How to Build Your Marketing Team: Structure, Roles and Requirements – for Any Company Size

Online marketing is not a one-man task, but a process which needs a significant amount of human resources.

It’s especially true if the company is involved in more marketing activities. Just think of an ecommerce business where content marketing, SEO, Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, retargeting and email marketing may be used for customer acquisition and retention.

Beyond a certain level of complexity and size, all these tasks are simply impossible to perform by a single person.

For this reason, it’s worth assessing what kind of resources you have and what you will need in the future.

This largely influences what type of team should be employed and whether you are able to build such a team.

 

Allocating tasks and responsibilities depends mainly on 3 factors:

  • Quantity of tasks
  • Size of the organization
  • Available budget

 

These factors usually operate parallel with each other. This is good news because you can make estimations based on them so that you can build the proper team structure for executing the necessary projects.

When looking at the marketing solutions and channels as a process, we can define 3 main phases:

  • Traffic generation
  • Soft conversion
  • Hard conversion (sales)

 

These elements are the stages of the sales funnel. You start “loading” the users (e.g. readers) at the mouth of the funnel and try to guide as many of them as possible over to the next level.

The hard fact is that you’ll lose a number of them at each stage.

 

Example: If you direct 100 visitors to the website and 20 of them sign up to your newsletter (email list) and two of them pay for a product advertised in the newsletter, then your conversion rate is 20/100 (20%) on the first level and 2/20 (10%) on the second level.

Thus, for the whole process, the conversion rate is 2/100 (20%x10%), which is 2%. So finally you managed to convert 2 visitors out of 100.

 

Traffic generation takes place in the top part of the funnel.

This is called top-of-the-funnel (TOFU). The middle part is called the middle-of-the-funnel (MOFU) and the sales (hard conversion) part is the bottom-of-the-funnel (BOFU).

 

Team size: 1 person

 

If the whole process is managed by only one person, all three functions have to be performed by the same individual.

They are called “full-funnel” marketing experts.

 

marketing team, 1 member

 

If you can employ more staff, then you can separate these parts and assign each to different people.

If we take a look at content marketing as the main marketing activity managed by one person, he or she will have the following tasks:

  • Generating content ideas
  • Creating content
  • Search engine optimization
  • Content distribution
  • Managing social networking accounts

 

This specialist needs to be good at creating content strategy, copywriting, SEO, email marketing and social media communication.

Needless to say, it’s not an easy job.

 

Team size: 3 people

 

That’s why it can be a good idea to hire different people (even interns or trainees) for different tasks.

 

online marketing team, 3 members

 

These structures work mostly for teams of 2-5 people.

Here, with option 1, the 3 specializations are assigned to 3 different professionals.

With option 2, traffic and soft conversion are typically in the hand of one person. But it’s also possible to have soft and hard conversion handled by one expert.

The point is that the three fields are now separated.

As the size of the team grows, this hierarchy can be divided even further.

 

Team size: over 8 people

 

These tasks are completely separated with a staff of 6-8. If we go further, one task can be fulfilled by more than one person, or even by a team.

 

online marketing team, 8 members

 

In this case a dedicated marketing manager (Head of Marketing or Chief Marketing Officer) is needed who’s not into content creation or other specific projects, but coordinates his team.

As the size of the teams grows, these organizational charts get more and more complex.

 

You can see above that 4 different professionals manage traffic generation and content creation:

  • One person builds and maintains the website’s blog.
  • Another one is responsible for layout and design.
  • A third one for SEO.
  • The fourth person elaborates the content strategy, writes blog posts, shoots videos or manages social networking.

 

The largest team I’ve been ever part of, was made up of 14 people. We were in charge of the entire online marketing for a US company.

The Head of Marketing coordinated the team, not participating in the actual content creation and distribution.

Almost half of the team (6 experts) were not employees, but freelancers.

I focused solely on SEO. I didn’t have to deal with email marketing, web design or other areas.

This was a genuine, full-size online marketing team.

 

Roles in a digital marketing team

 

Briefly, let’s take a look at what kind of competencies are needed in such a full-size marketing team.

 

Head of Marketing

Responsibilities:

  • Coordinating the team
  • Identifying and filling talent gaps
  • Hiring staff
  • Setting objectives and tracking performance

 

Requirements:

  • Results-oriented, prefers data-driven marketing
  • 2-3 years of experience in online marketing in at least 2-3 different fields
  • Good communications skills
  • Team player

 

Blogger, content writer

Responsibilities:

  • Writing content on the basis of the scheduled topics
  • Giving feedback to and editing guest posts
  • Editing and formatting articles

 

Requirements:

  • Being familiar with the given industry
  • Good writing skills
  • Can work independently
  • 2-3 years of relevant experience

 

Social media manager

Responsibilities:

  • Managing the social media accounts of the company
  • Summarizing or compacting the published pieces of content, preparing them for sharing on social networking sites
  • Moderating and answering comments and feedback
  • Content distribution and promotion

