Turning a college hustle into a successful business – with Thomas Smale

This week, Keith sat down with Thomas Smale, the CEO and founder of FE International, a top-ranked global M&A advisor of SaaS, e-commerce & content businesses. He has worked with a number of business acquisitions both before he became founder, and he now specializes in it through FE International.

Smale started the foundation of what is now FE International about 11 years ago while he was a struggling college student. At this time, he was buying domains with his credit card to clean up websites and sell them back to business owners and other consumers for a small profit. This process is what inspired his thriving business today. He oversees a team that uses a similar business model to consult higher-level marketing and SaaS websites.

In this interview with Thomas Smale, you will learn:

  • Smale’s process for scaling your business up successfully
  • Tips on how to maintain credibility and authenticity with your client base
  • The benefits of tracking your customer’s movements early on in the sales funnel
  • How important a strong support team is for keeping clients long-term
  • How to prioritize and delegate as the founder of a company

You can connect with Thomas here:

Rylee Mathis

Rylee Mathis is the Virtual Assistant to CEO of SegMetrics, Keith Perhac. She assists in the curation of DBO content and marketing as well as social media posts and partner outreach for SegMetrics.

5 Advanced Ways to Maximize your RoAS

Once you have followed the generic advice around match types and automated bidding, it’s easy to feel lost about how to further improve your ad campaigns.

Well, here are five methods to kick your ads into high gear:

1) Avoid relying on vulnerable cookies

The 3rd party cookies used by Facebook and Google are increasingly unreliable, due to iOS 14 and ad blockers. You can’t trust you are really seeing the correct amount of visitors and events.

So, verify the data with reliable 1st party cookies.

Tools such as Fathom only collect a minimal amount of anonymous data. Others such as SegMetrics record each customer’s full journey by connecting the visitor cookie to their contact ID.

2) Optimize for sales using Offline Conversions

Google and Facebook both support “Offline Conversions”. It is designed for uploading conversion data about purchases made in physical stores, but it is also ideal for purchase events such as:

  • When sales happen after a long email funnel
  • Deals closed on a sales or demo call 
  • Conversion from trial to paid subscription
  • Payments that are collected on a separate website
  • Sales outside of the 7-day attribution window

You can manually upload this conversion data each week using CSVs, or you can automate the process with SegMetrics’s Conversion Feeder. It feeds conversion data to the advertising AIs, without being impacted by iOS 14.

3) Separate funnels for different lead types

Let’s say you have two ads, one that will appeal to newbies and one that addresses a pain point of experienced folk. Visitors download a lead magnet and enter your email sequence.

No information can be ideal for both of these groups. Yet they are usually all poured into the same sequence. It would be better to build out different content variations instead.

Experiment with sending your leads into different funnels based on:

  • Decision making stage 
  • First time buyers or switching from competitors
  • Pain point that attracted them
  • Company size/industry
  • Demographics such as age or parent status

That way you can send information specific to them, instead of trying to have mass appeal with each message.

4) Measure success using LTV, not small events

Measuring success with PDF downloads or trial signups isn’t good enough.

To make the most of your ad spend you need to see where your big spenders came from. Whether it’s leads that turned into customers, trial signups that became paying subscribers, or customers that become repeat buyers.

The attribution from ad platforms hides the fact that leads aren’t converting into customers at an equal rate. SegMetrics users find that there’s as much as a 3x variation in the LTV of leads from different campaigns, with some “successful” campaigns actually wasting their money.

There is a range of tools (such as SegMetrics) that will track customer journeys from ad click to repeat purchases, so stop measuring success through proxy metrics.

5) Test upsell combinations and strategies

Boosting the average order value (AOV) is a great way to get the most from your ad clicks.

So, go ahead and run an A/B test on your upsell. Or if you don’t have an upsell, test a new strategy for promoting follow-up purchase. You could try:

  • An upsell vs a downsell
  • A delayed “next purchase” suggestion
  • Other complimentary products
  • Offers exclusive to existing customers

Of course, you will ideally want to see whether people from different ad campaigns work best with different upsells instead of treating them as one uniform group of people. You could do this using the tags in your email platform, or with a few clicks using SegMetrics.

