amazing numbers.
Phill: We did a test with Curl Smith around, do we serve the quiz in the popup or do we serve it just on the page?
Phill: So obviously, you know, you link it in the nav. et cetera, we found, individuals were finding it easier to run it natively on the page versus in the popup. Yeah. So then we changed the Klaviyo popup to say, take the. Right. So again, you then got the excuse to kind of go back in and re- profile the existing base, hitting the website.
Phill: Again, you can do it as part of your welcome series that you've signed up through. I know the root to sign up. Okay. Welcome to the brand. Yeah. Tell us a bit more about yourself or find the right product for you. Take the quiz. Yeah. Yeah. It something you were moving away from a database that's purely, [00:24:00] I don't know, prospects with an email address only and no data.
And maybe, and your customers, you dunno if they brought the right product or not to a fully segmented profile database that we know 25% our base look at product a or we'd recommend product A to 50% of product B.
Callum: Yeah. And I bet you I'd imagine you're lowering your returns.
Phill: Yeah. Cause you're getting the right product.
Callum: Yeah to the right person at the right time. Yeah. And you can create custom bundle.
What's next this year How do you think you'll have more heads this year
we've got a couple of openings .
we're interestingly Looking at more of the back office functions
Callum: You've got it That's
yeah It's the operations operations Wouldn't you start getting to like the 20 numbers What I learned was I was like that was when kind of when we were at 20 Tom came in Tom's our COO and he started doing our operations and getting as
much more structured
Phill: we've got this year. We've put, we've put a full board in two non execs.
We've. Promoted, an ops Lisa to ops director Andy's joined as commercial director. So we've, we've built up those team structures. There's some [00:25:00] back office gaps. So the finance that we've typically outsourced that we now need to bring kind of in house a little bit more, just to be more control of the numbers, and then it's really about how do we, you know, we've got a couple of options here, you know, we've talked about bringing in different platforms and, and, and expanding that. Or, you know, going into other markets.
Callum: So, so why did you add a board?
Phill: Purely because...
Callum: Is it cuz you wanted to raise?
Phill: No, we, we're not planning to raise.
We are planning to sell, you know, that's right. There is an exit kind of planned, in the next couple of years,
I'm an entrepreneur, you know, if you read the books, you go, well, you've got an entrepreneur, you need a technical person, you need someone that can do the operations. Yeah. We wouldn't have a business.
It was just me. I'm all shiny. I'm onto the next thing. Yeah. We had a, you know, technical person, we'd still be working out what we were gonna deliver to years later, technical. Yeah.
Callum: So you'd still be building something
Phill: and, and ops is really good at that, like that people side and. That's so we have that balance we've used an external finance function that sits as a kind of a non-exec FD. And then we've also brought in a great guy from a 52 [00:26:00] 50 companies that is an old friend of mine, but brings a really interesting perspective on governance, due diligence structure process. So we've brought that in to support myself really to say, right, are we making the right decision?
So. We're at the point now where we can't just run by the seat of our pants and make decisions on the fly. We wanna have that agility, but with a safety net behind scope, yet you're making the right cool here and just having that process behind it. So it's working well for us. .
we're about six months into that kind of new way of working and we're going through, you know, changes and developing the, the offering, but it's, its it for me, it's someone else to, and we're not adverse to taking advice, you know, we talk to,
Callum: yeah, that's what I was gonna say.
Do you have a mentor that helps you through that?
Phill: So I've got a great mentor called Leon that I I've known for 10 or 11 years. And we've also been talking to do, you know, Rachel, whose surname escapes, Rachel Jacobs, great lady. And ,we we've been talking to, like Spencer at Cactus agency on, so again, we are looking at how we put processes in place.
That means the business is sustainable without me, you know, [00:27:00] without me per se. It's got a longevity to it. And we were doing things I would say, still in the freelance mindset of run fast, run hard. Yeah. And actually you need to need to step back and kind of think about, you know, this is a good size growing business.
We've got to a level we are, how do we take it to the next level?
Callum: So you're thinking bigger than 16, you're thinking, I mean, the way you are thinking, the way you are set up, putting a board in place, we're thinking you're thinking a hundred then really?
Phill: Yeah, At very least, yeah. 30 to 50 the next couple of years.
I mean, that is, that is really interesting. I mean, at reviews now we don't even have a book. It, it, we, we were probably run to faster set that all. Yeah, and, and
Phill: it it's been a very considered process and I think part of it is that's, that's what you, yeah. The considered process part of the mentor probably held that part of it is having, so the mentors, I've known for years.
He's great, but he's also very busy. Yeah. Yeah, so you, you might have a twice a year check in with him and I needed that kind of monthly three monthly review the numbers what's going on. Yeah, we, there was a risk that we would get very complacent because we were growing at good [00:28:00] amounts every month.
