**This post was originally published by our friends at StickerMule on September 15th, 2016.**
That’s the sound of another text message hitting your customer’s phone.
Go ahead and add it to the tally. Every day, your customers:
• Send and receive 67 text messages
• Get bombarded with 122 emails
• Exchange dozens of Snapchats with friends
• Tune out most of the 3,000 different product advertisements they see (like yours)
In other words, your customers are overloaded with options and the digital market is crowded.
This is especially true for ecommerce companies, which make up about 12% of the Internet and where competition is brutal. The Internet graveyard is littered with failed ecommerce companies like One Kings Lane, which was valued at $920 million in 2014…but sold for $30 million this year.
For ecommerce brands, failure comes at an especially massive cost.
So with so many other ecommerce businesses out there, how do you gain traction and separate from the pack?
How do you create loyal customers who keep coming back — and excitedly tell everyone they know about your brand?
How do you grab the attention of new customers who will spend hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands on your brand over their lifetime?
Today, we’re going to show you the secrets. You’ll learn:
• How to separate your brand in the crowded ecommerce market
• How to retain your current customers with ease
• How to get new customers at a fraction of the cost
We’ll introduce you to an ecommerce clothing company that created a thriving brand, grew to 8-figures in only three years, and hacked their way to success using unconventional — and effective — marketing tactics.
And the best part is, you can implement their strategies starting today.
Joining the crowded Ecommerce space
Meet Lauren James, while not yet a subscription-oriented brand, this Ecommerce clothing company has thousands of deeply loyal customers spending even more thousands on their brand.
Lauren James was founded in 2013 by husband-and-wife team Lauren and Lance Stokes.
Inspired by the blend of southern classics and modern clothing for women, Lauren fell in love with fashion and wanted to share her inspiration with the world.
Starting out, Lauren and Lance decided to focus on fashion for women ages 18-35. After designing a small batch of clothing, they launched a small private label line as a market test — and sold out.
With the business idea validated, Lauren and Lance knew they had a product market fit.
Next, they wanted to grow the company.
With the private label line, they successfully got their business in front of a couple hundred customers…but how could they reach thousands? Or even millions?
With so many “traditional” marketing methods overused and ineffective, they knew they had to go an unconventional route to effectively (and inexpensively) attract potential customers.
In other words, Lauren James needed to:
- Separate their customer experience from the millions of other ecommerce websites
- Attract new customers at a fraction of the cost
- Keep current customers coming back and avoid churn
Embracing a nontraditional growth hacking mindset, Lance took the first step: create unique, breathtaking designs for their sweet “tees” collection. Today, they have more than 500 designs that customers love.
“We try to maximize the artwork and original content,” Lance says. “A ton of time is spent on artwork for tees.”
With their new beautiful designs now on tees, they needed a way to get them in front of a large audience.
And, most importantly, they needed a way to generate word-of-mouth marketing buzz (and ROI).
The surprising way Lauren James generated tons of revenue and increased customer loyalty
Lauren James decided to try a fast, easy marketing test: custom stickers.
With every order Lauren James shipped, they also sent the customer a free beautifully designed die cut sticker.
At the start, they knew most new customers were only wearing Lauren James clothes and repping the brand once or twice a week — not every day.
But stickers can go anywhere. Customers can put them on…
• Car windows/bumpers
• Cell phones
• Water bottles
And dozens of other places people see…Every. Single. Day.
To market their ecommerce brand, Lauren James didn’t use expensive SEM management. They didn’t use a PR firm. They didn’t use consultants creating expensive marketing videos.
Just a few stickers placed in every order.
This simple addition to each order cut through the noise and secured customer loyalty.
“Our team is always finding new ways to connect digital convenience to tangible experiences — stickers are a part of that.”
It was crazy inexpensive word-of-mouth marketing for the creative startup, and it helped them hack their way to growth and success.
It wasn’t just vague “brand awareness” either. The results were in the numbers — word-of-mouth took off, organic search tripled and sales increased.
For only about $0.10 per sticker, Lauren James was surprising and delighting customers (and seeing a direct effect on its bottom line).
Today, if you go to YouTube you’ll see more than 7,000 unboxing videos for Lauren James. These videos cost the company absolutely nothing.
Lauren James’ rabid fans are ecstatic to open their Lauren James package, show the world what they got, and proudly place their stickers anywhere they can.
“Our team is always finding new ways to connect digital convenience to tangible experiences — stickers are a part of that,” Lance said.
Today, stickers are an integral part of Lauren James. And, they provide a massive ROI.
Lauren James used stickers to:
1. Launch a blog
“When we were launching our blog, Styled Sweet, we sent out special Styled Sweet stickers with every order. It drove traffic to the new blog which in turn increased social sharing,” Lance says.
