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How Rocket Shirts Generated $80,000 From $3,600 In Facebook Ads

Business Lessons

Facebook Ads can feel like a hard to grasp tool. You will hear of businesses growing their sales immensely using it and others claiming it doesn't work.

Shelby Craig, Founder of Rocket Shirts cracked the code. Listen how he explains how to utilize Facebook Ads to generate sales for his retail and custom business

We'll discuss audiences, conversions, budget and tips for running successful campaigns.

Transcript

Bruce: Hey, print hustlers, this is Bruce from Printavo, simple shop management software. Today we've got a very special guest, Shelby Craig, from Rocket Shirts. Shelby was a guy that I came across in one of the Facebook groups. I'm sure you guys know how active those are now. And he was talking about some very cool marketing that he was doing, and I had to reach out. I wasn't sure if I was gonna go into his spam box or not, but I was like, "Look, Shelby, let me get you on the podcast." And he's like, "Yeah, when?" I was like, "Well, tomorrow or Wednesday or something." And so, we are here. So, Shelby, thanks for spending some time with us today. 

Shelby: Yeah, thanks again for having me, and again, hopefully, we can dive into this and we can some people along the way. So it's exciting. 

Bruce: Awesome. Now before we get going into the nitty-gritty, let's just start, your company, your business, the umbrella of businesses, when did it all start? 

Shelby: I mean, I started out as a graphic designer 15 years ago. And then one of the companies here in town asked me to come onboard with them to help with their marketing and social media, and they were printing my T-shirts. I didn't print anything, I designed them. And so that started a relationship with this company that I fell in love with. And it ended up being able to increase their sales from...they were 20 years old doing about $300,000 in sales, and within three years I had driven sales up to about $1.3 million. And then they kept saying no to all my ideas, so we branched out and started our own company, and we'll be two years old next month. 

So that's the crazy thing is that we have had some great success. So all these kind of started from learning the industry from like very reputable company here in our area. And they kinda just said, "Hey, it's time for you to go do your own thing," and that's what we did and they weren't mad about it and we're friends and we have dinner and it's cool. So that's how it all started. Graphic design to salesmen in this industry to now printing shirts, designing shirts, marketing shirts, everything, you know, we always said we just get shirt done. So that's what we do. 

Bruce: That's awesome. 

Shelby: Yeah, that's our motto at Rocket Shirt. 

Bruce: I'll actually buy that shirt. 

Shelby: Yeah. Well, we have some. 

Bruce: Oh, do you? 

Shelby: Yeah. It's not on our website because people get offended, but I'll get you one. 

Bruce: Awesome. Thank you. So you started in helping their business. Now when you hopped over to your own business, did you first contracted out your work or did you purchase some equipment? 

Shelby: Yeah. So we started out not having a clue. So we had bought a direct to garment printer in the very beginning to be able to do something that no one else in our area was doing. So there's a company here in town. I'll rename them nameless because they're not worth...they're a major brand, a big national brand that does direct to garment printing in our city. But they were only doing white collar garment. They weren't doing anything extraordinary. It was cheap and it wasn't just good. And so I wanted...like I asked the question, "What can do that no one else is doing so we can reach people that no one else is reaching?" And we decided to start with direct to garment. And then, once we've built that clientele, we rolled into screen printing and then it just kind of expanded from there. 

Then we rolled into a retail line and then we rolled into this live event stuff that we seem to be getting these large contracts for. So it just been that if you're getting nothing else from today, try to do something that no one else is doing to reach people that no one else is reaching because then you have no completion. So, yeah. To answer the question, we started out contracting the screen printing out and then going into doing it ourselves and started out with this direct to garment machine. Now we have four direct to garment machines. So, yeah, it's just we started small. We wanted to get our feet wet because I didn't know if I knew what I was doing, but I guess we're doing okay. 

Bruce: Awesome. Now give me a sense, Shelby, of where you guys are at today, revenue, company size-wise in the timeframe of event to now. 

Shelby: Oh, gosh. So it started out with my wife and I and I did everything and then that lasted 90 days and I hired someone else. And we're up to six employees now. And we keep a pretty lean team on purpose and then we will, for instance, in December, we had a massive month in December. So the cool thing is I've got a great circle of friends that will just jump in for free. So we flex that a lot. And, so, "Hey, come work for us." And they're part of the mission of doing what we're doing and so that's cool. So we have a pretty lean staff of about six people that do a little bit of everything. We're gonna probably hire another four people in 2018. We just signed a lease on a new location, so we're gonna get into that and then try to hire stuff in and around that. I don't wanna go too wide too soon. 

