Content Writer | Sugatan
January 18, 2022
Scaling From $100k/mo To $500k/mo In Under 6 Months
We love a success story, especially when it’s about how our Sugatan team scaled a brand 5x in record time.
Ready for storytime? Here we go.
In July 2021, the founder of Gatsby Shoes came to us for help. He had partnered with other marketing agencies before but wasn’t happy with the results. He needed fresh eyes to look at how his ads were managed, ultimately to increase his profit margin.
His main goal was to reach 7 figures in monthly revenue.
We onboarded Gatsby Shoes and saw our new client with his ambitious goal as the perfect opportunity to let some of Sugatan’s juniors shine. And boy, did they sparkle!
Our Junior Media Buyer, Rui Silva, became Gatsby Shoes’s dedicated ad buyer, while José Luis Cobi and Stefaniia Tkachuk came on board as the Junior Graphic Designers for the brand.
The team worked under the skillful guidance of our Senior Media Buyer, Matas Kemzūra, Senior Graphic Designer, Oleksandra Hruzynska, and Video Strategist, Dominic La Rondie.
“For a brand that was stuck on the $100k revenue mark, it looked like the milestone to hit 7 figures was a lot to ask. But after just 6 months, we had already reached $500k in monthly revenue.” – Rui Silva
Every client is unique, and therefore they all require unique solutions. The team’s strategy to scale Gatsby Shoes was threefold.
- Product Positioning
- Paid Media
Step 1 was to understand why the brand was struggling to make more than $100k a month.
“We quickly realized that one of the biggest problems was that the brand didn’t have a well-crafted foundation. They didn’t quite understand who their ideal customer was and didn’t know how to communicate the benefits of the products,” said Rui.
The team brainstormed like it was typhoon season, read hundreds of customer reviews, and did extensive competitor research.
This led to the realization that there were very specific standards that needed to be communicated when talking about classic shoes. More importantly, a message that would differentiate Gatsby Shoes from all competitors became clear.
According to Rui, “This phase was the one that contributed the most to the long-term success of the brand. Without it, we would never have achieved the results we got.”
Stefaniia and José created several ads using different angles to test for the best results. Some focused on quality and others focused on comfort and accessibility. After countless tests, the best ads were identified and variations of them were created to run as many winning ads as possible.
Examples of José’s creatives:
Examples of Stefaniia’s creatives:
We only ran ads on Facebook; no other channels. The account was organized into 3 large groups: Test, TOF (Top Of Funnel), and Retargeting Campaigns.
Each week, Rui would test the creatives that had been made in that week to squeeze out as many winning ads as possible. These ads were scrutinized to see whether they had the potential for scalability.
The team tried URL optimization, different thumbnails, copy variations, changing the first 3 seconds of video ads, and playing with different dimensions.
Key metrics monitored at this stage were ROAS, CPA, purchases, initiate checkouts, CPC link clicks, CTR link clicks, and CPM.
Campaigns in this group were the ones that generated the most significant influx of customers to the website. This is where the best campaigns from the test batch were put into action.
These campaigns served to educate and convert customers who had already come into contact with Gatsby Shoes. This is where objections were squashed with social proof.
The targets were website visitors, people who had interacted with the brand’s content on social networks, those who had seen 95% of our videos, and newsletter subscribers.
The website had to be optimized to get the most out of every buyer to maximize the team’s probability of success and for Rui to spend more on Facebook ads.
The initial goal was to spend $100k on Facebook ads per month until the end of 2021 and to get 2.6x total ROAS.
Rui didn’t just reach that goal; he doubled it! In December 2021, we got $200k in monthly ad spend.
“There are 2 metrics that we always track on the website: AOV and CR – Average Order Value and Conversion Rate.” – Rui Silva
One way in which we increased AOV was by utilizing after-purchase upsells. That’s when we show the customer a last irresistible and exclusive offer right after completing their purchase. This seemingly small tactic alone generated $150k+ in additional revenue.
Naturally, no strategy goes down without a hitch. The team faced their fair share of challenges, but they came out on top through grit, teamwork, creative talent, and patience.
The designers faced a challenge together. Both had worked with shoes before, but primarily for women. Marketing a unique men’s shoe was new to them.
José said, “I used to work with a local shoe store in my hometown, creating content and taking photos of their shoes.”
