On today's episode, Beth Anne talks to Ellie Cole of ScentfulWax.com about scaling her E-commerce store using ads. Learn how she's changed $1k months into $15k months!
Want even more details? Keep reading past the time stamps!
On This Podcast:
03:17 – WARNING: Ellie’s ad results will make your jaw DROP!
06:14 – Ellie Cole started ScentfulWax.com only 1 year ago
07:00 – Ellie wanted a business that would let her enjoy life with her son
08:30 – Vision of creating a brand
09:30 – Large market for wax melts
10:28 – Ellie used Instagram to sell her products from home
14:00 – Beth Anne’s Ads Intensive was what Ellie needed to reach the next level of sales
17:00 – Facebook Ads do a lot of the heavy lifting to get your product in front of new customers
17:35 – Ellie’s wax melts have a beautiful, distinct brand
19:00 – Know what your strengths are and use them to your advantage
21:00 – Wax melts let you play with scents more than candles
22:40 – Have a bank of information readily available to introduce your product to new customers
24:50 – The benefits of wax melts — they’re easy to store and eco-friendly!
29:25 – The Ultimate Wax Melt Kit includes a burner and a collection of scents
33:35 – Ellie’s first week of running ads was also the first week of COVID-19 lockdown
37:00 – A week after creating a freebie + tripwire page, Ellie gained 400 followers on Instagram
40:30 – Ellie’s lifetime ROAS is 11.5 (this means that for every dollar she spends, she’s getting $11 back!)
42:08 – One of Ellie’s campaigns is getting 4 ROAS, and another one is getting 16 ROAS!
42:53 – Once she made a sale, Facebook started targeting customers more efficiently
46:00 – Ellie learned to give her profit margin “a bit of faith” and trust the system, even if it starts out slow at first
49:30 – Ellie’s cold audiences respond really well to her product
50:50 – If you have a good product, you’ll find a way to get sales!
51:50 – At the beginning of the year, Ellie’s goal was to have $1,000 in monthly sales. Now she’s pulling in 5-figure months!
55:47 – “If you want to push yourself, then go for it and try something new! If you don’t give it a go, you’ll never know.”
59:00 – Surround yourself with powerful, supportive women who will challenge and encourage you (like Beth Anne’s Ad Intensive clients!)
1:06:00 – Ellie is a self-professed control freak (but admits that she’ll probably need to hire a VA soon!)
1:07:25 – Ellie’s sad (but oh-so-sweet!) mom moment with her son
1:11:30 – Check out Beth Anne’s Ads Intensive Course!
By now you're used to hearing about my ads students and how well their ads are going and Ellie’s story is no different. But what I really want you to pay attention to is the hard work that Ellie put into creating an amazing starter kit that has allowed her to expand her reach to people who may have never used wax melts before and bring in more new customers. Her starter kit works so well with ads!
We will be diving in behind the scenes to find out how she really dug in to figure out what made her product unique. I feel that so much of being successful in online business is honing in on what makes our products unique, honing in on our ideal customer, and having a message that really speaks right to them.
From Craft Business to Candles to Scented Wax Melts
Ellie started Scentful Wax in April of 2019. For several years before, she had worked with her mom in a craft business but after having her son, Ellie knew she wouldn’t be able to go back to such a time-consuming business. She had been home with her son for a year and was ready to get back into business. She knew that she wanted to create a brand and a specific product rather than bits and pieces of this and that. When she found out that a local gift shop had lost their candle supplier, she decided to fill that gap.
“I started making candles which I still sell in the local shop. But a couple of months after setting up and creating scented candles, I just realized that there was just such a better and bigger and more diverse market for wax melts. I'm someone that likes to work in boxes and I like things to be linear and beautifully packaged. So the idea of having rectangular wax melts that you can create loads of different designs with beautiful colors really appealed to me. I thought, ‘I can take this further than other people are’. Candles are much more of an art form, I'd say, and you can get candles so widely across the market now. So for me, that just was not the way to go.”
