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Sugatan eCommerce Growth Saga: Scaling an eCom 0-7 Figures – Part 2

Irakli Zviadadze | Content Marketer | Sugatan.io 

September 10, 2020

eCommerce Growth Saga: Scaling an eCom 0-7 Figures – Part 2

We were told there was no hope for this product.

Kris says: Challenge accepted.

Second part of the eCommerce growth saga begins now.

Did you read the first part of the saga already?

Then you’re in the right place.

In this part, we’re going to focus on the bigger picture of growing the account. 

We recently finished the 7th month of scaling this product (protein coffee), the results are in, and we’re ready to share it all now. 

In the previous part, we covered the months of January, February, and March (193% growth rate).

And now, we’re going to cover from April to July (next 4 months).

Here are the stats:

  • In April – we grew 183% compared to the previous month.
  • In May – we declined -19.41% compared to the previous month (scaled down because we started running out of inventory).
  • In June – we declined -31.40% compared to the previous month (out of inventory).
  • And finally, in July – we grew 247.50%(!!!) compared to the previous month.

maine roast growth rate

Today, we’re going to go into the juicy details: The good, the bad, and the ugly. What worked, what didn’t (and why), the overview, the behind-the-scenes structure, and more.

We’ll cover:

Before we begin though, you should know there are a thousand ways to get to the same destination. And this is one of the many ways to scale an account. 

This is simply what worked for us and the exact framework we followed.

As an eCommerce business, as you scale, your labor cost isn’t going to go up that significantly.

The only catalyst for revenue in this eCommerce saga is Facebook ads. So, the end-goal metric here is the ROI.

Note: As with the previous article, this too will be largely based on the case study video from Kris Sugatan in our private Facebook group. If you’re not in the group yet, join now. We’ll also be sharing some extra eCommerce growth hacks and tips in this article that are not mentioned in the video.

kris facebook group post

So, if you prefer video content – check out the post in the group instead.

But if you prefer the analysis in text form (with some extra, exclusive content), let’s get started.

Meet the Team: An eCommerce Growth-Hacking Agency Structure Overview

As mentioned before, there’s a lot of different ways you can get from point A to point B. And as far as your agency structure is concerned, there are even more ways you can structure your dream team and scale.

But with that said, without a well-designed team hierarchy, lag times in workflow can increase and lead to unhappy clients and sloppy work.

For the most part, there are 2 types of organizational structures:

  • Mechanistic  – Centralized power and formal relationships between team members.
  • Organic – Allows for cross-divisional collaboration and reduces the “gatekeeper” mentality that can slow down the process.

mechanistic organic groups

Both have their own set of pros and cons. But for this account (and most accounts we work with), we go with the pod system, which is an organic approach within the agency hierarchy.

In this design, everyone has a role to play in driving the business and are equally accountable to all parts of it. Team members are responsible to each other and to the client to maximize collaboration and efficiency.

The main objective of this model is to shorten approval process times, increase peer accountability, and keep things fast and agile.

In short: Structure is key to getting things done.

Whether your agency is brand new or has 100+ employees, how you structure your teams has a direct effect on your results. 

We mentioned some of the teams involved in this eCommerce growth saga in the previous article, but here’s a more detailed explanation of who did what.

The team structure here is divided up into different parts.

And the structure is as follows:

  • Senior eCommerce Strategist – Kris overseeing the account, the team structure, giving directions, and more
  • Ad Buyer – eCommerce strategist
  • Creative Ads Team – Video producers, graphic designer
  • Email Team – Email marketing
  • CRO Team – UX/UI Designer, full-stack developer, copywriter (who also writes for the ad team)
  • Influencer Marketing Team – Lead influence marketer, influencer marketing assistant

Meet the team behind this eCommerce saga!eCommerce saga team

Fun fact: None of these team members had any real experience scaling eCommerce businesses before. They were all taught from the ground up or were in some way self-taught. That’s a dream team for the job at hand right there.

So, how did this team of ragtag, nerd herd manage to pull off this seemingly impossible heist?

The answer is simple and something you probably weren’t expecting: They followed the data.

When you’re just starting out – you might be tempted to hire specialists straightaway.

But that is a quick way to burn through all of your money.

This is how we managed to bootstrap with low costs. 

And as a bonus: The businesses we scaled managed to afford us too.

Main takeaway: The team you’re working with is an essential part of the equation. You need to make sure they have the proper tools and resources for them to learn and do their job. Then, you need to give them access to the data so that they can monitor and learn on their own how their work is being translated into revenue and real impact.

Ultimately, that’s what we care about – how our work is making an impact on the results. As a bonus, if you set up your team to have access to the data, they’ll be more motivated as they’ll get to see which of their ideas worked – based on a dollar amount.

Once everybody understands the impact they’re making, defining goals, setting clear expectations, and being radically transparent (one of our core values) becomes much, much easier.

Got it?

Good. Now, let’s get more practical and move on to the next topic.

Workflow, Framework Process, and Our Prioritization Sheet for Creatives

Choosing the right framework can be a hard, time-consuming process.

Our approach here was simple. Too simple in fact.

Want in on a little secret?

We copied it directly from how SaaS (Software as a Service) development teams work.

And it’s called Agile.

agile scrum framework

Agile is an umbrella term for several iterative and incremental approaches to work.

The framework is traditionally used for software development projects as it’s based on continuous feedback when creating an application (and reviewing it daily or weekly). Any Agile development project usually involves continuous planning, testing, integration, and other forms of development processes.

