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DTC Lessons: Acquring customers in tough times with Ben Zettler

Each week, we're chatting to an expert in the eCommerce space to share their wisdom on building a resilient DTC brand in 2022 and beyond. This week we're handing the mic to Ben Zettler, founder Shopify Plus agency Ben Zettler Digital.


Take it away Ben…

Interview with Ben Zettler

Let us know your role and what you do day to day.

Founder of Ben Zettler Digital, a Shopify Plus Partner building websites and running ads and Klaviyo campaigns (other stuff, too!).

It’s a tough year for eCommerce. Which area should DTC brands be focusing their time and efforts towards, and why?

The challenges that this year, and really the last 3 years, have brought to our industry shouldn't stop brands from focusing on three key things:

(1) Providing an exceptional product

(2) Acquiring new customers

(3) Getting customers to buy again.

The how for sustaining and growing a business definitely changes with market conditions and are what makes the day-to-day fun. That's finding ways to reduce costs where supply chain issues make it seemingly impossible, knowing when to pull the trigger on more marketing spend or peel back, and creating things that are new and exciting for both new and existing customers.

My advice (always) is to keep it simple. Stick with the things you are good at, venture into new areas where you have  room to take some risks.

You specialize in digital marketing - what piece of advice would you give to DTC brands who want to improve their acquisiton? 


User testing. A lot of brands get caught up with how they think customers may react to a change on a website without considering how people actually interact with it. Get as much feedback as you can whether that be through formal A/B tests, user testing services, even a friend looking at the website.

What are the biggest trends you’re seeing right now in digital marketing?

All of the changes that have rocked the eCommerce world in the last 2 years (particularly iOS 14.5, which was impacted how paid advertising works and how brands therefore have focused on it) have put an emphasis back on owned marketing (i.e. email and text marketing).

We've seen platforms like Klaviyo grow by leaps and bounds and for good reason. With Klaviyo, brands can pull many different data points about a customer from sources like Shopify, Recharge, survey tools, etc. to build highly-targeted segments of users to receive a campaign or to be served an automated message.

Email was never dead, and is still not, and it's been refreshing to see the emphasis that brands are putting on it. Within that sphere, my advice to brands would be to focus on the things that will bring you closer to your end goal. For most (though not all) that's an increase in sales. Sometimes it can be easy to almost go too far in the sense that with all of the possibilities that are created by a tool like Klaviyo, marketers may spend too much time on trying to collect a piece of data, serve a certain type of message, etc. Leverage the tools available, but don't let that take away from sending messages, creating new content that users will engage with, testing and learning.

If you could tell DTC brands to stop making one mistake, what would it be?

Don't spend money for the sake of spending money. Regularly assess where you are allocating resources and if its the best idea, whether that be product sourcing, advertising, tools integrated with a website or elsewhere.

Complete the sentence: DTC brands that survive and thrive in 2022 will ____.

Provide value-added experiences (virtual or physical) to customers.

Thanks Ben! Where can we hear more from yourself & Ben Zettler Digital?

You can find out more about us via our website, and you can follow me on Linkedin!

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