Published in Authority Magazine, August 26, 2022
As a part of our series called “The Top 5 Ways To Market,Advertise & Promote An Ecommerce Business Today,” we had the pleasure of interviewing Lindsay Custer.
Lindsay Custer is the E-commerce Account Executive at Tipping Point Communications. She works with multiple clients to develop and oversee their ecommerce-focused digital marketing strategies. With over 17 years of professional experience, her background as a designer allows her to bring creativity to problems, while her experience in marketing allows her to create and execute actionable plans. While not at work, you can find Lindsay on her mountain bike enjoying nature.
Thank you so much for your time! I know that you’re super busy. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
From a young age I always loved to create and build.The process of starting with a blank slate and building an object that is useful or even just beautiful has always given me much happiness. This led to a degree in graphic design. And while my love for design was strong, I always felt like a piece was missing. I often would ask the bigger questions: why, when, who? Those burning questions led me to really dig into marketing. While working at a marketing agency, the owner asked if I would want to help start a new E-commerce business. The thought of building something new was very exciting to me, so I dove in, and along the way found my love for E-commerce. It is the best mix of everything I love in life: great products, good design, and building something that lasts. Eventually I wanted to help others also succeed, so I moved to Tipping Point, where I am able to support multiple brands.
Can you share the most exciting story that has happened to you since you began at your company?
Soon after starting at Tipping Point, I was able to help a new clothing brand client plan and execute a new SMS strategy. This client was unaware of the effectiveness of SMS. Watching their list grow quickly and produce great numbers for their business was exciting. I will always be happy and excited when I am able to help another business and person be successful!
What’s the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson did you learn from that?
While not funny at the time, and I am sure everyone has done this, I once lost several hours worth of work. I was working hard, lost in the intensity of the project, and failed to save. And then my computer crashed! I do believe that the project was actual better after re-creating it.Which taught me two important lessons:
1: Save, save, and save again. 2: Don’t be afraid to start over.
Often if I am working and not getting anywhere productive, I will walk away fora while and come back to a blank piece of paper to start fresh.
What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?
I am currently diving into new business development.This is a new area for me to explore and utilize a very different part of my skillset.But I am welcoming the challenge and am eager to jump in and see what I can bring to the table. The hope is to help as many E-commerce brands be successful as possible!
You’re a successful business leader. What are three traits about yourself that you feel helped fuel your success? Can you share a story or example for each?
1: Creativity: Since my career started as a designer, I always look at marketing and E-commerce through a creative lens. In my opinion, good creative sells. A brand that is built on good creative is one that people are attracted to which in turn instills confidence that they are buying a product they can trust.
2: Love of learning: Early on in my career, I was asked if I could redesign a company website. Without hesitation I said that I would learn! I buckled down and taught myself HTML andCSS, and hand coded my first website. The belief that nothing is too hard for me to learn has greatly helped my success.
3: Listening: I thrive on really listening and understanding others. Whether it is a client oran employee, I believe the best relationships are made when you listen to understand. I once had a direct report who I felt was not living up to their abilities. I found they were overthinking almost every task. By ensuring we had regular, quality 1on1 time to just talk through anything they desired, I found that it gave them the confidence to make decisions and be productive and successful.
Awesome, thanks so much for sharing that. I want to shift gears and talk about E-commerce. In my work, I focus on improving shopper engagement, soI’m very passionate about this topic. As you know, mobile has taken center stage in terms of how people are engaging and transacting with eCommerce stores—leading a lot of stores to lean into mobile-first shopping experiences like mobile apps. Can you help articulate a few reasons why an eCommerce business should consider creating its own mobile app?
As we all are aware, over half of all purchases aren ow made using a mobile device and this number is only growing. While a mobile-optimized site is a must, once someone closes a web browser, they may never return to your site. And the “browse abandon” emails you send often get lost in their inbox.
Apps are already becoming the preferred shopping experience for most customers. They are faster, easier to use, and most importantly, easy to access. Push notifications keep you top of mind, a personalized shopping experience keeps them engaged, and saved settings allows for a painless and smooth shopping experience. These features in turn, create high average order values, lower abandoned cart rates, and higher conversion rates.
The cost of paid ads is at an all-time high. What are some alternative strategies to reach your target consumers that don’t involve paying a third party like Facebook and Instagram?
Organic social is still king when it comes to reaching your target audience. And while posting regular, high-quality content can reach your target audience, collaborating with other like-minded brands and working with brand ambassadors are both ways to increase your reach even further on social media.
Another alternative is to create a referral program.A referral program allows you to incentivize your already loyal customers to recommend your products to their friends and families. Research shows that a potential customer is more likely to buy a product if it is highly recommended by someone they know.
And certainly not last, optimize your site for SEO.Yes, it does take time and possibly some expertise. However, when done correctly, SEO can set you up for long-term success.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are your“Top 5 Ways To Market, Advertise & Promote An Ecommerce Business Today?”Please share a story or an example for each.
1: Delight your customer: I am a big believer that this is the best way to promote your product. Give your customers a brand they connect to, a good product they love and need, and an amazing customer experience, and your customers will do the marketing for you! They will wear, tell, and show this product to all.
2: Paid ads: While they are getting more expensive and harder to reach your target audience, paid ads are still king when it comes to driving your brand forward. A/B testing audiences and creative is becoming more and more necessary as the landscape becomes cluttered. Brands will have the most success are those willing to produce high-quality content and continually test new audiences and creative until they find what converts. I clearly remember one brand that was converting at low levels. Through testing the same creative on multiple audiences, we were able to find an audience that converted 2x better than the rest!
3: Collaborations:Partnering with brands who have shared audiences can create a win-win for you both! In my first Ecommerce role, I was able to partner with a brand to supply a supplemental product that was listed directly on their site. The brand we partnered with had a much larger organic and social reach. We were able to provide their customers with a product they needed but that they didn’t want to produce themselves, and their marketing efforts turned into instant sales for us!
4: Email/SMS: WhileSMS is slowly overtaking email as the most effective way to reach your customers in some markets, email still has a very high conversion rate.Together, they are one of the most cost-effective ways to convert new and current customers. While ads are often introducing your brand to a cold audience, your email and SMS is going to a warm audience, and therefore more likely to convert. Be thoughtful in how you set up your flows and campaigns to communicate the best message, at the best time, to the correct audience for optimal results. Not every message needs to be sent to every customer. As inboxes become more cluttered, personalization in messaging is becoming more and more critical.
5: Organic:TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, website SEO: the list of tools to organically promote your business may seem overwhelming today. But it is still the best way to set up your business for long-term success. Most know the value of good website SEO, but recent research shows that customers are using TikTok and other social media as a search engine. This audience is often distrustful ofGoogle and feel as though the results they receive on TikTok are more organic and curated to their likes. When creating your organic marketing strategy, one size does not fit all. What social media platform is your target audience on?Are they most likely to find you through Tiktok or through SERPs? Cater your strategy to meet your customer where they are online.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
Finding alternate ways of commuting to work is an area that I am passionate about. With gas prices high and traffic that is only getting more congested as in-office work returns, it has never been a better time to find a more economical and healthier way to commute. My dream would be to create walkable, bike-able cities with public transportation that can fill in the gaps. The fact is that most people do not feel safe to walk or ride their bikes. Sidewalks, bike lanes, and infrastructure is all severely lacking along with education. My goal would be to create a healthier, happier, community of commuters.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Follow Tipping Point Communications on Instagram@tipping.point.x to see the amazing work we are doing!
I want to thank you so much for your time and for sharing your expertise with us. I wish you continued success!