Each Agile framework is considered lightweight, rules and practices are kept to a minimum, especially compared to traditional Waterfall-style development processes, and are designed to be adaptable on the go. Under the Agile methodology, you’ll be learning a lot from trial and error and it’s all about hitting those quick check marks throughout a project – encouraging iteration and experimentation.

The approach is based on the following values (based on the Manifesto for Agile Software Development):

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiations.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

Now, why are we talking about software development all of a sudden?

Because, here’s the thing:

You can take the above process and apply it directly to your agency model (and get some nice results)!

Agile workflow process for the account (copy our prioritization sheet for creatives)

Here’s how we used the above Agile workflow methodology (traditionally used for software development) to scale this account.

Every Monday, each team meets in Sprints (short, time-boxed team works to complete a set amount of work) to discuss what happened in the last 7 days and adapt our deliverables accordingly.

Couple of days before the Sprint meeting, we release an Epic – an overarching angle the video team will base stories on. In other words, they first choose the angle of the ad to focus on. Then, the video team comes up with micro-angles for that big angle.

So, on Saturday or Sunday, the ad buyer or the senior eCommerce strategist (or just someone who knows the product inside out) releases the Epic in the Slack channel, giving everyone time to prepare for the meeting with their ideas.  

For example, if the Epic behind the video ad is to be cost-effective, the micro-angles could be comparing it to a more expensive product, focusing on benefits for the value, and so on.

Here’s one of the Epics we used for this account – based on Protein Coffee in Action. The message also includes key messages to include in the ad, fun facts, ideation, and other claims to mention.

slack message epic

This gives the team a lot of guidance and a great starting point for this Epic.

It’s important to note that when choosing an Epic, it always has to be data-backed. It is based on analysis from the video strategists on the team. 

It’s not always the senior eCommerce strategist or the ad buyer releasing the Epic. It just has to be someone who has deep understanding of the product, the customers, data, and the niche overall. In this case, it was the copywriter (Ivan) who released the above Epic.

Main takeaway: When doing a lot of tests to see what works, you’ll want to bring in different minds together in the Sprint meetings to build on each others’ great ideas and knowledge. That’s the main idea of the Sprints and this has been working very effectively for us in terms of coming up with new ideas, angles, and top-performing ads.

Sprint cycle explained

Now, let’s say the above ‘Protein Coffee in Action Epic was released on Sunday, and there’s a Sprint meeting on a Monday. Here’s how that usually goes down.

  1. The team members go on their own and list their own ideas for that particular Epic.
  2. They prioritize those ideas based on actual, numerical value for each and every idea they have. And then, they get ready to present their ideas on the Monday meetings.

Every single person usually has at least 3-5 ideas and we have 5-6 people. So, we don’t really want to go through 21+ ideas each meeting. Instead, we want to go through the top ideas that are the lowest hanging fruit (most effective, easiest to execute, etc.).

To assign the numerical value, we measure the impact the ideas might have by Traffic, Sales, and Brand

Then, once everything is filled in our handy Prioritization Sheet, the members look at the sum of the values and bring only the ideas with the highest sum value.

Here’s an example of what that looks like:

prioritization sheet

Note: We no longer use this template for our sprints (but it’s similar anyway). If you would like to copy this template for your sprint meetings though – scroll down for the template.

A lot of this info is self-explanatory, but let’s break down how this Prioritization Sheet (template below) works by each column anyway:

  • Human Stories – Main idea/angle for the creatives.
  • Description – More detailed description of the story (e.g. video footage details)
  • Comment 
  • Funnel Part – TOF, MOF, or BOF
  • Department – Who’s working on this? Ad buying, video, or graphics? Video team handles the video footage and the graphics team is responsible for creating images, GIFs, and so on.
  • Ownership and Execution
  • Status
  • Sum – Sum of the below values. Bring only the highest value ideas to discuss during the meeting.
  • Has impact on (Traffic, Sales, Brand 0 – small, 3 – big) – How much this idea will impact traffic, sales, or brand
  • Weight (# of Tasks or # days it takes to execute) – How long will it take to execute this idea? Used to gauge the complexity.
  • Weight (# of Team Members it takes to execute) – How many people it takes to execute. Used to gauge the complexity.
  • Price (1: Expensive 3: Cheap)
  • When is it realistic to implement? (1: Later / 3: Now)
  • Intuition Points (1, 5, 10) – How strongly you feel about this initiative 

For the meeting, team members only bring 1-3 ideas with the highest sum number. And then, based on everyone’s top-ranking ideas, you create the stories (final angles) to produce in the next 7 days.

Want to copy our Prioritization Sheet for your own team?

Grab our the template for free here:

To recap everything so far and expand on the process, the order of the full sprint cycles rotation is the following:

  1. eCommerce strategist, ad buyer, or someone who just knows the niche and target market of the account (copywriter in this case) releases an Epic 1-3 days before Monday meeting.
  2. Everyone part of the team working on the account fills in their own copy of the Prioritization Sheet.
  3. Monday comes, we have a Sprint meeting and everyone presents their top 1-3 ideas (highest sum number).
  4. Friday: All the deliverables are finished and for every angle, variations are produced. Meaning, we come up with different versions of the first 3 seconds of footage. Members create multiple creatives that have different first 3-second opening frames. And that’s the first thing we test during creative testing. 
  5. Saturday end of day: All the creatives are done and ready to go.
  6. Sunday: Ad buyer uploads the creatives and schedules them to go live at Monday 3 A.M. (account time).

