It’s so interesting how advertising, media, and marketing changes over time. Even over the past 10-15 years, we’ve seen such a change in the way that companies spread the word about their goods and services.
With these changes comes the need for a changing mindset. Companies often look at their ad spend as this “black and white” thing that they can simply throw more money into and get more out the other end. While that is entirely possible with the right strategy, it doesn’t always work.
In this article, we’re taking a look at the necessary steps you need to take to scale your eCommerce business the right way.
The Evolution of Media Buying
There was once a time where every business and organization bought its media in the form of impressions. We still see this done in billboard and radio marketing primarily.
The media seller will tell you, “okay, so this specific billboard is seen by around 45,000 people per day.” The problem is, they don’t tell you who these people are. For all you know, 20,000 of them could be between the age of 12-24 and entirely outside of your demographic.
It didn’t matter. From there, it was up to the marketing team to take care of the rest. They were more responsible for bringing the results, but from a customer perspective, they weren’t concerned with the finer details because they didn’t exist. They got some more eyeballs on their brand, and they were happy.
In today’s world, we have so much data and many different metrics to determine the success of a campaign that it sometimes becomes information overload for our clients.
When we work on a campaign with a client, they see that the cost per acquisition isn’t as low as they want it, their immediate assumption is that the campaign isn’t working and we need to do something different.
The problem is, it’s not that black and white because many variables go into the process, and it’s much more complex than the number of dollars it takes to acquire your customer through the ad itself.
The Wrong Scaling Attitude
The misconception that many people have is that once they have a winning funnel, they can simply throw as much money as they have into that funnel and become an overnight millionaire. I’ve seen people make this mistake and end up with nothing because of a rookie error.
You can’t take a $50 per day ad and go and spend $5,000 on it tomorrow because that won’t work. You need to scale that ad spend up gradually, and while you’re doing that, you need to grow other aspects of your business as well.
Startup and small business owners get so swept up by the micro statistics of marketing that they neglect to focus on the overall growth metrics of our business. Ecommerce businesses have cost of goods sold, labor, and more operational costs that have to be factored. Overall Cost Per Acquisition should include all of these factors, but the common mistake is to compare this number with a micro level of sales. Lifetime Value (LTV) should be considered when looking closely at overall profitability, not simply the revenue generated from one single sale.
Once an online business understands these first, they can slowly inject small marketing wins throughout the process to add more revenue to the top line to increase profitability.
How to Plug Holes in Your Funnel With Omnipresence
This is the most important factor that you must learn in your ecomm business, and it will forever change the way you look at content.
Once again, we’re always focused on the micro things, so we often neglect to look at the macro. This is the opposite of how our traditional predecessor retail business owners were. People who owned brick and mortar retail stores were so focused on the macro. They paid attention to their customer service, they were involved in their community, and they made sure that their products were always on point.
Since most online businesses don’t do these things as well as we should due to financial cost or lack of infrastructure, we have little holes popping up throughout our funnel. As we’re moving money through the funnel, it starts popping out the sides instead of making its way through to the bottom.
When you think of scaling, refer to this metaphor. If you’re profitable with a $50 per day ad spend, but you have holes in your funnel, imagine what will happen when you drop up to $5,000 per day overnight into this funnel. The holes will become enough to break the bank.
So, how do you plug these holes? By creating as many touchpoints as possible with your customers.
You need to present yourself in front of your customers as many times as you can, so whenever they think of that product, they think of you. It could take up to 9-12 touchpoints to sell someone online.
We never know the reason why someone purchases something, so if you can stay first in their mind at all times, you’ll always be the right choice.
Growing Your Customer Lifetime Value = Never Fail Again
The best example I have of customer lifetime value is from my days in Walmart Shopper advertising. Walmart’s LTV is somewhere around 20-30k, meaning; the average shopper will spend approximately $25,000 in their lifetime at Walmart. That means they can spend a ton of money acquiring that customer because they’re worth so much.
When you think about this from an ecomm perspective, that’s really what it’s all about. We live in a Capitalist society, so the business that can spend the most money to acquire a customer will always win.
When you combine these two factors together, you have a recipe for success. You’re plugging all the holes in your funnel and increasing the lifetime value of your customer. Now you can spend more money to widen your funnel and acquire customers, and this is how ecommerce businesses scale to seven, eight, and even nine figures.
Commitment Always Wins
When we think about some of these old school businesses that grew before the digital age, it all comes back to filling holes in their funnel. The business needed to focus on customer service, cleanliness, functionality, operational costs, employee relations, and so on. These were the holes they had to fill, and they slowly perfected the system over time.
They were able to do this because of their relentless commitment to sticking to the script. A big problem with Facebook and Instagram ads and digital marketing in general, is a lot of the content out there leads us to believe it’s a fast process, and it isn’t.
It takes time, but it’s well worth it in the end.