Case Study: The Strategy Behind a $250K Market Launch
Over the years, Adjust Media has been working with small to large sized eCommerce Merchants from all around the world. We started working with local clients here in Toronto but over time as the Adjust Methodology and business matured, we started accepting clients globally: USA, UK, Ireland, Israel, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and more. The common denominator between the majority of our managed merchants: they all sell ‘domestically’.
Every now and again, some of our clients decide to expand their advertising reach beyond their borders and into neighbouring countries. This comes with many challenges, and most merchants truly are not optimally situated for a full-blown market expansion. They do not have customer support teams, appropriate IT, distribution centers, efficient supply chain management, just to name a few notable challenges. As a result, sales only *trickle* in, leaving the new market as just an afterthought.
Recently, Adjust Media had the privilege to play a significant role in the market-expansion of a long-standing client, successfully launching a USA-based business regionally in our home country, Canada. The project took roughly 18 months, starting in August 2018 and completed the launch in January 2020. Logistically, there were countless details to sort out (some still in-the-works), but this blog post will focus on how we achieved a successful launch from a paid-media & digital perspective. With the below strategy, we achieved $20,236 in revenue on launch weekend, $70,596 by the end of the first month, and $250,000 Revenue by the end of Q1. We will break down our strategy & execution by 4 phases: List Building, Pre-Launch, Launch, Momentum.
Phase 1: List Building (12 Months Prelaunch – 2 Months Prelaunch)
As mentioned previously, it took roughly 18 months between the inception of expansion talks to making it a reality on launch day. With (a lot of) time on our side while sorting logistics out, Adjust Media put an emphasis on collecting potential customers for the launch list. This was primarily supported in 2 ways:
- Lead Ads on Facebook/IG with appropriate interest audiences, utilizing a repurposes PR video that already existed in the USA marketing mix. The goal was to gain users Email + Phone Number for less than $1.
- Website Popup for any organic traffic that found their way to the Canadian Website, incentivizing users to sign-up for ‘special pre-launch offers.’ We used PixelPop to execute this.
Both the Lead Ads & the Website Popup integrated with Klaviyo. Anyone who signed up from either source were immediately entered into a “prelaunch nurturing” flow with an immediate email (flow found below):
The flow was built with the intention of introducing the Brand to the potential customer and integrating them as deeply within our brand ecosystem as possible. The first email was a ‘Thank You’ for signing up email, the second email introduced our private FB group, the 3rd enticed users to join the Loyalty Program (Smile.IO, more on this later) and the 4th email drove users to the review page where they would be able to scroll through thousands of customer testimonials.
This ‘List-Building’ phase ran periodically for roughly 10 months with frequent creative substitutions. We were able to capture 1,632 leads through paid-media for an average cost of $0.84/lead (total spend: $1,377) and an additional 1,949 unique leads through the Pixel-Pop list. This brought our list building total to 3,581 leads over the course of 10 months. Not bad for a total of $1,377 in sporadically scheduled ad-spend.
Phase 2: Prelaunch (2 Months – Launch):
The Prelaunch phase differed from the ‘List Building’ phase for multiple reasons. During the Prelaunch phase, our primary objective shifted from simply collecting lead data to moving users down the funnel by introducing users to our brand eco-system + opening pre-order lists. During this phase, we started communicating what our Launch Offer will be, changed our CTA’s and increased our budgets dramatically. From a paid-media perspective, we expanded our media mix by adding new communication platforms & started to collect leads at different levels of our website. To elaborate, we wanted users to sign-up for ‘pre-order’ on our product pages, sign up for our Rewards Program & join our private Facebook community. The main goal was simply to familiarize potential customers with our entire eco-system, not just our products. We knew that users who signed up during this phase would make up the majority of paying customers during the Launch phase and therefore we placed a strong emphasis on obtaining as many users as possible while simultaneously generating ‘hype’ around the upcoming launch event. This was all rolled out using a combination of paid-media and on-site technologies to collect data.
We primarily utilized Facebook/IG to achieve this goal through a combination of 2 objectives – Lead Ads & View Content Ads. Both campaigns accomplished different goals. The Lead Ad was quite simple with a “Signup for Prelaunch Offer” call to action, accumulating leads at a <$1 cost. These leads would automatically be entered into a 14-day, 4-part email funnel via Klaviyo where they were thanked for signing up, prompted to ‘Signup for Preorder’ on our website, asked to join our private FB community & lastly register for our Rewards Program. This kept the brand top-of-mind for a minimum of 2-weeks and educated users on all touchpoints of our brand ecosystem. Conversely, the View Content ads showcased our product line & drove users to individual product pages. Here, we removed the ‘Add to Cart’ button and replaced it with a ‘Signup for Preorder’ button, developed by the ‘Back in Stock’ app. Once a user signed up, they would enter the same Klaviyo flow as the lead ads. Here is a snapshot of the final 2 months of performance:
- $2,150 Spend ($650 Lead + $1500 VC)
- 950 Leads: $0.68 / Lead
- 2,064 Product “Preorders”: $0.72 / Preorder
- 518 Reward Member Signups: $4 / Signup
- 339 FB Community Applications: $6.32 / Application
With the above numbers, it’s important to note that there is overlap between all the actions taken. 1 Lead could have ‘Preordered’ 4 products, signed up for our Rewards Program and the FB community. However, that was the point. We were very happy with these results.