But, yeah, revenue-wise in our first year, we did $180,000 in our first year not really knowing what we were doing. And then we're not two years old, but last year we did $769,000 in just decorated the [inaudible 00:05:58] last year and we'll be two years old next month. And so our goal for 2018 is to hit a million dollars in sales in our third-year of being a company. And that's our goal. And we may not hit it, but I think we will, and if not, that's okay. I'm not mad. 

Bruce: Wait. Hold on, Shelby. You said the first year, year one, you were about 180 you said? 

Shelby: Yeah. 

Bruce: And then in last of '17, you guys hit seven or was it eight...

Shelby: It was almost $800,000. 

Bruce: I mean, that's massive growth. Was that a lot of the retail side? Was that the custom work? 

Shelby: So, yeah, all of the above. Again, we wanted to something no one is doing. So we have a full functioning retail store in the frontend of our shop right now. So you can walk in and you can buy a T-shirt and we wanted to do things that centered around our city, and we also wanted to do a high school apparel line. There was no one in town doing anything that was centered around our high school. And we have one of the top three high schools in the nation, not just for sports but for academics as well. So I thought, "Can we make a trendy clothing line centered around those guys?" And so we did that. We started doing game with the week shirt. So we launched it on the Monday before the week starts. People pick them up throughout the week. Just started branding around that. Can we do that? So, yeah, we have a retail line. We have custom side. And then we started doing these conferences like we just did one last weekend and we did almost, you know, total sales in two days is $40,000. 

Bruce: Okay. Let's break this down. You said 8 something, 850 you said? 

Shelby: We'll call it $800,000. 

Bruce: Was there a majority split between a majority that comes from retail or custom or in some of these conference live events you're doing? 

Shelby: Yeah. So these live events kind of fall under a different umbrella. It's a different side of it, but it's under the same company. But our retail incorporated probably about 25% of our business, our custom side, screen printing, embroidery, direct to garment is about 50% of our business. And I would say that our large events and conferences probably make up about 20%, and there's 5% of like just random stuff that's probably not accounted for because I do fussy math. So, yeah, I would say last year that that's pretty much the breakdown. We've got about 5% of just stuff that we tried and didn't really work and so we kind of filed that away as don't that again. We never said that we failed, we only learned. So that's kind of what we do. And if it didn't work, we didn't fail at it, we just learned not to do it again. 

Bruce: Did a lot of your customers come from the retail side? So they said, "Oh, those are really cool shirts." "Oh, actually I've got this event coming up." Was it like that or was it just separate? 

Shelby: Seventy-four percent of our business for the custom side last year came from word of mouth. That's it. I mean, actual dollar spent, and we'll get into market in a little bit. But our goal for Facebook marketing is to break even. So if we break even, we don't call that an expense, that was just an experience. But we've probably only spent about $1,500 in like actual like newspaper ads or we had a radio spot for a minute only because we marketed it. We didn't spend very much in like typical marketing. So I don't really classify Facebook and social media marketing and things like that into that, but like your standard advertising, your signs, things like that, sponsorships, backup T-shirts, things like that. We only spent about $1,500 last year. The rest of that came from just word of mouth. And we always say we'll pay anybody 10% to bring us an order. 

And so that is cool because we have customers now who are free contract sales agents for us. And then on one of our groups here in town, someone just asked, "Where do you get custom shirts?" And we have a freaking army out there. In 45 minutes, 140 comments were made and we were 92 comments of the 140. People recommending our company to this person in less than an hour. So we have this army of customers who love us and they will almost go to war for us to make sure that we are at the frontline of people's brains when they think about customs screen printing. I mean, we're not even two years old and we got voted favorite screen printing shop in town. We've got this community awards thing, had a big banquet. And so that's something that's different. 

Bruce: So word of mouth is one of those things where, in the tech world it's called the network effect where, you know, it happens but you got to build up a bit of momentum, right, and then people start telling people and then once it gets to this critical mass size or it starts to become really...it helps a lot. And this is where it seems like you guys are seeing that and you clips that. To get that point, though, for someone who is saying, "Oh, shoot, how do I get word of mouth? It's not like something you can buy." Were there things that you did initially that you feel like that helped to sort of drive that growth? Because 50% of 800,000 is a great number. And that's why I asked, do you feel like the retail, because they're like, "Oh, wow, cool design. Oh, you actually do customer too," or was it other ads or what? 

Shelby: It seems the other way around. People come in to get a custom T-shirt and go, "Oh, I didn't realize you had a retail shop here." It's been this opposite effect of what we have. So, you know, it's not a bad thing. And we don't really focus much in the retail. It's just an afterthought for us. We think of cool ideas and we'll put it on a shirt and put it out there. If it sales, great. If we break even, awesome. At the end of the day, if we break even and 1,000 people is wearing our logo around town, we call that a win. But, no, for word of mouth, for us, we created an experience for our customer that is different than anyone has ever done in this town. Like we had a guy call yesterday and we always answered the phone on our first ring, that's our goal. Answer the call on the first ring if possible, and in the anchor what you're doing? Answer the phone. If you hear it ringing answer it. And if we answer the phone, the guy goes, "You guys actually answer the phone." I said, "Yes, sir. Were we not supposed to?" And he's like, "I've called six other screen printing shops in town and no one answered the phone." 

