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HomeEntrepreneurMange Buyer Relationships with Tyler Handley of Inkbox

Mange Buyer Relationships with Tyler Handley of Inkbox

Foundr Journal publishes in-depth interviews with the world’s best entrepreneurs. Our articles spotlight key takeaways from every journal concern. We talked with Tyler Handley, cofounder of Inkbox, about how one can handle buyer relationships. Learn excerpts from that in-depth dialog beneath. To learn extra, subscribe to the journal.


Again in 2015, Tyler Handley was desirous about getting his first tattoo. However he confronted a standard dilemma—and that’s the truth that tattoos are everlasting. How might he make certain that the design he bought in the present day could be one he appreciated 15, 20, or 50 years down the road?

Sure, you can at all times get a laser elimination therapy, however these are recognized to be painful and dear. And, sadly—apart from the non permanent tattoos he used to get from merchandising machines as a child—Handley wasn’t conscious of some other semipermanent choices.

He determined to handle the issue himself and enlisted the assistance of his brother, Braden. The duo borrowed $10,000 from a pal to assist them get off the bottom and, in the identical 12 months, launched Inkbox.

Quick ahead seven years. As we speak, Inkbox is a beloved model that generated simply shy of $30 million in income final 12 months. The corporate was additionally acquired earlier in 2022 by pen-maker BIC for $65 million.

The Snowball Impact

Getting these first few prospects by way of the door is a problem each entrepreneur faces.

In line with him, Inkbox’s first 12 months was gradual. The corporate solely made just a few thousand {dollars} per day—in the event that they have been fortunate. What lastly began driving the corporate’s progress was a mixture of Fb advertisements, Instagram influencer advertising and marketing, and word-of-mouth.

“That’s at all times the toughest half. It’s like rolling a snowball down a hill, proper? You must get it began by some means. In case you can’t, nothing’s going to start out rolling.”

For brand new founders who’re additionally struggling to develop their corporations, Handley recommends discovering that one core channel and homing in on it—slightly than spreading your self too skinny. One other piece of recommendation? Don’t lose concentrate on the top-of-funnel advertising and marketing efforts, particularly whereas scaling.

Though top-of-funnel investments may be extra expensive, Handley believes it positively impacts the remainder of the funnel and in the end will ship returns. In actual fact, he’s tracked the information and is aware of that it pays off over time.

“I feel a number of corporations get trapped in simply spending into the center of the advertising and marketing funnel. However you’re not driving sufficient consciousness, which doesn’t compress that value. We’ve been actually placing extra into that high to construct model consciousness and put the [Inkbox] identify on individuals’s tongues. So once they do see that advert that’s extra mid-funnel for them, they’re much more more likely to click on and much more more likely to convert.”

Bizarre However Good

Ultimately, the Handley brothers determined to search for extra funding. They raised round $1.2 million throughout its pre-seed and seed rounds and, just a few years later, $13 million throughout its Collection A—enabling them to considerably broaden the varieties of tattoos they’ll supply.

As we speak, Inkbox has one thing for everybody. For individuals who need lovely and aesthetically-pleasing tattoos, the corporate has delicate floral designs. Individuals in search of a extra atypical look have the choice to get a tattoo of a frog using a skateboard or the Mona Lisa capturing lasers out of her eyes.

“I might say irreverent is the suitable phrase to explain them. Bizarre can also be a superb phrase—however bizarre in a great way.”

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Inkbox additionally launched a more recent model of its product about three years in the past, which gave them far more flexibility from a design perspective. One of many advantages of this replace is that it allowed them to construct out the group of artists they companion with on the designs.

“One of many core components of our enterprise is the truth that our 10,000+ designs are designed by round 650 completely different artists—lots of whom are actually, actually proficient tattoo artists from all over the world. Collectively, I feel they earned round simply $1.5 million final 12 months, which was actually cool for us to see.”

The corporate additionally launched its customized platform, which makes up about 15–20 % of its quantity. With this characteristic, prospects can both add a design themselves or design one from scratch utilizing Inkbox’s fonts and catalog of designs.

“It’s why we have now so many designs on our platform. Individuals have very particular tastes and calls for for what they placed on their our bodies for one to 2 weeks. And so customized was only a pure extension.”

Tricks to Handle  Buyer Relationships

How have the Handley brothers grown so shortly whereas managing buyer relationships? Listed below are their ideas for constructing long-term buyer relationships.

  1. Perceive the place your online business is presently: Constructing buyer relationships is a resource-intensive course of—and typically your online business isn’t fairly able to make that funding. As an example, Handley explains that within the early days of Inkbox, they needed to focus extra on progress than retention. “We have been simply actually relying closely on new prospects from Fb to drive top-line progress—with out specializing in returning prospects and retaining these prospects.” And that is OK as a short lived state.
  2. Take note of your CSAT rating: Whenever you’re prepared to start out investing in buyer relationships, top-notch customer support is essential. One metric that may assist you to gauge the standard of your customer support is your CSAT, or buyer satisfaction, rating. “Our CS crew has a extremely excessive CSAT rating. And that’s vital as a result of it’s a product that’s new to customers,” Handley says.
  3. Spend money on constructing your e-mail campaigns: Begin with emails in case you’re unsure how one can construct a post-purchase journey for purchasers. In case you’re on Shopify, there are tons of prebuilt campaigns you should use. “Simply get them again within the door with a drip marketing campaign,” Handley says. “12 emails over three or 4 months with growing gives.”

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