Bombas is one of those companies with a made-for-the-headlines start-up story. Two entrepreneurs learn that the item most requested by homeless shelters is socks, a product they both thought could use some innovation. Why not build a brand around the same give-back model popularized by TOMS shoes?
Randy Goldberg and David Heath did just that. They spent two years researching and developing a sock with several new features (more on that later), partnered with non-profits to provide an outlet for giving away a pair of socks for every pair sold and ran a successful crowdfunding campaign that raised close to 10 times their goal in a month. They also earned further exposure by appearing on the popular TV show “Shark Tank,” with seed funding coming from co-host and retail entrepreneur Daymond John.
Reality TV show? Check.
Crowdsourced funding? Check
Cool philanthropic angle? Check.
But you can’t sustain a brand on media exposure alone. When the “Shark Tank” cameras went away, Bombas relied on a very strategic approach to email, supported by both Email Aptitude as their email marketing agency and Bronto as their ESP, to help it grow its business. And the results are impressive:
The company’s email revenue tripled year over year in the first six months of 2016.
The list of email subscribers has tripled to date, while attrition dropped 88% in 2015 alone.
In the past 18 months, the growth rate has increased by more than 50%, and monthly conversion has grown by 125% YOY.
Sustainable Subscriber Growth
The high-profile media exposure surrounding its launch made it easy for Bombas to acquire email subscribers initially. But the company was looking for ways beyond the typical sweepstakes and contests to encourage repeat purchases and engage with those buyers, as well as communicate with new customers.
With help from Email Aptitude and Bronto, the company segments subscribers according to their brand engagement and optimizes the messaging cadence for each group. As a result, keen brand followers receive more emails than before. This has helped reduce attrition even as email volume has grown.
In addition, Bombas has been able to deploy cart recovery messaging, win-back emails for customers who haven’t made other purchases in a given timeframe, and, most recently, browse recovery messages to entice back shoppers who considered items, but left the site without adding them to the cart. In the six months since launch, monthly revenue from the win-back series has tripled, and conversion rates average 17%.
“We’re now confident that we’re reaching our growing list of subscribers and customers with the most relevant messaging possible for their individual preferences and purchase patterns,” said Heath. “We’re driving more sales than ever through email, without sacrificing the trust of our audience.”
But it all Starts With the Sock
None of this would work without the attention Heath and Goldberg put into developing the sock itself. As Heath told The New York Times earlier this year, “Most socks aren’t very comfortable.” Bombas uses a seamless toe and an elastic feature that holds up long socks – both weak spots in traditional sock design.
Bombas has created a winning combination: The philanthropic angle helps lure customers in, the sock quality makes them fans and email helps bring them back again and again. A proven formula for weaving a great brand with continuous success.