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What if 65% of your leads came from referrals?

I interviewed a founder who cut his teeth marketing for HelloFresh and recently completed a successful prelaunch on KickoffLabs gathering over 18,000 emails with a conversion rate over 50% and a viral boost of 65%. Learn how!

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Interview Bio

Freddy Ward - Wild Cosmetics

An experienced growth marketer lucky enough to go on a journey over 6 years from start-up to IPO at HelloFresh giving him extensive experience and lessons of a high growth environment and understanding what it takes to be successful in a highly competitive market.

When he set out to create Wild where he wanted to create to begin with a deodorant that works just like your normal deodorant, except it's kind of not using any of the aluminum paraben sulfates that you'd find in a typical anti-perspirant

Learn more at WildDeo.com.

Key Takeaways!

Nurture your influencers and drive them to share more!

Understand Customer Needs

There's no better way to do that than going and talking to people and having to sell the product.

Refine your Pitch

Freddy will pitch anyone willing to listen in search of perfecting his sales pitch to improve their copy.

Build and Iterate

It's taken them at least 30 iterations to get it right.

Build an Online Audience

Wild started building an audience posting content to Facebook and Instagram so they had people they could promote the campaign to.

Write Copy People Instantly Get

Be direct if you are a new brand. People need to know right away what it is you do and why they should care.

Focus on Your Influencers

Spend time nurturing the 10% of your leads that start sharing and get them to share more with bribery.

Full Transcript



Josh Ledgard: Hi, this is KickoffLabs On Growth. I'm Josh Ledgard and in this podcast we're going to share advice on growing sustainable businesses through the stories of our customers and our team as we learn and grow together. In this episode, I interviewed a founder who cut his teeth marketing for HelloFresh as just their fifth employee in the United Kingdom in 2012.

You learn how much they had to iterate on their product and how they made their prelaunch on KickoffLabs such a huge success, gathering over 18,000 emails with a conversion rate over 50% and a viral boost of 65%, and at the time I'm recording this introduction, they've passed their Kickstarter funding goal in the first 48 hours. All this for their version of a product you'll use every day.

Remember, if you enjoy this episode, write us a review in the podcast listening app of your choice and send any feedback to josh@kickofflabs.com.

All right, we are live. I'm talking today to Freddy Ward from Wild Cosmetics and their latest product is Wild Deo or Wild Deodorant. And the website for that, it's www.wilddeo.com and you guys recently wrapped up a successful campaign on KickoffLabs where you were gathering a lot of email addresses. Do you mind if I share a couple rough stats about what you guys accomplished that give people an idea of success ahead of time?

Freddy Ward: Yeah, go for it.

Josh Ledgard: Cool. So when I looked up your campaign, I always look at like top recent campaigns. The two things that stuck out for me is one, you guys had a tremendous conversion rate, so your conversion rate of visitors converting into leads was around 58%, you got over 15,000 leads and you had a viral boost of 65% which means that about over half of the leads coming in to your campaign were referred from friends, and we'll get into what you guys did to drive that percentage of referrals and the word of mouth marketing that happened.

But those are all tremendous numbers, which leads me to believe that you guys did a great job marketing, which I want to get into and a great job finding your audience for this product. So let's get into it. First of all, thanks for being on the podcast today.

Freddy Ward: No worries. Thanks a lot for having us.

Josh Ledgard: I'd love to know a little bit about your background and what led you to this point, the idea of starting this company. So what kind of background do you have and how did you come up with this ideas as the product you wanted to pursue?

Freddy Ward: Yes, I'm very much from a kind of startup background, and my startup journey started with a company called HelloFresh, which is a recipe box delivery service. And I joined that company back in late 2012 where there were five of us in the UK. And over the next six years we'd go from a small startup to kind of IPO, which was an incredible journey and an amazing learning curve. And I saw all the different stages and different elements of kind of a growth company and really fell in love with the direct to consumer space and all the exciting things you can kind of do with marketing and building a brand.

