DTC 76: 📦 Community building = 💸
May 21, 2023
Content Tag

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

When the new creative hits on the first test:

We’ve all been Australian swim coach, Dean Boxall, watching Ariarne Titmus win a Gold medal in the 400m freestyle. 🏊‍♀️

Honestly, get this man a medal too. 🏅

If you’re new to DTC, welcome! You’re in good company with fellow newcomers from AS Colour, Peels, Moment, Disco Sauce, Glade, The Seattle Opera, Hush, and Ruggable.

In this newsletter you’ll find:

😎 Tips on building a better community for your brand.

👊 The value of knowing your customers and organic influencers with Lalo.

🚀 Leveraging ‘zero-party’ data.

🔑 How to test and scale your Facebook ads.

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 Instagram.

Community Building

4 Ways to Build an Online Community for Your Brand

Community building is often an afterthought, or sometimes an extension of social media marketing.

However, building an online community is all the more relevant today. In 2020, online communities saw an average ROI of 4,530%!

Community building is no longer limited only to Facebook groups.

Your brand community is a chance to tell your story like nowhere else, while harnessing the power of togetherness.

Why communities are important:

Save on Acquisition Costs

According to BigCommerce, 92% of people trust recommendations they receive via word-of-mouth.

Communities are a great place for your potential users to hang out and see what the current users are saying about your product.

The comments, questions and feedback can be used to craft paid ads, landing pages, website changes and any other marketing materials.

Get Active Product Feedback

Communities can be a place where users discuss what they like (and what they don’t) in your products.

This is a great way to capture the general sentiment of users and use that feedback to serve them better.

When developing a new product/service, talk with your community and understand exactly what they’re wanting.

Engagement and Support

Communities provide an opportunity to keep the warm and fuzzies alive long after a customer has made a purchase.

It’s a non-intrusive way of engaging with your customers, helping them discover more products, and solving any of their queries in real-time.

As the owner of your group, it’s crucial to actively engage with members!

A ton of brands create groups but never put the time and effort in to see the true value of it.

4 Ways to Build an Online Community

1. Find out what your customers care about

Communities are about engaging your current and prospective customers.

It’s important to understand your audience and build a community around something they care deeply about.

For example, according to Nielson, 66% of customers today are willing to spend more on products/brands that are sustainable.

Seventh Generation is an excellent example of building a community around sustainability and turning customers into advocates.

2. Treat communities as an extension of your brand messaging

A community is an excellent medium for you to extend your brand’s messaging beyond traditional channels.

If you solve a particular problem or serve a specific segment, consider building a community around that greater purpose for your brand.

For example, WeWood – a company that makes watches out of recycled wood – has an online community called Plant a Tree.

They partner with non-profit organizations to achieve this.

Not only does this underline their environmentally-conscious messaging, but it also helps create a positive association with the brand.

3. Align with a cause or movement

Many brands build their online communities around supporting a cause or a movement.

The cause you choose largely depends on what resonates with your audience the most.

Supporting a cause shows customers that you understand their passions and care about them.

See Love Your Melon, for example. It’s an apparel brand with a community that supports children battling cancer.

4. Make the community a sub-brand

An online community is an entire brand in itself.

It can be as simple as creating a unique hashtag for your community, along with dedicated social media channels and even newsletters.

Passion Planner does a great job with their Facebook community and the hashtag #PashFam that extends into a newsletter with special offers, free downloads, and exclusive tips.

What are you doing to build a community that’s unique to your brand and customers?

Let us know by replying to this email! We may feature you in a future newsletter!


5 Labor Day Marketing Ideas to Capture Your Customers’ Attention

Labor Day will be here before you know it! Have you planned your marketing campaigns?

Many brands run standalone flash-sale promotions to either get rid of spring and summer inventory or launch fall product lines.

But Labor Day marketing campaigns hold so much more potential than a mere one-and-done promotion.

With Labor day comes a transition of seasons and consumer priorities, which makes it the perfect time to connect with your customers.

If you want your Labor Day emails to be anything but standard, check out these pro tips:
  1. Share customer tips that relate to your products
  2. Stay true to the spirit of the holiday
  3. Use freebies to build brand loyalty
  4. Increase your customer base with a product giveaway
  5. Share how your customers can use your products

👉 Plan your Labor Day strategy now – check out email examples from brands that are nailing it.


Tip from the Pilothouse team:

Focus creative testing on 1x1 sized creative, but use a separate, consistent image for Story placement across all ad tests to speed velocity of testing.

Automatic placements are a must for testing and scale – which means you either need to build story placements for each creative test (slows down velocity) or if you don't include a story placement you'll have the automated janky background fills.

🔑 The Key:

Since story placements are generally such a low % of impression share, it won't make or break the creative test, and since the story creative is consistent across each test, it won't impact the data of the split test.


This week on the pod we welcomed new dad Michael Weider, Co-Founder, President, and CMO of Lalo.

