To build a multi-million dollar brand you need to be innovative…
…ha! Not at all.
There’s a brand that made 60 million dollars in just 3 years by selling watches online. Without reinventing the wheel.
In this post, I’m gonna show you what they actually did (and do) to become and stay that successful.
The following post is not theory. You’ll only get real facts.
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It’s one of those fairytale success stories we all love: two college drop-outs have the vision to start a brand selling watches for millennials. They turn their vision into a multi-million dollar business and sell it for 100 million dollars.[*]
The following post is an analysis I did to figure out what the people behind MVMT did and do to make the brand as successful as it is. AND, first and foremost, how aspiring e-commerce entrepreneurs can actually use some of MVMT’s tried and tested strategies.
This is not a case study about their success. The following post is an in-depth analysis of their strategies and tools, including a step by step guide you can use to replicate MVMT’s incredible success story.
MVMT’s Mission Statement
Everything started with a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo in 2013 that raked in almost $220,000 USD from 2,887 backers. Their initial goal was $15,000 USD.[*]
MVMT’s mission was clear from the get-go:
“We got frustrated paying hundreds of dollars for name brand watches, knowing they only cost a fraction of the price to make. We have spent the past year working with leaders in the industry to come up with an affordable, stylish looking watch collection that we know everyone will love.”
Six years later, you’ll find the same message using different words on their website:
“In 2013, we started MVMT to disrupt the overpriced and outdated models of the fashion industry.”[*]
Even though there are now other brands that sell similar products for even lower prices, they’re success doesn’t seem to come to an end. In this post you’ll find out what they did (and do) to become that big.
The movement (got it? /genius-mode on) started with watches.
As the company grew, so did their range. Nowadays they also sell eyewear (sunglasses & blue-light blocking glasses), watch-straps, jewelry (necklaces & bracelets), and collector cases.
Tim’s Takeaway: Start with one product category and expand over time.
However, MVMT’s main-product remains, to this day, their best-selling and core product: watches.
Their 100 best-selling products are[*]:
- 74 watches
- 14 watch straps
- 7 glasses (6 sunglasses + 1 blue-light blocking glasses)
- 5 bracelets
MVMT’s #1 product is a minimalistic watch called “Gunmetal Sandstone” for $135 USD.[*]
For the purpose of this analysis, I ordered two of their watches.
Product name: Denali[*]
Product cost: $128.00 USD (on sale, actually $160 USD)
I placed two orders, eight days apart.
Order number of order number one: #F1444946
Order number of order number two: #F1451712
As MVMT is using Shopify, the order numbers are consecutive and generated automatically. The difference between my two order numbers is 6,766. This means that there were 6,766 orders between the first, and the second one. That’s 845 orders per day and more than 25,000 per month.
Sure, such numbers may impress you. Something that won’t is the backlash the brand is facing from watch-snobs/nerds.
In the world of watch-enthusiasts, there’s quite the debate going on concerning MVMT (and the brand is not winning it).
Nevertheless, MVMT is making millions in revenue and has a very loyal community.
Tim’s Takeaway: Focus on your target audience and not on experts or anyone outside your audience. MVMT does a great job ignoring the negative voices and focus on the people supporting the brand. And they double down on every possibility to bring more value to loyal customers.
The Target Audience
Millennials who want to live life on their own terms. This also applies to spending money. They love stylish items but don’t want to spend $500 on a watch.
Over the past six years, MVMT figured exactly out who the people are that are interested in their products. Furthermore, they also know where these people hang out.
From the outside it’s easy to say: “it’s obvious that their audience is on Instagram”. But: when MVMT started their business (2013), Instagram wasn’t that big as it is right now. In 2013, Instagram had 90 million active users wheres in 2018 Instagram hit the 1 billion monthly active users mark.[*]
That means, MVMT didn’t just built their business on the back of “the obvious” channel Instagram. For example, in the early stages, MVMT built a big audience on Tumblr. On the subreddit /kickstarter the team told the community 5 years ago “Tumblr has had the biggest impact. If you can get a few pictures on some big tumblrs, its spreads like crazy and can reach thousands of people.”[*]
With time, they moved their social media efforts from Tumblr mainly to Instagram (more on social media later in this post). They didn’t fall in love with a certain platform. They observe their audience and follow them wherever they go.
As mentioned before, MVMT started with an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. Before they submitted their campaign on Indiegogo, they got denied from Kickstarter. Back then, Indiegogo was a more “alternative” platform and, more important in the context of target audience, crowdfunding was new thing.
Only certain/special people would spend money for a crowdfunding project.
