By following current trends within a niche, you might just find room for more entrepreneurship—if you can act fast enough.
Adrian Brambila is the founder of Kick Push Skate, a store dedicated to providing retro hipster penny boards and gear.
In this episode of Shopify Masters, you’ll learn how he uses current trends to find profitable opportunities to serve his audience.
Tune in to learn
- The tools to use to identify if a niche is profitable.
- How to use the reviews on your competition’s site to improve your product.
- Why you should interview influencers.
Listen to Shopify Masters below…
Download this episode on Google Play, iTunes or here!
Google is the best psychic in the world and it understands our behaviors.
- Store: Kick Push Skate
- Social Profiles: Facebook, Instagram
- Recommendations:Google Keyword Planner, Ahrefs, Moz, Google Trends
Felix Today I’m joined by Adrian Brambila from Kick Push Skate. Kick Push Skate is dedicated to providing retro hipster penny boards and gear, and was started in 2016 and based out of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Welcome Adrian. Tell us a bit more about your story.
Adrian: Hey, Felix, thanks for having me. I’m super stoked to be here, and my goal today is to try to provide as many insights as to how I launched Kick Push Skate as well as a couple of other eCommerce stores. Hopefully, anyone listening can have some takeaway items to practice in their stores. My trade or craft I’m a lead generation online marketer. My full background I would say my quote, unquote “full-time job” is I’m a partner in a marketing firm. Kick Push Skate is an experiment I launched in October of 2016 along with a couple other eCommerce sites really as just a test to see if I had the capability to break into a niche, and honestly at first just try to profit, and make a dollar from scratch. Really, the website Kick Push Skate is an experiment, and I’m excited to share some of the successes, and the trends, and the luck of timing that kind of got to where it is today.
Felix: Yeah, I love that because I think a lot of listeners out there have that same kind of little fire that comes inside where they want to see can I make something? Can I create something that people will buy and create something out of nothing like you were saying. Where did the idea come from behind this particular niche like why did you choose this one?
Adrian: Typically, with all the sites that I like to start the first instinct is really do I have a passion, or do I simply enjoy doing something, so for Kick Push Skate I love longboarding. That’s exactly where it started. I love longboarding. I like skating around and using penny boards just anything that gets me outside and cruising and enjoying the outside. That’s really where it started from, and then the nerd part of me kicks in after I have that passion to do it really just starts with research, Keyword Research, Trend research, primarily using Google to figure out is this a market where it’s either overly competitive? Is it a market that’s under utilized? Are the top performers in this market are they killing it in every regard where it wouldn’t make sense for me to go into this market because it would take so much time, energy, and dollars to do that.
When I did my research, originally, longboards is a very competitive market, but one avenue that I saw on Google Trends that I was kind of picking up was penny boards, or really mini cruisers and shortboards, so that’s kind of where it started in October. It’s just do some research and then trying to figure out the manufacturers here in the U.S. and some overseas that make a good quality product that’s worth skating around, and the rest is just marketing after that you know.
Felix: Let’s talk about that. I think this is a stage that a lot of people are definitely in, or people got stuck in when they first got started, which is, is this worth investing my time into because the hesitation with getting started is that people have this fear of putting too much work, putting too much time into something that might not pan out in the first place, and then they usually abandon that idea and move on to the next one, and it kind of repeats the cycle. Talk to us about your exact process to identify if this was a right market now. You mentioned a couple of tools do you mind just talking about each tool at a time and how you used it to identify if this particular niche that you got into was worth your time.
Adrian: Absolutely. For disclaimer, I don’t know if this is the right way to do it. This is my way that I developed over time from all the different places I read, and people that I look up to. First, let me just say my day-to-day role is that I do marketing for businesses primarily B2B, so I always have this thought in the back of my head that I think about is if I’m a good enough lead generation marketer I’m doing it for other businesses I should technically be able to pick any niche and attempt and try, so here’s exactly where it starts. It starts from the passion. My wife, we’ve been married for a year and eight months. A conversation usually starts like this if I’m feeling the urge to try something like “Hey, sweetie,” maybe butter her up. “You look so beautiful today.” She’s like “What? What do you want?” I’m like, “I’m going to spend $500 max to try this idea.”
