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woken

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Hi guys,

This is my progress thread for my ecommerce brand launching 2.04.2021
*I am not dropshipping.*

I started working on this at the beginning of February and most of it was done by the end of that month, so I’ve wasted a lot of time since then not knowing what else to do.
Leads are accumulating and anticipation is building but I’m not sure a 2 months prelaunch campaign has been the greatest idea.

Things I’ve done so far
  • Built website (includes everything from pixel setup to custom editing, removing buy buttons, product photography, copywriting, the lot.)
  • Built a referral campaign and collected 5k leads. ( bring 25 friends and get 1 free) I’m giving away +-100 pieces total. In hindsight, I should’ve went with a higher number and less time. I gave people a month and a half.
  • Automated email flows for everything such as abandoned carts, returning customers, etc. (spent some time here thinking about the endless possibilities with ifs and buts)
  • Fb and insta posts everyday.
  • Influencers campaign 5 posts so far with minor impact, 5 to go on launch day with bigger influencers(300k+)
  • Fb ads funnel ready to go.(lookalikes, custom audiences, retargeting, the lot)
  • Created 5-6 Instagram template stories that I can easily edit for everyday use.
  • Created individual discount codes for the guys that completed the referral campaign. When they reached the threshold an automatic email was sent with a code but by now it should be shared so I’m not taking chances( for the 100% discount)
  • Integrate the reviews app right before launch. Since it’s not free, I didn’t want to use it until the site is live

Things I need to do short term
A/B test different popups (email capture) and maybe integrate “Wheel of Fortune” app for the same purpose


Things I need to do long term:
  • Grow both Insta and Fb presence
    • Anything over 10k followers should help build trust.
  • A/B testing free shipping vs cheaper with paid shipping(current)
    • Mixed thoughts about this, only assumptions. I see successful brands doing both so I need the a/b data
  • Improve packaging
    • As I was rushing with the packaging part of the business, I overlooked some better packaging designs that I could get for the same cost, but will improve overall the experience. I’ve already contacted the suppliers and supplied(haha) my needs, they’re waiting for the okay.
  • Improve conversion rate.
    • How do I know it needs improving you ask? Well, conversion rate can always be improved.
  • Design 5 timeless pieces to create a 100% original collection
    • By original I mean a founding collection, something that I would like to keep on the website forever. More on that as we get there.
  • Get the brand to £10K revenue/ month.
    • While my lifelong goal has been to earn £10k/ month after taxes, I’m happy with my brand doing that. At the 10k/month level I can afford to pay my monthly expenses without impacting the brand as much. I only need £2k/ month which will stay the same for the foreseeable future. You might argue 20% is a lot at the 10k level but the percentage will drop as revenue increases.

Launching :
I will refrain from expectations.

The 5k leads I have acquired at £0.25/lead( does not factor in products shipped).
There’s 7k leads total but the software I use automatically excludes leads from sweepstake websites, duplicate IP, etc.
I’m aware a percentage of my leads joined just for the free products, or signed up and gave up. This category, I’ll say, 50%?, of total leads. Again, no precedents so I’m not sure what to factor here.
While they were targeted and warmed up for the duration of the referral campaign, I’m not sure what to expect.
I get around 50% email open rate( not sure it’s sustainable since I only sent 10 emails throughout the campaign)

All said and done, I would consider a 1% conversion rate a success. Expensive, but it’s a start.


Mindset:
I am positive about the whole journey and really keen to learn. One concern I'll be tackling is Shiny Objects Syndrome which I'm sure can be cured by implementing smaller goals and sticking to them.
I'm not sure if I'm setting myself a ceiling by aiming for £10k a month for my business, but that's something I feel I can do. Once I get there I can then work on that.

Thank you for reading this !


I'm sure there’s tons I missed but I’m here to learn and document the journey. If you do have any suggestions let me know.
 

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sparechange

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Great thread, good luck!