In summary, between the ‘List Building’ & ‘Pre-launch’ phases, the total spend was roughly $3,527 – with over 4500 leads captured, 518 Reward Member Signups, over 2,000 Product ‘Pre-Orders’ and 339 FB Community Applications.
All these lists & data points meant nothing without the most crucial ingredient – The Launch Offer.
Phase 3: Launch (Jan 9-12)
The strategy we executed in the previous two phases would be battle-tested & proven during launch weekend. We knew we had to make a splash during launch weekend with an offer packed with value. As such, we decided to run: 2X Reward Points, 15% Off + Free Gift for first 250 Purchasers. The Reward Points was executed through Smile.IO (which continues to be a huge part of our strategy), the 15% off was executed through Shopify’s automatic discount system and the Free Gift was included in the shipping phase. The rationale behind the offer we crafted was the following:
- Reward Points would entice users to buy more in their first cart & induce repeat purchases.
- 15% OFF was a 1-time offer. Large enough to be considered ‘good’ but still maintain 20-35% profit margins. We opted for an automatic discount to reduce input errors.
- Free Gift for first 250 Purchasers created urgency. Since we had months leading up to the Launch Event, we wanted our customers to know that they needed to rush in to purchase the moment we went leave.
This offer was communicated in all of our customer-facing media. This included all owned and paid platforms; our website hero image, pop-up, email blasts and of course, FB/IG & Google Advertising efforts. We prioritized having 1 consistent graphic and verbiage across all platforms, ensuring that customers absorb one cohesive message. Now, let’s get into the detailed schedule.
We were set to launch on Thursday Jan 9th @ 7PM. 48 hours prior, we sent a countdown email to all 3,200 Subscribers via Klaviyo communicating the offer. 24 hours before launch, we sent another countdown email to all non-openers via Klaviyo. During launch, we made sure that we went HAM. First; we sent a launch email communicating the offer to all 3,200 subscribers via Klaviyo. In addition, 2 other emails went out to specific segments. 518 members who signed up to be a part of the Rewards Program received an email via Smile.IO notifying them that 2X Rewards Event was on now. 2,000+ users who signed up for ‘Pre-order’ were notified via the BiS App that the specific items they ‘Pre-ordered’ was now available for purchase.
Complementing our email campaigns, we also ran effective ad campaigns on Facebook & Instagram utilizing Adjust Media’s proven warm-audience segmentation strategy & funneling system. We flighted this campaign from launch through Sunday evening with a healthy budget of $750 divvied up over 3 campaigns – Warm Audience Conversion, General Site Visitor Retargeting and Dynamic Product Ad Retargeting.
The results of this execution were as follows:
- Shopify Revenue: $20,326
- FB Launch Campaign spend: $750
- ROI: 2,731%
However, accounting for the $3,527 total spend during Phase 1 and 2 our total spend was: $4,277 – resulting in a 475% ROI during launch weekend. It’s important to note that not all users who signed up pre-launch bought between Jan 9-12. Sales continued to grow stronger on a daily basis for the remainder of Q1.
Please find below contribution chart, broken down by tactic:
Here are the results reported independently by each tactic during launch weekend:
Klaviyo: 5% Conversion Rate, 53 Sales, $3,337 Revenue
Back in Stock Alerts: 92 Sales, $7,500 Revenue
Facebook Launch Campaign Contribution: $750 Spend, 113 Sales, $6,215 Revenue, $6.65 CPA, 8.66x Return
Shopify: $20,326 Top-Line Revenue – 257 orders
Phase 4: Momentum (Jan 12 – Today)
We considered the first weekend to be a success, but that was just the beginning of our story. We had 2 immediate goals in Q1. The first; build as much momentum as possible in the market by acquiring as many first-time customers as we could via paid media. The second was to implement effective technologies to retain the customers that were previously acquired as the nature of the product requires repeat purchases.
Goal 1: Acquiring Customers
Similar to many online businesses; this particular client heavily relied on paid media as their traffic source. Our goal was to acquire 1,500 customers over the next 8 weeks. As a result, we continued to invest heavily in Facebook, while adding Google as a secondary source of traffic. Our immediate monthly budget allocation was $7,500 / month on Facebook and $2,500 / month on Google. As results started to come in from each source, we adjusted accordingly. Our current budget allocation is now more of a 60/40 split, skewed towards Facebook.