Having found great success with their Indiegogo campaign, MVMT knew that people who support a crowdfunding campaign in 2013 are exactly the same people who are interested in their idea and share the same values; living life on their own terms.
While the the values never changed, the way how people actually live these values have been changed. Compared to the day MVMT started their company, traveling became more affordable. (All of a sudden) the audience of MVMT are addicted to travel and adventures. MVMT noticed this and started to tell their “live your life on your own terms” story through traveling.
They even recognized that entrepreneurship is getting more and more popular. People started to have the dream of living life on their own terms by starting their own business or (at least) working remotely. Again, MVMT noticed this and are now telling a big portion of their story through entrepreneurship.
The way MVMT’s audience live their lives on own terms may have changed over the years. The core values, however, remain the same. And MVMT does an amazing to communicate these values to them (more on this later in the marketing section of this post).
But MVMT does more. Even though they found their core audience, they never stopped to discover new audiences.
Here are some examples:
With eSports now being an integral part of our world, this opens huge opportunities to brands. That said, MVMT became a partner of the eSport clan Counter Logic Gaming (CLG).
In a press release, CLG said:
“MVMT will be featured on our Academy Broadcast games every Thursday for the Summer Split on the CLG Twitch channel. In addition to being a major feature of the broadcast, MVMT will also be the presenting partner of the full CLG Performance Center Tour and reveal video.”
CLG has almost 800,000 combined followers on social media (Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube). Most of them weren’t familiar with MVMT’s products. By doing a sponsorship in an environment that doesn’t seem obvious for a watch brand, MVMT also receives some kind of expert status. The fans of CLG are young and mostly interested in video games and not fashion (yet).
However, at some point in time, almost everyone will purchase a watch. As MVMT was one of the first recognized watch brands of these young people, they’re more likely to purchase a watch from MVMT than from a competitor.
2. Podcast about missed people
Well that sounds weird, right? But that’s an actual community.
In 2016, MVMT became a partner/sponsor of a podcast called The Vanished Podcast[*]. With more than 40,000 highly engaged fans, this podcast opened new doors for MVMT and they could tap into uncovered markets to find out if it’s worth spending more time and efforts into it.
Tim’s Takeaway: Every business has to know it’s target audience. There’s absolutely no way around it. A good business needs to understand the core values of its audience so it can talk to them in an authentic way. This is an ongoing process that includes discovering new audiences and will never come to an end. There’s always space for improvement.
MVMT’s Shopify Store
MVMT is a Shopify Plus merchant and, according to Shopify, they have doubled their mobile conversion rates, generated $150,000 through social selling, and scaled up the company’s value to $60 million within three years.[*]
As you can see, MVMT has put incredible amounts of time, money, and expertise into their online store. I think it’s fair to say that their store seems to get the job done.
As for most online stores, the homepage is the page getting the most traffic (aka. attention):
63.77% of traffic is happening on their front page. Followed by the men’s watches collection page (14.51%) and – after quite a drop – the women’s watches collection page (2.63%).
During my research, MVMT ran a split test on their website above the fold[*] section. This makes sense if you have some traffic and would like to test certain things on your website.
One big hero image with two clear call to action buttons.
Two separate images for their men’s-, and women’s collections. Also with two clear call to action buttons.
I can’t really tell which one performed better. But due to the fact I can’t see version 1 of the front page anymore (tested on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Apple Safari), I assume version 2 won.
Tim’s Takeaway: Never stop testing. MVMT already makes millions of dollars and they’re still hungry for growth. That’s why they keep testing. There’s no such thing as “perfect”. You can always improve.
We will now break down the winning homepage of MVMT.
Note: MVMT will probably change their website design and structure in the future. The following breakdown is based on their current homepage.
MVMT doesn’t use a Shopify theme you can purchase. Their website is fully customized and built by professional developers.
Building such a custom online store costs a lot of money. Your budget probably won’t allow for you to have professional developers create your online store.
However, you can recreate the same structure with a free Shopify theme.
MVMT’s homepage structure looks like this:
There are several Shopify themes which you can use to recreate it.
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A big portion of MVMT’s homepage is their “shop our Instagram” section. They’re showing nine shoppable images. To build this part of their store, they’re using an app called foursixty.[*]
If you take a good look at their online store, you’ll find several pages which are full of products, collections, and images. Like the ‘shop all mens’ page.[*]
To build such great looking pages, MVMT uses an app named Shogun.[*] It’s a drag & drop page builder which lets you create fully customized pages for your Shopify store. The MVMT blog is also most likely built with the help of Shogun.
