Ariel Nelson and Lane Gersin are the men behind Jack Ewrin (jackerwin.com), an innovative, trendy, yet affordable shoe company. They created Jack Erwin to solve the problem for men that wanted a fashionable shoe that was reasonably priced, which didn’t seem to exist in the marketplace. They decided to start Jack Erwin to provide men with fashionable and reasonably priced shoe options sold directly to them- no middlemen in the process. Their method is simple, make shoes for $100 and sell for $200. They launched a little more than a year ago in 2013, but have gained tremendous traction nonetheless.
A Quick Preview of the Podcast:
- How to use brand messaging in your email marketing
- Why you shouldn’t send people directly to your product page
- 3 email tactics to help you tell your story about your brand
To See These Tactics In Action:
To See The Transcript:
Tim: How does your brand story impact your sales? If you’re like today’s guest telling your story could be the catalyst for a 50% bump in sales conversions along with the obvious benefits like an increased engagement with your audience, brand loyalty, etc., etc. But how do you do this in a way that doesn’t distract from your current marketing but rather in a way that enhances it? Listen on to hear Ariel Nelson and Lane Gersin share their methods for effectively marketing a story and dramatically increasing sales in the process. I’m Tim Page, the conversion educator here at LeadPages and this is Conversion Cast.
Welcome to ConversionCast, the only podcast that gets to the heart of the metrics. Now here’s another data driven case study.
Hey, fellow marketer. The episode is coming right up but first don’t forget to join me for this Thursday’s LeadPages webinar. This is an all-new webinar for 2015 that’s going to show you how to turn your site into an evergreen lead generation machine without spending all of your time on marketing. It includes our four top list-building strategies for the New Year. All you need to do to join is text LeadPages all one word to 38470. Again text LeadPages, that’s L-E-A-D-P-A-G-E-S all in one word to 38470 and you’ll be registered for the webinar. Oh, and if you’re outside the US, don’t worry, you can still join the webinar. Just go to ConversionCast.com/webinar. We’ll see you there and now here’s today’s guest.
Hey, guys welcome to Conversion Cast.
Male Speaker: Hey, how are you?
Tim: I’m doing great. Thanks so much for coming on the show. I’m really excited to have you here.
Male Speaker: We’re really excited to be here.
Male Speaker: Thanks for having us yup.
Tim: Awesome. Absolutely. So before we dive into the actual case study, I think the first thing that would be valuable is can you share with us kind of the results that you were able to get from this case study?
Male Speaker: Yeah, so you know for us we’ve realized that being able to tell our story and explain our journey and how our shoes are made has resulted in a 50% increase in conversion rate. So based on that, we’ve tried to drive more people to learn more about our story. And also drive more people to sign you for our email list so that we can offer them emails about our story and our journey along the way.
And we’ve also opened up a fitting room which has allowed people to learn about our story and actually try on our shoes and touch and see our product in person and that’s been also a huge converter for us. So we’ve seen tremendous conversion rates. 50% conversion rates in store. So that’s been awesome for us as well.
Tim: Yeah that’s incredible.
Male Speaker: So those are the two things that we really worked on.
Tim: I love that and you also mentioned when we were talking before we hit record, you also mentioned the kind of an increase in your email list just because of this focus. What was that increase?
Male Speaker: So for the first year, from the first year we were open and then compared to the last four months, we have six, close to six times as many email sign-ups. So we’ve done that by making our email modem more prevalent and encouraging people to sign up for our email list as opposed to making it a little bit more passive.
Tim: Yeah that’s fantastic. Well I love this and I know people are going to be excited especially when we’re talking about converting the paying customers. You know, one of my favorite things to talk about is growing the email list but it’s always especially exciting when we get to hear about what actually generates results and so especially in terms of revenue. So before we dive into the tactic itself, I would love for you guys to kind of share what Jack Erwin is all about and kind of a lilted bit about you know, your story.
Male Speaker: Yeah. So Ariel and I have been good friends for a while. And we’ve always really loved clothes, loved fashion and I think over the years on top of that we’ve just felt like the things that we love, we can no longer afford. We felt like we had been priced out of most of the simple classic items that we [[0:03:53]] [indiscernible] accustomed to loving over the years. And so you know, kind of the story was by chance Ariel and I were [[0:04:01]] [indiscernible] one day. Ariel had a wedding coming up and we were looking for shoes and we kind of said to ourselves at the same time, you know, this is really crazy. There’s nothing out there that is in our price range. Everything is a little bit of a stretch and even what is almost affordable is very stylized kind of trendy design. We said where di the classic, simple, [[0:04:22]] [indiscernible] So [[0:04:26]] [indiscernible] we love where are they?
