Plateaus are a fairly common occurrence in almost every aspect of our lives, and something almost all of us have experienced at one time or another. You know what I’m talking about: hitting that limit in your exercise routine where you just can’t get to the next level; wondering how to continue to advance in a career that seems to have stalled out; noticing that you’ve arrived at a place in a relationship where you move up or move on.
The same thing happens for businesses.
Initial ideas turn into small ventures. Small ventures grow into thriving businesses. Thriving businesses evolve into robust enterprises. But along the way, there are multiple moments when the business will appear to have plateaued – and something new needs to be done to continue to grow and scale.
This is exactly what happened to Sarah, the founder of Artizara.com. And this post is about how we helped her to break through her plateau, into a new level of business success.
Artizara.com is a niche modest muslim fashion brand. Using their words, Artizara creates fashion that provides a “heritage inspired lifestyle.” Sarah, who founded the company in 2002, has been very successful in building a trusted brand. She had a robust business and a community that loved what she produced.
Core business problem
But this was also Sarah’s main business problem. She found herself at a plateau – with sales happening regularly, but with the same customers. Her returning customer rate was huge ( > 40%) and she was having difficultly growing beyond this base to bring her styles and designed to an even larger community of customers.
When we met Sarah, Atrizara.com was doing “ok.” They were doing around $17,000 USD in top line revenue and receiving slightly better than a 2X ROAS (for this sector – fashion – we usually expect a performance of 3-6 ROAS).
More importantly, when we looked at lifetime performance, ROAS dropped to 1.5X and they only had a few decently performing prospecting and remarking campaigns.
It wasn’t like Sarah wasn’t trying to grow. She had tried content marketing, SEO, setting up an Amazon store and much more. She had also worked with a number of other marketing agencies. Prior to joining Klout, Artizara was working with an agency that, on the surface, looked like it was performing well.
However, marketing reports can be similar to accounting reports. It all depends on what you’re looking at and focusing on. In the case of the former agency, the ROAS & revenue looked good, but they weren’t driving new customer acquisition and growth. They focused on their data from remarketing, rather than looking at new customer acquisition data.
When Artizara came on board with Klout, we performed a complete review of her existing ad account – beyond the standard past quarter, to look at lifetime performance as well. We found two critical problems:
- The ad account lacked structure and consistency
- Targeting was incredibly narrow
Why structure is important
The structure of an ad account is very important across campaigns, ad sets and ads. It is a lot like building a physical structure – if you don’t build things correctly in the foundation, you can’t expect the rest of the building to stand.
Why niche targeting limits growth
Marketing 101 alway seems to start with “finding your passion” and then “picking your niche” that you will serve with a product or service line. In terms of defining your business goals, this is fantastic. However, when it comes to achieving growth with paid ads, this strategy only limits your success.
It is critical to understand how the Facebook algorithm works. You need to initially feed the system a ton of data, which comes from using a bigger audience. Once Facebook has used this larger audience to learn and understand your avatar, and ultimately whom to target with your ads, then you can consider further tweaking and optimizing for results.
Our approach to helping Artizara grow included solving both of the fundamental issues above.
In our diagnosis, we found that none of Artizara’s campaigns were uniform across the board. For example: the attribution or conversion window for any business should always be 7-day click + one day view, and this should be implemented consistently across all campaigns, ad sets and ads. One of our first moves was to rebuild, restructure and relaunch all campaigns.
In terms of targeting, we found that Artizara’s campaigns were targeted much too narrow in order to grow beyond their current $17K revenue plateau by expanding their customer base. For example, in one campaign, they were targeting 1%, or about 130,000 people. While this number seems fairly large to you and I as humans, to Facebook – with a base of 3 billion users, this is nothing. FB recommends an audience size of at least 2 Million.
Turnaround for results
We were happy to report to Sarah that, for Artizara, the restructured campaigns began to see results in less than one week.
As you’d expect, every client prefers to have an immediate turnaround and results for their business. The reality is that it takes time and every account is unique. Why did things happen so quickly for Sarah? Her business had already done most of the work through a long history, high quality brand & products and a well managed storefront.
What results should you expect from your agency?
The results you should expect depend, first and foremost, on the goals you have for your company:
- Are you seeking to grow top line revenue?
- Do you want new customers?
- Are you introducing a new product or line?
The goal you seek to achieve will directly impact the type of campaigns and results you’ll be able to achieve.
The most important thing to remember is that you need to work with your agency to create a plan together with clear actions and milestones and then monitoring and adjusting accordingly.
Watch The Full Episode of Impact Marketer
This case study comes from Impact Marketer episode #39