DTC 36: 📦 Increase sales with this comment response formula
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Even if you weren’t one of the 17.1 million people who tuned into Sunday night’s blockbuster interview with Oprah, you’ve probably read a headline or two about Meghan Markle.

But, did you know that she’s a DTC startup investor? 

Markle is an investor in female-founded superfood instant oak milk latte brand Clevr.

Her investment was revealed in December of 2020 after Oprah shared a video unpacking a gift basket full of Clevr products from Markle — with her 19.2 million Instagram followers. Talk about high value UGC!

Nice that Oprah and Meghan have coffee to go with that piping hot royal tea they were spilling! 🫖

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow DTC newcomers from Nutrabolt, Viteezy, Spinco, Bloomscape, Soundcloud, Vevano, Leisure Lab, Salt & Straw, Conair, Revlon and Stojo! 

Stojo will be joining us on the pod this week! Stay tuned for our chat. 

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

In this edition of the DTC Newsletter you’ll find:  

📦 The Pilothouse team’s guide to top-notch comment moderation 

📦 Crossrope’s Srdjan Popovic outlines effective time management strategies we could alllllll use  

📦 Your invite to the #1 virtual event for influencer marketers and eCommerce brand builders in 2021

📦 Tuft & Needle on the importance of celebrating your customers’ identities, especially during COVID-19.  

Make sure you read to the end for a special offer from RetentionX, a data science engine that translates your data into clear actions

Editor’s Note: We’ve started sending twice a week (Wednesday and Saturday). If you missed Saturday’s inaugural edition, you can catch our DTC Healthy Sodas Facebook Ads Analysis here.

Six-Step System for Seamless Comment Moderation 

Two weeks ago the head of Pilothouse’s Comment Moderation team Maia Sampson gave an eye-opening presentation on why you absolutely, 100%, definitively, no question need a comment mod strategy. 

Comment moderation that is consistent, personable, and helpful will not only improve your customer experience, but build brand loyalty, increase engagement, and drive sales. 

If you’re doing it right, comment moderation can: 

  • Increase conversion rates up to 24%
  • Increase organic reach 
  • Increase ROAS up to 109%
  • Lower CPA up to 29%

Comment moderation provides first-hand feedback from customers and is a great tool for humanizing and managing the perception of your brand.

Proper comment moderation shows respect, care and compassion for customers plus it can streamline their buying process if you’re providing fast response times to issues and questions. This increases the likelihood of customers purchasing. 

Comment moderation DON'TS:  

  • Long response times (most customers expect a response within an hour)
  • Cold and rude responses 
  • Lack of empathy 
  • No solution efforts provided in response
  • Worst of all… no response

How to handle negative comments: 

Comment moderation DO’s: 

  • Quick response (consistent response times in under an hour is the goal!)
  • Personalization of response to customer
  • Personality — let your brand voice shine through
  • Simple solutions 
  • Honesty and transparency 

Maia’s comment response formula 

This adaptable formula can be applied to any comment, positive or negative

  1. Greet 
  2. Personalize 
  3. React sincerely 
  4. Relate (make them feel heard and relate to what they’re saying)
  5. Offer (extension for more engagement, ask a question) 
  6. Close 

Check out these examples:


Things to remember: 

  • Make it a habit to respond to comments (only 9% of companies on Facebook respond — be one of the 9%!)
  • Respond to each comment with care 
  • Remember that it’s impossible to please everyone 
  • Small acts of kindness can go a long way 

Comment mod is a crucial stepping stone towards building long-term brand loyalty and trust. Now get out there and comment mod! 👊

How to Be a Highly Productive Marketer with Crossrope’s CMO, Srdjan Popovic

It's not easy being a marketer in today's fast-paced world.

You're pulled in a thousand different directions and there's always another thing to do — launch A/B tests, build landing pages, tweak subject lines, create campaigns, etc.  

You can always find things to do, but the problem is that most marketers are terrible at managing their time and priorities. 

It's not something we’re taught, so instead we try to accomplish everything. As a result it leads to stress, feeling overwhelmed, dissatisfaction, poor work, and burnout.

Here are my simple tips on becoming a more productive marketer while taking back control of your schedule. It's not about helping you get more done, but helping you get more of the right things done.