Bruce: I posted the exact same thing in our printing hustlers group about this and I said, "Call your shop." First of all, I have seen shops with no voicemail shut up and it just rings and then it hangs up. It doesn't answer during business hours. Not a professional voicemail. It will give you that default one from whoever their provider is. I couldn't believe it. 

Shelby: It's crazy. So I gave the guy a hard time. I was like, "I'm glad to know that we are number six on your list." and then he laughed. Then I said, "But we'll be number one from here now." And he placed an order, and it was a sizeable order. It was a $2,000 order only because we answered the phone. 

Bruce: That's awesome. 

Shelby: Yeah. So that's...

Bruce: It's just doing good business. It's one of those things. It's interesting because I think a lot of businesses talk about providing really good customer service and they're like, "We're gonna be the best at it," but when it comes down it, are you there answering the phone? Are you giving back prompt emails? Are you delivering good quality products? I'm not so sure even the majority of the shops can claim that yet, but it's a great opportunity there. 

Shelby: Yeah. We answer emails within an hour and phone calls within the first ring. I mean, that's our guarantee to any of customers and we try to deliver that. I mean, if you look at our reviews online, we're the only company in our town that has a five-star review and we have the most amount. It's not like we have one five-star review and it's from me. I mean, it's tons of customers that have left five-star reviews. 

Bruce: How did you get all those reviews? Did you ask them?

Shelby: We ask for them. Yeah. So when you pay for an invoice, it kicks out a thank-you email from me as the owner, that's got my name that's from the company, it's from Shelby Craig. It kicks out an email. It thanks them for their order. It says, "Hey, we've received your payment. Thank you for the order. We're glad that you are a customer. We hope that we delivered a positive experience. If we did, will you leave us a review on Google?" And we'll change that up. So we'll rotate it from Google, Yelp, Facebook. "Will you leave us a review on Google? If you had a poor experience, will you simply reply to this email and let me know how I can fix it? And if we can't make it right, we'll make it free." And that's it. And then we also say, "Hey, by the way, if you liked our service and you wanna refer someone to us for any order that comes your way and mentions your name, we'll give you 10% of the order." And, you know, if someone brings $1,000 order, they make 100 bucks for doing nothing, by just being an army. And that's an email. It's automated as soon as it clears in quick books. 

Bruce: That's awesome. That's really cool. I'm digressing out of what we supposed to talk about, but I really like this because I think you're thinking about it right and you're thinking about ahead of time. A lot of times we talked about...so reviews are huge, right? The social [inaudible 00:16:34]. If someone is Googling custom shirts in my area or screen printing or whatever it is, and you pop up with 200 reviews, 4 to 5 or so versus someone else who have maybe 3, 5 starts, that gets very clear who is the winner. It's like you're looking at a restaurant, it's the same thing. That's new. So it seems like real hard emphasis on being incredible at customer support, getting those reviews at social proves you have a great looking sites and continue that feedback with those emails. Were there other things that you set up that you felt like drove a good amount of traffic back into you? 

Shelby: We do so much trial and error. You know, we do a lot of things with Facebook and we use bots with Facebook to generate different things and to generate leads through social media. You know, that has driven some traffic. You know, I don't know. Honestly, we try things all the time. Like right now we have a coffee mug that we've decided to get printed. We've spent 50 bucks on like some really nice coffee mugs. I looked at our 50 top customers last year and like the last two days I've just went knocking on their door, gave them a coffee cup and $5 gift certificates to Starbucks and just said, "Hey, thanks for doing business with us last year. You're incredible. That's it. No strings attached." And they may never order from us again, but I just wanted to do that. 

Something else that we do on any order that we ship out that's custom, we want somebody on my team does a handwritten note that gets sent out from our team that just says, "Thanks for your order. We're glad that you've done that. Thanks so much for being our customer. You rock." I mean, I'll sign it sometimes and not just one person signs it. But that's the very first thing they see, is a handwritten note from me or someone on my team on every order that gets shipped out. So we've just tried to craft this experience that people wanna come back. We wanna make it easy for them. So on bottom of their box or on top of their box is a handwritten card from us. And the bottom of the box is a sheet of paper that says, "Looks like you run out. If you wanna reorder, mention invoice number..." and we writer their invoice number. It's on the bottom of the box. 

