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DTC NEWSLETTER




Yooo! We hope you’re enjoying the chilly fall vibes. Change is in the air.


Even if your pumpkin spice latte is running low, read this QUICK FIX COPY TIP: Open your ad copy with ‘Even if’ and follow with an objection. This will shake the reader out of their apathy AND overcome an objection 👉🏼 meaning they’ll keep reading 😈


Welcome to a few of our latest joiners in the last week: Tee Public, Nick’s, The Wine List, Power Creamer, Minor Figures, and Super Smile 🤝🏼


Here’s what we got for you this week:


📦 Highest intent Facebook audiences and other value bombs from the Pilothouse team trenches

📦 400% annual fueled by content iteration with CrossRopes.com CMO, Srdjan ‘Can I buy a vowel?” Popovic

📦 An argument that influencers should be in every marketing plan in 2020 and an invitation to join DTC and friends for four all-access sessions in November to help you launch paid influencer/creator marketing systems 

📦 Tips for Maximizing Amazon Prime Day (and why it’s a crucial start to BFCM madness)


🍂It’s leaf pile season, so stick around to the end to hear some quick shortcuts that keep you from getting a rake in the face.



We caught up with Pilothouse Senior Media Buyer Alex Sandoval to find out what’s been working across multiple ecommerce ad accounts -- Mostly in audience builds and ad builds since that’s where he spends most of his time. 


Here’s what he had to share:


Build high-intent Facebook audiences with ‘Google clickers’


Google Ads has the advantage of putting an offer in front of a high-intent audience (after all, they’re searching for a solution). But what if you could ALSO have high-intent audiences on Facebook?


Well, you can!


Basically, you build a custom audience based on anyone who clicks Google Ad links. Link that includes [gclid] and then create lookalikes based on those audiences. The results here have been magical!

Pilothouse Co-Founder Kyle Hitchcox says, “This helps FB find more people that are like your high intent Google clickers. We launch this for all of our campaigns on FB now and the strategy yields great results pretty much every time.”




Guaranteed Improved Prospecting Results With LTV Audiences


Another super powerful tool Alex has seen crushing every time is when using lookalikes based on customer lists / email subscriber lists -- Especially customer lists with lifetime value. Using the LTV tool in ads manager you can include customers who have purchased your product more than once or you could go with specific options based on how much $ they’ve spent at your store. 


Once you have enough to build lookalikes based on LTV customers, it almost guarantees results in your ‘prospecting’ efforts. 


“Prob old news for you guys haha but have recently seen these over-perform with nice costs and honestly the reason for scaling up many accounts in the last few months,” Alex says.


Key here is all accounts have performed very well during and post COVID when using these tools.


Include Page Link In Headline


In ad copy, I’ve learned that ads that include the CTA with the landing page link in top text section (EXAMPLE: Shop Now —> www.sample.com) usually convert at a much higher rate than an ad with no CTA in ad text. 


Winning prospect ad copy also includes educational question ice breakers. Example: Did You Know??

 


These have crushed for most accounts.


Ad Creative: Video Mashups


“Recent ad creative winners have been UGC mashup videos with overlay text highlighting benefits / discount promos. Sometimes showing raw footage of actual customers can perform better than a high quality scripted video (just depends) but I see ads using actual customers as the best possible verifier for any brand,” says Alex.


400% Growth Through Content Iteration with CrossRope Srdjan Popovic


For our latest podcast, we sat down with Srdjan Popovic, Chief Marketing Officer of Crossrope. He happens to be a DTC Newsletter superfan. 🙌🏻


Crossrope is on a mission to become a household name in the fitness space. They have innovated the jump rope with their weighted, interchangeable ropes and accompanying app providing portable workouts that can be activated anywhere.

Crossrope has seen a 400% growth in the last year. How? Srdjan credits three key elements: 


  1. Agility 
  2. Iteration
  3. Access to an extensive library of footage 


🔑 Agility & iteration are essential

Iterative creative is essential. With a process of agile creative, and clear communication between teams to close the feedback loop, Srdjan and team have had success tracking and evaluating what creative approaches are working across different touchpoints and then acting on their findings as soon as possible in other campaigns. Their strategy requires data-based decision making and quick pivots - if something isn’t working change it, and change fast. 