As all of MVMT’s pages get a lot of traffic they want to make use of that. Hence, they are collecting data by asking people to sign up with their email addresses.
When you visit MVMT’s homepage for the first time, this exit intent pop-up appears:
The wording “get access” instead of the usual “subscribe now” gives the impression of privilege and exclusivity.
Note: a Shopify app you can use (not used by MVMT) to set up this email form is Sumo.[*]
In addition to that, they collect emails in the footer of the website. They make it very easy for a visitor to enter their email. Once you’re signed up and engaged with the brand on some level, you will be asked more specific (optional) questions.
If MVMT asked for all this info in one and the same step, the interaction could feel too intrusive for some.
Tim’s Takeaway: Don’t ask for too much straight away. Make it easy for your visitors to engage with your brand.
Don’t worry, we will analyze their email marketing methods later in this post.
For now, we will take a look at one of MVMT’s key strategies to induce loyalty and, more importantly, derive revenue from it.
The MVMT Insider Program
The “MVMT Insider” program is a reward program that lets customers earn points that can later be converted into store credit.
Here’s how one can earn points:
One time only
- Welcome points: 50 points
- Facebook like: 5 points
- YouTube follow: 5 points
- Instagram follow: 5 points
- Join Newsletter: 20 points
- Refer a friend: 100 points
- For every $1 spent: 1 point
- Product review: 25 points
Once per month
- Facebook share: 10 points
- Twitter share: 10 points
From a customer’s perspective, a program like this is great because loyalty is actually being rewarded. As MVMT always puts community and loyalty first, the implementation was a smart move.
In addition to that, It also works great to increase customer lifetime value and the average order volume.
MVMT uses a tool called Swell Rewards[*] to set up this reward program.
Tim’s Takeaway: Reward people who are engaging with your brand. Whether that is with a reward program or by reaching out manually and giving them a gift card for their next purchase. Let them know you are thankful for their purchase.
To really understand how their visitors and customers behave on the website, MVMT uses certain tools that help them improve the user experience and make more revenues.
MVMT’s Analytics Tools
It’s no secret that big brands collect tons of data for their analyses. MVMT is no different here. They use a couple of different tools for their analytical work.
“The fast and visual way to understand your users.” – that’s how Hotjar describes their tool. And they stand by that. Their tool offers heatmaps (simply put: you’ll see the most clicked areas on your website), visitor recordings (see what your customers actually do on your website) and much more.
“Google Analytics tells you what, Inspectlet tells you why.” – that’s their description of the tool. It pretty much contains similar features to Hotjar’s, plus A/B split testing which is only available in Inspectlet.
Another tool to better understand your customers’ behaviour, where they click and what they do on the website. It offers heatmaps, recordings, and conversion funnels.
Tim’s Takeaway: It’s not enough to just compare different website versions or ads. You might also want to consider using tools offering features like the ones mentioned above.
There are other analytics tools and services MVMT use. Such as…
- Google Analytics[*]
- Google Tag Manager[*]
- Twitter Analytics[*]
- Yahoo! Web Analytics[*]
- Yahoo! Dot[*]
- Bing Universal Event Tracking[*]
- Facebook Signal[*]
You see, understanding how visitors use their website is crucial for MVMT. A company their size won’t base big decisions on gut feeling. Any adjustment will be backed by data.
Tim’s Takeaway: Collect data! You don’t need to be a professional data analyst to be able to read it. You can find several free courses online. I recommend starting with a mini-course from Jeffalytics[*].
How MVMT Nails Social Media
When we add together the numbers on Facebook and Instagram MVMT has a staggering 4.6 million followers. They are, by all means, doing an incredible job on social media.
But how did they reach such numbers?
First off: it took them six years of hard work.
During those six years, they used certain social media tactics to help them on the road to success. Most of them are easily replicated.
According to Daymond John (one of their advisors), MVMT used contests/giveaways to grow in audience. For every 1,000 Facebook likes they got, they gave away a free watch.[*]
And they still do, to this day. Whether it’s on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter; they give away free stuff all the time. At least one time per month / per platform.
People have to take certain actions to enter.
I analyzed their last 50 giveaways and, based on the engagement on each post, the best performing giveaways were always structured like this:
They ask people to leave a comment with 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5. Again, the stakes are low. It’s easy for anyone to enter and it is not intrusive.
Huge differences can be seen when comparing the outcome to that of another giveaway they ran.
This time, they asked to tag someone “who’d rock one”.
This giveaway didn’t even receive half the likes and comments, even though the pictures are similar.
