📦 - It’s Complicated…
May 21, 2023
Content Tag


Monday, April 17, 2023


There, their, and they’re.

Affect and effect.

Words are hard. 👏

In this newsletter, you’ll find: 👇

📦 Building your SEO for long-term growth

📦 Recession-proof marketing tips

📦 Why LTV needs retention more than growth

📦 Social proof anytime, anywhere

Read till the end to access exclusive DTC swag. 😎

👉 If a pal forwarded this to you, subscribe, so you never miss out.


😬 It’s…complicated

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a tricky beast to master, and the evolving nature of AI and algorithms don’t make it any easier.

But optimizing your website for organic search is one of the most important long-term investments your brand can make. So, look no further than our All Killer No Filler podcast with Pilothouse’s SEO Lead and build for the long term with these essential SEO tactics. 👇

😲 Overlooking the important, technical stuff

It’s not your fault! So many brands can overlook the technical fundamentals of SEO without even realizing it:

  • Site structure
  • Duplicate content
  • 404 flows
  • Canonical tags
  • Schema markup

The pod’ walks through what all of these mean and just how significant an impact they make on your SERP ranking. These massive insights from Pilothouse will make you rethink what you know about SEO. 🤯 Let’s take a quick look at a couple of examples:

🎯 If a user lands on a 404 page, send them to related content or, better yet, capture their email to elevate that engagement!

🤩 Achieve full control over what content is displayed and eliminate duplicate content with canonical tags. Don’t let Google make decisions for your brand. You know it best, after all!

🏗️ Show the world how much of an expert you are with a detailed schema markup. We know you have images, reviews, product data, copy, and videos to back up your product, so put it all to work for you in the backend of Google.


Let’s face it. You’re never going to outrank Walmart in the SERPs with high-traffic keywords. Instead, shift your strategy to research long-tail keywords and lay these out within a consistent structure across your site. Eventually, your content might look something like this:

Main keyword - semantic keyword(s) - brand name

Structure is crucial in carving out your place in search engine results. The more related content you can attach to your brand, the more reputable your brand will be. Think of search engines like extremely skeptical customers who need all the proof they can get before securing a sale.

🤔 SEM or SEO?


While search engine marketing (SEM) strategies can be highly variable, they’re valuable in driving traffic to your site and forecasting customer acquisition costs. SEO allows you to build your brand long-term and adapt to changing trends with secretive algorithms.

Check out the All Killer No Filler podcast to get the low-down from the Pilothouse team on constructing your SEO strategy and setting your brand up for success in highly competitive markets.


First-Party Data + Personalized Email = Recession-Proof Marketing

As the global economy remains uncertain, it pays to double down on your highest ROI channel: email marketing.

(Every $1 spent on email = average return of $36.)

But forget the old “batch-and-blast” strategy. Today’s savvy shopper expects personalized emails… and we don’t mean just adding {FNAME} to the intro. 🙃

To get really personal with your peeps – in a cool, not creepy way – you need first-party data.

This guide shows you how to use first-party data to create extremely strategic, high-engagement, high-ROI emails, like:

  • Sending the right message at the right time
  • Pushing out campaigns based on last-click activity
  • Using historical data to make personalized product recs,
  • And more invaluable tips than we can fit here!

With an email strategy like that, you can turn an unpredictable economy into unprecedented growth. 🚀

👉 Read your guide to riding out the recession.

Lifetime Value

Grow When Times Are Tough: Level-Up Your LTV

When times are tough financially, acquiring new customers can become much harder and more expensive for brands. 😣

However, that also provides an excellent opportunity to look closer at metrics like Lifetime Value (LTV) and dig into how much the average person spends during their “lifetime” as a customer with you. 🛍️

LTV is a measure of your ability to market to existing customers, which is a substantially cheaper, more effective, and more sustainable way to grow your business!

You may be familiar with the technical ways to increase LTV, such as:

  1. Increasing a customer’s average order value (AOV) by offering bundles, upsells, cross-sells, buy more save more, and free shipping over $X.
  2. Incentivizing customers to purchase more often by giving them a reason to return: loyalty/rewards programs, launching new or updated products, offering subscriptions, and making repeat purchases as easy as possible.
  3. Raising prices to increase your profit margin, which can be warranted at times, but should be done with the utmost care.

But, in our humble opinion, these strategies will ultimately be unsuccessful if you don’t also focus on customer retention.

Giving customers reasons to stick around =

More $ spent with your brand over time =

Higher LTV

The truth is, there’s no quick tip or magic trick for retaining customers. 🤷

Retention is a long game requiring multiple touchpoints to build customer trust and loyalty. 🤝

But it’s never too late (or too early) to start developing those ooey-gooey, long-term relationships!

Here are some areas to focus on to enhance customer retention, boost your LTV, and ultimately grow your business during hard times (with examples)! 👇

💗 Show appreciation

The Numero Uno rule of customer retention is to always go the extra mile to show your customers you care. ❣️

Whether it’s featuring them on your social media, sending free birthday gifts, or adding personalized notes to packages, there’s no shortage of ways to surprise and delight your customers!


🤝🏽 Provide exceptional customer service

Customer service is one of those touchpoints that can make or break a shopper’s experience with your brand. Provide above-and-beyond service, and most customers will give you loyalty in return. 💸

Outside of the basics (easy ways to contact, FAQs, effective CS software), figure out what ✨amazing✨ customer service looks like for you. Is it…

  • Stupid-easy customer returns, a la Amazon?
  • Making customers a new latte when they “spill theirs” with 0 questions asked, like Starbucks?
  • Sending thoughtful notes and gifts, like Chewy does when a pet passes away? (We’re not crying… you’re crying 😭)


There’s more LTV tips coming — keep on scrolling! 👇


Selling DTC Products? Reviews Are Your Answer To More Conversions

Social proof is a must!