And so when they get through that box, if it's a retail line, oh, yeah, we need to reorder. And it makes it super easy. And we make an ordering portal for them. They can go on and order that for them or they can just call back in and mention that invoice, and within days they're getting their order back again. And that's something else that we've tried to do. Our standard turnaround is three to five business days once your art is approved, and that's kind of our tagline. It's a whole rocket shirts mentalities. We do custom print at a pair in days not weeks. And so we try to do it fast because if I don't do it fast I'll forget about it. And so that's something else that we've tried to incorporate into our company. And so people know that and expect that and it's been solid for us to be able to ride that way too. 

Bruce: That's awesome. Those are really great creative ideas. I like that. You talked a little about Facebook, and this is where I wanna dive more into. I see so many questions around, "I tried Facebook. I can't get it to work. I don't know how to use it. How do I set this up so I can get actually money back?" Yet, I see that but then the other side I actually talked to a lot of other business owners that are like Facebook is a huge driver to our business. And so clearly there's disconnect and little tricks that people miss, whether it's just best practices or do this and not that. But talk me through first what you started using Facebook advertising for. You talked about chatbots a little bit. Maybe that or...

Shelby: That's recent. 

Bruce: So, first, some of the campaigns, was this on the retail side or was this custom advertising? 

Shelby: You know, we don't do that much for custom. Like right now, we use screen print marketing little hoodie special. I thought, "Oh, let's throw that at the wall and see if that works." And we spent quite a bit of money on it and we've gotten some orders and so...

Bruce: How much? 

Shelby: How many orders? 

Bruce: No. How much did you spend like putting a campaign for that one? 

Shelby: So right now, we're on a...we try to...by the way, let's back up. 

Bruce: Okay. 

Shelby: People say that they don't make money on Facebook, yet they're throwing $5 a day and they'll do it for two days and wonder why no one has changed or nothing has changed. Here's the problem. Here's what you have to understand. Facebook is in the business of making money. And so if you're going after the same customer that Custom Inc. is going after and Custom Inc. is spending thousands of dollars a day to get that customer, you're never going to win. And so you have to think bigger than that. And you can't run a campaign for two days and expect a result. You can't from an exposure from an exposure standpoint for brand awareness. 

But if you're looking for return on investment, you might as well just write a check for $10 and just mailed to Facebook because you're gonna have better results because you're not sitting in front of a computer wasting hours wondering what your click-through rate is. And so, you know, for us we spent on this little hoodie campaign right now, we threw $100 at it. We're gonna do that for two weeks. And then we did some splits off of that to see who's clicking, who's not clicking and doing some retargeting on that and there's another $100 for retargeting on top of that. So $200, four-week total time, which it's a lot of money. I'm not gonna negate that it's a lot of money. But in the skim of things, we've gotten three orders so far, and each order is $1,250. 

And so while we'll spent $200 and I think that we'll probably get three to five more orders, at the end of the day we've made money and that's the intent. If anybody is getting into Facebook marketing, my recommendation is to always, instead of doing $5 a day for two days, why don't you try to do $20 a day for a week? Try that first. Because the longer your ad runs, the more Facebook works for you. And a little a trick that I've done is I'll say $1,000 a day, right? And then I'll just watch it. I'll say, "Well, I don't wanna spent more than $500 on this campaign but I wanna have a big splash in the beginning." And so that takes a little bit of time, but you're basically watching your ad spend, and then you're just killing the campaign once you hit your ad spent. 

But Facebook believes that you're gonna spend $1,000 a day or $500 a day or $100 a day and they're like, "Wow, my gosh, this guy is gonna spend it. Let's elevate him above everyone else because he's given us the most money." But then you just got to be mindful and watch it and then just kill the ad when you've spend enough money. So that's a small hack. I don't recommend that because I feel like our plan is stock market, but that's an easy way to say, "How do I get a big splash in the frontend?" And then just kind of watch it and kill it when you get there. 

Bruce: Can we go to the audiences first? I'm sorry, the time. So is there something where you say, "Okay, hey, the minimum dollars you usually will spend per day or per period?" 

Shelby: It really depends on the campaign. For us, again, our goal for Facebook marketing is to always break even. It's never to make money. And I know that sounds weird. But if we can break even, we have won, especially on our retail side because it's got our logo on it and people are wearing that. So if I spend $100 and I'm advertising $20 T-shirt, I wanna sell 5 T-shirts out of that. And so I break even, that's a win. Anything above that is just icing on a cake. Because it's about awareness. People may not have even known that you existed until you chose to spend money on that. 

And through every single campaign, we build our page up more and more organically. It's a little hack that I've shared with some people that you can do. People who have never liked your page before become fans of your page and every single fan you get on your page expands your reach on average 250 people. And so our goal is to build our page up more so than it is to build our pocket bucket with Facebook marketing. It's just kind of the icing on the cake when we win like that. 

Bruce: What's their hack to get people to like it? Is it to like it and then they get something? 

