The biggest thing that sets us apart from other eCommerce marketing agencies
Unlike other agencies, we actually run two 7-figure eCommerce stores ourselves. That means we understand the ins and outs of running an eCommerce business from both sides - granting us a more holistic point of view.
Other agencies are siloed in the services they do. For example, a PPC agency only thinks in terms of PPC optimisation. An SEO agency prioritises rankings and organic rankings above all else. A CRO agency prioritises conversion rate. And so on.
But those things don’t exist in a silo. When you run an actual eCommerce business, you have to make compromises, you have to understand when those things may conflict, you have to make tough decisions. You also might find situations when two ‘branches’ can work together to get extra benefits.
All of that is only obvious to you if you run the business.
So we bring this holistic thinking to our client work, taking a more revenue-driven approach to our marketing. And here we’ll explain a few benefits this brings:
Firstly, we’ll share how this holistic thinking led us to combine a PR effort with PPC to get extra results that wouldn’t have happened if we did marketing in a siloed way.
Secondly, we’ll explain how we launched a site while de-prioritising SEO and how that led to a quicker return on revenue.
Thirdly, we’ll introduce our marketing playbook, which we created by noting patterns that kept working between our eCommerce businesses and our clients - resulting in us developing leading strategies.
Fourthly, we’ll take you through the post-purchase automated email plan we use on our own stores to drive more sales.
Then we’ll touch on the importance of switching up your strategy when you’re about to scale.
Finally, we’ll explain how the constant fuel of information from both our own businesses and our clients’ helps us generate even more insights - helping us save our clients money or improve their campaign performance.
So if you’re interested in working with an agency that’s got this hands-on experience in running an entire eCommerce business themselves - and the holistic thinking it gives us - then reach out to us.
Not quite ready yet? Then keep reading.
The more integrated the team, the more opportunities gained
The way we look at it is: an integrated team = shared learnings and agile methodology.
We ran a PR campaign for one of our waterproof accessories businesses, Aquaproofs, and were featured in The Telegraph in an article by award-winning landscape and garden designer, Bunny Guinness. As a result, we did more revenue in that one week than we’d normally do in a month (shown in the image below).
specialist saw an opportunity to take the credibility of Bunny Guinness and the success of the campaign and use them to create paid ads on Facebook to her target audience.
That wouldn’t have happened if we had siloed individuals who didn’t communicate with each other, or teams that didn’t venture out of their marketing to-do list to look for extra opportunities. Because when do you ever really hear PR speak to PPC? Not that often.
By doing retrospectives and daily stand-up meetings, we saw a situation where these two branches could work together to get extra results. It had a performance impact that we can quantifiably talk about - which is exactly what we do for our clients by having a team work on projects instead of isolated individuals.
Best practice isn’t always best practice
When we launched our online bike accessories store Unsponsored, our main aim was to get the site live and add all of our products - de-prioritising SEO to make a faster return on revenue.
Ideally you’d lay the foundations of SEO and then build, but when it’s your own money on the line, your priorities change. At that point, launching the site and bringing in revenue was more important than SEO, and we knew we could work on it once all our products were live.
We prioritised activities based on what generated the biggest commercial impact, as opposed to best practice. And that may be the case for our clients too.
Not a lot of agencies would advise you to go against best practice because it’s not ‘the done thing’. And it’s not their money on the line. We say differently.
So yes, while we have best practices, we don’t always follow them in the order that everyone thinks they should be done. With our holistic thinking and hands-on experience, we know which things lead to a greater, faster return for eCommerce businesses, so we do them first and focus on the rest once there’s more budget.
We did a similar thing with Aquaproofs where we set the site live and prioritised PPC for revenue - and then got to work on SEO and PR. Then we looked to add more seasonal products. So essentially we were making every decision from a business and revenue perspective first.
That’s why our commercial understanding is a cut above the rest. Because it’s not just about marketing, it’s about revenue.
But when we do best practices, they really pay off.
We had a client whose US site was ‘stealing’ traffic from their UK site and neither were performing as well as they should in search engines. So we implemented a solid international SEO and technical SEO strategy to make sure the correct traffic was coming to the site via the correct territories - ensuring site set-up was correct in various platforms, identifying and fixing hreflang tag issues and implementing schema markup, on top of other quick wins.
This image shows the month on month UK organic traffic to the UK site. The red arrow shows when we implemented the technical SEO changes, which led to a significant increase in organic sessions:
December 2020 vs November 2020
Organic sessions: +2%
Organic users: +7%
Organic revenue: +4.9%
January 2021 vs December 2020
Organic sessions: +67%
Organic users: +73%
Organic revenue: +92.8%
February 2021 vs Jan 2021
Organic sessions: +21%
Organic users: +15%
Organic revenue: +14%
From January 2021 onwards the percentages are in double figures, with January being the most successful month, most notably producing a 92.8% increase in organic revenue and 73% increase in users now the UK visitors are being pointed to the correct site.
There was also a similar success for the US site month on month (below).
(The red arrow shows when we implemented the changes).
December 2020 vs November 2020
Organic sessions: +57%
Organic users: +61.9%
January 2021 vs December 2020
Organic sessions: +9.7%
Organic users: +5.6%
February 2021 vs January 2021
Organic sessions: +8.8%
Organic users: +36%
The US site was the site that was originally stealing traffic from the UK site, so it’s less impressive than the UK results, but it’s still showing a steady increase which picked up a lot in December 2020 with a 57% increase in organic sessions and a 61.9% increase in organic users, and again in February 2021 with a 36% increase in organic users.
Alignments between our own businesses and our clients led us to create a marketing playbook and develop leading strategies
We created our own marketing playbook because we kept seeing common trends between our businesses and our clients’. So we wanted to pour all of our knowledge, best practices, techniques and insights into this one, ever-evolving playbook.
