8 Steps to Scale Your eCom Brand to £50K/mo - A Tried and Tested Strategy
Jamie is an eCommerce Consultant with over ten years of experience. Working on both the brand and agency side gives him a truly holistic understanding of everything eCommerce.
If you’re running a brand that has product market fit (I would summarise this as making £5K+ per month) and are looking to scale this up then read on. The below 8 steps are those that I used to grow a household brand in its early days. I’ve tweaked them to account for the different environment plus added a couple more. This brand has since grown to 7 figures per month, so you know this works!
There are no easy wins in eCommerce anymore; anyone telling you to buy this one course or do this one thing to achieve instant results is lying. Yes, if your timing is perfect and you have a game-changing product, you can see amazing early results, but the likelihood is that you don’t. You have a great product/brand, but you need to compete with many others to get your brand heard.
The key to measurable and sustainable success is consistency and persistence. And you can only be consistent if you apply the right marketing techniques that allow you to remain efficient in your costs rather than burning out.
1. Build a Traffic Machine
Who would have thought it? You need more traffic to get more sales… Pretty obvious, right? But what’s less obvious is the importance of building a machine, one that consistently drives quality and affordable traffic to your site. It’s no good having a surge and then running flat before another surge, you can’t work with this.
There is no better way to increase traffic than through Meta advertising and generic Google advertising. Like any advertising you do, you can easily fall down a rabbit hole where cost spirals out of control. So, you should do this in one of two ways.
- If you can afford it work with specialists, Otherr has a collective of advertising experts with a wide range of experience who can help you scale your traffic efforts in the most cost-effective way.
- Take it on yourself and use our advertising framework, focusing on creating and nurturing demand.
2. Increase brand Awareness with Micro-Influencers & Affiliates
People don’t trust influencers anymore. Their power has been lost, and let's be honest, their word was rarely legit. If the brand paid them enough, they would promote anything. However, their value is clear, they have worked hard to grow their audience, and with tracking becoming increasingly unreliable, this audience is very valuable to brands with the same TMA.
This is where the beauty of micro-influencers & affiliates comes in. These tend to have much smaller audiences, but these smaller audiences will actively engage and truly value the message. The strategy here is to reach out to a bunch of micro-influencers with around 2000-5000 followers and build a relationship where they either promote your product once (micro-influencer) or become a partner, promoting your product frequently in exchange for a commission of some kind (affiliate).
Once you have this down, try to convert some of these influencers to affiliates for long-term sustainable growth from a mutually beneficial partnership.
A well-executive micro-influencer strategy can consistently send high-intent customers to your website.
3. Automate Email
Whether you’re doing £5k per month or £100k per month, maximising every spec of your data is vital in a world of increased privacy and reduced tracking.
A successful email strategy all begins with lead-gen. Offer an incentive (ideally a discount) that will encourage visitors to hand over their email. Bear in mind that, on average, only 3% of your visitors will convert; that’s 97% of your traffic gone to waste if you don’t at least get that email!
Utilise onsite pop-ups, Meta lead gen campaigns and abandoned cart pop-ups.
Partner this with a strong automated email strategy and watch your sales grow and also your frequency. I‘ll be doing a separate blog soon on the best way to run your eCommerce email so keep an eye out for this. But before then, here is a list of the flows you should be running:
A welcome series flow introduces subscribers to your brand & converts them into first-time customers. Use incentives such as a discount on first-time orders.
Target visitors who leave your site and re-engage them with content based on their user behaviour to convert them into customers. For example, highlight the USPs around products they have previously viewed.
This flow converts would-be customers; it is customisable based on items in someone's cart and whether they're already a customer.
A post-purchase flow shows appreciation for customers & lets them know additional information about their purchase & the brand.
This flow is designed to convince customers who checked out as guests to create an account. Customers with accounts are more likely to repurchase, so offer incentives such as early sale access.
A winback flow re-engages customers who purchased in the past but haven’t repurchased in a while. The aim is to reconnect with lost customers and bring them back to the brand.
Social proof is a key cognitive bias that convinces new customers to purchase, so get all you can. The Review flow encourages customers to leave a product or brand review roughly 2-4 weeks after their purchase.
Cross-sell & Up-sell
Market additional products such as different ranges or up-sells on their initial purchase. The aim here is to get the customer to purchase highly relevant products, increasing their customer lifetime value.
Back In Stock
Save that missed sale due to low stock by allowing potential customers to subscribe to be alerted when the item is back in stock.
This flow is a nice way to build relationships with subscribers by sending a birthday treat. So the gift is tangible; send a monetary discount when they order over a set threshold.
This flow encourages customers to join your loyalty programme. Notify them of the benefits of joining and give a sign-up incentive.
Convert customers into marketers through your affiliate programme. This is a win-win situation as they are rewarded for any sales they generate. However, the conversion rate will be low here as most won't fit the bill.
4. Focus on Creative
I’ve said it multiple times before, CREATIVE IS KING. Not just for advertising but throughout. Your brand will live and die on the quality and quantity of its creative. You will need to build a plan that enables you to frequently produce quality creative along with a testing criteria to learn and adapt.