The same 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – giveaway structure is applied to all of their social media platforms. It always receives the highest engagement.
To give away a free watch (or any other product) doesn’t cost much. It’s one of the cheapest tactics to grow an audience on social media.
Tim’s Takeaway: Run a giveaway based on the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – structure. It works.
They also run a hashtag-based contest in which people have to upload an image on Instagram with a certain hashtag (#jointhemvmt[*]) to join.
Including a certain hashtag is no biggie. But it takes a tiny little bit more effort than leaving a comment with just a single digit. MVMT is aware of that. So they offer a bigger reward: $500 in store credit.
Tim’s Takeaway: Offer recognition and rewards to real fans.
The Honor of Being Featured / User Generated Content
Being featured on one of MVMT’s social media pages is a big deal for many people. There are hundreds and thousands of posts by people from all around the world who tag MVMT.[*]
We’re not talking about ‘cheap’ pictures. The vast majority of the tagged posts show very high-quality content. People spent countless hours taking these shots. Most of them will not have received the promoted products for free, let alone compensation for their efforts. They do it to A.) be part of the MVMT community and B.) to have a chance to be featured on their feed.
Additionally, they have created a format called “Fan Photos of The Week” in which they feature the best pictures taken by followers in the brand’s Instagram story.
Featuring customers is not just great for the featured person, but also for MVMT. By including user-generated content, they leverage the principles of social proof. Seeing that people of desirable taste and/or status have purchased a certain product can oftentimes be an enticing argument to do the same. MVMT happily show off their wide range of customers.
Tim’s Takeaway: Make your customer your hero. Put them first and they will reward this with loyalty. MVMT use simple strategies and double down on things that work. They have not re-invented the wheel.
Points for Shares and Likes
As mentioned earlier in this post, MVMT implemented a reward program for people to earn points and convert them into store credit.
Users can earn points by sharing and liking MVMT’s social media pages. This definitely helps to spread the word and reach a wider audience on social media.
There’s not a single bad picture on any of MVMT’s social pages. They’re simply nailing it.
Especially on Instagram where, compared to Twitter and Facebook, everything is more visual it is important to not just upload white-backgrounded product pictures. Nobody wants to see this kind of posts.
MVMT works with professional photographers and amateurs who know what they’re doing in front of and behind a camera.
The first impression of any of MVMT’s social media page is: “Wow”. On Instagram people resonate with their amazing pictures. Some people even follow just for the awesome content and not because of the products at first, but over time they could turn into customers. MVMT knows that it can take some time to turn a simple follow into a purchase. That’s why they put out great content every day to remind people how awesome they are.
Content-wise, they focus on showing real people in cool destinations wearing their products. To support these photos, they tell a story with pictures that don’t include any products at all.
24 out of the last 100 posts on the MVMT[*] Instagram page are non-product images, aka. Stock photos.
Furthermore, on the MVMTforher[*] Instagram page (their second Instagram page, only for women), 27 out of the last 100 posts are stock photos, quotes and memes.
Those non-product pictures are showing:
- Interior designs
- Stunning beaches
- Cars, Motorbikes, Helicopters, Airplanes
This strategy is easy to copy for any ecommerce entrepreneur. Pages like Burst[*], Unsplash[*] or Pixabay[*] offer a wide range of free stock images. In addition to that, you can ask influencers for permission to repost their pictures.
Tim’s Takeaway: a social media page is oftentimes the first impression the customer gets of a business. If you really want to turn followers into loyal customers, you have to remind them constantly how awesome you are. Every single day.
Use the same strategy as MVMT and work with non-product pictures to tell a story.
A tool like Buffer[*] lets you schedule your social media tools in advance so you don’t have to worry about posting regularly.
Based on the number of followers (3.6 million), Facebook is their top social platform. Engagement-wise, however, Facebook falls far behind Instagram.
MVMT posted the same post on Facebook and Instagram.
On Facebook, this post got 397 likes/reactions. On Instagram, the same post received 12,297 likes.
MVMT actually loses Facebook fans every single day.
Whereas on Instagram, they are gaining more and more followers every day.
There could be various reasons for this.
But one thing is for sure: MVMT’s marketers are aware of this fact. Which is why they put more effort into Instagram since it is the channel that works best for them.
On Facebook, MVMT publishes on average 0.3 posts a day[*]. On Instagram, they post 1 – 7 images a day (stories not included).
This also applies to MVMT’s women’s Instagram page.
The fact that they have two Instagram pages could count as evidence that they’d like to get more into the Instagram game. It also shows that they have realized that conversions can be increased with a second account.
