Davies Roberts is an inventor and the founder of Flare Audio. He’s spent 5 years re-inventing the loudspeaker on a mission to minimize all types of distortion. After winning the ears of the music industry they used a kickstarter campaign to launch their range of in-ear headphones and ear plugs! In 2017 they reached a turnover of £5.9 million having grown 250% in the last 12 months.
About the business
- eCommerce Business Structure – Online Only & Wholesale
- Product Range Scale – niche
- On Shopify, as built by Underwater Pistol
- Based in the UK, selling worldwide
Listen to learn the benefits of using Shopify, including the ability to deploy pixel cookies.
The Road to eCommerce
Exposure to schoolyard bullies inspired in Davies a desire to help people. As such, he worked as both a lifeboatman and fireman before coming into the sound business. Eventually he fell in love with both music and engineering, and found himself in the role of sound engineer for a band. He threw his life savings into audio equipment, only to become frustrated with the sound quality. He realized that our approach to audio for the last hundred years was simply wrong.
Davies focused on creating better technology and then developing that technology into products. He began with earplugs, of which he sold 500,000 units last year alone. Next came the development of earphones and Flare Audio is well on its way to a full range of audio products.
The Perfect Loudspeaker
Developing technology first involved a breakthrough in the way Davies thinks. Sound is invisible, and therefore requires a bit of guesswork. In order to make perfect sound, he found he had to think at a particle level, figure out how particles vibrate, and imagine the interaction of sound particles in devices.
Listen to learn about the benefits of mathematical thinking.
With the mindset in place, he wanted to make the perfect loudspeaker. He sold his audio equipment to have funds to develop his own speakers. Designing and producing equipment, along with writing patents and working to pay the bills, was stressful at the least. This compounded when he realized he’d built speakers to sell to the pro audio industry, which is an industry reluctant to experiment with new equipment.
Kickstarter and Indiegogo
Flare Audio’s first Kickstarter campaign fell flat, and Davies soon learned that creating awareness was key. Once he obtained the right balance between Kickstarter and social awareness, he was off and running. This led to long-term, 7-figure investors to whom Davies credits Flare’s survival. He also ran an Indiegogo campaign, and after pushing it hard on social media, the business went from nothing in 2016 to 2.2 million. He’s been scaling up ever since and now has the platform to develop the rest of the audio technologies. His goal is to be the Apple of the sound world, entering every single sector of sound and disrupting it.
Davies runs a full funnel marketing strategy on Facebook, which turns advertising funds into significant revenue. Techniques create intent, which flushes out where the sales are and then nails them. Direct Response marketing works with Facebook’s algorithm to seek out purchasers. Reach and awareness campaigns keep the funnel going. This has enabled Flare Audio to grow from what was once a 3-person startup located next to a scrapyard.
Listen to learn why Facebook offers an advantage in advertising over other social media options.
In advertising you must do two things: build brand awareness and convert your sales. Facebook allows you to see who is most likely to buy your items. Feed high quality traffic into your site to enable the algorithm to seek out who is going to buy. Identify your custom audience and market to them. Then create a lookalike audience to find more customers.
Listen to learn the difference between boosting Facebook posts and using the ads manager.
Davies uses the same creatives over a long period of time. Initially, these were just product images. Changing to an image of a girl wearing the product was a game changer. Moving to the lifestyle shot boosted the brand.
A percentage of advertising goes into brand awareness and another percentage is used for direct response marketing to funnel to their website. By getting the percentage right and making sure brand awareness isn’t ignored, you get more retailers.
Listen to learn why lead generation ads may not be your best focus.
Davies runs on all main advertising platforms, making sure to get the ad right first so that it can then run itself. He handles it himself, but will eventually bring on a paid social media manager when the time is right. He uses Google analytics in real time, just to see current activity, but will eventually get more into analytics, as well.
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eCommerce Book Top Tip
- Davies doesn’t advocate reading the ideas of others and is always focused on being dynamic. In lieu of reading a book, he suggests finding answers for yourself by going out and learning to do something amazing.
eCommerce Traffic Top Tip
- Combine lookalike audiences with demographics for the most efficient targeting method.
You can hear about all this on the podcast, for free – right now…
Tool Top Tip
- Microsoft Teams
Listen to learn why communication and the tools that facilitate it are so important as your team grows.
Growth Top Tip
- You can have the best marketers on the planet, but if your product is imperfect, you have a problem. Get the product absolutely right for the right market. Product first, marketing second.