Roundup: The top 10 tactics you loved most in 2021

Happy Sunday! I hope you've got a steaming cup of hot chocolate or something aromatic like Haus's Ginger Yuzu over some ice, and you're ready for the last Sunday email of the year!!

But before we do that, I just wanted to say thank you. Because of you opening this email, right now, you've continuously encouraged me to write this newsletter every Sunday. I truly hope it's been helpful to you throughout the year and you're excited about next year's Sunday emails, too.

My one ask is, I tweeted this tweet for others to join this newsletter community. Could you like + reply with just a few words on why you opened this newsletter?

I'll share the analytics from the tweet and give 5 people who reply to this tweet a $100 Starbucks gift card! Thank you so much. 

This Sunday, you should be enjoying the time with your family, or just relaxing, so I am going to keep today's newsletter short. It's less than a 5-minute read today. There are a lot of links, so I recommend reading it through, and then going back and finding the links you want to open.

After my emails were opened over 1M times this year, I wanted to compile 10 things people loved the most with some resources. It might inspire you to test or implement one of these for the new year, or if it inspires another question, feel free to hit me with it!

1. Landing pages work.

You might remember this handy old Landing Pages Guide we put out earlier this year or even the landing page template for Shopify stores we made with Builder. The PDF will be getting a facelift soon and I'll re-share it.

If you're spending lower-funnel ad dollars for customer acquisition, don't just send people to an un-curated homepage or a PDP with little information on the brand. Instead, create and direct your paid traffic to landing pages. It gives you an opportunity to properly explain who you are, what you're selling, and gives you the opportunity to curate their first order. Having the right first purchase for a new customer can increase your chances of their experience with you as a brand, and increase the odds they'll come back.

2. TikTok is underrated.

We recently used TikTok to blow up Jolie's pre-launch waitlist and ended up driving thousands of customers off TikTok. This is another example by Cadence, of using TikTok creators to create content for you. If you send your product to 100 people and 75 of them post, at least 10 will give you views like this.

The platform is completely free. No CPAs or CPMs. Just creativity and understanding of the platform’s culture are required to win.

3. Be a brand, don't just sell products.

Modern consumers don't want to just buy products from you anymore, they want to be a part of the brand. If they're buying a jacket from you, it's not just for the utility of a jacket, but it's also because of the artist behind it, the sustainable practices in your supply chain, the reason your founder started the company, and more.

Click here to read 10 simple things you can do, in order to consistently build brand equity.

4. Explain your "Why" at every touchpoint.

The reason iOS 15 f'd things up for everyone is that they were overly reliant on the Facebook website pixel getting data back into its system to know when it should show you the next marketing message it believes will convert the best. Hopefully, you've overcome those iOS 15 issues, but if not, try adding the "Why" more often.

The brands that were minimally impacted were those that always answered "Why does this brand deserve to exist" in every ad, email, SMS message, retargeting banner, or direct mailer. Focus on telling the story more, whether it be through creators, long-form content, or customer stories. Quick-cut Instagram ads can't be your end game for driving new customers.

5. Leverage alternative capital.

If your business is doing well, or you just raised, you now have leverage! Use companies like Wayflyer or Settle to go out and get non-dilutive capital. These companies can help you spend dollars on advertising, inventory, or hires with a 7-figure line of credit that costs you 2% and has a 6 month payback period. It's basically free money and doesn't dilute your equity.

6. Subscriptions are a journey.

You can't (and shouldn't) expect your customers to subscribe on the first purchase. I mean, would you ever walk into a new store and commit to getting something every single month when you haven't even tried it yet? Probably not!

What I found working with a handful of successful subscription businesses was this formula:

First purchase: a variety pack, including a variety of flavors, scents, colors, etc.

Second purchase: guide your customer to select their favorite out of the variety they were sent over, and purchase it to confirm

Third purchase: encourage them to subscribe to their favorite variant, earn a discount, and enroll in a membership component (there should be value for them there).

