Starting Out In Ecom
Marketing For E-com stores (not drop shippers)
Firstly - only read this if you are starting out in e-commerce and have your own product, not a drop-shipped product.
Secondly - I assume you have a website that is at least half decent, if you aren't sure then go get a free website audit here then come back and finish reading this.
Now that that is out of the way, what is starting out in e-commerce? Less than 5k a month. Profit.
What will you get out of this blog?
A blueprint that works now, in 2019, to get you to that 5k/month point and beyond.
“How can you say that when you have no idea what my business is” I hear you asking through the screen. Well, there are some core facts about marketing that many businesses either forget, neglect or ignore.
Processes - how your business runs, do you create a product just in time, or bulk? Do you outsource and what are your timelines?
Audience - your real audience, not the people who see you, but the people who buy from you.
Sell - most people skip here. But this should be the last thing you do.
For you to have an e-commerce store you need to have a product, and for you to sell that product you need to know how much it costs to ship, how quickly you can ship and that you aren’t going to get it back because it didn't do what it was supposed to do.
To scale your business you need to be able to fulfil the demand placed on your business by having more customers. At EKOH we have seen clients get weeks behind on orders because they weren't ready to double sales in a month. We’ve seen companies sell so much stock that they had people calling up from 3 months ago to cancel because they still haven't received their product. More sales is not always the answer.
What is your production capacity, realistically? How long will that take to grow? Who needs to be involved with that, and what impact will that have on current orders?
Let us pretend that Judy has come to us with her e-com store that she started up after several friends said she should sell her earrings online.
She tells us this started as a hobby but she feels it could grow and would like to pursue that.
She can currently make about 20 earrings a day and sells them for $30 each.
It costs her between $1-4 a pair to make.
Now for the fun part, MARKETING!
How much does it cost you to sell the product? Ideally, no more than 40% of the price, less is better obviously but in some industries that is challenging without entering the luxury space which has other costs associated with it due to branding.
Let us do some more math quickly:
Product price: $30
Cost to ship: $7
Marketing cost: $12
These are our ideal minimum viable numbers. If you can ship and sell a product, all costs covered with $11 profit each time then you have something you can scale based on your production capacity.
For big number sale, you sell 100, that's $1,100 in profit. Can you make 100? What about 1,000 or 10,000?
Judy said she can make 20 a day, as a hobby. If she does this every day a week that's 140 a week she can sell and be able to keep up with demand. That is also $1,540 profit a week. She might quit her day job at this point, who knows.
If you have no marketing budget you will have to use organic methods of marketing. I’m not going to go into that here, that is… another story.
How does Judy get a $12 CPA? Well I got there by going $30 x .4 = 12. This is just a good number to keep in mind. In reality, it might be more, it might be less.
This is where the audience comes in.
Finding the right audience can be expensive, time-consuming and frustrating.
For Judy we would talk about her current customers, who they are, where they work, are they married, do they have kids, what are their favourite stores and in their own words, why do they love her product. We would even try and get some video reviews to use later.
The truth here is that Judy has no idea how much it costs to get a sale. But her friends have posted on social media wearing the earrings, let us get them to do an actual post about them.
Here is a crash course in starting out with influencer marketing, one of the cheapest ways to get started:
- Find a similar product and some influencers who like that product.
- Reach out to them and get them to create some content for you and even post to their following to get some traction.
- Record the amount you spend, including the cost to ship to the influencer, the content of the posts, the influencer and date+time of the post.
- Do this with a few influencers and when you find one that works, talk about scaling up.
- With the content you get, use it on your site, write some blog posts about it and use the image in there as well. This content will be your little bag of tricks for now.
Crash course over.
With Judy these were her friends, they were probably happy to do this for free, for some more earrings or a bottle of bubbles.
You may need to spend $100-200 to get strangers to help you if none of your friends and family are willing to help out or are not your target market.
How she has some sales on her site, the Facebook Pixel and Google Analytics are doing their magic and she has some emails from new customers.
Email marketing can easily be used to generate more sales from existing clients.
More on that in another blog.
Now that Judy has some early data she can put some spend behind things, either Facebook(which you really want 2-3k to play with, and loose) or Instagram influencers.
Rinse and repeat with influencer until you can use Facebook.
Once Judy is ready to start out on Facebook we want to make sure she can handle the sales, we talk with her and find out she’s got someone working with her now and she can make close to 200 pairs a week and is probably able to get to 400 without any major issues.
We get some video testimonies, some professional product shots and a model for lifestyle shots.
We compose several videos with different thumbnails and load them into the following ad sets:
- Interest-based 1
- Interest-based 2
- Interest-based 3
- Lookalike of page views
- If there are over 1,000 emails, a lookalike of purchaser emails.
All of these go into a CBO campaign at $100/day and are optimized for purchase.
We set up a special CBO campaign for retargeting with 3 levels:
Viewed page but did not ATC
ATC but did not Initiate checkout
Initiated checkout but did not Purchase
These get $10/day for now and the ads in here all have copy and images telling the viewer to come back to the site and take the next step.
We then have one more campaign, which is a very special one, at $5/day which is for everyone who purchased, they get a thank you and a special discount to share with friends.
When things don’t work we turn them off and add new creatives and copy. We slowly kill off the audiences that don’t produce results and increase the spend for the ones that do.
We test all new creatives in a PPE campaign on a 5-10% Lookalike and the ones that do well go into the CBO with the winning ad sets.
After 3 days we will know which interests work best and have enough data to know where to focus on the campaign.
This funnel can be scaled at about 50% each day. You can very quickly reach $5,000/month in profit using this method.