50 reviews on a product page can increase conversion by 30%, and that's just the start of the trend! 🤯

not all reviews are created equally.

Reviews with pictures slap the hardest.

That's why Cohley provides reviews from creators with rights-approved UGC images. Images that your brand can use for marketing! 🧠

Cohley's clients are even having reviewers leave reviews right on beauty powerhouse Sephora.com!

Reviews also boost your SEO rankings, meaning...

  • More customers.
  • More reviews.
  • More conversions.

As a DTC subscriber, generate reviews from Cohley, and for a limited time, they'll match them up to 500 reviews Buy 500, Get 500 free!

👉 Start getting authentic reviews (and more customers).

Lifetime Value — Part 2

❓ Use feedback to keep improving

People love voicing their opinions, and they love being listened to even more. 👂 Surveys, ratings, and reviews allow you to get regular customer feedback, show them you care, AND give you valuable insights to improve your products and service — a win-win-win for customer retention!

Being active on social media, like Tesla’s founder Elon Musk, is also a great way to gather and respond to customer feedback in real-time.


💸 Offer rewards/loyalty programs

Rewarding your customers to stick around is another solid tactic to build customer retention, and shoppers love it. 83% say they’re more likely to make additional purchases with a brand that has a rewards or loyalty program.

If you don’t have a loyalty program, it might be time to implement one. There are several apps and services that make adding tech to your existing site as simple as a few clicks. 🖱️

And if you already have a loyalty program, but it’s not impacting your retention, research (or ask your customers!) how to make it more appealing to shoppers.

REI’s dividends program, which is basically cash-back on purchases, is an example of a rewards program that keeps customers returning year after year!


📈 Be better than your competitors in at least one way

If you don’t provide a superior product or service — whether in price, convenience, quality, or experience — it’ll be challenging to keep customers from leaving for your competitors. So if customer retention continues to be an issue, you may need to go back to the drawing board and figure out your key differentiators as a brand!

Costco’s Kirkland brand is a good example of beating out the competition with a more affordable price. They keep SO MANY customers for life simply because they can't find better deals anywhere else!


  • LTV (lifetime value) measures how much the average customer spends in a “lifetime” with your brand.  
  • It’s a valuable metric to focus on during economic hardship (when customer acquisition becomes costly) because it measures your ability to market to existing customers.
  • LTV can be impacted directly by targeting your AOV, purchase frequency, and product pricing. However, the most impactful way to increase your LTV is by getting customers to stick around longer!
  • Focus on your customer retention efforts by:
  • Showing customers you care at every opportunity
  • Providing above-and-beyond customer service
  • Gathering – and acting on – customer feedback
  • Offering rewards and loyalty programs
  • Being better than competitors, whether in price, value, experience, or quality

Any LTV tips you think were missed? Reply to this email and let us know!

Top Platforms Seeing Week Over Week Performance Drops    

Thanks to our friends at Northbeam, we’re bringing you what’s happening and current in the world of media buying. 🗺️

If you’re a buyer, step right up and get your insights. If you’re not, forward this email to your media buying friends or coworkers!

Northbeam’s insights

This week starts the first of our week-over-week data comparisons, by popular request. And the results are volatile: Meta performance continues to slide, less than previous weeks, but Northbeam users are almost all experiencing the ROAS (-4.77%) drop. TikTok conversion metrics went down this week as well, with ROAS (-10.69%) and CPC (+10.41%) both getting worse by double digits. YouTube is the only channel with across-the-board improvements this week, with ROAS (+1.98%) CPC (-7.18%) and CPMs (-6.66%) all improving. Overall, a bad week for the two largest platforms: Google and Meta.

Quick Hits

🌴 Amazon enters the AI race. Third-parties can now host and build AI-powered apps on AWS through Amazon Bedrock.  

♾️ Facebook is testing generative story content. Users can use “Advanced Stories” to automatically create story content based on past uploads to their Facebook page.

📛 Pinterest adds further security measures to protect users’ mental health and privacy. The ability to share boards and receive messages will now require consent for users under the age of 16.

🪟 Microsoft patches vulnerability in Windows OS. Hackers targeted small businesses in North America, the Middle East, and Asia.

🇺🇲 US search ad revenue breaks records. Digital ad spending accounted for $84.4B in 2022.

🔊 Have you heard our latest podcasts?

🌲 TAXA Outdoor, Garrett Finney: Digital meets dealership, NASA Architect goes out of home for real.

🐶 Pet Health Comes Home with MySimplePetLab's Jen Hagness.

☠️ Liquid Death Mountain Water: Hamid Saify - Death, Beverages, and the Attention Economy.

🟥 Mid-Day Squares: Jake Karls and Nick Saltarelli - Rainmaking, Fundraising and "One word: F&%^ng Crazy."

🧖‍♀️ Bushbalm's David Gaylord goes B2B, Enters US retail bigly, and rides the Vajacial wave on DTC.

💡 Listen to the Biggest Marketing News Stories Today.

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

DTC Newsletter is written by Rebecca Knight, Kelsey Hess, and Michael Venditti. Edited by Claire Beveridge and Eric Dyck.

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