Lalo is on a mission to "make all parents’ lives easier" by bringing high-quality, aesthetically pleasing, and non-toxic baby gear that grows with the family.

They just raised a $5.6 million seed round – that’s what happens when you come on the DTC pod. 😎

The Takeaways 👇

Combine DTC with Retail

The traditional DTC online store isn’t the only place consumers can connect with Lalo

Queue, the Lalo Loft:

"A place where customers can come and make one-on-one appointments and meet with members of our team."

🚨 "50% of the people who made appointments converted into purchasers because of that level of service."

An amazing reminder that face-to-face genuine connections with customers can ease nerves and generate unbelievable returns.

Let the Influencer Pick

The beauty of having beautiful products? UGC is created every day.

Lalo’s UGC has come from household names like Khloe Kardashian, Jessica Alba, and Shay Mitchell.

But it also comes from hundreds of consumers tagging and creating content for Lalo every day.

When it comes to influencer strategy though, Lalo flips the script.

🚨 Instead of receiving a standard influencer package, the influencer shops the Lalo website and chooses items best fit for them.

The personalization familiarizes influencers with the site and allows them to pick products that fit into their lifestyle.

Talk to Your Customers (DO IT!)  

Understanding the wants, needs, and pain points of parents is at the heart of Lalo’s strategy.

"The last time we did a large customer survey, there were over 91 individual types of products that customers wanted us to make."

Insights from new parents have become central to the way Lalo has positioned itself in the market.

Surveys aren’t the only way Lalo gathered data.

In the early days, Michael would approach random shoppers in baby stores to ask them about their frustrations and anxiety around having a kid.  

Now that’s customer research!

For more personal anecdotes, DTC marketing success stories, and the story of Lalo, listen to the entire pod here!


🛋 The premier eComm event is happening on your couch.

Route Connect is coming – are your cushions fluffed? The premier eCommerce event of the summer is happening August 5.

You’re invited to the 100% digital event that is 100% free to stream from 100% wherever your heart desires.

More than 30 world-class brands and eCommerce pros will be dishing out their own strategies and prowess, so giddy up and grab your seat.

👉 Save my seat


Are you leveraging "zero-party" data in your marketing?

As privacy laws tighten up and companies reduce visibility to third-party data sources, it's more important than ever to get to the bottom of WHY your customers and prospects buy or consider your product.

Zero-party data is data that a customer intentionally and proactively shares with a brand.

If collected correctly, it can take a lot of guesswork out of the way.

But how do you find and gather this customer journey gold mine?


Build pre and post-purchase surveys/questionnaires with apps like typeform or enquirelabs.

Many platforms exist to help you harvest this super valuable data.

On a low budget?

Even a plain text email in a post-purchase flow can gain massive amounts of info from your main buyer group.

Don't guess and test – ask and test.

Use the information to inform your media buying, email, and overall acquisition and retention strategies to get to the heart of your customers 10x faster.


Why this works:

  • The short-form text and headline let the image do the talking.
  • It's a recognizable meme format and instantly draws people in because they want to see the punchline.
  • Content is relatable to all millennials. 😬
  • And the humor helps it stand out from competitors that may have a more serious tone with their survival gear and bags.

TEST memes in your paid ads – it’s a MUST!

Quick Hits

🛒 Instacart forays into warehouses in food delivery market.

📱 Instagram expands insights data to 60 days, providing more analytical capacity.

👻 Snap, Twitter see revenue jump as new features attract interest.

🤳 TikTok integrates Vimeo's video-creation tools to attract more small business marketers.

🥤 Coca-Cola spurs 42% revenue growth after returning to pre-pandemic marketing spend.

🤝 Google clarifies timeline for adoption of Privacy Sandbox’s Floc and Fledge.

👀 TikTok cuts out the middleman with Spark Ads sponsorship tool.

👊 Twitter is Testing New Vocal Effects Options for Spaces, Which Could Help to Reduce Speaker Anxiety.

🔑 TikTok expands LIVE platform with new features, including events, co-hosts, Q&A’s and more.

💸 Pinterest rolls out new features that let creators make money from Pins.

😃 Crocs revenue nearly doubles in Q2 as DTC and wholesale take off.

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🍼 Organic influencers for the win with Co-founder and CMO of Lalo, Michael Weider.

✅ How Kellogg’s thinks about DTC and eRetail with Joe Harper and Jordan Narducci.

🥤Slashing Facebook ads in half with Olipop’s Steven Vigilante

💇‍♂️ Beardbrand’s Eric Bandholz and the DTC long game.

🌴 Product/market fit with Canopy Humidifiers' Eric Neher and Michael De Santis.

💥 Building a bold brand with Ugly's CEO Hugh Thomas.

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

DTC Newsletter is written by Thomas Schreiber, Eric Dyck, Sadie Evans, Nupura Ughade, and Rebecca Knight.

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