Stephen Carl: Supersize Your Digital E-commerce Conversions & Impact

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How can cause marketing build following, increase conversion rates, and increase customer loyalty? Stephen Carl is the founder of Needle Movement which is focused on conscious e-commerce, and translating digital trends in to real growth.

Before Needle Movement, Stephen began his digital career at an Amazon-funded startup in 1998, so he’s got five years on people who call themselves the “original gangsters.” At Needle Movement, Stephen advises retail brands on how to achieve sustainable digital growth and profitability. He’s a pro at translating digital trends into online revenue generation and the proof is in the Needle Movement success stories.

Learn more about Stephen and his work at >

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Transcription of Interview

(Transcribed by, there may be errors)

Adam G. Force 00:11

Hey, what’s up and welcome back to the Change Creator podcast show. This is your host Adam force. And I’m excited today we’re gonna be talking with Steven Karl. And Stephen is the founder of a company called the needle movement, which is a digital strategy company focused on conscious e commerce. He started his company his career actually, early on as an employee at an Amazon funded startup in 1998. And ever since then, he’s been chasing online conversions. Right so his past digital marketing experiences cover a wide wide range of categories, nonprofits, luxury, fashion, home horticulture, and they all have a common thread and that common thread is translating early Digital Trends into revenue growth, which we all need if we want to scale impact. We’ve got to scale our revenues right. So With the needle move, and Stephen decided that, you know, it was really who he was to try to take part in the greater good. So that’s an important part of why he’s doing what he’s doing. There’s this emerging wave of retail brands that are making a real difference to sustainability, social impact and things like that. And so he’s helping mission driven brands navigate the wild wild west of the digital marketing world, and helping them you know, steer towards the, the big wins, and and away from all the expensive mistakes, right? We all want to avoid those mistakes as much as we can. But we make them most times anyway, because we have learned from our own mistakes. We’ve all been there. So this is gonna be a really great conversation. I think we get a lot out of it. So I’m excited to talk with Steven. And just in case you missed last week’s episode, you don’t want to miss this. This was with Brian Robinson and he is a sales Maestro. We call them the selling Jedi Master and you know, he can help wrap your head around some really good insights around Selling because this is a craft and a skill that we all need to have as entrepreneurs. So don’t miss out on that discussion with Brian Robertson That was last week’s episode. And don’t forget to stop by Facebook Follow us get involved engage, we have a lot of good content flowing through there. And from there, you can also get involved with our group. So if you are a business owner or getting started, at least you have a business idea, you can apply for our group. And the group is the profitable digital impact entrepreneur. We’d love to see over there. So check that out. And we have some more intimate insights and conversation going on over there. And guys on Change Creator calm, we have just published a ton of fresh content that you could check out. And we do have that free report on the homepage, three proven skills that every entrepreneur must have to grow their impact business. And these are tried and true. Whether you’re talking to Russell Brunson, Seth Godin, these are all people we interviewed, but also So coming from our own experience of what how we’ve executed things and the primary areas that you really want to put your attention, okay? So this is essentially what we’re trying to accomplish with this free report is to give you guidance, so you’re not spending time doing all the wrong things that don’t matter, right? Because time and money go quick. And while you can make more money, you can’t get more time back. So we want to help you become more efficient, and use your time wisely. And so that’s what these three skills are all about. We want to just detail them and give some real context and insight around it. So check that out, and I think you’ll find it really useful. All right, I think that’s it for now. So we’re gonna dive into this conversation with Steven. Okay, show me the heat. Hey, Steven, welcome to the Change Creator podcast show how you doing today, man?

Stephen Carl 03:48

Doing great. Thanks for having me on. Really appreciate it.

Adam G. Force 03:51

Yeah, awesome. Well, I’m excited because ecommerce is definitely a space we want to talk more about. And why don’t you just do me a favor Just tell me like what do you have going on today? Before I get into your background? I like to see what what’s the latest and greatest?

