Growth Hacking Your First Month: How I got 800 Facebook Likes, 10K Twitter Followers, and 12,000 Newsletter Subscribers

CoffeeCrave
Shopify Partner
13 0 8

Update:  We are simply overwhelmed by the aount of publicity this has recieved and want to thank each and everyone of you for your passion about this post and our success!   It's truly humbling to have so many interactions, tons of direct emails, and lots of purchases.   We also thank @Shopify for featuring this post in their newsletter.   Given the unexpected exposure, I've cleaned up the article below and hopefully it's more clear / grammatically correct.   The conetent is the same, however there are details that we've added for the sake of clarity. 

Follow me on my new official twitter to get more tips like this:  https://twitter.com/espradley414

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Hello All,

Previously a software developer, I was like many of the readers here -- dreading the "work for someone else" office work day.   Our story is a humble one, and we are always sure to give credit to our customers, affiliates, and fans for our success.  Before I started http://www.thecoffeecrave.com in Q4 of last year, I was a director and programmer in the e-comerce space.  I've always invested in other business, both monetarily and sweat equity -- and have a diverse profile of ownership in a variety of exciting projects.   But never something that I started from the ground up.

As a director of software development, I often found myself coaching our clients on marketing intitiatives, strategy, and systems design / development to ensrue their success.   I've personally played a hand in many business growing from $0 to many millions of dollars, somtimes in the matter of months, so I've learned a trick or two.    

So when I decided to finally venture out to start my own gig, I was excited and optimistic.   I'm fortuante enough to have a skill set that allowed me to develop custom on shopify, although this was purely for tuning and found that to get things started, I didn't really need development experience at all.

While I've had many successful marketing campaigns since starting CoffeeCrave mere months ago, there was one in paticular that I found successful and gave me a very quick and successful launch.   I discuss below what I did to make my first month start with a bang.

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OUR STORY

The Initial Idea

We started out selling only specialty coffee.  The angle was that we'd emphasize the natural benefits of coffee, as there are so many.   Then we'd target specific markets by offering products such as "The Workforce", "The Housewife", "The Healthnut", etc.   Each was it's own specific blend of coffee that we felt best suited the market.   We launched, and while traffic was low, we successfully made a few sales within the first week.   Always an amazing feeling.

Shock Product / Growth Hacking Idea

While I sat there watching a few hundred visitors hit the site each day, I wondered if there was a way to get some quick publicity to turn up the traffic on the site.   So, I drank my coffee and worked into the wee hours of the night thinking through ideas and bouncing off of my business partner.   I decided to find a way to offer a 5x the caffeine coffee product, never imagining that it would be a success -- but knew that it would be a fun story for blogs to post about.   

So, I added a new product and called it Fearless - Black, high caffeine coffee promising 5x the caffeine as regular coffee.   It was an instant hit -- to the point that we eventually stopped selling all other products to focus on this.   We laugh about it now, but it was really a tough time, since this was only meant to be a concept and had no way of actually producing 5x the caffeine coffee.   Pretty sure my business partner James and now COO of CoffeeCrave, who is articulate, careful and all about planning, was ready to kill me.  Why would I seel something we hadn't invented yet.   Let me tell you something about business -- sometimes you've just got to go do it and figure it out later.  Anyhow, we spent a few very long nights working on things and hiring food chemists and engineers to figure out how to produce this product.  At the time, we hadn't even checked to see if there were any competitors or other high caffeine coffee brands out there -- but that's another story for another time.

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So, that's our story -- but there were a lot of things that happened between the lines there to get us moving fast.   I have a pretty good understanding of SEO, PPC, and other marketing tactics, so I knew that it was important to:

a) Get a flurry of social media buzz to speed up our keyword ranking.
b) Implement an affiliates program.
c) Get a massive newsletter list

So much easier to type that list than to achieve it.  

The process I did below will work for most start ups and even many existing business that need to scale their social media & newsletters.   I feel that I had pretty great success compared to other start ups that I've been apart of in the past.   It got us 800 facebook likes, 1200 newsletter subscribers, nearly 10K twitter followers, and tons of FREE traffic / marketing.

Step 1:  Give away something for free.

Yes, that's right.   Give something away for free.   While many people don't like having "Free loader" traffic, and lists of people who aren't willing to buy, let me be honest, I absolutely love them.  Free loaders are great for many reasons.   To start, they are usually passionate about brands, they like to share stories with their friends, and at a whim, they will work harder to help market your product than just about anyone you could hire.   So it is inherently not wise to ignore this amazing subset of folks.  

