Catherine Langman:

Well, hello. Catherine Langman here, and welcome back for another episode of the Productpreneur Success podcast. Today I’m really excited to welcome a guest onto the show. I have Diana from MilkbarBreastpumps.com.au with me today. Diana, how are you going?

Diana:

I’m good. I’m very excited to be here on your podcast.

Catherine Langman:

It’s really good to have you here. Now, I know about your business Milkbar Breastpumps, but I would really love you to tell our listeners a little bit about your business and what you sell and how you started it out and all of that sort of stuff.

Diana:

Yeah, sure. Obviously I’m owner of Milkbar Breastpumps, Australia’s favorite breastfeeding store. We’re predominantly an online retailer of innovative breastfeeding products, and we also distribute two of our brands, the Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump, and the LaVie Lactation Massager into around 75 selected retailers and pharmacies in Australia and New Zealand.

Diana:

So I actually have a really start to my business journey. I’m not the founder, but I actually purchased my business as a concept business after returning to work with my first baby. At the time I was just deeply, deeply unhappy in my corporate role. I was struggling to understand how my life would change so much. In that role it offered no flexibility, and I just remember looking across the room and nobody was happy. And I remember thinking, “Is this what it’s going to be like for the next 20 years?” And an opportunity came up to purchase Milkbar. I saw it. I was actually lucky to be part of a Facebook group, and I really just dived in. I didn’t have a marketing background or any knowledge of websites and SEO or Facebook advertising. So I just jumped in.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. I think I actually had a pretty similar story with the start of my first business because I also had… Well, I had two little babies close together, but it was the same thing. I’d gone back to my corporate role and it was long, full-time hours and I was just so depressed with it all, and I just wanted to be home with my babies. But I still wanted to be using my brain and I guess putting some of my experience to good use.

Diana:

Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s sort of what I struggled with, that I sort of felt more ambitious than ever, and yet being that working mom is not really recognized, I think, in Australia. We’re not sort of given credit for all the things that you do learn along the way.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, it is pretty difficult to be ambitious in your profession and work part-time as well or be flexible. That’s sort of not really available very much in corporate jobs, is it?

Diana:

No.

Catherine Langman:

So you purchased Milkbar Breastpumps as a concept store. So basically that meant that it was kind of already set up. What did you have? Like a website and a brand name and some-

Diana:

Yeah, just a website, a very, very basic logo. But it didn’t have a shop or it didn’t have any suppliers, so I sort of had to start it from there.

Catherine Langman:

Right. So it was literally just a concept and then you had to build it up from there?

Diana:

Yep, yep.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. Cool. And so what was that sort of journey like to get it moving? What did you try first to kind of get things started?

Diana:

I can’t say I did anything in a logical way at the start. Looking back, I would probably do things a lot differently, but I think, from the very start, I just had a vision that it was going to be successful, and so I was just sort of willing to try anything. I did an SEO course along the way, I updated the branding, bought more suppliers, made mistakes and didn’t understand my customer. But, yeah, really just a lot of trial and error unfortunately in the beginning.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. And there was a bit of trial and error around choosing your products too, wasn’t there?

Diana:

Yes. I remember I purchased a whole bunch of nursing pillows from overseas, and I think it took me like three years to sell them. I think I was scarred from nursing pillows, but they don’t necessarily do well in my store.

Catherine Langman:

Oh no. Yeah. I mean, in my experience I’ve definitely had situations where people come to me and they have products that aren’t selling and they’re looking for my marketing help to shift those products, but I think you sort of went about it a different way. You kept trying different products to find the ones that would sell first before you really went hard and invested a lot in your marketing. Is that sort of right?

Diana:

Yes. Yeah, absolutely. A lot of trial and error in the beginning. I think just testing on small amounts so that if something didn’t work out it didn’t sort of bring your business to a close. But, yeah, I was lucky to find a product that did work and I was able to sort of scale out successfully after a bit of time.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. Cool. And I think that might’ve been about when we met perhaps.

Diana:

Yep. Yep, definitely.

Catherine Langman:

So I seem to remember that would have been probably the start of 2018-ish.

Diana:

Yep. Yeah.

Catherine Langman:

And I seem to remember that you still had a WordPress website that was a little bit troublesome, but it did convert and you were doing quite well with your SEO. So getting organic traffic and some Google advertising. Does that sound about right?

Diana:

Yep, yep.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. Cool. And then so from there you were really wanting to… Well, I think initially you really wanted to master the Facebook advertising and really start finding an extra source of traffic really, wasn’t it?

Diana:

Yeah. I think at that time I sort of was doing well, fairly well with organic and AdWords, but I knew that I was missing out on Facebook advertising and I didn’t understand email marketing at the time. So those were the two focuses over the last couple of years.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. And of course you rebuilt your website on Shopify, which looks amazing as well.

