Eli Mason, a maker of premium and all-natural old-fashioned cocktail mixers and syrups, has enjoyed seismic growth in the year since founder Chris Thomas chose to partner his Nashville, Tennessee, company with Conklin Media.
“Our e-commerce sales are up 790 percent year over year, and we couldn’t be happier about that,” Thomas said. “We are incredibly satisfied with the relationship we’ve built with Conklin Media.”
In April, at a time when many companies were closing, stalling on action or cutting staff because of the deep and massive effects of coronavirus on businesses across the globe, Eli Mason’s sales peaked at almost $45,000. This amount almost doubled sales from Eli Mason’s previous record-setting month, December 2019, which brought in $28,000.
Facebook Ad Changes Help Fuel Eli Mason’s Success
The reduction of Facebook CPMs, or cost per 1,000 impressions (technically, cost per mille), has made it possible for companies to get more mileage out of their advertising dollars.
Eli Mason is a company that’s reaped the benefits of these Facebook advertising changes, dropping costs as much as 30 percent in some categories.
“A lot of people use Facebook to drive sales,” said Josh Eberly, a Conklin Media partner and the agency’s chief operating officer. “When costs dropped 30 percent on the platform, in some categories, companies began spending more money to get more sales.”
Email Marketing Helps Drive Eli Mason’s Sales
With the addition of email funnels, Eli Mason has flourished by shining a light on its products while also toasting its customers for sharing images on social media, helping raise brand awareness.
Eli Mason has and continues to offer generous weekly sales at a time when many are abiding by governmental guidelines to self-quarantine and even hurting financially. These sales have helped the brand and its products appeal to customers, who are unable to socialize at taverns and restaurants and some of whom are cash-strapped.
“We have been running more sales than normal during this time,” Thomas said. “We feel like there are two benefits to this strategy: 1) We’re able to reward customers who can support us with purchases during this time and 2) We’re able to save money for customers who love our product but might be struggling a bit financially right now.”
Big-Picture Thinking About the Customer Lifetime Value Helps Eli Mason’s Owner Rationalize Spending
It can take some big-picture thinking to get past initial costs when growing one’s business, Eberly said. In the case of Eli Mason’s Thomas, he’s been able to firmly grasp the lifetime value of a customer compared with the value of a one-time sale.
Understanding this key concept can make all the difference between a business primed for rapid growth and a business chipping away day by day, hoping to break through but without making pivotal advertising investments.
“The best thing you can do when starting an e-commerce store is understand the customer lifetime value, and this metric relies upon your creating an awesome product and generating a lot of fans,” Eberly said. “If you spend $1 to get a customer and make $1.50, you’re not making a lot of profit when you get this customer. But this customer is going to buy from you multiple times. This is what’s going to drive revenue for you, especially if you get into email marketing and bolster organic traffic. People are going to come back to your website and buy more.”
Moreover, business owners can position the sale of their business by their customer lifetime value. Sales, revenue and profit margins are all key metrics, but customer lifetime value helps tell a deeper story about a business’ opportunity to grow quickly.
“If the cost to acquire a customer is $20, and we know that the average customer is worth $80 to our business and that our margin is 50 percent, that’s a $20 profit per customer,” Eberly said. “Companies that understand this will pay a lot of money to acquire customers because they understand financial principals.”
Eli Mason’s Growth Surge Comes at the Height of Coronavirus Hysteria
Some economists estimate that as much as 18 percent of the U.S. workforce is out of a job in what’s amounted to yet another damaging blow from the coronavirus pandemic. Many businesses are temporarily or even permanently closed, and some might naturally think it’s a time to hang on to cash for dear life.
But Thomas saw opportunity for Eli Mason.
“It has been very difficult to see so many of our friends have to close their doors during this time whether permanently or temporarily,” Thomas said. “Our business model has allowed us to stay in business, and we are grateful for that. We are viewing this time as an opportunity to serve our existing customers well and to hopefully gain new customers who might not be able to visit their favorite bar or restaurant for a great cocktail during this time. We believe this will only make us stronger in the future.”
At-Home Products and Services Are Surging in Growth
Businesses with products and services that can be used or done at home—including
exercise equipment and yoga streaming services—but not at public spaces are enjoying a rosy time.
“Any at-home marketing right now is going to crush it because people are unable to go out,” Eberly said. “Eli Mason’s products naturally benefited from the coronavirus quarantine because people can’t go to bars right now, so the only way to drink is if you make it yourself. We switched a lot of marketing to cast it as something you can do at home. Our email marketing is connected to coronavirus, saying that everyone’s in this together and that you can use our products at home.”