DTC 16: 📦 First Rule of DTC Club
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Welcome to another week of the DTC Club -- a no-holds-barred and action-oriented email about kicking the crap out of your brand’s growth. 


After all, "I don’t want to die without any scars," and neither should you 😎


👋 Here for the first time? You’re not alone. Here are a few of the brands who’ve joined in the last week: Karium, Hello Drinks, Apple, Sloe Motion Distillery, Surfside Sips, and more.


Here’s what you’re going to learn in this week’s session:


📦 Discover some key tools that come with the DTC Influencer Flywheel Challenge 

📦 4 strategies to squeeze as much juice as you can out of your upsell funnels

📦 In the world of Facebook Ads, headlines take a back seat to ‘ad openers.’ We give 4 attention-grabbing ways to open your ads.

📦 100 principles to scale a business from a DTC Godfather

📦 How to target traffic on Facebook that you’ve generated from Google Ads (step by step)


Stay til’ the end for a special Trick or Treat edition of the Things We Loved section -- you’ll either get something useful or hilariously useless (No Tootsie Rolls, No Rick Rolls, we promise) 🤷‍♂️👇

Get The Influencer Marketing Roadmap

Join us November 10th - 13th, 2020 to build and reinvent your influencer marketing system with the DTC Influencer Flywheel Challenge.


You’ll be guided by expert practitioners like John Hagan to build an influencer system that works.


Plus when you buy today, you’ll get some cool bonuses. Here are just a few of the prizes in your cracker jack box:


📒 The complete MANIFESTO of Influencer Content that outlines EVERY different kind of social content you can create and WHERE it’s likely to work best in your funnel


📑 Influencer Outreach scope of work for you to easily outsource the outreach to a virtual assistant


📑 Templates to ensure that your influencer communication gets the best results


📝 The Influencer Launch checklist we use every time to make sure we’re set for success from beginning to launch


📑 Top tools to get influencer partnerships flowing seamlessly and profitably


📑 Exclusive access to our folder of ad copy content swipes so you can steal our best converting ads


📑 Our White Listing & Dark Posting action plan so that you know how to squeeze maximum juice from each and every influencer partnership


👉 And more…


Are you up for the challenge that could have a significant impact on your brand in 2021? Join Today.

All Killer No Filler: The Psychology of Urgency, Ego and Pre-Orders


Our latest All Killer No Filler is PACKED with high-value offerings on ad optimization, presales, and preorders. Read the digest now, and listen to the full pod later to lock in the concepts 🔒


Let’s jump right in:


📦  Press Pause on your Facebook Legacy Ads


Facebook favours legacy ads creating a roadblock when you need to prioritize a time-specific ad or find top performers in a new batch of creative. How do you fight the algorithm? 


Here are five simple steps to circumnavigate the algorithm and get out of your Facebook legacy ad rut: 

  1. Find all legacy ads you have currently running 
  2. Append a unique identifier to the end of each ad so you can quickly find them 
  3. Introduce new ad creative to fill your budget, then pause your legacy ads (now easily searchable thanks to the identifier you added)
  4. Watch as Facebook redirects its focus onto the new creative
  5. When you’re ready, search for your identified legacy content and turn it back on 

→ Ensure you’re not touching your ad set targeting - a small shift in the audience or budget change can have significant implications. 


The Pilothouse team saw lower CPA’s and a spike in ROAS after activating this strategy in a scale campaign. By forcing Facebook’s hand and escaping the legacy-favouring algorithm, the team proved their new creative was impactful and optimized for their customer base. 


This strategy is low risk (ads can easily be turned back on) and easy to execute - let us know how it goes! 


📦 LIMITED TIME ONLY - Tips on Urgency  


Fostering a sense of urgency is a proven way to get consumers to purchase on the first click. 


After seeing a trend of consumers bouncing after ATC during an evergreen 15% promotion, Pilothouse reworked the promotional ad copy to evoke a sense of urgency, immediately fixing the issue. 


How to add urgency to your campaign? 