So $500 is my make or break number, and I think everyone should have something like that a budget set aside if that’s possible. Some people I remember when I first started when I graduated college I had less than nothing to try, but for right now $500 is the starting point. If I can’t make that $500 back by the time I’ve spent it than this idea is either not persuable, I don’t have the time, maybe it’s timing, the place, you know, all the other factors that go in. So Kick Push Skate was exact same scenario. I had a $500 budget to try to make essentially my first sale. The specific tools that I like using is Google AdWords Keyword Planner is a good one. I like Ahrefs or Ah-refs. I’ve never figured out everyone says it’s differently. Are you familiar with that tool, Felix?
Felix: Yeah-yeah, Ahrefs.
Adrian: How do you?
Felix: I call it H-refs.
Adrian: Okay, you do, awesome. I love their keyword tool it’s awesome. I use Moz. I think from a starting out standpoint there’s two things I’ll look into. First, overall traffic data. Second, competition level. If people aren’t familiar with Keyword Planner they just literally rate the competition on a 1:100 scale, so just using that I’m looking for stuff that has high traffic and low competition, but the one element that I think would really help people starting out is Google Trends because on top of having whether something is competitive or not Google Trends will have the ability to determine if your market is growing or decreasing. Is your traffic, is your interest has it been increasing over time?
More, specifically, is there certain elements in global phenomena pop trend that are making specific consumer products trend really, really high and that’s actually one thing that helped Kick Push Skate with one campaign generate a little over $18,000 in 30 days. The cool thing that’s crazy about this is Kick Push Skate was originally started for skateboards and penny boards. With this trend the same audience that are skaters, or part of this kind of like hipster lifestyle was in a different product category, but the same audience, so it’s like by just being out there, and taking the risk and the time to invest I would have never predicted this trend, which we can go in more detail, Felix.
Felix: For sure, yeah, I definitely want to talk about the product in a bit because like you were saying it’s different than what you started with. Now when you are looking at the competition, looking at Google Trends I think a lot of times there’s this conversation around should you be first to market? Is is better to enter an industry that already has competition in it because competition means that there’s money to be made. What are your thoughts on that? What’s the right balance in terms of how competitive should you focus on in terms of a profitable niche?
Adrian: Let’s just talk about Google AdWords, which I think is still a great tool. Some people will say like PPC or SEO is dead, and I always come back and say as long as Google is the number one place where people go to search for things than SEO and PPC will still be one of the best places to start, so on top of looking for traffic we’re trying to see if something is too competitive. One thing you can literally put a dollar sign on is what’s the average cost-per-click to get someone that is just window shopping to look at your product. For example, if I’m selling a skateboard that costs $60 and I do some Keyword Research, and let’s say more of a specific phrase like, “Leopard printed penny board with red wheels.” I mean, that’s a pretty specific product. If that cost-per-click is like $10 that’s a huge red flag to me like there’s no way. It’s so competitive that product that it’s not worth it for me starting out because, again, I’m working with my own $500 budget.
Now if budget doesn’t matter and I really, really want to go for it then I will. That’s more I guess a technical approach to analyzing traffic cost on AdWords, but I think a more logical approach you can do is search your product or phrase. 10 results are going to appear in Google. Click on each one of those on the first page. There’s hundreds of reasons why those rank where they do, but just using common sense analyze and look at each page. Why would Google choose those pages? Typically, the common sense answer is because they are the best answer for that search query. Maybe the first page has beautiful images. Maybe the second ranking page there has all the reviews, and that’s a really important place that I like to look at because let’s say if there is a lot of competition, or the number one top three spots are huge name brands like for skateboards like Vans is up there. Hurley, like you know all different types of skater brands like how am I supposed to compete against them? Amazon is up there, which I think every Shopify owner is going to compete against Amazon.
