Linear sales funnels, affiliate marketing and LOTS of top tips – chatting with Nate Lind (episode 163)

Nate Lind is the founder of multiple eCommerce businesses to which he’s driven $100 million in sales. Mainly in the men’s and women’s beauty space.

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About the business

Listen to hear more about Nate’s eCommerce set up

Getting Started

Nate was the vice president of a bank, working a day job while he recovered from being a real estate entrepreneur during the housing market crash of 2008. Eventually he got the itch to get back into doing his own thing, and decided to invest in an eCommerce venture. When his investment began to be under threat of jeopardy, he became more active and began working in that business as well as banking. It grew fast enough and well enough that he was able to leave his banking job and focus entirely on selling products online.

Listen to learn why Nate loved the worldwide sales of eCommerce after coming from the very localized sales of real estate, the lower dependency on big sales, and the automation aspect of eCommerce.

Nate’s eCommerce Businesses

Most of Nate’s eCommerce businesses have been similar in products, all in the vanity-type area. What will give customers value that they’ll want repeatedly? That’s where he started with picking out a product type. It’s easier to have a customer who is on a subscription or a repeat customer than to be selling one-off products that customers have no need to reuse, refill, or consume. So most of his products have been things like supplements, lotions, shampoos, hair oils, and men’s beard oils, that are all consumables.

Contract Formulas

Nate loves the contract formula model. It allows entrepreneurs to test different ideas while keeping their investment low because they aren’t spending a ton of money on custom formulations and large quantities. He’s a big advocate of testing the market with a minimum viable product, then moving on to something that’s more unique that allows you to set yourself apart from your competition.

Contract formulas, sometimes called private label formulas, come from manufacturers who have products on their shelves that they are waiting for a business owner to come ask to sell. The business owner would create their own label, brand, and branding around whatever that product and formula is, without having to go out and do the biochemistry themselves. They use a stock product that has their label on it, and the manufacturer adds all of the necessary requirements for various regulators to make sure it’s compliant. Then it’s the business owner’s product. They are purchasing it from the manufacturer, often for far cheaper than they would be able to buy a custom formula.

Listen to learn how custom formulas can get very expensive.

Linear Sales Funnels

You need to have a really good linear sales funnel. Nate will drive traffic to a funnel that has just one product, perhaps shampoo. Then he’ll offer another product, like the coordinating conditioner. Then he’ll offer a third, such as a complementary soap. That can go on for eight or nine levels, depending on how aggressive your marketing is.

Listen to learn about In-N-Out Burger and how keeping it simple is very effective.

He also splits the information from the customer up between pages. By collecting information such as the customer’s name, email, and phone number on one page, then asking them what they are looking for on another — are they seeking to add volume to their hair? Moisturize it? — then finish with more information on a third page, it creates an effective and gradual conversion process. The customer is not just filling out a long form.

Listen to learn why Nate prefers custom websites for his funnels.

Affiliate Marketing

Nate is also a big fan of affiliate marketing. Powerful affiliates can drive just a crazy scale in terms of volume, and they take a lot of the pressure off of the front end of the marketing. Most really effective affiliates will handle the ad placements on Facebook, Google, or their native sites. They’ll do interruptive-based advertising, or create banners that catch someone’s eye, then pitch your product through an intermediary page that introduces cold traffic to something that’s interesting or specific about your product. That warms the traffic up, and then converts them to your landing page to conclude the sale.

Tips on Affiliates

Managing affiliates can be intimidating and difficult because it’s not worth their time to teach you how to get started. In the beginning, it’s difficult to attract a high-powered affiliate because they could be making money doing something else with someone else who has more experience and a proven track record. As such, Nate is a big fan of using an affiliate network or platform to get started in using affiliates.

You should also be using a fraud detection system such as Kount. Anyone who is selling anything online should be using fraud detection.

Listen to learn how to do your due diligence and legwork to make sure affiliates are compliant with your wishes.

Building Relationships

Nate also recommends building relationships and expanding your network in the eCommerce space. Give people value first, and they will give back in return. Surround yourself with other successful eCommerce entrepreneurs and do everything you can to make them more money. When the idea is just to give, you’re going to get something back too.

Nate’s Current Projects

Having built and grown a successful team that manages more of the day-to-day of his businesses, Nate is now spending his time building his tradeshow and mastermind.

eCommerce Book Top Tip

eCommerce Traffic Top Tip

  • Affiliate Marketing

You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…

Tool Top Tip

  • RoboKiller
  • Pingdom

Listen to learn how Pingdom can help you manage your affiliates.

Growth Top Tip

If you’re not using a linear sales funnel, you need to. If you are using a linear sales funnel, you need to look at adding additional products to it. If you are already using a linear sales funnel with multiple products, you need to do fantastic remarketing and email. If you have customers abandoning the sales process, you should have a reliable outbound sales company calling them and re-engaging them.

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