Since summer of 2017, Splendid Circle has been steadily expanding its startup and lead generations services beyond entrepreneurs and small businesses to include online retailers and mid-level businesses in the ever expanding e-commerce space! It’s been an exciting time with lots to learn with each new project we get to take on.
You know, for an independent retailer with a super cool product ( or in a niche market), there has never been a better time than now to grow your community, test out your creations, get them to fall in love and then SELL to your market directly from your website!
But wait, what about Amazon, right?
Sure, these days, we get daily updates on Amazon revenues and their domination in the the online retail pie, but there are SO many businesses out there (locally and globally) who don’t want or need to be on Amazon.
They’ve figured out how to DIRECTLY get to their customers themselves. The online giant does get a lot of traffic and it’s relatively easy to start selling, but you hardly EVER hear about the many disadvantages. [Blog post coming up on this hot topic very soon!]
When you go out on your own and off Amazon, your setup typically has a Shopify or an e-commerce Wordpress themed site (like Woo commerce) that’s optimized for online sales with special catalog view features, inventory backend setup and web traffic pixel codes (Facebook and Google) installed to enable re-marketing or (re-targeted advertising).
So, for our retail businesses that have figured out how to get to their customers directly, how exactly are they doing it?? I’m sharing it here in this case study!
The retailer I got to work with is an amazing Mompreneur based out of Australia. She created the niche skateboarder lifestyle inspired clothing line called Sunny and Finn! The brand grew out of her experiences living with her young family in Bali! The clothes are a natural extension of the family’s fun outdoor surfer-skateboard bohemian culture.
While I can’t share details and numbers ($$$) of the campaign since the work is ongoing, I do want to provide an overview of how this brand is growing through Facebook Ads.
If you’re thinking about running an e-commerce business but don’t know how to use Facebook to sell or you think there’s only Amazon out there for e-commerce, allow this case study to open your world to new possibilities!
Even though things are always changing online from week to, heck, day to day, it’s good to have some pro-tips in your back pocket as you begin your very own e-commerce journey. This is the beginning of an e-commerce series I’m starting which looks at various aspects of running an omni-channel campaign.
In the meantime, here are a few specific best practices to take away in this evolving case study:
Great images are the starting point
Did you know there are businesses selling on just Instagram. They have no fancy website, no Facebook or any other platform. They are able to sell their goods and services based on their ability to attract their customers through their images and brand story on IG. With more people signing up for IG everyday, it’s noisier than ever.
Sunny and Finn has a distinct brand that speaks to its target audience. The images help complete that brand story in a way that there’s no confusion. Same vibe, filters, storytelling is captured in each image shared in any of the channels they use such as their website, blog, Instagram, Facebook and other channels.
In fact, whenever I scroll IG, I can correctly identify Sunny and Finn’s posts. Overtime, this establishes the brand/images and value in the minds of the followers and gets them mentally in a place to buy (if not buy right away).
E-commerce sales funnels are structured differently to lead gen funnels
Typically, the first step in any Facebook Ads campaign is build out the sales funnel (if it hasn’t been built out already). Hello! If you’ve been following my work, you know I’m all about building out your sales funnels for different products and services. No point doing advertising or even social media if you don’t have a clear strategy to begin with!!
That said, a sales funnel for an e-commerce campaign is structured differently to a sales funnel for a lead generation campaign.
For example, in a lead gen campaign, you would have top of the funnel (blog post or video) followed by middle of funnel (download or sign up for a free conversation) and then bottom of the funnel (it’s time to buy my service or product- here’s the buy now button!)
Alternatively, in an e-commerce campaign, it’s a broader push at the top of the funnel consisting of either videos, catalog posts or blog posts describing product features and then the funnel goes directly to bottom where it’s time to buy.
The Facebook Ad campaign at the top of funnel captures web traffic via the Facebook and Google tracking pixels on website along with other custom audiences (folks who watch videos, visited page in last 30 days or lookalike audiences) and then these types of “audiences” are re-targeted to the bottom of the funnel in order to push purchases!
And if you want to get super fancy and run like the big brands, there are sales funnel strategies that start in Google at the top, then move through Facebook or Instagram in the middle and then finish off the sale at the bottom of the sales funnel on a landing page/check out page so it’s multi-platform to capture maximum bang for the buck!
Split Testing and then Testing Again
I know. I know. This is the part in the blogpost where your eyes start glazing over. Split testing, A/B testing blah blah blah. But if you’re fortunate to have a business that’s mature and ready enough to benefit from Facebook Ads, do yourself a BIG favor and get comfortable with the idea of TESTING, testing and a bit more testing. Yes, it’s in caps cause that’s how important it it!!
You see, testing is a huge part of advertising on Facebook and Instagram because it’s tough to know in advance whether you have the right audience, the right message, the right image or the right “combination of everything”. It’s similar to experimental design where you run various experiments until you find the one way or a few ways where you get maximum results!
It’s tough when you’re testing but BOY do you start saving money on ad spend once you find the right combination (audiences, copy, images, time of the week, etc) for your campaigns. One of the most effective techniques I use with all my clients is Rapid Fire Testing. This technique quickly helps you identify your best audiences and the messages that work for conversion growth. It’s a long term game so keep that in mind always!
Features on an e-commerce site
Social platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest have created cool add-on features that create an ease in online shopping. But social media is so unpredictable and you never know when a platform hits a wall and shuts down. So you don’t want your marketing dependent on them.
It’s wise to “TEACH” your fans to visit your website since that’s where your visitors learn all about your products and where they buy from you.
There are an endless number of options but Sunny and Finn has a few shown in this image that works best for them. If you’re selling outside of the US, it’s important to have a currency dropdown. When you chose shopify, it has cart enabled features but there are a few options that are specific for clothing and other options appropriate for food or perishables.
Chatbots are really hot right now and a great way to quickly accelerate the Know-Like-Trust process. One of the more controversial but growing features is a FOMO popups which show you “others” who’ve recently bought something from that site.
And finally, the holy grail of the online marketing space is the email list. If you can get them on your list early and make it work their while either through value or coupons, email marketing becomes a very powerful part of your long term e-commerce strategy.
And there you have it! This project will continue to be updated with more information and details as we get more results. Check back again soon!
Hopefully, this gives you the motivation to make your online store a reality. You just have to take that first step- it’s a land grab!
I truly love this case study because it shows how Facebook Ads, a proven funnel and a great product (or an amazing line of clothes in this case) can make magic and bank!
If YOU have a cool product that you want to send online or you want to create your own branded site in addition to your existing Amazon seller account, we have clients doing well on both channels and maximizing their sales and RoI.