Take a look at the reviews. What do the bad reviews say? What do the mediocre reviews say because usually just from other people’s feedback you can figure out how you can make your product better, and what are the current issues they have with the person who is ranking at the top and getting the most visibility, so those are the kind of two ways to look at it from a technical standpoint, checking out the cost per traffic, and the other standpoint of just using your gut and doing just manual research to figure out what people are dissatisfied with the current top contender.
Felix: Two questions here. We’ll start the first one about the AdWords research. You’re basically looking up your key term, seeing how much it will cost to compete after that key term to get an idea of how much it costs to acquire a customer now. You look at that number and you compare it against your budget in your case it’s $500. Do you also look at it in comparison to the cost of the product that you’re selling like how do you use it in that case?
Adrian: If anyone watches “Shark Tank,” Mr. Wonderful, one of the first questions I feel like he asks for every website is what’s your customer acquisition cost? Basically, how much does it cost to acquire a customer? I think one thing that might help with budgets or to think about your budget is what’s your profit? If your profit is $10 and you have to make sure when you acquire that customer you basically have $10 less, hopefully, to get that person so you can actually profit on the sale. That’s exactly how I think with every campaign that I set up. My umbrella budget is $500, but specifically per product I’m thinking about what the profit margin is on each product. That’s the goal to acquire a customer is at least break even or below starting out.
I’m a realist so I know usually starting out my goal is to breakeven. If I have zero data it’s hard to do that. You’re trying to convert cold traffic, which is the most expensive way to bring people in, but that’s a really good point, Felix. Every product is different. Every product is going to have different profit margins. For some if we’re working with commodity items where the profit is so tiny than one other factor that I would throw in there to help maybe with a stomach check on the budget is what’s the customer lifetime value? Maybe it’s a subscription service and it cost $10 a month it might cost $30 to bring that customer in, but if you know that your average customer lifetime value is at least a year than you’ll know after three months you’ll make that money back that it cost to earn them.
All this is very simple math. I think you can put an Excel sheet and any person who is starting out it’s a good way to figure out which platform is working, if they should spend money on Facebook and Google. Everything is measured at the end of the day equally on an Excel sheet to say for every dollar that I spent what did I come in? What products were sold? Was there a profit on that? Did I breakeven, or am I losing money? Maybe that’s not the right one to move on.
Felix: We looked at these reviews on the site I think it’s a great idea even if you can’t find any existing sites Amazon is also a great place to look at reviews to see what you can do to improve on the existing product. Do you remember what kind reviews, what kind of responses, or feedback that you saw on other sites on competitor sites that you took to heart and decided to go after?
Adrian: Yeah, and we’re still talking about penny boards is that right, or skateboards?
Felix: Yeah, that’s right, focus on that.
Adrian: Cool, really I think there’s a couple things. First, the price point based on penny boards, specifically, are really expensive. If you think of what a penny board is versus a longboard a longboard is much longer. It’s more durable I guess from a riding standpoint, from a cruising standpoint, and a penny board is made out of plastic, or most mini cruiser boards are made out of plastic. They’re charging it was close to $200 with the top competitors. I actually happen to have a personal connection who makes boards in the Midwest, and just from a cost standpoint if we can get the quality just the same, and just give a better price point. That was a huge, I guess, feedback point is the penny board is good, but it costs $200. That’s the same as my longboard purchase, so why are those companies able to charge those prices? This is one area in research I found out is because they really don’t have big competitors online. It’s not that they have a monopoly, but no one else is really trying to compete with the big-wigs, so that was a big key there.