Let’s jump in: 

⏳ Use your calendar 

I'm surprised by how many marketers don't use some form of a calendar to manage their time.

Without a calendar, you have no sense of where your time is being spent and that puts you in a vulnerable position wherein it’s easy for other people’s priorities to trump your own.

You have to remember that your calendar is a reflection of your most important priorities. 

Here’s what mine looks like: 

In my experience, the most productive marketers have their days and weeks thoroughly mapped out in their calendars which allows them to stay in control of their time and schedule.

⏳ Pay yourself first (with time) 

In personal finance, there's something called 'paying yourself first.'

The idea is when your paycheck lands, you want to put a portion of that money into your investments and savings before you do anything else. If you don’t, you’re likely to get to the end of the month with nothing to put towards your future.

Highly productive marketers do this with their time.

Open your calendar and start scheduling blocks of time for yourself. Schedule them months ahead and make them recurring wherever fit. 

Here are some of the important blocks I have in my calendar:

  • focus blocks for high-energy, high-priority work
  • admin blocks for low-energy, low-priority work
  • family blocks for family time
  • study blocks for reading, course work, etc.
  • workout blocks for my training
  • relaxation blocks for lunches, walks, etc.

Pro tip: use a different color code for each type of block so you can more easily visualize how your time is being spent each week.

Here's why mapping out your blocks is important: as weeks go on, new requests for your time will start coming in (meetings, phone calls, appointments, etc.). These will now have to be planned around your scheduled blocks because those are already living in your calendar.

This is how you pay yourself first in time.

⏳ Know your H.A.B.U.T. activities

A focus block is a set of time used for your most important work. One thing I see marketers struggle with is not knowing what to focus on during these times. 

I coined the term “H.A.B.U.T. activities” with my team at Crossrope. 

These are your Highest And Best Use of Time activities. They get you the highest return on your effort (in your role) and have the most needle-moving potential. 

Note that these activities typically require the most mental energy: 

  • If you're an email marketer, this could be creating emails, designing new a/b tests, or improving your key email flows.
  • If you're a content marketer, this could be writing good content or planning your content strategy and calendar.
  • If you're a paid media specialist, this could be creating new ads or crunching through data to find insights.

The goal is to identify your five to seven H.A.B.U.T activities that move you closer to your objective. Schedule these activities during your focus blocks, which can be as long as you’d like. 

⏳ Batch your marketing chores

All marketers have admin and recurring tasks. Tasks you have to do on a daily or weekly basis. 

They’re typically responding to emails, making calls, sending reports, updating dashboards and other chores that must be done, but don’t move the needle very far. 

Here’s how to approach these: 

First, understand that these are generally low-energy activities meaning they don't (or shouldn’t) require a lot of brain power. Avoid doing these tasks during your focus blocks. 

A trap I see a lot of marketers fall in is they spend half their focus block responding to emails and updating reports. They feel like they’re getting work done but really they've just wasted a high-energy period to process low-energy activities.

Instead, schedule admin blocks in your calendar where you can batch these low-energy activities all at once. Highly productive marketers use low-energy blocks to process low-energy activities.

⏳ Learn the shortcuts

As marketers we use a lot of tools and do a lot of repetitive tasks. 

Highly productive marketers take the time to learn their tools and master the shortcuts which allows them to perform repetitive tasks more quickly.

One of the best places to start is email. 

For many of us, managing our inbox is a big part of what we do. It continues to be one of the primary communication channels within organizations. Learning a handful of Gmail keyboard shortcuts has saved me a tremendous amount of time over the years.

Here are some of the best ones to start using: 

C - compose a new email

R - reply

A - reply all

F - forward email

L - apply label

E - archive email

U - jump back to inbox

Ctrl + Enter - send message

Shift + U - mark as unread

Head to DTC Blog for the rest of Srdjan’s top-notch time management tips.

Want to hear some of the most successful brand entrepreneurs and content marketers explain the most valuable aspects of social-centered commerce? 

We can’t wait for it. AspireIQ knows the influencer game inside and out, and they’ve brought together a real A-list of speakers from brands, agencies, and even Pinterest to this FREE event. 