 

Requirements:

  • Advanced communications skills
  • Continuous availability
  • Knowledge of social media channel mechanisms

 

SEO specialist

Responsibilities:

  • Performing on-page and off-page SEO tasks
  • Cooperation with bloggers and content writers
  • Defining organic traffic objectives and tracking performance
  • Following SEO trends and applying up-to-date techniques

 

Requirements:

  • 2-3 years of relevant experience
  • Thorough knowledge of SEO, analytics and keyword research
  • Data driven attitude
  • Good communications skills

 

Designer

Responsibilities:

  • Visual enhancement of written content
  • Cooperation with other content creators
  • Creating visuals for content to be shared on social media websites
  • Preparing presentations and infographics
  • Willingness to create design relevant for the target audience
  • Being open to design ideas other than his own

 

Requirements:

  • Relevant experience
  • Creative thinker, but effective graphic expert
  • Fast and reliable
  • In-house or agency experience is an advantage
  • Knowledge of HTML, CSS or JavaScript is an advantage

 

All of these competences are rarely present at one single company.

That’s why freelancers, e.g. content writers, designers or SEO experts, are often involved in different projects to perform the needed tasks.

Of course, further specialists can be added to the team if needed, for example an email marketing or an analytics expert. In the case of an ecommerce business, an RFM model or a transactional email specialist may be hired as well.

Generally, it’s worth listing first what kinds of tasks are to be performed and then structuring the ideal marketing team can take place.

When doing this, you can rely on your own experience or get ideas from other players in the sector.

 

Here’s a useful tip:

  • Find an international company that has roughly the same size and profile as your business
  • Check on LinkedIn who work for that company
  • Studying the job titles you can easily sketch the organizational chart

 

A simple example:

Run a search for Shapr3D on LinkedIn. You’ll get 13 results:

 

online marketing team linkedin, shapr3d

 

  • If you check all these people one by one, you’ll realize that 3 out of the 13 don’t work for the company: the company name is present in their profile as a skill
  • 1 person is not with the company anymore
  • 2 people are advisors
  • The actual workforce here is 7 people: 1 CEO, 3 developers, 1 product designer, 2 marketing specialists
  • You could probably draw their organizational chart right now

 

Also, your desired company structure, much larger than that of a 7-member startup team, could be drafted as well with this same method.

Run another search on LinkedIn for „BioTech USA marketing”, then you’ll find those who work for Biotech USA and are also marketing specialists:

 

digital marketing team linkedin, biotech USA

 

Job titles such as these are coming up:

  • Head of Online
  • Digital Marketing Strategist
  • Marketing Manager
  • Online Marketing Analyst
  • Junior Marketing Manager

 

Now you can easily create a list of the different responsibilities and then define the team and task hierarchy.

The sheer size of the team is not the only thing, of course, but it can be a fine indicator for gauging the quantity of tasks and what kind of output can be expected from such a team.

If you are focusing on content creation, then it’s worthwhile to check how much time it takes to create a piece of high quality content.

 

How long does it take to create some good quality content?

 

Before answering, first you need to study these aspects:

  • Do you have all the necessary resources within the company?
  • Do you have the money to hire experts?
  • Do you have any experience in content creation?

 

According to my experience, a well written and nicely formatted and designed article takes at least 1-2, but preferably 3-4 days to complete.

I can also mention a piece of content that was prepared by 8 people for 3 weeks. The biggest thing we created was finished after 2.5 months, consequently achieving much better results than the less work-intensive materials.

I came across this research a couple of years ago, prepared by TechValidate after questioning 236 companies.

According to their findings, a good piece of content mostly takes 2-5 weeks to complete. I can strongly confirm this.

 

marketing-team-content-creation-time

 

This process includes finding a topic, research, writing, design, SEO, publication, distribution and tracking.

Of course, you can come out with some content faster, but if you don’t want to compromise on quality, you need to calculate with weeks, rather than with hours or days for preparing a fine piece of work.

 

The most time consuming types of content are mainly these:

  • ebooks, whitepapers
  • microsites
  • videos
  • product demos
  • case studies
  • webinars

 

Less time consuming projects:

  • blog posts
  • presentations
  • news, PR articles

 

Knowing your time limits is important so that you can properly allocate the necessary resources and schedule content releases well in advance. It’s worth publishing content on a regular basis, e.g. every Wednesday.

A lot of small companies or startups have a one-person, full-stack “team” who is responsible for several types of marketing tasks. There are also lots of small, 2-3-member teams.

It’s important to note that as your company grows, the complexity of responsibilities will grow as well. And this can mostly be solved by expanding resources, which is worth preparing for in advance.

This can be done most easily by studying the marketing team structure of other companies.

LinkedIn is a good tool for that. But you can use Facebook as well, although here fewer people give their company information.

