Your First Million Dollar Year
How We Grew A Shopify Store From $0 To $93,137/Month In 6 Months Without Losing Money On Advertising
Only 4% Of Businesses…
Make it past $1 million in revenue.
So if you want to be one of those 4%, you need to do something different.
Despite what the “get rich quick” charlatans are promising you online, this is not an easy path.
You need some very specific things to align and you’ll learn them below.
So Why Don’t Most Businesses Make It?
The simple answer is they’re doing the wrong things.
Or they’re doing the right things, but poorly.
When we look at a specific business like a Shopify store, there is a step-by-step plan for growing a business to $1 million and beyond.
And once you know the metrics and skills to focus on, you can follow the plan and test your way to success.
Why Do I Think We Can Help?
I've helped multiple clients over the years to go from zero (or close) and exceed the million dollar mark (plus add millions in revenue to ones that had already made it).
The ones I can share the numbers on include going from $200k to $2.4 million.
And the case study I’ll share today where we took a Shopify store from $0 to $93,137 per month in the first 6 months.
After repeatedly growing Shopify stores over the years, I know I have a pretty solid formula that can be rolled out to yours.
Here’s The Proven Growth Plan
Based on over 2 decades of business and ecommerce experience, I believe there’s a very specific set of steps you need to follow to grow your vegan Shopify store.
This starts with The Foundation, which gives you a much better chance of success.
And then we follow The Optimization Flywheel to grow your store.
This is where you deploy your Revenue Levers, but it’s important to understand the greater picture if you want to get the best results from investing the least amount of time and money.
The Case Study Background
A past client came to us with a product they had developed with a leading scientist (who was actually his father).
They brought us on to design and develop the sophisticated email marketing strategy that was required.
However we quickly took over the copywriting on their website including the product descriptions as well.
We launched from zero in March and reached $93,137 in revenue during August, when the client hired a full time inhouse marketer to continue our work.
While we didn’t agree with the marketing we started to see from that point, I estimate the business is sitting at about $7 million in annual revenue now (although I haven’t spoken to the owner for a while).
A Note On Our Case Studies
In the digital marketing world, there is a common approach called “funnel hacking” that was popularized by Russell Brunson.
This basically means finding sales funnels and ecommerce websites that are performing well, mapping their entire marketing approach, and then creating a similar product plus sales funnel to start a business based on the proven winner.
Because this happens regularly, we don’t share our current or past Shopify stores so we can protect the success of our partners (and not have them ripped off).
Hence we will share all the background information on how we did it, but obscure some of the details like the company name so others can’t try to copy our exact stores.
Now you have that, let’s get started…
High Growth Niche Leadership
The most successful businesses have become a leader in a high growth niche.
And while you might not need it to get to a million dollar Shopify store, understanding this concept will help you scale more successfully.
It is the intersection between two key points:
- Starving Customers
- Market Opportunity
And this is where we start our case study.
Creating A Multi-Million Dollar Niche
Our client decided to create a product in a popular product category that was trending in growth.
But rather than create a “me too” product, he relied on guidance from the scientist to create something that was unique to the market.
Basically, the current product category focused on solving one problem, but left a related problem completely untouched (and unmentioned).
By creating a product that solved both problems at the same time, he was on to a winner in a new product category.
Developing The Product
While we had no role in the product development, here is the brief story.
The client had formulated the product with the scientist and performed testing to make sure it was doing what they believed.
He then sourced a manufacturing partner in the US that could do his bulk manufacturing.
While this is a bit risky because of the amount of product they started with (especially since it had an expiry date), the client had developed other million dollar products in the past and so was very confident in this idea.
The Importance Of This Step
A great product with a starving crowd will always perform, even with bad marketing.
A product without a market, cannot be fixed by hiring the best marketing people in the world.
So if people use your product and love it, then you’re on to a good thing.
And sometimes the marketing message needs to be tweaked to explain the product better as you’ll see below.
The Optimization Flywheel
The Optimization Flywheel is about constantly improving the 3 main Revenue Levers categories of your Shopify store:
- Conversion Rate
- Email Marketing
- Traffic Generation
We benchmark each area to industry standards and start working on the weakest link.
Once that has been improved, we go to the next step and the process repeats.
Revenue Lever Category #1:
Shopify Store Conversion Rate
Your conversion rate is the number one metric for your Shopify store.
Because all sales obviously go through your store and cart, this is a key area to improve.
Therefore, if you have a poor conversion rate then adding more emails or traffic aren’t going to help you much.
And the biggest influence on your conversion rate is the copywriting about your brand and product.
Getting The Messaging Right
When the client came to us, they already had a Shopify store built by someone else.
We took one look at the copywriting, and decided the messaging was not as clear as what he’d told us during his strategy session.
So we needed to strip the messaging back to the core elements on both the Website and the Product Description Revenue Levers we talk about.