From other things offered by the other competitors I found it was less of kind of a lifestyle product, and that’s how my website was kind of marketed is, yes, our product is boards. Our core product is boards, however, we’re more interested in our content, in our marketing about the lifestyle what riding a board means, which is enjoying life in the moment, so we were able to kind of upsell, and think about all the products that have to do with people who want to enjoy and live in the moment. We’re looking at active people who like to have a good time. I think if you break down the psychology of who you’re targeting beyond this is the product think about why they want your product. Ask what kind of person would use this product, and what other things does this person do when they’re not using my product, so it was that kind of customer discovery research that I think gave us an advantage over some of the big-wigs that were currently dominating the market.
Felix: You knew to focus on the lifestyle. What other products could you upsell? What kind of content can you create to essentially add more value onto your brand, add more value to the endproduct that they’re not just getting a board, but they’re getting all of this content, and all of this lifestyle attached with it. Were you able to discover that through what kind of research were you doing to uncover that because I think that this is another point that entrepreneurs are stuck in, which is that they have a product that is maybe not necessarily commodity, but there are existing competitors out there, and maybe they don’t have the connections to improve on the product itself, but they want to add other benefits like creating a lifestyle brand, or creating content around it. How did you discover what it was about your particular target customers that they cared about in terms of the lifestyle, in terms of the content?
Adrian: What really helps me market in this regard it goes back to the beginning of I am one of these people. I am one of these people who I am the customer, essentially, so I know the customer very well. It doesn’t always work like that, and for me specifically when I’m not doing these side projects most of the businesses I’m marketing for I’m not a customer, so there’s a lot of research I have to do. For this specific project I am the customer, so I know when I’m not skateboarding or cruising around I’m doing something active like slacklining, or playing spikeball, or something else. The content came very naturally.
I think if you are marketing a product that you’re not a customer in there’s a lot more legwork that has to be done. Examples I can give maybe not specific to what we did for Kick Push Skate, but was targeting influencers, and interviewing influencers that are maybe the thought leaders in that market because that person is not only your customer, but also has aggregated huge other potential customers with their content. They’re the most raw and authentic content in your niche, so I think that’s an area. We did do a bunch of influencer marketing with Kick Push Skate, but it wasn’t really more for research purposes. Our lifestyle brand matched their lifestyle content, so making relationships was very easy to kind of help scale our efforts.
Felix: I love that approach of interviewing influencers because a lot of times we talk about interviewing customers, but influencers themselves they’re just surrounded by all of your customers so they absorb so much of the information just organically by being around them. Now any recommendation of how you can approach this let’s say that a store is able to nail down an influencer. They have 100,000 followers on Instagram, and they are sitting down with them to talk to them about the brand, the lifestyle behind the products that they want to sell like what kind of questions are important to ask?
Adrian: The first part of that question, Felix, how you get them on the phone, or getting an interview with an influencer it’s hard. Influencers you got to imagine are busy people. They have their own businesses, their own day-to-day, but one thing I think that does it in a way that’s authentic, and it doesn’t come across as, hey, I’m really interviewing you so I can sell more stuff. Let’s make the assumption that if you’re in a relationship to try to reach out to an influencer you’re already doing other things like creating good content about your niche. One very seamless transition to creating good content is interviewing experts within the niche, and who doesn’t like to be interviewed. I think one way to get a hold of influencers it can be as simple as a blog post with a backlink, which is going to help their influencers efforts is to reach out to them and to ask for an interview.
The interview maybe three-fourths of it is really truly about the influencer, but 25% is that product insight and that customer insight that you’re looking for. Sure, that takes time, but I would say from the influencers that reach out for any website that I have when I reach out in a way that, hey, we’re doing an interview segment where we’re looking for experts in the field, or in the niche who are inspiring people most say yes. It’s rare to see an influencer that doesn’t want to try to reach more people, and then you’re providing another outlet, and then if you’re nerdy like me I always throw in, “We’ll do a backlink from our blog to whatever your efforts are.” If they’re SEO savvy I think that’s a no-brainer.