🔑 Create LOTS of content (more than you think you need)

Have a comprehensive library of content and footage that you can work with to activate in different stages of your funnel. The benefit of an extensive library is that you can quickly pivot at a moment’s notice towards newly discovered opportunities (as outlined above) - you don’t want to miss out on the moment, so preparation is critical. 


For example, when COVID hit, Crossrope immediately pivoted to an at-home focus appealing to the new reality of isolation and work/play from home. They were able to shift immediately and reframe their entire campaign thanks to their bank of material. 


TIP: When filming creative, Srdjan advocates shooting multiple concepts. Shoot a few different intros and angles so that you have “play-dough” to work with, allowing you to pivot should your initial vision for your content not land with consumers. The first 3 seconds of any video are the most important, so be sure to film multiple hooky intros.


Read on for other value bombs from our conversation with Srdjan:


🔑 Meet your customers where they are

Srdjan advocates for meeting the customer where they’re at, appealing to their actual circumstances, rather than aspirational ones. Meeting people where they’re at can be as simple as pivoting your messaging based on seasonality. In the Crossrope context, their summer messaging pivots towards jump rope as an outdoor workout you can take on roadtrips. Where Christmas time messaging would shift to fitness goals and meeting your new year’s resolutions. 


TIP: Crossrope has a private Facebook group for users to build community and accountability - this has been a great tool for their team to connect with customer needs and capture what they’re talking about, and what they’re looking for. Twitter and LinkedIn can also function as a starting point for harvesting this information. 


🔑 Rely on Experts


Srdjan relies on creative agencies, funnelling specific work to specific partners, knowing where to turn when he needs an assist in a particular niche. If you need expertise - go to the experts. 


✈️ Build the plane as you’re flying it

Srdjan’s career to date is based on his ability to solve problems on the fly. As he put it, “building the plane as you’re flying it.” You don’t need degrees on degrees to make things happen for yourself, but you do need to know how to solve problems and have a willingness to learn. Everything can be self-taught with the right tools and resources. Your top skill is your ability to learn and learn quickly as things move around you. 


In addition to all this actionable intel, Srdjan also gifted us with a promo code! Get 10% off any jump rope set with code DTC10. (Alexa, play Jump by Van Halen 🤘🏼)


📦 Watch your sneak preview of this week’s full pod for some insight on podcast ads, how to infuse comedy in your creative, how Srdjan activates on DTC value bombs, and to hear us bask in Srdjan’s praises -  it’s almost too much. (just kidding, keep telling us we’re great!) 


The Influencer Imperative: High ROI Influencer Marketing


By Hannah Cameron


Many people have become pessimistic toward advertising. They are bombarded with it everywhere they go, don't believe the claims the ads make, and feel it crowds out more exciting and essential news. 


So with consumers facing a barrage of ads each day, it's not surprising that we trust people more than logos. With traditional advertising losing effectiveness, how can B2B and B2C companies connect with their audience, build their brands, and sell their products? 


With Influencers.


What Is Influencer Marketing?


"Influencer Marketing," also referred to as "Creator Marketing," can most simply be broken down to the modernized version of "word of mouth" marketing. In the late 90s, we saw the rise of review platforms, like Yelp, giving a voice to the consumer. These sites quickly gained popularity as more weight and trust were given to real consumers giving unbiased opinions on a person, place, or thing. 


Fast forward a few years, and reviews are still popular but have given way to the rise of the influencer. Influencers are people with significant and engaged online followings on their blogs and social media platforms. Each influencer has built their audience in a specific niche by publishing content that attracts and holds their followers' attention.

Whether they're a blogger, thought leader, product tester, reviewer, or respected community leader, influencers are power users of digital communications. They can, and do, help brands attract attention, acquire prospects, and inspire buying decisions. 


