Our team has been helping grow 7-figure eCommerce brands the last 4+ years, and we've learned a lot from being on the other side of the curtain.
In this post, we're going to share the exact strategies we've used to build and grow multiple 7-figure eCommerce brands over the past few years.
Starting with WHY means you have a reason to start your brand besides just making money.
Yes, the goal is to make money, but what are the other reasons you're starting the brand. WHY are you starting this brand, and not another brand?
Let's take a fishing lifestyle brand as an example.
With a fishing brand, you may be starting your brand to inspire more people to start fishing. Or you may be starting your brand to give people more opportunities to celebrate their love for fishing.
Whatever the reason is, you need a reason you're starting your brand beyond just making money. This will add depth to your brand, AND it will motivate you to keep going when things get tough.
If you want to learn more about the idea of starting with WHY, then make sure you watch the Youtube video below by Simon Sinek. In the video, he explains how Apple is about more than just selling electronic devices. Apple has a WHY that gives their brand depth and causes them to stand out in the marketplace.
It's an 18 minute TED Talk and 100% worth watching.
Now that you're clear on your WHY and what's motivating you to start your brand besides making money, we need to move on to telling your story.
Telling a story gives your brand something people can connect to. It won't be the sole reason customers buy from you, but it gives your brand depth and helps you stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Ask yourself the following questions:
Going back to the fishing brand example, you want to take some time to tell people why you are starting a fishing brand.
Maybe you spent hours fishing with your dad as a kid, and you want to inspire people to make more memories fishing.
Or maybe you couldn't find the high-performance sunglasses you needed at a price you wanted to pay, so you decided to create your own.
Whatever your story is, make sure to tell your story and give people something they can connect to and relate to.
We highly recommend reading Story Brand by Donald Miller to learn more about how to share your brand's story with the world.
Next, we need to invest in branding.
In order to create a strong brand, you need a consistent logo, fonts, colors, design theme, etc.
You can start by working with a local designer to create your brand identity.
The goal is to get a strong logo and to get a PDF you can save and share with different designers as they work on design projects. Make sure you get:
Once you have your brand files and identity, you'll want to consistently use them for all of your marketing materials.
This means you will only use your brand fonts for all of your design projects, etc. Sometimes you can use a different font for a special campaign, but unless you have a strong reason to do so, it's better to consistently use the same fonts to maintain your brand identity.
The good news is that you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for this. You can pay as little as $1500 to create a really strong brand. You can also pay $50,000, if you want to, but we don't recommend that unless you have a lot of funding.
Good places to find designers who can help you design your brand include:
A premium Shopify theme will only cost you $150-$300 and will be one of the best investments you make in your brand.
Take some time to browse the Shopify theme library, and then pick one that's a good fit for your brand.
After you pick the theme, you'll need to take some time to upload your logo, and then update the fonts to match your brand identify.
If you need help figuring out how to do that, you can always start with Google or Youtube. If you need more help than that, then you can find a Shopify developer on Upwork to help you update the theme.
Just make sure you don't take get bogged down and take too much time setting things up.
Next, we need to invest in high-quality photo assets.
The good news is that you don't need to pay rent at a brick-and-mortar location in order to start a successful eCommerce brand in 2023, but you do need to invest in your "storefront."
That means you need to invest in high-quality photo and video assets you can use on your site to build the strongest brand possible.
The good news is that you don't have to spend a ton of money to do so, but you do need to get the best photos you possibly can.
If you're able to, you can use your iPhone to take really high quality photos, but if photos aren't something you're good at, you can hire a local photographer to get the content you need.
You'll also need two types of photos:
When it comes to lifestyle photos, you want to create content that's "aspirational" and provides a vibe for your brand that people want to be a part of.
If you just have product photos, you don't give people anything be a part of, but if you shoot high-quality lifestyle photos, then you give people something they can relate to and a tribe they want to be a part of.
Keep in mind, people are always looking for two things—purpose and community. Your brand may not give people a sense of purpose, unless you have a giving component to your brand, but you can give people a community they can aspire to be a part of.
That's the goal of your lifestyle photos, and you want to have the best product and lifestyle photos you possibly can so your storefront is as strong as it can be.
Also, if you're not sure where to start, start with a local photographer who's willing to take photos, and then build from there.
Now, it's time to launch your brand.
The goal here is to keep it simple but to go as big as you possibly can.
The first step is to claim your social media handles, and then to tell people you're working on a new project while asking them to follow your social media channels (start with Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok if you're not sure where to start).
Now that the word is out, continue building anticipation by sharing product samples and new developments as you get closer and closer to your launch date.
