DTC 15:📦 Welcome to the Hotel DTC
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

🎵 Welcome to the Hotel DTC. I hope you’re ready for the info you’ll receive, you can check out any tip you like... but you can never leave...🎵 

Ahem...this hospitable (if a little ominous) issue of DTC is filled with high quality guests (👋🏻 Molly!) and actionable copywriting tips that you’ll want to share with your team. After all...

“The advertising man/woman is a liaison between the products of business and the mind of the nation. He must know both before he can serve either.”

-- Glenn Frank

And the words are how we get that understanding across 🧠

With that said, here’s what’s in store:

📦 Facebook Ads / Amazon Bridge strategy (and the $40K Prime Day)

📦 Pilothouse head copywriter Brad Knell shares top-of-mind copy insights 

📦 Podcast guest Molly Borman discusses the overlooked strategy of hyper-local scaling

📦 We turned a great book into a copy and paste tool you can use to weave narrative into your brand (+ get your team aligned)

📦 Share your growth story and take home a $250K giveaway in no-cost financing 

Read to the end to find out why Hyper-Local, is the new GLOBAL

How’s Influencer Marketing Working For Your Brand?

On November 10th - 13th, 2020 (11:00 AM - 12:00 PM PST), we’re bringing together 4 expert practitioners to help you build your Influencer Marketing System in real time.

(As John Hagan says, if you’re not using influencers to scale your DTC brand, you’re still playing tee ball.)

Get on the DTC Influencer Flywheel Challenge waitlist here. Space is limited (because we’ll be answering questions specific to your business).

The Facebook / Amazon Bridge

In the latest All Killer No Filler, the Pilothouse team debriefed on their recent success bridging Facebook and Amazon to absolutely crush Amazon Prime Day to the tune of a $40K day, and ongoing $100K months. 

For the uninitiated, Prime Day is a popular Amazon-specific equivalent to Cyber Monday with significant discounts offered across the site.  

Prime Day may have passed, but these techniques are perfect for BFCM, as well as part of an evergreen holistic strategy. 

Here’s how we did it:

The Facebook-Amazon Bridge 

“The Bridge” as we call it is simply running Facebook Ads promoting Amazon Prime Day. If you’re not doing this, make sure it’s in your arsenal for next year because it’s been lucrative.

For your Facebook Ads, you’ll want to test running discounts, specific promos that mention Prime Day. Basically you’re hijacking Amazon’s hype to inspire purchases of your products. 

We split traffic and tested two approaches: In the first they went from the ad directly to the product’s Amazon listing. In the second we use Prime branding on the creatives, but ultimately drive to the Shopify store using the same promotion. 

Optimal Prime

Using a combination of evergreen content (primarily static images with Prime Day copy inserted) and new content, the Pilothouse team invested a 200K total spend,  with 30K allocated to driving to Amazon. The majority of traffic went to back Shopify links to maintain the integrity of pixel conversion event captures while scaling. 

Amazon saw the benefits of this campaign, with about 15% of purchases occurring on that platform. 

With this basic formula, we broke records for both ROAS and volume, and we’re looking forward to doing the same on BFCM.

Additional Benefits

Before Prime Day, the client wasn’t even on the top 100 list, and they now sit in the top 30, which will provide a tremendous boost to organic sales. They’ll be reaping the benefits of their Prime Day optimization for the rest of the year. 

Bottom Line on Amazon Prime

If you’ve built up a strong brand, don’t be afraid of Amazon. Know that you aren’t diminishing brand loyalty in sending traffic to Amazon rather than to your store. Be confident that people will come back for your brand and not for Amazon. 

Particular buyers are Amazon-only buyers. If you don’t have a presence there, you’re going to lose that sale. Facebook is the optimal place for these conversions to happen, as you can scale more rapidly, allowing you to take advantage of sales days when you know customers are, well, primed and ready to shop. 

👂 Listen to a rare Eric-less podcast here, and for more detail on these Pilothouse strategies, reply to this email.