Stephen Carl 04:08

Let’s see. For my day, what’s happening is I’m, I’m just helping some of my clients with anything from. I have a website redesign that’s in the works and has been on the pipeline for a couple of months. Yeah, so we’re just going through our corrections and making sure that’s good. And then I have a, I have a client who’s doing who makes kaftan dresses and part of the proceeds go back to scholarships, you know, for for students. So we’re working on an Instagram ad campaign for for her company. So a little healthy mixture between digital marketing and e commerce.

Adam G. Force 04:55

Yeah, yeah. Okay. And so that’s your focus these days with clients.

Stephen Carl 05:01

Correct. I have 21 years of experience in ice in digital, most of it in e commerce, a little bit of it and not for profit as well. And these days, I’m trying to bring that e commerce knowledge into the social good space.

Adam G. Force 05:18

Yeah, I love it. So what kind of things and now it’s been 21 years. What kind of trends have you been, I guess, learning and seeing happening over this time up to up till today?

Stephen Carl 05:31

Well, it feels like 100 years with all the time and all the cycles. And yeah, you know, but I think that there are cycles to innovation. And a big part of it is, I mean, it sounds cliche, but you just embrace change and disruption. And you figure out how to learn things faster. You know, so you, you know, you try to open up your learning sources. You know, and have your, you know, have your ear to the ground in various places. And that’s how you that’s one way you can become more savvy on, you know, some of the trends that are happening. I mean, do you want it? So I mean, specifically in e commerce? Yeah. Let’s see the trends. I can go into some of the channels a little bit.

Adam G. Force 06:22

Yeah, I’m just curious, anything top of mind that’s kind of like standing out for you like, yeah, this is interesting, just things you’ve noticed, that are just changing. You know, we, the digital world is just changing so fast. And it’s, it’s, it’s reshaping our behaviors and how we think about, you know, connecting with our audience and all that kind of stuff. So I’m curious and just have you seen any of these shifts, you know, and if anything stands out to you?

Stephen Carl 06:48

Okay, I’ll take the path of, I think the conscious. I know, there’s like two different paths. And it’s a great question. There’s two different ways to answer it. I I think the conscious consumer is emergent. No, I see this. You know, in last fall one bellwether moment was the Nike Kaepernick ad. Right? Right. And it and it was big because brands used to never get involved in social or they used to always want to stay back and have a neutral standpoint not to piss off consumers and Nike, they, you know, they pretty much made a calculated decision that they had to stand up for something. You know, so that’s why they took on this, you know, so that was a moment that it, you know, woke up a lot of marketers, but there is a segment of the audience now that, you know, people vote with their wallets. Yeah. You know, people are being encouraged to like, you know, we, I think social media has helped. Conscious companies are, you know, helped environmental sustainable ability a lot because it spreads messages so quickly, so look At the stop doing plastic straws. Yeah, yeah, you know how quickly that stuff is spreading? And a lot of like, you know, with millennials, there was this recent survey that said, I think it was like two thirds of millennials. Consider a company social responsibility when making a purchase. Yep. Yep. You know, and part of that is that, you know, the right now there’s 100 different places you can buy a product. So the consumer really controls it. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 08:31

Yeah. Makes sense. Yeah. And, and I, one of the things we’ve noticed, and maybe this is continuing to shift, and we hope it is, is that, you know, people get excited about the data, which all these surveys, you know, Gallup Nielsen, whoever, you know, they share this data. And they’re saying, Yeah, people want to spend their money on things that are sustainable, they’re, they’re more conscious and you know, blah, blah, blah, and they’re willing to spend more for those things. And I don’t always see. And I’ve spoken to a number of people who’ve worked with like upworthy, and all these other platforms, Huffington Post impact department of their, their platform, and they’re like, Yeah, but we haven’t seen the actual, like tangible results, like we see that people like to say that. But are you actually doing it? Does the real purchasing data show that? And I think when push comes to shove, we’re not quite there yet. So it’s a little bit deceptive in some cases. And I’m wondering if you’ve noticed that at all, like, it’s a nice thing that’s happening, but it’s not quite there yet as the real data.

