In this case study you’ll find out how a completely new brand can make money by using digital marketing to make low-risk strategic decisions, instead of high-risk investments.
If you have a new product or service, you’ve likely had people tell you to immediately start investing in building a brand, or hiring dozens of influencers to promote your product.
While those approaches can work, they require lots of investment and time. And investing into something that ‘might’ work doesn’t make sense for a start-up that needs cash flow ASAP.
Qualisk, a new cosmeceutical brand, was facing these challenges as a fresh face in a sea of competitors. So how did they grow their monthly sales revenue by over 50x in just 1 year?
By knowing what to invest in, and when to invest, one step at a time.
To get a better picture of Qualisk’s journey to earning a 7-figure monthly revenue, we broke down their success story into 7 different stages.
Read on to find out exactly how each stage contributed to the brand’s revenue growth, and how you can apply everything we’ve learned to your business too:
Qualisk primarily sells a skin-nourishing cream called Resiskin, targeted to those with sensitive skin.
They had worked with a branding agency before working with us, to gain more brand awareness. But it was very difficult to measure any direct sales revenue from all the effort.
What resulted was a lack of monthly revenue from all the investment they put into the branding campaigns.
And without an in-house marketing team or expertise in driving or measuring online sales themselves, they decided to make the switch to a sales-driven marketing agency instead.
This is the first key decision that set Qualisk up for success, as new businesses always need steady cash flow before it makes sense to invest in other things like branding.
Marketing tools these days already allow you to get measurable results while reaching lots of people.
And in the next stage, we’ll talk about how Qualisk made sure that they were making the most out of these tools, by making sure their partnership with a new agency would get them more sales revenue.
The first thing we did when we started working with Qualisk was make Performance Marketing the key focus.
With performance marketing, success is defined by increased sales revenue, not impressions or awareness: So you’re either getting more sales from the campaigns, or you aren’t.
Of course anyone can say they know how to drive sales, and that’s what makes it hard to find the right people for the job.
But after working with over 400 businesses with their online marketing challenges, we’ve narrowed it down to 2 factors that ensure a partnership with an agency can benefit a new business:
1. Your marketing agency needs to have a proven track record in driving results for brands similar to yours: in terms of industry, size and budget.
This means if you’re a new brand who hasn’t proven whether your product is in demand in the market yet, the agency needs to know how to determine product/market fit first.
They also need to be able to give you consultations about what aspects of your product work or don’t work.
A vital tip here is to ask for case studies, particularly of ones that are similar to your business’. It’s much easier to make a decision when the results are on the table for you to see.
2. Your agency needs to define clear revenue goals, and be held accountable for them.
They need to be talking about money from Day 1. This means being able to answer how they’re going to drive sales, how their primary KPI is tied back to driving sales, and give you the freedom to leave if the sales goals aren’t met.
If they talk about increasing impressions or engagement, with no clear connection to how all of that is going to make you more money, then they’re not worth your time.
Key Takeaway: To make money from a partnership with an agency, seek an agency partner who ties everything they do back to increased sales. Find a team who has a proven track record in driving sales for businesses similar to yours in terms of industry, size and budget.
In Stage 2 above, it was all about improving Qualisk’s previous marketing campaigns. We did this by looking at the results of the branding and other marketing efforts, setting sales goals and applying best industry practices.
In this stage, we closely monitored whether the strategic tweaks would work consistently. And while sales doubled during this period, it only looked good as a percentage.
Sales revenue-wise, Qualisk was still way off the mark, and needed much more money to get to the next level.
We tried everything to improve results based on the existing offer, but eventually revenue stabilized after a few months, and we hit a ceiling.
This is when we learned a vital lesson: To sell more, Qualisk needed to change their offer to better fit market demand.
Up until now we had only marketed Qualisk’s product with the existing offer, and only changed up the creatives to market the product better.
In the next stage, you’ll see exactly how a simple tweak to the offer took the brand from operating at a loss to earning 6-figure revenues every month.
Key Takeaway: Always be willing to adapt if things don’t work out the way you think they should. Make a change to your offer if you can see a huge mismatch between the revenue you need vs. the revenue you’re really getting.
Many business owners assume a product will sell based on the offer they started out with. But the reality is your audience will only buy if the offer is attractive enough to them.
This principle is the core of product/market fit. And for Qualisk, their existing offer just wasn’t selling enough for them to make a sustainable income.
We needed to be open with the founder, by telling him that we had to collaborate on a better offer: one that could be sold in larger volumes.
Originally the product was marketed without a promotion, and targeted to people with sensitive skin in general.
And after extensive testing, we came to 2 conclusions: The offer was a little too expensive for the audience, and the focus on sensitive skin wasn’t unique enough to stand out among their competitors.