Every quarter. What happens when we don't so we don't want to panic. We wanna have, this is the reasons why this is what we're gonna do about it. This is the changes we're making, and then we go again. So it means that actually ,a number of the people in the business are also embedded that they're now ,shareholders as well.
So we, which. Yeah. We want people in for the long, you know, the next three to five years. Yeah. And not kind of shiny and going. So yeah. We wanna build that culture from the top down. And that's what those, having those people here.
Callum: Yeah. No, it's a good idea. I just don't, I've never seen it in that science, but if you've got that growth, it, it's probably the right thing to do because you've not gonna worry about it later.
You've not got all the mess you.
Yeah, set up for success.
Phill: I mean, if you, if you just said to me, Phill go and write a process. Yeah. I go, well, duh, you do that. And everyone go, well, what the hell is that? How's it? How can you replicate it? So, I mean, I, you know, when we were having a busy period, I sort say to goes, oh, don't worry.
I'll jump in and send a couple of you know, send a couple of emails, being very bad. Say about it. No, Phill, you don't know how we do it anymore. Yeah. So you like, no, we've [00:29:00] changed how we've developed a process and a structure and a way of working. So. Like you leave it. Okay.
Callum: So, alright. So that, that probably brings me to a really good question.
So what's, so I'm a business. I'm gonna put my e-commerce hat on DTC brand, and I'm doing three, 4 million. Nah, I'm doing 2 million in revenue. Yep. Selling in the UK and Europe. And I've not touched email marketing, literally the only email marketing I do. I send out an invoice via email. And I tell someone when they're gonna package is gonna be delivered, what flow, what should I do?
What, what would you recommend to put in place? What's the one thing that they need to do the one. So turn that up.
Phill: The one thing, geez. Okay. So the one thing that I would do is, is check that data capture. Most importantly, you can have all the email addresses in the world, but if you haven't optimized the, the email opt-in process, you haven't thought about that data capture.
It's worthless. Yeah. It's a vanity metric of, I've got a hundred thousand profiles in the database, but if you can't email them, who [00:30:00] gives a shit basically. Yeah. Yeah. So it's how do you capture more people up front? How do you welcome them to the brand? So welcome becomes quite important. And then you innovate what I would call the, the immediate retargeting.
So the basket add to cart brow series. So we, we quite often, you know, not so much to your example, there of a complete green field. But when we talk to a brand, we quite often just run a, what we call a scorecard audit. We can go into, you know, pay, you know, day's worth of work and, you know, charge lots of money for it, and come up with a plan. Yeah. Quite often, just a 30 minute access to the email system and go look bit of credibility setting of, look we've been in, we've seen this, this, and this, what we would do over the first three months of an engagement is these things let's get side and that's that kind of process.
Callum: So one of the things I always. Is brands. So the, the abandoned car SMS. So the abandoned car, SMS and abandoned car emails, get this huge conversion rate. Yeah. Is, would they get that convert? Well, my thing is, is that some of that conversion would happen. A large proportion of that conversion would [00:31:00] happen without receiving that email or that SMS.
Phill: Yeah. You can argue that and obviously think the way to test it is to AB test it. Right, and I generally think so when, if you AB test it generally is an uplift.
Callum: What yeah. What sort of number?
Phill: Oh God, I thought you were gonna ask that normally sort of 40, 50%. I mean, it can be size that's huge. It can be sizeable.
Callum: The other, so for a brand who's doing, so if they're doing 5 million a year, they're doing...
Phill: Look if we were take a look at a branding £5 million a year, and maybe they emails yeah. And we use Google last click is, yeah. Okay. Hang up from the let you know, the enterprise days, typically if a brand's doing five million, twenty on the sector, if they're not doing sort of 15 to 20% of that through email. Yeah. They're missing out. So say that, say that's 20%. So what's that one and a half million, whatever it might works out of that, say, say that email chance deliver one and a half million, 30% of that should be coming from automation.
So welcome whilst get about and adds a cart browser, post purchase for whatever it may be. that it might be 30%, so half a million, but it's only gonna be [00:32:00] 5% of the email volume. Right? So you are, you are using then your newsletters, your tactical sends to drive traffic to the site and then retarget them through those processes, and if you could take, for example, a typical Shopify setup that we look at generally, yeah. The setups will be okay. They're kind of what I would call off the shelf. Klaviyo, you know, pre-canned one. Yeah, the biggest gaps are, they haven't thought about the de-duplication between flow, so I can trigger multiple flows at the same time.
How do you prioritize them? But also the big gap is Klaviyo's you know, the Shopify basket ban it is triggered on the checkout started. So it's based on you putting your email address in, yeah. Now with the Klaviyo cookies, if you've cookie people, they've come through for an email, you can identify them further on the funnel.