Felix: Yeah, coming from someone that interviews a lot of people I think one of the best ways to get people to talk to you is essentially play to the ego, right? Everyone has ego, everyone wants to be appreciated, everyone wants to give back, and by offering this opportunity to them you are giving them value because you’re giving them a platform, essentially, no matter how big or small it is you are taking the time out to hear from them. Everyone wants to be heard to some degree, so I think coming in with that mindset it’s important. You’re not just taking from these influencers you should come into it with the approach that you are giving them an opportunity to share as well, and I think that works really well. Now moving onto the second part of this is what kind of answers are you seeking out when you are working with these influencers when you are trying to understand more about the lifestyle behind the products that you’re trying to sell?
Adrian: Instagram is a great place to do customer research on an influencer. Without a doubt, any influencer if you scroll down maybe a couple of scrolls you’re going to see products that they’re using whether they’re doing it through a paid means, or just organically this is products that they use. If you’re being really specific about influencers you’re reaching out to you’ll want to find influencers who are using maybe competing products, so I think that’s a very natural segue to kind of ask. If I am Kick Push Skate if I am trying to find skateboard influencers, or longboard cruisers, and I’m looking for someone who is in the lifestyle maybe they’re competing. They don’t have to be too big maybe semi-pro they’re doing tournaments or something, and then I notice the products they’re using, and when I’m interviewing them that’s an easy plug.
“Yeah, I noticed on your Instagram you’re using XYZ Brand. What are your thoughts? How long have you been using theirs? Is that your favorite board? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?” That way it comes across as like, hey, I was genuinely checking your content out, and I saw this versus just a direct, I guess, product ask, which maybe would come across as too salesy, I guess, which you never want to do. You always want to seem like you’re providing value and through research you’ve come to this discovery. It’s kind of in the part of more just building a relationship because interviewing you’re making a contact with someone who can’t help impact your business and maybe what you offer can impact them too. Maybe there’s an affiliate relationship there in the future, but if we think more long-term, which I think is a recommendation that every entrepreneur, marketer should always be reminded of.
You never know how that relationship could unfold. It’s not like there should be an ROI on this interview. Really, you’re literally trying to build a relationship, so being genuinely interested, and maybe having a little bit of business savviness to check out their Instagram to see those products. The biggest thing we need to remember when we’re talking to influencers is have a long-term approach, especially, if you feel like there’s a relationship there whether it’s an affiliate, whether it’s content shared promotion. Sometimes, in doing the first interview or outreach maybe there shouldn’t be any kind of business ask. You shouldn’t be thinking about an ROI on this interview that you’re doing on this blog feature. Really, the more prominent thing to consider is can I build a relationship with this person? Follow their story, and at that right moment months later than the bigger win I think is there if you think more long-term.
Felix: Have you noticed, I’m sure you have, that there’s different types of influencers on Instagram? You kind of have those general I guess interest profiles that are not an actual person. Of course, it’s being run by a person, but there’s hundreds of thousands of followers, but they’re a general topic. Then, of course, you have your like celebrities that are actual individuals that are out there do you see a difference between working with one or the other?
Adrian: This is my personal opinion people may differ from me, but I think it’s way more time-effective to target real people. As an influencer myself I’ve been on YouTube for a few years. I have over 80,000 followers on my channel. I have a dance channel. The relationship I have with my top fans I know them by name. They contact me on a weekly basis, and that is for any influencer out there the relationship is so different than an account that you follow for your 15 seconds of inspiration from some quote. Typically, those aggregator type of social media accounts they’re going to charge you, and usually they have a lot less engagement versus a person, so I’m a big fan of targeting real people for influencers.
Felix: Right, makes sense. All right, so now let’s talk about this $18,000 campaign that you ran that you’re able to generate that kind of revenue in just 30 days. We were mentioning kind of teasing this a little bit earlier about how the product that you ended up selling was nothing, not necessarily nothing related, but it wasn’t a board, right? Talk to us a little bit more about the product, and how did you discover the product?
