You spend almost half of your life in bed. How much thought have you put into your bed covers?
You probably want comfortable sheets. What if you also care about the environment? If you’re concerned about your environmental impact and want to make responsible consumer choices, but want high-quality bedding, what is your best option?
Vinita and Dushyant Baravkar share a passion for environmental issues. While living in New York City, they strove to live a sustainable lifestyle. But when they eventually moved back to Vinita’s home country of Australia, they noticed something that troubled them: there wasn’t much of a market for sustainable living in Australia — especially for textiles.
Through her career in international public health, Vinita had visited many developing countries. She witnessed, first-hand, the disastrous health and environmental impacts of traditional cotton:
- Farmer suicides
- Child labour
- Pesticide poisoning
- Birth defects
- Harmful dyes
- Toxic water
Most of the world’s cotton is grown with hazardous synthetic pesticides. Cotton is considered the world’s dirtiest crop due to its heavy use of pesticides — more than any other crop.
“The penny dropped for us,” says Dushyant. “Her heart, and my commercial experience. We could do something about this.”
After months of research, Vinita and Dushyant tested the waters with an organic bedding and clothing pop-up store. Their stock (stored in their garage) began to sell out. They realized they had something big with their side-project…and that they needed an online store.
In 2015, they officially launched Bhumi Organic Cotton to offer sustainable contemporary products for bed, bath, table, and body. All of their organic cotton textiles are made using fair–trade practices, because Bhumi creates “building blocks for greening your life and home.”
Bhumi means “Mother Earth.” Every Bhumi purchase has a positive environmental & social impact.
Keep reading to learn how Bhumi Organic Cotton:
- Uses social media to drive traffic to their website — and grow their email list
- Made $100,000 in 2 days with just 1 automated email campaign
- Gives their customers email content they want (and keeps their list engaged)
- Integrates Shopify with ActiveCampaign so that customers get a better shopping experience
“How can we be smarter with how we connect with our customers?”
When you have a flourishing small business (but no prior experience running one) how do you grow your business?
During his years in financial services in NYC, Dushyant described himself as a “hardcore commercial and numbers guy.”
One thing he didn’t describe himself as? A small business marketer.
“Email and marketing was not my thing,” he explains. “When we started we didn’t know anything. We were genuine and authentic…but inexperienced.”
He did know one thing, though: You need business systems in place if you want to succeed. As a fully self-funded business, Bhumi had to use its limited resources (time and money) wisely.
“Once you start to invest more into your business, you need better resources to run it.”
They decided to focus on email marketing. Why?
49% of consumers want to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands on a weekly basis (Source: Statista)
Email has the best Return On Investment (ROI) of any marketing channel. Emails generate $38 for every $1 spent — that’s an amazing 3,800% ROI.
“Mailchimp was a good starting place,” says Dushyant, because Bhumi’s early email marketing campaigns were very simple email blasts. But, Dushyant says, “Understanding email marketing became more important as Bhumi Organic Cotton continued to grow.”
Dushyant and Vinita then tried Klaviyo, but weren’t satisfied. They continued to research other email marketing solutions – and that’s how they found ActiveCampaign.
“Our overall experience with ActiveCampaign is better. We were skeptical before starting yet another new software platform, but we love it.”
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“You have to own the relationship with the customer. You do that with email.”
Getting new customers directly through Facebook and Instagram has become:
- More expensive
- All of the above
It’s #4, Dushyant confirms. But, he says, those channels are an important piece of the whole.
“In my mind, I make no distinction between Facebook or Google ads, or landing pages. There is one goal. A common goal. We want to acquire customers, engage them, and offer them sustainable bedding & bath products at an affordable price.”
Cute pets will get hearts and likes on social media, but hearts and likes aren’t sales.
Social media ads are an effective way to target people who might be interested in your product. Bhumi uses Facebook, Instagram, and Google Ads to drive email capture. People see targeted ads and visit Bhumi’s website…which uses lead forms to get people to sign up for email updates and offers.
