How We Reduced Supplement Co.'s Email Management To An Hour A Week While Increasing Revenue By 62%

E-commerce Case Study

Due to an open funding round the brand behind the below case study has requested to stay anonymous for the time being. For now we will refer to them as Supplement Co.

As a small company with limited resources, where do you spend time & resources? How do you prioritise?

How do you automate & systematise marketing processes to free up time & resources?

What marketing channels do you use to move customers through the customer journey from first-time buyers to subscribers, to advocates, and on to brand promoters?

These were the key challenges Supplement Co. had when we first met.

Supplement Co. is a proud family owned & run company in the ever-growing supplement space. They have a range of 100% organic, non-GMO and biodynamic supplements and functional foods that are made in house.

The founders had worked tirelessly for years to build out a line of premium functional supplements and now wanted to scale the company to get them into the hands of more people across America.

The Results

+62% Email Revenue

17x ROI on Email Spend

Email Traffic Doubled

+66% Subscription Reactivations

+16% Subscription Upgrades

+39% Active Users

+821 emails in

first 30-days

14.87% Opt-in Rate

+30% Customer Referrals

Key Terms

LTV

Lifetime Value

ROI

Return on investment

CAC

Customer acquisition cost

ROAS

Return on ad spend

AOV

Average order value

UTM

UTM (Urchin Tracking Module) code or UTM parameter is a code that can be added to any URL that helps track advertising campaigns and can be used to create variables to segment traffic.

The Challenges

Supplement Co. was looking for someone with a broad knowledge of marketing that could unify their marketing strategy, that's where I came in.

The biggest challenge with this project was definitely time constraints. We only had 3 months from landing in the USA to plan, implement and start seeing results.

After that, I had to leave, so we needed to hit the ground running!

It helped that they had a solid customer base that was being underutilized AND they had an amazing product.

The Goal

Coming into this project the aim was to create a seamless customer journey with multiple touch points to help walk the customer through each stage.

However, as a small company, they also needed to automate & systematise as much of that journey as possible so they could then concentrate on the core aspects of the business.

The plan, to put in place a strategy to leverage their already loyal following, and improve the customer journey to reduce churn in order to scale effectively. 

The good news, the company's founders had done all the hard work building the brand so now they just needed to ensure the economic systems were in place to scale. 

Insights…

Key data that directed the strategy...

Top conversion paths

The top converting paths were email and paid ads

Average subscription length

The average subscription length was 4 cycles

Highest ROI marketing channel

Email had by far the best ROI.

We had 90 days, here's what happened...

Step-by-Step

Our approach...

Supplement Co. had amassed a reasonable size following in the time they had been around, a lot of who were very loyal. However, we felt their customer journey was not smooth for customers to move from buyers to subscribers, or onward to refer friends and family. 

They had all the tools in place, we just needed to connect the dots and make sure they were working together to guide the customer.

As Supplement Co.’s end game was to scale, we wanted to ensure they had all the groundwork in place before moving forward. We decided to start by digging into the data, then worked backwards from the bottom of the funnel to plug any holes.

We knew we had an awesome customer base to work from so we reversed the customer journey from an awareness-led strategy, to a Promotion-led strategy.

This would mean we would start with the highest engaged customers and, theoretically, the highest ROI tasks. These efforts would also compound later on, from saved time and resources, when we start driving fresh traffic in knowing that multiple touch points are automated further along.

Step 0:

Data Deep Dive - The Prep Work

Who are your ideal customers?

What are your best performing marketing channels?

Starting with a deep dive into their customer data & channel performance, the goal was to create a detailed customer persona, investigate what best performing marketing channels were and take a look at current marketing performance.

Customer Persona:

For the customer persona, we wanted to know some key questions, such as:

What are the demographics and psychographics of their top customers?

Where do they hang out?

What do they respond well to?

What drives them?

After looking through past data from Facebook ads, Google Analytics & Facebook Insights, the one thing stood out the most was that women 55-64 were by far the best converting customers.

We then segmented that demographic off and pooled data from:

  • Historic Facebook Ads
  • Facebook business page
  • Instagram account
  • Google analytics 

... And compiled a detailed customer persona with both demographics and psychographics. This gave us an in-depth perspective of their ideal customer that we would then use to guide content creation for email, ads and all other aspects of marketing.

A slice of Supplement Co.’s customer psychographics...

The Channel:

As a small company, we knew out the gate that marketing efforts needed to be concentrated on one or two core channels. There wasn’t the time or resources to do well in more than two channels so we needed to evaluate the current marketing efforts to see what was working and what wasn’t. 

Taking a look into the top conversion pathways along with channel ROI, it was clear that email and paid ads made up the bulk of the touch points to purchases, with email by far having the best ROI.

From here it was a logical choice to make email the starting point, as the financial investment was minimal and it also checked a lot of the boxes with regards to automation and creating more touch points for customers.

General marketing performance:

Looking at the ad data, we could see that they weren’t performing as well as could be. We decided to plug losses, cutting Facebook ad spend to zero and reducing Google ad spend right down until we could figure out what the issues were (or if there were in fact issues, we will come back to this later). 

We were confident that the increase in email revenue would, in the short term, make up the drop in revenue from ads (and it did) and we would also save any losses before the fact.

Moving forward, throughout this process, we wanted to create a segmented structure (buckets, if you will) that we could move customers through with only a forward direction. This would minimise maintenance in the long run as customers would only ever be in one ‘bucket’ at once and would only see the marketing messages once.

