If we had a quarter for every time we hear from founders how much they’re tired of shelling out money for ads but they're shackled to it because it’s the main (or only) source of revenue.
Let’s talk about why this happens.
Ads can be fabulous for a newly launched ecommerce brand to quickly earn new customers. The problem is when you become entirely dependent on them and you ignore the harder task at hand: investing in building brand equity.
So let’s talk about how ecommerce brands can transition away from ads and start generating revenue the almost free way: organic reach.
The secret sauce is this recipe: branding + high quality content = an unbeatable brand.
Branding: Yes, branding makes your company and products visually appealing. But it’s more than that. Branding gives you consistent messaging, compelling messaging, a north star to remind you where you’re headed, and a strategic direction for your brand. And you look so good doing it.
Content: This is not groundbreaking, of course, but high quality content doesn’t happen without branding in place. If you find that your content is lackluster or resembles a scrolling feed of content that could also be an ad, you’re missing out. 70% of your content should be engaging and entertaining. Don’t know what this should be for your brand? Pumpkin, it’s your brand. Or, shall we say, the lack of a brand? Your brand strategy, an intimate understanding of your target market, and creative positioning are the key to easily creating content that converts. The other 30% is product marketing which is your ad-like content.
The thing about ads is that as soon as you turn them off, the brand awareness goes away with it. And the money. But those sales come at a high cost (in marketing world, that’s a big part of your customer acquisition costs, CAC).
So, if you want to remove the shackle of paid ads, you have to do it gradually. Building strong brand presence takes time. So keep your ads running while you focus on building organic brand awareness. 9 times out of 10, a company that’s struggling to shift away from ads is also missing strong branding. So, if that’s you, start there. If you feel like you’ve got a strong brand identity, then you want to start giving priority to your content: build strong creative campaigns, prioritize product and brand photography, and be clear about what you want your audience to feel when they interact with your content.