2. Create a gigantic newsletter list with ready-to-buy customers
“If you sign-up for our newsletter, we’ll send you a sticker,” Lance says. “We capture emails, shipping addresses, and generate future customers just for the price of a sticker. It’s also a great way to create a positive first connection with soon-to-be fans.”
3. Generate sales
Lauren James saw such incredible results with giving away stickers that they started selling them. Today, they have over 100 different stickers their customers love.
Customers often share their love for the stickers on social media or on YouTube in unboxing videos, for example a customer recently said, “The stickers are such nice quality, I’m so excited to stick this on my car” in an unboxing video.
Today, the team has grown to over 115 employees and three retail stores with more on the horizon — business is booming for Lauren James.
So what’s next?
Lance told us, “More sticker promotions!
“Capturing emails and future customer information for only the price of a sticker!”
5 Proven tactics Lauren James used to become a 8-figure business
To grow your own ecommerce business, here are 5 proven tactics Lauren James used to grow to a multi-million dollar company with 115 employees. You can start implementing these today.
Strategy #1: Use newsletter opt-ins — with a twist
Lauren James, like most websites, tries to get users to opt into a newsletter. From the business side, a newsletter lets Lauren James nurture prospects and turn them into paying, happy customers…who come back again and tell their friends.
But, growing a newsletter in such a crowded market is easier said than done.
To combat the noise, they offer an incentive: a free sticker.
“Capturing emails and future customer information for only the price of a sticker!” Lance says.
And it’s worked — with opt-in rates far above the industry average Lauren James sends out thousands of free stickers to future customers every month.
To get start this for your own business, create an simple email opt-in page asking for a prospect’s name, email address, and mailing address. Use Wufoo, SumoMe, or any other tool that allows you to collect their email address and information.
Then, you can put the email address in a lead nurturing campaign and increase your chances to sell to the prospect by 2x or more. If you already have a large email list or email your customers regularly, try creating an “Insiders’ List” and use stickers an incentive. Use this list to grow referrals, offer special deals for promoting your company online, and more.
Strategy #2: Make an amazing unboxing experience
On YouTube alone, there are 7,000+ Lauren James unboxing videos. These videos are posted by excited fans of the brand and they don’t cost the company a dime.
Best of all, they sell Lauren James’ products without Lauren James having to do anything.
To make the unboxing process special and create viral marketing, Lauren James gives beautiful stickers away for free with every purchase.
In your own business, think of one quick change you can make for your unboxing to be better.
When your unboxing is better, your customers will want to share with their friends and the world (and they’ll also want to come back and purchase).
Strategy #3: Create a viral sales loop so your customers sell for you
Lauren James started putting stickers in every package they mailed. Their customers put stickers everywhere — on laptops, notebooks, cars, and anywhere else.
The key lesson here is make it easy to share: it’s common for loyal Lauren James customers to give their stickers in their 2nd, 3rd, or 4th orders to friends who will then visit the website (and maybe purchase).
Instead of wasting time on marketing and advertising, Lauren James puts a sticker in each order — which only costs about $0.10 extra. How’s that for effective bootstrapped marketing?
Strategy #4: Pour gasoline on the word-of-mouth marketing fire
Lauren James creates a viral marketing loop for their stickers, which can cost 60-75x less than traditional marketing methods.
And after seeing the success of free stickers, they realized they could sell stickers too.
Today, Lauren James sells dozens of different eye-catching stickers. This gives them extra revenue, creates free brand ambassadors, more word-of-mouth marketing, and makes their customers extra happy.
If something is working for your business, do more of it. Offer upsells or variations for customers to buy. It’s not necessary to always reinvent the wheel.
Strategy #5: Use original designs to blow customers away (and increase ROI)
Lauren James became successful partly because of their unique designs for clothing, packaging, and their brand.
For example, most clothing companies send clothes in a boring brown box.
But not Lauren James. They send their clothing in a gorgeous pink box or mailer with stunning typography and hand-crafted care.
The same opportunity is available for every company to improve upon mundane ways most ecommerce companies do business. How can you surprise and delight your customers?
If you want to get started separating your Ecommerce business and growing your brand, order custom stickers like Lauren James did to grow their business.
Looking back, Lauren James could have gone the traditional route to market their brand. A few thousand dollars on Facebook Ads here, a full-page advertisement in Elle magazine there…but where would they be now?
The truth is, if you follow the same traditional marketing methods in the oversaturated ecommerce market you’re going to get the same traditional results. Now more than ever, it’s critical to follow nontraditional ways to market your brand.