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eCommerce growth roadmap for brands: From start to $20M+ a year

This is a guest post from Darius Kunca, Co-founder of www.AdKings.Agency, a Specialized eCommerce Facebook Ads Growth Agency is presenting their eCommerce growth roadmap they have used to transform over a dozen of eCommerce brands into high 7 and multiple 8-figure powerhouses.

What can you learn from Everest Climbers that can enable you to effectively MULTIPLY your eCommerce growth speed?

Well, let’s start with the fact that climbing Everest is one of the hardest challenges known to mankind…

It sounds an awfully lot like eCommerce sellers wanting to reach multiple 8-figure revenues and climb to the level only the top of 1% most successful stores achieve.

So what’s the secret to the summit to Mt. Everest?

It’s preparation, pacing and knowing where and how to go.

You plan your work, then you work that plan…

You see, when a climber sets out on his or her journey to climb Everest, they don’t run up in one go, or it would be suicide. They would get tired, cold, and lost.

Instead, they climb from one camp to another on the mountain where they can rest, recuperate, and change equipment. They do this to prepare for the challenges that lie ahead.

After all, some parts of the path are easier to climb, and other requires tools like pickaxes to climb almost 90 decrees up on ice wall…

Sounds smart, right?

Well… eCommerce growth is very similar.

You can’t just rush up from $0 to $20 million plus in sales overnight. Like climbing Everest, you need to adapt your steps and marketing strategies to match each of the growth milestones.

Why?

It wouldn’t make sense to use the same growth and marketing approach you used to get to $100K or $500K yearly sales, when you want to hit $20+ million mark.

The problems you face when you are just starting vs. when you are trying to hit your first $5M, $10M, $20M in revenue are completely different.

As an eCommerce growth agency, we don’t help with a lot of internal things like hiring people, restructuring supply chains, and the like. But we do help sellers adapt their marketing strategies to match the growth levels.

Here I’m going to share our roadmap to how we transform our clients’ 6, 7 and 8-figure businesses into multiple 8-figure powerhouses.

So what is the “Everest Growth Framework”?

It’s a growth framework that AdKings created with six years of digital marketing experience transforming more than a dozen eCommerce brands into high 7 to multiple 8-figure powerhouses.

It came from years of trial and error. Trying to piece out and reverse engineer the path the most successful eCommerce brands use to become what they are.

We’ve tested these strategies with our own clients and been able to decipher what actually works.

To be exact, it’s four stages of eCommerce growth with clear steps and aspects where sellers should focus, and what tasks to do to maximize the growth potential.

Base Camp: A high-converting website or funnel

At the eCommerce basecamp, just like climbing on the Everest, you have to make preparations. In this case, it means getting quality tools.

For a climber, those are clothes, bags, ice picks, climbing, and safety equipment.

For eCommerce, it’s a high converting website or a landing page with an average conversion rate of above 3%+. Looking at recent year statistics, 3% is the new average for conversion rates on DTC websites.

Another important metric to keep in mind is AOV (average order value).

By moving these 2 parts you can make any marketing efforts bring higher returns. Use the formula below that shows value per visitor you would be getting.

CR x AOV / Link CPC = ROAS (Return on Ad Spend)

Right now it’s vital to have a well performing website if you want to compete with other DTC brands out there.

Now you know the importance of good preparation, but how do you execute, especially at the start?

First, you make sure that your website has a smooth UX (user experience), detailed product descriptions, good images, is easy to navigate, and looks clean and modern.

Our recommendation is to hire not just a “design and web creation” agency, but an agency that focuses on CRO to collaborate during your website design.

And in case you’re just starting out, without big pockets to invest upfront, take some time educating yourself before creating your brand website.

Tip: Join our Free, Private eCommerce Mastermind Community on Facebook where right now we’re doing teardowns of our group members’ websites and helping them to improve their CRO.

The next step is to start running some basic campaigns to drive traffic and A/B test the heck out of it with software like Google Optimize.