And that’s a cycle!

From here, you see what works, analyze the results/data behind the creatives, and repeat the cycle.

How do you know what works, though?

Good question. Here’s what you need to know about testing the creatives.

Cycle for eCommerce Creatives Testing Process

So, assuming we followed the full sprint cycle as described above. 

The creative testing cycle then goes something like this:

  1. Monday: We take all of the angles created based on the Epic and test it against our top-performing audience. Usually, this includes single interest that has a large audience reach – somewhere around 8M.
  2. When identifying the winning combination for the ad, we usually look at ROAS and purchases and then increase the daily budget for that particular creative.
  3. If it’s still performing stable with the increased daily budget, we duplicate it twice. First duplicate goes to TOF campaigns (your scaling campaigns). And the second duplicate goes to optimization. Even though it’s already a winning creative, we’ll further optimize it in the following order: 1. Size (length of the video), 2. body text (copy above the ad), 3. headline and 4. thumbnail, and then, test it again.

creatives order optimize

    4. Now, we have another winning combination ad. So, we increase the budget for that to see if it’ll perform well and then, move it into the TOF scaling campaign.

And that’s pretty much the process that contributes to the scale of the account. 

Week over week, you repeat the process, test everything, find winning ad combinations, increase budget, and repeat.

Now, the highest priority of this whole equation is the market fit.

For your company to succeed, you need to build a product that has a value proposition that satisfies the needs of a market and its potential customers.

More often than not, a product/market fit is about having an in-depth, tangible understanding of who your customers are, and how they feel about your product.

Many businesses fail because they waste money on products that no one actually cares about or wants to buy.

To avoid this fate, you need to make sure you understand your target market as well as the challenges they’re facing their daily lives (that you can solve).

You can usually do this by:

  1. Having a clear picture of your target customer.
  2. Gathering intelligence.
  3. Specifying your value proposition.
  4. Focusing on one vertical to scale (to being with, at least).
  5. Measuring your product-market fit.

Here’s how we did the last one:

Process for Finding the Right Product Market Fit For an eCommerce Business

Now, to iterate, the product here is protein coffee.

maine roast protein coffee

Let’s get practical. How do you market it? Who do you sell it to? The 18-year-old male gym goer or the 55-year old female who wants to lose weight?

It’s a protein shake with caffeine in it. Who would be interested in this?

One of the biggest reasons this account was dying because we hadn’t identified who we were targeting properly.

This helps with honing down the messaging, your creative, value proposition, and just about everything else.

And the best way to find out is to just ask the customers directly.

Ask them for feedback, what drove them to make the purchase, or what stopped them from almost buying the product (objection).

So, to figure this out, on a more practical level, you need to have 2 things in place for your website.

Here’s what we used:

  1. Hotjar Poll

This tool triggers when it detects someone on the website is about to leave.

With it, you can ask your visitors short or open-ended questions, have a quick yes or no answers, rating scales, and more.

hotjar site poll

2. Enquire post-purchase survey

This one’s the opposite.

Whenever someone makes an actual purchase, this survey shows up and asks what nearly stopped them from making a purchase.

maine roast post purchase survey

This gives you the information you need and paints a clear picture of some of their biggest objections.

When we first started with this account, the post-purchase survey question we had was ‘Why are you buying this product?’ (as we covered in more detail in part 1 of this eCommerce saga).

And for this, most people said weight management and morning breakfast.

post purchase survey results

Now, that’s great and all – but how do you actually find out WHO is buying your product?

For this, you go on over in the Ads Manager data.

With this account, we found out the majority of purchases were from females.

So, we decided to hone in our messaging for females dealing with weight management and weight loss.

This was one of the biggest game-changers for this account (though it may seem obvious).

Ideally, you should do this first.

Because once you have your audience defined clearly and know your product-market fit – everything naturally becomes much easier.

You hone in on the specific benefits, audience language, improve your copywriting, and so on.

And then, you find the creatives that resonate the most with your audience, and start scaling up…

Speaking of – it’s time to go over our top-performing ads for this account.

Here’s what you need to know:

6 Top-Performing eCommerce Facebook Ads Analysis and Angles Breakdown

So, before this, there was no clear targeting on a specific demographic to tune our messaging for. 

And then, we found out it’s mostly females who want to lose weight who are buying the product.

To successfully scale the account, our approach with the ads was to focus on data and creatives.

We prioritized the creatives and then honed down on the audience based on data.

In the previous chapter, we briefly covered and analyzed some of the top-performing creatives (in addition to their angles).

And now, we’re going to go in more detail, show the live videos, breakdown the copy used, and more.

Testimonial Stack

Testimonials work well across all industries. They’re great for social proof and clear up objections faster than any other marketing tactic.

Testimonials should address any objections (e.g. “Many protein shakes have lumps in them, will this protein coffee have them too? Is it really as tasty as Starbucks? What’s the catch?”) your audience might have and also explain the benefits in an educational and entertaining way.

So, you can’t just have your influencer talking in a video about how the product has 1G sugar and 90 calories per serving (that’s boring!). Instead, they could say that they were so surprised to hear how it’s healthier than Starbucks and has way less sugar too.

As for the testimonial stack angle, well, it’s exactly what it sounds like.