Shelby: So, if you do a campaign and let's say like our one of our campaigns had over 500 likes on it, right? Every time someone likes that, number one, it goes to their people and the average amount of friends that someone has on Facebook is 250, that's according to Facebook. I didn't make that up. So every time someone likes your post, that goes out to their reach and says, "Hey, they liked this," and it pops up on their newsfeed and then you get more likes. Here's what you gonna do. If someone likes your page or likes a post that you're doing AdWords on must spend money on, click the likes and it's gonna pull up this laundry list of people who have liked your post. And after the right-hand side of that is a button that merely says, "Invite." And you just go down the list and you click "Invite" and you can invite up to 200 people a day off of that list. 

And these are people who have already engaged with you who thought your product was good or good enough to like it, even better if they shared it, but they've at least liked it or loved it or maybe even laughed at it. I invite them too. I don't care. You know, whatever reaction they had. Like there's people who pay money to grow their likes, we have merely grown our likes just through the people who have interacted with us and for every like we get, expands our audience by 250 people on average that we are able to reach because if you target the people right, people who like your page and their friends, then you just expand it to their friendship as well. So that's an easy hack. It's free. I mean, good. Spend $5 a day just to have a post for brand awareness that allows you to be able to invite these people on a daily basis to come back to your page to like your content. 

Bruce: That's awesome. That's really great. Where do you read about some of this? Or do you just click around a lot? 

Shelby: I just figured that one out on my own. 

Bruce: There you go. That's great. 

Shelby: I was blown away one time by a campaign that we had all these likes and so I clicked it and this laundry list of people came up and I was like, "Oh, that's cool." And then off to the right-hand side, it said, "Invite." I'm like, "I'm wondering why I'm inviting them too." And I click "Invite" and then I got a notification that that person liked our page and I went, "Oh, my gosh, this is amazing." And so I literally like invite, invite, invite, invite, invite, and then Facebook notified me that I can't do that many in one. So I've learned what that threshold was. I said, "Well, how many can I do?" I said, "Two hundred a day." And I said, "Oh, okay." And so instead of doing that, as they come in, if I get free 5 or 10 returns. You can do it on the app. You can do it, you know, from a computer, tablet. You know, if you get a free moment at lunch, just open that ad and click "Invite" all the way down and you can expand your audience by 100 people in a day very quickly. 

Bruce: Gotcha. That's awesome. Okay. So you tried it with a custom, but the custom did drive a profit, right, because you brought in those customers and only spent huge dollars. So my question is first too for that specific campaign, the audience that you set, was it just geo-located or is it age-based, or what did you set that to? 

Shelby: We have found that our...and Facebook will tell, "Hey, your ads are doing best here at this demographic." So they'll kind of let you know, and we've kind of taken notes of that of where our demographic is sitting but we do really well with people who are age 25 to 45 and we try to stay in that wheelhouse. People who are 60 are not really doing much. They're not buying 50 hoodies. They're just not. And maybe they are. If they are, they're really cold. So, you know, they're not buying a bunch of hoodies. So we have found 25 to 45 is kind of the demographic that we do well at and we kind of stay in that wheelhouse. Typically, this is just a marketing outside of Facebook just in general. 

Typically, you will market best to people who are 10 years younger and 10 years older than you, no matter what you do. If you're the owner of the company and you're 35 years of age, you will market the best to someone who is 25 to 45 because you're relatable to them. Anyone above that thinks they've powdered your back and that they're old enough to be your parents. Anything below that, they don't really care because they're just involved in themselves anyways. And so that 10-year range, if you're 40, then that'll be 30 to 50 years old is gonna be your greatest level of influence. And so we stay there. I'm 35. We stay between 25 and 45, and Facebook confirms that we do best between people who are 25 and 45. If your reach gets broader, by all means, advertise that. 

But we did two campaigns with this hoodie. One of them, and I asked in the Facebook group that we're part of, "Hey, what do you want me to talk about today?" Everyone wants to talk about targeting. Let me tell you the easiest way to target. I hope that every single one of you grabbed an email address of the people who are ordering from you on a daily basis. And Facebook has allowed you to be able to upload this document, this file of all their email addresses into Facebook and you can market straight to your customer base only. You don't have to worry about who has like you page, it's who is spending money with you. You can even filter it out. I wanna advertise to people who have only spent $1,000 or more with us in the last 6 months or 12 months or 4 months. 

And utilize your email list to your advantage. And then create what we call lookalike audience. Someone asked, "What it's a lookalike?" Upload your email list and then based upon that list create a lookalike audience. I wanna create a lookalike audience for the 1% of this list. And now it's gonna pull in everybody from Facebook who is in similar age, demographic, spending habits, interest, and hobbies of the people they've spent money with you. And that's a huge blessing. And then that's who we market to the most. We market to our lookalike every single month. If you look at our ad campaign or our ad manager, there's January contacts, February contacts. So everyone that ordered in January gets uploaded in February, and that becomes February. And then we just start marketing to them and start creating lookalikes. And as we create new customers, we click that "New Customer" button that helps us reach more people. Yeah. So it's not...

