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How I Sold My Shopify Empire, Bought It Back, and Scored a Netflix Series: The Battlbox Journey

How I Sold My Shopify Empire, Bought It Back, and Scored a Netflix Series: The Battlbox Journey

by Nick Trueman

A month ago

Join us in this episode as we explore the fascinating journey of Battlbox with CEO, John Roman.

From selling the company in 2021 to buying it back in 2023, John shares the highs and lows. Including having their very own Netflix show, to a nail-biting moment when Facebook Ads were turned off before their biggest ever sales weekend, and saved by a user on Reddit!

Discover John's insights on customer interaction, influencer partnerships, marketing strategies, and the importance of understanding customer timelines.

Check out Omnisend here:

Transcript from video:

0:00 welcome to the winning with Shopify podcast this is the podcast to help you
0:05 scale your Shopify store into a moneymaking machine this episode is brought to you by omnisend trusted by
0:13 more than 880,000 Shopify Brands just like yours everything you need to scale
0:18 your email marketing in Roi send emails newsletters and SMS build your email
0:24 list with landing pages and popups oneclick Shopify integration get 24/7
0:31 email and live chat support all with omnisend now over to your host Nick
0:38 Truman hi everybody and welcome to another episode of the winning Shopify podcast for anyone that's not tuned in
0:44 before it's a absolutely special moment for us to have you tuning into your first ever episode if you've tuned in before you're a lifetime subscriber
0:50 you've listened to hundreds of these things which I know a few of you have because you email me and I love getting your emails welcome back it's awesome to
0:56 have you tuning in again I've got a couple of quick things to plug um just before we dive into today's episode number one is we've got loads of
1:02 webinars booked over the next few months we've got two in March another one in April one in May one in June one in July you get the idea so we've got two in
1:07 March and then one every month after that we've also got a few other ones we're scheduling at the moment as well um they're actually hosted by my main
1:12 agency spec um but on the winning was shop by podcast uh newsletter you can sign up and get links to all of those or
1:18 at least links to the next one um that Byron is sending out so if you haven't already go and sign up to our newsletter is really what I'm trying to say there
1:24 second and final plug uh for today is that um we have a couple of slots um later on this year if anyone is thinking
1:30 of sponsoring if you're a agency wants to push something a bit of tech a shop fight app Etc we'd love to hear from you
1:36 we love having you guys involved because whoever the sponsor is that tends to set the tone as to what we're talking about as well so if you want to get involved
1:43 and SP people who sponsor the show obviously support paying my salary and everybody else's um and also all of our costs to keep the uh the show on the
1:49 road that's more than enough for me and today we're going to be talking about subscription businesses and talking about the customers within all of that
1:56 we're going to touch on email and marketing and acquisition and a whole range of other things um and helping me today got a very special guest his name

Introducing BattlBox’s CEO, John Roman
2:01 is John and he was the CEO of battlbox so John welcome to the show Nick thanks
2:06 for having me excited to be here well it's a pleasure to have you on the show and anyone who is not listening to the first episode will know exactly I'm
2:12 about to ask you John give us a bit of a background to what battlbox is how you got involved initially how you ended up founding that or becoming the CEO of
2:19 that and then also uh yeah what it's uh what it's doing today sure so so
2:24 battlbox started in 2015 um so in 2015
2:30 there was that subscription box craze where where there were so many boxes
2:35 being launched and and battlbox was one of them um so it was Outdoor Adventure Gear so think hiking camping
2:42 survival really anything that that is in that that that
2:48 space and getting getting involved was was was was a a unique one I invested in
2:56 the company two weeks after launch and the um the intent was very limited time
3:04 um board seat just just advisement and it just quickly became very big very
3:10 fast and my expectations and responsibilities were growing Y and I
3:16 had to had to make a choice um I had a I was deep into a career in in sales and
3:22 Building Sales teams on B2B and I had to make a a choice of which direction I was
3:29 going to cuz I couldn't do both so I jumped straight into battlbox in 2016
3:34 and nice the rest rest is history so kept growing um had a Netflix show um in
3:42 2020 we uh got acquired in 2021 we decided we were going to buy the
3:48 business back in 2023 wow and uh yeah that's not part of the Playbook I don't think but um and
3:56 and here we are today we've we've got the business back 10 months ago and uh we're back in growth mode and it's it's
4:02 exciting wow I mean okay I've got loads of questions and I'm GNA we'll get on to Shopify and all the main stuff that I
4:08 think people normally tune in based on the title in a sec but so your role so when you first joined up your role

