DTC 108: 📦 Black Friday mistakes to AVOID
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

We’re curious to know your favorite DTC Brands!

After reading this email, reply to us with one or two DTC brands that you love. :)

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from Retro Slime Company, Flying Embers, Side Chef, Curie, Babe Lash, and Pet Friendly Direct. 🐶

In this newsletter you’ll find: 👇

🔥 Last minute Black Friday optimization tips.

🚀 Investing in SEO and tracking metrics.

🌊 100% chance of DTC drizzle with Tony Yu from Vessi.

Read till the end to learn more about DTC Scale School! 😎

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It’s just around the corner. The big day.

Don’t let these TINY details get in the way.

Number 1: If you’re expecting large increases in paid ads budget especially in small time frames make sure you call your credit card provider to let them know you’re going to have a LOT of frequent transaction on BF/CM

We’ve seen countless credit card companies block transactions thinking they’re scams, and it will shut your ad account down. :(

Number 2: With BFCM and the holidays approaching, there’s usually lots of movement with landing pages.

It’s important to unpublish old unused pages!

Page Speed: Optimize your images for the BF/Holiday Rush

Traffic is going to spike!

Use compressor to reduce image size by up to 90% on JPEGS and PNG.

Bounce rate: It gets worse for every second it takes a page to load. Don’t lose users with slow loads on mobile.

We’ve seen that speeding up a page by just one second can boost conversions by 7%.

The Pilothouse team delivering nothing but the best, per usual.


To discount or not to discount...

That is the question on every DTC marketer’s mind. 😓

While some brands have margins that allow for steep discounts during Cyber Weekend…

Slashing prices isn’t the only way to compete. Not anymore!

That’s right, you no longer have to sacrifice profit in exchange for a quick sale, or worry about customers only buying from you when there’s a discount. 🙌

In fact, there are tons of creative ways to lure in customers that don’t involve the words "% off."

And they may even build more brand loyalty over time.

👉 Here's 5 effective strategies to get sales without discounting this holiday season.


🎧 On the pod this week, we brought back Tony Yu, co-founder of Vessi, one of our very first DTC Pod guests!

Vessi is helping you look stylish rain or shine, with waterproof shoes. 💧🚫👟

Today’s weather: 100% chance of DTC drizzle.

‍The Takeaways: 👇

💳 How to raise AOV with gift cards:

Aside from having basic upsells in place, Vessi has been able to boost AOV by giving back to its community.

For every $110 purchased onsite, customers get a $25 gift card to use on a future purchase.

(Or they can gift it to a friend or family member.)

Such a great strategy to also boost LTV and customer acquisition!

🚀 40K emails, first-party data, and crashing Typeform:

One 24-hour giveaway campaign helped Vessi gather 40K new emails and valuable first-party data!

Here’s how they structured it:

  • The giveaway was limited to 24 hours.
  • Customers had to "apply to win" by filling out a Typeform survey (with questions designed to provide first-party data).
  • The first 100 winners were first-come-first-serve, and the second 100 winners were selected at random.

Oh, and they got so much traffic, they crashed their Instagram page AND their Typeform survey. NBD. 🤩

🤔 "But are they really waterproof?"

"Even for us, having sold 1 million shoes, people still don’t believe it’s waterproof."

Vessi shoes are so slick and stylish, they don’t actually look waterproof — so it can be hard to convince new customers they’re legit.

In order to overcome this objection, Vessi relies on top of funnel creative from partners and influencers to provide credibility.

💡 Is your product also too good to be true? Address that upfront with credible social proof.

👉 Get the full marketing forecast with Vessi here!


Have you thought about selling your Shopify business? It’s easier than you think.

🙅 You don’t need to "dress up" your store or get battle-ready for painful negotiations.

💰 OpenStore will buy your Shopify store for six figures, now. It’s the most straightforward way to sell your business, and it only takes a few clicks:

  • Claim your offer in 2 steps.
  • Get an objective, data-powered price in 24 hours.
  • Transact in 1 or 2 weeks.

... All with no broker fees in sight.

Brand owners across every category are selling their businesses directly to OpenStore.

💸 Get your no-obligation offer from OpenStore today.


SEO is one of the only marketing channels that can generate long-term transformational revenue for free-ish, but most brands get it wrong.

It only works if you know how to invest and what to track. Let’s jump in.

1. Invest in your C-Suite:

SEO is a long-haul strategy and needs to be treated that way. If you’re expecting fast results, grab a book. It’ll be a while.

The most important step is getting the people in charge to care and to buy in. Here’s how to make that happen.

2. Tie SEO to broader business objectives:

Executive teams talk in dollars and cents. Winning them over happens by showing the direct impact SEO can have on the bottom line.

If your pitch is loaded with SEO jargon, then you’ve already lost. Keep it simple. Focus on the money. 🤑

3. Utilize forecasts and projections:

For the greatest impact, your pitch should include customer projections and revenue forecasts, but be prepared to talk in detail about your SEO plan.

