In 2013, Nathan Coleman decided to take a trip to Thailand. At the time, he had no idea this vacation would spark a massive business venture – generating 7 million in sales (within 2 years) and win the backing of Shark Tank investors.
While in Chiang Mai, Coleman and his college friend James Brooks stumbled upon a locally made style of pants with a vibrant Thai elephant pattern.
Coleman purchased several pairs as gifts for friends back in the States and for his own personal wear. The pants were a huge hit due to their comfort and ornate designs.
Soon after, the duo decided to found “The Elephant Pants“, a bohemian inspired apparel company.
The company’s mission was to not only sell the ultra-comfy pants back in the States but to use a portion of the profits to put an end to the exploitation of elephants around the world.
Since, the company has sold more than 400,000 pairs of pants and donated more than $127,000 to organizations that are looking to make the world a safer place for elephants.
Deemed “the most comfortable and uplifting pants you’ll ever own”, The Elephant Pants donate 10% of net profits to the International Elephant Foundation to Save Elephants. Each donation goes to support 4 main categories including:
- Anti-Poaching & Security
- Habitat Protection & Elephant Conservation Partners
- Finding a Cure
- Sharing Our World: Preventing Human-Elephant Conflict
The Elephant Pants Featured on Shark Tank
In February 2017, Coleman and Brooks got the opportunity to pitch their company to Shark Tank bigwigs – Mark Cuban, Daymond John, Kevin O’Leary, Lori Greiner, and Robert Herjavec.
The judges were impressed by Coleman and Brooks’ ability to generate 7 million in sales in just 2 years. But what they really wanted to know was – how did they do it?
The Turning Point: Facebook Advertising
Of course having a quality product paired with an admirable mission is a great start – but for most businesses it’s not enough to succeed.
According to Coleman, the turning point for The Elephant Pants was when they started advertising their products on Facebook, about 4 months after the company launch.
“When we invested in Facebook ads, that is when we started to see strong growth,” Coleman said.
Although The Elephant Pants leverage a diverse source of acquisition and retention to drive traffic to their site – Facebook advertising mixed with influencer marketing and affiliate networks drive 95% of their ecommerce sales today.
BLOG POST: The Ultimate Influencer Marketing List
The Elephant Pants On ABC’s Shark Tank from The Elephant Pants on Vimeo.
To give you a better sense of their Facebook advertising success – in January 2017 the company invested $75,000 in Facebook advertising and generated about $430,000 in sales. Those are pretty impressive numbers for a company that’s only been advertising in the space for a little over a year and a half.
Inspired by The Elephant Pants mission and their recent success, we linked up with Coleman to discuss his company’s Facebook advertising efforts in more detail.
Q.What has been the impact of Facebook paid ads vs. organic efforts on your business?
“Both strategies have been the catalyst for our growth,” Coleman said.
“Facebook has allowed us to reach new customers and a mass scale while the organic grind on social media has allowed us to create genuine connections with our customers and invoke a passion towards our mission.”
Although social media may not be the first place people go to shop, it has become a source of rapid customer acquisition thanks to advanced targeting capabilities.
In the following blog post, “Facebook Paid Ads & Organic Marketing for Brands” – we take a closer look at Facebook Paid Ads & Organic Marketing and how it can help complete the loop for consumers with an interest in your company, brand or type of products.
Q. Which Facebook campaigns have you seen success with?
“Conversion targeted and Dynamic Ads have been our best performing ad sets,” Coleman said.
Thanks to the introduction of Dynamic Ads, Facebook not only serves as a brand awareness tool but also acts as direct response channel to get a higher ROI for advertisers. If you’re not using Dynamic Ads, it’s likely you’re missing out on one of Facebook’s most rewarding ad types.
CPC Strategy recently published the 2017 Facebook Dynamic Ads Guide for brands. This guide explains why Facebook Dynamic Ads are a must-have for any business or brand trying to engage with customers, improve ROI, and increase conversions on the platform.
“We also use a variety of custom audiences but the bulk of budget is split pretty even between prospecting and retargeting,” Coleman said.
Custom Audiences on Facebook assist in making sure your ads are placed in front of the right people. Whether it’s targeting existing customers or putting together a cohort of prospective buyers, Custom Audiences on Facebook simplify the process of marketing toward specific groups with scalable ads.
BLOG POST: An Overview of Custom Audiences on Facebook
Q. Does Facebook drive revenue or is it more of a brand awareness tool?
According to Coleman: Both.
“It is a huge sales tool touching at least 40% of all conversions. Through the ads, we are able to drive awareness to our social channels which are full of brand building content. So they play off one another,” he said.
Q. What are 3 Facebook Paid advertising tips you recommend for retail brands?
1) Have a constant stream of fresh creative to test. The creative is the biggest driver to generating clicks.
2) Ensure you have continuity. Once you get clicks you need to convert them. The landing page should match the feeling and content of the ad. Bait and switch will always result in a high bounce.
3) It is too easy to waste money if you do not know the metrics that matter and what actually impact your top and bottom line. It is not the same for every business. Also, do not use the Facebook attribution as the bible. A conversion path is complex and often involves many different channels. Know what they are and when they occur so that you can understand the true return of your money invested.
Q. What do you envision for the future of The Elephant Pants’ Facebook advertising efforts?
As The Elephant Pants continues to grow, according to Coleman they will be adding “more gasoline on the fire and more types of creative beyond photos and videos.”
“We are going to be incorporating a lot more social proof to decrease the barrier to click. We are also looking into running surrogate ads through influencer’s Facebook pages.”
Learn More: “Facebook Performance Marketing For Your Business“