One for men and one for women.
Tim’s Takeaway: Double down on what works for you. Testing new things are important but if you already found a way which works for you, stick to it and run experiments on the side to discover new ways. But the majority of your time should be spent on proven ways. For MVMT, this doesn’t just applies to social media. In an interview with Forbes, co-founder and COO of MVMT told that they were “thinking about expanding […] business through retailers like Macy’s […]. Daymond John told them “You guys are successful online, continue to build that”.[*]
The Social Shopping Experience
From day one, MVMT always relied heavily on social media. Many people discovered them on one of their social pages and wanted to buy something from them. But, as almost always in ecommerce, the longer it takes the customer from discovering something to the final checkout, the higher the chances for an abandoned checkout.
In order to avoid that, MVMT was one of the first companies out there establishing a social shopping experience.
Their Facebook shop, for example, generated 60,000 visitors and $15,000 in revenue during the first three months[*]. Nowadays, they don’t have a Facebook shop anymore.
However, they’re working with a Facebook messenger chat bot and a shoppable Instagram feed.
Facebook messenger chat bot
If an interested person clicks on “Send Message” on MVMT’s Facebook page, the messenger window will open and they receive this message:
Please note that they’re putting “Shop Men” and “Shop Watches” as the first categories to choose from. This matches with the best-performing sites on their website and best-selling products.
If someone doesn’t finish the quiz, you’ll get another message 12 hours later:
In this follow-up message, they’re using way more emojis to catch people’s attention.
A tool you can use to build your own Facebook chatbot is Chatfuel[*]. Almost half of the Facebook messenger’s chatbots running on Chatfuel. Chances are high that MVMT works with this tool.
Facebook chatbots are a great additional way to drive traffic and revenue which would have been lost otherwise.
Shoppable Instagram Feed
As mentioned, MVMT has a lot of engagement on Instagram. So they’re taking advantage of the product tag feature[*]. They tag their products on the images so people can see how much they cost and where they can get them.
Even though they’re probably driving quite some revenue from these product tags, they’re not overdoing it. Only 14 out of their last 100 Instagram posts contain product tags. Instagram is a place for great images and not an online store.
Tim’s Takeaway: Social shopping has an impact on ecommerce. It makes the whole experience easier for all consumers. If you don’t overdo it, it can be great additional sales channel.
The Marketing of a Multi Million Dollar Brand
MVMT doesn’t sell products.
MVMT sells a lifestyle.
And because they do this so well their marketing works.
Of course, their products do look good. But mostly, their products are the materialistic version of the lifestyle they sell.
Here’s one example:
MVMT uploaded a very successful video (1.3 million views) on YouTube called “Passport Goals”[*]
This video is 1 minute long but you’ll only see MVMT watches in around 10 seconds of the video. You don’t even see any MVMT logo or “buy now” call to action at the end of the video. The video fully focuses on creating a certain vibe (having fun traveling around the world).
People will have the same fun traveling around the world without a watch from MVMT. But as they made it a part of this video (without selling), it seems a MVMT watch is necessary for making those experience.
So keep that in mind while reading the marketing section: MVMT sells a lifestyle.
In an short video with Shopify, Jake Kassan explained that people told him starting a watch brand is a bad idea and he shouldn’t do it.[*] This doesn’t make it easier to not just start the business but also talk about it very loud. He/they did it anyway. With success.
Tim’s Takeaway: talk about your idea/business. You never know who’s listening. From your first customer to someone who’s more experienced and would like to offer you a partnership.
MVMT created an actual referral movement. They implemented several systems which let other people spread MVMT’s word all over the places.
Anyone who’s interested in getting rewards for spreading MVMT’s word get a chance. They’re offering different ways of doing this so everyone can pick the one which they feel the most comfortable with.
Sharing with friends
This is the easy entry point. After a signup on MVMT’s website, everyone can refer friends. There’s no need to wait for an approval.
By referring friends, people will be rewarded in points for the “MVMT Insider” program (as explained earlier in this post). 100 points for each new customer. The referee will also get $15 off.
Becoming a brand ambassador[*] for MVMT requires an application and has to be reviewed by the team.
For the purpose of this analysis, I applied but was rejected. So they’re actually reviewing all applications to make sure only people will be accepted who are a good fit for the brand.
Brand ambassadors of MVMT will be paid in commissions (1% – 4%), gift cards and points.
Since 2015 MVMT also has a high commission affiliate program.
Referring a customer to MVMT will be rewarded with 10% commission on the sales amount[*].
For the purpose of this analysis, I also applied for their affiliate program but it’s still under review. This post will be updated once I heard back from them.