So I left HelloFresh in December and wanted to kind of translate those learnings and those kind of interests into my own kind of project and business, having got a real taste for it. And I think one area we're really excited about was the kind of natural cosmetic space.

We're inspired by a lot of great businesses out in America and we felt that certainly in the UK and Europe, this category was kind of lagging behind in terms of, a lot of the brands are a bit stale, a bit dated and not really delivering for the consumer, either on efficacy or sustainability.

So we set out to create Wild where we wanted to create to begin with a deodorant that works just like your normal deodorant, except it's kind of not using any of the aluminum paraben sulfates that you'd find in a typical anti-perspirant, but the routine, we found there's a lot of kind of creams and things that you have to do funny routines and that kind of thing with, and it was really important to us that we would start out by replicating the same experience so the consumer isn't making any kind of sacrifices or having to do anything that's a bit kind of strange, and-

Josh Ledgard: So hold on for a second. Let me back up. So you were, you said it, an incredible journey, and that's exactly what I was thinking when you said it, about being employee number five at HelloFresh. What was your role at HelloFresh throughout this?

I spent the whole first year going to events every weekend persuading people to sign up to this random concept called recipe boxes that didn't really exist back then.



Freddy Ward: So I was in the UK team there and I joined as the first kind of marketing person. So my first year wasn't that glamorous. So I spent the whole first year going to events every weekend persuading people to sign up to this random concept called recipe boxes that didn't really exist back then-

Josh Ledgard: Yeah, in 2012 you had to have gotten a lot of people looking at you like, "Why would I do this?".

Freddy Ward: Yeah. "What are these, like food in boxes? That sounds pretty weird".

Josh Ledgard: What a great way to cut your teeth on like sales at this point though, because you've got to overcome so many customer objections, it gives you a great, probably gave you a great background for coming into another space where you are also going to have to come up with answering a whole bunch of customer objections.

I learned very early on is like it's so important to understand the consumer needs and what they're kind of looking for and there's no better way to do that than going and talking to people and having to kind of sell the product.



Freddy Ward: Yeah. What I learned very early on is like it's so important to understand the consumer needs and what they're kind of looking for and there's no better way to do that than going and talking to people and having to kind of sell the product. So I think that was, that was kind of great. And then as the company kind of developed and they sort of gave me the chance to sort of step up and I ended up kind of running the UK marketing function. So covering kind of brand performance in CRM and yeah, towards the end it was a lot less about telling people about this category, it was more about making sure you continue to be the number one brand both in the UK and globally, which was another fun but very different challenge to when I started.

Josh Ledgard: So we'll get into the online marketing that you've done for Wild in a minute, but did you take sort of that to the streets mentality? Have you done that kind of marketing for your current product?

I think we're on our 30th iteration before we've launched. And you know, this included me having like rashes and problems with (early revisions of) the product.



Freddy Ward: Yeah, absolutely. I mean I think I've tried to get out there with the samples and products we've been using. I think we're on our 30th iteration before we've launched. And you know, this included me having like rashes and problems with the product. And so we've had to work really hard at getting it right and it's really not easy in Deodorant. And I've used a lot of kind of feedback and going into offices and really working on my pitch, whether it's having dinner or talking to friends, I'm always trying to sell and kind of judge their reaction a little bit. And kind of a lot of that learning goes into how we then develop our kind of marketing strategy for launch.

I'm always trying to sell and kind of judge their reaction a little bit.



Josh Ledgard: So I was going to say, I was going to ask if you had, what sort of failures you had leading up to this point, but it sounds like you've had kind of 29 failures that didn't work so well testing the product up to this point, including things that have caused rashes before you got the winning product?

Freddy Ward: Yeah, we were failing every day at the moment. And I think that's the kind of, you got to embrace that as a start up. And as long as you're learning from that and you're kind of iterating and you're kind of really keeping your finger on the pulse and doing everything you can to get better, that's great. But with limited budgets and coming into a new category and, you know, you've got to not fear making mistakes, you just got to learn really quickly to kind of hand drive that.