Why BattlBox was successful
4:14 basically expanded pretty quickly do you think and I don't use Chuck any of your old colleagues or board members under
4:20 the bus with this but do you think it expanded because you were the only one who really knew what they were doing do you think it expanded because you had
4:25 the enthusiasm you know You' obviously bought in so you had skin in the game and wanted this thing to be successful
4:30 um no I think I think if I'm being honest it was it was a good idea um it and it was it was executed um fairly
4:38 well but it was it was a good idea and was timing um it was early 2015 was the
4:46 time to launch a subscription box um if if you if you could pinpoint in the past
4:53 um 10 15 years of what the optimal time to do that um you know you can never
4:59 time the markets but sometimes you get lucky and it was it was a it was a timed market and it was it was an excellent
5:06 brand for a branding perspective from the offering it didn't exist um yeah now
5:13 now did we do a good job sure but we made so many mistakes in the in the
5:18 first year we didn't know what we didn't know um we were we were dependent on Facebook only um which was a huge lesson
5:26 when that went away and um yeah we didn't know what we were doing for the first um year and a half we didn't
5:33 advertise on uh search just and that's exactly what I do
5:38 so that's a that's awful to hear but yeah awful awful but but we but to be fair um nobody had any sort of
5:45 background in e-commerce um and you know um two of the one of the partners was um
5:54 was a tax audit guy um two of the partners were entrepreneurs and had done um some some direct to Consumer uh brick
6:03 and mortar stuff before and and my background was was business to business sales technology sales so none of us had
6:10 this e-commerce understanding but you know we quickly figured it out and yeah I I
6:17 don't think it was a long answer to say no I don't think there was onein I think it was it was just an excellent brand in
6:22 the right time which is amazing and I appreciate you being so humble in saying that because I think a lot of a lot of
6:28 stores we talk to they look at the store that's number one on Google on SEO or they see a TV advert for something in a
6:34 commercial on the you know on the Telly and go like those guys are obviously smashing it they're doing really well and I imagine lots of people look at
6:39 Battlbox today and say like you know these guys obviously are absolutely killing it they know exactly what they're doing and just really humble for
6:45 you to come on here and say the only reason we know is because we made so many mistakes we knew nothing on day one we just had to keep evolving it it's the
6:51 truth though now now don't get me wrong you asked me today we're smart we know what we're doing we we've assembled a
6:57 team that is just full of Rock rock stars um everything is very strategic
7:04 but n years ago no it was uh it was trial by air yeah
7:10 yeah trial by fire yeah I guess there's a really key lesson in there isn't there and I think this probably applies to every channel and everything you do
7:16 within Shopify every marketing channel um that actually when you try something for the first time even if I mean I've
7:22 been doing this 15 years PPC and SEO I come into stuff all the time and clients say you must know what's going to happen
7:27 the day we turn our first advert on I'm like no idea absolutely no idea the difference between me and everyone else
7:33 is I know what I'm going to do next Once I see some data literally 24 hours data or a week's data A month's data the more
7:39 data I've got you know the more you've been wasting money the more I can make a better decision for you but I can make decisions faster than anybody else and
7:45 my team can make decisions quicker because we know what we're looking for we know how we're going to make it work and we've pre looked at like what your
7:51 profit margins are and all that sort of stuff so I think that ability to learn quickly and you know mistake is is just
7:57 a a step to it to success and I I used to think that was such a horrible like you know one of those awful things you
8:02 see written on the wall that's like happiness is just a smile away and I'm like there's no depth in that but it's
8:07 so true that you know it's almost like kind of how quickly can you fail to then be successful and but you've got to you
8:13 got to make smart decisions and as you say a really good smart team what what was the defining moment then or were