Here’s an example of a Facebook ad we made during Stage 2-3 to get a better picture:
The lack of volume in purchases meant the cost per purchase was still very high, and that meant Facebook’s algorithm had a hard time finding matching audiences who would actually buy the product with the existing offer.
That was essentially Facebook telling us that the offer didn’t have a good enough product/market fit.
So after testing aggressively during this period, we found a new, working offer and creative approach that grew monthly sales by over 10x.
We introduced a new promotion, and a specific creative approach that focused on deeper skin issues and overall healing, as compared to simply “dry skin.”
Those two tweaks ended up becoming the missing pieces that would prove product/market fit for Qualisk.
Through these learnings we found the sweet spot in terms of price, and discovered a whole new niche for the product.
And because of the improved product/market fit, we could finally sell to more people and increase Qualisk’s monthly sales revenue.
Key Takeaway: Determining product/market fit is crucial to a business’ success. Your early investment should always be put into finding the best offer and best creative approach for your product.
Having product/market fit ensures you have a strong foundation for future investment, like branding and hiring influencers.
Once the promotion cycle ended, we admittedly got greedy and believed the product would still sell. Qualisk’s founder was also curious to know if we could make it work for him without the promos.
However, sales consequently dropped by over 40% in the space of 2 months, because the offer wasn’t valuable enough for the audience.
This confirmed everything we learned in Stage 4 about Qualisk’s product/market fit. And without returning to the same combination of promo and niche focus, we would never be able to take the brand to the next level.
This is why we concluded with the founder to bring back the promotion, so monthly revenue could come up to normal again.
Key takeaway: If you’re a new brand, focus on how the customer would value your product before assuming it’s just going to sell in higher volumes. Promotions can really help new brands compete with the bigger competitors, as they get your product out there while you get more cash into the business.
And surely enough, by bringing back the same promotion, revenue shot up by 75% within a few weeks.
This proved that the key was the price that customers were comfortable with paying for the product. Once we re-introduced the offer and gave the people what they wanted, revenue stabilized once again.
And finally being able to earn a stable revenue meant Qualisk was finally ready to use part of it to reinvest in even more channels.
So far, Qualisk has experienced growth on a different scale. From doubling their monthly sales revenue with performance marketing to growing 22x by finding the right offer and creative approach, sales were higher than ever.
But as a business owner, you know that businesses always need to grow beyond each peak. And as the saying goes “what got you here, won’t get you there,” Qualisk were starting to get stuck earning the same amount of revenue.
It was time for the brand to start exploring more ways to earn even more. And since they already had product/market fit and a winning message to communicate, they were finally ready to start hiring influencers and celebrities to advertise the brand.
But why was influencer marketing the key to taking Qualisk’s monthly revenue to the next level?
When you hire influencers, you’re getting other people to talk about your brand. This is an incredibly powerful tool for your marketing campaigns, as you’ll have people promoting your products in addition to you talking about it yourself.
For Qualisk, this didn’t only mean we hired people to promote the product. We also bought the rights to their content to use in our ads as well. That meant we could combine influencer videos with our best practices collected throughout Qualisk’s journey, and edit them into the videos.
This was what practically tripled the all-time highest sales revenue peak in less than 4 months.
So why did we wait this long to launch influencer marketing in the first place?
It was all about risk management. Hiring influencers can be expensive, especially if you hire several at a time. Before having Qualisk’s founder pay 5 to 6-figure expenses for a campaign, we wanted to be sure that we had the best message for the influencers to help communicate, and the best promotion to talk about.
That way it would maximize the chances of making money off the investment.
One of the main things that makes influencer marketing risky is people often hire influencers to completely “do their own thing.” When you hire someone and let them say anything they want for the sake of capitalizing on their followers, it’s generally very difficult to measure how effective their content is.
By testing ourselves first to determine the best message and best offer, we could just give influencers creative freedom to promote the product, while sticking to the message and the offer.
And once we received the content from influencers, we ran them as ads in Qualisk’s Facebook marketing campaigns as well. We used several ads, and tested aggressively:
For example, there are 76 ads inside these 3 campaigns alone, all of which have contributed to Qualisk’s 7-figure monthly sales revenue.
Key Takeaway: Influencer marketing guided by proven best practices will multiply your sales revenue. Before hiring influencers, it’s best to prove product/market fit for your product and your offer first. That way you can get the people you hire to promote your product based on what you know works. This will maximize your returns from investing in influencer marketing.
Through these 7 stages of Qualisk’s journey, these were the crucial turning points behind Qualisk’s 50x sales revenue growth:
Although we know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to any challenge, these points are what took Qualisk from a totally new brand to a key market share challenger in the cosmeceutical industry.
If you have a new product or idea, apply these best practices we’ve learned on your journey as well to maximize your sales revenue with digital marketing.