30% consistent email revenue in less than a year, 5% revenue growth from SMS at an ROI of 49x within a month: The stunning growth of a custom portrait store with Hustler Marketing

The Company

Turn Me Royal is an online custom portrait store that turns a photo into a timeless image in the style of a Renaissance painting. The portraits turn normal plebs into the stuff of royalty, and make for some humorous as well as memorable gifts both for oneself and for loved ones.

The process is all self-serve, meaning the customer uploads an image that they want to turn into a painting, provides the details and makes an account, pays and checks out. After a few days, the customised portrait is ready and arrives framed to the customer’s doorstep.

“The piece we create for you will be designed and crafted by one of our talented artists, inspired by the incredible masterpieces created during the Renaissance. This was the Golden Age of portraiture, and our work reflects the skill and flair of the great artists working in that era.”- Tadas X, CEO and founder, Turn Me Royal

The marketing story

Started in May 2020, Turn Me Royal is a young and promising online business. In terms of their marketing footprints, the store is investing in building top-of-the-funnel awareness through Facebook ads, SEO, content marketing, and leveraging email and SMS marketing to move the customers along the funnel. One thing is clear, the promising growth the company has already seen with Email Marketing and SMS within less than a year and two months respectively is nothing short of inspiring.

“Email and SMS are key to our multi channel marketing strategy. Thanks to these channels we’ve been able to grow quickly and sustainability, converting visitors into new customers and engaging the ones we already have.

– Tadas K., CEO and founder, Turn Me Royal

A timeline of the store’s email marketing milestones

Growth numbers for the period of
October 2020 to July 2021

Email Revenue


Store Revenue


Email List Size


Repeast Purchase


Growth from
SMS Revenue


The Problem

As a young but promising ecommerce store barely a few months old, Turn Me Royal was seeing a lot of potential as well as a few challenges. When we took the company, we were tasked with the following:

Increasing the store’s list size

and building up an email and SMS list from scratch.

Establishing trust:

For a new ecommerce store, establishing trust can be an uphill task as most people have not heard of the store before and the stats on the store don’t show a strong history of performance.

Driving Repeat Purchases:

Being a specialty gift store attracting mostly one-time purchases, we had to figure out ways and focus on increasing repeat customers.

Driving Content Strategy:

Drum up multiple engaging and beautiful campaigns and hooks for very similar products.

The results

How we went from sub 5% to 30% of the overall revenue from email and drove an average repeat revenue of 45% over the last 9 months

From sub 5%, we scaled the email revenue to 15% of the overall revenue within our very first month of work. Now, 7 months later, we have clocked a consistent average of 30% monthly revenue from email.

Here’s some of the major strategies we’ve undertaken to get there:

Optimised Welcome Flow

Turn Me Royal ran Facebook, Instagram and other paid ads to drive traffic to the store. To capture all this traffic and turn it into leads, we built a Welcome Flow from scratch and integrated several welcome emails into it . We also built a special Welcome Pop-up to collect the emails and phone numbers. The welcome flow alone contributed over 50% of the email revenue in most months. 
Note that the welcome flow is one that does better as the store grows and gets more traffic.

Set up 5 essential flows
right in time for Black Friday

Since the Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM) time was very close on the horizon when we started working with Turn Me Royal, we focussed on 5 essential flows to optimise for this high-sales period. The flows looked to automate campaign emails based on a few segments like:

  • Black Friday VIPs
  • Black Friday Sale Extension
  • Cyber Monday Sale Email
  • Halloween Promo Email
  • Cyber Monday Extension

Unboxing Video Request flow

Turn Me Royal portraits tend to generate some memorable moments at the time of being received as gifts. The receiver’s response, usually filled with delight, amusement, and fascination – whether it’s the customer’s own portrait or a gift to the other is usually one that deserves to be captured. The store also regularly shares videos of these reactions on their social media as part of their content strategy. To generate more of these reaction videos, we set up a flow which requests the recent purchasers to send in their unboxing or reaction video. This flow is not geared towards generating revenue per se, but rather garnering User Generated Content, without having to manually keep track of and request the same from every new customer, and yet it manages to rack up around 2% of the overall flow revenue.

Campaign Launch

After achieving 40% of the overall store revenue in just 2 months from email flows and having a list size of over 25,000 now, in Dec 2020, we began to set up campaigns for the store.