Here’s an example of just one of our strategies for PPC we tested across several accounts and recently added to our playbook.
To launch our clients’ first paid social media campaign, we use the new ‘Love-Demo-Love’ formula, where we take user generated content in the form of video testimonials and turn them into Facebook ads, sandwiched like so:
Love: customer testimonial
Demo: product overview
Love: customer testimonial
By incentivising existing customers to video themselves reviewing your product (eg. with a £10 gift card), then targeting that video to an audience that resonates with the reviewer (target women in their 30s by showing them a video of a woman in her 30s), you can capitalise on your product’s credibility with personalised content that’s not cost thousands in video production.
Customers write the best sales copy - and people buy from people more than brands - so use your reviews to construct the ad messaging.
We lead with this structure:
- Social proof
- Ownership benefit
- Additional headline
- Video square
- Edit in your own captions into the video
- Ownership benefit copy for text call to action
Then to fill in any gaps in your campaign targeting, set up an automated email campaign (more on this in the next section) to follow up with any new customers and offer them the same opportunity. Eventually you’ll get enough UGC testimonials to run all of these ads.
You should aim to just break even and not profit off this sale. You’ll then make the bulk of your money on the repeat purchases. This means you’ll have a decent budget for CPA (cost per acquisition).
We found it worked great for B2C brands that naturally generate repeat orders, as well as those who had already done around a couple of hundred orders. The unit economics will mean that on an AOV (average order value) of £20 with 50% margin, you still break even. Although we’d be expecting you to have both a higher AOV and profit margin because by doing this and getting lots of potential value, you’re still making money.
The post-purchase automated email plan we use on our own stores to drive more sales
Email marketing should generate at least 20-30% of your store’s revenue, which means you should be emailing relevant content to your subscribers once a week.
The key is to not bombard your customers with all your messages at once. Instead you want to drip feed them and steadily build a relationship which strengthens with every email you send.
Here’s the sequence we follow with our own businesses after a customer’s first purchase:
Round 1: First email - what they can expect from the brand and product
Automated welcome emails are 86% more effective than traditional email newsletters because your customer is at their peak interest. So thank them for buying your product and reassure them that they’ve made the right choice buying from you.
Give them more information about your philosophy and how often you’ll email them - as well as things like when their product will ship, what it looks like etc.
Round 2: Pre-arrival excitement emails
Build excitement for the product before your customer receives it. This is a great time to showcase some customer testimonials and social proof of other people who are happy with your product.
Round 3: Cross-sell sequence
‘We thought you might like these’. ‘Here’s some of our most popular products’. ‘If you liked X, you’ll love this.’ These are the kind of messages you want to include to sell your customer a product they’ve not bought yet.
Round 4: Selfie request email
Here you stop sending them content and ask them to take a selfie with your product. It’s quick, easy and takes less than a minute for them to do - and it builds up your social proof. To get them on board, offer an incentive like entering them into a competition to win a gift card or some free products.
Round 5: Customer survey email
They’ve had time to try out and enjoy your product, so now’s the time to ask them what they liked and didn’t like about it. If you get raving reviews - great! If you don’t, correct what was wrong and turn it into a raving review. Also ask them what more they want from you and use that to drive future campaigns (a great way to help build up your buyer personas too).
Round 6: Incentivised video review email
This is the Love-Demo-Love example I explained earlier.
Round 7: Abandoned cart follow-up
The average conversion rate for shopping cart abandonment emails is 18.64%, so it’s worth setting up an automated cart abandonment email to win your customers back.
Here’s the sequence we follow:
An automated email gets sent 24 hours after they’ve abandoned their cart as a reminder. The goal here is to close the sale and create a sense of urgency - in other words, ‘complete your purchase before we run out of stock’.
And these are the main elements we’ve found to work best in abandoned cart emails:
- Ownership benefit content
- Brand value proposition content
- Discount ladders
Once the foundations are in place, we scale
Once you have the base and revenue coming in from each channel, you've got a solid foundation in place. Which means it’s time to scale up. But this in itself causes knock-on problems, as it isn’t as simple as just flipping a switch or increasing your marketing budget.
Below shows a graph of one of our clients who, once we found initial traction through paid Google, we were able to get a ROAS of 12:1 over a 2-year period - which means that for every £1 they spent on paid ads they’d make £12 back. Not too shabby given the scale of this campaign spending £10,000s per month.
Within the same time period for that client, we can see in the image below that through organic SEO (which counted for 21% of their traffic) they were able to generate over £2.7m in revenue.
What used to work for you when you were starting out doesn't any more, so you need a different strategy. This particular campaign generated a ROI of 13, which meant for every £1 pound they spent on organic marketing they generated £13 in additional revenue.
All of our learnings are fed into one central data pool
Finally, we take all of the data and opportunities from operating our own businesses and use it to generate outward insights that can be applied to our clients’ businesses - and vice versa.
Basically every piece informs the other to create a continuous loop, so there’s no dead ends to our learnings.
This fuel of information means we get more learnings faster and see more use cases. We know where to look for the opportunities by working on lots of these same style accounts, which means we can end up saving our clients money or getting better performance out of a campaign.
For example, one of our clients was going through the process of a website re-platform. Since we’ve done this ourselves, we were able to point out a few extra things which saved them £10,000s and lots of man hours.
The crux was that they weren’t going to import certain product data across because their development agency hadn’t highlighted it as something that was important - and we questioned this. After a couple of consulting calls, they realised they really did need this data, and if they hadn’t have brought it across they would’ve had to manually retrieve and input all the information again - taking hundreds of hours which would’ve led to lost opportunity costs.
Read something that speaks to you? Then let’s work together.