Bruce: So you talked about retargeting too. I think this is something that people don't know about but has a huge effect. Have you tried retargeting with some of your ads and if so, what have you retargeted off of? Like what was the action? 

Shelby: Yeah. So a lot, especially with the retail, we use Shopify as our platform for our website. And, I mean, there's tons of things available in Shopify that will allow you to be able to retarget and to go after those customers. So there's an advantage to using Shopify because of the people who develop apps for Shopify. But for our retail shirts, like we did one, we sold 4,000 T-shirts, and it generated $80,000 in sales, and we spent $3,600 on a T-shirt that was 100% designed for our city. So we advertised just to our city, just to Murfreesboro, Tennessee. And then the...

Bruce: Wait, how much did you spent again? 

Shelby: We spent $3,600 and we sold 4,000 T-shirts generating $80,000 in sales. 

Bruce: Awesome. 

Shelby: But that was over the course of like...we run campaigns for a long time. And anytime that we make a sale, we'll kind of look at that and we'll add more money to the campaign if it's doing well. If it goes for a while without actually doing anything, no sales, no buys, no clicks, then we'll just kill it. Again, the goal for us is to break even. 

Bruce: How long? Okay. So this is getting to the length. How long did you run that campaign for $80,000? How long, also number two, do you then say, "We should cut this off, it's now working?" 

Shelby: Yeah. So our rule of thumb...and, first of all, to answer your question, that one campaign ran for seven weeks before we killed it. And we just kept increasing budget. We started out...let me look at this. Hang on. I got a file. We started out at $10 a day for the first day and which is not a lot and I thought, "Well, let's see if this works." And then our role is kill it at $5 if we don't have a click-through rate of at list 8%. And so it hit that, so we were good to go. So then we up it, so then we double it to $20 a day. And then we said kill it if we don't get a click-through rate of at least 8% to 10%. So we kill at $10. If we haven't sold this shirt, we keep it. We double it if we have sold a shirt. 

So, again, as we see sales come in, we wanna add to that because our goal is to break even. And at some point, we just stop breaking even, but we wanna add to that to make sure that we break even. So if we sale 50 shirts in a day at $20 a piece, so $1,000, then we can increase our budget to make sure that we break even. So if we don't sell another shirt for the rest of this campaign, we've only spent $1,000 kind of thing. That's kind of our idea. If only one shirt sell comes in at $20, all right, we're gonna maximize our budget. We're gonna make sure we spend $20 on this campaign. If we don't sell another T-shirt, we only spent 20 bucks. So it's just kind of trial and error for us. 

But we ran it for seven weeks and we decided to finally kill it because there wasn't a sale that happened within a week's time, and that click-through rate had kind of gone through. And we were only a city of about 120,000. And so considering that 4,000 people have bought a shirt, we had pretty much saturated our city with our T-shirt. And for us, that's okay. I'm okay with that. So when you realize that almost, you know, a little less than 4% of your city is wearing your T-shirt, that's kind of a cool feeling. 

Bruce: That's awesome. I mean, that's incredible. Shelby, it's really, really cool. I'm curious. I think that it's easy for retail. So I wanna talk a little about attribution and conversation. So when you set up the ad, you know, you know on Facebook, you'll like, "Okay, the conversion is someone purchasing." So it's a one-to-one relationship there. I'm sure you can connect those two on Shopify. They have a really great platform. Now on the custom side though, how do you say for example even the hoodie ad, that this ad was a click here, but how do you know it converted to a sale? Was it a coupon code or?

Shelby: No. For our hoodie right now, if you go our website and type in "Hoodie," it's gonna pull up the hoodie package and you click it through Shopify. So anytime we do a promo for customs...

Bruce: Oh, so they're buying it on the website? 

Shelby: You spend $250 right on the go and ask for your sizes there in the paragraph. And it says what email you've...actually, they can upload their artwork too on this one. We try something different. Typically, we'll say, "Hey, we'll email you for artwork or follow-up with sizes." But, no. They're clicking and then if they add the cart and don't fulfill, that triggers one retargeting. If they view it and for a certain period of time, I mean, that will trigger one retargeting. And if they actually checkout, then that will trigger another retargeting that says, "Hey, you got a great deal. Why don't you share this with your friends?" And now they're sharing that out to their friends. And, again, we always say, get a sale because of you, you get 10%. So now you can get your order for free if you refer 10 people. 

Bruce: And Shopify helps to set this up. 