So the tools are available, now the only thing you need to do is use them!

 

Restructuring a poorly performing team

 

You probably want to ask: what if you don’t want to build up a team from scratch, but make the existing one perform better?

The reason for that may be having new kinds of tasks, some competencies need to be reduced or someone underperforms.

 

In this case, two aspects are worth considering:

  • The will, skill and knowledge of the specific person
  • The time and expertise needed for fulfilling the given task

 

If a task needs a person with much higher expertise than the existing employee has, you have the following options:

  • Hiring a senior level specialist. Giving some other task to the junior team member or laying them off.
  • Hiring an advisor who will mentor the junior member to be able to cope with the challenges in a given time.

 

You need to identify which element of the will-skill-knowledge “triad” is the weakest. If the team member is passionate and smart, but lacks the appropriate knowledge, it’s not a big problem.

If someone is motivated, but unskilled, then his skills need to be developed. If there is passion, but all the rest are missing, it is very likely that cooperation will not work.

Still, it’s very hard to predict whether a person will become a top-notch expert or not, but it’s a fact that if there are serious problems with any 2 elements of the will-skill-knowledge set, you have chosen an underperforming colleague.

In this case you can think about assigning different tasks or a position to the person in question. If this seems impossible, you need to get rid of him.

A lot of times it happens that even if you know what kind of tasks need to be carried out, you simply cannot find the right people for that who would be able to join your company immediately.

The reasons may vary: there is a shortage of experts in that field, your project is not attractive enough or you don’t have the funds to hire the right professional.

There’s no easy way around in these situations, but if you manage to identify the main blocker and try to remove it, you have better chances to solve such a problem.

 

Here’s some help:

  • Identify the problem, i.e. the main obstacle
  • Elaborate a step by step strategy for solving it
  • Break down the strategy into action items
  • Set a time limit for solving the problem
  • Do it step by step

 

If you go in the top-down direction, which is defining the necessary tasks by focusing on the objective, then you obligate yourself as well as the team to develop on an ongoing basis.

Most professional marketing teams have a quarterly or half-year plan broken down into monthly and weekly sprints.

They see clearly the objectives to be met in 3-6 months, discuss tasks every month and schedule them in weekly sprints.

Weekly meetings help allocating short term tasks effectively. Monthly and quarterly planning supports greatly mid and long term targets.

As for lots of markets, it’s also true for the online sector that it’s rather saturated in terms of human resources.

 

 

This means that there is a huge number of copywriters, content marketing specialists, but as you take a look at higher altitudes, the “air becomes thinner and thinner”.

There is a relatively low number of very good online marketing experts, not only locally, but on an international level as well.

This, however offers some excellent opportunities. If you find someone with a large follower base with whom you can cooperate and develop a partner relationship, then you can reach not only your own target audience, but theirs as well.

“Hunting down” such influencers may take a considerable amount of time and energy, but it can well worth the effort. You can appoint a team member to find and communicate with the influencers or the Head of Marketing may be given the task to regularly meet and talk to such people.

Personal relationships of the kind can lead to future cooperation helping to raise brand awareness, increase website traffic, get valuable backlinks (important for SEO) or can be useful for hiring purposes.

Just imagine that a highly praised marketing professional writes a detailed case study about your company on his own blog that has thousands of visitors a day.

Wouldn’t it be useful for your company? Of course it would.

 

 

Creating a Profitable Online Store in 24 Hours? – 25 Inspiring eCommerce Case Studies

We’re going to talk about the following:

Gaming glasses and social networking $1000 with tea, in 3 days T-shirts, 3 weeks and $1249 The 24-hour challenge Again, 24 hours: with some beef The THEGREATBUILD project Beards: $120K per month More ecommerce stories… 6 points to consider

 

 

Gaming glasses and the power of social networking campaigns

 

Corey Ferreira, a member of the Shopify team, launched an online store just to be able to make a case study out of it.

Since previously they built stores on the basis of dropshipping for case studies, Corey now tried something different.

He imported goods directly from a Chinese manufacturer. Before choosing his partner, he set the following criteria:

 

  • The product had to be light and small enough to fit into a shoebox.
  • It had to be relatively cheap in the range of $1-10 so that costs could be kept low even in the case of a larger order.
  • A product with a profit margin potential of 50%+ would be ideal.

 

Find your audience first and then the product

 

Corey excluded electronics and foods right at the beginning because they are risky: they can break or expire.

He wanted a product to serve a niche market of passionate people.

He then didn’t identify the product, but the target audience, in this case: gamers. It was a rather easy choice since Corey is a gamer himself so he knows the needs and problems of this target group.

One of their common problems was eye fatigue to which one solution was to wear glasses that block blue light.

Once he had the idea, he started doing some research.

Corey first looked for similar products on the net to see how much users were willing to pay for them, which types were more popular, what kind of feedback shoppers gave, what styles were attracting and who the main competitors were.

