Generate Leads like Crazy - Interview with Ben Jabbawy

Generate Leads like Crazy - Interview with Ben Jabbawy
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Looking for explosive growth to your email list? There’s nobody better to ask for advice on this than Ben Jabbawy, CEO of Privy, Shopify’s most popular plugin.

Q: Ben, let's start with Privy's most basic & original feature: List Growth. Give us your top 2 strategies to build your email list along with the pros & cons of each?

A: Start with the "why". I just landed on your site. Why Am I going to opt-in to your email list?

We’re lucky to be in a spot where we see the collective data from all stores that use Privy. To date, we’ve helped stores convert 500 Million leads.

Our data shows that the offer, or lack thereof, carries the biggest impact on signup rate.

I’m not saying you NEED to offer a coupon. Not at all. But understanding the levers you have to test will help you decide where to start, how you’re benchmarking, and what you might try to ramp things up.

So, we break down “offers” in 3 ways:

Sign up campaign - “join my list and get access to product launches, specials, etc”. No Coupon. These convert 1% of visitors.

Coupon - “join my list and get a code for X% off”. These convert between 3-6% of traffic. With the variance based on the strength of the offer.

Enter to win - “join my list and you’ll be entered to win X”. These convert 10%, sometimes higher.

So start without an offer. See how you perform. If you have a well constructed email nurturing program and already understand the ROI of email, but you’re not growing your list fast enough, try an offer.

The cons - sometimes a better conversion rate leads to lower quality subscribers. Just because you’re growing your list faster with a spin to win entry form, doesn’t mean the performance of those new subscribers is equivalent to those who join a signup campaign.  So you need to be a bit careful.

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Q: In terms of pop-up styles, do you have any data on which style converts best?

A: Our data set has shown that the biggest factor to signup rate is the content/offer on the form, not the display type.

However, for mobile, we recommend the flyout. Slides in nicely from the bottom of the phone. Easy to navigate.

On desktop, I’d stick to popups or banners which are more unique, span the entire width of the laptop screen, and feel less intrusive.

Q: Privy has become something of a swiss-army knife for e-commerce merchants. Has the product had to evolve beyond its original purpose to stay competitive or has this just been a natural progression of requested features from existing customers?

A: It’s funny. We started because I love email marketing, and found that all the email solutions within commerce lacked easy to use, list growth offerings.

Along the way, we’ve operated differently. We offer an incredibly robust free version. We even support free users through live chat, trainings and educational content.

And as a result, a growing number of our small brands came to us saying, we love how easy it is to use privy, we love the quality of support, why do we still need these other things.

We started to feel customers becoming frustrated with the disjointedness of their marketing stack. They wanted one place to login to do their marketing.

So we said “hey, lets try building email”. Easy to use, commerce specific, with great support. And it worked.

And we now have over half of our customers using Privy for both site conversion, and email marketing.

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Q: Privy has recently branched out to offer SMS Marketing as part of its suite. Long-term, is Privy focused on becoming an "owned marketing" platform that focuses on helping e-commerce owners become less dependant on Paid Ads and more profitable leveraging their own data?

A: We did just launch Privy text. It’s been fun to see stores adopt it so quickly.

And we also launched cross-sell capabilities within our conversion suite.

We’re not planning on building EVERYTHING for everyone, but I do believe that for so many new entrepreneurs, and small growing brands within commerce, they really need a handful of marketing activities on their site, and via communication channels like email and text. So, do you really need 20 apps for those 5-10 campaigns?

Certainly not for the majority of commerce stores.

No doubt, at the enterprise, you need more specific functionality.

I’d like to see more stores arrive there, but only about 8% of them will reach more than $1,000 in sales THIS YEAR. Not so awesome.  

As easy as it’s gotten to launch an commerce business, it’s never been more difficult to grow that commerce business.

That’s the opportunity we’re out to simplify for the millions of stores getting started, and now growing.

So, yes. You are correct :)

Q: I want to end on a more personal note for entrepreneurs out there struggling in the current climate. I know you personally overcame huge problems when Privy was still in its infancy before pivoting to e-commerce. What advice would you have for these people right now to help see them through things?

A: I could go on forever on this one. I’ve made every mistake in the book, but we’re here to tell those stories.

For one, a startup never really fails until the founder(s) call it. quits. So, if you’re passionate, just keep going.

Next, don’t get distracted with the allure of accelerators, and fundraising. It takes you away from the time you should be spending incessantly talking to your customers, talking to people that abandoned your carts, talking to people that are requesting refunds. 

If you focus your efforts there, you’ll grow a healthy, lasting business.

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