1856 – Maximizing Website Potential with Matthew Stafford

In this episode of the Thoughtful Entrepreneur, your host Josh Elledge speaks to the CEO & Investor of Build Grow Scale, Matthew Stafford.

Stafford Wide

As the CEO of Build Grow Scale, Matthew and his team are committed to refining the path from a customer's initial website visit to the final purchase or lead submission. Their expertise covers e-commerce, membership programs, lead generation sites, and tech and optimization services.

Matthew shared his knowledge on the tactical side of website optimization, emphasizing the pivotal role of Google Analytics. By utilizing website analytics, Stafford has led e-commerce businesses to significant gains in sales and conversions, demonstrating the transformative impact of data-driven optimization.

One of the most enlightening parts of the conversation revolved around the common gaps in e-commerce. Stafford highlighted the importance of refining the transaction process, especially the cart and checkout experience. His advice to businesses is to work backward from the checkout, ensuring that this critical juncture is as seamless as possible for customers.

Matthew discussed how leveraging webinars and video content can inform and captivate potential clients. This strategy educates and builds rapport with the audience, fostering trust and engagement.

Key Points from the Episode:

  • Introduction of the guest, Matthew Stafford, CEO of Build Grow Scale
  • Overview of Build Grow Scale's focus on optimizing the customer journey for e-commerce and lead generation websites
  • Discussion on website optimization and the tactical aspects of the user journey
  • Emphasis on common gaps in e-commerce and the importance of optimizing the transaction process
  • Insights into educating potential customers, particularly in the context of B2B service providers

About Matthew Stafford:

Matthew Stafford is a versatile entrepreneur with three decades of success in various industries, including construction, e-commerce, and software. As CEO of Build Grow Scale and an equity owner in several e-commerce brands, he has used his expertise to mentor thousands of store owners and help hundreds of brands surpass the million-dollar revenue mark, some even reaching over $10 million.

Known for speaking at e-commerce optimization events for seven years, Matthew's achievements include organizing BGS LIVE, North America's largest e-commerce event pre-COVID-19. Despite external successes, he emphasizes the importance of internal satisfaction and self-worth over material achievements.

Matthew advocates for a balanced approach to entrepreneurship that values personal growth and fulfillment as much as professional success. He shares insights and experiences on platforms like LinkedIn, aiming to inspire others to find inner peace and joy while pursuing their entrepreneurial goals.

About Build Grow Scale:

Build Grow Scale (BGS) is an influential community designed for eCommerce entrepreneurs and physical product sellers seeking to elevate their businesses. Unlike many online marketing companies, BGS offers practical, real-world insights and strategies that are actively used in its operations.

With a portfolio of successful eCommerce brands across various niches and hands-on experience in product manufacturing and logistics through their private shipping and fulfillment company, BGS offers authenticity and expertise. Their educational resources include online courses, certification programs, private workshops, and the annual Build Grow Scale Live conference.

This comprehensive approach ensures members receive theoretical knowledge and actionable advice from seasoned professionals deeply involved in the eCommerce world. BGS's commitment to “doing the stuff” they teach cements their position as a unique and trusted guide in the business education scene.

Tweetable Moments:

04:45 – “If your website isn't simple, easy to understand, and easy to navigate, then it's not very good at conversing, and you just don't have the credibility with your clients that you're looking for.”

08:02 – “One of the greatest ways we've ever figured out to improve is by asking customers on the thank you page what was the one thing that almost made them not buy. This question reveals the friction points they experienced.”

13:44 – “Giving people information without making them jump through hoops just feels nicer. It's like treating someone more like an adult, rather than playing a little game.”

Links Mentioned in this Episode:

Want to learn more? Check out Build Grow Scale website at

Check out Build Grow Scale on LinkedIn at

Check out Build Grow Scale on Twitter at

Check out Build Grow Scale on Facebook at

Check out Build Grow Scale on Instagram at

Check out Matthew Stafford on LinkedIn at

Check out Matthew Stafford on Facebook at

Check out  Matthew Stafford on Instagram at

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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey, thoughtful listener, before we get going, did you know that my company up my influence? Com has launched more than 200 business podcasts. The host of our shows are amazing leaders and collaborators. Folks I want to connect you with. Maybe you deserve your moment in the spotlight as a guest of one of these amazing shows. Just go to up my influence. Com where you can see more than 50 shows that are actively seeking business leader guests like you to celebrate right now in front of their high caliber audiences. Just click on the podcast tab and up my influence. Com where you'll see shows like Experience Focused Leaders Podcast. If you're seeking insights on transforming customer experiences, you can't miss the Experience Focused Leaders podcast with your host, Alex Kovalenko. Alex, the CEO and founder of Relay To, brings his rich background from Stanford MBA, Wharton BSc and the University of Pennsylvania B.A. he's a smart dude, along with his real world experiences of building organizations across global hubs to the forefront of this engaging podcast. Now, each episode is a deep dive into the world of customer centric strategies where Alex and his guests, seasoned business owners and industry veterans, share their invaluable insights.

Josh (00:01:32) - They discuss the latest trends, offer practical advice, and reveal the secrets behind exceptional customer experiences and business growth. Are you a business owner who values customer experience above all? Then this podcast is your go to resource. Better yet, if you've got unique insights and strategies that have helped you stand out in your industry, we'd love to have you as a guest on the show. Share your story with a community that's as passionate about customer experience excellence as you are. Tune in to the Experience Focused Leaders podcast for your weekly dose of inspiration and practical tips. Let's push the boundaries of customer experience together. With us right now it's Matthew Stafford. Matthew, you are an investor and CEO of Build Grow Scale. You were found on the web at build, grow Matthew, thank you so much for joining us.

Matthew (00:02:28) - Thanks for having me.

Josh (00:02:29) - Yeah. So please give us an overview of the work that you do and what is build grow scale.

Speaker 3 (00:02:35) - Yeah. So essentially what we do is we take care of the journey.

Speaker 3 (00:02:39) - When a customer lands on somebody's website all the way till they either fill out the lead form or until they give you money. We deal with a lot of e-commerce and we have an entire membership around that. And then we do like several large lead gen sites where we partner with them and do all the tech and optimization, etc. data and so forth.

Josh (00:03:02) - Yeah., so tactically, what we're talking about is like a lot of user journey, like that whole map, right, that we're talking about. So maybe you could talk a little bit more tactically about, you know, the pieces of your current flow where we get involved would be here, here, here and here.

Speaker 3 (00:03:20) - Yeah. So typically most people have Google Analytics on their site. It's set up wrong. And, they never look at it. Well yeah. What we figured out is owning our own site. And we started digging into that because ads are, you know, a love hate relationship all the time. And so I was trying to find a way to make them not so volatile.

Speaker 3 (00:03:44) - And in that process, about ten years ago, I started looking at the analytics of the site and realized there was a lot of information in there that would help me a lot optimize my site. And when we did that, it literally took off. And so I had several other friends that were in the e-commerce business, and I wanted to make sure that I wasn't struck by lightning. And it worked once. But hey, let's do this on your site and see if it works again. And literally right out of the gate, we took one site that had done 2.75 million in the year before, and in 90 days we had them at an $8.2 million run rate. Well, gosh, 16 million that year. Another one was doing 400,000 a month, and we ended up having them about four and a half months later at 2.7 million as I guy. Right. We're on to something this is worth diving into. And that's just been my journey for the last ten years. Understanding. Just understanding that your website is your conversation with your client.

Speaker 3 (00:04:45) - And if your website isn't simple, easy to understand, easy to navigate, then it's not very good at conversing and you just don't have the,, credibility with them that you're looking for.

Josh (00:04:59) - Yeah, I would imagine then that there are some pretty common gaps that you see frequently. If you were to kind of condense these down into, like, you know, 2 to 3 areas that most ecom leaders or anyone doing business., what would you say are those most common gaps that you see?

Speaker 3 (00:05:22) - Yeah. So for us obviously the transaction itself. So the cart and checkout,, where they're giving you that information is super critical. And it's funny how many people like to get Ahold of us and want us to help them. The first thing they want to do is work on their homepage. And I'm like, well, you're going to pay us a bunch of money. We're going to work on your home page. That might get more people to your category page, but it doesn't necessarily going to turn into a whole lot more sales if the other steps of the journey aren't optimized.

Speaker 3 (00:05:58) - So I would say the very first thing to do is be very counterintuitive and start from the back end and move forward. Because if I fix your checkout in your cart, you're going to start making money immediately because that's always a big spot and that's where the transaction happens. Then go to get more people to add to cart, which would be on your product page, then get more people ability to find your product by fixing the category. And then you do your home page. And by going backwards like that, every step that you do then actually translates into more sales, because all of those other steps between that one and the cart are optimized.

