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Saturday, December 11, 2021

Hello, DTC readers.


We hope this email finds you well.



In this newsletter you’ll find: 👇

🏠 Homesick SEO breakdown – Part 1

⏮ DTC double down – Part 1.

🍬 Curbing the sugar with DTC brand Smart Sweets.


Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎


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SEO BREAKDOWN: HOMESICK

Climbing up the SEO ranks


Google’s overly-cautious algorithm and the glacial pace of SEO make overnight success stories super rare in the organic search world.

But then there’s Homesick. One of the most popular new candle brands.

In just two years (practically overnight by SEO standards) this young, scrappy brand has gone from virtually unknown to millions of website visitors, annually. 🤯

Homesick is coming up big with SEO and beating retail giants like Bath & Body Works, Yankee Candle, and Anthropologie.


Here’s how they’re doing it:


🔥 Developing must-have products

Optimizing product development is arguably the most powerful SEO strategy ever. It gets overlooked because people have a hard time seeing the link between the two areas.

SEO can uncover critical insights that lead to better products, create effective growth loops, improve your GTM (Go To Market) strategy, and help your website load faster.

Homesick used insights and data to uncover a unique gap in the candle space – nostalgia. Travel-focused scents made their candles a must-have item during the pandemic.


Product optimization also helped Homesick create an environment for backlinks and shares to flourish across news outlets and social media, both of which are fantastic for SEO.

Some might argue that Homesick’s success boils down to timing and luck.


Non-stop news coverage and sustained traffic growth (see chart) paint a picture of a DTC brand on a mission.

Impeccable timing? Absolutely.


Pure luck? Nonsense. 😤



Product optimization greases the wheels for easier, faster growth. Adding SEO to your process lets you tap into the same magic that’s helping Homesick win big.


💡 Focus your efforts on supplying your product team with market trends, audience behaviors, market opportunities, audience interests, and other related data.


✍️ Creating lots of high-quality top-funnel content


Homesick ranks for broad terms like candles and calming scents – a seemingly impossible feat for such a young brand.


They’ve done this by creating content people actually want to read.


Homesick’s most popular content is scent pages. Their fragrance-focused content shows up in the first position of search results as the answer to questions like:


What does bergamot smell like?

What does patchouli smell like?

What does frankincense smell like?

What does vetiver smell like?



According to data from SEMRush and Similarweb, these types of top-funnel searches drive thousands of visitors to their website.

How can you do the same?


💡 First, create content (a lot of it) that clearly and concisely answers questions people are asking about products and topics related to your industry, by using QuestionDB or AlsoAsked.


Second, make sure your content meets Google’s requirements for snippets in search results. When you Enable Search results features for your site, it helps Google better understand your content and gives it more context.


🔗 Earning authoritative backlinks and referral traffic

Debates rage about the importance of backlinks in SEO.

That noise aside, it’s cool to see Homesick regularly featured by Apartment Therapy, POPSUGAR, Buzzfeed, CNN, Sports Illustrated, Fast Company, and many other publications.




Some SEOs say backlinks don’t help rankings, but in the case of Homesick, they’ve undoubtedly helped their referral traffic.

Visitors from other sites to homesick.com are in the tens of thousands, monthly.


💡 Backlink building is hard work, so you should capitalize on every legit press and social media opportunity that comes your way.


If your product development is optimized for organic search, then earning press and social media backlinks should be a piece of cake. Easier said than done. 😅


We’ll be back on Wednesday for part 2!

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Between setting up data collection, finding the time to sift through it, and – most importantly – feeling confident enough in your data to make decisions from it…

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According to Katherine Burlock at BAM, "The pre-populated reports make it simple to answer the questions we need to report on and you can truly create a report with one click. This means we have more time during the week to dedicate to our clients, instead of fussing around with data."


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BRAND SPOTLIGHT

Are you ready to ditch the sugar coma?


Say hello to female-founded Canadian brand Smart Sweets. 🍭

CEO Tara Bosch started Smart Sweets with the goal of helping others curb their sugar addiction.

Their candies contain no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, no sugar alcohol, plant-based fiber, and are naturally flavoured and coloured.

From selling out of the trunk of her car to availability in 20,000 stores across Canada and the US, it’s safe to say Smart Sweets has blossomed since its 2015 recipe testing.

They’ve got your candy favorites including: Cola Gummies, Sweet Fish, Sourmelon Bites, Peach Rings, and so much more. 👇



Checkout their TikTok and the hashtag #smartsweets for great UGC, influencer/celebrity endorsements, and all things sweets!

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2022 PLANNING

What the best DTC brands are focusing on next year


⬆️ David Gaylord: Co-founder and CEO at Bushbalm. A daily skincare and ingrown hair prevention brand.

