Joe Player is my name marketing and branding is my game. I'm a self taught serial entrepreneur, running my own gigs for the past 20 years I love coming up with marketing stunts that get noticed and gain traction. In the past I've brain stormed with individuals such as Yanik Silver, Joe Polish, Kevin Harrington, all the way to Virgin's Richard Branson. Go ahead, ask me anything in the different areas of expertise I have listed below. Some of it is business stuff, some of it might be lifestyle oriented. Some of it is financial or travel. Whatever that is listed below means I've done it and therefore I can confidently guide you with my hands on experience in that specific topic. However if your just looking for someone to bounce ideas off of that's fine too, I'm all in for that, I love brainstorming sessions with like minded entrepreneurs, I'll give you my honest opinion and share any ideas I might have. I'm also available for weekly accountability calls in case you need someone to keep you on track and be there for moral support. (business can get rough sometimes, not a bad thing to have someone to talk to that understands). That's it, just ask me I'll catch up with you on the phone! Joe I'm sure you're wondering so here's the answer: I'm currently generating upwards to US$310k/month just from my ecommerce business while living the beach life in Mexico. I'm living the lifestyle everyone else is trying to sell. You have access to the real deal here and there's a price price tag attached to it.
I have many years experience into ecommerce and with various platforms. I currently run 1 Yahoo store, 4 Volusion stores, 1 1shoppingcart store and another one on an old old platform that I won't even mention because it's no longer supported or offered to the public. That said it's should be clear to you that Volusion is my personal favorite. Keep in mind It doesn't matter which platform you choose they all have a learning curve and their own limitations. You'll need to invest time into learning all the in's and out's of the system. I have looked into shopify in the early days and found it very limited but i'm sure it's a whole lot better now. Big Commerce I looked into as well and it looked interesting but figured was already stretched out enough on different platforms that I decided I'd go with Volusion again. The things I like about Volusion is they have great live support and their support database is also well documented and up to date. Once you get to understand the system which isn't very hard and they've made it much more user friendly throughout the years it get's easy to make updates and change things around. Their built in SEO friendly system is also easy to work with. That being said, each plattform have their limitations so you'll really need to write down the main features you can't live without and make sure the platform offers it. Here's one example: We do "buy 3 get 1 free" on many of our products, however this type of feature isn't possible on volusion, so we found a work around and came up with "Buy 4 for the price of 3". Same thing you'll say but not really, customer needs to enter 4 units in their cart in order to get the discount rather than 3 so on a marketing perspective "buy 3 get 1 free" is a better seller. This is one of the things we had to live with.
I ran a successful 28 day campaign with a goal of $40k, although I suggest you get all your work done (press release content, etc) in advance and have you press contacts, bloggers, socialites etc inline prior to your launch. I would however wait for your first wave of donations to come in what we call your love money from friends and family before reaching out to any media. You don't want to be knocking on peoples door with $40 in donations to show on your profile. Remember that people attract people. My opinion is you should have reached at least 20% of your goal before reaching out to the media. If you are raising capital for a physical product and you have prototypes available, I would in that case send those prototypes to socialites to review a week prior to your launch. This will give them time to review your product and write up something about it if they like it.