Ashley Armstrong is the expert you need if you want to get clear and specific strategies and techniques you should use to position yourself at the top of the market and drive up your sales at record levels, in no time at all.
As “Chief Business Development Officer,” Ashley Armstrong knows that you don’t enjoy the luxury of time when trying to grow your brand and solidify your name in the market. It’s too competitive for you to afford sitting around waiting for something to happen. Instead, Ashley will guide you to reach the top without wasting any time. She is a proven strategist who deploys equally proven strategies to put their businesses in the position to generate revenues in the hundreds of thousands. She has also handled accounts that generate millions.
How does Ashley Armstrong help you make more money? Thanks to her tried-and-true Sales-Scaling 4P method, she can focus on the things that matter, which is “maximizing your growth” and “exceeding your goals.”
With Ashley Armstrong, you’ll receive branded content that you can upload to your social media profiles. You’ll unlock your hidden growth potential with various training sessions on strategic planning, e-commerce optimization, advertising campaigns, among others. Once you’re done with all that, you’ll be able to create or update your Amazon distribution channel, and reposition and optimize your business for future scaling.
Jerome Knyszewski: Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
Ashley Armstrong: As a woman, becoming a successful eCommerce entrepreneur while raising children was, and is a very delicate balance. I often feel guilt over having to choose a business meeting over a soccer game and I cannot always attend every school event or family dinner but I make it to more than less. However, becoming an eCommerce entrepreneur also gave me so many opportunities I would never have otherwise had! Such as the ability to work from home, the opportunity to work with experts in their fields who have become great friends and mentors, and the chance to provide a wonderful life for my family without having your typical 9–5 job.
I, like most, started small and began selling my children’s book series that I had published. To my surprise, I quickly received a bestseller! This sparked my interest to learn all I could about the eCommerce business as I saw the huge opportunity to have the success I desired, and still be able to be home for my children.
I launched best selling products one after the other, which quickly grew to 7 figure sales, and today, I use all the tricks and secrets I have learned over the years to help other eCommerce companies increase their sales up to 140% and more!
Jerome Knyszewski: What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Ashley Armstrong: Working with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, helping them grow their sales and build their brand names, has shown me that over and over again all entrepreneurs are faced with the same problem when it comes to success…the hidden rules of eCommerce. With the eCommerce business growing daily, competition is fierce, and without the proper knowledge of the hidden rules, most startups will fail within the first year.
In a billion-dollar industry, you would think it would be easy to become successful within it, but with over 2.5 million sellers on Amazon alone, if you do not stand out from the crowd…you will quickly be swallowed up by it.
I saw a trend in why new and existing sellers were losing sales in a market that is growing daily, and I made it my mission to develop a program that actually works to get them seen so they can dominate their competition and increase their conversion rate exponentially!
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you tell us a story about the hard times that you faced when you first started your journey? Did you ever consider giving up? Where did you get the drive to continue even though things were so hard?
Ashley Armstrong: I am sure that many “mompreneurs” can relate to my hard times when starting out. The guilt you feel when you are forced to choose between your family and your business. You know the success of your business will benefit your family in the long run, but that doesn’t make it any easier when working long hours and late nights.
Running your own business, especially at the beginning, can be very hard as you are the brains, heart, and soul of your organization with all responsibilities falling in your lap. From accounting to customer relations, product development to software integrations, you have to learn it all and your time quickly becomes swallowed up leaving little left for the family. This often leads to burnout which is detrimental to your health, business, and family and I know all too well how it can quickly take over your life.
Thankfully, at the times when I was at my lowest and suffering from extreme burnout, I was able to surround myself with a great support system of people who had been there, done that, and had advice and tips to pick me up and help me get organized. I also discovered my “Failure Muscle”, something that you need to flex so you can fail forward and fail fast! Entrepreneurs learn to leverage failure because we practice it a hell of a lot more than everyone else. Failure is an important part of the learning process that you just can’t get away from, so getting good at embracing it is key. Every successful entrepreneur needs a great mentor to help guide them through those rough patches, and a team of people you can rely on to get the job done allowing you to free up time for self-care and family.
