Want to power up your ecommerce game, boost sales, and watch your brand grow? Discover the e-commerce marketing tips from some of our top students!
The opportunity is there. Ecommerce is showing no signs of slowing down, and the predictions for the future are staggering.
In 2019, retail e-commerce sales worldwide hit $3.53 trillion, and that number is projected to grow to $6.54 trillion in 2022. As we move further and further into the waves in the global market left by COVID-19, who knows what numbers we may be seeing?
No wonder entrepreneurs across the globe are itching to break into the ecommerce industry.
A huge component of Gretta Van Riel’s Start & Scale course is assessing and determining how you’re going to approach your ecommerce marketing. With increased competition comes the need to really nail your strategy, and more often than not, standing out in a crowded marketplace comes down to how you decide to market your brand. Targeting, tone-of-voice, positioning – it all comes together to help you push your brand to the front of the queue.
So, what’s the secret sauce for successful and effective ecommerce marketing?
Starting a business from scratch, scaling, and building momentum is no simple task! Here at Foundr, we provide real-life advice from entrepreneurs who have actually been in the trenches – and succeeded.
In 2021 we have more than 15,000 students from all walks of life enrolled in our Start & Scale course, with each student working towards growing and building their own ecommerce business. Every day, more and more people are taking the plunge and setting out to start building their dream future.
So, in true Foundr fashion, we have spoken to some of our top Start & Scale students to see what incredible lessons they’ve learned along their journey, especially when it comes to ecommerce marketing. Celebrate their success and learn the tricks of the trade straight from the front lines!
What’s Your Number 1 Ecommerce Marketing Strategy/Tip?
Sam B, Founder of Naked Sundays SPF
Sam identified a significant gap in the market for a game-changing SPF product that could be applied over the top of makeup. After working weekends and late nights developing her product, Sam created Naked Sundays SPF, the first skincare product of its kind on the market. She says she has loved this journey of creating a game-changing SPF, which is being loved by so many across the globe!
“We launched Naked Sundays SPF two weeks early because of the demand we were experiencing!
People were finding out backlinks to our Shopify account that we’d been testing and began buying before our official launch date. That’s when we knew we had something special. We had spent more than 1.5 years developing the very first SPF 50+ mist for OVER your makeup to set, protect and glow. It was no easy feat.
We were not sure though if people would want to buy it, but even before we launched, we could tell we’d hit a real gap in the market.
The Foundr Start & Scale course and Gretta’s incredible insight were invaluable in helping us make such a big splash on launch. We did 6 months’ projections in two days and sold one mist every 30 seconds.
I think our number one tip would be to really be able to sell your product in 10 words or less.
“The first SPF50+ Mist For OVER your makeup” was a really simple message in eight words that our tribe could get behind and want to be part of our journey. And be willing to scale. We started with one Instagram post every few days and now we are posting multiple times a day. Creating our own content has also been key and now organically, our tribe is constantly creating content for us without being paid or being asked to do so, but just because they want to be a part of the brand’s journey. It’s been so incredible so far, we cannot wait to see what the future holds for our brand!”
Alicja, Founder of Thghtful
Alicja was an engineering manager turned business owner within months from starting the Start & Scale course, hitting revenue of $3.5K within the first 2 weeks selling gift hampers online. The next chapter will be improving the products and negotiating with the manufacturers/suppliers.
“If YOU can’t sell your product and vision, you don’t have a business. SELL it to your friends of friends and get their honest feedback and then improve the product. Be financially responsible until you have a solid product with solid positive feedback then you can spend money on advertising. If you don’t have a lot of friends (I’m an introvert so I get it!) then be a sponsor at an event and hand them out in return for feedback and contact information. Fill out Gretta’s customer persona template and pin it on your office wall. Eg. Why try and sell pet food to someone who doesn’t own pets and dislikes animals? Know your customer!