The Facebook approach was similar to what we roll out on all of our Adjust Media managed clients. 75% of the Facebook budget is dedicated towards Prospecting true cold audiences through relevant interests & lookalikes, while the remaining 25% is split up between 4 levels of retargeting tactics. To ensure we were truly only targeting cold audiences, we created a dynamically syncing Klaviyo ‘Master List’ and excluded those users on all cold traffic (in addition to all engagers and web visitors). You can do this by creating a segment of users by using the following definition:
Our 4 levels of retargeting followed our eCommerce Methodology – creating segments of users split by action & by time, and messaging them appropriately. We id this through custom audience building and DPA feeds. If you would like a full explanation, please book a call. Here is a breakdown of performance Between Jan 12 and March 15:
Google Ad performance pleasantly surprised us. We implemented 5 campaigns. The first and most basic was just ‘branded’ keywords – ensuring that we receive exposure for our own brand. The second was ‘product’ keywords – allowing our text ads to show “Shopping for X Product” – this is a low-volume, high-converting tactic. Third, we implemented broader ‘category’ based campaigns for each of our product collections. Lastly, we implemented Google Shopping by building out a manual feed in our merchant center. If we had to pinpoint 2 variables of Google Ads that we are doing differently than our competitor, they would be: adding appropriate extensions to text campaigns & adding review ratings to Google Shopping campaigns. CTR on price extensions are the highest of all ad-extensions (by a factor of 2x), & performance on Google Shopping increased dramatically after implementing review ratings. Here is a Google Ad Snapshot of performance between Jan 12 and March 15:
We surpassed our 1,500 new customer goal roughly 6 weeks after launch.
Goal 2: Retention
With a goal to establish a 30% repeat purchase rate by the end of Q1, we rolled out a suite of apps that enticed users to join a long-term program, and created effective systems that triggered users to come back and purchase again. Our app suite consisted of: Smile.IO, Loox & Klaviyo. Here is how they all fit in:
Smile.IO As referenced above, we utilized Smile during our launch campaign to run a 2X Reward Event during our launch offer. However, this tool is much more powerful than that. We are able to assign Reward Points for every action that can then be redeemed for additional discounts. We start all of our customers off by ensuring that they sign up for the rewards program- we offer 150 points just to sign up + 10% off their first order. We assigned rewards for different social actions , and 1 point for every dollar spent. When they hit a certain point threshold, they are able to redeem their points for discounts. Please see a summary of our program below:
In addition to the Reward points, each customer also has the ability to become a brand advocate / influencer. Each user has a unique code which they share on ads, groups, YouTube channels, forums, etc. that provides them with a “kickback” for orders placed with their referral code. We only started these campaigns in early-March, but initial results are positive. We average 1 order a day from Brand Advocate referrals!
Klaviyo customer win back flows should be a staple retention tactic for any eComm Merchant. There was no magic formula here – we set the first trigger email 21 days after the order was placed, with the second email trigger being 15 days after that. The products would dynamically pull based on what the customer previously ordered, and recommended complimentary products below. Please see below screenshot of the setup:
Visual reviews are a powerful tool, and no one does it better than Loox. It’s one of the most highly recommended solutions that we often tell Clients to download. We won’t go into detail about the App’s capabilities, but rather focus on how we use it as a tool. We set the review-request trigger email to 21 days after the order is marked as fulfilled. If a user liked our product, they can opt to submit a review to earn themselves a one-time 10% Off coupon. The influence of this implementation is twofold: Firstly, we do not have any additional discounts available on our store – you have to take an action to be ‘rewarded’ the 10% coupon, or pay full price. The second is that we are able to aggregate user generated marketing material for free and showcase this social proof on our home and product pages.
Loox Review Requests has been a very successful tactic for us with over a 50% submission rate – please see performance below:
The combination of these 3 technologies allowed us to achieve a 25% return customer rate. Although we have not hit our goal yet, we believe with a small investment in paid-traffic for warm audiences, we will be able to increase enough to hit our 30% goal.
Breaking into a new market as an eCommerce Merchant involves more effort than simply adding a geographical qualifier on your Ads & adding shipping zones. Success requires a well thought out strategy, impeccable execution, and the help of effective Apps & systems to turn traffic into paying customers. By no means was our execution impeccable – we fell short of a few goals. But, success demands constant adjusting of your ads, your capture systems, your app suite and many other digital variables. This is where we can help your business by offering expertise, crafting strategies & managing paid media campaigns. The final cumulative revenue breakdown can be found below:
This expansion project has been fun for our team, and it’s just the beginning. In the first quarter, we are closing close to $250K in sales – and weekly revenues are growing by around 10% each week. At this rate, with constant Adjustments, we are hoping to achieve $1.25M in revenue by the end of 2020. We call that a success.
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Hope you enjoyed the read,
Always be Adjusting, The Adjust Media Team