Shelby: Easy. Easy peasy. Shopify can make your life so much easier because you can retarget based on at the cart or actually check out or page view and things like that and you can set that up. There's great apps out there, like Shoelace is a great app. And Shopify Recart is another one. So Recart will allow you...and that's what happens when you just went to my website, a person that asks for a pitch notification. If you click around through there and you add something to your cart, it's gonna pop up and say, "Hey, give us your email address." And then it's gonna automatically take that email. It's gonna find you on Facebook. And then if you don't check out, it's gonna hit your messenger within like, I think it's 24 hours. They say, "Hey, you forgot something." And you'll get a private message from us that says, "Hey, you forgot something." Yeah. 

Bruce: So that goes right nicely into the bots. So are you advertising towards...when you post a Facebook ad, a fresh one, when they click on it, how is that connecting to their Messenger? Is it going to a landing page and then they click to subscribe to it? 

Shelby: Yeah. We always we wanna make sure that we, first of all, and I meant to say this earlier and this is just marketing 101, never do marketing that you can't measure. I see a lot of people especially in some of the groups that you and I are part of, that there's no call to action. So they don't know what they're getting. They're relying on Facebook to tell them what their click-through rates and things like that. So never do marketing that you can't measure. And so we always wanna click a link to something, but to the bot aspect, and we use MiniChat. MiniChat is free, 100% free and up to a certain level. If you get to that level, you can afford to pay. And one of the things that we do is we create a bot that says, like for instance, we did one for Black Friday. "We're having a Black Friday special, 30% off everything, custom, retail everything. And if you want the special link to shop on Black Friday, then all you have to do is comment with your favorite Thanksgiving food." 

And so two things happen with this. They'll comment. And so every time they comment, it's going back to the top of peoples newsfeed. And every time they comment, our chatbot through MiniChat is sending them a response, "Hey, that's a great..." you know, and then you can retarget it. "Hey, I love turkey too. Man, cranberry sauce is fantastic." And so it's having this conversing conversation with them. "Hey, you've now signed up to know about the Black Friday special. Look in your Messenger on Thursday night, on Thanksgiving night for the link." And then it's just triggered. 

So a certain amount of time goes by, that chatbox triggers a second response to them and it gave them the link. And we did $32,000 on our website through custom and retail and one-off shirts and sales. We did a big Black Friday sale, buy two get one free. And we just kind of threw everything, all the cards on the table. But $30,000 in 24 hours and all of that came through one ad that we spent about 100 bucks on and our chatbot who continue to have communication with these people while I was enjoying time with my family at Thanksgiving. And the only noise and notification I got was my cellphone because every time Shopify makes a sale goes cha-ching. So it was a good feeling. And then we did another one for....

Bruce: How did you start the first...? I'm just confusing the first part of where they like almost subscribe to get notifications in your Messenger. They clicked on the ad. 

Shelby: They don't have to click on the ad. So like for the Black Friday, if they comment on our post then it sends them a notification, so the chatbot it's looking for, you can say... Another one that we've done before is, "Hey, if you wanna have a special code, all you got to respond back with is pick me." And so if they have the words "Pick me," our chatbot will send them a message and let them know, "Hey, here's the special code that you've asked for." And the moment they say, "Pick me," it subscribes them to our list. 

Bruce: Okay. So in MiniChat, you can make a post. When someone replies to that post, they're kind of auto-subscribed and then you can...

Shelby: Yeah. They automatically subscribe. It says, "Hey, you subscribed to this list. If you ever wanna unsubscribe, just respond, "Stop." And so you're very transparent on the frontend. But, yeah, they get a message that says, "Hey, here's your code that you asked for and, you know, we look forward it." And they can use that code. And then we can follow up with them. If they didn't use the code within a certain timeframe, the chatbot will notify that and they'll say, "Hey, don't forget you got this code that expires at midnight. Make sure that you take advantage of that." 

Bruce: Got it. Awesome. That's really cool and sounds smart. 

Shelby: I gotta plug my computer in. All right. 

Bruce: No. Yeah, go ahead. 

Shelby: So, yeah, that's an easy way. And MiniChat is free. And then the other thing that we used that really helps with optimizing our Facebook ad is add Expresso and there's like monthly cost to that. It's powered through Hootsuite. And, man, they're making super easy to create an ad and they're constantly looking, their bots are constantly looking to optimize that. So not only do you have Facebook optimizing your ad, you have ad Espresso optimizing your ad for you. And they're constantly tweaking. And they'll kill an ad set. 

They go, "Oh, this is not performing." You can say if it's not getting 8% or 10% click-through rate, it will kill it for you, so you don't have to worry about overspending in an area that you don't wanna spend. Especially if it's a new shop and you're trying to sell, "Gosh, can't really afford $10 a day." You just set your parameters. "Hey, I want to do $10 a day. If I don't get two sales in 24 hours it, kill it." And it does it for you. So you don't have to sit there and worry about it and stress over it, you can continue to run your shop and lead your team while you are having robots work for you. 