Balancing business and family is not always easy, and yes I sure did want to give up at times. I even took a month-long extended break when I just didn’t know what I wanted to do next, but with support, perseverance, flexing my failure muscle, and involving my family in my journey, it allowed me to have the success I desired and maintained a strong family dynamic!
Jerome Knyszewski: So, how are things going today? How did your grit and resilience lead to your eventual success?
Ashley Armstrong: I am very excited about where my journey has led me and today I am able to help even more entrepreneurs find success in eCommerce by teaching them the hidden rules and showing them just how easy it can be to increase their conversion rates and become the successful entrepreneurs they desire to be, by leveraging what they already have! My strategies incorporate many factors but my most recent program offer focuses on Proper Product Positioning for online sales using my secret 3-Step system, which has proven to increase not only my client sales by 140% in less than 60 days with no extra inventory or marketing investment, but my students as well.
My grit and resilience are definitely led by my energy but it was not fully achieved by myself. It was achieved by surrounding myself with successful entrepreneurs and mentors who aligned with my goals and vision. People who are my cheerleaders, who can offer advice, who I can bounce ideas off of, and people who can slow me down and put me back on track if I get going on too much at once.
Success is not a one man…or woman…journey. You need not go it alone and I would not be where I am today without my amazing team!
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
Ashley Armstrong: Before I was manufacturing and selling products online, I manufactured products in my home and sold them locally. I successfully cultivated my own bacteria to make a probiotic drink, and this was over 10 years ago before wholefoods ever got wind of this amazing healthy beverage.
When working with bacteria, if you leave it to ferment too long, the drink can go sour but on one occasion, it didn’t just go sour, it went rancid with an after smell similar to a teenage boy’s dirty socks. My employee at the time didn’t throw it out, and it, unfortunately, got packaged up and sent off to my best client! Needless to say, I got a quick phone call explaining that their house now smells like rotten socks and there is no way they are drinking my drink no matter how healthy it is.
Jerome Knyszewski: Can you share a few examples of tools or software that you think can dramatically empower emerging eCommerce brands to be more effective and more successful?
Ashley Armstrong: Absolutely! One of the best-kept secrets is using usabilityhub.com. The best product developer whether it is physical or digital needs honest feedback and no, your family and friends will not cut it when you are trying to create a real online business. Using a site like this provides you written unbiased feedback about your logo, design, written copy, graphic visuals, etc. You always want to build for the consumer and if you do not have an email list or engaged social following to ask what they like and do not like, what they want or do not want, you can pay for it.
For Amazon, a single tool to truly feel empowered with your online business is helium10.com. It not only pulls keyword data, helps build listings, watching for negative reviews, tracks ranking of your listings and so much more! It’s a one stop tool for Amazon sellers. This tool can even be used for regular ecommerce/shopify sellers if they want to use the data they collected on Amazon for their own site and product listings.
Jerome Knyszewski: As you know, “conversion” means to convert a visit into a sale. In your experience what are the best strategies an eCommerce business should use to increase conversion rates?
Ashley Armstrong: Conversion rates are something every eCommerce seller needs to be aware of, meaning a low conversion equals fewer sales and less profitable income. Increasing conversion rates is my favorite part of this business and in my experience, the number one way to increase rates is by creating engaging and informative product images. No one reads anymore, it’s a fact!
Consumers spend mere seconds looking at your product online, so it is imperative that you grab their attention with high quality, informative infographics. Your product photos are the window to your store just like a brick and mortar storefront window. If there is no information on the window, what will make the consumer come into your store? Every detail of your product must be displayed clearly so that the buyer knows immediately if it is the right product or not.