Google Trends also provided some valuable information: search terms like “gaming glasses” and “blue light blocking” had uptrend patterns, so demand was very likely expanding for these products.

 

Getting prepared

 

Next, the supplier was to be found: Alibaba offered the best options.

Here you can look for both products and suppliers, searching with product keywords and then revising the searches with the keywords the suppliers used the most is a smart idea.

When making a list of the potential suppliers, minimum order quantity, keeping the budget low, was a very important criterion.

Corey then contacted each supplier in a message and recorded and tracked the answers in an Excel spreadsheet.

Alibaba’s system also helped him find out which of the suppliers were a trading company or a manufacturer (the latter is likely to offer lower prices), how long they had been in business and what kind of reviews their products got.

It was also a factor how much the company specialized in manufacturing glasses.

After getting price offers from the potentially most reliable and specialized firms, Corey then calculated that after his initial investment of $700, how many glasses he needed to sell to break even. (This number was to be relatively low, in this case 22, considering the desired margin to be very high.)

 

Here comes a very interesting part of the building process: Corey planned which channels he was going to use for promoting the product and how many purchases he expected. E.g. Reddit, Facebook ads, reaching out to YouTube influencers, Facebook groups, Instagram, Twitter and about a dozen more platforms. He expected to sell 50 items in the first round, which would result in some profits.

The estimations couldn’t be very precise, social networking site performance is hard to foresee, especially if you want to introduce a rather new product without any prior experience with it.

 

Building the online store

 

Corey created his online store on Shopify, of course. He chose a template that helped to focus on one product only instead of having a catalogue like appearance.

He registered the domain name syghtglasses.com.

On top of some basic information, he also created interesting and useful content that highlighted the product benefits and also provided the users with some scientific background about the glasses.

First he studied the product pages of competitors and then looked up many customer reviews on Amazon and product tests on YouTube, to get an idea how people talked about their problems and how the glasses helped to solve them.

He also used diagrams and high quality photos of the products to make the content even more attractive and valuable.

Corey was lucky to have some professional photo equipment available at his office and a colleague having some photo shooting experience also helped him.

If you don’t know how to take high quality product photos, don’t try to save on that. We have written about how important it is to show the customer what he’s about to buy in the best possible way.

 

Promoting content to influencers

 

Building up social networking channels came as the next step – strictly on the basis of brand identity and design, with the appropriate language on the selected social platforms (Twitter, Instagram), using coupons for making offers to the target audience.

First, Corey gained followers on these two sites by following brands with similar products and after a few days, with the help of TwitNerd and Unfollowgram he unfollowed those who didn’t follow him back.

Instead of creating his own content, as time was limited, he chose to curate and share content: interesting news, articles and visuals, using Buffer and Latergramme.

In the meantime, a smaller circle (friends, family and colleagues) could take a look at the products to give some feedback according to which he could further fine-tune strategy and content.

Corey also featured the product on Reddit with the title “Anti eye fatigue and eye strain gaming glasses”, which worked very well increasing the online store’s traffic and also generating backlinks from those who encountered Syght Glasses here.

As orders were coming in, Corey started to set up an affiliate programme with the help of Affiliately.

For this he needed to find influencers who could promote the product effectively. Corey’s plan was to find gamers with medium-sized audiences on YouTube and Twitch.tv.

Finally, after some email correspondence and sending out free samples, 4 gamers joined his affiliate programme and 3 YouTube influencers created video reviews on the glasses.

A nice sales boost was due to special coupons for the followers of an influencer on Instagram (140,000 followers). The retargeting campaign on Facebook and using Google Sopping also proved to be profitable.

Overall, Instagram and Google Shopping performed beyond expectations.

There’s a scenario for further growth, of course – blogging, i.e. creating and sharing quality content, posting videos on YouTube and also expanding the affiliate programme.

After 5 weeks, Corey made a total revenue of nearly $2500, selling 61 glasses all together.

 

You can read the whole, very detailed case study here.

Let’s summarize the key learnings very briefly:

  • Plan your actions and do your research with patience and thoroughness, because in this phase you can find out whether your product will be successful or not.
  • Get to know your target market as much as possible – it’s not enough to give them some good solution, you need to present it in their own language using the right channels.
  • Do not rely on one single platform or device: you can run a dozen different social, advertising or content sharing campaigns even with a tiny budget. Select these carefully.

 

Reaching $1000 with tea, in 3 days

 

Another test from Shopify. This time the product was tea.

Richard Lazazzera, with some of his co-workers, began this case study project with a very limited budget and time frame.

They launched their ecommerce business with $500 and gave themselves only 3 days to succeed.

In the beginning they agreed that they would sell matcha tea, a type of Japanese green tea powder. They found that it was trending up nicely in Google Trends.

And it’s not only getting more and more popular, but it’s also small in size, easy to ship, demand is constant throughout the year, and it’s consumable so there’s a good chance to retain loyal shoppers.