We combined a bunch of testimonials into one edit and used that as an ad.

The format follows a consequential order from different types of people (e.g. someone drinking it before going to the gym, someone drinking the protein coffee as their morning breakfast, etc.).

Here’s the first ad:

The ad uses familiar language and touches on some major points for the audience, such as:

  • “I’ve been LOVING this caramel flavor so much”
  • “Taste is APPROVED!”
  • “It’s delicious and one serving of this has one gram of sugar, which is INSANE.
  • “It’s not chalky, it’s so CREAMY
  • “The macros are amazing on it. 90 Calories, 15 grams of PROTEIN, 4 carbs, and it’s equivalent  to 2 shots of espresso.”
  • “I usually mix mine with some almond milk.”
  • “I’ve been mixing mine with water and ice.”
  • “Less than 100 calories per serving. This is DELICIOUS.
  • “Finding something that has PROTEIN and can taste this GOOD, that also is COFFEE?”

Just from the testimonials alone, you can guess that the product is:

  • Delicious.
  • Healthy.
  • Caffeinated.
  • Full of protein.
  • Less than 90 calories.
  • And more.

This is basically telling a story, talking about how it’s a Starbucks replacement, from other members of the target audience (same demographic).

Even the body text focuses on social proof. It’s direct and specific as it gets (down to the numbers of customers/reviews).

For the video footage, we used user-generated content from our influencer marketing team’s efforts.

Wondering what’s the process for getting user-generated content? Check out our full article on our influencer marketing process for more info and learn how to generate $350k+/mo.

How-to demonstration

This is another creative angle that works across all industries (especially in eCommerce).

The ‘How-to’ angle is not a hard sell. Rather, it’s a simple demonstration. It’s a showcase of video footage that demonstrates the product in action – ideally, in an entertaining and educational way.

Everyone loves watching classic ‘before and after’ videos and learning new things. 

So, if you can communicate a new piece of knowledge in under 60 seconds in a video ad, you could be looking at a winning ad format.

Besides, who wouldn’t want to know how to make a caramel frappe in under 60 seconds?

The video then:

  • Shows how to make a delicious, mouth-watering caramel frappe in under 60 seconds (show, don’t tell).
  • Gives step-by-step instructions over video footage for each step (e.g. “1. Dump 1 scoop of protein coffee into a shaker. 2. Pour 6 oz. of cold water or milk of your choice. 3. Shake., etc.)
  • Highlights benefits and nutritional value along the way (<100 calories, 15g protein, equivalent to 2 shots of espresso, tastes amazing.).

Meanwhile, the body text also highlights the important features of the product and touches on the target audience’s main pain points:

  • Regular meal prep takes too much time.
  • Many protein shakes are lumpy and not as sweet.
  • “Smooth, frothy & delicious” -> Almost like you’re describing a Starbucks drink.
  • Clear CTA: discount code for 15% off, free shipping and shake, and link to the website.

GIFs and Images

GIFs and images for ads? Sounds crazy, right?

Turns out, according to the data, some of the GIFs and images in total for this account generated the majority of the revenue for this account.

This is because people have a short attention span these days and the pacing of these creatives really helped communicate the message directly.

They’re:

  • Snappy.
  • Short.
  • Great pacing.
  • Understandable at a glance.
  • And more.

Ads are direct to the point and are performing better.

Who’d have thought?

Here are a few of the GIF/image ads that went viral or performed really well for this account.

The only thing that’s changing in this GIF is the shaker’s color and the whole thing is just 2 seconds.

But as you can see – the engagement is off the chart. And everything you’d need to know about the product is right there in your face.

  • Product info in the body text – “Starbucks-like without the calories – too good to be true. With 15g protein & less than 100 calories per serving….”
  • Offer in the gif – “Try all flavors = get free shaker”

Simple, right?

Here’s another ad that worked really well – and it’s a single image.

image ad

This ad focuses on ‘Competitor Comparison with an ‘us vs them’ angle. 

  • The competitor image is clearly designed with Starbucks in mind, without name dropping them (hence the logo colors).
  • And everyone loves Starbucks – but it has a lot of calories and is too sugary. That’s where this protein coffee comes in.

Problem -> Solution

This one is simple.

  1. You lay out the problem your target audience is all too familiar with. The more vividly you pain their pain, the more you demonstrate that you understand it.
  2. You agitate it and focus on their pain points to make it even more emotional.
  3. Finally, you provide a solution and get to make everything better. Naturally, this will be your product your audience has been looking for. 

The point of this angle is to make your audience think “That’s exactly how I feel and I’m sick and tired of it!

With this ad, we highlighted the problem – watered down, tasteless coffee (which we all hate), and then, talk about the next best thing – which is this creamy and delicious protein coffee (which is also 80 calories, has 1 gram of sugar, gives you energy, fulfillment, and more.).

This particular video ad (and other variations) focused on:

  • The problem (“Say goodbye to your watered-down, tasteless coffee. Say hello to the next best thing…”)
  • Convenience (“This protein coffee replaces your coffee + breakfast.”)
  • Health factor (nutrition value, calories, etc. “While giving you energy + fulfillment”).

Making things look tasty and delicious (whipped cream, froth, etc.) also makes the whole thing visually appealing and mouth-watering.

Here’s another take on the problem -> solution angle that addresses the audience’s potential objections and worked really well.