Josh Ledgard: So let's talk about the online marketing you guys have done for a while so far. So were you doing anything before you launched the KickoffLabs campaign online?

Freddy Ward: So I think we started by sort of seeding some content on our key social channels. So I think this is, you know, designed to be an Instagram friendly, Facebook friendly brand. And so we started to kind of cultivate and work on those communities, and then kind of alongside that, once we had a small core audience, we kind of knew we needed to try and get more from them-

Josh Ledgard: So how small was this core audience? So you're building your own networks online, like your own Instagram channel, your own Facebook page, you're kind of growing those. And when you say you built small communities, what does small mean to you?

Freddy Ward: So you're looking at like 500 to a thousand kind of followers on those kind of, on those platforms, and kind of building those kind of connections. And then it's like, "Right, how... now we've got that kind of first critical mass and that sort of initial traction, how do we"-

Josh Ledgard: So how did you build those connections? So I'm looking at this and saying, you know, you've got, if you've got to get a thousand Instagram followers, like how did you as a brand manage to get a thousand Instagram followers?

How did you as a brand manage to get a thousand Instagram followers?



Freddy Ward: So I think it's, you know, number one, create good content and, using a lot of our own networks really to begin with. And, we played a little bit with some ads just to kind of get us started, get that momentum. And then, you know, I think it's just about reading all the best practice out there. So posting, you know, on a daily basis, posting interesting content, diverse content, not just your brand and your product, but the wider movements or things that your customer base is going to be interested in. And if you become-

Josh Ledgard: You may be talking about in your case, you may be making posts about maybe other natural cosmetic brands, maybe not your own, but sort of other places in the same space or other folks in the same space.

Freddy Ward: Exactly. And in any articles, you know, from newspapers or whatever that is covering topics that we know people are going to kind of be interested in. And really, I think what consumers want from modern day brands is that they're useful, they're providing useful, relevant content and then they understand them. So that's where our real focus is. Understanding who our customer is and what they want from our kind of social channels and kind of building from there.

Josh Ledgard: So now let's talk about KickoffLabs. So how did you hear about using KickoffLabs for your launch?

Freddy Ward: So we did a lot of kind of research into, you know, how we could grow this business and kind of move from that embryonic stage into something a bit bigger. I'm very familiar with Harry's and you know, their very successful launch campaign a couple of years ago now.

With limited resources it became quite clear that KickoffLabs could really help us automate a lot of the hard work (building a referral program) and really focus on delivering the results, which has been great.

And you know, I've always wanted to kind of try doing something similar because I think it's a really interesting kind of dynamic and made a lot of sense from a kind of marketing perspective and particularly what I learned about referral and the power of that at HelloFresh, and, you know, we did some research on what technology could kind of help us. Again, there's just two of us in the business at the moment. So it's all hands on deck and, you know, I think it became quite clear that KickoffLabs could really help us automate a lot of the hard work and really focus on delivering the results, which has been great. Wild Signup Page

Josh Ledgard: Yeah, absolutely. So you had a really simple landing page. I remember looking at the page, it was on KickoffLabs at the time, and I love the tagline. It just says, you know, you've got your brand, which is Wild. And then it just says, "Nature's got you covered". There's some images, your hero shot images to the right of that, they look like, you know, I can sort of tell they're sticks or a deodorant, like it's got that look to it. And then you're simply, your pitch is simply, "Be the first to hear of exclusive launch offers and enter our referral competition to claim free deodorant rewards". And then you've got the fine print about the contest.

But basically you're saying like, here's a tagline, you know, we've got you covered. And then here's a reason to join right away, which is be the first to hear and enter our competition for rewards. So you're sort of hinting that there's more once people go in. There's not a lot of, you know, lengthy detail on this page. There's not a lot of, you know, extra product shots. There's not model shots. Did you test this and how did you come up with saying we just wanted it to be really simple?

