How to Use the Private Sale Model to Build your List and Make More Sales for Your Online Store
When someone tells me they took two of their slowest sales months and turned them into their BEST sales months … my ears perk up big time!
That's exactly what Molly Goodall has done by using Brilliant Product Launches in her business, Little Goodall.
Now … in Molly's case they're called Private Sales, and she uses Private Sales to:
1.) Build up a list of targeted email subscribers who are interested in her products. Molly says she grows her email list by thousands of people (usually a 30% list size increase) when she's promoting access to her Private Sale!
2.) Generate excitement around her Private Sale event, which lasts for a limited time, and includes deals on her products that her audience can't get at any other time.
3.) Sell like crazy during the live sale period (her version of a product launch), because her audience is primed and ready to buy, and she's created a brilliant offer that doesn't last long.
My favorite part about Molly's Private Sales? She's not creating all sorts of new products in order to generate these incredible numbers. She's taking items she already has and making the most of them.
Press Play on the Podcast Player Below to hear Molly’s Full Story and Get Practical Tips on how to run your own Private Sale!
Here's What's Covered in This Episode:
00:54 – Mompreneur of the Week: Molly Goodall
02:12 – Develop Your Brilliant Marketing Plan with This Freebie!
04:19 – Little Goodall Designs are Sometimes Years in the Making!
05:23 – Collaborations with Other Companies Are Beneficial for Everyone
13:23 – Molly Builds Her List Through Private Sales
15:15 – Private Sales Support Little Goodall’s Brand Values
18:34 – Molly Uses Facebook Ads and ConvertKit to Connect with Her Audience
23:01 – Create Urgency by Putting an End Date on a Sale
26:50 – Private Sales Have Majorly Boosted Little Goodall’s Lowest Revenue Months
29:49 – Online Influencers Help Promote the Little Goodall Brand
31:29 – Communicate Specific Expectations with Influencers to Maintain a Positive Relationship
38:32 – Molly is Confident in The Quality of Her Product, and Doesn’t Apologize for the Price
42:15 – Little Goodall is Intentionally Staying Small Because Molly Wants a Business That Fits Into Her Life
45:57 – Get on Little Goodall’s VIP List!
Mompreneur of the Week: Molly Goodall
You are going to absolutely love today's interview with Molly Goodall of Little Goodall. Molly has a Shopify store where she designs the most beautiful children's coats and works with local makers here in the U.S. to make those coats come to life.
On today's episode, Molly will share a brilliant strategy with us on how to generate more excitement for your products with Private Sales.
Molly hosts Private Sales twice a year for her subscribers and she has turned those slow sales months into her very best ones. It's pretty incredible, and that's considering the holiday season Christmas sales!
She's going to tell you all the ins and outs of how she does this, how she builds excitement, and the tools you need to have set up on the back end to make a Private Sale work.
We also chat about collaborations with other brilliant designers. Molly has collaborated with different artists (even with the Eric Carle brand!) to put incredible unique designs out into the world. So you'll learn the ins and outs of that, too.
Friend, you're going to learn much from Molly Goodall today on the show. She is one of those children's clothing designers and creators that I just really look up to. She is always coming up with the most beautiful, unique designs! I always love seeing what she's up to!
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In this plan, you'll learn how to define your offer, become BFFs with your audience, develop a Freebie that leads to sales, create compelling Pre-launch content, and then launch your offer to raving fans who can't wait to buy.
You need all five parts of this brilliant marketing system in order to see incredible results. I can't wait for you to get your hands on this! And remember, this is totally free!
Little Goodall Designs are Sometimes Years in the Making!
It's really tough for Molly to decide how many new designs to create and release for a new season because usually has a lot more ideas than she's able to get out.
She starts out with a huge new list at the beginning of every season and then starts picking the designs that are most important, filling any holes in the line that her company needs. The designs she doesn't use roll over to the next season.
Some styles are years in the making. For example, she has an ADORABLE bunny coat in her shop that is currently a big seller, and it took 2 years for it to even get produced!
Other styles are based on collaborations with other companies. Those designs generally come in front of her regular line because she is working with somebody else who's also expecting those products to launch in a specific time frame.