How To Grow a Business With Influencers
8:18 there any particular defining moments where you went from like okay we've launched this thing it's great timing the Brand's cool but we still don't know
8:24 what we're doing was there any defining moment where it kind of went we're doing all right to suddenly we're doing really well or has it been very kind of just
8:30 kind of step-by-step growth throughout the years um with with the exception of the TV show uh it was very very slow and
8:38 steady um we now there were there were some calculated decisions that ured that
8:45 it was it was the steady steady growth y um you know one of those is we had a we
8:52 had a a free just to date 2015 pre pre- purchase survey asking them you know
9:00 completely stopping them from buying to ask them where they where they heard about us and um this was in month month
9:07 two month three and one of the options was other and they could type something in and they were um like 20 30% of our
9:16 new subscribers were putting in Curran 1776 and um you know part of our go-to
9:23 Market strategy was we sent about 30 boxes out to YouTubers for reviews just
9:29 some organic content some Buzz going and um we had this little Google spreadsheet
9:34 that we were you know tracking when their videos dropped if they did a good job and uh we quickly found this current
9:40 1776 guy but he wasn't on our list of comped boxes so further in the CRM
9:48 paying customer um and he was driving 20% of uh the reason why so we were like
9:55 okay um hey Brandon you don't have to pay pay for your box anymore it's free keep doing this and we continue to see
10:03 on that pre- purchase survey references to him um and then we started to see his
10:09 channel start picking up momentum and uh when we would repost his videos and we
10:16 started getting momentum that fast forwarded to hey we're going to give you $500 a month keep doing the Box you have
10:23 to do it by this date there's some rules now like if you have a question about a product reach out to us first and then
10:29 um by the time I came on in in ear full-time in early 2016 one of my my
10:36 second I had one very important thing I had to do immediately and then my second big task was uh was us figuring out how
10:44 to bring Brandon Curran on fulltime as the face of the brand and you know it
10:49 was little things like that where by bringing him in by tripling down once he
10:55 was full-time on content um it just kept the slow and steady up into the right
11:01 going yeah yeah yeah and I've seen so many Brands launch sometimes it's an influencer sometimes it's like um like
11:08 for example we we work with one brand who suddenly said like yeah our YouTube channel is getting crazy amounts of traffic and what it was is there was a
11:15 computer game I can't remember exactly what game it was like it was something popular like FIFA or something one of the biggest games in the world and they had used a song that these guys had
11:23 recorded for their commercial it was their song and had it licensed and suddenly people were like what song that
11:29 oh it's from these guys and they had like a music video on their Channel amongst all their product videos and
11:34 people were just subscribing finding the products and coming in and I kind of walked in on day one and went you do realize this is where like 20 30% of
11:40 your sales are coming from and they were like what they're like it can't be that that's ridiculous I'm like okay you're telling me what you think I'm telling
11:47 you what data says I'm looking at the data yeah you need to get in touch with this computer game like immediately and
11:53 say you've used our song can we use your game on our website you know like this is the soundtrack of our product and it
11:59 was like really cool she to kind of keep building that and quite a few friends of mine influencers you know YouTubers and stuff or music artists they've had
12:05 things like this happen over the years where someone's just gone we'll pay the the license royalty to whoever but yeah we're going to use their song or we're
12:11 going to use their you know do a product placement within a film and we're going to use this product and it's like as you say you've got to leverage
12:17 that that can't be the only like influence of person you're working with now like and I guess if we go down that
12:23 road road for a minute how do why do you think it works like how do you find a good influencer how can some of our
12:28 listeners go no one's talking about us no one's doing unboxing videos and stuff like where's a good place to start on
12:33 this yeah so you know so I think in 20 you know 2016 that's eight years ago um
12:41 but but finding an A influencer A creator that is well in line with your brand and and bringing them on fulltime
12:49 it's starting to become a a regular occurrence now right I think I think uh last week Ridge wallet um announced that
12:57 they brought on a Creator a YouTuber on full-time as their I believe Chief strategy officer yeah um so it's it's
13:06 definitely the norm now but I think it's it's it's testing right like we had a
13:12 you know they had a relationship with him already we had several months close to a year of of working with them and
13:20 and seeing if it was was a good fit um there's so many places to find creators
13:25 and influencers um you can you can do it manually and just just find people that you think
13:32 you know would align with your brand and and reach out to them and and DMS or email um and then there's um there's so
13:41 many tools right there's T of software platforms now they can do it as well and
13:47 then you get into um like Tik Tock shop where they've streamlined it and seller
13:53 in their Seller Central where you can just literally see see lists of everybody and and and they make it
13:59 really easy to reach out and get product too yeah so many ways to do it now yeah there are and I what I love is the fact
14:05 that you said you test it first with some people and once it works you double down and I guess the another word I'd
14:11 use for that same something else that's going in the process is actually locking them down and saying look this is going
14:16 well we love what you're doing you're really supporting our business and therefore we want to give back to you and I think going back to what you're
14:22 saying about running Facebook ads initially and then Google ads as well is I often use that as a benchmark to say what does it cost you to get a new
14:28 customer customer from Google ads from Facebook ads um you know say you're spending $20,000 a month on the two
14:34 advertising platforms and this influencer says I'll put you in front of 50,000 people for $500 a month or 500
14:40 bucks as you guys say yeah um you know would would you be happy to pay $500 for
14:45 that and I think people are often nervous because they don't see the value so sometimes the question is look we would love to get to that and probably
14:52 more if it works so can we test something with you know you we'll send you some free products would you be happy to do an unboxing or two and if
14:58 you know we'll see how that goes which in a way almost means you kind of you're tiptoeing in which is good and they've now got an opportunity to say actually
15:05 yeah I can deliver I can drive loads of sales through your store and if I do that you're going to start paying me more like it's a win-win and and you're
15:11 still paying less than you would be through the advertising channels and I think that's one of the most important parts I think of influencer marketing is
15:17 going it's not just the direct sales coming in you get all the other stuff but if you can justify that we're getting especially on a subscription
15:23 we're definitely making more than $500 but it's only costing $500 a month or a quarter to to do each round of videos
15:29 whatever that's a really good return on investment yeah and and and to your point I mean it's um think of it as as