Here is why Influencer Marketing should be a part of your 2021 marketing plan.


People Trust Influencers More Than They Do Brands


Influencers work round the clock to foster a relationship of trust with their audience. Because of this relationship, they can drive traffic to your website and social media channels, giving you more views and increased sales.



Unlike celebrity endorsements of the past, today's influencers are more humanized, approachable, and accessible to their followers, which allows you to confidently use them to represent your brand. 


Influencer Marketing Is No Longer Just For B2C


Although influencer marketing is often thought of as a strictly B2C practice, B2B organizations have already used a form of influencer marketing through "thought leaders." 


Many organizations use prominent industry thought leaders in their marketing campaigns and advertising. This could be on a webinar, having them guest write a blog post, featuring them in a video, or using a testimonial from them. 



In a sense, this is influencer marketing. You are leveraging this industry leader's audience and authority industry to promote your product/company.


Other ways that B2B is using influencer marketing is through video case studies. They seek out customers that are using their products in new, and exciting ways and create video stories about what they were able to achieve. This allows your audience to see and hear from a company like theirs and hear what outcomes they were able to achieve. 


Low Costs


In 2017, Influence.co looked at the average cost per Instagram post and found:


  • The overall average price was $271 per post
  • The average price for micro-influencers (fewer than 1,000 followers) was $83 per post
  • The average cost for influencers with more than 100,000 followers was $763 per post



According to the consulting company Tomoson, brands see average returns of $6.50 in revenue per $1 spent on influencer marketing. The folks at Hootsuite, a leading online social media platform, have gone a step further by creating "The Complete Guide to Instagram Influencer Rates in 2019". This post does a great job of breaking down the right rate of different goals. 


Proven ROI


The influencer marketing numbers speak for themselves.


  • Influencer content generated 11x higher ROI than the average display ad after 12 months, according to a case study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions for TapInfluence


  • 92% of marketers who used influencer marketing in 2017 said it was effective in reaching their audiences, stated a survey by Linquia


  • 71% of marketers believe that ongoing ambassadorships are the most effective form of influencer marketing, according to a 2016 Altimeter Research study for TapInfluence


Measuring the ROI of your influencer marketing tactics comes down to having the tracking in place to ensure you can prove as direct a line as possible between a campaign and a purchase.


This was initially done with coupon codes or UTM-links-in-bio but has become much more sophisticated last year. To understand how you can accurately track your influencer marketing efforts, take a look at this quick one-minute video from #paid's measurement and insights lead Richelle Batuiga. Or check out our "Where's the ROI" blog post.



Get Started Today 


Influencer marketing is not a new tactic. It has been refined and proven as a winning marketing strategy tactic. With its rise in popularity, it is time to give it a place in your marketing plan and take advantage of this proven channel to promote your brand, products, and services.




Let’s Build Your DTC Flywheel. Together.


A Flywheel is a revolving wheel in a machine that is used to increase the machine's momentum.  The DTC Flywheel challenge does just that, teaching you a simple system you can use to turn influencer/creator and UGC content into increased sales, growing brand equity and social momentum for your business. 




As marketers, we hear about Flywheels aaaallll the time, but no one shows you exactly how to do it. We’re going to change that with the DTC Flywheel Challenge.


Learn More + Join The Waitlist Now


What It Is: A 4 day LIVE challenge to help you build your DTC Flywheel through influencer partnerships, white listing, dark posting, and building a brand ambassador program. You’ll look over the shoulder of expert practitioners and get your questions answered in real time.


Why You Should Sign Up: Based on the feedback we’ve received from over 450 DTC brands, this challenge is designed specifically to overcome your greatest pain points:



Are you in? Learn More + Join The Waitlist Now.


We make an effort to keep DTC non-political, so this take from last week’s US Presidential debate from ecom boss David Schloss is the closest we’ll ever come.