Collaborations with Other Companies Are Beneficial for Everyone
The first collaborations that Molly did came from other people reaching out to her. However, with Molly's current Willa Heart collaborations, she initially reached out to the owner of Willa Heart, Aly. Molly had seen Aly's work on Instagram and had a very clear concept of how to transform it into a coat. Aly and Molly talked back and forth about how it would work, made sure that Aly was giving Molly an exclusive segment, and then put together a contract.
With Aly, Molly says, it's not just her artwork that makes the coats interesting. It's the way that Molly puts the designs together and makes a coat. So it's a partnership where the end product is often better than what either maker could create on their own!
Molly is also collaborating with The World of Eric Carle for the first time this year. This is the 50th anniversary of the publication of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and their team saw a natural fit between Eric Carle's artwork and the tactile quality of Little Goodall coats.
If Molly uses someone's beautiful artwork as part of a coat design, they typically get 8-15% of the sale as a commission. This is called a royalty. But sometimes, if she pays an illustrator up front to create an illustration for her, then she might pay the illustrator a flat fee for that artwork, and then the royalty would be less. Overall, the royalties depends on the collaboration situation, she says.
“I like to think of it as when my input and their input come together and they make a product that's better and more special than anything that we would have made individually,” Molly says.
“And that's why collaborations are so fun and exciting to me as a designer, because you're working together as a team to elevate the garment or the product to something really special.”
I love Molly's perspective on collaboration! Some encouragement for artists and designers: There is room out there for YOU to potentially collaborate with people who make other products and to get your beautiful designs, images, and branding out there in new and unique ways. There are so many ways to get paid to be creative!
Molly Builds Her List Through Private Sales
Molly's Private Sales started when she realized that she needed to build her email list so she could communicate directly with her customers instead of just throwing content up on social media and hoping it would reach her customers!
So she had the idea to offer a Private Sale of production samples, products used in photo shoots, and retiring styles to her existing community. She also planned to invite more people into her world by collecting their email addresses and emailing them when the sale was launched to introduce them to her brand.
Molly doesn't tell her customers the day the sale is going to launch, and it takes her team weeks in advance to get all of the stock ready.
When the sale is live, they email a secret password to their email list, then those customers enter the password on the sale page, and they’re granted access to the Private Sale.
Molly uses a Shopify store app called Locksmith to make certain categories of her site exclusive to her list! It costs her $29/month but is well worth the price for the enormous revenue she generates through her sales!
I love the fact that it's a surprise landing when the sale happens! If I'm on Molly’s list and I want in on the sale, I would be scouring my inbox for a Little Goodall email every single day!
“You're creating an urgency to shop, because these are really special items, and in many cases, there's only one or two of them,” Molly says. “And you're also making it into an event that's going to happen at one time, instead of being something that goes on for months and months.”
Private Sales Support Little Goodall’s Brand Values
The Private Sales support three of Little Goodall's really important brand values:
The Little Goodall brand is a lot more expensive than other products because it offers handmade clothing made in the United States, so by having a sale like this, Molly is able to offer special deals to people who follow and support her, but can't afford to buy a coat at regular price.
Molly doesn't have back stock that just hangs around. When Little Goodall has a sale, everything goes. It gets the company ready to bring in new products and ensures that everything goes to a good home and gets used rather than tossed aside.
The sale allows Molly to add to her email list and get new customers that she can talk to throughout the year. It also creates a sense of excitement and urgency so that people will be ready to move their buns quickly and shop the sale.
Molly Uses Facebook Ads and ConvertKit to Connect with Her Audience
Molly uses Facebook Ads to retarget her current shop visitors as well as go after cold traffic. So in the 2 weeks before her last Private Sale, Molly added another third of her existing audience to her list, just from Facebook Ads. That's thousands of leads!
This year, Molly switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit so she could customize her emails to her customers, get more information from them, and serve them better.
On the first launch that went out to her list using ConvertKit, Molly had a 41.1% open rate. That's fabulous!
(Psst! You can get a FREE TRIAL of ConvertKit using my affiliate link right here. I use and love them. They’re the only email service provider for me!)
Create a Sense of Urgency by Closing a Sale
The bulk of a Private Sale typically happens in the first 24 hours, Molly says. It's an all-hands-on-deck situation!
In previous seasons, Molly would just let the sale run, then if there were still things left after a couple weeks, she would remove the lock from her Shopify store so it was no longer a Private Sale.