You realize that when people don't know who you are, it's really important that they kind of instantly get it when they see a bit of advertising. That they understand what you're trying to do.



Freddy Ward: So, we tried a few different than things on ads, paid ads before. So we tested copy and we tested images and very similar to my learnings at HelloFresh, really, you realize that when people don't know who you are, it's really important that they kind of instantly when they see a bit of advertising, they understand what you're trying to do. So you know, I think a lot of people make the mistake where they go for these kind of campaigns that brands like Apple can get away with where it's very sort of design led. And I suppose you would, you kind of only get it because they're spending so much money on these things. And I think as a kind of new entrance, you've just got to be really clear, have a real clear, concise call to action. And that's kind of critical to driving success with a campaign, I think.

Josh Ledgard: Well, and how did you drive the seed traffic to this campaign? So how did you drive sort of that initial other half of the traffic that wasn't the referral traffic to the campaign?

Freddy Ward: So you know, that starts with where they said with the audiences we've built on social, and then we're through our kind of networks really. We're kind of driving that and then also we, again, did a bit of testing on Facebook and I think cost per lead, was at something like 20p a lead, which is I think quite a good metric for us. So we kind of invested a little bit in just building that small core audience to get the initial group. And then, you know, we kind of let KickoffLabs do its magic.

We invested a little bit in just building that small core audience to get the initial group. And then, you know, we kind of let KickoffLabs do its magic.



Josh Ledgard: Cool. And you've got now when people, after they've entered and you take them to your referral page, the contest promotion page. I love how the message here is also really simple. It's really bright. It's a clean look. You've got sort of the natural like lemons and limes, big product shot. Again, it says Wild, and it just simply says, "Invite friends and earn free deodorant". And then I love the on-brand message, "Not sharing stinks. Don't be shy. Tell your friends about us and earn free Wild products a with every friend that joins". And then as you are giving away stuff you've says, you know, five people, you'd say, "Free travel deodorant, at 10, you get a full regular stick", I guess. And then rewards go up from there to like free, you know, free t-shirt, free deodorant, trio pack, and a free year subscription to the deodorant. So how did you decide what you wanted to give away? Like these reward levels? People often ask us like what's too much? What's too little? Like how do I know what the right thing to give away is? How did you decide on these rewards? Wild Referral Page

Freddy Ward: So again, what we tried to do is attribute a value to a lead. So like how much are we willing to pay for a lead and it doesn't, I'm agnostic how I get that. Whether it's through Facebook, whether it's through KickoffLabs, whether it's through, you know, whatever. And we'd probably model out a scenario, what we did in this case, modeled out a scenario where we kind of had a worst case... well, commercial scenario where lots of people were kind of doing the five or 10 and what that kind of cost implication would kind of be to us.

You really need to focus in on that 10% and push them to build out that kind of network. And that's kind of what's so great about this, is that you really focus on your high quality refers and get them going forth and multiplying.


And you know, we just knew that it was going to be really valuable to be able to see, you know, you get 90% of your value from 10% of your audience. So you really need to focus in on that 10% and push them to build out that kind of network. And that's kind of what's so great about this, is that you really focus on your high quality refers and get them going forth and multiplying. And that really set us up, really set us up for success and we, you know, we had, you know, actually exceeded our expectations in terms of how much it cost us per lead. It was in the end, you know, very, very cost effective in comparison with anything else we kind of tried just because of the sheer virality that we experienced.

Josh Ledgard: So what, so you guys ran the campaign, it looks like it ran for about three weeks and it was still going strong. You were having, in the last week, it still had a 30%, 40% conversion rate. Did you have a number in mind where you said we're going to cut it off? Was it date focused or when did you decide to cut off the campaign and say, "Okay, this is enough. We feel confident that we want to launch the actual site and the store"?