In 2022 we're going to be doubling down on upsells.

We took this for granted for many years as we thought our AOV was strong. Recently we started testing new offers and the lift has been incredible on specific items.

The additional value is that you can run these offers without jeopardizing onsite pricing. As our product line grew, upsells and cross sells became a key part of the funnel.

You simply can't run one ad selling everything in your store. It's too complicated for the consumer. You need to sell more complimentary items later in the funnel when they trust and understand your brand.

That's where you get your AOV up and give the customer what they truly want.


🙋‍♂️ Troy Petrunoff: Retention Marketing Manager at Every Man Jack. High quality, naturally-derived, and responsibly-made personal care products.

Conversational SMS

We started experimenting with conversational SMS towards the end of the year in two ways.

First, in our evergreen welcome flow where we asked if the user prefers using body wash or body bars.

Second, in our Holiday welcome flow where we asked if they were shopping for themselves, for gifts, or for both.

The engagement was higher than expected, and really gave us useful data that we could use for segmentation and to serve them more relevant content.

We'll definitely be doing more here in 2022.


🥤 Eli Weiss & Steven Vigilante: Director of Customer Experience and New Business Development at Olipop. The delicious, refreshing soda you love with digestive health benefits you need.

Number 1: Investing in CX has continuously proven to be a huge one for us. Our NPS on customer support is in the 90s and is a huge revenue driver for us as an org.

We'll keep investing in elevating the customer experience.


Number 2: Segmentation on communication has worked really well really well to help keep down unsubscribe rates but also massively shift the dial on revenue via email and SMS.

The goal for '22 is to get the right message to the right person at the right time.


Number 3: Taking the time to find talent & influencer partners that truly are fans of the brand.

Then leveraging internal resources to build meaningful relationships and marketing campaigns with both the talent and the team around them.


🥾 Eric Girouard: Founder & CEO of Brunt Workwear. Premium work boots for a better price by selling directly to you online – no BS.

There is only one reason we were able to achieve the incredible growth we saw in 2021, and it all comes down to team.

Each new member of the team scaled us up in an area that was bursting at the seams before their arrival, and we wouldn't have been able to sustain without them.


🛀 Matt Mullenax: Co-founder & CEO at Huron. Clean, science-backed grooming products that work.

What we're doubling down on: Amazon.


Over the past 18 months, Amazon bolstered its prominence as the most reliable retailer in terms of shipping timeframes.

What used to be a dismissed platform for fear of brand dilution is now a prominent part of the brand/product discovery cycle.


Our Amazon business has grown exponentially without much of a concerted effort on our end (and that's been a miss on my end).

We course corrected and started to really hone-in on the channel about six months ago and we're seeing an immediate impact.

I believe that success of the channel is predicated around product quality and pricing.

It's the most brutally objective channel: Customers like the product, or they don't.

And they're not shy to let you know. Brands that invest in product quality will win (so long as price points are within reason).

And brands that don't might find themselves battling the Amazon review machine to gain traction.


🚀 Pilothouse team: Facebook

Specifically for 2022 Black Friday/Cyber Monday, the FB team is planning to double down on:

1. Early access lead gen through October and early November (plus, crank up retargeting during the actual sale).

2. On the creative side, more shots of warehouses, boxes, and things being shipped. This crushed for Pilothouse!

3. More TOF efforts like YouTube and TikTok leading up to the sale.


What are you doubling down on in 2022? Reply to this email with your response!

M&A

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💰 Heap raises $110M to automate analytics for digital experiences.


🤑 Affirm spinout Resolve raises $25M in Insight Partners-led round to grow B2B buy now, pay later offering.


👟 Nike will stop selling sneakers at one of America's largest shoe chains.


🟧 Square, Inc. Changes Name to Block.


🦜 Bird Buddy lands $8.5M to pursue ‘tech for nature’ after smart bird feeder campaign takes off.


💵 eCommerce aggregator Merama gets its horn after just 12 months in business.

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🔊 HAVE YOU HEARD OUR LATEST PODCASTS?

🥜 Crunch Differentiation in CPG with Daily Crunch Snacks Founder Laurel Orley.


❄️ How Josh Elizetxe Would Build Snow Oral Care if He Was Starting Today.


⚡️ Real Talk On The Supply Chain Crunch, Word's Best Checkout Experience, and the Future of NFTs with Bolt’s Ian Leslie.


👟 Vessi’s CEO Tony Yu’s Q4 Lead Generation Brilliance (40K+ New Leads in 24 Hours With THIS Contest Strategy).


Don’t forget to rate the DTC Podcast on Apple (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)


DTC Newsletter is written by Thomas Schreiber, Collin Tate, and Rebecca Knight.


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