You may or not be familiar with my previous posts, from most recently celebrating 100 subscribers to my coffee company or way back over a year ago simply asking for feedback on my website as I decided to embark on this journey of creating a coffee brand.
As with previous posts I'm just going to list things that have been important to us lately and also invite any feedback or questions from readers. I genuinely mean it when I say we take on board your feedback and we discuss every single point brought up in the replies. We also love hearing about similar journeys and want to be in touch with fellow e-commerce/entrepreneur folks so slide into my DMs should the notion take you.
Here's what we've been learning since the last update about 5 months ago, maybe it will help anyone on a similar journey:
Facebook – Goddammit FB what are you up to? We don't know, we don't think anyone knows! Please don't spam us with ads for your agency. Basically we seen some success with our FB ads then they died. We sourced the best agency we could find and paid them lots of money to create funnels etc and FB punished us further. In our modest opinion something is wrong with the algorithm and smaller companies are being punished. We produced high quality content, we employed sales tactics as taught by more experienced advertisers and we even had the best product photographer in the country do us new product shots. The result was still the same, we can barely buy a sale, so we've ditched FB ads. On the positive side, we started doing a live stream once a week on Fridays. Our followers seem to love it and it always results in a few extra sales. We're going to do more along that line with more relevant guests and less relevant subject matter to create a fun interactive thing for our existing customers/followers. Which brings me to…
Content – We made an ad that got almost 2 million views on Youtube. That's huge for Scotland where the population is about 5.5 million. So where conversion ads have failed we've found brand advertising very inexpensive due to being in a less populated country. If you are actually making a thing and you plan to exist beyond drop-shipping I would heavily recommend taking time to produce some lasting high quality content.
Events/Real life – I know, for an e-commerce sub this may be controversial, however, we see a spike in web traffic and orders every time we attend an event. As lock-down has eased and farmer's markets returned we've found that we get around 50% more orders each day we attend a real life event. We have also made some great leads for B2B sales this way. Get out and meet people!
Subscription model – We are now lucky to have around 300 subscribers to our coffee delivery service. We think this is the way to go however having spoken with investors lately, it's clear that not everyone believes in this model. That's why we are making sure we have several revenue streams. We use Subbly to manage our subscribers, have to recommend them though they still do not have Paypal integration.
The future/investment – Things are crazy right now so I'm not going to try and guess what the future looks like. We've made a lot of growth predictions and are speaking with a few investors. It's amazing how quickly people with money appear once your idea starts working! Our focus is going to be keeping operations lean and flexible. If we take on staff they need to pay for themselves, if we invest money it needs to be on something that won't be lost over an act of god e.g. Our market kit and budget could just as easily be moved into marketing budget online should there be further restrictions due to COVID.
E-mail marketing – This has definitely been our most fruitful marketing channel over the last few months. Gather emails from people folks, they WILL respond when you send them an offer down the line.
The biggest best news! – We've now had a coffee roaster custom built for our needs and as of this week we have acquired an old horse stables to roast coffee in. Up until now we have been borrowing space from bigger coffee roasters so this will allow; new product development, increased margin and a cool place to host potential new customers.
Times are tough right now but if you are out there trying then keep going and keep learning, sometimes opportunities grow from disasters.
We're currently doing just over £10k per month sales and our Wix website is converting at 6%. New premises should be open before the end of the year and we have 2 or 3 potential investors on the hook should we need them.
Thank you for coming along with us on this journey, please let us know how we could do better in the comments. I'll post an update end of year 2 all going well.
(Don & Rab Pure Roasters Coffee
TL:DR It's difficult selling things on the internet now but just keep trying, as long as you are willing to learn and have a good product/service then you will be ok.