Adrian: How I honestly discovered the product is I watched the Packers football last game of the season. They lost. I don’t watch news. I don’t have cable. I was at my grandparent’s place, and then when they flipped the news it was all the talk about the Women’s March. My brand Kick Push Skate is actually probably more liberal in the audience. One thing I noticed was that everyone was wearing these pink beanies with cat ears on them, so that’s exactly how I got the idea. Maybe an hour later I was like, “You know what? This would really fit in my audience.” Yes, it’s not a board. My audience, again, it’s that active leaning towards the liberal side of an audience, and this might be a product. I had no idea what would happen.
The first thing I did is I researched people on Etsy who were hand-making or crocheting beanies not necessarily that had ears on them, but I asked to see if they could make them. Then I actually hit up my aunt who is an expert crocheter, knitter, sewer, she does it all, and I think within maybe three hours later I had commitments from the people I hit up on Etsy, and then my aunt like, “Yeah, we could do it.” Little did I know or they know that were going to be making hundreds and hundreds of beanies. I set up I think I had six beanies, and I created a collection on Shopify. It was like 10 p.m. that night, and I created just one guru campaign with 10 keywords.
When I’m talking about keywords I want to point out something very important having done AdWords for a very long time a lot of people talk about keywords, but what’s more important is user intent, so the intent of someone that types in the keyword is more important than maybe essentially what that keyword says. For example, how would I distinguish people that actually wanted to buy a pink beanie in support of the Women’s March versus just learn about the Women’s March, so if you just type in “pink beanie” that could be someone typing that could have thousands of different reasons why they’re doing it. They’re window shopping, and more importantly there’s no way to know for certain that they’re typing pink beanie because of the Women’s March.
If you have a keyword that is a lot more longer tail phrases like “pink beanie from Women’s March,” “Women’s March pink beanie,” “Women’s pink beanie,” “DC,” things of that nature from the big march than that’s qualifying from the user intent perspective that these people they’re looking to either learn or to shop about a pink beanie, so I know if I spend money on that I have a better chance of that person actually buying something, so I was very particular with my keywords.
Another big point on AdWords where people waste a lot of money is they don’t spend enough time in negative keywords. Negative keywords for those who don’t know are keywords that if someone types in a phrase with your product, and they also include a keyword that maybe is irrelevant or makes your product clearly defines them as a window shopper versus a buyer than your ad will not appear. Doing ads without negative keywords is just wasting money, so I had my 10 keywords, but I probably had maybe 30 different negative keywords. Again, this was all a hunch that night. I had no idea that I would wake up with $300 in sales the next day, but I knew from my previous experience of doing AdWords that this was maybe a good test run to see what would happen.
Felix: Now you took to Google immediately for this. There is a lot of, I guess, focus in the entrepreneur eCommerce industry nowadays on Facebook ads. What made you choose between Google versus Facebook in this particular incidence?
Adrian: Great question. I think Google is a safer place for me to start, especially, if you think of this whole pink beanie experiment it was almost completely different from the boards, so I essentially had little to nothing on data. I always like to explain Google versus Facebook in this regard like Google is the best like psychic in the world, and it understands our behaviors, so I’m targeting on a trend, which is a behavior to want to go and buy something, so it made more sense to do that versus I could on Facebook I like to call Facebook the best stalker in the world that knows all the things about you, places you go and like, and things of that nature, so I could target someone who was part of the Women’s March on Facebook, but I had no way to distinguish if that person maybe already bought a beanie at the time.
Now Facebook Pixel, which is probably the number one way why I was able to scale so fast, and just for those people who don’t know what Facebook Pixel is think of it like a vacuum, so the more data that your Facebook Pixel has then the more effective your ads will be. Facebook Pixel is like a conversion piece of code that allows you to target more people at Facebook will try to optimize your ad for your conversion, or whatever your goal or campaign goal is. It’s a really amazing tool to have, but if you don’t have much data it’s a lot like guessing. Again, you don’t know if that person has already maybe purchased your product at first. I can target the right person I’m thinking of, but I had no idea if they were actually looking to buy my product at the time, so I thought that’s why Google was a better place to start because I could target user intent.