The team chose the dropshipping model.

They simply looked for potential suppliers on Google and then asked for sample products. Now, knowing the dropshipping costs, they set a price for their branded product.

They used a business name generator tool that listed a good number of options for a domain name based on the word matcha. Then they chose the brand name they liked the most: “Hello Matcha”.

Because of the time pressure, they photographed the product with a smartphone, but it was satisfactory, especially after some adjustments with an image editor software.

Next step: setting up the online store.

 

Online tea shop from scratch

 

A major chunk of the budget, $180, was spent on buying a professional Shopify theme, which is very easily customizable.

To make the store look and perform great, the following assets were needed:

  • A hero image for the home page (primarily to show the main product and brand benefits),
  • High quality product photos,
  • About page copy with the most essential pieces of information,
  • Home page copy introducing the unique value proposition which makes it clear why they should be chosen over a competitor.

 

Strategies and channels: how to do effective marketing for 3 days

 

The basic idea behind the marketing strategy was rather simple:

Try as many channels and devices as possible in order to see which work the best and then go for maximum effectiveness.

 

  • First, they exploited personal outreach: friends, family, professional contacts who they thought would be interested in the product.
  • com: to make best new products known. Nearly 1000 visitors came from this website.
  • Reddit: since direct sales efforts are not very welcome here, Lazazzera’s team searched for tea related content, using BuzzSumo, which had been very popular during the past 6 months. In the end, they “repackaged” an already popular video about teabags and created a list post based on this with useful tips.
  • They collected photos from the posts that had performed best over the previous year in a subreddit on teas and wrote another list article based on them. Although these two posts did not have immediate results, these ideas can be very promising in the long run.
  • On Instagram they looked for influencers with hundreds of thousands of followers to use sponsored posts. The limited budget and time frame did not let this project unfold, they only managed to gather followers, post and like the posts of others. It’s not known how many customers came from this channel, since you cannot place links on the posts.
  • On Pinterest they looked for opportunities for a sponsored post. They tried a health and fitness related account with over 11,000 followers for $20. They published a post on their own blog featuring a recipe for Starbucks green tea latte with a photo that could be pinned. This did not sell either, but, again, a smart way to boost awareness, it generated 50 repins and 17 page views in the end.
  • With a fast and well targeted Facebook ad campaign they managed to attract visitors to the page and made one sale as well.
  • Twitter wasn’t used extensively, but they each tweeted out the new store and got some retweets generating 184 visits and one sale.

 

In the end, after only 3 days, total traffic was 2414, 94 reached checkout and 32 made a purchase. Total revenue was $922.16.

The lion’s share of the total budget was spent on starting the business, paying for the products, the labels and for shipping. As we can see, they spent quite little on online marketing.

Despite the considerable one-time startup costs, they still made a profit of $56 in 3 days, which is not bad at all.

 

One T-shirt store, 3 weeks and $1249 revenue

 

Tucker Schreiber from Shopify gave himself one month to build up and run an online T-shirt business successfully.

He first wanted to find the right audience – which wouldn’t need to be built up, but already existed.

 

He set the following criteria to be matched:

  • It should be a „feel good” topic, so that selling the products can make him happy and proud.
  • The target market is developing continuously and is not likely to disappear.
  • It comprises an active community in which the topic has the potential to go viral.
  • Approachable influencers: social media users (e.g. Instagram, Reddit) with large numbers of followers that are willing to promote the brand for just a little compensation.
  • Flexible design idea: if it works for T-shirts, it would be good to use it for mugs, bags, pillows etc.

 

Tucker first moved to one of the largest and most active online communities: Reddit.

He saw a great potential in the dog community. He believed funny and creative dog T-shirts would be very popular.

After a few Google searches, he then identified which dog breeds were the most popular.

The next step was to find established communities on Reddit built around specific breeds and have a look at the competition: what kind of products were already selling.

The search term “dog owner shirt” proved to be effective to find quickly a wide range of such products.

Finding a brand name was the next challenge: it had to be cute and easy to remember, easy to pronounce and social accounts had to be also available for this name.

Here, too, a business name generator tool was fired up and finally the name THINK PUP became the winner.

For the sake of the experiment, Tucker didn’t purchase an online store theme, but chose a free one which he tailored as much as he could to best match his expectations.

 

Here’s a few conscious decisions he made about the design:

  • He removed the navigation to make visitors scroll down or click a product.
  • All T-shirts were shown on the front page.
  • He modified the checkout, adjusted the colours to match the brand’s.
  • He kept the store design as simple as possible, only having the FAQ, Contact and About pages.

 

What an effective product page looks like…

 

Tucker knew very well how he wanted to build up his product pages.

