How do you grow an entirely new brand from scratch when over 50% of the market has already been monopolized?
And how do you grow it FAST enough so the Goliaths don’t get any more of the market share?
The founders of Zlade razors experienced what several start-ups suffer from: an unfair market, an urgent need to grow and scale, and losing money despite having a good product.
In short, Zlade makes premium razors for Indian men. Although they’re imported, and 40% cheaper than the leading brand, chances are you still may have one of their biggest competitor’s products in your bathroom right now.
Zlade needed a way to get their products to the right people, fast; and they knew their core audience was on Facebook.
But after doing Facebook ads with an in-house marketing team and burning their hands with a few agencies that weren’t able to get them enough conversions, they were operating at a loss.
So how on earth did they manage to increase their sales by 1,745.92% in less than a year and disrupt the men's grooming market?
Let’s walk through Zlade’s success story and how you can apply some of these valuable learnings to your business as well:
Zlade needed purchases, and they didn’t have time to spare. But they first needed a way for their product to reach their audience.
Being an impulse purchase-product, Zlade fit with a marketing strategy that first showed the product to potential customers.
And if they still didn’t buy, they needed to know how to reach them again to get these people to make a purchase.
We identified and worked to understand these 3 major challenges to Zlade’s growth:
1. In-house team/previous agencies could not deliver the sales necessary to make a profit.
Zlade did Facebook advertising for about 7 months with local agencies (and for another year under a previous brand), but managed to get an average of 0.3 times return on investment overall. That meant the whole effort was a 70% loss on investment.
They didn’t break even with their budget, and had to rely on other channels like Amazon and Flipkart instead–two channels already dominated by the market leader.
2. The founders simply didn’t have the time or the resources to lead all the marketing themselves.
Like many entrepreneurs, Zlade’s founders had to focus on developing their products first.
They didn’t have the time or motivation to learn the ins and outs of Facebook marketing on a deeper level.
They also didn’t have the resources to risk piecing together their own in-house marketing team.
3. They were losing time and money, and the big players were getting an even larger share of the market.
With every moment they were wasting without a working strategy, they were getting further away from ever reaching the market leader.
And without the money they needed, they couldn’t develop their products to make them invaluable for their customers.
Here’s how we approached Zlade’s challenges:
1. A Simplified, Effective Strategy with Congruent KPIs
We created a results-focused, paid Facebook ad strategy, prioritizing one Key Performance Indicator (KPI) at a time.
The problem with many current ad strategies is that they focus on increasing way too many KPIs at once, such as the number of messages, comments, shares and purchases.
Zlade’s ads were only targeted to get purchases. We also did testing with several ad variations to find winning practices, which were ads that converted the most in a specified amount of time.
Here’s one of Zlade’s ads that blew up like crazy:
2. Splitting the Strategy to Target Audiences at Different Stages
One of the most powerful tools in Facebook marketing is the platform’s ability to separate those who have never seen a brand before from those who already know about the brand.
We targeted members of the audience at different stages of the buyer’s journey, which meant we spoke to them differently each time in ads, to increase purchase intent.
People who didn’t know about Zlade before, or “Cold” audience members, were shown introductory ads. People who had already seen Zlade’s ads, or “Warm or Hot” audience members, were re-targeted with special offers instead.
These strategic solutions were crucial, as:
In 10 months, we managed to increase Zlade’s sales by 1,745.92%!
You can see the impact Facebook marketing had on Zlade’s sales in the graph below:
Within the first few months of running our Facebook ads, Zlade saw:
So what do these figures mean for Zlade as a business?
They now have the freedom to take that money and re-invest in their business.
They could either increase their ad budget to expand their customer base, continue to develop their products, or both. The world is theirs!
1. Always start with the strategy
The simplest way to develop a sustainable ad strategy is to choose the highest-impact sales funnel with 1 clear KPI, and tie it back to sales. If your product has an impulse-purchase nature like Zlade, consider making purchases your KPI.
If it’s something a little more abstract, like a service or artistic crafts for example, consider messaging campaigns and tie the amount of messages you get back to sales. That way your potential customers can contact you or your team directly before they make a purchase to ask questions about your product.
2. Do it fast, and stick to the plan:
Chances are other businesses are probably doing some variation of the strategy you need right now. And the longer you wait, the more market share you’ll lose to them.
In many companies, the bosses and their marketing teams are often surprisingly not all on the same page. And the bigger the company, the worse it gets.
Sticking to the plan by measuring 1 KPI at a time will simplify things and make everything easier for your team to follow, no matter how big the team is.
Zlade wants to be the best alternative to the market leader in the shaving industry, breaking the monopoly in the process.
They have so far sold more than 100,000 units and have around 30,000 customers who buy every 3-6 months regularly. They have been consistently growing at more than 20% month-over-month (MoM) for the past 6 months.
It all started with a vision to bring fair-priced, premium razors to the Indian market. Now Zlade’s founders are looking to international expansion!