Someone is going on Google and they’re looking to buy my product, and they’re going to search one of these 10 phrases of “Women’s pink hat with ears,” “Pink hat with ears for the Women’s March.” Someone that’s doing that it’s very obvious there’s little variation to know that they actually do want to make that purchase. I woke up the next day I had $300 in sales, and then I set up some A/B tests. I think I created four or five ads then on Google, and then I think that first week I had over $5,000 in sales. Again, this was all from Google at first.
Felix: Now for a brand new site a site that doesn’t have much traffic, therefore, not a lot of data do you typically want to start on Google to drive the traffic so then you can collect the pixel data for Facebook for targeting later? Is that the approach that you typically take?
Adrian: I would say yes. That is the approach that I typically take. There are instances where I’ll do differently, and I think it all comes down to what you know about your product and service. Do you have a better understanding of the exact person you’re targeting than maybe Facebook will be better starting out. Do you understand more about the behaviors when someone is looking for a product what they’re typing in, what they’re thinking, what are the phrases you’re going to look up to make your purchase than maybe Google is a better place to start out. I think Facebook right now is a lot more cost-effective than Google. I don’t know if that’s always going to be the case. The marketing digital world changes all the time.
I talk to people who were using GoogleAds when they first started, and they were getting like pennies on the dollar to acquire people. The average customer acquisition cost on Google throughout that first three days it was like around $3, so $3 to get someone to buy a beanie that ranged from $11 to $33, so that’s a bet that I’ll take every single day of the week, but I just knew at first that if I collected information and data from Google, and I accumulated that and I had all the conversion infrastructure from Facebook and all the other tools I would get to a point where now instead of, quote, unquote “guessing” marketing I can use that data from Facebook to create look alike audiences based on orders, and then use that to create campaigns, and I’d be much better off at converting people right away on Facebook. I could have done it before, but maybe it would have been more costly to acquire customers at the beginning.
Felix: Right, I guess it comes down to what you know about your business, about your industry, about your customers, and then what you need next. In your case you knew what kind of keywords expressed intent. You knew what to go after, so you started there first, which then gave you to the data you needed to then eventually scale up, and maybe a more cost-effective way on Facebook, so I think what you’re saying makes a lot of sense. Starting from one or the other it depends on your current situation, what you know, and where you want to go next. I think this approach, obviously, worked out for you because it generated all of this revenue. Were you concerned about offering a product that was different from your core product even though the targeted customer was the same?
Adrian: I think after the first day I kind of thought I had $300 in sales selling pink beanies completely unrelated to the core of Kick Push Skate. I didn’t know at the time thinking is this a bad thing to offer this product, but then I kind of had to think more of what is, again, the brand and the lifestyle of Kick Push Skate in general. Would this offend people? Does this change what Kick Push Skate is? I think really at the end of it because this is a side project I took it more as a learning opportunity from an experimental standpoint. One thing I forgot to mention is after I saw the news of the political trend I went on Google Trends and I searched, and it was a spike like Mount Everest. That I think it made sense to utilize I think the brand of Kick Push Skate. I don’t think it was too far from kind of that hipster liberal brand that it didn’t make sense. It wasn’t too far of a stretch.
I didn’t know for certain at first, but I think if you just look at the data points people who bought pink beanies they also bought other products on the site too, and vice versa. There was people that were coming in from the skater brand, but then seeing our campaign promoted through retargeting they made purchases of that, too. I don’t know if I had the foresight to say, “Oh, yeah, this is going to make perfect sense,” but I think I just took the risk and said, “Why not? Why not try and see what happens.”