 

The following elements were necessary to appear:

  • Product name
  • Price
  • Available sizes
  • Description
  • Garment description
  • Shipping times
  • Related products
  • Product photo

 

Ideally, this is enough to show on a product page: if the images are high quality, every important piece of information is displayed and some sales copy is written, the page should be OK.

 

Let’s go social!

 

The first step in marketing was to start activities in the social networking channels – Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter pages were launched.

A product was posted in a subreddit featuring new products. Although the audience is general, here on /r/shutupandtakemymoney, purchase intention is very strong.

It had a huge success right on the day of posting, probably because of the funny product itself. During a few hours, the number of active users on the website was 40-70 at any given time.

The T-shirt gained further awareness elsewhere on Reddit and finally more than 10,000 visitors came from here and 18 items were ordered for $522 all together.

And this small campaign didn’t cost anything.

Additionally, thanks to Reddit, a product blog also featured the shirt and resulted in two orders.

Next, the Facebook groups were to be conquered.

Tucker joined different dog breed specific groups, but in the end he did not make any sales from them. He simply posted the products without any prior or further activity.

 

Get prepared or you may miss the opportunity

 

Tucker had thought about gathering email addresses for remarketing campaigns, but he missed this opportunity when so many visitors were pouring in from Reddit, which he hadn’t expect at all.

Learning from it, he immediately set up an exit intent popup, which offered a 5% discount for an email address. All in all, this technique helped to get 30 email addresses, with a conversion rate of 1.34% (visitor to email address).

 

Instagram and Facebook marketing

 

Next came Instagram. Sponsored posts helped to get 300 followers.

 

tips Important: have a strong profile picture to grab attention when someone is scrolling through their feed. Here they can see your bio where you can place your website link. It’s good to use emojis here as well to make your bio friendlier.

Tucker used a UTM parameter generator and a URL shortener to track how many users were coming to the store from Instagram.

Content was not too complicated here: cute and funny images of dogs. He used relevant hashtags to get followers in the desired target audience.

As followers started to appear, he looked for influencers with over 100,000 followers that were willing to post sponsored content for under $100 and every picture they posted would have a few thousand likes regardless of what that actually was about.

Because of the limited time he spent on dealing with the Instagram campaign, there were only a few sales in the end.

Facebook came next.

Here he wanted to reach out to those who already had visited the store, added a product to their cart, but did not buy anything.

He started to run campaigns with precise targeting, primarily with a focus on websites, forums, magazines, clubs etc. for dogs.

Facebook finally proved to be an appropriate tool for promoting the T-shirts generating a good deal of engagement and a few sales.

Tucker also sent emails to cart abandoners achieving a 10.5% click through rate and one sale, totally for free.

After the 3-week experiment Tucker sold 43 shirts making a revenue of $1249. Marketing and setup costs were only $260. After deducting product and dropshipping costs a profit of $148 was realized.

 

Creating a profitable T-shirt shop in just 24 hours

 

You can launch an online store and make it profitable even in one single day.

Richard Lazazzera proved that it’s possible. He created unique T-shirt designs featuring the metro stations in Toronto.

 

24 hours of quick decisions and simplicity: Richard started a Shopify ecommerce store, created and uploaded the 60 T-shirt designs in 14 hours. He also integrated the store with Printful.

 

Finding a business name took about 3 minutes, naming his store after his favourite station located in the neighbourhood where he had grown up and started his first businesses. He called his store Finch’s.

For marketing, understandably, he needed more time. He had a great idea that was very close to newsjacking.

Coincidentally, the subway line had celebrated its 60th anniversary just the previous week covered by several news portals and bloggers.

Richard contacted one of the authors and asked him if he was interested in writing about the brand new “subway shirts”.

The next morning a post was published about the store and traffic started pouring in.

Richard spent $24 on setting up the store (fixed costs) and it cost $13 to print and ship a shirt (variable costs). The revenues for the first 24 hours amounted to $348, resulting in a profit of $211.

Basically, he built up a profitable online store within one day and with a tiny budget, which can bring him further income in the future, especially if he puts some extra effort into marketing.

The core takeaway of this case study is that if you haven’t yet started your online shop because you’re still waiting for that perfect idea or time, you’d better take action now.

With commitment and a fairly nice product idea you can start your business with a very little investment and can earn money quite fast (not to mention a ton of useful experience you gain along the way).

 

Again, 24 hours and beef worth $3000

 

Noah Kagan, too, chose to set up a one day challenge with launching a very simple online store.

He decided to sell beef jerky. He found a brand name very quickly: Sumo Jerky.

 

First he answered the following questions:

  • How often do they eat jerky?
  • Where and how do they decide to buy jerky?
  • What would make them pay for jerky right now?
  • What’s their hesitation in not buying right now?

 

The target audience was healthy eating young professionals.

Setting up the store took only some minutes. Noah started to deal with selling as soon as it was possible. He sent out personal messages to his friends, acquaintances and offices he believed would be interested, while he began to promote his business on Facebook and Twitter.