Stephen Carl 09:37

Right. Yeah, I think there is, you know, talking the talk and walking the walk and examining, yeah, companies are doing the same thing where, you know, people are putting out sustainability projections for 10 years from now on what their you know, what their company will do. We are seeing I’m optimistic because we are seeing some success stories. Yeah, and we We are seeing more alternatives emerge, you know, and, you know, in this space, you know, so you know, so you do have these success stories and sustainability. And I think it just, you know, and that’s why I think it’s a consumer driven movement that, you know, the more mindful people are with what they buy, you know, or deciding, do I really need this, the more they’re going to change the companies because the companies are issuing these statements because they have to now they’re, you know, you know, but I, you know, I agree with your point. I don’t think the conscious commerce segment I don’t have a I mean, I would say it’s maybe 10% now of the market. Okay. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 10:41

Fair. Yeah. Yeah, that makes sense. And, and I think too, it’s like, as we we’ve interviewed and worked with a number of you know, social impact ecommerce brands. And, you know, when we dig into it, what we find is, the better they are at communicating What like, their story is like, what makes them different, you know, like, why they’re doing this. And so, you know, all of a sudden, you know, I talked to someone like crystal arrow, brave souls, and she’s like, yeah, people come up to us and they’re like, I love that I’m so proud to own this product because I know like, what it means I know the story behind it. And so as more companies just get into this values driven business model, it’s like people don’t have to be conscious consumers, they just these are just the way businesses are operated. And I see more connections with these brands through that power of telling their story and it differentiates their brand too.

Stephen Carl 11:40

Right It’s a it’s it’s a marketing strategy. So instead of having to you know, spend your money on the perfect pictures and sneaky copywriting you know, that gets that gets into people’s heads a lot. You know, you’re just you know, by helping others you’re getting there, but something I wanted to say about that is, to your point before is that a company, just having those values is not going to succeed by itself. It’s going to take something else. Yes. And another thing that, you know, ties it in, you know, like all birds is a good example of that, because they didn’t just say we’re making sneakers that are we have a goal of being carbon neutral. Yeah, they really played into the story of New Zealand wool, and comfort that these were the most comfortable thing. So with, I think, with branding, a lot of it is just about setting up those differentiators. Yep. Yeah, that like every product has, you know, should have, you know, let’s just say five things that sets it apart and your your values message. Let’s just say that covers a couple of bullet points. Right, right. You know, there there should be other aspects of it, too.

Adam G. Force 12:58

I totally agree. I think I think people get hung up, like, Oh, I have a social impact brand. That means I’m gonna get all these sales now. And that’s not the case and you know, you’re in for a surprise and we’ve seen it happen so many times. So I think that’s a super important point that you make is that there there is more to it, you still know you still need to have a really good quality product and you got to tell that product story. But I think you also need to know how to sell you no matter how good your company is. If you don’t know how to sell you’re gonna get stuck.

Stephen Carl 13:30

Yep. Yeah, and there’s, you know, I think with with e commerce, I mean, the the channels that I’m seeing people selling on a lot, his email is still going strong. Yes. You know, and just building up your email list and sending out to people. If they like your message, they will. You know, everyone, every few years people talk about emails death, but it’s still going really well. I think Instagram and social media is also it can be pretty good for Discovery, but there are, let’s see, I’m a little mixed on it because it’s, it is expensive to run the you know, it’s, it’s expensive to run programs, and to get results, because the way you’re going to succeed on Instagram is by doing a lot of testing of your message and your audiences and getting to a point where your cost per acquisition is lower. Yeah, yeah, you know, you know, but to do that, you’re not just going to have one ad and it’s going to work perfectly and it’s probably going to be testing five different ads, a few different audiences to see what you know, who’s really hitting on that message? Yeah, yeah. You know, and then SMS is something that’s starting to emerge now and it’s it’s pretty cheap, actually, you know, just marketing through text messages, but you can’t it’s a little more spammy. I think, you know, senses Yeah, I think when people, but if people like your brand’s you can send them stuff, but just, you know, just think about the type of message you would want to receive from a company when you send it out to someone else.