Freddy Ward: We kind of had dates in mind when we set things up. And I think if you let it drag on too long, then people lose interest, it can be a bit confusing for customers and you know, you probably take your eye off the ball. So I think it's quite important to focus on a short period of time and really push it. And then you know, for a kind of launch strategy and then to kind of move on to the next phase. I think also once you've built those leads, that's the kind of first step, right? And if you don't communicate with them, if you don't start interacting with them and have something for them to buy relatively soon, then that audience is going to degrade quite quickly. So I think it's really important that you're able to follow up and capture the value and capture their interests when they've signed up to you. And to do that you need to not let the campaign go on for too long when you're thinking about launch.

Josh Ledgard: So over the course of the campaign, what was the best part about using KickoffLabs and the tools that we provided for you guys?

KickoffLabs is very easy to design. It's very easy to kind of follow and it just took all of the hassle out of having to kind of worry about things.



Freddy Ward: It's very easy to design. It's very easy to kind of follow and it just took all of the hassle out of having to kind of worry about things. And it's great that you verify the leads in the backend of the system and, you know, the analytics and data reporting was super useful as well. So you know, for me it was, you know, with the cost it's a no brainer to use KickoffLabs for these types of campaigns.

Josh Ledgard: And so I see when I, I sometimes ask like, "What's next?". It looks these are pretty exciting days for you because it looks like maybe yesterday you guys launched the actual, the Kickstarter campaign. So you've entered the preorder phase.

Freddy Ward: Yes. So we're up and running. We launched at midday today, so I think we are close to over-funding, hopefully in the first 24 hours, which would be a great start and definitely a lot of down to having a good audience for us to kind of nurture from. And yeah, then we have big ambitions to kind of go and properly disrupt this market, which is really exciting.

Josh Ledgard: So I saw hints on the referral page. Are you guys, is it purely a subscription play or is it like HelloFresh or is it also you're selling individual packs directly to customers when you launch?

Freddy Ward: They can buy either or. So it's people can use our subscription functionality if they find that convenient and they don't want to have to think about it, but they can also buy one off products on the site as well.

Josh Ledgard: I think I'll say, I feel like personally, I mean this is anecdotal evidence and you probably hear opinions like this all the time, but you guys are entering a space where I think it's, you're kind of wide open for a company like yours to really disrupt what's going on with kind of mainstream cosmetics and beauty products. So I mean a group of people, I go to a gym and a group of people like there, they're just always like cycling through these different natural products, trying to find one that works for them and nobody has ever found like, "Oh everybody should use this". It's all like, "Well I tried this, but then there's this issue. I tried this, but then there's this issue". And nobody has really like nailed it, but people have an open mind and they want to find an alternative to the bigger name brands. They want to find a natural solution but, you know, they're really seeking something. So I think you've really tapped on that concept of you know, as you say on the Kickstarter thing, and natural deodorant that actually works. Because I think people care about this, they care about the planet, they care about like their health, they care about not having all the additives and they're just looking for someone to say, to guide them and say, "This is the great solution". And that's my long way of saying like I think you guys have stumbled or discovered or did your research to find a good market space.

Another great advantage that people often forget about direct to consumer is that you have no disruption to your data and your understanding of those customers.



Freddy Ward: Yeah, I mean I think this is an incredibly exciting category where consumers are just like, their seeking out brands that can be more personalized and have greater transparency and they're willing to pay a bit more to have those relationships. And that's what's so exciting from a marketing perspective. If we can really understand our customers, really build a product based on feedback, and you know, it's another great advantage that people often forget about direct to consumer. You have no disruption to your data and your understanding of those customers. So you can really use data and insights to guide you and drive you and always improve on what you're doing. And that's what's kind of most exciting for us that once we get that core group of customers, where we take this is pretty open. And I'd say there are not many categories as exciting as this, certainly that I've seen in the last 12 to 18 months.

Josh Ledgard: And what advice do you have for people that have similar goals? Maybe they're working on, you know, a lip gloss or working on some other natural product in the beauty or fashion space that has a physical good to it. So what advice do you have for people with similar goals aside from don't compete with us?