Stefaniia worked in a textile studio as a fashion designer years ago and had worked with women’s shoes as a graphic designer too.
Both designers credit their team for helping them overcome this challenge. José said, “We had productive calls as a team where we would check different styles together so we could perfectly target the buyers of this brand.”
Stefaniia said that besides doing tons of research, she overcame this challenge by “watching, watching, and once again watching” as her mentor Oleksandra showed her the ropes.
“Inspiration plays a big role in our work. I have a dream team – I watch, listen, and learn from them – and they make me feel that I can move mountains!” – Stefaniia Tkachuk
“The first month was the most difficult because we only recycled old ads that were already saturated,” said Rui. In addition to being saturated, there weren’t that many to work with. The team only had about 5 to 7 photos they could use, and they had to use them for various stages of the consumer journey (TOF and retargeting).
Rui tried new structures and tactics in Facebook Ads Manager that rendered some interesting results, but it wasn’t enough to scale the way we wanted to.
In the end, the team prevailed by testing at crazy speeds and nailing communication with a strong value proposition. That proposition was “Dress shoes that feel like sneakers.”
Soon enough, they had a handful of winning creatives that led to scaling success.
The Winning Ads
The team recognized an interesting pattern with Gatsby Shoes’s ads. Images and GIFs were outperforming videos.
They also found that short ads with minimal information performed better in TOF campaigns. In retargeting campaigns, longer ads with more information were more successful than those that were only a few seconds long.
The best-performing TOF ad generated over $400k in revenue. We discovered its secret sauce through testing different headlines and ad copy variations. The ad was optimized so that the headline on the creative stopped the right people from scrolling while the ad copy nudged them to the website.
Here’s what the top-performing ad looked like.
Look at the engagement it got on Facebook! #proudmoment
The top-performing retargeting ads were different. They were the ones that showed the product in action and in different scenarios. Those that targeted objections and showed reviews from current customers also performed well for retargeting purposes.
José focused primarily on collages with videos, and he recently started using very clear photos that show the details on the shoes. José said, “Great photography in combination with big, readable copy has been performing very well.”
Stefaniia said the secret to their success was a combination of teamwork, attention to detail, clear photos with good copy, and a great ad buying team. “Also, if you love what you do, you can’t go wrong!”
That’s a 444% increase in revenue in only 6 months!
We managed to scale consistently, maintaining the total ROAS KPI of 2.6x.
From under the $100k revenue mark in July 2021 to reaching $500k in December, the team successfully scaled a brand 5x in under 6 months.
We asked the team what they have learned from working with Gatsby Shoes so far. Here’s what they had to say.
Rui: I learned that we don’t always need to make strategies too complex. If the basics are done well and we have patience, we will achieve brilliant results sooner or later.
Stefaniia: I feel like Gatsby Shoes helped me mature as a designer. My ads have increased ROAS, which is great! I also improved my skills in working with video content.
José: I learned to never give up and always try to find different ways to create. Sometimes you think you’ve already made everything, but it’s not true. It’s fun to learn how far your abilities and creativity can go when you expand your horizons to new challenges that you are not used to.
Top Tips From Rui Silva
If you’re a junior media buyer looking to up your game, Rui has some sage advice for you.
- Know your target audience well and use creatives that speak directly to them. More than 50% of your success in ad management will depend on the creative.
- A top-performing ad in the US won’t necessarily be the best one for EU countries and vice-versa.
- Test everything and test quickly. Did an ad show potential? Test the same ad with different copy, URLs, thumbnails, first 3 seconds, dimensions, audiences, attribution settings, and placements. That’s the only way to reach the ad’s true potential.
- Be aware and find patterns. For example, on which days do you have the best ROAS? Scale your budget more aggressively on those days.
- If you’re working on a menswear brand, create ads specific to women too. Ladies love to give their partners nice pieces of clothing.
We hope you enjoyed this success story and that it adds value to your own Facebook ads strategy.
If you’re not a member of our private Facebook group yet, please join! We’re a community of 7.9k eCommerce marketers, entrepreneurs, and digital marketing enthusiasts who regularly share our insights with the group.
Listen to this podcast episode if you’d like to hear another feel-good success story. This one’s about how we started our own brand from scratch and scaled it to $100k monthly revenue in just 3 months.