You've proved you can get leads, and .25 is fairly cheap, keep doubling and tripling down on it. That way when you are reaching hundreds of thousands of people you increase your chances of getting those sales.

Don't focus on growing followings, focus on the leads, sales & rinse repeating. 1M followers on Instagram doesn't mean as much as 1,000 sales for example.
 
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woken

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Great thread, good luck!

You've proved you can get leads, and .25 is fairly cheap, keep doubling and tripling down on it. That way when you are reaching hundreds of thousands of people you increase your chances of getting those sales.

Don't focus on growing followings, focus on the leads, sales & rinse repeating. 1M followers on Instagram doesn't mean as much as 1,000 sales for example.
I’m sure it does help building trust. Not focusing on a large following though.
Sure thing, sales and growth are the focus here.

thanks for the reply.
 

woken

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I’ve updated the thread and moved some
things from “short term” to “done”.

The launch is tomorrow.


When you don’t know, you think you’ve done everything there was to be done.

what would you do differently?

Here I am, a little nervous for a 1% conversion rate.
:rofl:
:rofl:

And yes, 1% is extremely low for launch day but it’s intentional so that I can reach it lol.

COSTS
Manufacturing : £2500

Fb ads + influencers - £1700

Rewards campaign platform 2 months - £215

Email marketing - £70/m

Website £25/month

Packaging(for 500 orders) : £75

  • I managed to save here by buying wholesale and doing the branding myself ( i own a heat press and a silhouette vinyl cutter) and by getting getting freebies from Ups& royal mail( free labels, etc)
Thermal label printer £129

  • Saves A LOT OF TIME.

Total : £4717
Drop in the ocean compared to my previous £50k failure that made £300. :wideyed:



Edit: there will be some orders from people that won rewards in the referral campagin for sure ( they have fml discounts) which I’m hoping would generate positive reviews.
 
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woken

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Update:

Had some orders from the leads.

I was doing some extra ads and fb banned my ads account. They wouldn’t say why, of course.
Submitted the documentation required...
This is why you should be in control.

I don’t know google ads, and based on SEO alone I don’t know if there’ll be any significant growth.

Will update as it progresses.
 

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woken

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This is an inspiring thread. I need to do much of this myself. Best of luck.



Now this may prove a wonderful lesson for us... only when you're ready to share the story!

Here's another excellent read: EXECUTION - What I learned spending $40k and one year launching my app.
Thanks for your reply !

Quick update;

made another ad account, business manager, etc.
biggest fear would be them being linked but I don’t think that would be a problem since this won’t violate any policies.

i won’t be burning through the ad budget anymore and only be running top funnel ads, until I can make lookalike audiences(100 events).
Right now I’m waiting for the initial review for the ads. Up and down and up and down we go :)

Edit: all pixel data could’ve been transferred if I had an older business manager . Apparently you cannot share pixel data with new business managers. It takes “ several weeks of following policies”. Lesson learnt there.
 
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tylerwilkinson

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Hi, good stuff! Your referral campaign, you asked for 25 friends. Was this just “give me the email of 25 people”, or did you have additional validation?

I’m spitballing the idea of “free month/product/bonus/etc” when x friends enroll or open an account. Not necessarily requiring purchase, but that could definitely vet your leads for you. Curious how much thought a customer will give to *who* they refer if quality matter, as opposed to just sending you their first fifty contacts.
 

woken

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Hi, good stuff! Your referral campaign, you asked for 25 friends. Was this just “give me the email of 25 people”, or did you have additional validation?

I’m spitballing the idea of “free month/product/bonus/etc” when x friends enroll or open an account. Not necessarily requiring purchase, but that could definitely vet your leads for you. Curious how much thought a customer will give to *who* they refer if quality matter, as opposed to just sending you their first fifty contacts.
It’s better to have 10 people ready to purchase than 10k emails that you’re not sure what they want.
The platform I used made sure they rejected leads from duplicate emails, people from sweepstakes websites, etc.
I’ve warmed up the leads throught automated email flows but I think I should’ve just started earlier, without leads, since the product was ready long before.