MVMT has partnered with Impact to implement their affiliate program.[*]
Overall, MVMT makes it easy for everyone to get rewarded for spreading the word. Not everyone can make money, but at least save some money on their next purchase.
Tim’s Takeaway: Rewarding fans (or people who are about to become fans) is always a good idea to spread the word for you. Remember, people have different reasons to help you. Some are obsessed with earning points, others with making money and some just want to save money. Offer a way for everyone.
There are several tools/apps available which make it easy for you to implement the same strategies as MVMT.
MVMT really leveraging Facebook ads.
Note: This section is only a snapshot from the time I was doing the analysis for this post (May 2019).
The day I’m writing these lines, they’re running around 850 ads at the same time (alone in the USA).[*]
The majority of MVMT’s Facebook follow a certain structure.
I analyzed the structure of their last 100 ads. Here’s the result:
Single image ads
Within the last 100 Facebook ads of MVMT there are only single image ads. No videos or carousels.
High quality images
All ads contain magazine quality images. But there’s some difference.
You can split all ads into four categories:
- Product overlay (product on top of a picture)
- One color background (product in front of one color background. Red, orange, blue)
- On-person (products worn by people)
- Artistic background (products in front of stylish background)
Very often MVMT uses UGC shots for their Facebook ads because they work better for them. Compared to staged model shots UGC shots resulted in 88% relative decrease in cost per order and 461% relative increase in engagement.[*]
Increased engagement leads to even more engagement. It’s a snowball effect.
Women and men talk different. That’s why MVMT differentiates their copy by gender.
93 of the last 100 ads contained the same copy.
Men: “Style shouldn’t break the bank”
Women: “Minimal. Sleek. Chic.”
URL into copy
MVMT makes it easy for people to get what they want (their products).
They just add a simple “Shop Watches → [URL]” to the copy.
Note: Some Facebook user may not realize that they see an ad of a product they can purchase (even if they’d love to). Putting a url into the copy for everyone to see helps to make sure everyone knows that this is a product they can purchase. They only need to click on that link.
Here’s an example of a typical MVMT Facebook ad:
MVMT also never stops to test different ads. In the following example, they’re running an ad for the same watch with the same copy. The only things which is different is the image.
There’s no such thing as “perfection” here. There’s always room for improvement. MVMT not just accepted this but also does everything they can to optimize their ads in order to grow the business.
To be able to run Facebook ads at scale like MVMT, you obviously need a strong financial background. Without outside funding it takes years (like it took for MVMT). Patience is the key here.
Tim’s Takeaway: Facebook ads are an essential part of MVMT’s success. Even Gary Vaynerchuk said “Companies like MVMT […] hitting tens of millions to billions in sales by spending 100% their budget on influencers, Facebook, and Instagram”.[*]
If you spend your money wisely, work with the structure of MVMT and never stop testing you may find success with your Facebook ads.
It’s no secret that MVMT built their business on social media. At one point, however, they figured out that they have to diversify their sources of traffic.
Blake Pinsker, marketing & brand director at MVMT, said “if something happens to Facebook or Instagram, we want to make sure our business doesn’t die”.[*]
MVMT already captured a ton of ton data and emails, but they never took advantage of it. Back then, they sent 1 – 2 emails every few months. So they gave email marketing a go. With lots of success.
One of their first “real” campaigns was a contest they ran on Instagram. Everyone who’d like to enter the contest (chance to win a free watch), had to enter their email.
Because MVMT always wants to put customers first, they also wanted to run this giveaway in a “everybody wins mentality”. So everyone who entered the giveaway received a discount code. A tool (not used by MVMT) you can use to create giveaways is KingSumo[*].
That way, MVMT collected 6,000 emails and converted 3% of them into purchasing customers[*].
Tim’s Takeaway: Don’t rely on just one channel (even if it works for now). If you want to build something sustainable, you have to take advantage of as many different marketing channels as possible.
The credo for MVMT’s email is clear “every email we send has to provide some sort of value”.[*]
They balance their emails between product focused- and content focus emails.
Product focused emails
Those emails are very straightforward. People get to see a product, click a link and end up on a product page. That’s it.
Content focused emails
Those emails are build around the lifestyle they sell. The objective is to get people to the website and engage with the brand. The landing page, where people end up doesn’t even contain products. People would have to click on another link to see products.
And still, according to Blake Pinsker, a lot of the content focused emails were driving almost as much revenue as the product focused emails.[*]
This is a super interesting fact as the customers have to take an extra step.
