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How We Scaled This Cocktail Mixer Brand To >$5M Revenue In 21 Months

eCommerce Growth Marketing for a Sustainable Growth System

At EmberTribe, we like to emphasize that we don’t just run paid ads, we build predictable, sustainable growth systems that allow businesses to reliably scale. A sustainable growth system means all of the parts of your marketing strategy are working smoothly and, most importantly, working together

So while PPC agencies can drive traffic to your site, they’re not providing you with the tools you need to improve your conversion rate, pivot your messaging, and build research-driven creative that can be iterated and optimized.

That’s a lot of words, but what do they really mean in action? Let’s dive into the growth success story of eCommerce cocktail mixer company, Proof Syrup, who we’ve been partnering with for over a year.

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Understanding Client Needs and Goals

There’s nothing old-fashioned about Proof Syrup. They’re changing the game for cocktail drinkers, especially bourbon and whiskey drinkers who like their drinks a little more traditional.

Who says you need to leave home or buy a million ingredients to enjoy a good drink? Proof Syrup challenges the idea that it’s expensive or difficult to craft classic and inventive cocktails at home. Even the most inexperienced at-home bartender can mix up a delicious drink in no time with their collection of syrups.

When Proof Syrup partnered with EmberTribe, they set the goal to grow and scale their business. Proof Syrup was preparing to launch new products and were ready to step on the gas to generate sales and build their customer base. They came on with these marketing elements already set in motion:

  • Email service
  • Instagram
  • Facebook
  • Existing customer list
  • Email capture list from their website

Not a bad start for a sound growth system! Our challenge would be to connect all of these elements together so that they work together to generate and nurture audiences and build customer loyalty. 

As part of the decision making process for both EmberTribe and Proof Syrup, our team did a little digging to identify fresh audiences, new opportunities, and existing known challenges that we’d want to address in their growth plan.

Challenge 1: Low ad budget.

Our method for finding ads that work involves a lot of testing. That means testing audiences, images, ad types, messaging, and pretty much everything that can be tested. After all, you must engage in smart testing that weeds out the flops and identifies the big winners. Think of it this way: you can’t iterate on successful ads or optimize good ads into great ads (ads that convert) unless you can actually find those good ads! Proof Syrup's low ad budget wasn't allowing enough room for meaningful testing, which meant that we needed to work with them to find strategies to scale their Facebook ad spending.

Challenge 2: Average order value.

One way to get more out of paid traffic is to figure out how to increase average order value. Achieving higher AOV maximizes ad spend by reaching audiences who are willing to pay more through targeted offers like bundles or discount deals. A low AOV can bring down your ROAS. In easy terms, the lower your AOV, the less return you're getting on your ad spend. We knew we wanted to find ways to increase AOV to maximize ROAS and create sustainable growth for Proof Syrup.

Challenge 3: Single-channel focus.

Up until partnering with us, Proof Syrup mainly focused their paid advertising efforts on Facebook. While Facebook helps a ton of businesses grow through paid ads, it’s far from the only channel that gets growth. This meant we would need to test a variety of channels to validate which ones would add value to Proof’s growth system. With so many advertising platforms available to us, we would need to narrow down those that worked, and those that didn't bring in returns.

Creating a Solid Foundation Through Research and Testing

EmberTribe creates a campaign map and launches a tailored strategy for every client. Some agencies prescribe a one-size-fits all growth strategy, but our growth specialists take the time to roll up their sleeves and build a growth strategy from the ground up.

A big part of that process revolves around building a solid foundation based on research, testing, and optimization.

We started out by doing in-depth audience research and competitive analysis. This would help us identify messaging that would resonate with potential customers and create valuable touchpoints for audiences. Without understanding your audience, your competitors, and your unique value proposition, you’re setting yourself up for a constant struggle. With these things fully hammered out, you have a solid foundation to build the rest of your campaigns on.

From this research, we moved on to audience targeting and, ultimately, a campaign map.

  • Who is the target demographic?
  • What are their interests?
  • Where can we find them?
  • What types of content should we promote?