Now, this video takes on more potential objections head-on as it has a more authentic feel to it – directly asking questions what the target audience might be thinking about. This is apparent in the dry, witty, and almost cynical dialogue.

  • Doubt: “What the heck is protein coffee and why would I want to drink it?
  • Problem: “I actually drink a protein shake every morning, but it is really grainy & I often feel like a clump in my mouth & it breaks apart & it’s all powdery… I hate it when that happens.”
  • Introduction to the product: “This is 15 grams of protein & it has the equivalent of 2 shots of espresso. So, it’s already beating mine. And it’s under 100 calories & only has 1 gram of sugar. Sounds disgusting, but we’re going to try it…”
  • How-to: “Almond milk. A scoop of protein coffee. Shake. Pour.”
  • Solution and benefits: “No clumps. Tastes just like chocolate milk mixed with caramel latte… It’s really good, guys… How does this have only 1 gram of sugar? This tastes like a sugary Starbucks drink.”

You get the point.

This video ended up being extremely relatable to the target audience – down to the objections and the questions she’s asking in the video.

She’s acting like the consciousness of the target audience reacting to the product and it worked really well.

Main takeaway: When running Facebook ads, your video creatives will make or break your ads. When running ads, you should always aim to be moving fast, breaking things, and testing everything. This is the only true way to find the winning combination that you can then scale to infinity.

That’s about it discussing ads for this saga.

But if you’re still hungry and you want even MORE info on how to 10x your creatives, pump out highly-converting ads and grow your brand from the ground up, you can listen to Kris analyze our top 5 performing creatives that generated $100k in revenue here: Top Facebook ads.

Psst… Want to level up your Facebook video ads game, no matter your skill level? We analyzed Facebook video ads that generated $10M+ and wrote a separate article based on what we learned – down to the campaign structures, top angles, our video ad checklist, and more. To see that, check out our Facebook video ads article.

Now, we can FINALLY move on to the next topic.

Ready?

The 5 Different Landing Page Versions Breakdown Based On Conversion Rate Optimization

Equally as important as your creatives – CRO (conversion rate optimization).

When it comes to CRO, you can get super busy by doing small tests that have little impact. And while this may ever so slowly increase your conversion rate, you could be doing bigger, more important tests instead that might shoot up your rate. Such as:

  • Your offer – Many companies have a default, go-to offer which may be very similar to what their competitors are doing. You’ve probably seen it everywhere at this point (free trials, free consultation calls, free shipping, so on). 
  • Website flow – Do first-time site visitors get all the information at a glance? Or do they have to scroll through 3 pages just to see what the product is about? With this account, we’ve tried both ways, and found out that having all the product information (nutrition value, calories, etc.) up front was the best approach (for the specific target audience).
  • CTA Copy – Popular CTAs within eCommerce include “Checkout”, ‘Buy now”, “Add to Basket”, and more. Goes without saying there is no single one-size-fits-all CTA that will magically skyrocket your conversion rate.
  • Price point – If you want a quick 1% increase in the conversion rate, provide your users with a lot of clarity about how much they’re actually paying for your product before they checkout. 

When talking about conversion rates, you should also be looking at your landing page views (from ads). 

If your site is converting at around 5%, Facebook can charge you whatever they want and your site would do the job of converting traffic for you. Meanwhile, if you have a lower conversion rate, you’ll be fine with a lower landing page view cost.

Here’s a recap of the conversion rate for this website:

  • January and February – 1.9%-2%
  • March – 2.5%
  • April – 4.2%
  • May – 5.5%
  • June – 5.9%(!!!)
  • July – 5.5% 

For the record, for most eCommerce businesses, the average conversion rate is around 1%-2%.

So, as you can see, we went through quite a bit of a journey here.

In total, we did 23 tests, and that’s just for the top of the fold of the website since January.

Mostly, we experimented with the headlines, the price calculator, product info and text, and the design

Now, we’re not going to go over all of those tests (for obvious reasons). So, let’s quickly cover the most important landing page changes.

Version 1 – Damn Good Coffee

Here’s the first version of the landing page in January.

cro-landing-page

As you can see, it’s very straightforward and focuses on a single benefit – the taste.

Our mindset was that when it comes to food, the number one thing most people want to know is ‘Does it taste good?’ Especially when talking about protein coffee (something they might not even be familiar with).

Looks simple, minimalist, and maybe even good.

Scrolling down, we introduced social proof (reviews) also focusing on the taste, and even further down is the checkout/price calculator section. Which looked like this:

price calculator section

The default offer is 3 bags of protein coffee, a $19.99 valued shaker for free, and a $4.99 value shipping for free too.

This offer nudges the customers to buy 3 bags to start with, so that they get a free shaker and free shipping included. And the extra text above the checkout CTA showed exactly how much they’d be saving.

While this certainly increases the average order value (AOV), this pricing calculator page ended up being extremely important and we experimented with it even more.

And because this was still early into the saga, we also implemented a quick site survey:

site survey question

But the only metrics that matter when it comes to CRA are data and revenue.

So, we decided to experiment further.

Version 2 – A Barrage of Information

Here, we took a slightly different approach and just gave the customers a barrage of information regarding the product right up front.

We moved the product information and price calculator as the main page, showing how much they’d be saving directly, as well as the nutrition value and exact calories.

site-cro

Now, you might be thinking – That’s too much text, no way that’s going to convert better!

Well, we found that when it comes to health-related products – the customers DO want this information. And they want to know it at a glance too.