Maximizing Amazon Prime Day

By Pilothouse Amazon Team


Amazon Prime day is just around the corner (October 13-14). It’s the 2 days day where sellers compete for the added attention of this new “holiday” by offering discounts on Amazon. You give up margin, but as a lead in to BFCM, it’s an excellent way to get the purchase data flowing early. 


Lots of the work for Prime Day is done the months leading up to it including building and solidifying rank for your top keywords and maximizing your listing conversion rate. But, when it comes to the day of, how do you ensure you’re ready to take full advantage of Prime Day traffic?


Here are a few tips:


Increase your keyword bids


It’s going to get competitive so increase your bids to ensure you’re winning the auction.  If you’re using a Bid Management software, increase your Max ACOS (Advertising Cost of Sale) setting to give your campaigns room to bid up. 


Raise your budgets


As bids rise, budgets are going to be spent faster so give them some extra room in preparation (2-3x) or watch them like a hawk on the day of, ready to increase.


Optimize your listing


Amazon is the biggest mall on the internet, and Prime Day will have A LOT of window shoppers. If you’re paying to send traffic to your listing, you’ve got to make sure that money is well spent. Make sure your title and bullets contain your highest value keywords and sell the benefits of your products. Ensure your listing images and A+ content are professional, and show off your product at its best.


Own your branded keywords


If you’re not already, consider leveraging your branded keywords.  There will be brand aware customers that are likely to check Amazon for a Prime Day Discount. These campaigns typically make for easy sales and high returns.


Research to find your negative keywords


With the increased traffic, spend is going up and you don't want to be spending a whole bunch of extra money on keywords that don’t convert. Comb through your search term reports, or use 3rd party software to identify search terms that you’re paying for clicks but are irrelevant, or just not converting.


Try ASIN Targeting and Facebook to Amazon Campaigns


Amazon Standard Identification Number (ASIN) targeting campaigns allow you to target the EXACT products you want to show up as suggested products for. These are some of our top performing PPC campaigns.  On a day like Prime Day ensure these are dialled, as people browse for deals being featured on high traffic competitors can result in some big returns without much bid competition. 


Facebook to Amazon campaigns - driving traffic to Amazon from Facebook can be a great way to promote your sale. We typically offer a slightly better discount to Facebook customers with a Unique Promo Code, that way we can track sales via the code, and know how hard to push Facebook spend. 


Prime Day is an Investment for BFCM


Prime Day is not a day to look for low ACOS, but rather maximize the most sales possible through a target ACOS. Understand that ACOS is likely to rise above typical, but Organic sales are going to rise from the increased traffic. 


2020’s Prime Day has landed quite a bit later than usual and will likely be the largest traffic increase on the site until Black Friday. Brands that take advantage of Prime Day to rank up their catalog as much as possible will be in the best position going into the holiday season; brands that don’t will fall even further behind their competitors on the platform. 


If managed correctly though, you can make a ton more sales, at your target Total ACOS, and get a huge ranking boost -- just in time to take advantage of the holiday traffic. 


For a quick look at last year’s biggest winners on Amazon Prime day, check this out.  If you’re looking for more help in the Amazon channel for your brand, just reply to this email and we’ll connect you to the Pilothouse team.






Small and growing businesses report struggling to find the right partners and providers as they scale their companies. 


The 2020 Growth Giveaway unites growing brands with the opportunity to secure no-cost funding on $250,000 in capital from the leader in inventory funding, Kickfurther. 


Apply now to start the conversation


The funding includes:


💰 $10,000 in logistics from UPS-backed on-demand logistics and fulfillment provider Ware2Go

💰 $5,000 in digital marketing services from AdQuadrant, an agency with over $1 billion in attributable revenue 

💰 a Pro Supplier account from RangeMe with a guaranteed major retail buyer Audience feature 

💰 $5,000 in operations and supply chain review from RodeoCPG, a firm with over 100 years building and growing product brands; and a one-year membership 

💰 $5,000 in services to WeStock, the product request platform helping brand supporters persuade retailers to carry their favorite products. 