Adam G. Force 15:13

Yeah. And you know, we’ve thought about that ourselves for a certain, you know, projects or campaigns and you know, email is intimate enough, like you’re getting permission and trust enough to get in the inbox. And who knows, they might give you a junk email, but not if they really want what you’re, what you’re offering. And then you think about the text messaging, and we’ve always been a little bit reserved, I’ve literally had conversations with some of those providers that do that stuff. And I think it’s, it’s super powerful and interesting. So if you send the right stuff and you’re not too aggressive, or like overwhelming, that’s even more intimate than the email, but I think there’s definitely a growing place for that. So you have seen it actually, it sounds like in the e commerce world.

Stephen Carl 15:55

Yes, I’m seeing if there’s um, yeah, there’s a big email provider called cleveo. There’s a lot of work in Shopify. So one, one signal is that clay vo just launched SMS this month. Yeah. You know, but there’s other other providers as well. But that just shows it’s getting in the space.

Adam G. Force 16:13

Yeah, yeah, it’s important. We’re big fans of the email channel, just because it’s a great way to continue a conversation with people. And there’s just such value there, you can really optimize the value of a lead over time. From that, and we’ve always as far as like, Instagram and stuff. I agree with you. I always, I don’t know, just it’s just me personally, I see so many people, like, you know, killing it on Instagram. And I’ve tried like, you know, our team has tried like campaigns and done different things. And I don’t know, I’ve always we’ve struggled with Instagram.

Stephen Carl 16:47

You’re not the only one.

Adam G. Force 16:49

You know, and I think I’ve seen other brands where they got in at a certain time they were able to get those influencers to do these shout outs for them at a very, very low price and they had incredible Double like return on those like getting 500 to 1000 people a pop for like, you know a couple bucks. Once we I did a whole we did like this whole campaign once where we got like 10 influencers on board and we like calculated the numbers and crunch them of what the expectation might be like forecasts are our return on this. And it just wasn’t even in the ballpark. Like I was like, well, this is dead. So that was really disheartening.

Stephen Carl 17:24

Yes, you definitely you definitely need to have a CFO mentality when you work on Instagram. Yes, because Yeah, because if the numbers don’t make sense, then you can put your focus on another place but email is is a much more profitable time to start out definitely big time

Adam G. Force 17:41

but well that’s the thing you’re not you’re not as platform dependent, you may have your email client but that certainly isn’t going to change much like a Facebook platform or an Instagram platform whereas you know anything goes wrong or what have you. You do something and they like close down your account or for you know, who knows, like you you’re out you’re in trouble you know,

Stephen Carl 17:59

and with email You write you control the name, where Instagram like a lot of times with organic reach, like Facebook pulled this actually where you have an account and people are signing up but maybe only less than 20% of people are actually seeing the message because Facebook decided to change the algorithm. So right you’re, you have more control with email definitely over that customer. Yeah, yeah, you know, and I think with text actually the one thing I was going to say is, um, phone numbers are also becoming important now with text messaging, that email, the email address is still a great thing to have and get. But companies are starting to think about hey, I should you know if I have that person’s phone number, that I can use it for SMS and other things. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 18:48

You know what number I give people? 55555555?

Stephen Carl 18:53


Adam G. Force 18:55

Cuz I don’t want to give my phone number. I’m like hell no, I don’t want to do that. Yep. You know, I was reading some data the other day for some stuff we were doing and I have to forgive me I forget the source but I was looking at the difference today between desktop and mobile. And while there’s so there’s a the the mobile side is dominating traffic. I’ve noticed that for things like e commerce, the time spent on a session on average is far higher on desktop and so are the sales that come through for e commerce is much higher on desktop as well. So you know, you talked about Instagram, which is obviously mostly mobile only. I’m seeing more financial return in through the desktop space versus the mobile space but higher traffic on mobile, you know, but even with this the little the lesser traffic on desktop, the sales are far higher.

Stephen Carl 19:48

I agree with you on Yeah, definitely. Yeah, you definitely. Yeah, we more people are purchasing on their desktops. No, no question about it.