Ellie developed her branding and brushed up on her photography skills and in May launched her first set of wax melts. Things were going well and in the fall, business really started to pick up to the point that she made almost £1,000 in November 2019, just seven months after starting her business.
At the beginning of 2020, Ellie took stock of her business. She was spending hours creating new scents and marketing them on Instagram plus all the time spent actually making the product.
“I was just really thinking, you know, I could spend hours and hours doing series of posts on Instagram, and maybe only get a few sales. And then I might do nothing on Instagram and get loads of sales for no reason. It's hard to think that you can do that forever. To be honest, I don't really think anyone can because you get to a point where you either get bored of it or it's just becoming such a slog that it's hard to do. So I kind of remember in January taking a step back to really think about this and how to move forward. And then that's when your Facebook ads intensive course popped up on my email.”
Writing a Good Sales Page
Once Ellie was accepted into the Facebook Ads Intensive program, she committed fully to following the program. One of the first tasks is to write a sales page.
“I spent a lot of time on the worksheet, just writing and writing about all the ways that wax melts are special and how they can be used and the different benefits to using them. It's really, really beneficial to do that, to fully understand your product and what you're selling.”
Ellie combined all of her great brainstorming with her amazing product photos into a beautiful story highlighting her product and what made it unique.
Finding the Right Product to Sell with Ads
Originally, Ellie had only a collection of wax melts bundled as the product on her sales page but ultimately decided to go ahead and include a wax burner, making it a perfect starter kit.
“I have, since the launch, added a selection pack so you can get the scents that you would get in a starter kit, but it is just the melts. And that's doing really well. They both sell well but I'm so glad I did the starter kit to start with because it just made everything come together and it made me create a kit that I could sell to anyone rather than trying to target people who already had a burner. That was a much better way to go into it and I'm really pleased I decided to do that.”
Here’s a tip- sometimes a super narrow audience can be tricky with ads. When Ellie first created her offer with only wax melts then the product would only work for someone who already had that wax melt burner. That makes me nervous because then we are limiting our reach versus the wax melt starter kit that includes the burner. With that offer, she can go after anyone who wants great scents and ambience in their home.
Launching in the Uncertainty of a Global Pandemic
This round of Ads Intensive students faced an extra challenge when it came time to finally launch their ads. After weeks of preparation, they started ads at the same time the world was shutting down due to the COVID-19 virus. This can be a nerve-wracking moment already without that added layer of stress!
“I had no money at the time. I had barely any money and I remember thinking £15 a day on ads, that's really scary. I've spent so much money getting this product ready, that I was just really in the margins. I'm thinking, ‘if I spend 100 quid in the first week, and I don't make that back then I’ll go back to the drawing board again.’ On Monday after I started the ads I was checking my phone every second and working on a freebie to tripwire page with my scents guide that I've created as part of a bonus on the kit. As I was doing that the first sale came in, after only six hours. I was thinking this is a good sign. If I've got even just one sale the first day that's really positive.”
Sales started slowly but by the end of the week, Ellie had gotten about 10 sales from ads in addition to regular sales in her shop. Another pleasant surprise for Ellie was getting about 300-400 new Instagram followers as well.
About ten days after starting her initial ad campaign, Ellie launched a retargeting campaign which was also generating sales.
At this point, things began to get complicated. Larger numbers of orders were coming in at the same time that lockdown was shutting down schools, putting kids into online learning and leaving people without childcare.
“Lockdown on its own is really difficult for a lot of people. And all of a sudden I'm dealing with all these orders that were coming in. And it was like we said earlier, there are worse problems to have. But at the time, I was working hard just to keep on top of it. The schools were out by that point; we didn't have any child care. It was really hard. And it's been hard since. But it just took off and it just went a bit crazy, really.
“Before you launch you really spend a lot of time getting everything ready behind the scenes – your ad copy, your images, your sales page, learning about how ads manager works, the pixel, and just all the things that you have to do in the background. The whole time you’re thinking these ads might not even take off. We've got this doubt the whole time and then it happens and you kind of say why did I ever worry.”
