#25: How To Build A Viral E-Commerce Business with 200,000+ Fans

How does a candles business grow to 40,000+ fans and over $1 million in revenues in their first year? Tune in to hear the story of Diamond Candles with Co-Founder Justin Winter and the tips he has for building a viral E-commerce business.

Topics Discussed:

  • 02:30 – Story of Diamond Candles
  • 05:30 – Trial and error with manufacturing candles
  • 06:25 – Defect rates and scaling manufacturing
  • 08:00 – How they differ from big box candle retailers
  • 08:30 – Does it always make sense to produce in Asia
  • 09:55 – Differentiating from mass producers in your value proposition
  • 10:45 – Vertical integration vs dropshipping
  • 11:10 – They key to lowering your customer acquisition costs
  • 13:00 – Barriers of entry and the challenge of a good idea
  • 14:30 – How the product of Diamond Candles works
  • 15:25 – Initial SKUs and scaling up every quarter
  • 16:30 – Crowd-sourcing product development from customers
  • 17:45 – Nailing down the fragrance with different demographics
  • 20:40 – How they identified their ideal customer
  • 23:00 – Quality thresholds of the rings in candles
  • 24:20 – Flood of YouTube testimonial videos
  • 26:00 – Massive social proof and a viral coefficient
  • 27:40 – How to scale your viral coefficient with systems
  • 28:40 – Creating an experience instead of a product
  • 30:30 – What drives customers to spend $1,000 in purchases
  • 33:30 – How they use Pinterest to drive traffic
  • 35:00 – Do product widgets convert to sales on Facebook
  • 40:30 – Customers defending your company publicly on Facebook
  • 43:00 – Leveraging the viral coefficient with customer service
  • 46:20 – Was there a big break, or did small wins snowballed to today
  • 48:05 – Two lessons in finding a viral product idea
  • 50:10 – What to do if your store only makes a few hundred a month
  • 52:00 – How to get inspiration from the winners on the market


Mentions in the Episode:


Episode Length: 56:02


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  1. Hi, listened to your podcast with Tim Conley, and found your blog. GREAT PODCASTS!

    i wanted to ask you if you maybe know what type of hosting i should choose for an eCommerce store based on WordPress (something like the cat store from Dan Andrews), i don’t know if a regular host-gator re-seller its ok or i need to choose something special like with a US ip or something

    I am used to use volusion or shopify but the hosting is included in the packages they offer therefore i dont know what to use with my next store that will be on woo commerce/wordpress

    1. Hi Adam –

      Most WordPress hosting is purchased in a package, usually with the domain together from a service as Bluehost or Godaddy for a fixed amount every year usually in the $80-$120 US range, depending on addons that you also purchase.

      A lot of big bloggers move their hosting to a virtual private server (VPS) so they are not reliant on a service provider, but for an e-Commerce operation just starting out on WordPress it’s not really necessary.

      Furthermore, if you’re going to have your private server and already have the cash flow / business scale to support it, it would make more sense to migrate over to Magento for all the benefits of your own standalone platform.

      One final thing to consider with Woocommerce is that they will never have the level of support that Shopify/BigCommerce can offer if stuff goes wrong or needs tweaking.

      Fundamentally, WooCommerce is great for shops just starting out without much sales, especially if they already have a blog and are looking to add shopping cart functions.

      But once the business gets bigger or it becomes a pure E-Commerce play, things that go wrong will go wrong. In my view, it’s much better to be on a platform that is purely dedicated to E-Commerce to know that there is support you can rely on in the future.

      Plus, due to the nature of B2B environments, if you are a big revenue generator as a customer (for Shopify/BigCommerce), you can usually get better treatment and service.

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