Early on we decided that we would only spend money that a) we contrinbuted personally or b) earned as profit from the business -- we had little to spend.  We considered several things, including giving away branded coffee cups or playing cards.   But at the end of the day, we decided that we really just wanted to give away samples.   All in all, we determined it would cost roughly $9 per sample order that we sent, the bulk being shipping and packaging.   

We setup a new mailchimp email list and created a custom form requesting their address and the product of choice.   You can see the form here:  

http://www.thecoffeecrave.com/pages/get-free-sample

Notice at the top, we limited this to the first 100 subscribers.   This is important for cost control, because while we could afford the $900 investment, we couldn't send them to everyone.

Next, we posted the link on Reddit and hoped that people would respond.  See our post below.

https://www.reddit.com/r/freebies/comments/3uiidf/coffeecrave_get_free_coffee_first_100_redditors/?r...

We got over 3000 mailchimp subscribers in the first few days -- which meant we also had to pay mailchimp now -- good problem to have.

While we expired the link on Reddit, we never removed the CMS page (not intentional) and the link got shared on many platforms and freebies sites to ultimately grow our list to over 12,000.

It's really important that you are genuine with this give away and that you post a winners list (sent out via the newsletter).

 

Step 2: Convert freebies into advocates:

So now we were paying $50 per month for mailchimp -- and had many freebies seekers on our list.   Again, Free Loaders are the best brand advocates a company could ask for.   But they do deserve to be rewarded, so we decided to do a Win Coffee for a Year Sweepstakes.   We are so excited that we will be announcing the winner tomorrow!  

There were many way to enter: Join the newsletter, like our facebook page, follow us on twitter, etc etc.   You can see (and participate if you'd like) the page here:

http://www.thecoffeecrave.com/pages/win-one-year-supply-of-coffee-chemex-coffee-setup

People went crazy for this and again, we got posted on many sweepstakes sites.   This lead to tons more traffic and many sales of our product for people who were just interested in the product.  Most importantly, this lead to brand awareness.   When someone hears "CoffeeCrave" the first time, it's not important -- but when they hear it a second time, it adds valididty to your brand.  

You can see the results by looking up our hash tag #iLoveCoffeeCrave as well as looking up mentions of @thecoffeecrave.  

 

In summary

I hope you found this article helpful.  If you do, feel free to share it and be sure to follow us on social media and please share this article with anyone who you think might enjoy it.  I'm happy to answer any questions if you have them, just comment below or contact me direct @ eddie@thecoffeecrave.com.

Update:  Many people are asking me how to do the sweepstakes share page.   I did this with custom code, but you can also try a service out for it.   There are two that I'm aware of that will even help you manage your list of entries:

http://www.viralsweep.com/  -- A week after us starting the competition, our biggest competitor copied the idea and used this software.  It's always nice when you catch the bigger guys attention :)

https://www.rafflecopter.com/ ;

 

 

 

 

P.S. We'd love to share our success with you!   Join our affilliates program and you'll earn 20% of every sale you send us!  

 

 

 

 

Interesting strategy in "using" freeloaders.

What amount of sales do you attribute to the promotion?

Did you find the giveaway stimulated attention to create other traffics who are the ones that purchased? or by giving something good away, you had the right to market in these places and there was a percentage that entered the competition then ordered?

Run Google Shopping ads? Get the free definitive guide to Google Shopping for Shopify (no optin required): https://www.digitaldarts.com.au/google-shopping
Max_Finn
Excursionist
13 0 22

Great story and congrats on the early success! I noticed you don't have any pixels on your site for retargeting. You should definitely install your Facebook pixel and start running these retargeting campaigns:

  • First time visitor non-buy campaign to get them back on site or potentially do free products/tripwire 
  • Abandoned cart campaign for people who have added product to their cart without buying. Offer them a discount or free shipping to complete their purchase
  • Thank you video for first time buyers where you persoanlly thank them for their business (this campaign actually drove a ton of repeat business for me)
  • Upsell/cross-sell dynamic product ad for customers where you promote higher margin products to them and grow your repeat business.

I'd also love to know how you are putting all of these emails to use? Are you using Mailchimp or Infusion Soft? Are you segmenting your lists based on where they are in buying process? Emails are great, but you need to have a comprehensive automated workfow for different segments to actually extract value from the emails. Congrats again on yor success!