Then, once you're ready to launch, share your store with everyone you possibly can. This isn't the time to be shy. You've spent months building something you're proud of, so get on social media and tell your friends all about it. Then ask your friends to tell their friends to help get the word out.
Just make sure you don't underestimate social media. Eventually, you'll need a more robust marketing strategy, but free social media is highly effective and a great way to start getting the word out.
Keep in mind people also like to have an inside scoop. They like to feel like an insider and will be happy to share if you have a strong brand and great products.
Now that the word is starting to get out, you'll want to continue leveraging social media as much as possible. This means you need to consistently create organic social content, especially Reels and TikTok videos.
The reason you need to create Reels and TikTok videos is because both of those have the best organic reach. 5 years ago, you could reach thousands of people on Facebook and Instagram. Now, you have to pay to reach people with regular Facebook and Instagram posts so Mark Zuckerberg can hit his earnings targets, but you can still reach people organically with Reels and TikTok videos.
Since that's the case, you'll want to go all in on Reels and TikTok.
One thing you need to know is that email and SMS marketing is extremely effective.
After people subscribe, you can send them messages every week over the next year (and beyond) which gives you 52+ opportunities to grow sales and to get people to buy again.
Based on how important email + SMS marketing is, make sure you don't wait to ask people to subscribe. You want to start doing this on Day 1.
The first step is to sign up for Postscript SMS marketing.
After you've signed up, connect Postscript to your Shopify store, and then create a pop up so you can start collecting emails and phone numbers.
Some people are hesitant to use a pop up and other people are hesitant to do SMS marketing, but you don't want to be one of those people. Pop ups for email and SMS capture are highly effective, and SMS is super effective as well.
Some of our clients have made $700k+ from SMS marketing and make as much as $200+ per SMS subscribers (as seen below). This means that SMS marketing will help you grow sales AND increase the lifetime value of your customers.
When it comes to SMS marketing, you also want to make sure you're getting at least 3% of your visitors to subscriber for email + SMS marketing. You can test different pop up variations to get as many people as possible to sign up.
If you have any questions about how to use email + SMS marketing to grow your brand, feel free to reach out to our team.
Now that we're collecting emails and phone numbers so we can do email and SMS marketing, it's time to start investing in high-performing paid ad campaigns.
Without paid ads, you won't collect that many emails and phone numbers, but with high-performing ads, you will increase traffic, grow sales, and build strong subscriber lists. Paid ads + email and SMS marketing ends up being one of the most powerful ways to grow 7-figure eCommerce brands.
In order to run ads that get the highest return, make sure you:
The good news is that high-performing ad campaigns are the fastest way to profitably grow your brand, but there is a steep learning curve when it comes to running paid ad campaigns.
If you need help with ads, you can always reach out to our team to make sure you don't waste your time and money on ad campaigns that don't convert.
We also recommend you invest in Facebook and Instagram ads first, then Google, and then TikTok.
The reason for this is that Facebook and Instagram will provide the best return for most brands in 2023. Each new channel after that adds another layer of complexity, which means it's better to triple down on one campaign before moving on to another.
The next thing you need to do is to make sure you know your numbers.
If you don't know your numbers, you'll end up leaving a lot of money on the table.
You'll miss out on opportunities to triple down when you could make more money, or, worse, you'll end up losing money when you think you're making money.
It's absolutely critical that you understand the profit and loss numbers for your brand in order to grow.
If you have any questions about this, we built a customer Profit Analysis Calculator to help the brands we work with understand their monthly profit numbers and to project profit at different revenue and ad spend levels. Send us a message, and we'll share access along with instructions on how to use it.
If you're new to eCommerce, this calculator may be the most important thing you learn start using for your business this year.
The other thing that holds most eCommerce brands back more than marketing is operations.
So what is operations?
Operations is all the behind the scenes things you need to do besides marketing and finance in order to scale your brand. For example, you need to:
All of these things have to be done at a high level to make sure you get orders out on time, you don't run out of your best-selling products, etc. etc.
If you're not good at operations, then you're going to struggle to grow much more than $1,000,000 per year in revenue.
Over the past few years, we've seen many more brands struggle to grow due to operations issues (and not fully knowing their numbers) than we've seen brands struggle to grow due to marketing problems.
The lesson here is to make sure you get really good at operations while hiring the right team to run your marketing, OR be really good at marketing while hiring the right team to run your operations.
These are the Top 10 lessons we've learned over the past 4+ years on how to start a successful eCommerce brand.
We've used these exact strategies to grow multiple brands to 7 figures and beyond.
If you have any questions on how to implement these strategies for your brand, feel free to send us a message.
If not, we wish you the best of luck for launching and growing a 7-figure eCommerce brand in 2023.