Diana:

Oh, thank you. Yes, very happy with Shopify too.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah, it did make a difference for you, didn’t it? I mean, aside from anything else, the lack of headaches around plugin conflictions and all sorts of issues that you had.

Diana:

Yeah. Yep.

Catherine Langman:

Cool. So I guess right now obviously lots of people would be wondering if Facebook advertising is worth using or trying at the moment and what marketing they should be doing in the current climate that we’re in. But I think it’s still working pretty well for you. Do you want to kind of let us know what you’re experiencing at the moment?

Diana:

Yeah, definitely. Look, Facebook ads are incredibly important to our business itself, most profitable paid traffic channel. So like you mentioned, we’ve been doing Facebook ads for about two years now, and what I have liked about so far is that has been scalable and it’s just allowed us to achieve the consistent sales. And I just had a look at our analytics, and about 30% of our sales have either originated from Facebook or they’ve been assisted in some way from Facebook advertising.

Catherine Langman:

That’s amazing.

Diana:

Yeah. Obviously there’s a lot going on in the world in regards to coronavirus, and for us, Facebook ads are still working for us. And I think that if you show up for your customer and are able to help them in some way with your product, that now’s the time to sort of support them rather than shy away.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah, that’s an awesome point to make. You know, I think there’s definitely going to be people out there who feel like this is an opportunity to take advantage of in a sort of a greedy or mercenary way, but we don’t have to assume that people will think that’s what we’re like if we are actually still marketing our business, but doing it a way that is to help the customers. And certainly any breastfeeding mother who’s having a little bit of trouble on that front and needs a breast pump, they’re going to need it now. They don’t need it a couple of months time.

Diana:

Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, and I think what you mentioned is one of the mindset issues that I had at the beginning of running the business in that I sort of always felt a bit icky about trying to make a sale. So when it was sort of re-figured as actually instead of thinking about selling a product, think about how you’re actually helping the customer, and it sort of makes advertising that a little bit less icky.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. Well, it’s not really about you, is it? It’s about them.

Diana:

No, no. Yeah.

Catherine Langman:

Absolutely. Honestly, I think that’s a mindset that a lot of women business owners in particular seem to have. I know I went through that too. Yeah, I think it’s really good that you’ve gotten through that and out the other end. And you’ve got some really, really happy customers. I know last time I looked on your website you had lots and lots of fantastic reviews as well, which are in the customer’s own words.

Diana:

Yes, yes. And that’s all automated as well. So we just use a plugin that links with our Shopify. Yeah, it’s been really important for our business is just hearing feedback from other moms.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. I mean, I guess that’s good for you to hear that because it makes you feel like you’re doing the right thing.

Diana:

Yes. It’s a bit of an ego boost.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. It’s a good ego boost, but it does help other customers to decide for themselves if it’s the right thing, doesn’t it?

Diana:

Yeah.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. Love it. So back onto the Facebook ads, can you talk a little bit about the… Do you just have one ad running? Or what kind of ads are you running and finding working well for you?

Diana:

Yes. So essentially we’ve run the same ads for about two years. So we’ve sort of tweaked it here and there, but we don’t have launches or promotions as such. So it’s been really good in that it’s almost a set and forget.

Catherine Langman:

That’s pretty awesome.

Diana:

Yeah. I think at the start we didn’t have very many followers, so I worked with you to sort of boost that organic interaction with our followers and test what our followers actually like hearing from us. And then in terms of paid ads, we have a couple of new audience attraction ads, and then we’ve got retargeting ads as well.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. And I know the answer to this, but which are the ads that convert at the best, most profitable rate?

Diana:

Oh, retargeting for sure.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah, totally. But for those listeners out there who don’t have much experience with Facebook ads, you’ve got to have some traffic to re-target. So that’s why those cold traffic ads to attract a new audience to you is so important. So even if they’re not quite as profitable, you’ve got to get people over, get the eyeballs onto your website so that then they can think about what you sell, and then hopefully by the time you re-target them with the other ad, they’ll be ready to make a purchase decision.

Catherine Langman:

Now, I remember a situation where you had a couple of really cool ads that you tried to publish and Facebook didn’t like them, did they?

Diana:

No. Yeah, I remember one time when I just transitioned from BigCommerce to Shopify and I remember just being so nervous that I was going to break something. And it was our first big distributor order was due to arrive, and we’d been running one of the Facebook ads and Facebook deemed it as sexually explicit because it was showing this actually really beautiful picture of a breastfeeding mom. I certainly didn’t look like that when I was breastfeeding. And so it was sort of a bit of a panic to tweak that a little to get that up and running.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. So you had a whole lot on the line because you had a new website going live and you’d invested heaps of money in stock, and then all of a sudden your most profitable traffic source gets switched off because a little bit of boob was showing,

Diana:

Yes. I know. It’s always the way.