Felix: Right, that makes a lot of sense. You don’t want too much time thinking about things especially when you’re just getting started. You just have to get in there, take action, and experiment. Now if you are to take this experiment as you called it beyond an experiment and turn it into more of a brand a full-fledged company what would your next move be because the name, the brand is Kick Push Skate people immediately even before I visited your website immediately expect a specific type of product to be offered. When you go to the site there’s a lot of beanies on display, of course.
Where do you want to go next? Does that mean that you changed the name of the brand the branding to match more of, I guess, a broader lifestyle? Does it mean you want to focus back on skateboards or longboards or penny boards? What direction would you take next if you were to go beyond this? The reason why I’m asking is because this happens a lot to entrepreneurs where they get started for the first time they have an idea of what’s going to be successful and then something comes along that becomes more successful, but might lead to some kind of, I guess, dissonance between the original idea, the original brand, and what’s actually selling, and they’re kind of stuck on this crossroads do I continue to push with what my original idea was, or go down this avenue that seems to be more successful?
Adrian: That’s a great question. I think the biggest thing with this project is to stay flexible and adaptable without messing up the integrity of Kick Push Skate. You’re right, every entrepreneur will face that at one point. If I look at what does Kick Push Skate look like in months to come, and if it wants to hop on another trend I think where businesses maybe are too conservative stuff happens in the world all the time, good stuff, bad stuff, and as a business we only talk about business things, so it’s actually not okay to have a voice or opinion about certain things, or join certain movements. It’s a risk. It definitely is a risk to do something like this, but I feel like if another movement comes along, and it’s an item that’s relevant to the audience here we’re going to capitalize and we’re going to try it again. At the core we’re always going to sell skateboards, sell penny boards, sell funny, Woody hipster clothing.
We’re always going to do that, but we’re also going to keep an eye out as to what are the next trends that happen in our niche, or maybe in a side niche that we can capitalize on again. I think one thing to note, too, with all the influx of traffic that had such a profound residual effect on all the other types of products that I had, and that’s something that was new to me doing SEO all the influx of traffic, all the new backlinks that were aggregated from other sites that were linking to us, all the influencers who were posting our product, all that, now we’re on the first page. There’s some crazy, competitive skateboard terms. Not today we’re not competing yet with the big-wigs, but this jumped our timeline from concentrating in SEO I think months, absolutely months, so I think that’s a huge benefit that goes unnoticed. I’m glad we took the risk and did it. I think in the long-term this fast-tracked a ton of effort for everything else that we offer back to the core.
Felix: Yeah, I think it goes back to the old adage that any publicity is good publicity just being able to get out there and get that kind of exposure should be good for your business even if in your case it’s not that far off, but even if it’s not for a product that was a part of the original offering getting that kind of press, and those kind of backlinks, and all that attention cannot hurt your business. Thank you so much for your time, Adrian. Kick Push Skate.com is the website. You also run a digital division is it pronounced Unimarketa?
Adrian: Yeah, Unimarketa. A couple of founders are here in Iowa, but most of our clients are across the states. I would say B2B, kind of credit unions, financials, and then everyone else is a kind of one-off, eCommerce is a big portion, of course, but we love doing that. One thing I want to note before we kind of hang up is doing this pink beanie experiment it kind of brought in a new audience and the stories that we heard were really cool. It was cool to donate a portion of the funds back to some of the causes that were being promoted, and that’s kind of the stuff when I created the site in October I never knew something like this would happen, and to be part of it. I’m glad I did, and that’s one thing a lot of people spend a lot time thinking about doing something and sometimes if you just take action and do the risk the rewards are there. The rewards that you can’t even fathom happening will come by just being in the right place at the right time.
Felix: Awesome. Love the message. Sounds like a very exciting journey and I’m excited to see what else you have in store. Thank you, again, so much for your time, Adrian.
Adrian: Thanks for having me, Felix.
Felix: Here’s a sneak peek of what’s in store for the next Shopify Masters episode.
Speaker 4: Just know your lead times for everything, and know where there could be delays.
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