Rylee Mathis

Rylee Mathis is the Virtual Assistant to CEO of SegMetrics, Keith Perhac. She assists in the curation of DBO content and marketing as well as social media posts and partner outreach for SegMetrics.

Stop Training Your Ad Campaigns With Second Rate Data

Ad platform automations are great… if you’re an E-comm expecting visitors to buy immediately.

Everyone else is left training the AIs using weak secondary indicators of success. You end up training the AI to send people who show interest, but who might not ever spend money.

By default, Facebook and Google can only measure basic website events, in a very limited time frame, as goals. But with SegMetric’s Offline Conversion integrations you can now send through a wide range of actions over a longer time frame back to the ad platforms.

Think of it as busting the conversion window wide open.

With SegMetrics’ conversion tracking, you can track activity both offline or online, over days, weeks or months. All of this is connected back to the ads that attracted them, then sent back to Google and Facebook to help optimize your campaigns.

Set it up once, and instantly start improving the targeting of your ads.

What are “offline conversions”?

Offline conversion tracking is a way of reporting back on sales that the Facebook & Google Pixels aren’t able to detect. It is great for situations such as:

  • Payment transactions happen on a separate site
  • Deals are closed via sales calls and paid directly
  • Trial completion payments are taken automatically
  • Purchases made beyond the Facebook’s 7-day attribution window

SegMetrics handles it all automatically, with no uploading of CSVs or data exporting required.

How does SegMetrics measure offline conversions?

Once users have connected their ad platforms, email system and payment processor, SegMetrics will join all your customer data together into a single customer journey.

If visitors come through an ad and make a purchase, you will be able to see their full customer journey. It doesn’t matter if there was an email funnel in between or a series of demos, SegMetrics will have the data. It is this sales data that SegMetrics sends back to the ad platform.

That way you can optimize for revenue at any stage of your funnel, plus improve your ad performance.

For more information check out our documentation:
Facebook offline conversions
Google offline conversions

Start Optimizing Your Ads Today!

Get started with two easy steps:

  1. From your Integrations Page, click the Settings button, and choose Setup Ad Tracking

  1. Follow the instructions above, choose your conversion pixel, and then click Save

That’s it! Your conversion data will be synced daily to Google and Facebook, improving your ad attribution and targeting automatically!

Rylee Mathis

Rylee Mathis is the Virtual Assistant to CEO of SegMetrics, Keith Perhac. She assists in the curation of DBO content and marketing as well as social media posts and partner outreach for SegMetrics.

How eCommerce Marketers Restore Their Profit Margins with SegMetrics

Ecommerce is brutal. Between climbing ad costs and narrowing profit margins, it keeps getting harder to turn a profit.

Facebook and Google might report a profitable return on ad spend (RoAS), but that doesn’t always translate into a bulging bank account. The source of your revenue ends up being a mystery, with both platforms taking credit for conversions, while lots of sales just appear from (direct). 

We’ll show you the blindspots that Google and Facebook gloss over, and how SegMetrics can bolster your profits.

1) Revenue data that matches your bank account

Most ad marketing tools can only look at the orders that have been placed. Because they focus on events rather than true connections, they can’t tell if an order was later canceled, unfulfilled or refunded. Plus, they might only report on sales that originated from their ads or emails.

What marketers need is a tool where a report showing $90k this month actually means $90k in the bank.

That way the task becomes to take that total and look at where each dollar came from. It might be a returning customer, a referral or an ad click, but it means you are using an accurate figure as your starting point.

With SegMetrics, you will finally get true sales reporting.

All the ad and customer data is connected to your payment provider. Even if a transaction happened offline, such as a recurring subscription payment or phone sale, it will be in your system. SegMetrics’ algorithm is able to connect those purchases back to the contacts and lead sources that brought them in — no matter where they came from.

