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Sunday Email: My Q1 2021 brand strategy + free ice cream

This email was sent out to my email list on November 08, 2020.

Sunday EmailsNik Sharma

Hey there,

How are you? Hopefully, the answer is that you're at least relaxing while reading this email. Who wants to read a DTC focused email when they're not relaxed? Got some exciting news below, and also today's email is more focused on what comes in 2021, versus the chaos that'll begin starting next week.​

But FIRST, can you do me a favor and reply with your favorite flavor of ice cream? I am more of a coffee/mocha kinda guy... what are you? I'll send ice cream to a couple of y'all! 🍦

Now to the meat (or Tofurkey for some of you) of this email... 2021!! It feels like we can't get there fast enough. 2 weeks ago I sent an email outlining some of the stuff we're doing for Black Friday & Cyber Monday, but when asking some of my DTC/CPG friends what they're doing for Q1 2021, they had no plans yet, so I wanted to share some of the stuff I'm doing.

From a content/campaign standpoint, we're going to take the idea of "New Year, New You" to a whole new level. Everyone is so done with 2020...the idea of celebrating a new chapter, and making money off of it sounds like a great one. For health and wellness brands, this is an annual tradition to help people get in shape/achieve the goals they want for the summer, but even for non-health/wellness brands like Caraway or JUDY, it can be around instilling new habits like cooking vs takeout... or being more prepared as a family.

On the brand side, Jan 1 is when all the CPM's reset, and become the cheapest they will be all year. I remember at hint, I ran a subscription promotion beginning Jan 1, and our CPA for a new subscriber was $15! The lowest I had ever seen. So I highly recommend you take advantage of the fact that P&G, elections, Unilever, and all the other big spenders are turned OFF at 11:59pm on Dec 31st. Go HARD and be prepared on all fronts... creative, landing pages, ad account setup, offers for new years, emails, SMS, etc. You have to do 12/12 things right for DTC to work.​

We are going to be making more listicles to take advantage of lower CPMs, which means we can educate more customers and get them "iNtO tHe FuNnEl" faster. I say it like that because your listicles, landing pages, and website should be optimized to get the buy right away, especially if your product is under $150. Here is an example of Snif's listicle or this one for JUDY. In addition to listicles, we're prepping some more long-form video to build audiences for the year to come β€” more brand, less performance-focused, and ideally videos that generate organic shares, not just boring "About Us" videos.

Another thing to think about... if you think of 2020 and the news cycles we went through, it basically instilled in everyone's heads to not believe what they see. So if you are selling a premium product, really be transparent about the WHY, don't just sell the WHAT. No one cares you're selling a premium shampoo...tell them about why you're selling it, where the ingredients are from, what makes it more legit than the competing shampoo, or one they might find at a local corner store. Selling the WHY also leads to higher conversion rates + longer LTV. I remember when Scott Swanson (aka one of the smartest marketers that I know) and I started running this article for hint, and people would come in and tell us they read an article about our CEO when we were in the office. It also resulted in better LTV and higher conversion into subscribers thereafter.

Last thing that just popped in my head, not really related to 2021, but more for the upcoming holidays... if you have customers that have bought from you way more than your average purchase cycle, send them a thank you note! Chances are, they are going to probably think about gifting your brand during the holidays, so email them and thank them. Then, ask them if they'd like a special discount code for purchasing bulk orders during the holidays. Have your customer service team make them a special discount code (for ex. JUDYVIP-SHARMA) and see what that does for you. πŸ˜‰β€‹

My Favorite Brand of the Week:​


Not sure if you saw this savage piece on Fast Company talking about how they were able to navigate the pandemic, barely lose any employees and also pivot into new product categories... but if you didn't, read it here. Josh Udashkin, the GM of RIMOWA, is a beast. I can't wait for their new backpacks to launch.

My Favorite App/Software of the week:

​Shopping Gives

I met Ronny (the founder) at a Yotpo event last year when I was absolutely plastered from the free red wine they had available. The platform allows brands to support over 1.5M non-profits, with no barrier to legal registration or donation minimums. It's all in a Shopify app, and with every integration, they've seen stores actually make MORE money, because consumers want to spend more to support.

You can give it a look here: click here​


Don't have many this week, but this thread by Morning Brew social media guru, Toby Howell, was one of my favorites. He goes into how he took Morning Brew's Twitter from just a boring Twitter account (sorry, Austin) and grew it to over 100k followers ... FAST.


Nik Sharma

CEO, Sharma Brands