Max

http://maxwellfinn.com

CEO Startup Drugz startupdrugz.com Retargeting, Email Automation & Marketing Funnel Expert
segun_ademola
New Member
1 0 1
how to sale market in my store explany for me please
Master_of_Drank
New Member
2 0 1

Love this email. Super helpful. I have two questions:

(1) What theme did you use to create this page? I really like the format.

(2) How did you create the free sample page to be separate from all your tabs on your site like that? I tried doing that with my website and I am having trouble.

My site is www.drankgon.com if you wanna check us out! Having a good time learning all this stuff!

Kevin_Churchman
New Member
2 0 2

The strategy you used is great and I really like the way you''ve simplfied your page. Could you tell me how you got the "add to cart square" in your image and what are you using to add the "why are you leaving" pop-up? Is that part of SUMO? 

 

Love the strategy and will take a look implemetning it myself - Thanks!!

David-Christian
Tourist
11 0 7

This sounds like an good strategy (although perhaps "cheapens" your brand a little).

Could you give us some more info on the kind of conversions you were seeing from this?

Dan_Knowlson
Tourist
10 0 2

Thank you video for first time buyers where you persoanlly thank them for their business (this campaign actually drove a ton of repeat business for me)

Love that idea! Definitly will add that to our first email new customers get

CoffeeCrave
Shopify Partner
13 0 8

Reply to Joshua

What amount of sales do you attribute to the promotion?

Did you find the giveaway stimulated attention to create other traffics who are the ones that purchased? or by giving something good away, you had the right to market in these places and there was a percentage that entered the competition then ordered?

I'd say atleast 50% of our early on sales.  Because of the buzz it created on social media, search engines gave us page rank on some keywords pretty quickly.   We've been mentioned hundreds of times on Twitter and other platforms due to this.

 Reply to Max

I'd also love to know how you are putting all of these emails to use? Are you using Mailchimp or Infusion Soft? Are you segmenting your lists based on where they are in buying process? Emails are great, but you need to have a comprehensive automated workfow for different segments to actually extract value from the emails. Congrats again on yor success!

You're right -- I'll work on getting retargeting for Facebook and google installed today.   As for your question -- I use mailchimp because it's super cheap.  I think we are still paying less than $100 / month.

Reply to Sergun 

I tried to visit your store j.myshopify.com but said you were not open yet.  Happy to give advice once I see your site.

Reply to Master (haha, you got me to call you master)

(1) What theme did you use to create this page? I really like the format.

(2) How did you create the free sample page to be separate from all your tabs on your 

 1.  It's a very heavily customized version of Venture.  Getting the product on the homepage is harder than you may think, so I recommend seeking out an expert if you aren't a programmer yourself.  There are themes that have this prebuilt in, but didn't like their look.

Shopify.theme = {"name":"Venture","id":90162439,"theme_store_id":775,"role":"main"};

2.  How did you create the free sample page to be separate from all your tabs on your 

I think you mean how did I create the page without it being part of the navigation?  I just created the page as published and didn't add it to my menus.

Reply to Kevin

The strategy you used is great and I really like the way you''ve simplfied your page. Could you tell me how you got the "add to cart square" in your image and what are you using to add the "why are you leaving" pop-up? Is that part of SUMO? 

Hey Kevin, I believe you mean on the homepage?   This is all custom code.  Fortunaltly I have a strong background in programming -- but it still took a bit to figure this out.   There are some themes that I've seen that have this built in -- just search for "Single Product Homepage Shopify Theme" 

 

 

Thanks everyone I'm happy to help anyway I can.  Just let me know.  And please, feel free to connect to us on Social media!

twitter.com/thecoffeecrave

fb.com/thecoffeecrave

 

CoffeeCrave
Shopify Partner
13 0 8

Reply to David

This sounds like an good strategy (although perhaps "cheapens" your brand a little).

Could you give us some more info on the kind of conversions you were seeing from this?

Hey David -- I don't think it cheapens the brand at all.   I think many people try to do this without being geinuine and that is bad for business -- but I've actually had people on Reddit passionately defend us once as a result of this type of brand building.   I focus on making a difference in my customers lives and it does well.

As far as conversions, this is impossible to measure because of all of the publicity it got us.  But I can tell you that it felt much like going 0 to 60 in a matter of days.