Think about it: The target audience here is females who want to lose weight (mostly). They’re health-conscious and know what they’re looking for.

So, we just gave them this information upfront and started seeing better results with this version.

And almost everything below this main section remained more or less the same.

As you can see, we also modified the price calculator section to show their total savings and the exact discounts. 

But to really drive the point home and because people love seeing the word ‘Free’ we made some further edits.

price calculator free

People like seeing how much they’re paying (exact numbers) and free shipping, so, we showed them just that.

Rather than paying just $69.99, they’re now paying $69.99 instead of $105.96 (in addition to free shipping and $19.99 value shaker). Which in their mind signals a better offer.

And even though it already says “+ Free Shipping ($4.99)” under Total savings, we also highlighted it as separate text (“Shipping: Free”).

That’s all we changed and the conversion rate increased even more.

Main takeaway: Want a quick increase in conversions? Show your users exactly how much they’re paying and how much they’re saving in your offer before the checkout page.

Version 3 – All Day Energy

The next thing we did was we focused on the product image and information.

As you can see, we increased the image of the product and stacked all of the nutrition information next to it.

all day energy cro

We A/B tested product photography with and without the nutrition information, and the one with the extra text performed better.

Main takeaway: When it comes to CRO, it’s a team and a collaborative effort. You have to bring in the expertise of multiple people:

  • The UX/UI designer to get a much more simplistic design that will improve the user experience on your website (in this case, how to present the price calculator the best way possible).
  • A copywriter to craft your message (“All Day Energy With a Coffee Shop Taste” headline).
  • A developer to tell whatever ideas you have for the UX/UI designer if it’s possible to implement, and how long it’s going to take.
  • An ad buyer (or eCommerce strategist) who has a lot of data accumulated over time which he can contribute during the ideation.

When growing this account, all of the above team members would have a Sprint meeting every week on Mondays to discuss all of their ideas, and then, they would self-organize to come up with the best approach.

Version 4 – Back to Basics

Long story short: The short-form headline (“All Day Energy”) didn’t convert as well for some reason – so, we reverted back to the long-form description.

landing page basics version

And we also simplified the price calculator EVEN MORE.

We removed all the junk that made the whole thing confusing (too many numbers) and just kept it simple. 

Because CRO is all about experimenting, we then did even more A/B tests for that section alone.

simplified price calculator

Highlight box around the main price. Crossed out text over the discount (how much they’re saving). And a separate price tag for total (and an anchor price also crossed out). It’s beautiful.

Here, we simply highlighted prices with a little box around it.

At this point, we were just playing around with how the information is being presented in terms of how much they’re going to pay and how much they’re going to save.

Version 5 – Latest Version (For Now)

Last but not least – the final version in all its glory of the landing page for this account.

latest landing page version cro

What’s new:

  • Removed 1 question from the reviews section and made it clickable (jumps to the social proof section at the bottom).
  • Added (3 bags) to the ‘Total’ text.
  • Added Afterpay option to pay in 4 interest-free installments of $17.50.
  • Added Discount code option.
  • Clarified Free Delivery between specific days.

One last thing that’s important to mention here is that most traffic from Facebook will be coming in from mobile devices. You should always see how your website looks on a mobile first. 

That is where we got around 90% of the traffic.

mobile view site

It goes in the following order:

  • Product (protein coffee), nutrition info (15G protein, 1G sugar, 80 calories, etc.), and benefit (protein coffee that tastes like your barista made it).
  • Product description (“Curbs hunger & helps you automatically eat less.”).
  • Price calculator and checkout section (designed for easy navigation and resized for the mobile screen).

And that’s it for the CRO journey!

Main takeaway: CRO is a collective effort. Sometimes you have to step away and let your team handle it. As a founder, you have to have that self-awareness to know when you’re in the way. Because once you back off, you can see your team start to self-organize themselves. If you give them the time and space to figure it out themselves – they will do just that. You just have to make sure they have the proper tools, resources, and that the team structure is optimized for success.

Peeling Back the Curtain on eCommerce Email Marketing – Emails Calendar, Drip Flows, Content, and Top 5 Emails Analysis

You might have heard that email beats just about everything for ROI.

For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42 – or so the saying goes. There are a ton of benefits of email marketing, but this one tops the list.

One of the most valuable steps of growing your eCommerce business is to build an email list and actively work on growing it. Because there are a lot of different email marketing campaigns you can utilize to grow your business. Such as:

  • Welcome (discount) email series.
  • Exclusive discounts to loyal customers.
  • Promotional sales emails.
  • Flash sales.
  • Abandoned cart emails.
  • Asking for reviews, engaging, educational emails, and more.

For eCommerce, the average email marketing statistics are as follows:

  • Average Open Rate – 15.68% 
  • Average Click-Through Rate – 2.01%
  • Hard Bounce – 0.19%
  • Soft Bounce – 0.26%
  • Unsubscribe Rate – 0.27%

In the previous article, we mentioned we did flash-sales email campaigns with this account. And now, we’re going to be briefly peeling the curtain back a bit more.

Note: We are going to do a separate podcast on this topic and cover everything more in-depth. Until then, here’s a quick overview of email marketing with this account and what you need to know:

email opt in box

Email marketing prioritization sheet

Like with ad buying angles, we first started with a similar prioritization sheet for the email marketing campaigns for this account.