Running Ads Can Feel Like Riding a Rollercoaster
At the time of this interview, Ellie’s average ROAS (return on ad spend) was 11.5! (That means that for every dollar she spent on ads, she was earning over $11 back!) Not every campaign is always successful but overall Ellie’s results are tremendous.
“If it means I'm getting people through my door, and onto my website and looking around, the chances are my retargeting campaigns will pick them back up anyway. I'm okay with that. I've got another campaign that's consistently doing 16 ROAS but then some days it will have a really bad day, and then other days, it will be back up. It's just one of those things, you know. You monitor it, but I think sometimes it's something you just have to leave it to run on its own.
“I am a nightmare fiddling with my ads. I'm so impatient. I'm such an impatient person, in general. After one bad day with a new audience, I’ll say ‘That's a rubbish audience.’ And then, a few days later, I’ll give that audience another chance and then it will really pick up and do fine. So I have learned to be a little more patient, kind of let things be a little bit then check back to make sure everything's going okay.”
Remember, Ellie’s sales started slowly. She was spending about £15 per day on ads and had made about 10 sales at the end of the first week. This is normal. Once you start making sales, Facebook starts to recognize what type of person will purchase and will refine who it is showing your ad to within your parameters. More sales mean better targeting.
“I remember you saying when that first sale comes in, that's when Facebook will start to say okay, these are the kinds of people and it does. It grows and grows. I didn't have an 11 ROAS from day one. It grew in a slow build.
“If you can see numbers like that, it's just so reassuring that even if you have a bad day, it's still going to be a good day. As long as your ROAS is anything from 1.5 to 2, I’m still getting people through the door. I also have a really strong return customer and I always have. This is why I was so confident, at first, that if I created this starter kit that lowers the profit margin it will be okay because I know that I can get those people back through the door again.
“I think you've got to just give it a bit of faith. I remember someone posting on the group about one of their planners and they said that their profit margin was quite small. I remember thinking, that's what my profit margin is. But I just stood by it and knew that if I got those people through the door and if they become return customers, which 25 to 30% of my customers are, I would be okay. My profit margins on my follow-up products are way higher than my kit, and I'm okay with that. That's worked for me.
“So, yeah, I just think trusting the system is just so important and you will get there eventually. I was fully prepared, in that first week, to not get any sales and was thinking about how to start again to create a whole new sales page. But it worked and now I can't believe I ever doubted it.”
Facebook Ads Can Put Your Product in Front of New Audiences
Ellie was initially worried about being able to find a good audience for her ads. Her business was still fairly new and she didn’t have a lot of data in the Facebook pixel or a large mailing list. However, she found that the work she put in on really fleshing out her sales page and digging deep on who her customers were, what they liked, and how they think, paid off when she started building a cold audience.
“You're going in front of people that have never seen you before and have no idea who you are. You can post on Instagram all day. You can have 100 million followers on Instagram but that doesn't mean they're going to see what you put up because of the algorithm. Facebook puts you in front of those people to say ‘Here is my product and it’s great.’ If you can get in front of those people, if you've done all the background work, and you've got a great product then you will get there.
“Even if your ad tanks at the start, you can find a way to get back in front of them. Thigh might mean you have to get better photography, or you have to get better sales pages, or maybe just get better ad copy. You can find a way to get there. I remember thinking when I applied, I've seen so many successful business people use Facebook ads to grow their business. Why can’t I?”
And friends – she did! Ellie learned how to create great sales pages and ads and she is growing like crazy thanks to Facebook ads!
Growing from $1K per Month to Five-Figure Months!
Ellie’s first year in business was pretty good. She made £5,000. And when she started the Ads Intensive, had grown to about £1,000 sales per month. Since turning on her ads, she has grown her sales to five-figures per month. She was growing so fast she had to turn her ads off so she could catch up.