Register for Aspire Higher: The Summit, right now.

#1 virtual event for influencer marketers and eCommerce brand builders in 2021

This FREE two-day event brings together industry experts from Glossier, Right Rice, and dozens more to connect innovative marketers across eCommerce, influencer, brand, social, and community. 

Unleash creativity and advance your career – register today!

I mean, just check out these speakers 👀

This week we chatted with two heavyweights, Torrie Belknap, VP Marketing at Tuft & Needle (DTC mattress vets) and Nicole Campagna, Sr. Growth Manager at SheerID. 

We brokedown the importance of celebrating your customers’ identities, especially during COVID-19.  

Listen to the full poddy here!

Here are some key takeaways from their chat:

📦 Consider the role of identity

Torrie and the Tuft & Needle team discovered SheerID while they were looking for a way to streamline their military discount process. Rather than have veterans and service people phone in to claim their discount, SheerID creates a streamlined individualized verification process that's simple and empowering to both businesses and consumers.

This prompted Tuft & Needle to look at other ways they could market to groups based on their identity at the outbreak of Covid-19. They created funnels specific for first responders, teachers, healthcare workers, students, and seniors. Each group received their own ad experiences and offers that were individualized to what they care about and where they're at in their life. 

These customized funnels boosted conversion rates between 5-15% for Tuft & Needle, which is pretty incredible considering that the identity brackets they came up with account for at least 70% of their audience. Crazy!

📦 Invest in stories

When asked what they’d do with a 50k grant, both Torrie and Nicole said they’d invest in stories.

For Torrie, this meant building creative content around individual experiences with Tuft & Needle, like a teacher who had a positive experience with the product. 

For Nicole, this meant incentivizing customers (businesses and front end consumers) to talk about their experiences with SheerID and provide insight and testimonials.

Whether it's for ads or iteration, stories count!

📦 Lead with value

Both SheerID and Tuft & Needle seek to lead with value.

For SheerID, this stems from ensuring that consumers are opting in to their service, and keep control of their data in the process of finding and redeeming offers. 

For Tuft & Needle, it means supporting community efforts with their brand. This includes school donations, supporting fire departments, and working with organizations like Sleep in Heavenly Peace or Habitat For Humanity.

Both Torrie and Nicole view this centering of value as critical to their organizations’ successes.

That’s it for this week’s recap. If you want to hear more about Torrie and Nicole’s marketing journeys, their thoughts on iOS14, and Tuft & Needle’s plans for growth, you should check out the full podcast

The Data Solution for DTC Decision Makers

Have you heard that data is more valuable than gold? 

It’s an interesting idea, especially because data, like oil, is only valuable when you expertly refine it. 

But not everyone has the budget for a data science team.

That’s what makes RetentionX so great.

This simple Shopify App is a data science engine that translates your data into clear actions, informing business decisions based on AI-driven analysis. 

RetentionX puts critical reporting and analysis on autopilot. Reports that would otherwise take hours to put together, or just go ignored entirely, get surfaced on your dashboard daily.  

For example, RetentionX does the following:

  • Bundles together analytics from all your stores 
  • Predictions and forecasts
  • Churn analysis
  • Customer lifetime value

If you’re running on Shopify, install RetentionX and see how easy it can be to get control over your data.

Alex, their founder, is a big fan of the DTC Newsletter, and he’s offered DTC readers
1 month free to anyone who signs up here.

🧵 Creative testing best practices: How to account for ad history

📸 How to utilize your Instagram profile at every stage of your funnel

🍔 Burger King’s international women’s day campaign called out for sexism

💨 New DTC brand, July, is creating easy to install and better for the environment window air conditioners 

😱 25 YouTube statics that may surprise you 

🍭 Target launches grocery brand centered on snacks and sweet treats

🕺 Walmart to host a new live stream shopping event on TikTok 

🙌 LinkedIn is offering free courses for international women's day 

🧐 Does saying “Link in bio” affect your Instagram post performance? 

💻 Google will end behavioral targeting, profile-building in its ad products 

❤️ Instagram is exploring the ability for users to hide likes.   


🛒The NYT explores why small businesses struggle with eCommerce 

🚀 Pinterest details the AI that powers its
content moderation

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