Adam G. Force 19:58

Yeah. I wonder why I wonder why that is. Do you have any thoughts on what might be, you know, kind of making that happen?

Stephen Carl 20:05

It’s, I think, in the West, we’re just more desktop centric in other parts of the world, like in China, and people buy everything on their phones. So there’s just something about people want to wait until they get back to their regular big computer or their laptop. And just and I think there is a research phase, so maybe, you know, maybe as like 5g is coming, and I don’t even know what the heck that means. But it means faster connections for mobile, I believe, among bugs. Some of it is the speed of the mobile experience to shut Yeah, yeah. You know, but I think that’s, you know, so it’s still so at the moment. The I definitely desktop is where I’m, you know, to look at things I think for mobile websites. If your conversion rate is really bad on mobile. Just take a look at it and browse through it and See if there’s I think a lot of times just comparing yourself to other companies or companies where you dig their experience, do you think they have a good website? You know, it can give you a lot of ideas on how to make simple improvements like one time. Like recently, I was looking at a client who had a poor mobile, like just their mobile conversion numbers aren’t good. And I was just looking at their navigation and the type was really small. So I’m like, Hey, why don’t we just make it bigger? Because I can’t read this. Good idea that could help. Yeah, yeah. Or the text. Sometimes if it’s like really small on the screen, no one’s people are more like a mobile. Also, people are more image centric. They’re not going to read the text. Yeah

Adam G. Force 21:43

I can. I can. That makes sense to me. You know, I’m not a big like shopper and I just went to this brand. It’s like a men’s clothing brand called chubbies. It’s like shorts and tank tops like summery stuff, and they have a really good experience. I went ahead and bought Right there on my on my phone, but nine times out of 10. I do get the feeling too if I’m not sure about a brand or I don’t know the brand yet. I will want to be on my desktop to like, do a little research, like you said, I want to read about like, Who is this? and not do they have a good product? What do people think? And I don’t really want to do all that shuffling around when I’m on my phone.

Stephen Carl 22:20


Adam G. Force 22:21

Yeah, so I think it makes sense. Yeah, so I’m curious then just maybe some of the stuff that right now if you were you said you were working with some clients and things like that, what are some of the strategies, I guess that you are now putting in place to help optimize the experience, you know, let’s say now you’re building these sites and you got to focus on homepage and key pages that really are the trust builders and conversion builders and stuff like that. Any insights on just ways to think about these things and you know, because I know ecommerce is different than a coaching session. Or someone who has courses and things like that?

Stephen Carl 23:04

Let’s see. Yeah, trust is is very important. And let’s see. So in that there’s, there’s things that are trust building and trust seals. So let’s see. So let’s go into how you can increase trust in your company. Because even if you’re a one person operation, like I like to think of it as the Wizard of Oz effect, where, you know, behind the curtain is a short video is a short man. But he seemed larger than life to everybody else. So you just want you want to make your company look big and established. So trust signals would be I think any, any good media, or publications that have written about you a lot of people put that on the homepage.

Adam G. Force 23:48

Yeah. Little social proof kind of thing.

Stephen Carl 23:51

Yes. So right. So that idea of social proof whether it’s, you know, you know, a large media outlet online Also customer testimonials. Where you Yeah, yeah, getting a lot of those. And you just you just have to ask for them from happy customers.

Adam G. Force 24:11

Yeah, and most times Yeah,

Stephen Carl 24:13

they don’t people don’t fill it out on the product page.

Adam G. Force 24:15

No. And everyone’s like, they don’t they think I don’t have any and I will be like, Well how many people did you ask for them? Like literally like, like knock on their door in the sense of digitally and be like, Hey, I was wondering, blah, blah, blah and just really go after it, you know?

Stephen Carl 24:30

And you can also do a customer survey. Yeah. Where you ask for review. So there’s there you know, there’s a few or if you’re on customer service, you know, so there’s a few tactics to get, you know, to get good reviews, but then going into the trust seals that with conversions. You know, people are gonna decide to buy or not buy the product, like the product page is very important. So you have those seals of like if you have a free shipping policy, right, put it on that page. If you’re something that happens with impact, you know, you can have a couple of seals that tell people on that page the you know, the the programs that you have, but when you put those at a spot to put them is right under the Add to Cart button. Yeah. So that right in that headspace where people are making that buy decision, you’re reinforcing that message.