The SegMetrics Way #1: Just authorize the integrations

You don’t need to mess around with a pile of code and custom triggers with SegMetrics. Just authorize the integrations for your tools and your revenue report will be right there waiting for you, ready to compare in different groups or criteria.

2) Find where your repeat customers came from

Big spenders are the lifeblood of any ecommerce. In fact, according to the Adobe Digital Index report:

“40% of revenue comes from returning or repeat purchasers, who represent only 8% of all visitors”

 Additionally, marketers must bring in 5 new customers to equal the revenue of 1 repeat purchaser.

Yet marketers are used to looking at isolated orders. The lack of easy lifetime value (LTV) data for lead sources has made it a blindspot when measuring if a campaign was successful. Ads are viewed as successful if they bring in immediate orders and that’s all.

That changes with SegMetrics.

With multi-purchase attribution, a customer’s entire purchase history is connected to the ad that attracted them or the emails they’ve received. You can start seeing whether certain campaigns were more likely to bring in valuable repeat buyers or if they were all just one-off buyers.

The SegMetrics Way #2: Compare how each cohort performs

When looking at longer term data in other tools you usually only get bulk averages. In SegMetrics you can choose how you want to break up the data, such as by the lead source or the product they purchased. That way you can easily compare the lifetime value of different groups.

3) See where your refunds and cancelations came from

Returns are expected for many ecommerce businesses, it’s just part of how it goes. So you might know what percentage of orders ended in refunds, but do you know where those orders came from?

An advantage of tying revenue to sources is you can compare data such as refund rates.

With SegMetrics you can compare the refund rates, revealing if there is a customer source that is particularly flaky. You can also compare how actions such as offering an alternative sizing guide affect the refund rate weeks later.

Your return on ad spend (RoAS) will also account for these metrics. You are able to see your ROI based on collected revenue, not just order value.

The SegMetrics Way #3: Automated refund reports

SegMetrics will tie all the payment transactions, refunds and cancellations back to the contact data, again without any additional code required. You can filter the data by any of the contact data in the Collections Report, to see how much of your sales revenue turned into collected cash.

4) Metrics for testing retention optimization

Maybe you have been wondering whether your customer newsletter really leads to more sales. Or if those past customers who used a sales coupon would have actually bought your new item at the full price.

Tools like email platforms typically only report on whether activities lead to an immediate sale. They are unable to see the impact that they have on behavior weeks or months later.

SegMetrics let’s you perform retention optimization tests and measure the impact on LTV.

You can compare aspects like the revenue from customers who have been through separate email series, or even if customers who received your premium packaging were more likely to buy again.

The SegMetrics Way #4: Analyze your top, middle or bottom of funnel

You can look at the data on any funnel stage in SegMetrics by using the contact tags in your email platform.By filtering and SegMenting the data using contact tags, you can compare details such as how the customer value compares for people going through two completely different funnels.

TL;DR Use SegMetrics to look past short term metrics

By connecting up the data from your ad platforms, email system and payment provider, SegMetrics lets you analyze how your marketing impacts the customer history and collected revenue.

You will be able to dive into details such as:

  1. Report on every dollar of revenue
  2. Find your source of long term customers
  3. Match your marketing to your refunds
  4. Test ideas for optimizing retention

Rylee Mathis

Rylee Mathis is the Virtual Assistant to CEO of SegMetrics, Keith Perhac. She assists in the curation of DBO content and marketing as well as social media posts and partner outreach for SegMetrics.

Seg vs GA: Comparing funnel and website analytics

As a marketer it’s pretty certain you use Google Analytics.

It’s the swiss army knife of marketing tools, used to handle a bunch of tasks to an acceptable degree.

But it’s being stretched past its core functionality, where the underlying tech of cookies and visitor IDs can’t easily cope. 

GA was created in 2005 when Google acquired a software called Urchin. At that point websites were a collection of static pages with online advertising being a new concept. So, all GA had to do was measure:

  • How many people were visiting a website
  • The source that took them to the site

With the growth of online businesses has come a growth in complexity, of the tasks that people are asking of their analytics such as cross-device tracking and complex sales funnels.