You also want to focus on creating a lean-in-based subscription model, versus a lean-back one. You want them excited to get your box in the mail every month. We've started to think of ways to build memberships that really come with benefits through NFTs for brands.

7. Zero-party data is holy.

Having Nik Sharma with an email, an address, and what he orders is great. But knowing what kind of content Nik consumes, how often he uses the product, why he uses the product, and what triggers him to buy more is much more valuable.

The best way to think of zero-party data is it helps explain your first-party data even better.

Zero-party data = adjective
First-party data = noun

8. Use good technology.

There's nothing worse than using technology that is ancient, outdated, or is just a big name because of how long it's been around. Here is the tech stack we have used for the last two launches we did:

eCommerce CMS: Shopify
Landing Pages: Unbounce or Builder
Reviews: Okendo
Email: Klaviyo
Customer acquisition: Co-op Commerce
Influencer Management: Dovetale
Analytics: Tydo
Subscription: Smartrr
Customer Service: Gorgias
SMS/Text: Postscript
Affiliate: Refersion
Gift Cards: Govalo

9. Copywriting matters, a lot.

Good visual creative usually gets 90% of the attention when it comes to creating marketing content, but copywriting can make all the difference. When it comes to the pages you drive people to, or the way your ads are written, copywriting matters a lot. I don't have a great resource I've made yet, but check out this Twitter thread by Jeremy.

10. Use advertorials.

Last year, Scott Swanson and I started 1180, an agency where we create content for some of the fastest-growing DTC brands, and then handle the media buying to drive new customers. It's not easy, but once you can figure out how to do it with sponsored editorial content, it can grow your business really fast. Our largest client spends mid-7 figures a month with us at a CPA that's half of their internal CPA. (If you spend >$400k/month in ads, we'd love to see if we can help you too)

There is so much opportunity with this strategy and I think anyone can try it. You need to find a publication that is open to telling your story, or pay for a piece of editorial content to be placed that tells a good story, and then get eyeballs there.

Long-form content is underrated when it comes to social media, because they love pushing quick-cut Instagram ads, but remember, people open their social media apps to be entertained, not to look at digital billboards in their feed.

Ok, now on to some fun stuff...

Software/App of the Week:

Co-op Commerce — The customer acquisition tool that drove 7-figures of new revenue to merchants last month.

You have probably seen a Co-op widget on the post-purchase page of DTC brands like Haus, Caraway, Brightland, Parade, Rhone, Hint, or others, and that unit alone drove 7-figures in revenue to merchants of unexpected revenue.

On top of post-purchase selling and adding attribution surveys, better analytics, cross-selling, and recommending partnerships, they have also launched Co-op Lookalikes. With Co-op Lookalikes, the platform recommends brands with similar customer personas, and allows you to request to cross-share custom audiences on Facebook. For example, if you're Brightland and want to tap into Caraway's lookalikes audience, you can do that with Co-op Lookalikes in less than 2 minutes.

There are a lot more exciting updates coming next year from Co-op, and my recommendation for brands is to get set up now, let the platform's machine learning understand your store, your customers, and how people transact, so you can leverage their upcoming products in the new year.

Apply to join the Co-op network here, and take advantage of untapped revenue streams!

Brand of the Week

Haus — The Dry-Jan acceptable brand

If you haven't already tried Haus, now is probably the best time to do so. With Dry January around the corner, you probably know lots of people who plan to quit drinking altogether. But, have you noticed the one thing in common with diets or trends like quitting things altogether? They never last!

Instead, you don't need to quit drinking, but maybe instead of chugging tequila and bourbon, swap it out for a bottle of Haus! Haus is low in ABV, which means no hangovers if done right, and still brings that beautiful ambiance that comes with enjoying drinks with friends.

Try 6 different flavors with the Haus Deluxe Cocktail Kit!

That's all for this year!

What a year it's been. Thank you for sticking with me until the end (of this newsletter and the year). I hope you're enjoying the mid-winter break Sunday evening, and that you get 9 hours of sleep tonight!





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