Doing Fulfillment Right: 5 Tips for eCommerce Success

The best digitally native brands excel at hooking their customers with marketing that drives traffic to a well-optimized eCommerce site. But after checkout, the rest of the customer's experience is up to your fulfillment team. 

Subpar fulfillment can sour the shopping experience for any store, from luxury boutique to bargain retailer. When items arrive late, unexpectedly, or in broken boxes, it damages your brand's reputation and your customer's chance of becoming a repeat buyer. On the other hand, speedy delivery and clear expectations will keep your customers coming back again and again.

Ready to level up your eCommerce game? Here are some tips to ensure that fulfillment is helping, not hurting, your online store's growth.

1. Lower your time to fulfillment

In the time of Amazon Prime and Walmart+, every eCommerce order is expected to ship as fast as possible. To keep standards high, you should work with your 3PL or in-house fulfillment team to set a daily cut-off point. Before the deadline, all eCommerce orders received by your store are guaranteed to ship that same day. This holds your team to a standard of operational excellence. The result is customers reliably getting packages faster, improving their shopping experience.

As shipping speeds across the eCommerce industry have improved, more and more consumers are expecting expedited options at checkout too. Make sure to configure multiple shipping rates in your store so demanding customers can pay to speed up their delivery. Even better - offer free expedited shipping as a bonus for large cart sizes. This doubles as a loyalty reward for your most committed fans while boosting average order value (AOV) across the board.

Keep reading here for 4 more tips on how fulfillment can drive growth for your eCommerce store!

Straight From The Trenches: Brad’s October 2020 Copy Tips

Pilothouse’s Head Copywriter, Brad Knell, shares his top-of-mind insights from the bowels of sales page copy land.

  • Write to ONE person only → Imagine you’re writing a letter to a friend who you know is going through a lot of pain (pain your product can solve).
  • Know what motivates them to buy → Luckily, you don’t need to guess. Check out Bain’s B2C Elements of Value (based on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs) to see what consumers value most. Use this language in your copy.
  • Keep sentences short → An easy way to shorten sentences is replacing commas with periods. 
  • Keep paragraphs short → One or two sentences only. 
  • Use plain English → Avoid jargon like the plague. Grade 8 or below level of comprehension is best. BTW, this isn’t about dumbing down your copy. It’s about making it fast and easy to understand.
  • Always focus on benefits → In fact, if you can’t tie a point to a benefit, you might want to rethink it.
  • Use NLP phrases → NLP, or neuro-linguistic programming, are subliminal commands you use to plant an idea or thought in your prospect’s mind. Start with these suggestive phrases, and study more of these notes to make your copy more powerful.
  • Each sentence should flow into the next → “It’s like creating a slippery slide that takes your prospect smoothly down to the order button,” Brad says.
  • Get someone to read your copy to you out loud → This will catch any spots that a) don’t roll off the tongue like silk, and b) are hard to understand.
  • Make it about them not you → If you really want to put this concept on steroids, stay tuned for the Story Brand directives below 👇🏽

‘Directives’ From Donald Miller’s Building A Story Brand

If you haven’t guessed, the DTC team loooves to read (so you don't have to). One of our recent favourites is Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand.

We decided to take his Story Brand Framework and turn it into key ‘directives’ (aka content that becomes action). 

Copy and paste this into a document and get your team collaborating on these questions to weave narrative into your brand (+ get your organization aligned):

1. What does the person we seek to serve -- the hero -- want? Remember to think based on survival and thrival (e.g. conserve time, financial resources, build social networks, meaning, desire to be generous, gain status).

2. What is our customer’s -- the hero’s -- problem?

  • Villain // Every story has one: the root cause of the problem→ 
  • External problem // The 'obvious' problem → 
  • Internal // How does the villain make our customer feel
  • Philosophical // Why is this just plain wrong? →

3. The hero meets a guide -- us! There are two ways we can position ourselves as the guide:

  • Empathy → What brief statement can we make that expresses empathy and understanding? 
  • Like you, we are...
  • We understand how it feels to…
  • Nobody should have to experience…
  • Like you, we are frustrated that...
  • We care about you because...
  • Authority → How can we demonstrate competency in solving our customer’s problem?
  • Testimonials
  • Customer stories
  • Stats
  • Awards
  • Logos (B2B)