Josh (00:06:36) - Matthew, you're a pro at this. I'm not. So can I ask you about a use case? Since I have you and I love some free therapy on this. So. Do you work often with, say, B2B service providers where generally, like, there's going to be some education that would be part of that process. Right. So they may be a service provider and it may be a little bit unique.

Josh (00:07:00) - So you know they're producing video content or you know, maybe historically they've used like a webinar in order to kind of educate somebody to a point of view or perspective. And then, you know, kind of along that lines as webinar ever, you know, is webinar strategy ever been a part of your client strategy that you've worked with?

Speaker 3 (00:07:20) - Yeah, for sure. That's actually a way to get people to the website. Or if they opt in for the webinar then to, you know, go to a different section on the website. So yeah, absolutely. So we have some physical product partners, you know, their average order value is 3 or 4 grand., you don't make that sale on a click without education. So yeah, we're very good at that. And really I think that's what sets us apart, is that we really are very nuanced in the details, because over the last ten years, we just realized every single time that we can refine the detail, know what they're asking, what their audience, what they look for, the better the site performs.

Speaker 3 (00:08:02) - And one of the greatest ways that we've ever done to figure that out. And I'll share it with you here. And all your audience is on your thank you page. After someone does do business with you, we ask them, what was the one thing that almost made you not buy? Oh, so everybody wants to know what was the thing that made them buy? Well, that's not near as important as what was the one thing that almost made you not buy. And so by asking that question, they will tell you because they just gave you money, they will tell you the friction points that they had. Oh, this wasn't very clear. Oh, I couldn't find this or I couldn't find that. And I will tell you categorically, probably five of our ten biggest wins that are, you know, have been worth more than $1 million each for the store owner. Five of them came from that post-purchase survey,, asking them that question.

Josh (00:08:57) - Yeah. Why is it that. Well, it's kind of a silly question, but, you know, sometimes that feedback that comes in, I would imagine has to be surprising for your client, like, oh, we wouldn't have never thought that.

Speaker 3 (00:09:11) - Yeah, 100%. You know, that's very normal. And this is what we always tell people to a fresh set of eyes on the website is really good, because the way our brain works is as soon as something is repetitive, it basically says, okay, this is going to kill me. I'm going to put it into my subconscious and kind of ignore it, kind of just cruise through that part on autopilot. And so the moment that we look at it with fresh eyes and start picking stuff apart, they're like, oh my God, that's so obvious. I don't know why I didn't see it, because you look at your site every day over and over and over. You've literally already catalogued a whole bunch of that as normal and you don't see it any longer. And so one of the things we realized, we knew that as we were, you know, doing proposals and sharing that, and then we realized, hey, that happens to us, too. After we're on a site for 2 or 3 months, we need to have other people from our team go through and do a critique and refreshing up how we look at it.

Speaker 3 (00:10:13) - And so we started doing that. And again, that just took our service to a whole nother level. And it helps that we have a team, you know, if 30 people 30 plus. So but yeah, yeah, yeah.

Josh (00:10:23) - If I could ask you one more question. Yeah. You can ask me. Yeah. Yeah. So you can just because this is what we're dealing with right now. So I'm getting and in fact I'm getting ready to like we're historically we've offered a concierge level service. We have a couple of hundred clients. Like I love what we do. You know, it's like we have that I want to say on lock, but we're very competent at that user journey and that user flow. And we're getting ready now to expand a lower ticket offering,, which, you know, has the full platform and everything. It's going to be at a much lower price point. The price on our concierge is going up, and now we have like a 497 a month platform. So, you know, again, historically, I love teaching like I love providing value.

Josh (00:11:03) - And here's the debate. Do I require, you know, just like watch this free video, but you gotta give me your email address first. Or do I just say here, watch this video I trust you, like if you like it, you'll take the next step. Should I require that email as entrance like an entrance fee to redeem that value?

Speaker 3 (00:11:22) - Yeah. So this is my opinion.

Josh (00:11:24) - No, I see I'm I'm leaning toward you. It's it feels unconventional to say no, please. I'm all ears.