During the last Private Sale, Molly's husband had the brilliant idea to close the sale at the end of the week and clean it out. So Molly posted the end time of the sale and sent a last chance email to her list. She got a significant boost in sales by doing this!
Closing the sale created urgency and allowed Molly to offer more products to customers who maybe wouldn't have shopped otherwise.
Private Sales Have Boosted Little Goodall’s Lowest Revenue Months
Little Goodall's biggest revenue months are the Private Sale months. February and August used to be her lowest sales months, but Private Sales have been a way to make those months the biggest earners!
Each season, Molly figures out new ways to make it work and new ways to get people excited about her brand, and she's able to grow her sales revenue even more.
Molly says her sales success is directly in proportion to her email list, because the more people who know about it, the more people are going to shop.
When Molly stocks her shop, it's with her final sales goal in mind, so she can make sure there's enough product to keep customers interested. If there's nothing interesting for them, then she's not going to sell anything!
Molly typically plans to stock her sale with about twice as many items as her final sales goal.
Online Influencers Help Promote the Little Goodall Brand
Molly used to use a PR agency to promote Little Goodall, and she says it taught her a lot about how public relations works.
She works with a lot of influencers and photographers to promote her brand, and at any given time, she has at least 10 different products out to different people.
In some cases, she doesn't get the product back, but she says that's OK, because the influencer who has the product is bringing value to her by sharing it online and tagging Little Goodall.
But when Molly does get her products back, she puts them toward the next Private Sale.
She also organically reaches out to moms who are photographers and influencers on social media.
If they agree on a partnership, Molly sends them a product to promote to their audience.
If they aren't a part of a large affiliate platform, Molly also provides a coupon code that they can share with their followers. Once their followers purchase an item using the coupon code, her influencer gets a commission based on that.
There are lots of little hacks to get around not working with a big commission affiliate marketing platform!
If you are able to find enough fabulous people who fit with your brand, have a specific style, and a strong social media reach, then your only additional payments are for the sales that they're making. That's a pretty great deal!
Communicate Specific Expectations with Influencers to Maintain a Positive Relationship
Molly says she picks influencers who apply for a particular project by being very specific about what she needs and communicating what her expectations are.
She asks about when the product is going to be photographed, when the images are going to be published, where they were being published, and when she would get the product back.
Something to avoid in an influencer relationship, Molly says, is having to chase down where the product photos went or never hearing the results from the influencer.
She learned to be very specific about how many images, how many posts, if the posts were going to be static or if they were going away after a specific amount of time. Clear communication is key!
Molly also talks to her influencers about how the products will be presented in the photos. She asks for the product to be pressed or steamed before being photographed. It's also helpful to ask to see the photos in advance and approve them before they get posted.
It's easy to see which influencers are professionals just by looking at the quality of past posts and their previous partnerships. The accounts that are high quality are the easiest to trust, Molly says.
Molly is Confident in The Quality of Her Product, and Doesn’t Apologize for the Price
Last year, Molly started working with a company that did Facebook marketing. She found that it was a misstep for her company, because they were promoting her product to the wrong audience.
People were commenting on pricing, and when that happened, Molly realized very quickly that there's something in this audience that wasn't her customer.
Molly says when someone knows her product and learns a little bit more about her company, they know why it's expensive. It's because it's 100% wool or because it's handmade or it's made in the United States. She also makes sure that her employees are paid a living wage.
But when Little Goodall was being served to the wrong audiences, those audiences were either not taking the time to understand or were just commenting on the pricing.
In some cases, Molly would respond and explain her company's values and why her products were so expensive. And in other cases, it was just a signal that she was promoting to the wrong audience.
My big takeaway from Molly's experience is that she didn't receive the feedback and then decide to lower her prices. She is very confident in her pricing choices, in the quality of her product, and in her company values!
I think so many of us women business owners need to develop that confidence in our pricing. We need to sit down and really work through the numbers and our company values and decide that it's OK if our product is not for everyone!
“If you love your product, you've put a lot into it, and you know why all those little things are part of it. You have that knowledge intrinsically of why it's special and why it costs what it does,” Molly says. “But we won't be in business long if we price things below their value! I love what I do and I want to keep doing it!”