  • Link your discount to something current and relevant like a holiday or sale - hello BFCM.
  • Use language highlighting scarcity and limited stock.
  • Use the timer emoji into your copy ⏱
  • Don’t be afraid to really scream urgency - we’re talking all caps, people.
  • Include the discount’s promo code in your first 1-3 lines of copy.
  • The stakes have to be real - set hard caps and stick to them. 
  • Customer misses out? This is an excellent opportunity to connect! Get their email on a waitlist for the product and further advocate the sale before the next release.

Urgency and scarcity are timely tactics to activate with BFCM around the corner; introduce them into your campaigns and let us know the response! 


📦 Optimize your Pre-Sales Landing Page 


Have a pre-sales landing page that’s working? Great! But your work isn’t finished. 


Even if your page is a winner, don’t settle. There are always ways to update and optimize to "squeeze the towel" to get all possible conversions. The Pilothouse team recommends split testing five different versions of the same page until you have one master version where every single component has been tested and optimized. Then take that page, and look at your data. 


📦 Power of Pre-order


Many companies are currently dealing with inventory issues due to the global health crisis but don’t want to pause their marketing campaigns and stall their momentum. 


A solution? Preorders. Consumers LOVE a preorder. It gives them the feeling of being part of a select group. Preorders are great marketing for your product providing strong social proof to your consumer that yours is a sought-after product, tying back to scarcity and urgency as key incentivizes.  


📦 Best in Show


Don’t be afraid of a boast. If you’ve sold out, if you’ve sold out multiple times - say it! If you have 1000 5-star reviews -- put that in your ad copy! Show consumers that other people (not just you) believe you have a fantastic product, and it will skyrocket your ads. 


📦 Funnel Business 


Need to increase your AOV?  Here are four quick tips to strategically structure your upsell funnel:

  • Don’t upsell a product that is more expensive than the item your customer is already interested in 
  • Your #1 upsell should be a second product of something the customer has already purchased  
  • Your down-sell should be something along the lines of merchandise (e.g. a branded water bottle) 
  • You second upsell should be something similar in the product line (e.g. different flavour) 

Listen to the full pod for a deeper dive on these strategies and musings on the future of autogeneration in Facebook ads (or, how long till the computers take our jobs 🤖).


Dear DTC reader 👋 


What have you done lately to boost your store’s bottom line? 👀


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We’re confident you’ll love working with us, so we can do 1 of 2 things:

  1. Spend $500 to stalk you and other DTC people with ads 👁👄👁
  2. Just give you our marketing budget as a sign-up bonus! 🤝 🙌

We think the latter sounds more fun. How would you like 3 full weeks of fulfillment, on us? 


That’s right - almost a month of your orders shipped, totally free 💸 


Even after the trial ends you’ll still have the best fulfillment pricing in the biz. If you can’t tell, we think our company is pretty awesome. Sorry to be such a proud mom! ✌️👩


Hit us up on this page to learn more - we’re pumped to hear from you! 


Much love 💕,

Hook Logistics

4 Ways To Capture Attention Using These Facebook ‘Ad Openers’

Ever heard of the AIDA formula? It’s a vital copywriting framework that stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action.


While each part is important, if you don’t get their attention, the rest don’t really matter, do they?


And in DTC #13, we shared the ‘Even if" ad opener and readers responded saying that they applied it and saw immediate results -- both in Facebook ads AND email open rates.


So in this section we’re giving you more ideas for how to open your Facebook ad copy.


Gary Halbert Openers


The Boron Letters is a collection of letters that Gary Halbert wrote to his son about life and business while he was in prison. 


It’s also a masterclass on writing unstoppable copy.


(BTW you can either pick up a copy to make notes in, or find all of his material for free here and print it)


What do you notice about how Gary opens many of his letters to his son?

  • "Guess what?!"
  • "You know what?"
  • Well I never thought I’d say this, but...
  • "Well, here I sit for the second day in a row…"
  • "Today I crossed some sort of invisible mental line."
  • "O.K. buddy, here we go again."
  • "Tonight I am going to be writing about something I didn’t think I was going to be writing about."

It’s kind of like you were already having a conversation with him and he’s just getting right back into it.


Try opening your ads that way.


The Believable Promise


"In the next 2 minutes, you’re going to learn…"


It’s hard to pass on a free gift of knowledge that comes in a specific (and short) time period.