“A couple of weeks ago, my ads were off for a whole week because life just got so hard. I needed to pause. But I still had sales coming in. Once ads are off, you're not completely closed because you still have your organic sales. You’re just not reaching new people when they’re off. I started out on March 16th so it’s been two and a half months now and in total, I've had two weeks of those two and a half months with my ads turned off. I had to turn them off to catch up, which is something no one would ever recommend doing. Try not to do it at all costs. But both times I had to and I had to give myself a bit of credit that we are in a global pandemic.”
“In those two and a half months, I spent £2200 on ads, which probably sounds like a lot to a lot of people if you haven't done it before. That would have sounded like a lot to me a few months ago, too. About 40 to 50 pounds a day is what I'm spending now. And from that £2,200 spent, it turned into over £26,000. That's my purchase conversion value.
“Like I said the figures are literally there in front of you in black and white. And that's not even taking into consideration organic traffic, and repeat customers and all the rest of it, you know. It's just crazy. Like, it really is.
“I don't want people to think that, oh, if I do it, I can make that type of money. Because it's not always that straightforward. I've been very lucky with the routes that I've chosen, the product that I've got, the way I've done it, but I wouldn't have done any of that if I hadn't tried. I could have just looked at your email and decided that I'm happy in my Instagram bubble. And that might be fine for a lot of people. But if you want to push yourself and go through it, you've got to try something new at the end of the day. And just give it a go. If you don't- if you don't give it a go, you really will never know.”
Ellie, like a lot of us, had doubts going into her first ad launch. But she gave it her best while keeping in mind different things she could try if it didn’t work. Some students see amazing results from the beginning, as Ellie did, and some students have to continue to tweak and make changes until they find what works. I'd love it if I could guarantee that everyone would do amazing in week one of their campaigns but that’s not the case. But having a good mentality about putting it out and seeing what happens is important. Good or bad, there is data we can look at and there are things we can study and learn from to continue to improve going forward.
Surround Yourself with Other Successful Women
Ellie says, “You can find a way as long as you've got a good enough product and if you've been accepted onto the course, chances are you do have a good enough product. Even if it all goes completely wrong, and you spend 100 pounds overnight and you don't get anything, you're still surrounded by really, really, really successful women. There's a feeling that you get from the group when you are surrounded by successful women. And I think the power of association with a lot of things works that way. If you surround yourself with people like that, who only want the best for you, and who only want to help each other, it helps. When they are sharing their success stories, and their not-success stories, their bad days, and things they've done wrong, it really helps.
“I think if you were to charge an absolute fortune and just have one-on-one, you wouldn't get the benefit that you get from being in those groups of really cool people. You can learn so much from them. There's something really strong about being surrounded by people like that. Yeah, I think it’s worth its weight in gold.”
Expanded Customer Service Needs Was a Learning Curve
As a newer business, Ellie felt like the increased customer service issues were definitely a learning curve for her as her sales increased.
“Before starting ads I'd only sold to people that have somewhat of an investment in my business, because they found me through Instagram themselves. But when you're going up in front of cold traffic, these people expect you to be a professional, full-time business that has a customer care center. And at the end of the day, it's just you thinking, ‘I’ll get to it as soon as I can, as soon as I put the child to bed.’
“I think people who see you in an ad expect you to be everything under the sun for them. Rightfully so, you know. If you're paying for time in front of their eyes, then you should have all the backup. But when that hits you, all of a sudden you're dispatching 50 orders a day and you're up till 3 am every night and you're getting messages left, right, and center. I've been spending hours and hours on my phone.
“You learn. You pick it up. You deal with it and find a way. Everyone has told me to get a VA and I'm really, really, really holding back on that, because I think a lot of what I bring to the table is my personal interaction. I'm trying to hold on as long as I can but there will come a day where I have to get someone in and it will probably be quite soon because I can't keep up until then. I want people to have the best service possible. I’m a bit of a control freak as well. I like to have control over every single thing in my life. We’ve taken on staff for shipping help recently and when you have to hand over something you have to let go and you have to just trust other people to run the business. Otherwise, it's just you doing it all the time.”
I am just so thrilled with what Ellie has done with her business and Facebook ads. Be sure to check her out online!