Check out the forecasting for SEO guide from ahrefs (a great SEO tool).

4. Set clear and explicit expectations:

Time to lay all your cards on the table, and to explain what the company will see in exchange for its investment in SEO.

Come prepared with project and traffic timelines, KPIs to be tracked, a communication plan, and reporting frequency.

Here are some of the business-level and SEO metrics you’ll want to regularly track and report out to the executive team:

Conversion Rate (CR).

Average Order Value (AOV).

Clicks, Impressions, and CTR.

Leadership is notorious for slashing project budgets. To stop them from axing yours, offer three pricing options at the end of your pitch – ie. good, better, best –and attach expected ROI at each level of investment.

Doing this shifts the focus from cost to ROI and subconsciously nudges decision-makers to the most expensive option. 😈

5. Invest in Storytelling

You got everything you asked for. Now what?

Start with creating content that answers people’s burning questions, solves their biggest problems, and shows them how to do something. A great example of outstanding DTC storytelling is DTC brand Avocado.

They leverage text, audio, and video to create story-driven, product-led content and are crushing it in the most visual way possible.

If you want to take your content to the next level, tell captivating stories and pair them with beautiful designs and visualizations.

Apps like Shorthand help you create digital stories like The New York Times, the BBC, and AdWeek, without code.

6. Invest in Getting the Word Out

Writing great content is a waste of time if you can’t get it in front of hungry eyes.

The person writing your content should know how to craft a piece that’s easy to pitch to bloggers, influencers, and media outlets so that it gets shared and linked.

Platforms like Muck Rack and Prowly help find journalists to pitch in the DTC space.

Alternatively, Twitter hashtags #journorequest and #prrequest are brimming with journalists looking for interesting stories to publish and sources to cite.

Make sure your content pitch is relevant to the journalist making the request, and please don’t spam anyone.

You should continue building relationships with the journalist even if you don’t get featured, because other opportunities may arise.

7. Double Down

Once you’ve figured out what’s working, prune away the SEO tactics that aren’t working, laser focus on what is working to the exclusion of everything else and watch your SEO generate massive results.

The Search Results report in Google Search Console (GSC) and the Organic Search report in Google Analytics (GA) will help you figure out what’s working.

Keep a close eye on clicks, impressions, and CTR in GSC and conversion rate and revenue in GA.

DTC brands are pitted against each other on Google, a place where winning can feel impossible.

But if you make the right investments, track the right metrics, and have patience, SEO can feel easy peasy.


Hundreds of DTC readers have taken advantage of our Reverse Black Friday Sale to buy Scale School: Facebook and Instagram Ads, the course we made in partnership with Pilothouse.

The feedback is starting to come in from purchasers testing out the Scale School system:

Elliot Roazen, Head of Growth at the Uncovery, Unilever

"...this course kicks so much ass."

Dave Huffman,, CMO of Mictrobe Formulas

"I bought this for my team, and we’ve already run a "Pilot Test" from Module 3 to find some new winning ad assets we can scale. It’s early days, but we’re getting lots of positive signals. Looking forward to building this into our workflow.

Afif Ghannoum, CEO of Biohm Health

"I love this, We’ve already started implementing a number of tactics that we’re scaling across a few campaigns, and (not shockingly) we’re already getting ROI back from the course.

Reverse Black Friday means that the price goes up next week, so grab it while you can still save 25%!

Buy Scale School Today and Save $500!


🌆 Data is telling DTC brands to open stores in emerging cities.

🛍 Facebook adds Shops in Groups, new product recommendations, and display options tied to group engagement.

👰‍♀️ David’s Bridal launches ready-to-ship bridesmaid dress collection.

🤑 Instagram is offering huge bonuses for posting on Reels, its TikTok clone.

🎶 Snapchat partners with Sony Music, announces plans for new AR music lenses.

🎞 YouTube: Product feeds are now available for more video campaign types.

💬 Google: Auto-translated content not indexed.

Facebook announces the removal of thousands of ad targeting categories related to sensitive topics.

🥤 DTC drink brand, Kin Euphorics which was co-founded by Jen Batchelor & Bella Hadid, is hiring for two positions:

1) Senior ecomm growth manager: Perfect for someone who is a combination of the Queen’s Gambit and Being John Malkovich with a deep interest in data and insights.

2) Digital designer: Perfect for someone who is a cross between David Lynch and Miss Cleo with a deep love of user experience.

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

👟 Tony Yu Returns to Celebrate Vessi's One MILLIONTH Pair of Shoes Sold (Plus The Contest Strategy Responsible for Generating 40K Leads in 24 Hours).

🤵‍♂️ 3X to 10X ROAS and Managing Your Customer Lifecycle with Suit Shop'sKristen Jones.

🧲 Wildstorming the Beauty Space – Glamnetic's Head of Growth Margaret Fortner Returns!

♻️ Learn how Fussy Deodorant Lowers Blended CaC with Cofounder Matt Kennedy.

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

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

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