So we kind of said to ourselves if we could figure out a way to produce a shoe that we were really proud of that spoke to our designers that it also was at a price point that we could almost afford then that’s a great brand. So we went out and our thesis was if we could make a shoe for a hundred dollars and sell it for $200 that’s a great company.
And so that was the premise and from there we really embarked on a year and a half process to design a line of shoes and we also raised a little bit of money from friends and family and built out our website and our brand alongside that.
And we produced a collection of shoes that we were really proud of that we thought really encapsulated the design that we were looking for to quality that made us happy and we were able to do it within a price point that made sense. And we launched in October of 2013 and we ‘ve been live for a little over a – we’ve been open I guess our website has been live for a little over a year, a year and a couple of months. And we’ve just received tremendous traction and it’s been really exciting for us to see the kind of what we thought was missing the market, the consumer and the – I think the public has really latched on to that as well. That same concept.
Tim: Yeah I mean if you – you know, anybody listening to this if you go to JackErwin.com, these shoes are beautiful and I am –you know, I’m not much of a stylish guy but one thing I do love are a nice pair of shoes and these are great shoes. So and along with that, you’ve been able to kind of have success in raising some funding as well is that right?
Male Speaker: Yes. correct. We’ve raised two rounds of funding after our friends and family raised funding from the VC community so it’s always great to get that nod and then we also raised money from Brown Shoe company in our latest round. They led the round and that was from industry. So having both industry experts as well as venture capitalists along our journey has been really exciting for us. And it’s been great to kind of get both of their feedback along the way.
Tim: Yeah that’s fantastic and congratulations on all that success. So with that you’ve done a lot of things right and one of those things is that you were able to find out that you know, your story was important to kind of the your customers. So tell us a little bit about that. You know, how did you kind of figure that out and once you did figure it out what were the key things that you did to kind of drive folks to that part of your message?
Male Speaker: Yes. So I think you know, along the way at the beginning we were just trying to understand insight behavior and how people engaged with our site. So watching funnels and close we learned that when people actually did click over to the approach page or the journey page they were more likely to A click over to the other page. So if someone came to the approach page they were more likely to hook over to the journey page and vice versa. And then those same people were more likely to convert. And so at that point, we kind of said to ourselves how can we better tell our story. and that’s by directing people from our emails to the story and approach page and then that’s by making our story and approach page a larger component of our homepage. So we’ve just kind of played with different ways where we can drive traffic to these parts of our website.
Tim: So rather than doing what a lot of online retailers are doing, and that’s driving folks to actual product pages and product specific pages which I’m sure you’re doing as well. But along with that because you’ve seen the conversion rate increase with sending folks to those pages that were about your story and your journey, you know that’s kind of become maybe a bigger focus in your business?
Male Speaker: Correct. I mean I think that we think about building our companies, building our relationship, and so I think consumers are thirsty to learn more about brands to want to understand what they’re putting on their bodies, you know, what they’re consuming. So because of that we think that this is a long-term thing and definitely putting more emphasis on better telling our story. Both through the appropriate pages but also eventually through other pages as well.
It’s all a kind of a –every page on our website we’re trying to make a part of who we really showcase that.
Tim: Do you think that part of the reason why this is you know, kind of this has been such a successful tactic for you guys is that you know it’s kind of the price point? Because you know great shoes are definitely not cheap. You know, for folks who are not kind of in your shoes, you can spend a ridiculous amount of money on a good pair of shoes and then you know most of the time if you’re not spending a ridiculous amount of money, you’re not getting the highest quality pair of shoes. You know, a lot of times they tend to be junk. So you guys are kind of you’re on the lower end of price in terms of high quality shoes but the higher end of price in terms of kind of affordable shoes .
So with that, do you think that that’s why kind of your story and your approach has been so important?
Male Speaker: Yeah I think that yeah, like you said we’re not the cheapest shoe in the world. We want to provide amazing value and I think we started this because it was important for us to produce a pair of shoes that we could afford. That was the driving force behind it. But after that decision was made, everything that we’ve done has been about style, about quality and really about not compromising. It’s been about creating a brand, about telling our story and I think all of those things are equally important. So we talk about this everyday but it’s not just about price. It’s not about style. It’s about the brand as a whole. I think that one of our values is our price but every day we work to make our product beautiful, to make our product clean, to make our product simple, to make our product unintimidating. To showcase value but also I think to be humble about it all.