Following The Copywriting Formula
We followed a simple copywriting formula that hit all the Product Page Revenue Levers, but the core message was:
- Product Name
“Total [Product Category]” to reflect that others were missing a vital component
- Attention Grabbing Headline
“X + Y + Z = Total [Ideal Result]”
- Identify The Problem Or Desire
“You already buy this product but it is missing Y”
- Aggravate Their Pain & Build Their Desire
“Y actually has a bigger influence than X, so you’re wasting your money right now”
- Present The Solution
“Our product has X + Y and we added Z as well”
- Establish Credibility
“I’m a scientist known as a leader in this field”
- Features & Benefits
“Here’s all the benefits you’ll experience”
- Proof“Look at our randomized, placebo controlled study results”
- Price Justification
“It’s the same as your normal product anyway”
“60-Day Money Back Guarantee”
- A Reason To Act
“Stop wasting money on your current product and switch”
- Call To Action
The Story Component
We also built out the Website Revenue Levers to ensure the Homepage and About page told a compelling story.
This meant talking about the problem/solution as above and pointing out that this was the first and only product of its kind.
We also made the scientist (not his son), the star of the website and made sure his story was told.
This was missing when we first started and positioning the scientist as the store owner made a big difference.
The Invincible Offer
Because of the bulk manufacturing, the client was able to make the product for about $2 per item and the common price for a quality competitor was about $30 to $40.
So we set the individual product price at $44.99 to show a price premium for a more complete product (it doesn’t make sense to get more for a lower price).
Then offered a 4-week subscription at 20% off ($35.99).
This all gave us a good gross margin and customer lifetime value to invest in marketing and excellent customer service.
The Importance Of This Step
By getting the messaging right, we were confident that traffic would convert when they visited the store.
Combining that with a good gross margin, we knew that the business was set up for success and could make money to survive during the difficult startup phase.
If your store and margins aren’t set up properly in the beginning, then it’s always going to be a struggle.
That’s why messaging and pricing is so important (and a key thing to test until you find the winning formula).
Revenue Lever Category #2:
Email marketing is the key to converting more traffic into sales and increasing your efficiency.
At least 30% of your revenue should come from your email marketing or your store is losing sales.
It also works synergistically with your Store Conversion Rate because you’re sending traffic who hasn’t purchased back to your store.
And increasing sales from existing customers as well.
The Messaging Continues…
We made the scientist the front face of the business and so all the emails we wrote came from him.
This added a personal touch, instead of a faceless business that just wanted their money.
After all, the scientist was serious about getting his discovery and the product out into the world so it created benefits for the customers.
And that was the frame that all our messaging took.
The Automated Email Revenue Levers
We used all of the following automated email sequences:
- Brand Builder Sequence
- Pre-Purchase Sequence
- Post-Purchase Sequence
- Abandoned Cart Sequence
- Ascension Sequence
- Reorder Sequence
- Subscription Sequence
While writing all these sequences is complicated by itself, the true art is making sure they all fit together in a logical sequence depending on when someone started receiving emails.
For example, if they sign up with their email and start getting a Pre-Purchase Sequence, but then buy on email #3, we need to stop the first sequence and move them to a Post-Purchase Sequence as seamlessly as possible.
The number of variables and use cases that we had to deal with here was impressive, even just launching with 3 original products.
Let’s break down each campaign so you can see what happened.
Sequence #1: Brand Builder
This sequence is all about building the brand and doesn’t even contain a single link to the product.
Over 3 emails we built a relationship with the scientist and the brand so people felt like they actually knew him.
Funnily enough, this email sequence was actually reporting a lot of sales each week in Klaviyo…
Even though it didn’t have a single link to the product or website (that’s how powerful this is).
Sequence #2: Pre-Purchase
This is a 14 day sequence that is triggered when someone signs up with their email on the website (note that we’re not sending an email every single day).
The first emails all focus on building the credibility of the product and telling the story.
While the last 3 offered a discount and tried to help any stragglers over the line.
It was also very effective at converting visitors into buyers as well.
Sequence #3: Post-Purchase Sequence
This was a 16 day sequence that got them excited about the product arriving and taught them how to use it.
It then moved on to more content to support the decision they’d already made.
Finally, we collected more social proof like encouraging them to leave reviews and post on social media.
Basically, to make sure their experience as a customer was exciting and to further reinforce their good decision making.
Sequence #4: Abandoned Cart Sequence
This was another 14 day sequence for those that added to cart, but didn’t complete the checkout process.
We start with standard reminder emails that include content on why they should purchase.
Then moved to more content with various discount ladders in there to push them over the edge.
This was obviously a highly profitable sequence and often done poorly in most Shopify stores.
Sequence #5: Ascension Sequence
Depending on what products were purchased, we had specific campaigns to sell the other products in the range.
The most effective way to do this was to trigger automated sequences based on what the customer had and had not purchased.