Keep it simple – if you can sell in person, you can sell online. Have a market stand and don’t focus on the profits but focus on who is interested in your products, how much would they pay, and why?”
READ MORE: 100 of the Best Side Hustle Ideas and Jobs
Mia Dixon, Founder of Social Dot
At the beginning of 2020, Mia was teaching yoga, but then the pandemic hit. With a lot of spare time on her hands, she set out to solve a problem in her old business, which has lead to people tapping Social Dots all over the world!
“Don’t be afraid to branch off from Facebook and Instagram!
Yes, they are both still very valid platforms but there is a lot of traction to be found on new platforms such as TikTok and Clubhouse. Our business wouldn’t be where it is in such a short amount of time without TikTok.
As these platforms are so new, the virality currency is easier to obtain. It opens your business to a whole new demographic and audience that you probably wouldn’t have access to on Instagram and Facebook.
Be brave and get your face out there, and associate it with your brand. Instagram reels, TikTok lives are the perfect place to do that. We have found by having a face to the brand our customers feel more connected to the business and make the brand more authentic.
We have so many great customers and we get to be a part of their social world, we have built long-lasting relationships with many that wouldn’t be possible if we were seen as a larger faceless corporation.”
George Brown, CEO of Wash Bloc Pty Limited
After finishing his degree in marketing in 2020, George had a burning desire to start his own business. Ten weeks after launch, he has secured 10 stockists, and their online store sales are growing.
“Although I only started my business two months ago, I have found the most effective way to gain traction with my ecommerce business has been through content marketing on Instagram; in particular, using my network of friends and family.
It has surprised me how willing people are to help, share, and post about my business. Speaking to as many people as you can about your business is incredibly useful – more often than not I am introduced to people who are willing and have the audience to promote my products on their social media platforms.
I have found that it has not been necessary to spend money on influencers at this early stage of my ecommerce journey. If there is someone you feel would be a good fit for promoting your product or service or someone that aligns with your brand values my advice would be to get in touch with them, let them know specifically why you chose them to contact and ask if they’d be interested in trying out your product/service.
In return for sending people my products that match my brand’s ethos and values, I get a wider range of potential consumers and traffic towards my website. In doing this, I create a network of people who are extremely willing to spread the word and share with their Instagram audience. These free plugs have resulted in boosting my ecommerce business sales, as well as increasing Wash Blocs brand awareness.”
Erin Schmidt, Founder & CEO of Bella Vida Santa Barbara
Erin was no stranger to the ecommerce game and entrepreneurship, but she struggled with finding the right network of support to help find a balance. After the Start & Scale course, Erin launched Bella Vida Santa Barbara, and to date has seen her brand featured in magazines across the globe, international beauty retailers, and the at the forefront of the push for cleaner, cruelty-free beauty products.
“I wanted to share my top tips for marketing strategies that I have found to be very effective in generating customer loyalty and sales.
While my company is still growing, I have firmly believed that even though I don’t have millions of followers, the number one key is creating true customers and raving fans by consistently showing them you care, giving incredible customer service, and are trustworthy, first and foremost. True organic growth only happens over time, but here are some things that help.
In the first year of your business, I recommend using micro-influencers that are very niche-specific to your branding and company. For my company, that means people who post mainly about skincare, not makeup and were passionate about clean, cruelty-free skincare and eco-friendly businesses.
Find those fans and who they trust, then run product for post giveaways and loop giveaways to get followers and email subscribers.
I used Vyper to run a big giveaway and have found other clean beauty companies to do group-giveaways with. I promoted this with my email subscribers and paid ads with low budgets.
I have now added SMS bump and Klaviyo to make sure that my Email flows are capturing and reminding fans of abandoned carts in a much more strategic way, giving them up to 7 reminders, not just one. I am starting to run more retargeting ads on Facebook, Instagram, and Google as well.
You can do it! Keep on believing in your dreams.”
READ MORE: How to Start a Business for $127 (or less!)