Don't Be Greedy or Selfish
15:36 as dating before marriage if you will like you it's for both sides right it's
15:41 not just um one side and one other piece of advice when it comes to this if you
15:46 are trying to find that um that influencer and you're building that relationship and it looks like um it
15:53 might it might blossom into something bigger um think about all the points
15:59 that Nick just said of all the extra value besides just the sales that come in and and don't be greedy don't be
16:05 selfish right um you'd rather I'd rather have um a little bit less of a
16:11 percentage of something much bigger um than than all of of nothing right yeah
16:18 um I think people tend greedy and selfish and that's just not the right way to look at these relationships and
16:24 then look for people that you can you can see the genuiness you know that it's
16:29 real it's not you know like another I hate to keep talking about Tik Tok shop
16:35 but um you know what we're seeing a lot on the Tik Tok Tik Tok shop affiliate side are a lot of people like that are
16:41 just they think oh I'm going to make a video and tag this thing from someone's shop items and I'm going to make lots of
16:47 money um and like they're making these videos and you can tell it's not genuine
16:52 yeah like they're not even like it's horrible it's it's it's not good and they're probably not getting any Sal
16:58 from it um big surprise but like you need the genu
17:03 genuiness yeah absolutely Absol and I think that's the trying before you buy is good as well because say you land
17:10 like the most incredible influencer at the most ridiculously low price and then they say how bad your product is or they
17:16 put the product out and they say this product's fantastic and all the comments are yeah you've just been paid to say
17:21 that like this not a good product it doesn't fit your brand and I bought one and it's rubbish so there's so much more
17:27 going on here I think something I thought of earlier when you were talking actually about using your first influencer and and kind of tripling down

How To Win With Your First Influencer
17:33 on it I think Ed the phrase I I often use the analogy like and and my wife my wife if you're listening honey I love
17:38 you but you always say to me like oh that was lucky I do not believe there's levels of luck I don't believe in luck
17:45 generally like there sometimes it happens I often use the analogy of saying that the more you put your business out there especially in
17:50 e-commerce the more you put it out there the more your products are available even if you're making a loss initially which I know is painful I know it's
17:55 scary but even you're making a loss initially but you're putting yourself yourself out there you're selling product product is going into people's
18:01 homes either you're working out what's wrong with the product and fixing it or the product's good and you've got it out there and you've got it right early on
18:07 or first even first time would be a miracle let's be honest but you've got it right the amount of times you're then getting yourself out there it's like
18:13 rolling a dice and if you roll the dice once your chance of getting a six is one in six if you roll it a thousand times
18:19 how many sixes have you just rolled get a bunch of sixes exactly and we get um I I I don't know where you came from John
18:25 in terms of meeting us but we get a lot of people reaching out saying hey I'm a PR agency we've got a guest who wants to
18:30 come on your show and they're doing exactly that they're just reaching out to all the podcasts and saying hey we've got a guest and I think with influencers
18:36 as well you probably don't want to take too much of a mass Market approach but if you contact five and one turns around
18:42 and says it's $20,000 you're probably targeting the wrong ones if you can't afford that if it's not within your budget and you've
18:47 only targeted five so I don't think you should Target like a million of them but I do think actually if you say right we're going to reach out to 100
18:53 initially is a good number that we think are a good fit they're recommending similar things to us but not comp competitors products so they're not
18:59 going to go oh it's you or or my other brand I already work with so you find someone that's good find a hundred of them reach out to all of them and just
19:05 wait a week and if no one replies adjust your message literally is email marketing at this point or as you say
19:10 DMS which very similar to email marketing it's just you got to get that right message got to get in front of people but I think like like you you
19:16 guys finding this first influ I think Brandon you said it was his name so finding Brandon was like you know that
19:22 you put yourself out there and it's hilarious that he got hold of your product without you doing anything yeah we have worked with brands that have
19:27 just had that one hit wonder where like an A-list you know or um Diamond list celebrity has just worn something
19:33 everyone next next day on Twitter's like what the heck were they wearing last night where's it from and like oh it's from this brand everyone comes flooding
19:39 in you need to know that that's happened you need to contact that celebrity's agent and say they recently wore one of our products would they like anymore you
19:46 know like and do you work for any other celebrities that would also like some products we'll make them custom for them we can change whatever they want you
19:52 know would you be interested in a meeting and we can we'll fly out to wherever you are Etc and you and that's your tripling down with Brandon I think
19:58 is so important on this thing um so how then I guess we take all of that on board how did you then start to build