When giving away products or services that are once and done, you’ll attract a lot of “cmon man give me some too” people.

once their in your list, they’ll open any email, boost up your numbers, anything to get their free thing.

after completing several courses worth thousands, I’m amazed by how people manage to generate 100k revenue at launch without being famous or the products innovative at all. ( branded coffee cups for example)

People say social numbers don’t matter and that sales do, but social numbers are what drive those sales( social proof).

i had people in my campaign that when through the whole process, and at launch bounced because they had to pay £3.99 for shipping(for a £70 product given free) And leaving comments like: idk if this is real,the page has only 200 likes.

Wtf?

i know what i’m typing is random but I don’t feel like organising anymore for now.

Google harry’s referral campaign. I’ve done something similar.
 

woken

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Update:

At the moment I am trying to get at least 100 events such as add to cart so I can make some lal audiences.

I'm out of interests idea to target.

The more events you have the better your ads will deliver.


edit :

Atm trying to break even on the ad spend. If I break even it means my pixel will optimize for free, so that's the goal right now.
 
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woken

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Slow slow slower than I want the data.
Targeting 30 interests, but cant' make nothing of them since fb deiced to spend the money wisely, in small chunks (until they up the limit ,usually paying the same amount 3-4 times).
Went from being billed every £4 then £9 then £12 to £16 now. You can see how this can take a long time.
This is because I created a new business manager since the old one was banned. I'm pretty sure I used a copyrighted song, so I can definitely take the account back but they mention it can take 3-4 weeks.

Also, my events won't update so I can't create a LAL audience at the moment, although I can see the data in the Event Manager. I found out this is a common problem and it will eventually update.

Small amount of views from ads. Can't do anything about it until they run for a bit and I get some data.

edit : created an appeal for my old ad account.
 

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woken

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What's your FB/Insta?
Won’t be sharing the website/socials.

Funny thing happened, after I appealed my old ad account was reinstated but I decided to keep using this one and use the old one for other purposes because:
-already started generating data here and it’s a pain to move everything and create all ads again. )
- the data I gathered during pre launch doesn’t help as I had a lot of people only interested in the free product.
- i will be sharing pixel data with the other one just in case(once I can)

i also updated the email list and halved it by excluding everybody that never opened an email, etc. My opening rate jumped back to 50% because of this, after dropping down in the first days during the launch. I still need to improve the click through rate. ( i can’t think of everything lol)

Main short goal : get this to £1000/ month by May.
Once I have enough pixel data then I can rebuild the funnel and work from there with more personalized email marketing.

mindset shifted a bit towards positivity and even though there are setbacks, I feel this is moving forward.
 

woken

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Last night I realized my ads won’t spend more than £36. I filed a request to increase my daily spending limit with facebook and now I’m waiting on the answer.

Slow, but nothing I can do right now.
 

woken

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Main short goal : get this to £1000/ month by May.
Currently on track for that. I'll add photos once I hit the milestone.
Last night I realized my ads won’t spend more than £36. I filed a request to increase my daily spending limit with facebook and now I’m waiting on the answer.

Slow, but nothing I can do right now.
Still waiting on the reply.


Done:
Google Ads - up and converting.
Leveraging etsy traffic - up and converting as well.
 

woken

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They won't be increasing my limit for now. My other account is capped at £185/day but I won't be switching. This way it also helps with the urge to spend more lol.
I'll take it easy.
 

woken

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12 Days since Launch Update.
Revenue - £560.

-Got lots of content.
-Optimised website.
-Testing fb ads continuously, can’t really do much bc of the limit.
Got about half of the month left to hit the £1K goal.
can’t scale much further from here until fb decides to increase my limit.
 

woken

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For some reason everything stopped converting. Don’t know what the problem is but will figure it out.