He then asked for referrals in emails asking his friends to send the referral email to their friends as a favour.

Noah, after 24 hours, made $3000 in total revenue (pre-orders), which is quite remarkable after such a “basic” marketing campaign.

You can check out the whole case study here. Recommended for every beginner e-merchant.

 

The THEGREATBUILD project

 

Once again, we get back to Lazazzera, because it’s another great case study: a project (Finch Goods Co.) documented in great detail for several months.

This is an online store, which is not simply an experiment, but also a source of income for the ecommerce expert.

It offers premium products for men. It’s USP is having the best products of different categories available in one place.

According to Lazazzera, success can be achieved if you do everything not to let the visitor leave without making a purchase or at least make them return later.

 

To make it work:

  • He sends emails to cart abandoners, and tries to lure them back to the store. Here you can learn more about shopping cart abandonment.
  • He runs loyalty programmes, gamifying every phase of interaction: you can collect points by registering, writing your opinion about a product and making a purchase.
  • He applies one of Robert Cialdini’s 6 principles of persuasion: reciprocity. It states that if you do something good to someone, they will feel that they should give something back. For this reason, Lazazzera gives small presents or hand written notes to his customers.
  • He keeps inventory to a minimum: curating products, he does not want to tie up large funds in inventory.

 

Here you can study the whole 6-month project in 14 chapters.

 

$120k per month beard maintenance brand in a year

 

The story of Beardbrand shows you how to build up a fantastic brand with hard work and commitment.

Exploiting the uptrending popularity in wearing a beard, the Beardbrand team started to work very purposefully.

Right from the first moment they aimed to create and maintain a persistent brand image of the store, every product and piece of content – to have their target audience like them and become loyal to them.

The team knew they would make a long term decision and when they invested their money they were confident that returns would be coming in steadily after a time.

 

Eric, one of the founders, says there were 3 main factors that made them successful:

  • Taking care of the target audience. Every piece of branding activity, content and communication was prepared in a way that the “urban bierdsman” would like it, identify with it, get a solution to their problems and have their needs met.
  • Optimizing website content. Beardbrand puts a lot of effort into creating content both in terms of writing posts and shooting videos, which makes their target group loyal in the long run.
  • Competing on quality instead of price. The products are of premium quality, but it’s not enough: they also provide premium customer experience with packaging, shipping, special deals, custom offers and so on.

 

Read the full story here. If you want to build a serious online business in the long run, don’t miss it.

 

And some more great ecommerce stories…

 

Setting up an online shop in 30 minutes

 

If you just can’t wait to start your store, Tomas Šlimas’ guide shows you step by step how to do it.

It’s a simple and basic ecommerce store, of course, here he presents setting up a store for non-branded women’s clothing.

However, if you’ve been hesitating to take action, despite the fact that you already have the big idea, this guide should inspire you to get started.

 

Fighting cart abandonment: raise conversion by 65%

 

Shopping cart abandonment is probably the most painful issue for e-merchants.

If you want to know how to tackle this problem in practice, visit MarketingSherpa and read this article about Envelopes.com by Adam Sutton.

Within two years, they cut checkout abandonment rate from 51% (2011) to 31% (2013), which is an amazing figure.

They revised and rebuilt their product pages and the whole checkout process. What did they do exactly? Read about it here.

 

How to get almost 300,000 followers on Facebook?

 

By tapping into the power of user generated content and social proof.

 

Diamond Candles did that: they started their online business in 2011 and together with their products they released a prize game in which prizes worth from $10 to $5000 were given.

 

But that wasn’t all.

They also inspired their audience to share their photos and comments on the social networking sites as well as optimized their product pages.

Take a look at their story here.

 

Creating a $4000 per month store in 5 days

 

Noah Kagan has already been featured here. Now the former employee #30 at Facebook shows you how to build up an online store in 5 days that will bring you $4000 every month.

It’s an amazingly detailed case study packed with numbers, strategies, tests and results. We don’t even try to sum it up. Read it here.

 

8% rise for same day delivery

 

Edible Arrangements faced a problem that many e-merchants may also have: they had a great service offer (same day delivery), which no one asked for since they simply didn’t know about it.

You can learn from this case study how they made the offer visible, how they communicated to their visitors in order to increase the number of same day delivery orders.

Finally, they achieved an 8% increase in same day orders.

 

Make an offer in a different way and raise conversion by 68%!

 

The story of Company Folders is definitely worth reading as well.

Basically, there were some problems with the online quote form. Not only because it was rather outdated, but also because due to the huge product assortment, there could be 15 million different combinations of it, the system to be transformed was extremely complex.

At last, they redesigned the whole website and thus could raise conversion by 68%. Click here to find out how they did it.

 

Removing social share buttons can increase conversions?

 

Taloon.com didn’t make any radical changes: they ran an A/B test on their product pages to see how the social share buttons performed.