How To Build a Search Business With Facebook Ads and Google Ads
20:05 the business you obviously had brand and you did Facebook ads initially and then you bought search in later um what was
20:10 the approach on Facebook ads first and then how did that lead into into search campaigns yeah so you know February 2015
20:17 we we've launched we've launched on the business and we've launched on Facebook we are just on Facebook that's we're if
20:23 you look at our Google back in the Glory Days of Facebook yeah five we're acquiring for $5 yep um and you know you
20:32 look at our Google analytics 99% of the source traffic is Facebook um everything's going well uh W you know
20:39 we're quickly quickly looking like we're gonna be able in our first year to do seven
20:46 figures and we're like this is great and then Labor Day weekend going into it um
20:54 it's uh it's Friday we're going to have our biggest sale ever um we're confident it's going to be our biggest weekend
21:00 we've ever done now you know we've only been around for six months but um Friday
21:06 around 6: PM we get a notification on all of our phones um our Facebook ads
21:12 that we had just launched they weren't like deactivated or paused and the
21:17 notification said our account was killed cancelled yeah um when we go from all this traffic to
21:25 zero traffic um there's a little bit of traffic because of the YouTubers the 30 boxes we send out every month because of
21:32 Curran but you know it's it it pales in comparison to yeah yeah the paid traffic
21:38 and um suddenly that's gone it's just gone um going into a weekend um
21:44 obviously the whole weekend we're we're offline we um we got super um lucky and
21:52 this is actually I think genuinely like luckiness this we didn't roll the dice ver we rolled the dice
21:58 twice and we got a six um we were we couldn't get a hold of anybody on Facebook big surprise um and we're just
22:06 we want to talk to somebody because there's no reason for our account to be killed and we have a at this point a a
22:12 we're really big on building a community in the battlbox area and um we have
22:17 this Reddit style Forum that we've created and we post on there hey um
22:23 anybody have any ideas on what to do here like we asked our customers and one
22:28 of our customers worked for Facebook worked um a couple cubicle rows
22:35 away from the manual auditing team that that that very likely was killed our
22:42 account can only have that number their phone number is that because I need this person yeah um and he literally he's
22:49 like yeah let me let me walk walk over there and see if I can get an answer for you and like literally an hour later
22:58 we were back up and running um which great but it was but it was at that point that we need
23:06 diversification um we don't ever want to this to happen again okay well we don't
23:11 know anything we don't know what we don't know we're doing our own Facebook ads at the time yep so we find an agency
23:17 that can help us with Facebook but also launch Google ads yeah and um we quickly
23:24 launched Google ads um around the start of the the year and uh yeah obviously
23:31 now we're very well Diversified um you know everything from direct mail to Connected TV to you know
23:39 all the social platforms nice I mean what a story I I feel your pain I did
23:45 not think you were going to say someone at Facebook happen to be on Reddit at the time I no idea we're going there but
23:50 yeah we we've had similar we we had a client who were in the educational space and there's two times a year that people
23:56 in education are free to talk about doing something not teaching or getting involved in something else one's
24:02 Christmas and one's summer both of which we were off simultaneously one after the other um once because our ads related to
24:08 employment and after about two months of me chasing every single day turns out they didn't so go Facebook just turned
24:13 it back on I was like what and we're we're an agency we are an agency partner and I get talk to agency people and they
24:19 just say we're kicking the same team we're in the same queue as everyone else and it's like that doesn't help me and
24:24 that's so we only work on Google ads here and that's one of the reasons why we are we are testing Tik Tok right now
24:30 as well which is very very exciting um but I think you're absolutely right with diversification and I mean you you
24:35 hinted at it yourself and I sort of said well that's mad um that you started on Facebook and not on Google because
24:41 Google you've obviously got the intent I'm looking for this search and there we are which means you could you've at
24:46 least got the best chance of getting an order in again you're rolling way more sixes doing that than you would be
24:51 necessarily on Facebook so I guess going from Facebook advertising where you're interrupt I call it interruptive
24:56 marketing you're interrupting somebody's like a billboard going like you know you're sending a message to Dave because
25:01 Dave's free for a beer tonight and oh look an advert for something the chance of buying so if you're achieving that I
25:06 imagine you must have got quite a good result on Google ads initially because you'd already worked out your USPS how to sell it yeah no it was it was it was
25:14 it was a true unlock being able to advertise on Google um it was an instant
25:19 unlock we instantly saw you know we're growing like this and still just slow and steady but just it's another a
25:26 little bit of a further increase and in the in the rocket ship up and um
25:32 you know that second that second year um which is also when I came on fulltime by April when I when I joined
25:40 full-time um we had the based on our our
25:45 our sales trajectory we were we were going to do eight figures and it was
25:50 like okay wow um and that's in your first year isn't it first full year so
25:56 our first year we ended up doing four and a half million and then I mean
26:01 that's still incredible zero to four and a half million a single year in 10 months is wild um and then um yeah we we
26:09 hit right right at 10 second year amazing amazing and obviously I mean the
26:15 stats I've got written down here is that you've gone from zero to 30 million subscription based business across the group which is absolutely incredible and
26:21 one thing we've not spoken about which is what we are talking about over these few months I think is really really key here is we talked lot about acquisition
26:28 but you also are on subscription therefore you're going to have to do a lot of internal communication so you've
26:34 obviously got email you got social you've got you mentioned Direct Mail as well and I guess the other thing youve got Direct Mail is you're sending a physical product out so you've also got
26:40 that as put leaflets in put nudges in you know like hey you're not subscribed to emails but you can get a discount
26:46 trying to Cen people in I guess the first question want ask how do you manage that kind of internal you know customer relations how do you manage