Adam G. Force 25:25

Right, right. And I think you know, going back to the email thing, it’s so important because not everybody, especially if you’re a younger brand, like they’re not, they may not be ready to just buy something right away, but they might be interested. So you know, you want to be able to keep talking to them about it. So those little perks like you know, maybe your first first time buying something, you get free shipping or a certain percent off. So you’re not giving a how to guide like other businesses might, but you can give incentives right so it sounds like those incentives are a good way to just keep people on board.

Stephen Carl 25:57

Yeah, exactly. It just gives it gives people incentive to try out the product and to learn more. And that’s what gets you through the first purchase. And then, you know, I think especially when you have an impact business, you have so many stories to tell people that will convince them you know to buy again, but that is one of the biggest issues in e commerce is the one time buyer problem. Yeah. How do you get that recurring? Yeah, where people are wanting done. So like, once you’re celebrating, once you’re doing that jig for that first order that you got, you got to start thinking about the second order and email is an excellent way through post purchase emails to Yeah, to you know, to tell people more about the product they’re getting and what’s and the team behind it as well.

Adam G. Force 26:42

And all that stuff, you know, people like I find that they’re in these spaces, and they feel like oh, well, no one wants that. They just want to know the what’s on sale. What’s the discount? And I’m like, in my mind, no, no, that’s not true. I’m like people will be interested in what you stand for, why you’re doing what you’re doing all these things and the more that They that you’ve that you resonate with those people, they become advocates. Now they’re really standing behind you and really like what you do, right?

Stephen Carl 27:08

Yeah, I would say with discount shoppers it’s a different type of shopper. And it’s not yeah they’re not. I think when you’re starting out that’s not the best place to go because you want people to buy because they believe in what you’re what you’re doing not that they’re getting 20% off that or 30% off that because that they’re never going to change that they’re always going to expect they’re buying because of the the high of the discount, not because of the value that you’re providing as a brand.

Adam G. Force 27:38

That’s that’s a good point. I like that but and you know, people are so desperate to get the sale that one time sale that they do these discounts when they’re already devaluing the product. And you know, what you want to do, like you said is attract the people that are interested in supporting and getting on board with what you do not just getting that one time sale.

Stephen Carl 27:57

Right. I think the consumer base is all very tribal. Like there’s some people that are huge discount shoppers. And there’s some people that are conscious consumers. And then there’s a lot of people that are in the midst. I think there’s a lot of people that are curious about impact businesses, right? They’ve heard all the big stories. And they in their hearts, you know, like we were saying talk the talk, walk the walk, they want to support it more than they’re giving it a look, but they aren’t there yet. But they’re close. Yeah,

Adam G. Force 28:25

yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, no, this is all we’re super on the same page with these things. And I think it’s, um, this is a helpful conversation for people to hear, especially with the e commerce world because I see most of the time I go to their websites, and they could be a young brand. You’re not a Nike, you know, like nobody knows who you are like, you know, a Nike, right? So you can’t really mimic a Nike when you’re when you’re a startup brand in the first few years. And so like you go to their website, and you’ll see, you know, they just have their products on the homepage or shopping here and, you know, in my mind, I’m like, that’s that’s an interesting way to start that conversation with somebody. And I’m wondering how that works. Because comparatively, I think to your point, attracting the people and telling them a little bit more about what you’re about and getting them like, they’re in that mindset. I’m wondering how that would play out for them comparatively?

Stephen Carl 29:21

Well, it’s, you know, I think there is that apples to oranges comparison, like where, you know, people used to say, Oh, I want to be the Amazon of this. And now it’s like, I want to be the knight I want to be I want to be just like this company that has 1000 people working for them already. Like, you’re not

Adam G. Force 29:37

You’re not there.