Being a custom and visual product, having the right campaign strategy and attractively designed emails was the key to nailing campaign revenue.

“As far as email content is concerned, we focused mainly on the joy of giving a unique and memorable gift to a friend or a loved one. By doing so, we were able to stay top of mind for many customers who return to Turn Me Royal to make the important moments in their lives that much more memorable.”

Carlos Valdivia, Account Manager, Turn Me Royal

“As far as email content is concerned, we focused mainly on the joy of giving a unique and memorable gift to a friend or a loved one. By doing so, we were able to stay top of mind for many customers who return to Turn Me Royal to make the important moments in their lives that much more memorable.” Carlos Valdivia, Account Manager, Turn Me Royal

We also played with personifying the portraits with relatable qualities of a king or queen so that we bring to the mind of the reader a specific person for whom that portrait would be be perfect as a gift.

Starting from just 5 campaigns in Dec ’20 to averaging 12 campaigns per month since then, the campaign revenue has tripled in 7 months and now constitutes over 10% of the overall store revenue.

June 2021
Enter SMS

“We knew that to increase the store’s footprint and enhance the number of touchpoints between the store and its customers, we had to augment email marketing with SMS. As we’re partnered with Yotpo, the SMS marketing platform, we were confident we could achieve incremental growth from SMS.”-
Iveta, Head of SMS manager for Hustler Marketing

So in June 2021, on a pilot, we started SMS marketing for the store.

SMS Strategy

We wanted to start with the basics – setting up the 4 most essential flows, together with 3 opt-in methods.
Set up the TCPA & GDPR compliance measures so that we could start collecting SMS subscribers as soon as possible while we were working on our strategy.

Prepared the Welcome SMS and Cart Abandon SMS flows and launched 3 opt-in methods.

  • Checkout SMS opt-in right away
  • A pop-up to collect both emails and phone numbers a few days later.
  • An opt-in landing page to drive interested email subscribers to.
Launched the Browse Abandon SMS flow, followed by the Post Purchase.
We launched the first SMS campaign for Father’s day with a list size of just 2,100 subscribers and yet achieved a 6.9% conversion rate (6.9% of the recipients made a purchase from the SMS campaign ) and 10.31x ROI for the client on the cost of the campaigns. These numbers validated that our strategy for acquiring an engaged audience was working really well.

By the end of week 4, our efforts were rewarded – with only 3,171 subscribers and flows being live for less than a month, we got 3.51% of the store revenue just from SMS with a 9.43x ROI on the store’s initial investment.

Some Notable SMS stats

for Turn Me Royal

  • Earned 3.5% of total store revenue from SMS in just 1 month
  • In July (month 2) SMS flows and campaigns generated 6.27% of the store’s revenue with just 5,256 subscribers
  • In 2 months, the store saw a 65.75% growth in the list of SMS subscribers.
  • ROI-wise, the store enjoyed an ROI* of 9.4x in month 1 and 27x in month 2 and the ROI will only improve month-on-month since the costs of sending more SMSes will only increase marginally compared to the resulting incremental increase in revenue.
*ROI is calculated as Revenue – costs (one time setup fees + SMS costs + our retainer)/costs

Closing thoughts

In the ten months we’ve worked with Turn Me Royal, email marketing has achieved a consistent average revenue of 30%, month over month while the store has continued to grow overall from a 4 figure to a comfortable 6 figure business. While the numbers speak for themselves, the growth of the store has been a constant source of inspiration for us both creatively to keep pushing the envelope, consistently experiment with the strategy, and applying our ever-growing technical knowledge to get consistent results for the same product. The promising results from a complimenting SMS strategy is another step in the direction of owning the entire retention marketing funnel for the store.

“Hustler Marketing kickstarted our email marketing in late October setting us up for a great Black Friday season with over 40% of revenue from email. Since then, we’ve relied on them to create interesting angles and dynamic designs to keep our customers engaged. After a few months we figured the next step would be to go all in on SMS. They set up our flows and continued on testing different offers and formats. Since then, we’ve seen over 30x ROI on SMS and couldn’t be happier.

All in all, Hustler Marketing’s expertise and consistency makes them an easy choice for anyone wanting quick and amazing results for email and SMS.”

Tadas X, CEO and founder, Turn Me Royal

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