The customer can’t touch, smell, or try it on through online shopping, so you have to use visuals with arrows and limited text to explain; there is an inside pocket, or a hidden hood, reflector strips, etc., and that is why my most recent project was to solve that problem. An easy to use, drag and drop template system that allows eCommerce sellers to create engaging product infographics without having to hire a graphic designer or be a designer. In 5 minutes a seller can quickly drag and drop their own product images into one of my 175 beautifully designed templates for the top 18 selling categories and upload the new high converting Product Infographic™ images to their listings, so their customer can make their educated buying decision. Thus, boosting sales and conversation rates and limiting returns and negative reviews.
The Hidden Rules Expert — Proper Product Positioning for Explosive Growth program dives deeper into buyer behavior, brand positioning, key messaging, customer retention and more, to double conversion rates using what companies already have, is the best kept secret.
Jerome Knyszewski: Of course, the main way to increase conversion rates is to create a trusted and beloved brand. Can you share a few ways that an eCommerce business can earn a reputation as a trusted and beloved brand?
Ashley Armstrong: Trusted brands earn their reputation by consistently delivering quality goods and services to the consumer. One way to ensure your product is delivering what it is intended to do and reduce product returns, which also increases your positive ratings and conversion rate, is to inform your buyers about every detail regarding your product.
For example, if you are selling a shirt that is available in 3 sizes, be sure to include photos of different sized models wearing your shirt so that the consumer can get a better feel of how the product will fit on someone of their body size. Add close up photos of the material instead of only stating it is cotton or rayon, and use your product infographics to explain the washing instructions, how to use, etc.
By fully informing your consumer, they will be happier with their purchase and are more likely to leave a positive review helping you build a trustworthy brand name! But it doesn’t stop there, you need to bridge the gap from online buying to in-house using. When your product arrives at your customer’s house, the packaging better deliver the same educational and visual information they are seeing on your website or product listing! It’s amazing how many businesses do not care about the customer experience after they purchase and your first introduction is your only introduction…unless you wow them!
Jerome Knyszewski: Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a very successful e-commerce business? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Know your Target Audience
Fully understanding your target audience takes a lot of time and research. It is much more than just knowing your age demographic or consumer local. You must dig deep to understand their wants, needs, and desires. Find out what they love and hate about similar products, what is their buyer behavior? Read reviews, research social media, and stay informed so you can easily pivot to continually attract the right audience to your products! The Hidden Rules Expert — Proper Product Positioning for Explosive Growth program dives into all of this in great detail.
- Research Your Competition
With so many similar products on the marketplace, you must research your competition in order to disqualify them. Discover what their consumers are saying about their products. What do they do right? What do they do wrong? Your competition is not just a competitor, they can also be a window to developing your product features better to suit the target audience!
The old saying, “Don’t put all your eggs into one basket” is a great motto to have for your eCommerce endeavours. Being able to diversify allows you a safety net should one or more of your products not succeed on the marketplace. Consumers needs and wants change with time and you must be able to diversify to match their shopping habits in order to be successful.
- Be Consistent and Protect Your Product
Consistency is key when selling any product or service as your consumers will come to expect a certain level of quality from your store. Should you suddenly lower the quality of fabric per say, your consumers will become frustrated and feel cheated when they make a second or third purchase.
Also, you must protect your products and brand! There are copycats everywhere, be sure to file for copyright protection as it can save you thousands if not millions in lost sales.
- Learn what you are doing but hire an expert to execute, and marketing/advertising is an investment.
It is important to understand the goings on regarding your business, but hiring an expert is key to having your business plans become a success. There is so much information to learn that you cannot expect to handle everything. An expert can lead you down the correct path and allow you to focus on other matters.
Marketing and advertising is an investment that every entrepreneur should plan for. It will allow you to reach your target audience and get you and your product seen. You cannot have sales without being seen so plan on investing, hiring an expert, and allowing time for both to work!
Jerome Knyszewski: How can our readers further follow you online?
Ashley Armstrong: You can find me on the following:
Jerome Knyszewski: This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this!