Email flows are live, but so far this is the single thing that doesn’t convert(apart from launch)

still no budget increase from facebook but I’m glad cause they’re not converting for some reason now.
 

woken

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Sales slowly coming in.
Shiny objects syndrome slowly creeping in.
I’ve designed 9 more products for the brand.
I won’t manufacture all at once, I’ve learnt my lessons.
I won’t manufacture anything out of pocket anymore. If I sell what I have, I’ve got money for better products, if not, I have to wait until the sales come in.
As I’m writing this I realize that me designing 9 more products is still shiny objects syndrome. Still running after something else, thinking other products will sell better because they’re more unique.( aren’t they all,haha).

I realize this is a bad spot to be in mentally. I honestly didn’t see it this way until I put it down here. I see the pattern, this is where I stop.

I need to improve the conversion rate. No more spending money on other products until I sell what I have. Others are selling about the same thing for more and are killing it.

Boys and girls, the shiny objects syndrome is real and most of the times you’re not even aware.
 

woken

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I’m considering scrapping email marketing altogether. I’ve tried everything, I’ve warmed them up, tested different flows, different offers to the point where I’ve offered buy one get one free to the hottest audience, and they still won’t convert.

is there anyone here willing to give some tips?

this is my main frustration at the moment, and that facebook didn’t up my daily spend yet.

Edit: i know I need email marketing, abandoned checkouts flows, browsing flows, but I’m saying I don’t see the results, nor do I know how to improve it.
 

woken

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Funny thing happens when you complain.

converted 1 person via email.
Now that’s a start, haha.
 

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woken

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Funny thing happens when you complain.

converted 1 person via email.
Now that’s a start, haha.
Planning on rebuilding all Email Marketing emails with better flows.
I think I figured out what I was doing wrong. I was going for the quick sale, also not sending enough information.

happy with the journey so far, I’m about one sale away from my £1k/ first month initial goal.
Overall, I love the process of figuring out what works/what doesn’t.
I will be updating soon with revenue pics.
 

woken

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1 MONTH REVIEW

I Hit the £1k/month goal
  • Improve packaging- this can wait, at the moment the packaging is what you’d call ‘standard’. I want to create a better unboxing experience. Eventually I will do this as I have the suppliers ready to make them.
  • tested paid vs free shipping, figured out what works.
  • Conversion rate needs improving but it was expected since I tested a lot of traffic sources.
  • Designed 10 pieces, will produce only 2 extra at the moment.
  • The influencers I have partnered with brought in a total 0 sales. Will refrain from this type of marketing for a while.
  • Optimized fb ads and this is the result
A9AF99DC-B219-43F0-B7FC-3F07967ED901.jpeg



Had an influx of orders in the last 24 hours I have done 7 times the average.

All profits all reinvested.


Figured out the following:

I need approx. £2000/month for my expenses(house,bills,etc)

I won’t take any money out of this until it hits £10k/ month.

At that level, 20% should not affect as much. Of course, the goal is to reduce this percentage as much as possible.


I had two returns total. Customer service is funny. I try not to get mad, but will build tolerance as it progresses. It’s part of every business.

Revenue:


  • £189 in person sales
  • £ 432 etsy
  • £610 main website
    Total £1231

    Overall I’m very happy I have a viable business.
I enjoy the process. From figuring out what works and what doesn’t, packaging every item, printing labels, going to the post office, I love every moment of it.

What I also do and customers love:
I send the items out within a maximum of 1h of placing the order. Every single one.
I know I could go only once per day to the post office but this way customers are more likely to leave a positive review/recommend the products.


I also delivered an item myself to a customer that lives close enough to me, within 30 minutes of ordering.
He was shook!
TAKE THAT AMAZON!:rofl::rofl:

I learn a lot in the past month.
Knowledge cannot be taken away, by anyone.

I’m trying to get to the point where the execution of the basics is done really really well. Then scaling is inevitable.
 
