Hey, thanks for tuning in to another Partner Interview at EcomBalance. At EcomBalance, we’re all about creating win-win partnerships where we are able to grow with other companies in the ecommerce space.
In this exclusive interview, we have a conversation with Eric Carlson from Sweat Pants Agency.
Eric is a Co-Founder of Sweat Pants Agency, a high-powered performance agency, responsible for the marketing behind the INC #1 fastest growing consumer product in 2020 and the #1 fastest growing healthcare company in 2022.
He’s also the Co-Founder of 10XFactory, an exclusive entrepreneurship community with 1,000+ members worldwide.
Founder of One Cup Media, an agency whose successes include the fastest growing subscription box ever on CrateJoy, the fastest-growing direct-to-consumer golf brands in the US, and one of the fastest growing functional beverage brands in the world.
Prior to these achievements, Eric managed over $100m in advertising. Responsible for and generated ROI on budgets as large as $4m/mo via internet, radio and TV marketing specializing in SaaS, communities and ecommerce.
Eric worked for the largest privately-held financial newsletter in the world, Agora Inc, and was the Chief Marketing Officer for a private equity fund for 6 years before founding his own companies.
Connor: Hey Eric, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here. We love getting to know our partners better so that our community can benefit from what our partners are offering and doing in the industry. To get started, can you give us a high level overview of Sweat Pants Agency and how it got started?
Eric: Sweat Pants Agency is the only agency behind multiple INC #1 fastest-growing brands in their categories: Hunt A Killer (20,484% growth) and SnapNurse (146,319% growth). We’re behind several brands you likely know including Kitty Poo Club, Hunt A Killer, Fragrant Jewels, Sugar Wish, Kinder Beauty, Bokksu, BattlBox and more. We deliver 5-star service and results in ecommerce email marketing & paid media (Meta, Google, TikTok, etc.).
Connor: That’s awesome! Can you dive a bit more into the marketing services that you offer? I’m sure our audience would love to know exactly what problems you could solve for them.
Eric: Our focus is paid media and email + SMS marketing. What makes us different though is that we focus on the full-picture. We don’t just live inside of platforms; we look for opportunities and discover bottlenecks. Our specialty is quickly growing brands.
Connor: Jumping off of that…if there was one problem you’d say that Sweat Pants Agency solves best for your clients, what would it be? Why?
Eric: We are great at understanding the unit economics of a business and its goals.
We like to look at the full picture and discover where the real bottlenecks are in the business.
In some cases, this means finding the combination of variables in paid ads that leads to success. And in other cases, it might mean finding a way to regain traction after it was lost with another agency.
A great example of this is with iOS 14.5, we were one of the first agencies to change the way we look at attribution, whether it was looking at UTM last click or using attribution tools like Northbeam.
Connor: As the company continues to grow over the next year, what are your plans for expansion? Any new products or offerings or enhancements to your current products?
Eric: We are very careful about the services we offer. We only want to offer services we know we can deliver 5-star service & results on. That said, we are constantly evolving and looking to provide more value. Right now, we are testing PostPIlot (direct mail) with a few of our email and SMS clients as a free beta. We will also offer a beta on our content sourcing services here in the near future at near cost to existing clients. We only upgrade our services outside of beta when we know we have good data, systems and a team in place to deliver 5-star results.
Connor: And how specifically would you say that Sweat Pants Agency and your team is different from other similar businesses in the industry?
Eric: We simply have results that other agencies just can’t say: 2 INC #1s in their category from scratch. This is rooted in our hiring process and core values. We only hire top-tier talent. In fact on average for every 400 applicants we have, we hire approximately 1 person. And our core values focus on ownership, transparency, curiosity and more.
Connor: What made you decide to get involved in marketing? What’s your starting eCommerce story? From what we’ve found, a lot of business owners providing similar services have fun stories of how they first started…
Eric: I started marketing as a kid in the early days of the internet, even was getting affiliate checks in my dad’s name at 13 🤣
But, it wasn’t until I was 23 that I became completely addicted. I went to school for business and finance and ended up in finance as my first career.
What I realized is that finance was more about selling products than managing portfolios and coming up with solutions. I had a friend that asked me to join a direct response company, and within 6 months, I was managing $4m / mo in ad spend.
I loved the feeling of managing a portfolio of money and being directly responsible for revenue that came into the business, plus the ROI.
Connor: Love it! Talking more about the eCommerce industry, where do you see it going in the next 1-2 years? Any unique predictions that you could share?
I think, as a whole, we will see ecommerce continue to grow as a % of total retail sales. This is something that happened during COVID but quickly returned to the mean.
AI is likely to open up a lot of opportunities: hyper-personalization, ease of creating new stores, and possibly new distribution channels (i.e. ChatGPT plugins).
We are likely to see more focus on retention and loyalty. This will be deployed in channels like email, SMS and even direct mail.
We also are going to see more bootstrapped but profitable ecommerce companies in this phase vs. the ones that were previously funded and burned capital.
Overall, I’m excited for the future of ecommerce.
Connor: Giving you an open mic for a minute, what is something you’d want the EcomBalance audience to hear?
Eric: I think it is important to zoom out when you look at your decisions and your focus.
I’ve seen too many ecommerce companies focus on the near-term to sacrifice the long term.
Here are a few ways this can present itself:
- A low NPS: if you have a low net promoter score (i.e. how likely are you to recommend us to a friend?), you will eventually run out of customers and efficiency. It is important to focus on the product, product development and the customer.
- A focus on upfront revenue vs. LTV: sometimes, ecommerce companies overindex on the first purchase. The truth is LTV matters (within the limits of cash flow). We have seen massive increases in LTV by selling annual subscription to subscribers after they get their first purchase. We have seen with a coffee brand that by pushing for that second order, we can massively increase LTV. This is should be a big focus of ecommerce brands.
- Not understanding the cycles of your business: we have been doing ecommerce for a long time, and almost every ecommerce brand we know has seasonality. It is important to know when you have tailwinds (and to capitalize on it) and when you have headwinds (and to be more conservative. I’ve seen too much wasted spend in trying to fight this for short term goals.
And finally, don’t sleep on getting a better understanding of your numbers. Ultimately, this business is just math.
Connor: Changing gears a little bit…When it comes to bookkeeping and accounting, what do you think the biggest pain points for business owners are? Feel free to speak from personal experience as well.
Eric: I think the biggest issues we see people run into are:
- Not knowing their numbers: this is critical to make decisions and identify bottlenecks.
- Managing cash flow: it isn’t enough to be profitable, you need to make sure you have cash in the bank.
- Forecasting – this is especially true with inventory. If you over-forecast, you can end up in an unnecessary cash crunch.
Connor: As we close this out, I just have one more question. Where is the best place to find and follow you and the company online? Also, if you have one, is there any special offer that you’ll be offering to the community today?
Eric: People can find us at www.sweatpantsagency.com
For people interested in paid media, we can offer 10% off our normal service fees if they let us know they referred by EcomBalance.
For people interested in email or SMS, we can offer 10% off our normal services fee and we’ll offer free SMS on any email plan over 15 emails.