So you've added a product to your basket. You haven't started the checkout, but you're in that purchase window, now if a brand's doing basket abandonment and it's making them 10,000 pounds a month, just for an arbitrary number, we typically see an add to cart email as another 10,000.
Phill: So it's quick wins, like that can add real value.
Callum: Yeah. Huge numbers. And [00:33:00] I, when I see them, when I see the, the numbers from that abandoned cart. Oh, they're massive. It it's huge. Yeah. Huge. And I think reviews does, you know, we can show a really good ROI. But those things are insane.
Phill: And if you think as we, you know, we, we shouldn't really talk it up, but if, if, if the press is to believe that we're heading towards that recession and you know, there's gonna be, it's gonna be a tougher, selfish share of wallet.
I think we're seeing that now. Anyway, I think across the board, but we've gone through that stage of everyone's sitting at home on their mobile phones, just browsing and buying. Oh yeah. They're now distracted by holidays. They're out and about they're in the pub you know, it's not there that window...
Callum: They're paying the gas bill from.
Phill: Yeah. There is that as well. They're not we're having to fight harder for that money. Yeah. Now as brands go through, you know, and I'm sure Facebook they're gonna have to, they're gonna have to squeeze all their traffic. Yeah, exactly. And I think retention is, is almost free money in my view. Yeah. Because yeah, I agree.
You, you, you might change. And we talked earlier about how, Curl Smith used kind of paid social to drive [00:34:00] traffic to do another action. Mm, well, actually, If we've got that retention, retention becomes key in the next 18 months too. Definitely. Definitely without. So how do you make it work hard or smarter?
And that's not just saying, send another email a week or another email a day. It's about this segment of customers have these attributes and they haven't done this. And we are gonna ask 'em to do that. Right. And it's, you know, tailoring that content. So you look at some of the, the tech that's coming through to try and make the content delivery more personalized. So you can segment in Klaviyo really nicely, but to create really true, you spoke one to one content. You've got to create that content. Now there's products coming through from the states. Now that will really, you know, add AI into that function, so you adding pieces of coding, so it's about how do we make that customer's life easier.
And actually those little prompts and it shouldn't be, you listen in your basket, here's 10% off. You need to fight harder for it, with the value. And then as a last chance, use a 10% off, maybe two or three emails down that flow. And you know, the other bug bear was chatting to Avi at triple world about [00:35:00] this same day is subscription.
Subscription's got, got to work a lot smarter this year, because I don't know if you, you know, you go onto a website and it says 10% offer you subscribe, but you're only committing to a one month order. So the amount of churn that people subscribing saving 10% and then canceling the subscription is massive.
Callum: So the what, what apps are they doing that with the recharge?
Phill: Recharge? Yeah, but they're putting in subscription. So you've got the convenience there, but you can just churn the model. Yeah, just so for me, it's how do you start how brands that will do this smartly will be, look, you can subscribe for a one month rolling for the convenience, but if you commit to three months, you save 5%.
If you commit to 10 months or six months, you save 10%. So it's how do you start getting that longevity and subscription versus it's just churning through. Yeah. And you're just hammering margin cuz they, the subscription companies love it. Cause it's great. We've got this many subscribers, but if you're churning 50% every month because they're just playing the system.
Callum: Yeah. Yeah. They're just, they're just joining the subscription to get discount.
Phill: So, you know, but again, it comes back to how do brands add differentiators and value to, [00:36:00] to, to agree to that subscription? Not just, they need to put a different lever and they just 10% off. Yeah. So it's how, how do brands start to do that more?
Callum: Awesome, I mean, I could talk to you all day, Phil, cuz you're obviously very smart and you know yourself in that sector, nicest thing you've said to me all day it's probably the nicest thing I've said to anyone on the day. So if anyone wanted to get touch, you follow you, where do they do it? Where do you post most of your contact?
You Twitter, or you LinkedIn?
Phill: LinkedIn, LinkedIn, LinkedIn. Okay yeah. And we've got a great marketing guy called com that's all over our LinkedIn at the moment. So, we we're gaining followers left right centre, which is great.
Callum: LinkedIn. My, my LinkedIn is one of our biggest drivers of revenue, but now I'm really pushing, doubling down on twitter at the minute.
Phill: I've rediscovered Twitter lately, but it's, I don't know I think, yeah, starting from the ground. That will be the challenge. So yeah.
Callum: Well, I started this year with zero and I'm at 4,000 followers now. Pretty proud of myself
Phill: Once once, once to give it a go there. Oh no, it's definitely, there's a benchmark there. I need to
Callum: Definitely something that I, I, [00:37:00] it was my new year's resolution.