Catherine Langman:

It’s just ridiculous, isn’t it?

Diana:

Yes.

Catherine Langman:

Cool. So I think you mentioned before that you also use email marketing quite a bit in your business. Do you want to tell the listeners a little bit about how you’re using email to drive traffic and sales?

Diana:

So I’m using Klaviyo, which integrates really nicely with our Shopify website and Facebook advertising. We obviously do our weekly newsletters and we’ve also got some automated flows, which works really nicely. And I think just where you can automate something from an eCommerce business perspective, I think that’s a really great way to go. So we have a little welcome sequence, abandoned cart, and a post-purchase email sequence as well, which is, I guess, really important for our products, because there are a little bit of information in terms of how you clean them, how to use them, and we offer a few tips along the way. And that integrates nicely with the follow up when we request for a review as well.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. So that you’ve done your absolute best to make sure they’ve had a successful experience using the product.

Diana:

Yeah.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. And in those Klaviyo automated flows, especially post-purchase, I have a feeling that you use that… There’s a lovely integration between Klaviyo and Facebook ads as well to build your audiences that you can then keep marketing to. Are you using that as well?

Diana:

Yes. Yeah, definitely. I think with our, because we’ve got quite a lot of pixel data now with Facebook integrating those email lists with Klaviyo really helps drive sales for our cold audience, because we can create lookalike audiences off the back of our Klaviyo audience, if that makes sense.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah, yeah.

Diana:

And then we’re also using it as a way to get a repeat sale. So, for example, our main ad is asking a customer to search for a breast pump obviously, and obviously if they’ve got a breast pump they’ve got a baby. So one of our ads that we run on Klaviyo is aimed at people who have purchased a breast pumps from us in the last 90 days, and they get the little ad for a baby care product as well.

Catherine Langman:

Cool. That’s awesome. So that’s a couple of cool ideas there for people listening out there. If you are using Klaviyo, make sure you do set up your Klaviyo and Facebook ad integration. So you can just head into your Klaviyo dashboard to the integration section and you can add Facebook Ad Manager in there. And basically all you do then is go back to your lists. So if you have lists and segments you can pull up like what Diana’s done. You can pull up a segment of people who’ve purchased a certain product category in the last however, whatever period of time that you want to target them for, and then sync that segment to a custom audience in Facebook. Sounds a little tricky, but it’s actually reasonably simple to do. They do make it fairly easy for most people to get that set up in Klaviyo.

Catherine Langman:

I know another comment that I do hear a little bit from people who are thinking about Klaviyo, but it’s not the cheapest email marketing platform in the world, but what would you say in regards to the kind of results that you can get on Klaviyo compared to other applications with all of that cool functionality?

Diana:

It’s definitely well worth it. I think I would just encourage people just to try. Yeah, I have no regrets going with Klaviyo at all. Yes, it’s so, so much better than our previous email provider. And I think especially in eCommerce business, you can just have so many just information about your customer. Like Klaviyo will even tell you when the repeat sale is expected. So I think it just has so much information, which is really valuable.

Catherine Langman:

Absolutely. So at the end of the day, I mean, I think you’ve probably experienced this, but I see it a lot too, that if you are using Klaviyo the way you’re using it, so you’re using quite a lot of that functionality and you’re also running Facebook ads, they both support each other. So you’re going to get a better return on investment on your Facebook ads if you’re doing that sort of marketing in Klaviyo. And you’re going to get much better sales results from Klaviyo if you’re integrating it with your Facebook ads and running those sorts of really segmented and customized audiences in your ads as well.

Diana:

Yeah, absolutely. I think any sort of transfer of people from your email onto your website drive all of that retargeting ads from Facebook. So it really does work together nicely.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. Cool. So over the last two years, I guess it’s been, since I first met you, you’ve grown a lot in your business.

Diana:

Yes, we have. Yeah.

Catherine Langman:

So you’ve gone from, I know, you’ve gone from working from home and now you’ve got your own warehouse space and you’re scaled into the wholesale side of things and selling in pharmacies, so it’s been a pretty wild ride along the way.

Diana:

Yes. Yeah, it has. Yeah. It is amazing actually looking back and thinking how far I’ve come.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. So, I guess, I mean, it’s quite easy, I think, when you get really busy and you’re so super focused on what you’re working on or fixing whatever the latest problem is that’s just jumped up in front of you. I mean, that happens regardless of how big your business is. It can be sometimes a little bit easy to forget what you’re aiming for or what your vision is and what inspires you. So has that changed at all for you? Are you still inspired by the same goal?

Diana:

Oh, gosh. When I started my business I think I had a very limited big picture vision. It was really just about being able to provide financially for my family at that time. And I think now we’re four and a half years later, because I’ve sort of ticked that off the list, that my focus has changed. I’m really passionate about being able to be a good employer, like an employer that I wish I had back in the day, and providing flexible options-

Catherine Langman:

Oh, I love that.