Video should be at the forefront of your creative.
It’s important to realise that one photoshoot isn’t enough, you have to be able to produce content consistently so don’t fork out loads on a photo shoot unless you can do this multiple times a year. Alternatively, build a lifestyle or studio that allows you to take the shots yourself, learn the importance of natural lighting and propping and watch the content roll.
Think of it this way, you’re no longer able to precisely target your audience, so you have to advertise broader, this means your content needs to stand out and grab the viewer. Your onsite content also represents and sells your brand; if this isn’t of quality or frequently updated, then your brand won’t look quality or fresh.
5. Build UGC, Authority Bias, and Reviews
In the simplest terms, you need other people talking and promoting your brand; it has a compounding effect on growing your brand awareness exponentially. This is also a game-changer for your conversion rate. Think about it, when was the last time you brought something new without reading a review, seeing someone else use it or being pushed by some sort of authority?
I don’t need to write about the importance of reviews, you’ll already know this, but UGC and authority are just as valuable.
You’ll start seeing a theme here, it’s all about building a system that allows you to consistently build each area. UGC is no different, build a system that is generating new content from your customers. This could be as simple as an insert in the product that promises 15% off their next order for a picture. One picture of a customer using your product speaks a thousand words ad will both increase your conversion rate and add to the content machine we just spoke about.
If your sales are low, look for quality over quantity by sourcing reviews from valued people within your industry. For example, if you sell skincare you would want three systems:
- Automated post-purchase email pushing for a product review
- An incentive to get an image of the customer using your product or the positive effects it has had
- A quote from a dermatologist highlighting the quality and benefits of your product.
6. Invest in CRO and UX
This is a costly space. Conversion rate optimisation and User Experience are so valuable that experts can charge a lot for their expertise. So your best bet is to learn about this space yourself. Dive into the plethora of information out there about best practices and begin testing. Tools like Hotjar and Google Analytics provide invaluable information on user behaviour on your site.
I’ve found that bigger brands are the ones who take this space seriously, but that is wrong. It should be part of your marketing strategy from the very beginning. The smallest increase in your conversion rate makes a huge difference to your bottom line.
Think of it this way, you spend all this time and money to grow your audience and increase your website visits, now, you must convert as many as possible, and the only way to do this is through optimising their experience on your site. If you’re looking for a case study, then look at Amazon. They invest massively into CRO and UX, and I think it paid off.
7. Smash Customer Service
How do smaller brands compete with large brands that dominate your market? Tailored customer service. Where big brands do everything they can to restrict face time with customers, you should be doing the opposite. Providing quality customer service is so vital it’s been renamed customer success, and start-ups hire specialists to maximise the potential of the area.
I speak from experience, not only as a brand manager but also as a customer.
Let me tell you a story. I was looking to evolve my skincare game and wanted to invest in Aesop. The only thing, it’s bloody expensive, so I wanted to make sure I was getting the right stuff. I used Aesop’s online consultation, where I spoke with one of their consultants through IM chat and told them about myself. A day later, I received an email detailing the exact products I needed and why. I was so impressed with the detail and effort from the brand I brought everything they suggested spending a lot more than I intended. Through the care and effort they showed, they now have me for life as a customer, so this initial outlay will truly pay off and prove highly profitable over the years.
Here are a few ways to provide quality customer service:
- Online chat - no one likes waiting or talking to robots. Talk to your customers but don’t just answer their questions, learn more about them and use it as an opportunity to sell.
- Help Centers - Zendesk and Intercom allow you to build informative help centres that act as a library of information for your customers. The more you include here, the more valuable it becomes. Don’t just limit it to order and logistical help; include more information on your products, how to use them and why.
- Post-purchase care - Build automated emails providing product care information post-purchase and then lead this to complementary products, win-win.
- Surveys - Simply ask how you can improve through Hotjar or Typeform surveys.
- Consultations - Either through a form or video call, help your customers to find the right product for them.
This space is a win-win, your customers are happy and more likely to convert, and you can also use the connection as an opportunity to up-sell.
8. Increase AOV and Frequency
If you’re looking to purely increase revenue, then this space is a must. Everything above is all about making that sale. Look at all the effort that goes into growing your sales, it’s a lot, right? Now this space focuses on getting the most out of that one sale and then turning 1 sale into many.
- Increase your AOV - There are many ways to increase your AOV, and I have listed these below:
- Include cross-sell products on the product page
- Add product suggestions to the basket (an Amazon idea)
- Bundle offers
- Basket price threshold discounts (spend £100 for £10 off)
- Post-purchase one-click cross-sells
- Up-sell on the product page
- Customer service
- Frequency - Give the goal of increasing order frequency the same attention as the goal of a new customer, and your sales will skyrocket.
Here are the best channels for this:
- Social Media
- Ads (remarketing)
- Your website
If you’ve made it this far, you can tell there are no easy wins. Each area requires focus and its own strategy. To truly scale, you need to be consistent in each area and build it out effectively with thought. Once you’ve done this, you’ll find the areas far easier to manage, and your brand will start to grow in a sustainable manner that withstands and flourishes.