4. We give them a plan → The plan creates clarity.

  • Process Plan // Are there 3-4 simple steps our customers can take that would lead to a sale or explain how they would use our product after the sale?
  • Example: 1. Schedule appointment 2. We create a customized plan 3. We send a tailored product
  • Agreement Plan // List the agreement we can make with our customers that would alleviate their fears of doing business with us // This plan tends to work in the background
  • Example: 
  • Give ‘The Plan’ a name (e.g. The Barista Blueprint) → 

5. We call them powerfully to action → 

  • Direct CTA
  • Order now
  • Call today
  • Schedule an appointment
  • Register today
  • Buy now
  • Indirect / Transitional CTA (e.g. samples, free information, free trials)? Great for brand equity and warming up the relationship.
  • Get Free Sample
  • Download Free Coffee Guide
  • Start Your $1 Trial

6. That ends in success // What’s the positive changes our customer will experience from having purchased our product? → 

7. And helps them avoid failure // What’re the negative consequences of not buying our product? → 

8. Character transformation // From --------> To

  • How were they feeling before they encountered our brand?
  • Who will they become after they’ve joined our brand?
  • Aspirational identity → Who do they want to become? Example: From anxiety-ridden, confused, and lost // To: Competent, in charge, relaxed → Free.

Was this ‘directive’ helpful? Hit ‘Reply’ to let us know! And be sure to check out the book here.

Hyperlocal Is The New Global

Essay by Molly Borman

Thanks to modern technology, one of the biggest advantages we now enjoy is the ability to locate potential customers at any time, anywhere in the world. Not one person reading this would find this groundbreaking or shocking in any way. But what if I told you the opposite is also true? Relying on your neighbors for sales growth can be a huge advantage despite the fact that the world is at our fingertips

While others are busy trying to make it big in Japan or expanding into distant international markets, why not reconnect with the potential customers next door? You’re most likely stuck in the house anyway, so how about checking in on your neighbors, learning what their needs are and identifying how your business can help? 

No, this is not a suggestion from an antiquated business magazine straight out of 1925. Instead, it’s a modern, mid-pandemic trend that is making its way through the DTC landscape...and for good reason. 

Born out of necessity during the height of the COVID-19 crisis, the shift to hyperlocal has been the biggest strategy trend to emerge in 2020. Those who were able to capitalize early struck gold, but as the virus rages on, brands can still seize upon the opportunity that’s been hiding in their backyard the entire time. 

Piggybacking on the “all in this together” mentality, brands who actively joined forces with those in their communities reaped huge rewards. 

Take Philadelphia-based, shoe startup Clove, for example. Clove’s hero product is a shoe designed specifically for healthcare workers. When the pandemic hit, Clove’s primary customer base, doctors and nurses, were understandably preoccupied (to say the least!). As a result of longer working hours on the front lines, amongst many other unique factors, doctors and nurses were unlikely to have the time to be browsing the Internet for new shoes in March, April and May.

What’s a footwear company to do when its entire customer base no longer has time to shop for shoes because it has been called into emergency action on behalf of the country? Instead of immediately upping its ad budget as a result of skyrocketing customer acquisition costs (CAC), Clove looked next door. While managing CAC was important, this moment called for something different. 

Clove relied on personal relationships within the Philadelphia community to connect with a nurse who worked at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. This nurse put Clove in contact with the Chief Nursing Officer at Jefferson, who at the time was setting up the first COVID-19 testing clinic in the city. Rather than pour money into an expensive advertising campaign, Clove outfitted the entire team with new shoes (free of cost!), as a token of appreciation for those working hard on the front lines. In founder Joe Ammon’s words, “It was the least we could do!”

If this story ended here, I’d be happy to report the frontline hospital workers, outfitted by Clove, spread the word about their new favorite shoes, in turn introducing more loyal customers to the company as the result of an on-brand, community-based, social impact opportunity. However, what happened next is even better. 