Bruce: That's great. That's great. I'm gonna have to check out that too. That was one thing that we chatted over Messenger that I wanted to ask about why you use that versus just straight in Facebook ads. And it sounds like just it helps you to create the best ad and optimize like you said. 

Shelby: Yeah. If you have someone who that's all they do is optimize ads and they're doing it on your behalf and they have a huge team. So, for us, I think it's like, maybe $200 a year. And for us, if it's gonna save us $200, then it's worth it and it definitely has because it kills the ads when I'm busy and I'm thinking about things that kind of does that stuff for me. 

Bruce: Got it. You know, I was just clicking around in MiniChat actually. This is a really cool tool. So you're essentially going to growth tool. You'll create a growth tool in here and you're selecting one of this embeddable widgets I'm assuming.

Shelby: Yeah. 

Bruce: Got it. Like a box or one of this. So I'll have to click-through more. But very cool. Well, this is great. I think this is an awesome start. There's so many tools that people can take away here and everyone is sort of going like typing in these really quick, and they're like, "Whoa, let me go back. And what was that again?" And so I think there's some core pieces to take away. It's like nailing a wide audience but that's still focused enough to be what you're looking for. That 10-year plus or minus range is great. The conversions, like you said, if you can't measure it, don't spend the money on it. You know, you're not a Fortune 500 that's spraying millions of dollars on brand. 

The retargeting you talked about if someone interacts with a post, you can retarget them based on that, which is great. Or with Shopify, it sounds like you can automatically do that based on if they check out or click on something or perform a certain action. And then the click-through rate of 8% to 10% is a really great rule too. And then these emails that are generating reviews and that social proof is great. So, Shelby, you've got a lot of incredible tips that hopefully can help a bunch of shops, big and small here. So is there anything, maybe a little bit off-topic, but is there anybody that you're listening to that's interesting, a bind or a book you're reading or something? 

Shelby: Well, I recommended it in our groups and, man, it has revolutionized our company. I mean, we're two years old next month and we'll pulling out profit which is unheard of for some companies. There's a book by Mike Michalowicz. I can't spell the last name for you, but it's called "Profit First," and it is an incredible book that's revolutionized our company. And it teaches you how to make profit from day one. You never have to go without making profit. And it's revolutionized our business. I've recommended it multiple times. So that's a great book that I've read and reread and felt like that I read all the time and always going back and highlighting it. And then...

Bruce: What's a big takeaway from that book? Like maybe just one...

Shelby: Yeah, it's super simple. So standard accounting is income minus expenses equal net profit and then we work our butts off for 12 months. We get to the end of the year and we're like, "All right, accountant, tell us how much money we've made." And they go, "Well, you've actually lost money." I'm like, "How was that possible? We've been busiest we've ever been." It just reverses it. It's income minus the amount of profit that you wanna make. So let's for round numbers, you did $100,000 in income and you want to profit in your company 10%. So you take $10,000 off of that, that means you have $90,000 in revenue. And that's where you operate your business off of. And so that of doing much of expenses and realize you're negative, it forces you to budget. 

So for our marketing we look at it and go, "All right, we project that we'll, you know, have $500 this month that we can do marketing." And so when we go and do a marketing campaign, we always ask our team, "It is it available in the marketing fund?" And the answer is yes or no." And if it's not, we don't do it, and if it is, then we do it. And it pulls a profit. So here we are two years old, a profitable company. I mean, Amazon, let's just be honest, they didn't hit a profit till year 20, but that's what they wanted to do. That's part of their business plan, is not to pull a profit for 20 years. I wanna pull a profit now. I don't wanna wait 20 years. Yeah, that's the super simple one takeaway, income on this profit equals your expenses and those expenses is what you run your company off of. So it forces you to budget appropriately, and if it's not there, don't do it. 

Bruce: Awesome. So, Shelby, I really, really appreciate the time. You've given some incredible insights and I'm looking forward to be able to share this. So, again, thank you. 

Shelby: Hey, you're welcome. Thanks for having me. I hope I was helpful. I hope I didn't just rumble. I feel like I'm all over the place sometimes but my brain is going 100 miles an hour and sometimes my mouth can't keep up. 

Bruce: No, this is huge. This is huge. I appreciate it. 

Shelby: All right. Thanks so much. 

Bruce: All right. Bye, Shelby. 

Shelby: See you.

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About Printavo

Printavo is simple, shop management software. We work with screen printing, embroidery, awards & engraving, signage and digital printing companies to make your workflow easier. Our software helps you keep your shop organized by handling scheduling, estimating, quote approvals, workflow, payments, accounting and more. This all allows you to work smarter, not harder.

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