Call Out The Awkwardness


"Sorry for showing up in your feed like this, but…"


This one comes straight from Harry Dry who recommends using this tactic to open cold emails. And if you think about it, ads to cold traffic aren’t much different.


Twist The Knife


"Why is it that we live in the most ‘connected’ time in history, yet have fewer true connections than ever before?"


Every industry has a big pain that’s burning just beneath the surface. If you can tap into that pain, and open your ad copy with it, well, that’s what we call a hook 🎣


Now it’s your turn: what tips do you have for Facebook ad openers? Hit ‘reply’ and let us know. We’d love to feature them in a future edition of DTC.

DTC Principles To Live by With Jason Akatiff


Jason Akatiff is the founder of a4d.com, a powerhouse affiliate marketing network, as well as ecommerce brands BauBax and Boundery.  


Jason has been a performance marketer since the 90’s and is an advisor and overall DTC strategy expert who has generated a quarter-billion dollars in affiliate commissions (and billions in ecommerce sales) throughout his career. He’s also a mentor of Eric’s - basically making him DTC’s Obi-Wan Kenobi. 


Watch this week’s sneak preview as Jason shares his take on what has been happening in the affiliate space during COVID-19 and discusses his guiding principles,100 of which he has recently shared on his blog.


Here are three fundamental principles he unpacks on the pod: 

  1. Never build something for cash flow alone. Always build for cash flow and value creation. You’ll make a lot more (with a lot fewer taxes) selling what you’ve created if executed right.

  2. Be efficient in your solutions and help. Synthesize long-winded answers down to the core of the issue (this principle led to the creation of Akatiff’s blog).

  3. Train your talented people to be system builders. Focus on building and creating new and different things that other people haven’t been able to do. 

You can find Jason’s other 97 principles on business, vision/planning, process, hr/culture, and tech/dev, over at jasonakatiff.com.


Take a listen to the full value-packed conversation on our podcast. We run the gamut from HR and structuring strategy to skill development, COVID-19 responses, to further Star Wars references, and why you should be taking 100+ days of vacation a year. 


Check it out here.

Our friends at TrustSpot put together an excellent resource for maximizing your brand’s Holiday Season.


Download the value packed playbook to get all 19 strategies, but here are our four favorite ideas to maximize your sales impact in the next two months. 


Run a Deal a Day or an Hour


Offer a new deal every hour during the week or day of the holiday.

This is easily adaptable to our "own the month" idea by promoting a product category each week and then focusing on a product each hour of the day or each day of the week (kind of like an advent calendar that runs the whole holiday season from Thanksgiving to the New Year)


SMS messaging 


SMS is the most immediate marketing channel and helps tremendously when promoting time-sensitive deals. Request contacts opt in to specific categories they are interested in to build hyper-targeted campaigns for customers who are eager to purchase the products you’re promoting.


Create a Gift Guide


Create a gift guide for your ideal customer profile that your audience can use while shopping during Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the days leading up to Christmas. People usually think of their customer avatar as their purchaser, but especially during the holidays it pays to find customers in gift giving mode. 


For added exposure, consider partnering with other brands who service the same customer but are not direct competitors. With the right deal, you can each add new customers.


Offer a Free Gift with Every Purchase


Create a product you know your customers will love and give it away with each purchase. Or gate the free gift behind a minimum purchase limit.


Gating free gifts behind a minimum amount gives you more control on profitability as you can control how much revenue you need before you give away an item. This also helps you give away a slightly higher priced item.


We’ve run these kinds of free gift campaigns and with the right economics you can skyrocket results. 

Those great tips from TrustSpot.io are just a taste of the full monty for download here. It’s a seriously solid read heading into the holidays.

Step-By-Step: How To Target ‘Google Clicker’ Audiences In Facebook

We’re currently seeing strong results up and down the funnel by targeting ‘Google Clickers’ (i.e. traffic from Google Ads) on Facebook. 


This tactic has helped us get good control at the top of the funnel by targeting Google Clicker lookalikes, and strong conversions at the middle and bottom of funnel by targeting Google Clickers directly.