Split-test:

  • product names
  • descriptions
  • images
  • prices
  • button colors
  • placements
  • different checkout modifications
  • different offers

Only about 20-30% of the test will be winners and most likely only bringing small, incremental improvements.

But with time they will start to stack-up and results will start to grow exponentially.

We recently had a case where in a year we were able to take a businesses revenue per visitor from $2.6 to $4.8 and effectively x2 the business just from CRO alone.

Camp 1: One efficient channel for traffic acquisition

Now, you may be thinking: Why we are just focusing on one channel?

Here’s why: Focusing on too many things at the same time is a mistake a lot of eCommerce stores make early on. They simply spread their attention and cash resources way too thin.

In reality, just one channel, such as Facebook Ads, should be more than enough to get you to 2-5 million a year mark.

When you divide your attention too early on, this happens:

  1. Your cash is being spent on fixed fees like multiple employees, agency contracts, or even worse you spend your own time trying to learn and manage multiple and complex channels. This not only brings poorer performance than one professional managing it, but also takes your valuable time, which a CEO should be investing in growing their eCommerce business from strategical level.
  2. Having ad spend distributed makes it harder to test enough to beat out your competition in any of the channels.

In 90% of the cases we see, our recommendation is to always start with Facebook Ads. If you’re able to find success with Facebook Ads, your scalability ceiling is way higher than with other channels like Google Ads.

Tip: Only start with Google Ads if your product is something people are searching for on VERY specific occasions. For example, when they need a new water pump for their pool.

Your biggest focus below the <$1 million a year mark should be getting one channel going, getting consistent sales, optimizing your current channel, and actively optimizing your website to maximize average order values (AOV) and conversion rates.

As you start to pass 1 million a year in sales (~90-100K a month) a big focus should go to expanding your product line to at least six products. This will enable you to continue scaling your ads, increase AOV via bundling and upselling, and enable Part 3 of Everest Growth Framework. 

Camp 2: Maximizing the value of your traffic

Now as you have a high-performing website and steady traffic, you want to start upselling and maximizing repeat orders.

The best place to start is almost always with emails flows and newsletter campaigns. Set-up correctly, they can easily add an additional 20-30% of monthly revenue without any additional marketing expenses.

That’s a 20-30% INCREASE in sales revenue, without adding a single dollar of profit-eating expenses! Pretty good, right?

And it’s at this point where the biggest eCommerce stores make their most profit.

Now to achieve these results, it’s best practice to send at least one newsletter email a week and build out these automated emails flows.

Here’s how:

  • Buy or Die Sequence: To help any new subscribers convert as soon as possible.
  • Post Purchase Sequence: To get reviews, content and second purchases.
  • Abandoned Cart Sequence: To get people coming back and finishing up on their orders.
  • VIP Sequence: The best clients’ sequence.
  • Lapsed Clients Sequence: An email journey to past customers who haven’t reordered from you in a certain time to push them not to leave your brand and make another purchase.

As you start covering the basics, you can start playing with other, more exotic options like SMS marketing, brand community building, ambassador programs etc.

This is where you will be making the most profit. Especially when you start hitting multiple 8-figure level, because at that point often acquisition channels are often running on breakeven to bring as many people as possible into your funnel.

Summit: Enabling booster rockets with multiple traffic sources

Now as you have a solid foothold, the next obvious step is to start stacking up on more marketing channels.

This is where you set the primary triggers to explode growth!

But the most important thing is to come at it at the right time and not to rush into it unless you have the solid groundwork done.

There are some exceptions to that where you need to blitz the market and you have all the resources to do that, e.g. from venture capitalists, but it’s a rare occasion.

Our belief is it makes much more sense to build a self-sustaining business.

Thank you for reading!

This article is brought to you by Darius Kunca, Co-founder of AdKingsAgency, a Specialized eCommerce Facebook Ads Growth Agency.

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