E-commerce Brand From Scratch: Week 2- Pre-launch Marketing

As I write this, I have received a few samples and I am waiting to receive a few more. Since the product I’m working on isn’t as straightforward as “normal” products and I need it to pass very strict standards, I’ve set aside a few hundred euros for development and research. This include buying competitors products, ordering samples and even ordering custom formulations from labs.

This means I probably won’t break even in my first batch, which will be around 300 products for each SKU and a total of 2 or 3 SKU’s. I’m OK with that and you should too.

The riskiest part of a business is the first year, where you’re determining all your variables (costumer acquisition cost, lifetime value of a costumer, production cost, production quality, etc) if you end up with a business that works, the benefits are immensely rewarding, if not you loose money.

That’s why you should never invest an amount that you’re not comfortable loosing. In this case, I know quality of the product will be crucial, since it will have an effect in lifetime value of a costumer (better quality = repeat purchases, monthly subscriptions) which in turns allow you to spend more on costumer acquisition, that’s why I’m giving myself plenty of time and money to get the product right.

But before I get ahead of myself, lets look at the numbers as they are right now:

  • Revenue: 0$
  • Email subscribers: 20
  • Store visitors p/month: 20
  • Blog visitors p/ month: ?? (forgot add google analytics, though my facebook pixel was able to pick up 301 facebook users visiting my page).

The biggest change is in the email and blog numbers, which mostly due to my facebook ads effort, more on that later.

I also realised I haven’t shared the branding for my shop, which is super important, so here it is:

As you can tell, it’s pretty simple, but it highlights one of the important values of the brand: the focus on natural products.

From now on, I have one goal: Build my assets. These are basically things I own from which I will derive revenue. For now, the assets I will be exploring are:

  • Instagram
  • Email List(s)
  • Adwords/Adroll/Other Pixels
  • Facebook Pixel
  • Blog
  • Pinterest and Twitter
Notice how I list the Facebook Pixel, but not the Facebook Page. This is because organic reach in Facebook is dead.

Facebook is very much a pay to play game nowadays, which means that spending time and money on promoting content and getting sales directly is way more efficient than trying to build organic reach and engagement through a page. That’s why I’m not even going to bother on building a page likes, though I’ll probably end up picking up some collaterally.

There are other assets that I might explore further down the line. These might include youtube, snapchat (if that’s even still a thing), chatbots, and niche sites, but for now I’m focusing on what I’m familiar with.

Instagram

The instagram game is quite simple. Follow, like and comment on relevant accounts and content and post content that you think your audience will like. That’s it. You don’t need a fancy software, just do it manually. This will make you more familiar with your target audience and it’s not that hard to do. I do it in small batches everyday when I’m in the toilet, the train, having lunch, etc.

The only software I use is for editing and creating pics and reposting content. For that I use:

As of today, I follow 344 account, and am followed by 87 people. I want to reach at least 1000 followers before launch.

Email List

In my experience, email lists are the most valuable asset you can have. A good list can convert at least 5% (let’s say 50% open the email and 10% then purchase). In my case, I expect each costumer to have a margin of at least 15€, which means that each subscriber is worth at least 0.75€.

As we speak, I’m running a very basic facebook lead capture campaign in which I’m paying on average 1.8€ per email subscriber. This might not seem great, but it’s actually not bad considered 1) Me or Facebook haven’t done much optimisation yet. As facebook gathers data, it automatically optimises the audience. From my side, I setup a pixel on my blog which will allow me to create lookalike audiences and retarget blog visitors, which I believe will reduce costs. I also haven’t given much thought to the ad, it literally just says “Sign up now to get 17% off when we launch”. As I improve on the ad copy, ad image, and study placements, audiences, and objectives, I should get better numbers. 2) These subscribers have purchase intent, which means that I should have some pretty good conversion rates. They have manually given me their emails in exchange for a discount on launch day, which means they are highly inclined to purchasing a product once I launch (I hope). 3) Even the subscribers who don’t make a purchase through the email list might make it sometime after through another channel. They might start following me on instagram or facebook and purchase later, they might remember me once they are looking for a christmas gift, etc. So there “unmeasured” benefits of ad campaigns.

When all is said and done, I expect to acquire email subscribers at less than 1€ and I hope I will profit around 1€ per subscriber. For now it’s just a hope, but based on previous experience and how these ads are going, I think I can have a profitable costumer acquisition channel here.

Adwords, Adroll and other pixels.

This is actually the first time I’m trying this, but I think there’s a lot of potential for remarketing outside of facebook and instagram. That’s why I’m giving other ad tools a go. For now, I’m just setting up pixels, so that they start recording my audience, but once I close to launch I will start exploring the numbers.

Every good marketer relies on testing and this is just another test. If I can acquire costumers for a cost below from what I make for each costumer, it can be a solid investment. If not, I will loose money.

Facebook Pixel

The facebook pixel deserves one whole section since it’s that important. It not only allows you to reach people that already visited your website, but also allows you to create an audience that is similar to the people that have either visited, subscribed, or purchased your product. How amazing is that?!

You need to make sure you setup the pixel and as many conversions as you can. If you can target a costumer base that converts cheaply, you’re good to go.

The AIDA funnel. More on this below.

Blog

I’ve left this section for last because I believe this channel will drive the least conversion. People will buy my product based on emotion, not on rationality, and SEO is geared towards the latter, solving problem.

It is important to note that I always consider it a good idea to have a blog. There are more benefits than SEO in creating content. These include:

  • Creating attention grabbing materials for facebook ads. I should write a whole blog post on the issue of funnels, and no I’m not talking about clickfunnels, I’m talking about the costumer journey funnel, but to be honest I don’t think I could add much value, so you should just read this. This is basically and established framework for the journey the costumer does before buying your product, and your blog should/could certainly play a big part in it. Basically before buying, the costumer must become aware that you exist, that’s why you should create content that really strikes a nerve with your target consumers. Once you’ve created that awareness and you have transmitted your values, you can retarget them with facebook/instagram/other ads and move them along the funnel until they purchase.
  • Research. This is the main reason I always work on a blog. Writing about something obliges me to understand it and so just by developing a blog I become educated on the subject. This is also why you should avoid outsourcing non-SEO focused articles.

That’s pretty much it for this episode. Next time I will go deeper into launch day strategies.