We also tied this in with the Reorder sequence so they could add it to their order at the appropriate time.
Hence planning out the full sequences and how they interacted was critical to success.
Sequence #6: Reorder Sequence
The main product was a 4-week supply and so we started to remind them to repurchase on day 20.
This was followed by a last chance to get it before your current supply runs out.
Then a final discounted offer if they didn’t repurchase.
We wanted to get customers into the habit of purchasing regularly after they’d become a customer for the first time.
Sequence #7: Subscription Sequence
We also had a Subscription Sequence which tried to move people from an individual purchase into the subscription.
The benefit for them was that they’d save 20% and it was a great deal.
The benefit for us was increasing our recurring revenue and the cash flow of the business.
Hence we were constantly trying to move individual purchases into a subscription at various times in their customer journey.
Manual Email Campaigns
On top of the automated sequences, we were sending an email campaign every week to subscribers as well.
Some of them were excluded, depending on where they were in the automated sequences.
But we always led with value to make sure they wanted to get our emails.
We found the split between automated and manual campaigns was about 50/50 when it came to revenue generation, so it was definitely worth sending the manual campaigns as well.
The Importance Of This Step
For this Shopify store, we were generating 32% of revenue from the email campaigns.
This is a serious amount of revenue, $29,804 (32% of $93,137) coming in every month.
We’ve seen many stores that have little or no email marketing in place, but are performing well with paid ads and still making money.
So adding email marketing often means a very quick increase in recurring monthly revenue for very little effort.
Revenue Lever Category #3:
You can have the best Shopify store and email marketing, but without the third element of traffic then you’re dead in the water.
The good news is, getting traffic is easy these days.
You can go to the major providers like Google and Facebook to send you all the traffic you can handle.
The trick is setting up your business so you can afford to pay the price.
Messaging Strikes Again
In order for successful traffic generation, you need to have your messaging dialed down.
There are millions of ads competing for attention and so yours must stand out.
This is why it’s so important to get this dialed down on your Shopify store in the first place.
Then, as your business evolves you’ll need to find new hooks that grab the attention of your market.
Organic Content Revenue Levers: Content Syndication
For the case study business, we really had a good thing going with our unique story angle.
So the client hired a PR firm to try to launch the product with a bunch of media.
This meant the product actually got featured and reviewed on popular websites like Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow’s website) that drove a lot of traffic.
This is difficult to replicate without a truly newsworthy story, but a great source of traffic if you can attract media attention (at least while it lasts).
Paid Traffic Revenue Levers: Google Ads
Since this was already a popular product category, it already had a lot of search traffic as well.
This allowed us to insert our ads into regular product searches that were already happening.
We quickly told our story in the headline to show why this product was the first of its kind.
And managed to get a good traffic source at a price we were willing to pay.
Paid Traffic Revenue Levers: Facebook Ads
Facebook ads were also a good source of traffic because they can target things people might be interested in, even if they aren’t searching at the moment.
Again, we told our story to get the viewers attention and get them to the website where we could start retargeting them.
I hope you’re noticing how getting the messaging right is super important.
Ads that did well could be scaled and new ones constantly tested to maximize results.
The Importance Of This Step
Finding a profitable way to drive traffic is key to your Shopify store's success.
So make sure you read and understand: How To Get Paid Traffic For Free
If you can figure out your Customer Acquisition Cost based on your Customer Lifetime Value, then you just have to find traffic sources that can deliver that.
And a great place to start is where similar companies are already advertising as they’ve proven they can get results.
What You Should Take Away From This Case Study
First, the power of building the right foundation and having High Growth Niche Leadership.
By creating a new niche, it makes all your messaging a lot easier.
Second, the power of the Optimization Flywheel and working on your:
- Conversion Rate
- Email Marketing
- Traffic Generation
If you focus on improving each area and improving your results, your store has the greatest chance of success.
Providing you’ve created a product that has a starving crowd of course.
But That Doesn’t Mean It’s Easy
As you can see there are big categories of Revenue Levers to get right e.g. Store Conversion Rate.
And within those are the smaller Revenue Levers to get right e.g. Product Page.
And then there are the steps within that to get right e.g. Identify The Problem Or Desire.
And then there is the copywriting you use in that section to make it most effective.
Our Goal For You
We do our best to provide free training for vegan Shopify owners so you can grow your business and make a bigger impact on the world.
This is the same training we provide to our team.
The main difference is we’re not sitting there, looking over your shoulder and providing direct feedback on how to improve each and every step (like we do with our team).
So when we combine our teams’ skill at growing Shopify stores, our knowledge of the vegan market, and your great product…
We think it’s a super match.
Our Goal For Us
Our simple formula for success is to help you get results.
If you get results from our free content then great, you might want to work with us to get to the next level as well.
If you work directly with us, then we will increase your revenue (and profit) to easily cover any investment in us in record time while growing from there.
We feel this approach provides a win-win for both sides.