Most business owners think hiring a marketing agency is a huge waste of time and money; And the majority of the time, they’re right.
Many companies actually end up losing money from their partnerships with agencies, despite investing hundreds of thousands—or even millions—of baht into marketing.
The answer to finding a good agency, however, is simple. Good agencies should do these 2 things for you: (1) make you more money, and (2) save you the trouble of doing everything yourself.
Before we started working with Training Lab, their founder was already getting up to 680,000 THB per month in revenue by creating ad campaigns, targeting the right audiences and managing the budget, all on his own. Business had been booming for years.
So why did he seek help from an agency?
Training Lab’s founder just couldn’t do everything himself anymore. Running ads was so labor-intensive for him that he didn’t have time to improve his actual products.
He wanted to build a big business, and Training Lab needed a full-time CEO to drive the company forward.
He had been so busy juggling the marketing with managerial work that he ended up not being able to get past his revenue peak of 680K.
The founder could have hired an in-house team, but he couldn’t be his own human resources manager too!
That’s why he chose to outsource his marketing. And 6 months after working with us, Training Lab were getting an average monthly sales revenue of over 1,000,000 THB, while maintaining a monthly ad budget of around 100,000 THB!
Read on to find out how we achieved these awesome milestones, and how the lessons both we and the founder learned will benefit you and your business’ growth as well.
. . . The brand was growing so rapidly from Facebook and website sales. But e-commerce itself was changing equally as quickly, and it was hard to keep up.
I realized that I couldn’t do everything on my own. That’s why I started looking for online marketing specialists.”
Training Lab’s founder needed to get more revenue, and he needed someone who would do all the marketing for him—AND do a better job than he did.
While that obviously meant hiring an agency to outsource the work to, he also had to make sure that his revenue wouldn’t dip if he handed the work over to someone else.
While the founder had been running Facebook ads by himself, he didn’t have the know-how to maintain or improve the results.
He couldn’t keep up with the abrupt changes in consumer behavior. And the full-time marketing efforts were seriously getting in the way of his time to actually sit down and develop his products.
With no time to manage an in-house team, and online marketing becoming cheaper than his existing offline retail costs, he had to adjust his online strategy so he could grow in the direction he wanted to.
1. A Simplified, Effective Strategy with Congruent KPIs
When you do marketing campaigns, it’s either you’re getting more purchases from all the work, or you aren’t. Cut out the ‘what ifs’ and stick to KPIs that are really in line with your business’ needs.
Training Lab needed a way to get more sales: not comments, shares, reach or page likes.
But as we’ve learned through the years of serving clients globally, tuning your social media ads for direct purchases doesn’t always result in more sales.
Instead, the key KPI behind Training Lab’s success was the amount of messages they were getting in their Facebook Inbox.
Let me explain why. Training Lab’s primary audience—Thai people looking for exercise clothing—have probably seen thousands of workout clothes advertised online before.
The audience needed to know how this brand of sportswear was more worth their money compared to other brands. And that’s where messages came in.
In our experience we have found that for Thailand, messages via Facebook’s Inbox are currently the highest-converting form of communication.
Although messages require more effort, it’s generally worth all the work you put into it.
Of course Facebook ads could already show the audience what the products were all about. But at the end of the day, most people need to ask questions before making their purchase.
All sorts of discussions can happen within messages between you and the customer, from inquiries about product quality to new promotions. Even payment slips are submitted via Inbox after already making a purchase.
Thus, we kept Training Lab’s KPIs simple: We tied the amount of messages they were getting per day, back to the amount of sales they were getting.
If sales were increasing, it meant our ads were working. If not, we tested with other approaches. And that brings us to step two.
2. Conducting ‘A/B Testing’ to Maximize Profit
Testing is an invaluable part of any successful digital marketing strategy. Online consumer patterns are changing so sporadically, and there’s no longer any room for a one-size-fits-all approach.
Training Lab’s products were the perfect example of this. To exercise fanatics, their quick-dry sportswear with built-in smartphone crevices were fairly unique.
They were the ideal replacement for clunky arm straps and fanny packs that had plagued people on runs at the park for decades.
But how do we know which of the products will sell more than the others?
That’s where A/B testing comes in. This kind of testing is basically a comparison among different ad approaches to determine best practices that make the most money.
