DTC 116: 📦 DEATH, TAXES, and SEO?
May 21, 2023
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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Ahh yes, the only two months we all remember...

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from Capital One, Alpha Foods, Heyday, Atomic Coffee & Cold Brew, and Ice Barrel. 🥶

In this newsletter you’ll find: 👇

🏠 Homesick SEO breakdown – Part 2.

🐶 Crickets, carp, and global warming with Chippin Pet CEO Haley Russell.

⏮ DTC double down – Part 2.

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe so you never miss out. And be sure to follow us on Twitter and Linkedin.


What the best DTC brands are focusing on next year

🦷 Siobhan Nolan: VP Marketing at Spotlight Oral Care. The best oral health products created by dentists to educate on, promote, and customize preventative oral care.

We’re doubling down on affiliate marketing next year.  

We have incredible brand loyalty and it's a great way to reward those loyal followers for their word of mouth. We see not only a high conversion value in this channel, but also a higher average order value than paid digital channels.

We’ll also be focusing on improving our content and UX, as education and overall customer experience are really important to us as a brand.

🚽 Thomas Lotrecchiano: Co-founder at Omigo. Ditch toilet paper for good, start washing with Omigo.

Omigo is going to doubling down on a few things:

1) SKU count, so keep an eye peeled for more butt related products.

2) The quantity and quality of our on-site information for the first time bidet buyer.

💄 Lillie Sun: Growth + DTC for Three Ships Beauty. Beauty products that are effective, natural, and affordable.

Growth for us in 2021 was such an important KPI for us. The biggest tool that helped us grow our brand is increasing customer AOV – getting customers to buy more products with each order.

Within skincare, routine is everything. This year, we invested in:

  • Building a skin quiz.
  • Adding more relevant upsell features to our new website.
  • Educating on routines for different skin types/concerns on social media.

All these elements led to customers checking out with 3–4 products in the cart, instead of just one or two.  

We'll definitely be doubling down on this in 2022 and find more ways to improve the customer journey through education and routine building!

🤵‍♂️ Kristen Jones: Director of marketing at SuitShop. Stylish suits and tuxedos you will own for less than the cost of a rental.

One thing we did this year, that I am looking to double down on in 2022, is working to produce consistent content by partnering with creators and whitelisting through their pages.

In 2022 we did this sparingly, but were able to test with two rockstar creators.

They created consistent ad assets that we could then choose to use in our ad account coming from SuitShop or their personal brand pages.

Having the extra layer of credibility from their page helped to see results across our ad account (with more than 20x ROAS in some cases). Can't wait to see what we're able to produce with influential names in the menswear space in 2022.

🤰 Paul Singh: Co-Founder & Chief Revenue Officer at Bump Health. A monthly subscription service that curates products promoting a healthy and fun pregnancy, all tailored to your due date.

Email & SMS.

Email, for us, has always been a Top 3 contributor of transactions and, in 2021, we saw SMS performance rise to nearly the same levels. Heading into 2022, we're going to double down on both of these... Hard.

For us to continue our four-year streak of doubling revenues (profitably), these two channels need to get more time and attention:

I'm aggressively recruiting talent with the experience to lead our strategy, and we'll build a team around that person to drive the execution.

There's a ton of low-hanging fruit in terms of personalization and segmentation that we'll explore in 2022.

🌎 Matt Kennedy: Co-Founder & CEO at Fussy. Making living sustainably part of your morning routine. Starting with deodorant.

Focussing on PR and earned media worked really well for us this year, but it can be hard to scale and unpredictable.

And what worked this year probably won’t work next since things change quickly. So we’ll be doubling down and continuing to fuss over our two best acquisition channels. Our product and our customer.

At the end of the day, get those two right and the rest become a hell of a lot easier.

🚀 Pilothouse team: Email

On the email team, they’re planning to:  

1. Build early access lists even more. Some of their VIP launches outsold BFCM promo days.

2. Fine-tune flow and opt-in changes for pre/during BFCM to maximize available revenue and relevant messaging.

3. SMS, SMS, SMS. The timeliness of the platform's message delivery, and the reduced clutter compared to inboxes, was key in smashing revenue goals for this year's BCFM.

Reply to this email with what you’re doubling down on in 2022! 😊


Let’s get personal

"Personalization" is no longer a marketing buzzword. It’s now a must-have for your DTC business to thrive.

Especially when it comes to customer loyalty. 🤝

Converting one-time shoppers into loyal repeat customers isn’t just about price and proximity. Brands need to curate the best product and context to fit someone’s preferences every time they’re online.

But creating this kind of personalization takes rare technical expertise.

Enter: Bluecore, the only AI-driven retail marketing platform that intelligently connects casual shoppers to the product and offers that transform them into lifetime customers.

By working with Bluecore, DTC brand NOBULL saw a 46% boost in repeat buyers and a 30% increase in lifetime value! 🤩

👉 Discover exactly how Bluecore helped NOBULL skyrocket customer loyalty here.


🎧 This week on the pod we were joined by Haley Russell, Founder, and CEO of Chippin, which offers high-quality pet nutrition that’s great for our furry friends and even better for the planet.

Chippin food is delicious, nutritious, and helps pet owners reduce their eco paw-print: It’s made with sustainable proteins like overpopulated animal species, spirulina, and crickets (yes, crickets! 🦗).

Here’s what we learned from Haley in this insight-packed paw-dcast.