And it looked a bit something like this:

email marketing strategy

As you can see, the main idea of this sheet was to focus on testing new, overarching ideas and angles with a specific goal in mind (for each email type):

  • Copy – To find out specific information about the email subscribers and understand them better
  • Reviews – To find out which reviews are attracting customers’ attention the most
  • Graphics – To find out impact of specific graphics (e.g. hero image in emails.)
  • Content type – Revenue, purchase rate, number of purchases, etc.
  • CTA – To find which CTA attracts customers more than other type of CTAs
  • Colors – To find the right color range our customers been attracted the most
  • Subject line – Figure out which subject line performs better (open rates)

Eventually though, we stopped using this prioritization sheet as it was suited more for Agile sprint meetings – less for emails.

Email tests take longer and the results are not always fully visible after just one week.

So, we scraped this and set up a new email campaigns calendar from scratch in Asana.

Here’s what that looks like:

Asana emails campaigns calendar

asana email calendar

Basically, this is an in-built Kanban style framework approach to email marketing – entirely within Asana.

And because we already use Asana for our task management and organization, this just makes things much more convenient.

Under each task, there’s a sub-task for the copy and the design for each email (for different people). This is where all the email tasks, drafts, and final versions go, before they are copied directly to Klaviyo.

As you can see, there’s a lot of emails focused around blog posts, recipes, and educational content/campaigns.

There’s a reason for that…

Lessons learned: weight-loss angle

As mentioned above, the weight-loss angle is an important pain point with this target audience (based on post-purchase surveys).

That’s why most of them are buying the product and it’s an extremely important angle to focus on in the emails as well as the ads.

But there’s a catch.

It’s a sensitive topic.

They don’t want to be constantly reminded with emails about the ‘Why-s’ and the ‘How-s’ of losing weight. 

Instead, we found that educational content and soft-sells that included the product (Maine Roast protein coffee) performed better.

weight loss management

So, we went with a simple approach.

  • Don’t bombard people with a lot of extra emails.
  • Don’t use false marketing tactics (we did use scarcity/FOMO – but it came across as natural).
  • DO use natural language and helpful content.

Content is (still) king

The goal here is to write content that’s not a hard-sell.

They should be actually educational and helpful, and ideally, involve your product.

So, the issue here was the following: We needed to mention weight loss management (sensitive topic), without directly forwarding our subscribers to blog posts on how to lose weight.

How did we do this?

Simply by writing content centered around staying healthy, recipes (using protein coffee), comparisons (e.g. against Starbucks – “it’s sweet like Starbucks without all the extra calories!”), contests, and more. 

All this, without having a pushy, hard-sell approach.

Here are some of the top-performing blog post headlines so you can get an idea of what that looked like:

  • How to Hold Off Hunger With a Creamy “Appetite Blocker” (That Tastes Like Starbucks)
  • How to Make Weight Loss Easy by Sipping on a Delicious Coffee (That Isn’t Starbucks)
  • How to Get in Shape When You Hate ‘Dieting’ (With a Delicious Morning Treat)

And so on – you get the point.

These are not like most blog posts out there 

The focus is more on stellar copywriting (hence the extremely curiosity-driven headlines), and conversational, engaging dialogue focused on applying pressure to the customers’ pain points.

They’re also short and easy to skim through.

blog post hemingway view

Instead of pushing subscribers to a ‘Buy Now’ CTA directly in the email, the order was:

  1. Email teaser.
  2. Blog post.
  3. Checkout page CTA at the end of the blog post.

Following this order, you can capture your subscribers’ attention in the email, get their attention in the blog post (including their desires and pain points), and end with a CTA that leads to product and solves all of their problems.

Here are some sample sections from one of the blog posts:

  • Intro – almost clickbait-y hook that drags the reader to read more: How DOES she get to do it and stay skinny?
  • The Vicious Cycle of Emotional Binge Eating – Relevant language and pain points the customers are all too familiar with.
  • What If ‘Cheat Meals’ Helped You Eat LESS? – Captures their attention. Sounds too good to be true? Continue reading to find out.
  • Italian Researchers Prove This Makes Women Eat ‘Whey’ Less – Educational section on whey protein and maltodextrin.
  • Why You Automatically Win by Starting Your Day With This Protein Coffee – Introduces protein coffee and leads up to the main CTA.

The main CTA talks about the product (protein coffee), its benefits, price, and more.

blog post cta

Email drip flows

Meanwhile, our email flows weren’t anything out of the ordinary.

We used some classic eCommerce flows with an extra flair to them:

  • Abandoned cart email – When someone initiates checkout and doesn’t follow through with ordering. Either remind them about the abandoned cart or send a little ‘What stopped you from buying?’ survey.
  • Welcome series – When someone subscribes to the newsletter. Follows up with a welcome series flow, which includes emails that give more information about the product, social proof, and other details.
  • When someone viewed the product – Send a ‘Did you see something you liked?’ email with a 10% off discount after 2 hours.
  • Customer Thank You – After someone placed an order.
  • Customer Winback – After someone placed an order. Only include if they have placed an order zero times since starting this flow.
  • Non-Purchasers – If someone hasn’t placed an order before. Comes with a 10% off discount email.
  • Repeat purchase customer – If someone has purchased before. Comes with a 10% off discount for the next order.

Main takeaway: Simple email drip flow campaigns, combined with natural copy and design goes a long way. Email marketing can be extremely effective as long as you treat your subscribers like real people, engage with them, and occasionally provide them with educational, helpful content. The key is to experiment with flows and the timing, as there is no one-size-fits-all email flow solution for all eCommerce businesses.