Fueling Growth Through Winning Paid Ads

We engaged in rapid testing to find ads that would convert sales. Within the first three months, we were able to increase Facebook ad sales by 100%. We also utilized Google and Amazon to beef up Proof Syrup’s paid ad presence.

One notable example of rapid testing that provided huge returns came from an ad creative we ran for Top of Funnel traffic. We realized that it was hard to get volume at ToFu with at least a 2X ROAS because a lot of customers or potential customers objected to the price of the product (saying it was too expensive). A growth specialist created the ad below, which directly addressed the customer objection by pointing out that cost per cocktail compared to bar prices is actually very affordable.


This ad alone brought in 103 purchases with 2X ROAS, telling us that this message resonates with audiences and could easily be iterated and optimized for huge returns!


Between testing ad creative, keywords, audience targeting and various other experiments, we have helped Proof Syrup build a strong customer base that, in the long run, will become returning customers and brand evangelists.


Streamlining A Full-Funnel Growth Marketing System

As sales began to take off across paid ads, we were better able to identify funnel leaks and offer recommendations for aligning marketing efforts with advertising campaigns. For example, we noticed that a few Instagram ads had received negative comments. This is common for brands who run ads, but if comments aren’t addressed they can change a consumer’s impression of a brand they are just learning about. We also provided some guidance on responding to customer emails to help our client hone in on the customer experience side of marketing.

This is what we call a full-funnel approach to marketing, and is a critical part of building a growth system. We don’t just run paid ads, we run paid ads and engineer strong sales funnels from end-to-end that ensure predictable growth.

Some initiatives we were able to implement to engineer Proof Syrup’s growth system include:

  • Go beyond the “usual suspects” for social media advertising to experiment with Snapchat and find traction on that up and coming ads platform with 2.2x ROAS and $3k in sales.
  • Boost conversion rates for the website utilizing CRO strategies by 2%+.
  • Focus on customer retention opportunities and repeat customer rates using Shopify tools like ReConvert, which captured $35k in sales.
  • Creating engaging and valuable content to send via email lists that help drive repeat customers to the store and engage non-buyers on the email list.
  • Using keyword research and building an SEO strategy to increase Proof Syrup’s traffic via search engines, even hitting #1 overall for “Old Fashioned Syrup.”
  • Collect social proof and use these resources to assist objection handling and increase trust among audiences. 
  • Increase average order value (AOV) to maximize returns from marketing efforts by offering bundles and targeting audiences with high purchase intent. Proof Syrup product bundles brought in $836k, boosting their AOV to >$55. 

Growth Systems Get Big Results


Paid ads are a powerful tool for growing a business, but they are not the only tool. We were able to help Proof Syrup scale from scratch to a million dollar business in 8 months because this client understood that slow and steady wins the race. We built a growth system that went beyond paid traffic to bring in growth marketing strategies that allow for predictable and sustainable growth over time.

Win 1: Increased ad spend.

We were able to test ads to validate campaigns that achieved sales. Proof Syrup went from spending about $2500 a month for a single channel to 6 figure ad spend per month and achieving $1M in revenue.

Win 2: Increased AOV.

Our team employed some strategies to increase average order value, which would help each dollar of ad spend go further. We built out email sequences to re-engage and reconvert Proof Syrup customers and created offer bundles to entice buyers to ad more product to their carts.

Win 3: Multi-channel marketing.

We utilized SEO to bring in organic traffic, beefed up an email list that gets around 20k clicks per month, an ran Snapchat ads with a 3x ROAS. Our team was able to achieve all of this because we didn't rely on Facebook as the main source of sales, but rather tested different approaches to finding converting audiences.

No hacks or “get rich quick” schemes, just good old fashioned (get it? 🥃) marketing done right.

We scaled at a constant, yet slow rate that didn't shock any campaign learnings, but let us keep gradually upping spend, which compounds on itself quickly. Proof Syrup really hit their uptick in late February 2020, and together we've reached the "never look back" phase of scaling as we continue to spend more and more each day for more and more returns.

No two growth systems will look alike, but every growth system engineer by EmberTribe is custom-built for the same reason: to help your business grow. We’re proud of our partnership with Proof Syrup and raise a glass to their continued success!