Freddy Ward: Yeah, I think the big thing is don't be afraid to fail and just make sure that you build some time into your kind of plans and your launch that you have times to experiment and figure things out and you're not putting that kind of really hard pressure on a kind of set timeline until you're really confident with your product and you've got something strong in the market. And then listen to customers, get feedback, really understand who they are and then kind of tailor your brand and your content to meet their needs. And you know, if you can be useful and valuable and have a great product, then there's exciting opportunities out there.

Josh Ledgard: All right, now we've entered sort of, one of my favorite parts is just going quickly through five questions, the fast five questions. So how do you personally get in the work zone to get things accomplished?

Freddy Ward: For me it's been important to be in a coworking space. So it's getting out, getting out of the house. I like to get up early. I kind of jog into work, I take a little bit of exercise and I'm kind of in getting ahead of my day and at the start of it is kind of my main, getting that routine. I'm a very routine driven person and once I'm in that routine, I can be most productive.

Josh Ledgard: Great. Favorite vacation destination?

Freddy Ward: That's the west coast of Scotland. So it's may not sound very exotic, but it's one of the most beautiful places in the world. And not too touristy. So yeah.

Josh Ledgard: Just sort of escape in rolling green hills? I'm trying to picture this.

Freddy Ward: It's kind of like the Caribbean without sun.

Josh Ledgard: The Caribbean without sunshine? Okay.

Freddy Ward: Yeah, exactly. It's like cold and raining, but it's beautiful beaches and just a really lovely place to go and hang out and decompress.

Josh Ledgard: All right. Your favorite podcast people should listen to?

Freddy Ward: My favorite podcast. So, I'm a big fan of "My Dad wrote a porno".

Josh Ledgard: Okay, what is that about?

Freddy Ward: It's a podcast, very popular in the UK where someone's reading a book written by their dad that was like a soft porn kind of podcast, but it's very, very funny and definitely one to recommend.

Josh Ledgard: Cool. Something new you've learned in the last year?

Freddy Ward: Something new I've learned in the last year. I think I'm kind of relearning a lot at the moment. I was saying to someone, having been in management at HelloFresh for a couple of years, it's weird getting back into it, but I've been learning a lot around press and how to interact and build my kind of PR connections in the space at the moment, which has been super interesting.

Josh Ledgard: And someone you look up to, personal or business wise?

Freddy Ward: Someone I look up to in terms of... let me have a think on that front. So I'm a big fan of my first ever boss actually, he's a guy called Ed Boyce who runs HelloFresh out in America, and I've learned a huge amount from him over the years and he's been a big part of inspiring me to go and set up my own business.

Josh Ledgard: That's great. I love when people look at employees and you say, and he's probably this kind of person, right? Who looks at an employee and says like, you know, "I can help you get to the next level that you want to be at and inspire you even if that means leaving, you know, your current team or not even your current team, but your whole company and starting your own business". Like I love somebody's looking out for you that way. It's rare to find those people.

Freddy Ward: Yeah, definitely. And I think, you know, in the startup world, the people you kind of who are impacting you and in control a lot of your trajectory, particular in such a small business where there's no kind of formal process or setups, that's the most important thing I think for your personal development and growth. And, yeah.

Josh Ledgard: Well, thank you for being here today. I know that I learned a few things throughout this interview and I know people listening will definitely take away a lot of great tidbits about running a great prelaunch campaign and building a Kickstarter audience. You guys are absolutely going to crush the school throughout your Kickstarter campaign. I'm sitting here watching, I just saw ching ching up again as I was watching it. So somebody else joined as a backer and you've got a few more hours in the first 24. This podcast will post before the Kickstarter campaign is live. So you can find Wild's natural deodorant on Kickstarter, and they're also at www.wilddeo.com, and at those two locations, you can find more information about the product, how to preorder it. And I wish you the best of luck going forward.

Freddy Ward: Thanks a lot, and we really appreciate being asked to teach it.