Stephen Carl 29:39

You’re not there. But I think with impact businesses, they definitely have the potential to build followings easier, that there are built in communities. You know, you say you’re helping other people. There’s an immediate draw that will you know, so I think kind of like I think with young businesses What can make them successful is their ability to attract a community. It’s a community of consumers. Even on the business networking side, it’s a community of peers and advisors that are going to help them make better decisions. Yeah, yeah, you know, but I think they’re you know, in there is a way to you know, to get your and that community could be in your social following it could be in your the size of your email list. And just like the best way to sell something is for someone else to do that selling for you. You know, so it’s so it’s like finding lining by that Well, let’s see. So with all if if somebody says, Hey, you got a I found a great pair of kicks, you got it. You got to try these Oh,

Adam G. Force 30:47

word of mouth marketing. Like someone loves what you do. So they tell someone else.

Stephen Carl 30:51

Right? Yeah. Okay. Or did you? Gotcha. Yeah.

Adam G. Force 30:54

Yeah. No, that makes sense. And I agree. So like if you if you’re doing something good They give your product a whirl, that word of mouth marketing is is super powerful.

Stephen Carl 31:05

Yeah, so how you cultivate that to with like, you know, kind of, you know how you can use influencers or brand ambassadors, you know, to to get more people on the ground talking about the product. Yeah,

Adam G. Force 31:21

yeah. Yeah, I can see that. That makes sense. And that might, yeah, there’s creative things you can do with stuff like that for sure. So you could set up your home base, you know, your, your, you know, your website and stuff. And if you can get that to convert, because here’s the thing people I’ve noticed, they will, they will slap something up for a website and they kind of set it and forget it sometimes like, okay, it’s up now. And, you know, they go out there and they spend all this money on tactical stuff, even influencers, whatever the advertising channel might be, but their home base is not set up to convert well, so like they’re just not getting sales no matter what they do, because they just haven’t done it right on the website.

Stephen Carl 32:03

Yeah, I think with the right with the website, okay, so I mean a way you can another way to improve your website. I mean, you honestly assess it just look at your conversion rate, of course. Yeah. Yeah. So like, if your conversion rate is under, I think if it’s under 2%. You know, that’s, that’s telling you that there’s there’s a lot of room to approve.

Adam G. Force 32:25

What would you say an average, you know, product conversion rate, we’re talking not high high end products of like $1,000. But, you know, your average 20 to $50.

Stephen Carl 32:36

what’s the what’s the Convert the average conversion rate,

Adam G. Force 32:38

what would you say is a good conversion rate?

Stephen Carl 32:42

I think if you can get over like two and a half percent, that would be a good conversion rate. Okay. And I think under like, you know, two isn’t terrible, I think I think it’s more like when I when I start seeing it more in the ones that’s, you know, that’s more of a red flag, but for the website, mean there’s a couple of there’s a couple of tips one let’s see. Hire a copywriter. You know, it’s not you know and i and i say this actually I have I have a copywriter helping me out and it’s taught me in my on my side of the business how valuable it is. And it’s humbling because I was an English major in university yeah so you you know something Of course I can write all this stuff but but um copywriters helped me with persuasiveness to make it compelling. Yeah. And to get it you have to like so for a website to be successful. You have to read the consumers mind a little bit and you have to understand the objections they have in their head. Absolutely. Yeah. So, so he do that and then, you know, a copywriter or, you know, a lot of times people will use Like their early customer feedback or like their their best customers and what their best customers say, yeah, that will become some of the copy because it answers the the reasons why people aren’t buying. So, you know, there’s that, you know, I think there’s also a there are templates in e commerce that make it a little bit more affordable. Like, especially in Shopify, where it’s for, say 150 to $350 you’re getting a pre configured website that looks very professional, instead of having to spend thousands on your own to you know, to build with a developer

Adam G. Force 34:37

Yeah, now that’s there’s it’s getting easier and easier the barrier to access is lower for these types of things now, and yeah, I think the copywriter is is a powerful tool. I think you as a founder need to know you know, what, you got to be close to the sales process, like you got to know the objections, you got to know the stories, you know, or your business is grounded. And then you can give that information to a copywriter to actually whip it up in a in a sexy way.