Speaker 3 (00:11:33) - Yeah. And I'm not even saying that we're great at. Not doing that right now. I'm studying a course called Tiny Worlds, and it's basically it's by Andre Chaperon, who is probably known as by far one of the best email marketers on the planet. Did the,, autoresponder madness. And,, essentially what he talks about is giving people the ability to go from place to place within your world. That all leads back to the same thing that you want them to do, but not make them step through a whole bunch of hoops to do it.

Josh (00:12:04) - Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:12:05) - I mean, because then if they're not ready and they opt in to get that piece of information, it wasn't what they were looking for. They don't have time to look at it right now. And then you've emailed them three more times going, oh, hey, we need this. Then all of a sudden, like, you've changed that relationship forever because you almost have violated it. And if, like you said, if you have that one area on lock and you're not really like, you don't need to recoup a bunch of ad spend, but these are people that are finding your site. Let them get to know, like, and trust you. We looked at ours and what we realized is typically our journey path. Someone has been to our blog three or more times, or read one of the articles,, that we've posted before. They become a customer. And so for us, we just realized like, yeah, like what we do is very highly specialized and it's not the cheapest solution, but we get really, really good results.

Speaker 3 (00:13:01) - And so why not put our money where your mouth is and let people have a lot of the information for free? And then if they want us to help them with that, great. And if they don't, then more power to them. There's plenty of work out there for all of us.

Josh (00:13:14) - Yeah, yeah, I know a lot of folks that listen to the show are kind of in that B2B world and likely have maybe higher ticket type offers. But yeah, I'm with you to, you know, for me not to require an email address feels like I'm just treating someone like a little bit more of an adult rather than, you know, this little game that, you know, like.

Speaker 3 (00:13:32) - I would just say as a friend, like, would you ask if your friend said, hey, I'd love to see that,, checklist that you have? You go, yeah, yeah, just go opt in on the site or we just send it to them.

Josh (00:13:41) - Yeah. I would just say, yeah, here you go.

Josh (00:13:43) - Right.

Speaker 3 (00:13:44) - Exactly. And so yeah, it's not the same. And so yeah, I definitely think that concept of giving them that information without having to make them give you something for it, I just feels nicer.

Josh (00:13:59) - I like that, I like that,, you know, and certainly I think that there could be reason, like if it was a scheduled thing in like some kind of technology where you just like, well, click here to add it to your calendar and. Right, right. Maybe that's sort of a pseudo opt in or something like that. There's probably a way there. Thank you. By the way, I really appreciate that. Matthew., hey, so your website again, it's build grow Let's be kind of on the nose in terms of like who needs to be reaching out to you and, you know, what might they be experiencing and what is kind of, you know, like when they go into your world, like what would you recommend for them?

Speaker 3 (00:14:40) - Yeah.

Speaker 3 (00:14:41) - So, one I would say if you have something that's working, like, I hate when people get Ahold of us, they think we're the magic bullet and like, we're their last chance., that just doesn't create a. Yeah, a great relationship, right? Right from the beginning. So what I would say is a really good client to us,, or a friend is basically they have something that's working and they want to optimize it. They don't understand Google Analytics. And it just switched to Ga4 and all of that. Or you know, maybe their store does 100 grand a month. And,, so it takes them two months to run a test. Well, we're running tests, multiple tests every week on our partner stores. And so we're always sharing what's working. And so we're getting millions of dollars worth of data monthly where they're getting a hundred thousand. And so a lot of times the stuff that we can share with them is basically becomes a best practice. And we know that it'll work all the time.

Speaker 3 (00:15:48) - So I would say you have something that's working, you haven't had a lot of time or you're so good at fulfilling what you do that you're not great at working on your website. Those are the type of people they have a good product, good service, and they just don't really have the knowhow or the technical ability to optimize the customer journey on the website.

Speaker 4 (00:16:09) - You know.

Josh (00:16:10) - When someone goes to your website, build, grow, scale, dot com. Matthew, what should they click on? What should they do?

Speaker 3 (00:16:18) - , they can either go to the contact us and kind of give us a feel of what they're looking for, or they can book a call. They can for sure get Ahold of me at And,, yeah, we're all very, very easy to get Ahold of. It's not like, you know. Eight steps to get to us.

Josh (00:16:37) - So yeah great again build grow scale. Com Matthew Stafford that's your brand. Thank you so much for the conversation. Thank you so much for the guidance too I really appreciate it.

Matthew (00:16:49) - Yeah. Thank you for having me. Appreciate it.

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