So, let’s look at each funnel stage and see where Google Analytics is still a great option and where SegMetrics is needed to maximize your revenue.

Google AnalyticsSegMetrics
UTM dataYesYes
Ad SpendOnly Google AdsYes
Goals completionsYesYes
eCom flowsYesX
Email interactionsXYes
Webinar attendanceXYes
On-site purchasesYesYes
Off-site purchasesIf IntegratedYes
Attribution window30 DaysInfinite
Subscription revenueXYes
Repeat purchases (LTV)XYes
Refund rateXYes
Multi-purchase attributionXYes

GA: Great at Top Of Funnel

Google Analytics is still great for analyzing your top of funnel.

It can measure who is landing on your website and how they navigate it. You can see whether people stick around after reading an article, the checkout stage that’s failing on certain devices or the goal completion rate of different sources.

So it is invaluable for the acquisition and activation stages of the funnel, for analyzing situations such as UI issues and website elements that stop people from buying.

SegMetrics is not designed to capture these details. 

It will record the UTM data and goal completions for people who complete actions like buying a product or downloading a lead magnet, but won’t collect data on people who never join your funnel

SegMetrics: Best for Middle of Funnel

Once a visitor has left the website they are of minimal interest to Google Analytics.

People get moved into an email marketing platform or CRM. These silos will ignore the context, rarely collecting context such as their original source / medium or the lead magnet that drew them to the mailing list.

GA will only be able to tell you that someone joined a funnel, with no way to see which visitors progressed through your email sequence or MOF activities.

SegMetrics can bridge these data silos.

By using person-based analytics, someone’s top of funnel information and middle of funnel interactions can both be connected to their contact ID.

You can begin to see details such as how prospects from different ad campaigns interact with your email sequence or webinars.

SegMetrics: Best for Bottom of Funnel

Google Analytics was not designed to measure long-term behavior.

It can be set up to measure purchases made on the website with some amount of multi-touch attribution. But, it is weak at tracking whether someone came back to make repeat purchases or maintained their subscription.

This is where SegMetrics excels.

Each person’s transaction history is tied back to their contact ID. Repeat purchases or off-site transactions will all be connected to them, whether they’re months or years later.

It will even record refunds and cancellations, so you can see which groups aren’t converting from a free trial to paid or are sending back items.

SegMetrics: Best for Multi-Purchase Attribution

Google Analytics can tie an individual purchase back to the handful of touchpoints that prompted it within a 30 day window.

But it can’t handle complex sales cycles or compare average lifetime value, while the data is a black box that will often disagree with other platforms.

SegMetrics lets you attribute someone’s lifetime spend back to the original source. SegMetrics users often discover that not all leads are made equal, that some sources or campaigns bring in customers that spend 3-4x times as much over their lifetime.

We call this multi-purchase attribution, the ability to look beyond where an isolated sale came from to see where all of your revenue came from. By connecting it to individual customers, you also avoid conflicting data between silos as you can see exactly where they came from.

Conclusion: Use GA for measuring website interactions and SegMetrics for holistic funnel analysis

We’re not going to say you should abandon Google Analytics. It is still extremely useful, we even still use it ourselves to measure behavior on our own site.

But if you are interested in more than just single immediate purchases, check out SegMetrics.

It can help with a variety of challenges, such as:

  • a long sales cycle from lead magnet download to sale
  • attracting repeat buyers, the 80/20 customers who spend the most
  • seeing where paying subscribers came from not just trial signups

If you are looking to maximize your revenue then grab a 14 Day Free Trial. It can import your historic data, so you can get instant insights without having to wait for numbers to flow in.

It also comes with a complimentary Kickoff Call, where one of our consultants will walk through your funnel with you to show you instant answers and help you get to grips with this new style of analytics.

Rylee Mathis

Rylee Mathis is the Virtual Assistant to CEO of SegMetrics, Keith Perhac. She assists in the curation of DBO content and marketing as well as social media posts and partner outreach for SegMetrics.