Stephen Carl 35:06

And what’s cool about it is that you can always change stuff on a website, it just takes it doesn’t take that much time. If I think the, if you just look at it honestly and say, I’m disappointed in my performance, then in a couple months, you could have a different website with different results, or you can just modify things, just trying to figure out what’s going, you know, what’s off there. You know, so there’s, you know, so you look at your Google Analytics, there’s even screen recording tools like hot jar mesh like or ladies that it’s, it’s not expensive, but it’s just just to get an idea of what the heck is going on with the website because sometimes you only see it’s one is a sale zero is not a sale, but you’re not seeing how they’re navigating through the website.

Adam G. Force 35:57

More Yeah, and those things might be My co founder, Amy and I are like, man, we watch those recordings like this is better than Netflix. I mean, it’s so fun. And because you know, you hear, you know, historically years ago, I read a lot of UX books and stuff about user experience. And they’re like, you really want to see how people are navigating your stuff. So like, you could go literally stand over their shoulder and watch what they do on the computer and stuff. And you don’t need that anymore. Like you can you can have things like hot jar and it’s so powerful to see like, where do they pause like, where are they actually reading or going back to where are they quit? It’s just the information that comes out of that is really valuable.

Stephen Carl 36:39

Yeah, and it’s affordable too. So it’s, it’s something like

Adam G. Force 36:42

2000 views or recordings is free. I mean, it ever as you get bigger, you’ll start paying. But yeah, for a lot of these startups, you guys, you just all you got to do is sign up.

Stephen Carl 36:51

But I guess if you’re like when you’re hearing crickets when it’s a little too quiet with the sales, yeah. You just, you know, you just got to dig a little you know, dig into What the possible causes is, and I think half of the battle is just openly looking at it, and seeing what you’re, you know, what can be improved.

Adam G. Force 37:08

And that’s what it is. And I think a lot of people don’t realize when they get into the entrepreneurship space and they’re struggling, it’s like these things do take some time. Like, it just doesn’t happen for everybody. Like, you know, it’s not like in a year you’re going to be making, I mean, not not that no one ever has, but it’s unlikely you’ll be making a million dollars a year. So it’s like, these things take time. And you have to have a little patience to iterate and and be diligent with a discipline to actually look at your numbers and see where the gaps are and start optimizing next thing, you know, a year goes by and you have this totally different, you know, experience on your platform because you’ve been iterating. And it’s actually now getting results, you know,

Stephen Carl 37:46

yeah, they say like, if you’re, if your business improves 10% every month, the calculation is that your business would be over 300% better than at the start. So it is that you’re right on it that month to month. Yeah, you know, iterative improvement just getting a little better at everything consistently.

Adam G. Force 38:04

Exactly. And, and you’ll feel good about those little wins. If you just pay attention to it and you do it, then each month you’ll be like, all right, like it’s something to feel good about, you know, and you’ll see it just kind of grow and grow. So awesome. Steven, tell me just a little as we wrap up here. So what what kind of clients do you work with? Mostly right now?

Stephen Carl 38:23

Let’s see, I have some experience in in fashion. So I end up, you know, given that working with fashion businesses, but a lot of I mean, the businesses also tend to be on the Shopify platform. Yeah. as well. Okay. Okay,

Adam G. Force 38:38

cool. And why don’t you give yourself a shout out where people can maybe find you and learn a little bit more.

Stephen Carl 38:44

Great. Let’s see, you can so you can reach me at I’ll just give you an email address to make it simple Hello at needle movement, calm, and I personally look at all of those emails. And I also offer Free strategy calls for podcast listeners. It’s always fun to hear the, you know, the challenges and you know, and positives that that businesses are going through every day.

Adam G. Force 39:11

Sure, sure. Cool. All right. Well, listen, Stephen, I appreciate the conversation and your time today.

Stephen Carl 39:17

Thanks so much for having me

Adam G. Force 39:18

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