They performed in a negative way. Because after they got rid of them, conversion (add to cart) rose by 12%!

How could this be possible? You can read about the reasons here.

 

Avoid price wars and increase sales by 107%

 

The case study of Express Watches helps to close an old debate: you can achieve much better results with promoting original products than with a bloody price war waged against your competitors.

Read more about how the watch ecommerce company became successful.

 

41% rise in sales with product comparison

 

Underwater Audio had one major problem: a lot of users got lost in their sales funnel.

The visitors looked for specific products, but the majority abandoned the site after checking the product comparison pages.

 

What they did: they redesigned the product comparison pages in a way that important information was displayed in one place right below the fold in a better organized layout with no distractions – they made 41% more website sales as a result.

 

Eliminating competition with one single comparison?

 

Paperstone did it.

They displayed a small table including the prices of their competitors (which were higher, of course) on their product pages just below their prices.

As a result, conversion increased by 10.67%.

This is not competing on price, just communicating that for some products they have better prices than others, thus exploiting their strength of good prices.

For details, click here.

 

$170,000 worth of sauce sold in 10 months (harnessing the power of media)

 

It’s a story of two friends who built up an amazingly lucrative business from scratch.

In the beginning, they sent out emails to their personal contact lists, and made their first $1000 in sales.

It’s a great case study about how you can open up ways to the public, how to use the media to boost sales, how to get a ton of attention. Read it here.

 

Even the craziest idea can make you wealthy

 

If you don’t believe it, then here’s Pixie Faire’s case study: the parents of a 6-year-old girl realized that clothes for dolls were very popular with little girls.

They now make sales of $50,000 every month.

A major takeaway here is that however special your target market may be, you can reach them and sell to them successfully.

 

Select your channel carefully

 

Raw Generation played safe: they used channels where you don’t pay for potential purchases (like with Google or social networking site ads), but for actual purchases.

Of course, you give a higher commission thus making less revenues, so this deal sites model is not for everyone.

For them, it was well worth the effort to rethink their sales strategy in 2014, bringing them $96,000 per month. This interview explains how they did it.

 

No matter who you are, you can be successful with your online store

 

Robert Nava spent a lot of time in correctional facilities from the age of 11 to 27. Then he stopped fooling around, made up his mind and built an ecommerce business which now generates $80,000 every month.

He started using the dropshipping model, so only a minimal investment was needed and promoted his store primarily on Facebook. See here how he achieved success.

 

How to use YouTube for ecommerce?

 

Luxyhair.com focused mainly on one single channel: the world’s largest video sharing site.

Millions have watched their videos reaching an overall number of views of hundreds of millions.

Here you can find out how they used video marketing so successfully.

 

How an absurd idea can be turned into a 6-figure worth online store

 

This story is really worth reading.

It’s about how a simple online shop’s simple product can go so viral that before shipping out the second round of orders, it can be sold for a 6-figure sum (in US dollars).

 

The idea proved to be a hit: one day, after having some unpleasant experience with a girl, our hero joked about sending her a dildo with the message “Go f… yourself”. Then he discovered some penis shaped candies on the net and the idea struck him. Why not sending out a bunch of dildo shaped sweets with the message “Eat a bag of d*cks”? Maybe others too would think it’s funny. They did. And dicksbymail.com started soaring.

 

You can read the full story here on Reddit.

 

How a store was built up and a how a kid developed into a businessman

 

How an online hippie shop came into existence what challenges it faced…

It’s neither a success nor a failure story. You can see how they used online marketing and how hard an impact it was when Facebook organic reach collapsed as well as why it can be harmful if you take out too much money from your business.

Nevertheless, the author encourages everyone to start their business right away if they are thinking about it, because the experience they can gain will be priceless even in case it fails:

 

"Even if you lose every single penny and completely 100% fail, it will still be worth it."Koby Conrad

 

 

Subscription box company turned into a money making machine

 

Another story from Reddit, which is also a great case study: you can see step by step how to make a subscription box service very successful.

You can read the whole story from the time when the store was bought, how the brand was built up and how lots of sales were made.

 

 

6 points to consider before you launch your business

 

  • Don’t think too much. If you’re not afraid to start, the faster you get experience and the sooner you can make your store profitable.
  • Target influencers the right way. One single post by an influencer featuring your product can bring in thousands of visitors in the first 24 hours!
  • If you want to reduce cart abandonments, send retargeting emails.
  • Do you have a good offer? Highlight it and you have the chance to raise your sales by 8%.
  • Harness the power of social sharing.
  • Do you perform well on price comparison pages? Use price comparison on your own website and boost your sales.

 

tips The point:  don’t fine-tune your idea for eternity. You can start an online store with just a very little budget, and there’s a potential of earning thousands of dollars even in the first days.

 

All this said, of course, you should do some market research, choose your audience and product smartly, use appropriate marketing channels and make changes to your campaigns when needed.