This is the fourteenth post in a blog series about how to launch an eCommerce business years 1-3. You can view the previous week’s post, “7 Behaviors of Successful eCommerce Marketers” here.
Picture this: It’s December 2020, and you’re a small hemp supplier. Having succeeded with Facebook advertising in the past, you eagerly begin ramping up your ad spend to prepare for the Christmas rush. You crunch the numbers and expect big results.
Then December 10th comes around and, suddenly, your ad reach drops down to zero. A change to Facebook’s approval methods wipes out 99% of hemp advertising, at the height of the most important selling time of the year.
For companies who relied on Facebook as their sole source of site traffic, this situation was especially disastrous. They learned the hard way that relying on a single traffic source puts your revenue stream at great risk.
To survive in a time of digital disruption, eCommerce companies must develop multiple sources of sustainable traffic. We usually recommend that eCommerce companies introduce 1-3 new advertising tactics before year three.
If you started with social media ads, branch out to Programmatic and Pay-Per-Click campaigns. If you’ve been promoting posts on Facebook, consider trying your luck on LinkedIn as well. Make sure you aren’t dependent on any one platform or source for driving conversions.
Keep this in mind as you advertise this holiday—don’t put all your eggs in one tactic. Make sure that you’re secure against disruption and ready to adapt when problems arise.
In addition to diversifying your ad spend, here are some other tips for growing eCommerce businesses to focus on as we head into the new year:
1. FOCUS ON ABANDONED CART RECOVERY
Imagine if a customer came into your store, filled up their cart with products, waited in line for a few minutes, and then suddenly dashed out the door leaving their cart dbehind. This might seem unusual, even bizarre, but in the digital world it happens all the time.
Many times, the customer has simply forgotten about the product, and they may be inclined to complete the purchase if given a friendly reminder. Amazon is a master of this. They even notify users when the price of an item in the cart drops.
Sending a reminder email that encourages customers to revisit items in their cart is a low-friction, low- risk way of driving interested customers back on your site.
2. WORK ON REPURCHASE EMAIL CAMPAIGNS
It’s far cheaper and easier to convince a former customer to buy again than to attract a brand new customer. And what better way to reach those customers than with the email they willingly provided you?
An email repurchase campaign is a series of emails that are triggered when a customer purchases a product from your website. The goal is to persuade the customer to purchase another product, and the sooner the better.
Here’s an example of a multi-phased repurchase campaign that lasted for 4 months after the initial purchase was made:
A final note on emails: Although your customers are almost certain to receive an email from you, most of them won’t actually open it. Good emails get an open rate of about 10%. Great emails can get up to 25%. This means, best case scenario, only 1 in 4 people will read your emails. Make sure your emails are well-written, value-packed, and strategically deployed so that your message reaches customers.
3. SET A MONTHLY REVENUE GOAL
Maturing your business means being able to generate revenue on a regular basis.
Between one and three years of running an eCommerce business, you’ll typically need to start making some serious revenue to keep the proverbial lights on and support new initiatives. We recommend trying your darndest to reach $3,000 to $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue.
It won’t be easy, but all the hard work you did in the beginning should start to pay off as you continue to test, learn, and grow.
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR
Starting an eCommerce business is like building a rocket in your garage and expecting it to take you to the moon—it might not work, and even if it does, there’s a good chance you’ll get hurt along the way.
The good news is you’re not the first person crazy enough to try this. There are many others (myself included) who have tried, failed, and tried again. By learning from our many (many) mistakes, you can launch an eCommerce business that makes it safely to orbit and beyond.
In this blog series, you’ll get a step-by-step guide to creating and launching your eCommerce business years 1–3. We go over how to create a functional brand, set up your website, and develop an advertising strategy that scales with you. We’ll go through the various pros and cons, so that you can feel empowered to make the best decisions for your business.
My name is Chris Franks, and I’m the founder and CEO of CleverFunnel, a digital marketing agency that focuses on using straightforward, data-driven strategies to drive real results for our clients.
I’m also an avid lover of indie music, fly fishing, baseball, and sunscreen (although that’s more of a genetic necessity). I wrote this with the hope that my story could help other young entrepreneurs achieve their goals, without losing their savings (or their sanity) in the process. If any bit of this helps you, it’ll have been worth it.