Dushyant uses a recent email campaign as an example of why email marketing is so powerful. “We don’t do major discounts, but when we do — we go big. We had a 2-day “Clear the Warehouse” sale, to make room for new stock for the holiday season.”
To promote the sale, they created an extended flash sale email campaign of 5 emails over 3 days.
Bhumi created a campaign of 5 emails that use 5 best practices: urgency, social validation, mobile optimization, concise copy, and a single CTA.
How did Dushyant’s decision to focus on email marketing pay off? Those 5 emails led to $100,000 in sales.
“It was incredible,” Dushyant says. “And that 100 grand in sales came directly from an ActiveCampaign email campaign.”
When is a smaller list better than a big list? When your list is full of engaged contacts.
How much does the size of your email list matter?
Not very much at all, if none of your contacts click on your emails.
When he migrated to ActiveCampaign, Dushyant cleaned his email list — and cut his 70,000 contacts by half. He recently cleaned his list again, narrowing it down to a mere 10,000 contacts.
Why should you routinely clean your lists? Because:
- It improves your email deliverability
- It keeps you off blocklists
- It increases the accuracy of your data
10k might not seem like a lot (when compared to how big Bhumi’s list once was), but a smaller list can be a good thing. When those contacts are all engaged, it benefits you and your customers. Sending emails to people who aren’t engaged wastes time and resources you can spend on the customers who want to hear from you.
You lose 30% of your email subscribers every year. You need to keep the other 70% interested. How do you collect the right email addresses?
One way is to email people things they want to read.
“We create content…we email our new blog posts to our list.” Dushyant says. The blog posts are popular because Vinita and Dushyant understand what their customers’ concerns and interests are, and write articles that address what customers really care about: Cultivating a greener lifestyle.
Who sees Bhumi’s blog? An engaged email list that wants to read articles about sustainable living practices.
When you integrate Shopify with ActiveCampaign, you can give customers a personalized shopping experience
“We use the ActiveCampaign/Shopify integration to pull all the customer data from Shopify. This way, we can identify and segment the contact list in ActiveCampaign in a better way using tags…and construct more targeted campaigns.”
What kind of Shopify information can you pull into ActiveCampaign?
- Order history
- Products purchased
- Frequency of purchases
- Page visits
- Order value
- Abandoned carts
When a customer opts-in for email marketing on a Shopify checkout page, they are automatically added to your ActiveCampaign list. And best of all? The integration between Shopify and ActiveCampaign is free.
“Shopify has been absolutely incredible and critical to our success story — an easy-to-use ecommerce platform for small business owners,” Dushyant says. “Especially for people like me, who have limited experience in the areas of branding and marketing.”
Bhumi uses Shopify’s purchase history to create segments in ActiveCampaign. That means they can create a “personalizing bedding experience” for their customers.
“Are you a hot sleeper, or are you a cold sleeper? We can predict that through purchases, and recommend the right bedding to that person through segmented emails. Being able to solve a sleep problem with sheets? That’s important.”
How can you make lifestyle changes that actually matter?
Vinita and Dushyant Baravkar are proud of their business success. But it’s the far-reaching impact of Bhumi Organic Cotton that motivates and inspires them.
It wouldn’t have been enough to switch to “natural,” “pure,” or even “organic” cotton – even those types of cotton could be made with child labour, toxic dyes, and pesticides. Bhumi is committed using Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and SKAL (Control Union) certified 100% organic cotton that is environmentally and socially responsible.
Fairtrade factories encourages sustainable farming practices, protects the environment, and improves the quality of health of farmers and workers.
“We go to the Fairtrade factories where our bedding is made. I ask the workers, did you get paid the bonus? Does your child get to go to school? Do you have proper sanitation? That’s our validation — it’s an emotional and heartwarming experience.”
“We are paving the way for a new era in the textile industry by choosing organically grown and ethically made cotton for all of our products, creating a positive impact on the people and the planet. We encourage you to make thoughtful consumer purchases.” – Vinita Baravkar