These emails are also perfect for the people who don’t have the intention to purchase a watch (yet). The content focused emails keep the brand in those people’s heads. Once they consider to purchase a new watch, MVMT pops up in their head. It’s an email format build for the long term success.
Tim’s Takeaway: Not everyone will purchase products from your online store instantly. It takes time. Always trying to sell with the emails you send will frighten off people who might have become customers in the future.
To really boost their email marketing, they worked with an agency.
After MVMT started to really take advantage of email marketing, they grew their email revenue by 105%, 262% grow during holiday season, 30% increased in open rates and 45% increase in overall conversion rate.[*]
According to the agency they worked with, the first thing they did to build the foundation of MVMT’s email success was to “establish a consistent cadence for email messaging, and developed an editorial calendar that showcased engaging content”.[*]
One specific tactic they used to drive a lot of extra revenue during holiday season was by introducing a weekend flash sale the weekend prior to Black Friday; setting the stage for the main event.
Like described earlier in this post, MVMT asks for the gender of the subscriber. Depending on the gender, they send out different emails.
For the purpose of this analysis I subscribed to both lists. Here’s an example of one campaign (the screenshots you see are just the first section of that campaign. If you’d like to see the full campaigns I recommend to sign up to their email newsletter).
As already seen on the Facebook ads, running gender-based campaigns seem to work well for MVMT.
MVMT’s email tool: Bronto[*]
I was part of their email lists for two weeks and received five emails during that time.
Abandoned checkout emails
In order to recover abandoned checkouts, MVMT sends out just one email trying to recover it.
Trigger time: 1 hour after checkout has been abandoned
Subject: Items you viewed are going fast
The email itself is very straightforward and just shows the products which have been put into the cart + a “you may also like”-section showing three more products.
For the abandoned checkout emails there’s no difference between men and women products.
MVMT seem to use google ads mainly for retargeting. However, they also pay for Google ads which are brand keyword focused.
Example: “MVMT watches”
In order to avoid other businesses stealing the first spot on google, MVMT pays some money to Google. Big brands problems…
As I visited the website of MVMT very often during my research, I’m now seeing them everywhere. This is an indicator that they’re investing a good amount of money into their Google retargeting ads.
An interesting fact is that Google ads doesn’t seem to perform that well in the USA.
Compared with Germany (I live there), they’re not investing that much.
United States (currently running 3 image ads):
Germany (currently running 9 image ads:)
Comparing MVMT’s Google ads efforts with their Facebook ads efforts, you’ll see that Facebook seem to work better in the United States (compared with Germany).
They’re running around 850 Facebook ads in the USA and only 213 in Germany.
Tim’s Takeaway: Don’t just believe every country works the same. Test out different ads for different locations to find the best strategy for your business.
As MVMT also sells through other online stores, they benefit from those partner’s Google ads.
Working with influencers had and still haves a big impact on MVMT.
They’re working with a wide range of influencers from all around the world to spread the word for them.
Starting with micro-influencers who have a few thousand followers to big ones with a few million followers. MVMT started to work with influencers when this wasn’t even considered to be a huge marketing opportunity. They saw the opportunity very early and took advantage of it like crazy.
A very common way for companies to work with influencers is to send products + pay a certain amount of money for a picture on Instagram including a tag of the business page. MVMT, however, does it different.
We will take the example of a recent influencer campaign with Sami Clarke[*].
MVMT created a page on their blog for her[*]
MVMT features images with her on the product pages[*]
She did a post on Instagram[*]
Usually, brands expect to get the work done by the influencer. MVMT seem to expect the opposite. It seems that they’re putting more work into such a campaign than the influencer does. This is actually a very interesting fact. It almost feels like MVMT is honored that influencers want to work with them.
Especially the page they created for her is unique.
The complete text on this page does not contain a single word about MVMT or their products. They are, again, not obviously selling products. They’re, as always, telling a story. This time through the influencer.
Only at the very bottom of the page you find four “featured products”.
To create such great looking pages, MVMT uses an app called Shogun[*].
In an interview talking about influencer marketing, Jake Kassan said that “it’s all about relationships”. MVMT started to build relationships with the big influencers when they weren’t big. But then, once they got big, they remembered a good collaboration with MVMT and were happy to work with them again. This early-relationships-mentality also applied to creators. MVMT spotted their talents early on and could rely on them (again) once they became big.[*]
But they dig even deeper.
In a collaboration with Sam Kolder (2 million combined followers on Instagram and YouTube), they created Sam’s own watch collection: “The Kolder Collection”[*]
If you take a look at Sam Kolder’s Instagram pictures, you’ll notice that he’s using one certain style of color grading.
