Growth Masters Interview Christine Corbin

Christine Corbin

Prepare for an enlightening conversation with the growth master, Christine Corbin, as we dive deep into the world of business expansion, strategy, and success.

1. Can you provide some insight into your background and how you became involved in ecommerce growth?

My background is in corporate fashion. I lived and worked in NYC for years at a variety of womenswear companies and, eventually, I was hired at David Yurman as a project manager on the womenswear team. Through that role I started to be exposed to the company’s marketing strategies, which fascinated me. I started taking on side projects working with smaller-scale ecommerce brands, and, from there, I eventually went freelance. I’ve been self-employed and working with ecommerce fashion and beauty brands for almost four years now.

2. What sparked your interest in helping ecommerce brands achieve significant growth, and what drives your passion in this area?

I’ve always had an interest in sustainability, and I love working with smaller ecommerce brands who are able to maintain more sustainable production and work ethics that bigger brands often can’t (or won’t) do. So - my interest in growth is really about helping the “good guy” smaller brands succeed in a really competitive retail market.

3. Could you share a standout success story where your strategies led to remarkable growth for an ecommerce brand?

I’ve worked with Anthony Lent, a fine jewelry brand, over the last few years helping them get a viable email marketing strategy off the ground. Prior to working together, they had no flows or automations set up, and were sending out occasional campaigns with no real strategy. Since working together, we’ve grown email marketing as a huge revenue sector for them, now accounting for 40% of the brand’s total profits. Over half that revenue comes from the flows I’ve optimized for them - meaning, they’re making hands-off money from an automatic email strategy.

4. In your opinion, what are the key factors that differentiate successful ecommerce growth strategies from those that fall short?

I encourage brands to focus on the basics before starting on complicated (and expensive!) bells and whistles. In practice, this means ensuring the site is technically solid and well-optimized to convert; that email marketing is set up as a key nurture channel; and that there’s a brand-aligned content strategy in place to help encourage long term organic traffic. Once these pillars are in place, we can build from there. I see many brands trying to achieve growth via expensive paid ads, but they’re basically paying to send eyeballs to a poorly-optimized site that doesn’t encourage people to buy. You have to start with the basics and build from there.

5. How do you approach developing a comprehensive growth strategy that aligns with an ecommerce brand's unique goals and challenges?

I love to focus on storytelling as a key marketing strategy, and depending on the product segment - and price point - storytelling needs can vary widely. I always love to hear what a brand is doing that makes them different from their competitors: what can we bring to the table that no one else can? A strategy develops from there.

6. Can you discuss the role of data analytics and insights in shaping effective growth strategies for ecommerce brands?

Primary data - information gleaned directly from consumers, like conversion tracking, A/B testing or email analytics - is key. Rather than assuming what will work for a particular brand or audience, it’s so much better to test and change until we land on a winning strategy.

7. What are some common misconceptions about ecommerce brand growth that you've encountered, and how do you address them?

As noted above, I never recommend that brands invest in pay-per-click ads if they aren’t also taking other steps to ensure their site is optimized to sell. I think, in this vein, that SEO is really underrated for ecommerce brands. If you’re focusing only on paid traffic and not thinking about organic traffic, in my opinion, you’re missing out on a huge growth opportunity. I try to address this misconception by educating clients (and anyone else who’s interested!) on SEO via my newsletter.

8. How do you navigate the balance between short-term revenue boosts and sustainable, long-term growth for ecommerce brands?

In email marketing, this balance can look like a focus on really eye-catching day-to-day campaign content, while also continuously optimizing in the long term with flows that convert behind the scenes. This can also look like a balance between great social content (to grab immediate traffic) and longer-form web content (to grab longterm organic traffic).

9. When working with ecommerce brands, how do you tailor your approach to accommodate different industries, like fashion, jewellery or self-care?

As mentioned above, storytelling is key. Marketing communication cadences also vary hugely between industries: for example, a fine jewelry client is going to have an entirely different email marketing cadence than a lower-price womenswear brand. And that’s okay! Competitor research can be really helpful here.

10. What's your perspective on the interplay between user experience and ecommerce growth, and how do you optimize both?

Growth is really challenging without a good on-site user experience. I think this goes back to the idea of focusing on the basics: if you want to drive more traffic to your site, you need to be prepared with a site that’s super friendly to new customers. This looks like ensuring a top-notch technical experience, combined with really intuitive site design and great storytelling about what sets the brand’s products apart. Really, optimizing for growth is the same thing as optimizing for user experience.

11. How do you stay ahead of evolving digital marketing trends and algorithms to ensure continuous growth for your clients?

I consider R&D a critical part of my job. If I’m going to be of use to my clients, I need to have an understanding of new trends, platform updates, etc. I spend a lot of time reading industry reports, marketing sites and other ecommerce newsletters to keep my finger on the pulse. Often, the smaller brands I’m working with don’t have an unlimited budget for R&D, so it’s about helping them determine which trends they should strategically invest in.

12. Can you discuss the significance of customer feedback and insights in shaping successful ecommerce growth initiatives?

Again: primary data is key. I always encourage clients to ask for product reviews as a standard part of the sales process, and to utilize UGC whenever possible. Soliciting feedback helps build loyalty with existing customers, and provides amazing social proof that helps convert new shoppers.

13. Finally, what advice would you offer to ecommerce brands looking to embark on a journey of significant growth and expansion?

Get back to the basics to make sure your site is as primed as possible to handle high sales volumes. This could involve completing a conversion rate optimization audit, bringing on a developer to help with any technical snags, and/or refining your app stack to make sure you’re best meeting customer needs. From there, remember: don’t focus solely on paid ads; you also always want to be investing in content that helps gain long term organic traffic.

Conversion Carnival Pass 🎉

🎡 Welcome to the Conversion Carnival Club! 🍿 Sign up now to enjoy the show. We'll notify you as soon as a new interview is under the big top!