Step 1:

Advocate & Promote

“How can you turn your customers into your advocates?”

What Supplement Co. did have was a dedicated group of subscription customers, a lot of which are subscribed to monthly subscriptions for multiple products. THESE are the customers we wanted to encourage to promote the brand!

They also already had a rewards program in place and we felt like with a few minor tweaks we could utilise it to its fullest. 

The current rewards actions were for Instagram & Facebook follows, we changed this to Facebook and Twitter shares to increase referrals. Social drove little to no revenue for Supplement Co. so instead of using it as a channel for us to market, we changed it to a channel for our customers to share how much they love Supplement Co.

With everything in place, all we needed now was to create opportunities to engage customers to come back a spend the points they had earned. 

We wanted to create automated email sequences to celebrate milestones for customers, but, put a delay on sending these out so that they would receive these emails 2-3 weeks after they earned the points. Which was likely 2-3 weeks after they purchased as most points were earned by making purchases (1 point per $1 spent). 

And finally, we wanted to create a way to incentivise customers without direct discounts. So, we decided to break up the regular deals with rewards deals (eg. “Triple points for the next 72 hours”) every 6 weeks or so.

This introduced some gamification, kept the conversation going and also improved repeat customer rates (to come back and spend points!).

Step 2:

Ascend

“How can you move customers to repeat purchasers?”

Moving up the customer journey, the next step was moving first time buyers to repeat purchasers.

We knew that the average subscription length was around 4 cycles so if we could push buyers to subscribers it could potentially quadruple the customers LTV. 

To do this we used a personalisation tool, aptly called Personizely, to segment returning customers, customers who had purchased once and had come back to purchase the same item again. Then, when they added the same item to cart for the second time we triggered a pop up pushing an option to sign up for a subscription.

Step 3:

Excite & Convert

“How good is your customer’s first experience?”

Now we had all of that out the way it was time to really dive into the email side of things. We have already touched upon the Swell rewards automation but this is how those look with regards to the whole strategy, along with all the other flows we built out.

This was more complex than the old email set up, adding another 8 emails for the Swell milestone sequence alone.

We wanted to have email automation providing 15% of total revenue, with email as a whole providing 30% of total revenue. 

(Email hit 31.5% of total revenue in month 2 which was encouraging.)

To get these flows to perform exactly how we wanted them to we used the one and only Klaviyo. It gave us the flexibility to get granular with the flows, automation and email blasts. Also drawing on our earlier research into the customer psychographics to create compelling email copy and target pain points. 

Once we had set up the automations, we doubled down on email marketing consistency for updates, promotions & general engagement.

After creating a general template we outsourced the creation of these 'blasts' which we approved weekly to send out on the coming Monday and Wednesday. 

What was really positive is we didn’t see any significant increase in unsubscribes due to the new email structure. 

NB: At this stage, we didn’t have all of these flows up and running, but we were still seeing awesome results!

Want to know the Best Part?

Email management now took less than an hour a week in total!

Step 4:

Subscribe

"How can you create communication channels with your customers?"

A last little addition was to implement new exit-intent opt-in forms to incentivise email sign-ups. These gathered 821 new emails within the first 30 days of setting them live and had a 14.87% opt-in rate.

What's Next?

Awareness and Engagement 

“Where are your customers coming from?”

After previously cutting back on ad spend, we needed to work out what was going on, so we dived into the data for more info.

As Supplement Co. had been around for so long, they had a customer lifetime value that was over $800, which is good but we couldn’t financially wait years for the payout.

As a consumable product we expected people to come back to purchase again but we needed to find out to be sure.

We decided to find out the customer LTV over shorter time frame, so broke it down into a 30, 60, 90 and 120 day period. This would tell us if our current ads were, in fact, scalable at the current ROAS, before even optimizing. 

What we found was the customer LTV, on average more than doubles over the first 120 days, and triples on a handful of products.

For all products:

For one of Supplement Co.'s products:

From here, the final hurdle is to take a customer from the first touch to first purchase. Which we intended to due using Facebook ads.

We intend to structure the ads in a way that customers HAVE to go through the all the stages of the ad funnel. This can be done by using UTMs and pixel segmentation.

Ad structure:

Video testimonials > Landing Page > Retargeting > Retention

Customers who follow the entire journey have been proven to have a higher LTV than customers who don’t...

Lifetime value from non-Facebook customers:

Lifetime value from Facebook acquisition (purely Facebook):

Also by ensuring that customers have to follow each stage of the funnel, once they have purchased for the first time they are then moved through to email marketing and would only receive retention and top of mind ads. 

This would mean that customers would only make this journey once and that the need to replace these assets, once optimised, would be minimised.

Interested in getting these results for yourself?

If you’re interested in transforming your e-commerce marketing strategy and saving a ton of time, here is how we work differently:

  • User Research – We first seek to deeply understand who your best customers are and what their pain points are. This may involve: deep diving analytics and cross-referencing channels, interviewing members of your team, reading customer feedback data, launching additional user research campaigns and more.

  • E-commerce Strategy – Every company is its own beast, we will dive into your strategy head-on and find what works best for your brand whilst taking into consideration the time and resources that are available.

  • Email marketing – Instead of writing generic emails we use user research to dig into the needs and wants of your ideal customers. Then use this to craft compelling copy to overcome all fears, anxieties and objections that may arise while also indoctrinating customers into your brand beliefs turning them into long-term returning customers.

If you’d like to work with us then send us an email here and we can sort a time to chat about your business & goals.