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mdot

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Wow, congrats on your launch! Inspiring what you've managed to accomplish without Amazon, and in such a short time!
 

woken

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Quick one :

You know you’re doing something right when your main competitor copies your ads 100%.
 

woken

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quick update.

Facebook ads are really hit or miss at this point for me. I am struggling to keep a campaign profitable. It all goes well and I get lots of purchases for a while, then it spends and spends and spends and nothing, increasing the costs per purchase.

Fb still limits me to spending £36/day and I cannot test a lot. I have another account that has a higher limit but honestly I’m afraid I’ll “test” myself into oblivion. But I do need to spend more/ day so maybe i’ll switch.



What I find missing, and struggle with everyday, is a clear and concise path to follow.



I know I’m supposed to find out what works and do that, but

I’m doing x,y,z for a week and it works, then next week it doesn’t work anymore and I’m back to square one.



I think I have my pricing all wrong. I assume it has something to do with the perceived value because I’ve seen an increase in conversions since I increased my prices by 15%.

Might have to increase even more, definitely worth testing.
 

woken

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I’ve gifted myself a treadmill and couldn’t be more excited. :rofl:

In London you can never be sure of the weather. Now it’s sunny and ten minutes later seems like the end of the world is coming. Rinse and repeat on a loop.


Not really a gym guy, but I’ve always been fit.

The reason I bought one is because I’m always thinking how the perfect life would be for me and trying to implement that as much as I can.


Business wise things are a bit slower, trying to make the website better and fighting facebook ads everyday.

Some limitations appear because of lacking the knowledge I need.
I can outsource a lot of things but the budget won’t allow for now.

Example:

I’d like to implement a 3d interactive model for all my products.
I tried to do it myself but for some reason the software won’t work.
I can outsource this but I’m pretty sure a good looking, interactive 3D Model is expensive. When you do that for x21 products, it’s way out of budget.


Got 2 more products fully custom made for the brand, which are manufactured now.
 

Tony100

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I’ve gifted myself a treadmill and couldn’t be more excited. :rofl:

In London you can never be sure of the weather. Now it’s sunny and ten minutes later seems like the end of the world is coming. Rinse and repeat on a loop.


Not really a gym guy, but I’ve always been fit.

The reason I bought one is because I’m always thinking how the perfect life would be for me and trying to implement that as much as I can.


Business wise things are a bit slower, trying to make the website better and fighting facebook ads everyday.

Some limitations appear because of lacking the knowledge I need.
I can outsource a lot of things but the budget won’t allow for now.

Example:

I’d like to implement a 3d interactive model for all my products.
I tried to do it myself but for some reason the software won’t work.
I can outsource this but I’m pretty sure a good looking, interactive 3D Model is expensive. When you do that for x21 products, it’s way out of budget.


Got 2 more products fully custom made for the brand, which are manufactured now.
Congrats on your progress and accomplishments so far mate. Also just read your intro post. Good stuff.

Your title here is 'building a brand' but you haven't talked much about branding or building an audience? I'm not talking about numbers but in terms of what your brand stands for, how you connect to your customers values and building that fan base around your brand.

It's not criticism but actually a regret of mine. I started my B2B online shop a few years ago. Now I wish I had focused more on building a loyal fan base because we now have lots of competitors - our products, customer service and general values are almost identical. My customers are happy but will go to a competitor if they're cheaper. If you can build that fan base /brand, they will choose your shop everytime.

Rather than analysing ads I would investigate customer retention, engagement on Instagram posts, what else do your target customers buy online, what do your target customers value when making a purchase - ethics, delivery speed, aesthetics, price, what country goods are made? What is important to them? Are you testing new products on customers before making them in batch? Make the customer your focus and sales will follow.