Entry is now open and an all-star VC and founder judging panel featuring early investors in Zoom, Tesla, Robinhood, Canva, Twitter and more will select the winner based on their growth story and compelling expansion plans.


Apply now to start the conversation


🧠 Share DTC With Friends



Share DTC with your friends, build a smarter network and we’ll give you cool rewards. We’re talkin’ stickers, shirts, hoodies...the whole gamut of DTC gear to let the whole world know that you roll with us now 👊


Your Unique Link: %RHREFLINK%


Share DTC Via:

 Email    |   Twitter   |   LinkedIn  |   Facebook

Check out our Rewards Hub for more DTsweet swag.


Things We Loved This Week


🎙 Podcast: All Killer, No Filler returns with Pilothouse lead media buyers Nate, Jacob, and Grayson. We discuss key issues of the day, UGC Mashup mechanic, fall out from 28-day Conversion Window deprecation, Transition to Server to Server + Conversion API + Shopify, Black Friday, Cyber Monday preparations, and lots more.


📝 Case Study: Bryan Harris gives a unique strategy for building a waiting list that’s hungry to buy your new product. The secret? Create a thank you page engineered to go viral by offering an additional bonus for sharing.


💊 Funnel Breakdown: @BenKnegendorf breaks down 1st Phorm’s engaging customer experience. It’s hard to stand out in the supplement game, so the efforts that 1st Phorm take, from a mystery gift, to reaching out via Instagram, to bonus products (not samples), are worth noting to anyone looking to create a delightful CX. 


🗺 Power Tweet: Founder and VC @awilkinson is our favorite follow on Twitter. Here he locks that in with an apt Simpsons quote. “If you want to get better faster, you need to learn from the mistakes of others: via Interviews and lectures, Biographies, and Mental Models (thinking shortcuts). Otherwise you'll spend years...” stepping on rakes like Silent Bob. *shudders* 


🛍 Shopify AR/VR: Last week we reported on a Shopify team tweet about ecom stores that leverage augmented reality are seeing a 90%+ boost in conversion percentages. We’re tracking down some more info on this for future issues, but in the meantime, check out this article from 2019 that highlights the companies using it best.


🐦 Tweet Thread: @codywittck is back with another influencer thread that compares the impact of two influencer content engagements for Qalo (ring) sales. Cody compares posts made by Brittany Aldeen, the social media famous wife of Jason Aldean (country singer) and bonafide MLB All-Star Bryce Harper. Brittney Aldean knocks it out of the park and it’s not close. When it comes to influencer posts, you can’t win them all, but this thread on why Brittany crushed it will help you raise your batting average.     


🧪 Experiment: Zapier ran an experiment where they blocked Slack to see if it would improve focus and productivity. Turns out, it does! Check out this article to get a taste of the freedom from designated ‘Slack Blocks’ and how to do it.


🤳🏻 Tik Tok Saga: Digiday goes undercover with an anonymous marketer for a prominent DTC ecom brand, who still spends 40% of their influencer budget on Tik Tok, and has no plans of slowing things down despite the geo-political drama between the US and China. “Ignore the politics...which feels like hot air to make this administration look like they’re being tough on China,” says the anonymous DTC expert.


🥣 Legacy CPG and DTC: This blog post summarizes a few personalized marketing strategies employed by Kelloggs, and Clorox in new DTC product releases. “There is a gold mine in DTC if one is not solely occupied in selling goods, but in authentically understanding needs,” says Michael Forhez, global managing director of consumer markets at Oracle Industry Solutions Group. “If the right questions are being asked and real listening applied, DTC could very well become the core of a new foundation for creating customer intimacy and satisfaction for a 100-plus-year-old packaged goods industry.”


🍂 Fall Inspiration: Your ads might be starting to reflect the season change, but if you’re not personally feeling the Fall vibes yet, please revisit this 2009 masterwork from McSweeneys titled “It’s Decorative Gourd Season Motherf#ck*rs.” If you’re not 100% pumped about reaping “this freaky-@ssed harvest” of Q4, take 5 minutes and get with the gourd-darn program.  

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