Little Goodall is Intentionally Staying Small Because Molly Wants a Business That Fits Into Her Life
The reason Little Goodall is staying small is because Molly likes being able to control what's going on. Her goal was never to have a huge army of people working for her or to scale a business as quickly as she possibly could.
She wants to be able to spend time with her son on spring break, do things that interest her at her own pace, and not feel that she's driven by the need to bring in certain amounts of money.
She wants to be driven by her curiosity and grow at a pace that's comfortable to her.
Molly says she really loves the people she works with. This is Little Goodall's ninth year, and Molly feels good with where her company is without taking giant strides and trying to make thousands of one garment instead of making hundreds. “I'm still cool with making hundreds,” she says.
I think that is a shared value among many women in the Brilliant Business Moms community: We are not about scaling at all costs. We want businesses that work around our lives. Most of us are moms because we love being moms, and part of our core values is the time we want to spend with our kids while they're young.
Get on Little Goodall’s VIP List!
I always learn so much when I chat with Molly! She's so talented, strategic, and best of all, she also cares really deeply about building a business that works for her.
That's a common trend among us, Brilliant Business Moms. We don't want businesses that run our lives. We want it to be the other way around. After Molly and I chatted, she took her son to the aquarium! I just love that we are balancing family and business life all day, every day, right?
One of the ways I make sure my business doesn't take over my entire life is by developing a Brilliant Marketing Plan for the products that I want to launch into the world. I don't love being chained to social media feeling like the only way I get sales is when I'm posting about a product. That gets really old.
Instead, what you want to do is take your audience on a beautiful journey where they feel heard and understood, their objections and questions are answered, and they are now ready to buy your incredible product.
Now it's your turn to head out there and Be Brilliant!
– Beth Anne
An Update From Molly
It's 2021 and Molly's business continues to grow! Her private sales have become more and more successful each time she runs one. She recently gave me an update and here's what she had to say…
“When all was said and done I finished at close to three times the revenue from the 2020 sale, and doubled the revenue from the 2020 sale in just the first 12 hours after launch.
“I think what made the biggest change is the fact that I did the Ads Intensive in early 2020, so I was consistently running ads all year – mostly for masks – which was a lower priced item for us and they sold really well. As a result, my Shopify customer list had all those new customers, which was great for making lookalike audiences for lead ads.
“There is always a pop-up on my website giving a discount for email list sign up, so a lot of the new customers were also on my Convertkit list (which also doubled in 2020!) and all those people automatically got a link to shop the sale.
“For all of January, I ran lead ads to cold lookalike audiences for private sale sign-ups, using a Facebook form to collect their email address. The costs for new leads were a bit higher than previous years – like $0.70- $0.95 each, and some were about $1.50 each near the end of the campaign. I was spending $25 to $50 per day on lead ads which got me 1,245 subscribers. A few new leads, but not a ton.
“The week before the sale launched (it launched on a Saturday) I ran an awareness campaign to my ConvertKit email list to let them know the sale was coming very soon. I did NOT send out any emails to the list with coming soon details or anything and new signups were not added to my welcome sequence (so half of my subs had never received an email from me prior to the one with their private sale password).
“When the sale launched, everything went super fast and for some reason, I didn't have a lot of the usual launch day customer service messages (“I didn't get my password” and that sort of thing) which was odd.
“THEN the day after the sale launched the Texas snow apocalypse happened and we lost power for a week, and I think all my ads were shut off.
When things got back to normal a week later, I ran Facebook lead ads to cold audiences using a Facebook form that had an instant link to access the sale upon email entry. This gave a small bump in sales, but honestly, there wasn't a lot of product left for them to choose from at that point. I shut the ads down as soon as ROAS began to fall.
“That's it! I never sent a “last chance to shop the sale” email or Facebook post this year which I usually do. Planning the sale was very hands-off and took way less time than in years past- I just followed the template from 2020. There was lots more that I could/should have done, but nothing is normal right now so I didn't sweat the small stuff and considered this a huge win.
“I haven't had time to dig into statistics like average order value or percentage of new vs returning customers but the sheer number of orders was overwhelming. A lot of people only bought 1 or two items, so I would guess these were people who had just discovered us through the masks we sold in 2020.”
Isn't that great? Even through a weather emergency and less than optimal conditions, Molly was able to earn triple the revenue of her previous private sale. I can only imagine how great her next sale will be!