You have brought in sales quickly since launching though so you must be onto something good. Keep it up mate
 

woken

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you haven't talked much about branding or building an audience? I'm not talking about numbers but in terms of what your brand stands for, how you connect to your customers values and building that fan base around your brand.
I think I left some details here and there but you’re right.

our products, customer service and general values are almost identical. My customers are happy but will go to a competitor if they're cheaper.
This is more or less in the same boat. They won’t find my products cheaper though. But I’ve encountered that. My customers would pay more for the same thing from established brands.
So I’m not really in a position to talk a lot about that, I’m trying to learn myself as I go.

It always seems easier when you think of other products.


So far I’ve been focusing on customer service. Every order ships out within 30 mins of purchase during business hours.Arrives next day in the UK, when customer expects 2-3 days transit.
Good follow up after purchases, engagement, but no further sales.

And I’m pretty sure it’s not a product problem.
My products are not exactly a repeat purchase apart from some customers here and there purchasing again as gifts for friends etc.
What would generate repeat sales is introducing another category of products that go with what I currently have. But at the moment I’ve decided I’m not spending any more of my money on this.( trying the other way as opposed to spending £50k on multiple products as discussed in my intro post)

Other categories will be added as it progresses, and that’s the main goal.

One thing I didn’t mention here before is that I actually value my work lesser than other’s people work.

I’ll give you an example.

Mike takes a photo of a tree.
I take the same exact photo but in my mind, mine is less valuable/worse.

Even though they’re identical.



My posts here are more of a journal for me to look back on and track progress. I’m not claiming to know anything, but rather I’m trying to figure things out.

Rather than analysing ads
Without proper ads I have no traffic. No traffic = no customers.
I can’t rely on SEO for a two month old website so I say I do have to analyse and understand them to make them better.


At the moment it goes against the CENTS since I don’t own the traffic nor do I optimize for emails, but rather go straight for the sale.

I might just change the strategy here.
I think I’ll optimise for email address and then funnel customers down through email marketing. It sounds cheaper when I think of it now.
What I don’t have right now is an incentive for email addresses( apart from the 10% off discount popup)

Any ideas ?

Thanks for your reply!
 
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Tony100

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I think I left some details here and there but you’re right.


This is more or less in the same boat. They won’t find my products cheaper though. But I’ve encountered that. My customers would pay more for the same thing from established brands.
So I’m not really in a position to talk a lot about that, I’m trying to learn myself as I go.

It always seems easier when you think of other products.


So far I’ve been focusing on customer service. Every order ships out within 30 mins of purchase during business hours.Arrives next day in the UK, when customer expects 2-3 days transit.
Good follow up after purchases, engagement, but no further sales.

And I’m pretty sure it’s not a product problem.
My products are not exactly a repeat purchase apart from some customers here and there purchasing again as gifts for friends etc.
What would generate repeat sales is introducing another category of products that go with what I currently have. But at the moment I’ve decided I’m not spending any more of my money on this.( trying the other way as opposed to spending £50k on multiple products as discussed in my intro post)

Other categories will be added as it progresses, and that’s the main goal.

One thing I didn’t mention here before is that I actually value my work lesser than other’s people work.

I’ll give you an example.

Mike takes a photo of a tree.
I take the same exact photo but in my mind, mine is less valuable/worse.

Even though they’re identical.



My posts here are more of a journal for me to look back on and track progress. I’m not claiming to know anything, but rather I’m trying to figure things out.


Without proper ads I have no traffic. No traffic = no customers.
I can’t rely on SEO for a two month old website so I say I do have to analyse and understand them to make them better.


At the moment it goes against the CENTS since I don’t own the traffic nor do I optimize for emails, but rather go straight for the sale.

I might just change the strategy here.
I think I’ll optimise for email address and then funnel customers down through email marketing. It sounds cheaper when I think of it now.

Thanks for your reply!
That sounds like a good plan. Sure you're right you can't include every detail in this thread.

As you said expanding into another category of products would work well but it is a good idea to test your current products first.
I’m not claiming to know anything, but rather I’m trying to figure things out.
100%! Same here, I'm learning too. My suggestions were just my ideas in case they helped in any way.
 

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