The following is an excerpt from the eCommerceFuel podcast with Andrew Youderian and Ezra Firestone. Ezra shares his unique story from poker player turned entrepreneur, and how to market a product with messaging. Listen to the full interview here.
I believe you get what you want from people who have it. If you want to run an eCommerce store, you find someone like you - and you learn it from them.
I’ve always had that belief, and held that belief very strongly.
When I decided what to do next, college - there is women there and that looks like fun. But I don’t particularly want anything that the teachers are offering. So I’m going to move to New York and sort things out from there.
I was playing poker for a living an underground clubs. When I was 13 or 14 the poker craze was taking over America. It was all over ESPN and they had these online poker rooms that have now been banned.
It was this big thing that was happening, but I had been playing cards since I was a kid. I had a leg up on everyone because I was doing it for so long. I made my living in New York City playing poker at these underground clubs. Guys like Vinny the limosine, Sunny Francheesy, and Frank Bananas, and Pauly 10 Fingers - all of these were part of these underground clubs.
Long story short that was a degenerate lifestyle. You’re up all night, you sleep all day, you’re under fluorescent lights, there is only a bunch of dudes around - it was not good.
I started looking at another way of supporting myself. I ran into a guy that was making his money as a SEO. This was back in 2005. He was basically generating traffic on the search engines to sell an information product, which was home to become a life coach. This was before coaching had really taken off in the states.
I said, hey man the way you’re doing things is attractive to me. Because you’re working from your laptop. I’d like to learn that. So we made a little deal where I taught him to play poker and he taught me search engine optimization.
And then I ended taking over his company and sort of cutting my teeth on information marketing.
I have all these different businesses. And one thing I understood from the beginning was in order to make a business work you need a couple things.
You need traffic or visibility for whatever it is you’re selling. Be it an information product, a physical product or someone else’s product.
And then once someone knows your product or service exists you need to get them to say yes or take you up on that. That’s conversion, landing page psychology - so how many people see your stuff and buy it.
And then you need repeat sales. Once someone has done business with you, you need them to come back and do business with you again.
I found my way to eCommerce because it was really the business model, I had the most control over. I could really ensure that people who were engaging with me and doing business with me had a good experience. I controlled customer service. I controlled the money. I controlled the product funnel.
It was the business model I felt I could scale the best and be proud of.
The faceless eCommerce store is dying. And you can no longer just list products and expect to do well in a market. You got to add some form of value beyond products to your marketplace.
Any good physical product businesses are content marketers. With BOOM that’s really what it is. We create content on a regular basis that engages our community to is relevant to the topics, conversations, and lives of that community.
We don’t talk so much about our products. You think about Lance Armstrong. When all that scandal was happening, all the cycling websites and blogs were talking about that. Because that was relevant to the community. And then in those posts, they would mention some product they have.
BOOM is a skin care product for baby boomer women who are going through menopause or have gone through menopause.
When we look at marketing, fundamentally my opinion is marketing is talking to people about experiences they are having.
So when you have a group of people who are having what I call a collective experience, like baby boomer women in America. Their bodies are aging on the outside faster than they are on the inside and society is treating them differently as a result.
That is a group of people going through a collective experience. They’re all going through the same thing at the same time. So you can talk to them about that experience and make them offers that are relevant to those experiences and their lives.
With every product, there are similar products. What differentiates what you’re going to be able to sell is your messaging.
And with BOOM we have phenomenal messaging in this particular business. Because we know the experience that our group of people is having and we’re taking to them about that. And then we’re brining up our products and we’re using those products as a way to support the conversation that we’re having - rather than using the conversation as a way to sell the products.
Selling is taking the information someone gives you about themselves and making them a relevant offer based on that information.
It sure is.