Diana:

… and work at home options, even before this period of time, and really passionate about being able to provide Australian moms with better choices of breastfeeding products in particular. Which is why I’m working with other retailers, which is great because it helps support-

Catherine Langman:

Become important.

Diana:

Yeah, support that role.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah, definitely. Because I guess you went through that experience. You had your first child and you went back to a corporate role and it wouldn’t have been easy to maintain being a breastfeeding mum when you had to be at work. But what you do in your business really does help moms who, they want to keep working and they want to keep breastfeeding their child as well. So they need to have an appropriate pump and all of those bits and pieces that you sell.

Diana:

Yes. Yeah, I definitely was, at that time, was sort of my ideal customer now, if that makes sense. So I do actually, I still sort of get emotional when I think of that and I think it does help in… That’s sort of how you deal with customers and all that sort of advertising as well.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So for other listeners who are maybe where you were two or three years ago, can you think about one or two pieces of advice that you could give someone aspiring to grow to where you are now? You know, maybe something that you’ve learned the hard way perhaps, or that you wish that you’d known earlier?

Diana:

Yeah. My first one would be just to take action, but I think it’s important to plan and have goals and refer back to them, like you remind me. But I think sometimes just taking that small step and knowing that you won’t always get it right and that you can actually adjust and refine. And I think as long as you sort of start small, just go for it.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. Which you’ve definitely done. And not being afraid to make a mistake, I suppose, is the key learning there, isn’t it?

Diana:

Yeah. And I think, yeah, definitely. And my second one would be just to invest in yourself. One of the things I have done well in my business is that I have where I didn’t understand something I’ve been able to work with other people and meet other people and coaches to sort of help to work out that you don’t necessarily have to have all the answers, that you can actually work with people and find out how to do those sort of things.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah, and treat it like a learning experience. I think if we always put that pressure on ourselves that we have to have all of the answers and be the expert in everything, I mean, that would make me very anxious, I think.

Diana:

Yes.

Catherine Langman:

But, yeah, I mean, I love to keep learning too. So I think if you can think about business in that way and think of it as a big project and breaking it down into little projects and you just always keep learning and keep taking the right next step or the best next step forward that you can see right in front of you, then you should do well.

Diana:

Absolutely.

Catherine Langman:

Yeah. So to finish off for today, how about you share your web address and your social media handles? I’m sure that there’ll be others out there who would love to go and find out more about what you sell and what you do and maybe even shop from you.

Diana:

Our website address is MilkbarBreastpumps.com.au. And you can find us on Facebook and Instagram at Milkbar Breastpumps.

Catherine Langman:

Awesome. So good. And I’ve actually noticed quite a bit of your content coming through on Instagram and Facebook. So it’s definitely, for other people wanting to see a really good example of how to create content that is engaging for social media, because you really do want to try and… It’s not just about building a large number of followers, it’s about building some engaged followers and being able to create content that your audience actually wants to consume. So I think you’re doing an awesome job on that. And I think if anyone else needs some inspiration on how to do that really well, you should definitely go and check out Diana’s pages and her website as well.

Catherine Langman:

And I thought, just a couple of notes from me just to finish off. Seeing as we have spoken quite significantly about Facebook ads, and I know that it’s something that a lot of eCommerce stores should be doing at the moment, not just because I see it’s still generating really good results for eCommerce businesses, but also as I sort of briefly mentioned on last week’s podcast episode, the costs for advertising on Facebook are actually dropping at the moment because overall, kind of globally, the number of advertisers are dropping. So that means the costs to run ads are dropping as well. So it is a good time to get in on it. So I’m going to share a link for a free guide that’ll just kind of help you really get your head around the best kind of Facebook ad strategy to use for eCommerce. I’ll pop in the podcast show notes where to go to download your free copy of that guide.

Catherine Langman:

And the other thing, just another quick reminder is to join us in our free Rockstar Productpreneur Facebook group. I’ll also pop the link in the podcast show notes for that. But what we’re doing at the moment, we’re really amping things up a little bit in this Rockstar Productpreneur Facebook group. We’re running some fairly regular Q&A sessions and free tutorials and just really trying to support you eCommerce store owners and brand owners through this corona-conomy, as I’m calling it. So jump in there and really join in and take advantage of the support that you can get in that group.

Catherine Langman:

And one last quick reminder is if you have a question that you would like to have answered on this podcast, or if you have someone you’d like us to interview on the podcast, please email us at hello@productpreneurmarketing.com with the subject line Podcast Question. That is it for today’s episode. Thank you again so much for joining us today, Diana. It’s been an absolute pleasure to have you on the show.

Diana:

Thank you so much.