This particular group of healthcare workers made a TikTok while decked out in their Cloves. The TikTok was later reposted by singer Ciara and eventually made its way to millions of viewers at home on Ellen. In turn, Clove received unparalleled free exposure, thanks to the company’s neighbors-helping-neighbors approach. While Clove’s local efforts were covered in Philadelphia Magazine, Clove also received international press with features in Fast Company and Forbes. As the story was picked up around the world, Clove reaped the benefits and watched its customer acquisition cost drop despite unprecedented challenges.

At a time when its customer base needed it most, Clove invested in its community. Instead of approaching the pandemic as an opportunity to be capitalized on by partnering with the hospitals with the largest reach or the most significant resources, Clove recognized that change starts at home. In turn, Clove was spectacularly rewarded. 

In a world crowded with data and analytics, it’s easy to design marketing campaigns around those initiatives that are most quantifiable. Instead, I urge you to let metrics take a backseat and check in with your community. Think of your neighbors as low hanging fruit. They’re easily accessible, and would likely rather purchase a product made locally. It’s a win-win. Consider the “all in this together” mentality a call to action for your brand, whether you’re working out of your company’s HQ or in your parents’ basement. Wherever you are, see what you and your company can do to get more involved in your community. While I cannot guarantee you a spot on Ellen, I can promise you will find local support that translates to increased sales!

Want more from Molly? Tune in to this week’s podcast where we sit down with Molly to go deep on how hyperlocal is working for DTC brands in 2020.

Ready to accelerate your growth?


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Things We Loved This Week

🛠 Tool: Use this tool to take a quick MRI of multiple competitors. Copy and paste their email transcripts, entire Facebook ad library ad copy, sales page copy, or just about anything and find the most common phrases used. Then use + improve those phrases in your own copy 😈

🐦 Tweet Thread: @taylorlagace delivers some serious influencer niche insights answering the question:  After effectively mass “INFLUENCER seeding” your product, how do you track which INFLUENCERS organically posted without spending hours on manual social scraping? Short answer is MightyScout.com.

🌎 World News: Remember the Cambridge Analytica scandal? How quaint those days were. In the aftermath of Brexit and the 2016 US election, the media was quick to point fingers, painting Cambridge Analytica and its founder Alexander Nix as a data stealing supervillain that breached privacy and used it’s advanced data science to change the world. The three year government probe found no evidence of foul play. Turns out it was all smoke, and no fire, and that Facebook Ads is just super powerful 🤷🏽‍♂️

🐦 Tweet Thread: Magic Johnson is one of the world’s richest athletes but only 6% of his $600M net worth came from his salary. This thread breaks down his investment strategies which mostly include buying fast food franchises, and pieces of sports teams (which have both appreciated massively).

✍🏻 Article: Glossy reports that Ebay aims to capture more of the after-retail sneaker market by adding an authentication service to products over $100. Stockx and GOAT have absolutely dominated this market, with GOAT taking $100M in funding and currently sitting with a valuation over $1B. 

🎨 Synergy Sketch: Check out this incredible “synergy sketch” that shows you how holistically Walt Disney was thinking about his business all the way back in 1957. We love it when a plan comes together!

📓 Playbook: At Pilothouse, we regularly use pre-sales content that entertains, engages, and improves conversion rates. Jebbit has built a platform around this idea. They report that their engaging experiences dive 2-3x increase email open rates, 85% experience completion rates and 10% increase in onsite conversions. They’ve just released their 2020 Consumer Engagement playbook with 8 plays to increase engagement across ALL channels. 

🤫 8 Figure Copy Secrets: In this interview, Craig Clemens shares his approach to copywriting. Takeaway: There should always be TWO big ideas: 1) What’s the big idea behind why they should stop scrolling and look at your ad? And 2) What’s the big idea behind what your product will do for them?

📺 TV Show: What’s the best show on TV and why is it FARGO? The midwestern family crime anthology is back with a new season featuring Chris Rock and Jason Schwartzman facing off in a 1920’s Kansas City turf war. Equal parts black comedy, and brutal crime story. Fargo is a prime example of a product that changes all its pieces each season, but keeps everything on brand and delivers the goods every time, kind of like us 📦 

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