Sam’s fans love that dark-blue/orange’ish style on his images and videos. So they gave his fans what they want and used these colors for his collection.
MVMT saw another big chance to put their products in front of millions of people. So they promoted the hell out of it.
On MVMT’s website you’ll find 9 pages which contain the Kolder Collection. What’s interesting is that only 3 of them are product focused. The remaining 6 are all content focused. MVMT continues to tell their story. This time, through Sam Kolder.
Together, they created six videos which got (in total) more than 5.5 million views!
The (by far) most successful video was “KOLD – My Year 2016” with 5 million views[*].
This video didn’t just bring traffic once. It’s still bringing in a lot traffic two years after it has been posted.
As this video was published on Sam’s very successful YouTube channel, MVMT received (and receives) a lot of attention from people who weren’t/aren’t familiar with their business.
To get even more attention, Sam posted 1 video and 1 picture of this collaboration on his Instagram account.
They even did a giveaway.
To enter, people had to tag 2 friends and follow @sam_kolder and @mvmt.
On average, Sam receives between 1,000 – 2,000 comments per posts. This giveaway post, however, received almost 9,000 comments. They only had to give away 2 watches to receive such a massive engagement.
Both, Sam and MVMT, put a lot of work into this collaboration and in getting it in front of people.
Tim’s Takeaway: “it’s all about relationships”.
Start building relationships with rising influencers early on. Take your time to spot talents and start working with them now so you can rely on them once they’re big.
In addition to that, a company shouldn’t just expect the influencer to do all the work. It requires a lot of work from both sides to make a campaign successful.
MVMT’s marketing has a customer first approach. This brought them a massive community which is very loyal.
To thank their community (and leveraging it), MVMT runs community based campaigns where they ask their fans to post their favorite clips on Instagram. MVMT choose the best ones and created one big video out of it.
But it wasn’t MVMT that created this video. A popular filmmaker named “thatoneblondkid” (105k followers on Instagram) created the final video for this campaign.
MVMT didn’t just leveraged their community, they also combined it in a very smart way with influencer marketing. That campaign seem to had a good impact on their business and so they decided to run another community campaign in the same way one year later.[*]
MVMT does a lot of marketing to achieve their big revenue numbers. They’re telling a story in such an authentic way that many people can relate to. They’re not tired of testing and analyzing to figure out how they can optimize their efforts.
You now have quite some insights of what a multi-million dollar brand does. They are investing a big budget into their online store and marketing. But please always remember that they also started in 2013 with just an idea in their heads.
To help you get off the ground, I built a lookalike dropshipping online store (incl. products) and Instagram page. You can win both. Enter here (it’s free).
Conclusion of the MVMT Analysis
Over the past six years, Jake Kassan (CEO, co-founder) and Kramer LaPlante (COO, co-founder) lead MVMT to incredible success. The whole MVMT team discovered trends early on took their chances. They doubled down on everything which has been working for them and always put their customers first. In fact, they make their customers the hero.
Whatever MVMT does, it’s aligned with their story of living life on their own terms and their customer first approach.
For MVMT, this approach has been working incredibly well and there’s not a sign that they will stop. They’re as hungry as ever.
Tim’s Top Twenty Takeaways:
- Start with one product category and expand later.
- Focus on your target audience, not what so-called “experts” say.
- Know your target audience and speak to them in their language. Never stop to discover new audiences.
- Test different website designs/structures.
- If you want your customer’s data, don’t ask for too much straight away.
- Reward people who engage with your brand. Let them know that you are actually grateful for their support.
- Not just compare different website designs, but also the tools you’re working with.
- Collect data, learn to read it and make changes according to the results.
- Run giveaways every month based on the “1, 2, 3, 4, 5 – structure”.
- Make your customer the hero.
- Social media is the first impression of your business. Make it appealing and tell a story.
- Stick to what has been working for you. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
- Social shopping is great, but don’t overdo it.
- Talk about your idea/business as much as you can.
- Make it possible for everyone to spread your word for you (refer for points, brand ambassador, affiliate)
- Facebook ads: Single image ads and simple copy over everything. Never stop testing new things.
- Don’t just rely on one channel.
- Not everyone will purchase instantly. People need time to make the purchase decision. Be patient with them and deliver content which is valuable.
- Every country has different rules. Test out what works the best.
- Influencer marketing is all about relationships. Don’t expect the influencer to do all the work for you. It has to be a fair collaboration to make it work.
- Combine community campaigns with influencer marketing to get the most out of it.