Learn from Fast Growing 7-8 Figure Online Retailers and eCommerce Experts

EPISODE 243 99 mins

Profitably Scale DTC eCommerce Customer Acquisition with Social Ads (NOT VC or PE Funding)

About the guests

Nick Shackelford

Kunle Campbell

Nick Shackelford has spent the last 6 years immersed in the performance marketing world. After working with legacy brands Pepsico and Apple, he quickly found his groove going direct consumer with viral products like Fidget Spinners and Magnetic Eyelashes. Now, having worked with over 100 D2C brands and specifically focused on paid media on Facebook, Instagram, Snap, and Pinterest. Nick has an interesting perspective on how brands truly scale in modern times without VC / PE backing.

As the saying goes, ‘mastery is a commitment to becoming your best’… In the world of Performance Marketing, mastery is no small feat. It involves a unique blend of advanced visual creativity and a highly analytical mindset, as well as the guts to spend large amounts of money with no guarantee of a return.

On today’s episode, we learn from Nick Shackleford, an Elite-Level Performance Marketing Expert that has worked on paid social media buying campaigns for over 100 direct-to-consumer brands and a media buying trainer at iStack and Foundr.

Moving on from pro-soccer, Nick kicked-off his career working with legacy brands Pepsico and Apple, then moved to selling trending products like the Fidget Spinner and Magnetic Eyelashes direct to consumers through his eCommerce venture. Over the last 7 years, he has now worked with hundreds of DTC brands through his agency, Structured Social.

Nick Shackleford has a proven track record of scaling social-focused media buying campaigns consistently past 8-figures through programmatic buying on Facebook, Instagram and Snap whilst leveraging, influencer campaigns, email, and the Adwords platform.

Covered Topics:

On today’s interview Kunle and Nick discuss,

  • Performance Marketing
  • Facebook Advertising
  • Branded Content & Equity Building
  • Managing Campaigns and Handling Clients
  • Effective Campaign Structures
  • Re-engagement & Remarketing
  • Consumer Trends

Podcast Show Notes:

  • 01:54 – Join the eCommerce Growth Accelerator Facebook Group
  • 03:22 –  Easily Grow Your Business With A Powerful Marketing Automation Platform! Check out Klaviyo
  • 04:25 – Get the easiest way to backup your Shopify or BigCommerce store and undo unwanted changes with Rewind.io… Mention you heard about them at 2x eCommerce Podcast and get a ONE MONTH FREE TRIAL
  • 06:00 – Introducing Nick Shackelford
  • 09:12 – Nick’s Background
  • 12:47 – From Soccer to Media Buying and eCommerce
  • 16:36 – The Keepaere Story
  • 18:35 – Moving to Corporate America: Working with PepsiCo
    • Organic Campaigns
    • “You’re only as good as your last campaign.”
  • 19:50 – Working with Apple
    • Transitional period to move to digital campaigns
    • Advertising: “If you are going to spend that much money, why not have a return?”
    • At the time, they were merely repurposing campaigns that ran on TV.
  • 21:45 – The Fidgetly Story
    • “Money can be made at any time, anywhere with any idea.”
    • Performance Marketing
    • Marketing is recreating how your consumer should see your product.
    • Work for free for a period of time or join an agency just to get exposed to every single industry, every single opportunity, every single business model.
  • 29:48 – The spend and return on the fidget spinner campaign
    • 2017: Spent 240,000 USD
    • Conversion Cost: $4 – $6
    • Challenge: Knowledge of financial backing
  • 34:37 – Mastering the Art of Campaigns
    • A good media buyer knows how to spend money.
    • They know how much they’re spending, they know their KPIs and when to cut it, and they know when to scale it.
  • 37:21 – Partnership with Tim Burd
    • DFO
  • 38:24 – Branded Content and Equity Building
    • Common Thread Collective
    • When you’re scaling a dropshipping store, it’s usually based around a single product; when you’re scaling a product within a branded store, it’s based around the brand which means it has the ability to have 2 or 3 products that you can continue to sell them with.
    • Equity isn’t related to the product, it’s related to the brand.
    • At least 30% product margin
    • AOV at least $52
    • At least 2% conversion
    • It’s not your media buyer’s job to crack your brand. Their job is to amplify whatever’s already working.
  • 42:22 – Managing Campaigns and Handling Clients
    • A client has to know 3 things:
    • What has happened?
    • What is happening?
    • What’s going to happen?
    • Give your clients an idea of what’s happening and what’s down the line. This way you’re letting them know you’re not putting them at the backburner.
    • Be proactive because what a client never wants is being surprised.
  • 45:36 – How did the Coronavirus change your relationships with your clients from a media buyer standpoint?
    • Discussed cash flow position and billing as early as March
    • Wished we took into account product capacity
    • Held out scaling due to product and cash flow restrictions
    • Continued rolling out campaigns for baby products, healthcare products, Graduation, and Mother’s Day
    • Addressed different angles to adjust to the current situation
    • Created relevant and timely content
  • 50:15 – Coping with the Coronavirus situation from a Creatives standpoint
    • Set a specialized team to handle content management
    • Cater to social content because that will allow you to scale massively
    • What people confuse as very beautiful content or things that look really good, oftentimes, aren’t the things that always convert.
    • Function over Fashion
  • 55:01 – Effective Campaign Structures
    • Budget of $50,000 – $100,000
    • Launch 4 prospecting dynamic campaigns subject to creative tests with 3 variations of your best-performing creative and 2 variations of copy.
    • Stick between 15 and 35-second videos
    • Avoid 60-second videos
  • 56:47 – How to explain a complex product in 35 seconds
    • Focus on only 3 or less value propositions for each product for clear communication.
    • No more than 5 creatives
    • Dynamic Testing
    • Prospecting
    • Don’t combine and rotate image and videos with rotating copy
      Broad audiences (10,000,000+) is better converting than localized or stacked interests.
    • Set a cap. max. so you don’t overspend
  • 1:01:51 – What does your mid-funnel and bottom-funnel look like?
    • (L2) Re-engagement and (L3 & L4) Remarketing
    • Remarketing website visitors and product page visitors
  • 1:04:10 – Secondary Metrics
    • Ratio of Click-to-Cart and Cart-to-Purchase
  • 1:07:17 – SMS
    • The success of SMS varies on the type of your target demographic.
  • 1:08:27 – Product Page Visitors
    • L3 – visitors who have already been to the homepage and product pages but are ignoring purchases
    • Build a 5-day window
    • For $65 AOV, most L3 visitors would purchase on the first week.
    • FB Advertising would not be as accurate past the first week.
    • Promo codes are only applied within the first 5 days.
    • Accelerated Campaigns
  • 1:12:00 – Timing your Bids
    • There’s a natural curve depending on your brand.
    • Spikes are usually at 8 – 12 PM and 4 – 6 PM
  • 1:14:19 – The Bottom Funnel
    • Checkout Carts
  • 1:15:06 – Tips for Stores with 100+ SKUs
    • Group SKUs to specifically segmented collections ad campaigns
    • Categorize your SKUs and batch it out
  • 1:18:30 – CPMs during the Coronavirus
  • 1:24:36 – New consumer trends that were triggered by the Coronavirus situation
  • 1:28:18 – Buying Habits
    • When major events occur in people’s lives, you’re likely to change certain things. You’re more receptive to certain changes and thus you’re more likely to try new things or shop from new brands.
    • Habits are likely to be changed if we train people.
  • 1:30:25 – Preparing for Q4
    • Start thinking about what structure you can offer because it’s so cheap to get understanding and learnings.
    • Facebook Lead Gen Opt-in form targeted on niche
    • Before you launch your offer, never turn off the existing creative that is evergreen even if your ads during the offer aren’t communicating the offer, they still drive clicks.
    • When you launch your offer, launch it on a dynamic creative test because you just don’t know what combination of copy and creative would actually work.
  • 1:37:16 – Lightning Round
    • What advice would you give to yourself 5 years ago?
      • Pay for mentorship
    • Are you a morning person?
      • Extremely yes.
    • What’s your morning routine like?
      • 2 cups of coffee, Twitter, email, Facebook.
    • What two things can’t you live without?
      • My French bulldogs and my partner.
    • What book are you currently reading?
      • No book but I’m reading an article on the economy.
    • What’s been your best mistake to date? A setback that’s given you the biggest feedback.
      • Expecting things to happen too quickly, not giving myself enough time to let the scenario play out and jumping to conclusions.
  • 1:38:36 – Join the 2xEcommerce Facebook Group

Topic Takeaways:

  • Marketing is recreating how your consumer should see your product.
  • A good media buyer should be able to know how much they’re spending, what their KPIs are and when to cut the budget if necessary. Most importantly, they know when to scale it.
  • Create a working system to categorize your page visitors and from there you’ll get an idea on who to retarget your Re-engagement and Remarketing campaigns.
  • Don’t combine and rotate images and videos with rotating copy. Make sure to organize the elements in your ad so you’ll know which ones are working and which ones are not converting.
  • Broad audiences (10,000,000+) is generally better converting than localized or stacked interests.
  • Focus on only 3 or fewer value propositions for each product for clear communication. Stick between 15 and 35-second videos rather than opting for 60-second ones.

Tweetable Quotes:

“Money can be made at any time, anywhere with any idea.”

Facebook Group • Continue the Conversation

The eCommerce GrowthAccelerator Mastermind Facebook Group has just launched.
It is a community…

✔️ for founders and experts passionately involved in eCommerce
✔️ for the truly ambitious wanting to make an impact in the markets they serve
✔️ for those willing and open to help and share with other members

Here is where to apply to join the Facebook group



This episode is brought to you by:


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About the host:

Kunle Campbell

An ecommerce advisor to ambitious, agile online retailers and funded ecommerce startups seeking exponentially sales growth through scalable customer acquisition, retention, conversion optimisation, product/market fit optimisation and customer referrals.

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