So I think it’s all of these things together, which makes the product resonate. I don’t think you can pick out one thing. I think that’s what we’ve kind of did really focused on. I think we didn’t do this just to solve a problem, to produce shoes at a price point that filled a void.
Male Speaker: We wanted to really create a brand that created a product that spoke to us. And one of those components was we had to be able to afford it. So I think it’s just a different way of looking at it a little bit. But I do think price to be – is a component of what we’re doing. So it is a factor.
Tim: Right. and I mean what I’m saying is that if you had a you know, a pair of shoes that was 40 bucks then your story probably doesn’t matter so much. You know, people getting to know your brand and kind of you know, what you’re all about and what your approach is and why you do things the way you do is probably not quite as important. It’s a $40 decision. It’s a quick easy decision. Whereas you know maybe in the you know, —
Male Speaker: It’s a relationship.
Male Speaker: Yeah. You’re going to be in these shoes for a long time. You want them to wear in so you want to understand a little bit more about what you’re buying.
Tim: Exactly, exactly. Okay, great. And so you know one of the methods that you’ve used to focus on building that relationship and building that brand was through email marketing. You said something about you basically just kind of increase the visibility of your model. Can you just talk about that and what you did there?
Male Speaker: Yeah. So I mean we are – we’ve only been around for a little over a year, and we really believe in our product. We know that we’re producing something beautiful and classic and we didn’t want to shove it kind of down consumer’s throats. So because of that we were really cognizant about where we’re putting our email capture and we didn’t want to force it. You know, along the way as we learned it people who are actually coming to our site and typing in our address did want to learn more about our brand. So we made the conscious decision to change the email [[0:11:45]] [indiscernible] model from just an email captured from just a fill-in-the-blank at the bottom of the page to an actual model that pop up. And from that point on, [[0:11:57]] [indiscernible] in our total, in our total email signups.
Tim: Got you and the messaging to you know, to actually use that to grow your connection with your audience can you kind of tell us a little bit about you know, what’s gone into that? I mean what do you say in an email to really I know obviously this doesn’t apply necessarily to everybody but what do you say to get people to actually kind of understand what your story is and actually drive those people to the approach page for example?
Male Speaker: I think that for us we were using email a couple of different ways. You know we definitely want to let customers know new products, different looks for products, showcase what we have on our website to make sure that everyone can see everything we’re offering. And also maybe different ways to wear it and the like. but on top of that, I think they’re just overall brand messaging that we like to disseminate through our email so kind of explaining a little bit about our manufacturing process and then kind of a link to go see the rest of the journey. Kind of explaining one part of our approach and then a link to learn more about the pillars of our brand.
So just kind of starting to tell people about what’s important and then having them if they’re interested click over to the website to learn more.
Tim: Got you, awesome. So kind of the main takeaway that I’m getting here is that at a certain price point and maybe even at a lower price point for most folks, kind of showing how you’re different in terms of you know, your messaging and your approach to doing things and kind of you know, the meaning behind what your business is all about can really result in a big increase in your conversion rate and that’s what you guys have seen at Jack Erwin.
Male Speaker: Yes right. Yeah I think you know, storytelling will become more and more part of our brand and become more and more part of I think a lot of successful brands. So I think that having that passion and being able to tell that story is something that is really important and I think that you actually need to believe in what you’re saying to be able to really tell your story. So and I think that how that resonates is kind of a tribute to how well you tell your story and how passionate you are of kind of the combination of the two.
Tim: Yeah that’s a great note to end on so Lane and Ariel thank you so much for coming on the show and sharing this story with us. I think people are going to be jazzed about hearing this. So thanks again and wish you guys the best of luck going forward.
Male Speaker: Thank you so much. We really appreciate it.
Tim: Thanks for listening to this episode of ConversionCast. If you liked what you heard here today, we have something awesome that we want to send you. Our amazing team has created a free reference guide for you with every single split test and piece of conversion data that we have access to here at ConversionCast. This free booklet is packed with incredible case studies and real metrics from real people to show you what’s really working across multiple industries right now. This is the kind of information you won’t find anywhere else. As one of our listeners, we want to give you a copy of this book absolutely free. You can get your copy right now by going to ConversionCastGift.com. Again that’s ConversionCastGift.com. Go there now and pick up your copy and we’ll see you next time.
Listen To Discover The Storytelling Strategy That increased Jack Erwin’s Conversion Rate