Speaking of, here are some of the top-performing emails for the account.

Top emails Analysis 

The best emails are simple.

To keep things educational for the sake of this article, we’re going to be looking at 5 different email examples – each with a different campaign purpose.

Email #1: Top VIP Access Scarcity Sale Announcement

Obviously, the highest revenue-generating emails are going to be the ones about sales.

This particular email was sent out when the total amount of subscribers wasn’t that high. And we still got some above-average metrics (especially the open rate and click-through rate).

vip access sales email

Subject Line: ⚡️VIP Mother’s Day Sale Starts NOW!⚡️
Emails opened: 568
Total Clicks: 313
Open Rate: 27.72%
Clickthrough Rate: 55.11%

The purpose of this email was to reward those in the VIP email list with an extra 25% discount – just in time for mother’s day.

Perfect timing. Great idea for a gift. And a nice little surprise with an exclusive discount that lasts only for 24 hours.

Email #2: Top Sale Announcement

Here’s another similar flash-sale announcement email.

summer sale email

Subject Line: Summer SALE Is Here! ✨
Emails opened: 3784
Total Clicks: 571
Open Rate: 17.32%
Clickthrough Rate: 15.09%

Simple, straight to the point, and understandable at a glance – what’s not to love?

Email #3: Top Subscription Survey Email

Understanding your target audience is crucial.

Even if you think you have a pretty good understanding of them by this point, it’s always good to ask them directly if you’re thinking of offering an upsell or something new.

In this case, we wanted to gauge the interest of a subscription club for the product. In the email, we simply outline the benefits for joining (save time, save money, cancel any time, etc.) and asked the subscribers to take a 2-minute survey and get 15% off.

email survey

This email was also sent out in the beginning (when there weren’t as many subscribers), and it performed incredibly well.

Subject Line: You Asked. We Listened 📢
Emails opened: 4710
Total Clicks: 593
Open Rate: 27.71%
Clickthrough Rate: 12.59%

The subject line is particularly inviting (the focus is on the subscriber – “You”), hence the 27% open rate.

Email #4 Top Blog Post Email

blog post cta email

Subject Line: “Shocking! I Thought My Scales Were BROKEN”
Emails opened: 2732
Total Clicks: 249
Open Rate: 18.77%
Clickthrough Rate: 9.11%

This is as curiosity-driven as it gets – starting from the email subject line.

Just about everyone has caught themselves thinking ‘How on earth do they stay so skinny?’ when scrolling through Instagram. Especially the target persona for this product. So, we’re leaning into that pain point. Combined with curiosity, there’s a strong reason to click the CTA leading to the blog post.

And then, there’s the headline for the blog post – “How to Hold Off Hunger With a Creamy “Appetite Blocker” (That Tastes Like Starbucks)”.

Like all great copywriting (and storytelling), the only goal of the first sentence is to make the reader want to read the second sentence. And the second sentence should lead the reader to the third one…

And here’s the first sentence of the blog post: “How does SHE get to do it and stay skinny?

Email #5: Top Infographic Email

With this email, we went with a simple in-email infographic – focusing on educating the subscribers on protein coffee.

infographic email content

Subject Line: 6 Facts You Really Need to Know
Emails opened: 4016
Total Clicks: 246
Open Rate: 22.71%
Clickthrough Rate: 6.13%

Let’s face it – protein coffee might seem like a strange product if you haven’t heard of it before.

Even if you’ve heard of it and you’re subscribed to the newsletter for the product – you might not know a lot about it.

So, the purpose of this email was to educate the readers in a fun, engaging infographic. 

  • Supports weight loss.
  • Prevents muscle loss.
  • Soothes muscle pain.
  • Increases mental alertness and cognitive functions.
  • Improves strength and stamina.
  • Improves digestion.

CTA is to shop now and below that: extra social proof.

Main takeaway: If you’re not generating around 45% of your monthly revenue from email marketing, you could be leaving money on the table. The above is just what worked for us when growing this account and is a testament to how powerful email marketing can be within eCommerce. If you still need more info on email marketing, feel free to ask your questions within our eCommerce Growth Hacks Group and we’ll answer it in our podcast where we go much more in-detail on the topic.

Also check out our article on growing eCommerce businesses $30M-$100M: strategies, lessons, and frameworks in which we go more in-depth about our management strategies, lessons, examples, and more on how to scale your eCommerce business.

Conclusion

And that’s it for the 7 months journey of the seemingly tiny, unknown that was said to be hard to market and scale.

It’s hard to conclude a 7 month eCommerce growth saga as there is no single overarching lesson learned that you can apply to your business to 10x your sales immediately.

All of this was possible with the right team, workflow process, and testing everything

All we did was a series of endless tests throughout the whole journey, for each marketing section covered above. 

For every single winning ad combination, there’s up to hundreds of others that failed. 

What’s next?

We’re preparing for Q4 – Black Friday and Christmas. Yes, we’re starting early.

And you know what that means.

We’re going to document everything – what worked, what didn’t, and share the exact step-by-steps. 

So, there might very well be a part 3 coming to this epic eCommerce saga. If you want an update on that, be sure to join our private Facebook group or just share your email in the box below. We’ll update you when we have something new.

Hope you found this eCommerce saga journey useful and see you soon!

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