Chelsey Jean, CEO & Founder of ChelseyJean.com
Encouraged by 20 years’ success with her in-clinic patients, Chelsey recognized an opportunity to make a lymphatic health sequence that would be available for everyone. After developing a range of products and creating a community of more than 5,000 women, the numbers speak for themselves: online revenue in October 2020 was $16k; by January 2021 it hit $103k!
“First, ensure you have a solid product-market fit … make sure you’ve found the right product for the people you serve, and nurture those people. Seth Godin says “people like us do things like this” and it’s powerful when you have the guts to live that out. Show your followers “people like them”, build community, and you’ll have a loyal base.
I get such a high out of hearing the stories from women who tell me their life turned around after they started using my lymphatic products to rid toxins from their bodies. These women then support and encourage the new members, I love it!
Then, know your numbers. If you’re paying money to send people to a product, make sure the cost of sending people there is viable. Does it cost $30 in ad spend to bring a sale from a “cold” audience? What does it cost to get that product into their hands? Then, what’s the profit margin? Push for higher average order values, and drive your traffic to those products. People can buy something cheaper once they’re on your site, but this way you’ve got a better chance of hitting your goals.
Then, back it all up with solid retargeting in your ad account and smart email marketing. The high number of sales I make from my email campaigns comes back to number one: the list is made up of my people.”
Kimberley, Founder of Cali Rae
Kimberley worked in law for 11 years, and her creative outlet was doing bridal makeup. She says she had always found herself on photoshop editing images, creating art, or re-designing items from homewares to swimwear – anything creative. So, she decided to start Cali Rae on the side to re-design the current swimwear world and align her sustainable lifestyle into a sustainable brand. Two years on and it’s her full-time gig, growing every day, and selling more than 100 products a week!
“Collecting email addresses through a few tactical avenues can be quite simple. But ensuring they’re going to convert is the hard part. We all know too well how often we subscribe to a brand’s VIP list to get our hands on that initial sign-up discount… But what keeps us from unsubscribing is where the gold lays.
To give you some background, Cali Rae grew from 0-500 email subscribers pretty quickly, (now sitting at around 6-7k), and this was by using the gifting technique: “Sign up to receive 15% off your first order, or sign up to receive a free scrunchie”. Who doesn’t love scrunchies! But we soon found those initial buyers dropping off. Which for a new brand is always a little disheartening. So here are a few tips on what we’ve done to keep our community engaged:
Get Personal – your subscribers have come to you for a reason, there’s something about you that caught their eye. Whether it was your ethics around sustainability, your eye-catching products, or your witty captions and compelling content. Use this to your advantage and continue to share your why.
Make it fun – We’ve found interacting with subscribers can help to not only keep them engaged and clicking, but it can be super beneficial for your brand also by implementing surveys or “this or that” interactions. One really successful example of ours was a giveaway which we ran leading up to Christmas. We had everyone click through to our Instagram or Facebook to enter.
Urgency – If you have a sale coming up or a new product/collection launching, emails surrounding urgency can keep your customers on the lookout. Count it down, create scarcity and use wording like “limited” “one-off” “don’t miss out” etc.
At the end of the day, everyone loves to relate, connect and if they’re not grabbing a bargain, at least they’re supporting something they stand for. So, don’t think that emails are just a way of communicating a sale, use them as a platform to entertain, inform and engage.”
Starting and growing your own business isn’t easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. We love our Foundr community, but what we love even more is seeing our students launch and grow their own business, and learn everything there is to learn along the way.
Marketing, especially ecommerce marketing, is not something you can learn overnight. It’s a long journey of testing, trial and error, and seeing what resonates with your audience best. As you’ve seen from our top students, the correct marketing strategy looks a little different for every brand, but it all leads to the same destination: making sales, happy customers, and the satisfying feeling that you’re finally doing what you love.
What marketing strategy do you think is the strongest for your brand? Let us know in the comments below!