Let’s say you think men buy more blue shirts (Option A) than grey shirts (Option B). You place them next to each other at your shop, and people really do end up buying more blue shirts.
Based on that data, you start making blue pants, shoes and bags to see if they’ll sell as well, while you tone down on grey products.
This simple, grade-school analogy is actually the basis of so many successful strategies to-date. For Training Lab, we tested everything that could lead back to getting more high-quality messages, resulting in more sales.
This included which pictures the audience responded to most, what type of language they preferred to be addressed in, and even choice of font.
But more importantly, we measured the performance of Training Lab’s different products, so we could focus the founder’s budget on the best-selling items to maximize sales.
This consisted of products that sold the most, and had the lowest CPA, or cost per acquisition. The CPA is basically the total cost of acquiring a new paying customer.
It is calculated by dividing your total expenses in a certain channel with the amount of new customers you get in that channel. So the lower your CPA is, the more money you make.
With that being said, here’s what a normal diagram of A/B testing for products looks like:
Here are examples of the results of A/B testing for Training Lab, based on best practices for selling products to men vs. women.
For men, one of the most popular ads advertised several products in a single ad:
Women, on the other hand, responded better to single-product ads in stark contrast to male preferences:
3. Minimized the Founder’s Involvement
Training Lab’s founder needed to stop being his own marketing director and had to return as the full-time CEO. To allow him to finally be hands-off with the marketing campaigns, we set up daily KPI-tracking sheets with monthly targets.
We also gave him weekly reports so he could easily measure our performance based on the agreed targets and trust what we were doing.
That meant he could simply plug in and plug out of the loop, and focus most of his time on planning his company’s future.
4. Built More Trust Through Re-Branding Designs
Prior to working with us, Training Lab’s founder had all the ads made himself. He was his own art director and designer, and that meant he didn’t have the time to make all the branding elements consistent.
He needed a design team to ensure that his branding was professional and always congruent with the objective of getting more sales. But why a team?
Designers and art directors in professional teams practically exist to help your brand become something the audience can recognize and remember.
Design teams don’t only help you create the brand; They also use their expertise to find creative approaches to market the brand better.
For Training Lab, we helped them establish consistent branding across all ads that were produced, to build trust with the audience.
This step helped increase both immediate, first-time purchases and repeat purchases from audiences who had already bought Training Lab’s products before.
It’s clear to see the results are better than doing the ads myself. NSD’s work process is systematic and measurable; I really feel like every next step with them is purposeful.”
In 6 months, we successfully exceeded the average 1 Million THB monthly revenue goal, making them an extra 300,000 THB every month on average while keeping the budget steady!
You can see the impact our Facebook marketing campaigns had on Training Lab’s sales in this graph:
The best part that was the founder could finally spend time developing his products and building his sportswear empire. He didn’t have to do the marketing work himself anymore, plus he gained a strategic partner for digital marketing!
What Can You Take away from This?
1. Always Start with the Strategy
The simplest way to develop a sustainable ad strategy is to sync your sales goals with your marketing efforts from day one. Make your marketing efforts share 1 KPI, and tie everything back to the amount of sales you’re getting.
If the observed KPI doesn’t work, pick another KPI, hypothesize that it will effectively lead to more sales, and test it until you find a winning formula.
For Training Lab, it was the amount of messages, as it fit best with their customer demographic.
If you’ve got something a little more impulse purchase-friendly, consider optimizing your Facebook ad campaigns for direct purchases instead. We’ve also got a case study for that here, where we helped a men’s razor brand increase their sales revenue by over 1,700%!
2. Always Track Your Progress
This is the only way to ensure everything from Step 1 is working. And if you’re partnering with an agency, it’s the best way to track whether they’re doing a good job or not.
If you don’t find a way to track your progress, you could become one of the many companies who end up investing in the wrong places and losing a fortune in the process.
Always make sure that KPI-tracking documents—Excel sheets, Google sheets and more—are created for your marketing efforts. Structure them based on the KPI agreed on in Step 1, and tie them directly back to the sales you’re getting.
Training Lab is now continuously developing their products to become even more competitive in the sportswear market.
Now that sales have improved significantly, the founder is looking to expand on branding and educating more people about his name and what his company does.
He has dreams of one day owning a Training Lab Performance Center where people can come to improve their athletic skills and become better versions of themselves.
I would definitely recommend NSD’s services to established businesses who want to grow.”