I was like, right. I've gotta be busy on Twitter and it's worked out. So is there anything reading, listening that you'd recommend our listeners to do. Is there any books that you've read recently? Any podcasts, any blogs that you, if you are,
Phill: I mean...
Callum: Wanting to grow your Shopify or your Klaviyo, your entrepreneurial spirit, what do you recommend?
Phill: So book wise, I'm reading agency on agency on mix, which I think actually, even for just a general business owner, just gives you a, is that the Freedomnomics. Yeah, a lot of it, the content you go, I'm already doing that, but it it's a validation that tick, tick, tick, tick, tick. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And actually, I think it translates across agencies to other business, cuz I think for all of us business owners, you understand still anyway.
So I think that's been really good. I'm using, you know, a lot of LinkedIn for blogs, et cetera, et cetera, and, and just seeing who, you know, I think pick a couple. Good, brand advocates, you know, people, you know, like yourself that are kind of got the finger on the pulse and through that, but yeah, I think, I [00:38:00] think there's a lot of good content out there.
I think my only, you know, like all of us, we, we post what we, we like to see on LinkedIn. I think we, we post the success and I think for me, we we've been going to, you know, blends, Collab club, Collab club. Yeah. Really regularly. and talking to other agency owners been great. Cause actually you. The walls all behind the scenes.
And it's, there's an element of all of us with marketing it smoke and mirrors, you know, it's a perception thing. And I think...
Callum: So this instagram life, it's bullshit. It's all for the all for the socials.
Phill: You know, and I've always thought, you know, I, I talk a lot about, oh, we talked to people about personal versus business brand.
Yeah. And I've spent the last probably about six months ago trying to build the business brand. Cause I've, I don't want it to. Phill Phill equals PAASE we want PAASE to stand its identity. Yeah, yeah, no, definitely. Course then we've gotta go back to that and start building the personal brand. Cause it then influences like yourself view.
So it's a really, it's a balance to have,
Callum: It is a balance that is a balance and, and it, it is sort of, and, and I, I agree with you, [00:39:00] you have to show, I think it's, if you, if you do use social to drive new business and you do use social to not influence, but, you know, to have conversations with your peers.
Phill: Yeah, I think so. You know, and we, we are quite open on that. I think we, we like to show where we've seen the opportunity, you know, what we do as a business. I don't, you could never say it's rocket science. Yeah. It's about understanding what you need to do in the right order. Yeah. And it's about simplifying that and you know, we quite, if we talk to business, it's probably too small to afford our fees.
We are not saying you can't afford this. Go away. It's look, have a look at this, go through, can you in the right direction, come through. And they generally come back in successful, which is great. And that's. You know, we've built a business through minimal outbound ourselves, if any. Yeah. It's been referrals.
It's been brands referring us from brand A to brand B. It's been...
Callum: And I think you, if you do that, you grow stronger. Yeah. If you can grow from word of mouth 100%, you have stronger business. Yeah. Without a doubt. Yeah. Without a doubt. And, and you know, these businesses that grow via, [00:40:00] you know, the cold calling, the, the hard sell, they, they, they there's no relationship there.
It's not personal. No. And it, it goes. The wheels fall off eventually. Yeah. you know, you only have to look back at history, every business that's grown really from cold calling. Yeah. It, it, it, it, it goes away.
Who's your favourite client at the minute?
Do you have a favourite?
Phill: Say I love the, what the guys are, Watt Bike are doing.
Yeah. really interesting product. They've they've been with us a couple of months. We've migrated them off campaign monitor to Klaviyo and it's absolutely flying along. Yeah. They're they're really good. I've mentioned, you know, we've got my first client. It's still, I've still very far. Who was it? Sophie Allport.
So British homewares brand. Right. Still going great guns.
Callum: I love it when you, so you, if you're still with your first client that you won, it says something about you as a company. Yeah. I think we've still got our first client. Yeah.
And I love them. And I talk about 'em all the time, but it, and if, if, if a brand is still got their first client, you're answer something and yeah.
Phill: What we've done is evolved the offering with the, as time's gone on. So yeah. Got it. Yeah. We we've gone from being. Full [00:41:00] on embedded handheld because they didn't have a team. What we've done. They've all been able to quite nicely is build a business case to, for them to have a bigger team.
Callum: And has that business grown?
Yeah. Massively has that massively.
Phil, you've been an absolute superstar. Thank you for coming on the podcast. Anytime I'm gonna add a load of links that we spoke out, in the show notes. No, really appreciate it. Can't wait till we, catch up next time. Perfect. Cheers, Phil. Thanks mate. Very much. Cheers.
Callum: Thank you for listening today. In reviews we trust is a bi-weekly podcast where I hope to be bringing you advice and insights from brands that are taking the e-commerce world by storm.