The Takeaways: 👇

🤳 Crushing ads with organic content:

Organic videos have performed well for Chippin, especially those focused on the sustainability of their ingredients.

In fact, documentary-style videos of Haley visiting their protein sources directly tend to get triple the click-through rate as opposed to other traditional product-focused ads. 🚀

"When you look at any other pet food on the market, ‘mystery meat’ is the description that applies. There’s not really a way to know where that cut of chicken or beef is coming from."

Being transparent about their ingredients has built trust with customers that continues to fuel loyalty and retention for Chippin.

"I think for people to be able to know and trust the protein source and have that visual… has been very impactful."

🐾 The paw-wer of PR:

"PR has been fantastic… and something we’re looking to lean into even more."

Here’s something we learned from Haley: You don’t necessarily need a high-end agent to crush PR. 🙌

For start-ups, PR can be as simple as someone on your team reaching out to media outlets to have authentic conversations.

This is how Chippin has handled most of their PR, and – because they have a great product and mission – they’ve been able to land in some of the top outlets.

💰 From finance to DTC:

Before starting Chippin, Haley’s career began in finance and management consulting – which was a very strategic choice.

"I was looking at all of the profiles of people I saw as social impact leaders… I saw very consistently that so many of the people...driving awesome, positive change got their start in finance or consulting… and so, I was interested in doing the same in order to get a solid business toolkit."

Having a background in finance has allowed Haley to have a unique understanding of the ins and outs of running a business on her own terms. 💵

"If you’re running a business, cash flow management is something you’ve gotta be really careful about. Just being able to set up, review our own finances, and project things out… has been huge for running Chippin."

👉 Listen to the full pod with Haley here!


How to launch a subscription experience

75% of DTC brands will offer a subscription experience by 2023.

Will you be one of them?

Launching a subscription experience can feel like an insurmountable task. But with the right knowledge, it doesn’t have to be.

🚨 That’s why Ordergroove created The Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce Subscriptions, a step-by-step guide on how to get started with subs.

This comprehensive report outlines everything you need to know about subscriptions, including:

  • The pros and cons of different models
  • Which subscription technologies are non-negotiables
  • The 7 steps required to start a successful subscription program

Don’t be part of the 25% that falls behind on subscriptions!

👉 Get the guidance you need today in The Beginner’s Guide to eCommerce Subscriptions.

🤔 Don’t have a subscription program yet? Not happy with your existing provider? Schedule a call with Ordergroove's subscription experts here.


Climbing up the SEO ranks

Homesick, one of the most popular new candle brands, is coming up big with SEO and beating retail giants like Bath & Body Works, Yankee Candle, and Anthropologie.

If you didn’t catch part one, head back to DTC 115 and have a read.

Now for part two:

🎯 Focusing on non-branded keywords

Over 70% of Homesick’s organic search traffic comes from non-branded keywords (see below).

This is a big deal, especially for a site with less than 500 pages.

Why? Because the average DTC site sees most of their traffic come from branded keywords.

Non-branded keywords are terms that don’t contain your brand name. For example "What does Bergamot smell like?"

Branded keywords are the exact opposite. For example "homesick candles."

As your popularity grows, people often find you by searching for your brand name. That’s the easy part.

Getting your content to come up for searches that don’t include your name is hard.

Homesick has a decently balanced keyword intent profile with many people finding the site through non-branded, informational keyword searches.

Informational keywords are those where a user wants an answer to a question.

Navigational terms are used to find a specific page on your site. Both commercial and transactional terms signal an impending purchase.

💡 If you’re just starting to create content, avoid publishing articles that target broad terms like candles. Instead, target exact terms, like best soy candles under $10.

If you’re not sure where to begin, look at your customer reviews to see what language people use to describe your product and what they like about your product.

🤝 Developing key partnerships

Homesick doesn't stop at dominating important organic search terms. They also actively build partnerships and collaborate with recognized brands.

Last year during the holidays, Homesick partnered with Dunkin to sell limited-edition donuts and coffee-scented candles.

This earned press from all over the media world which made their web visits skyrocket.

Refinery29 and Homesick teamed up to sell their candles on the Refinery29 Shop, which is also a big deal, especially for such a young brand.

These partnerships have garnered nationwide press, generated tons of referral traffic, exposed Homesick to new audiences, and created new revenue streams.

💡 Work with your product and marketing teams, to develop creative product collaborations with brands and influencers that people want to see.

Homesick proves that it’s possible to beat the odds against Google, expectations, and competitors.  

Make the right optimizations and who knows, your brand might be the next SEO "overnight success."

If you enjoyed this SEO breakdown, REPLY to this email and let us know. 😊


We love a homepage that matches the holiday season. ❄️

Try testing out a custom homepage for BFCM 2022, Holidays, or special sales.

Thanks for the inspo, Olipop!


📦 How retailers are promoting their holiday shipping cut-off dates.

👚 Forever 21 launches at J.C. Penney.

📊 Amazon is shutting down web ranking site Alexa.com.

🤔 Instagram's coming chronological feed may not work how you expect.

🐶 Chewy delivers 24% sales growth as demand remains strong.

🤩 Year on TikTok: 2021-of-a-kind.

📸 Facebook: New ways to engage your audience and build your community.

🎞 Instagram adds Reels replies, providing another way to tap into short-form video.


🐶 Chippin Pet CEO Haley Russell on Crickets, Carp, and Global Warming.

🥜 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.

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

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

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