(BTW, this works with not only Google Ads, but any other paid traffic source, as well).


It’s very simple to set up these audiences. Here’s how you do it:

  1. In Ads Manager, go to 'Audiences'
  1. Click 'Create Audience' and then select 'Custom Audience'

Create a new custom audience by selecting the 'Website' source.

Click the dropdown and select 'People Who Visited Specific Webpages'

Select URL contains: and type in gclid


From here just name your audience and you can also go back to the past (30 - 180 days.) All it's doing is grouping people who've clicked through from a Google ad because their URL will have gclid in it.


🎃 Things We Loved This Week: Trick Or Treat Edition



🕵️‍♀️ Research: This is a tool that actively tracks top-performing Shopify stores and aggregates a lot of the research for you. Super handy to see what others in your niche are doing AND to apply lateral thinking by looking to successful stores in unrelated niches.


🖥 Platforms: Shopify is reportedly working on an integration with YouTube that could see the video-sharing platform become an e-commerce hub for parent company Google. Convergence is the name of the game in the new normal. 


🤑 BizOp: If you’re like me, you are already thinking, "what’s Eric smoking? A bizop on DTC Newsletter?" Well, what I told you that you could make $20K a month just by being your own boss and making your own hours? Don’t believe me? Watch this.


🛠 Tool: If you’re investing in content, this 22 point checklist is the perfect tool to pass on to your team so that everyone can be sure they’re executing in a way that optimizes for your content to be found (SEO) and engaged with.


🖥 Platforms: Tik Tok announced a big partnership with Shopify today. At launch, the agreement allows Shopify merchants to create, run and optimize their TikTok marketing campaigns directly from the Shopify dashboard by installing the new TikTok channel app from the Shopify App Store. Once installed, merchants will have access to the key functions from the TikTok For Business Ads Manager at their disposal.


🏛 Political Ads: Facebook’s pledge to stop political spending 7 days before the US election kicked in yesterday. We’ve seen a 300% decrease in subscription costs starting on Monday! What have you noticed? Political spending on FB topped $264M, or 3% of Facebook’s earnings in q3 (quite a bit more than the .05% that Zuckerberg predicted to congress they’d take from all political advertisers in 2020 if you’re keeping score).


📜 Blog Roll: DTC content marketing is our jam, so we were pumped to find BestEcommerceBlogs.com, an ongoing curated collection of the best blogs in the direct-to-consumer brand space. It’s updated weekly and is filled with easy to implement ideas to improve your own blog experience. 


🏷 Branding 101: We talk a lot about building your online brand, but we’ve never thought to approach it the way this MENSA level genius does. You just have to let your Brand Cocoon accrete.  


🖥  Platforms: In China, messaging apps like WeChat have developed deep integrations and have effectively become the internet for a billion people, creating a one stop experience encompassing entertainment, travel, utilities, loans, and even housing. We’re just starting to see these developments here as this week Facebook announced it was adding hosting, website building and shopping capabilities to WhatsApp in their bid to become the goto internet experience for small and medium businesses. 


🎵 Music: This won’t be new to everyone, but if you’ve never immersed yourself in Aphex Twin during a deep focus session you’re missing out on one of the best ambient electronic albums of all time. Give this collection (from 1992!) a spin next time you’re looking to disappear into a flow state. If you’re more into getting tricked out, watch his disturbing masterpiece, Come to Daddy 


🔩 Tool: Ever wonder how we make these zany gifs? Check out Unscreen, a free tool that allows you to remove background from any gif. Add this to Canva and you’re off to the races.  


🔮 Esoteric Logos: JP Morgan famously said "Millionaires don’t need astrology, billionaires do." Makes you wonder about the mindset of the world’s uber elite (and how to sell to them 🤑). In 2009 Brand Guru, Peter Arnell sold Pepsi on a rebrand that would come to cost $1.2B, with the logo itself costing $1M. A leaked 27-page brand bible created by Arnell to sell his vision references the Mona Lisa, the Parthenon, the golden ratio, the relativity of space and time, magnetic fields, "perimeter oscillations" of the Pepsi logo, the "gravitational pull" of a can of Pepsi on a supermarket shelf, the rate of expansion of the universe

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