How Do You Manage Internal Customer Relations
26:52 that like what's the kind of strategic approach you guys take sure so so yeah so our our our business is is is a
27:00 subscription we do a lot of other stuff and as we go on especially this year
27:05 we'll see the the non-subscription revenue continue to grow it's growing now but but overall at a snapshot um
27:14 subscription is still 85 to 90% of our Revenue so it's a it's a it's a big chunk um but it's it's it's a lot so
27:21 managing the the subscription is um yeah
27:26 it's it's not easy there's a lot of moving Parts the supply chain piece because um it's not just we're not just
27:33 throwing some random stuff in a box and sending it not it's sound like a a true mystery box like that you know if we're
27:41 if we're sending out 15,000 of this upcoming box which we call a mission um
27:47 everybody's getting the exact same yeah items in the exact same box there's
27:53 there's no difference in in them so these are all independent manufactured runs um because nobody has what we need
28:00 sitting on a shelf yep um and you know there might be seven venders in the in
28:07 the Box itself so that's seven different fail points yep um each each month so
28:13 the supply chain pieces is is a lot um when it comes to the the customers so we
28:21 have a we have a Facebook members only group um so so we eventually um transition the Reddit
28:28 style Forum that was battlbox we transition that to a Facebook group
28:35 um you know is that is is that the right move I'm not 100% sure um I do know that
28:42 it gave us an upgrade from what we had previously yeah and there's easy a little easier to moderate um so you have
28:49 to be an active member to be in the group um if if you're not active you're gone and not everybody joins but we have
28:55 we have a probably 70 % of our active members in there and uh we're we're
29:01 communicating engaging real one-on-one conversations with our customers in the group um and and all in a giant chunk of
29:09 the company is so it's it's every day I'm in there interacting with a customer
29:14 um and and so that's that's kind of a quick way for us to communicate but then
29:20 SMS we have a mobile app so um both Android and iOS so we might be doing pushes app pushes um we we drop a lot of
29:29 content on our YouTube channel yep so we might be doing some updates there um and
29:34 then all the other email and and and Usual Suspects too it's a it's a lot of touch points yeah yeah I think it's
29:41 fantastic though the fact you're getting people to engage and I think you've said something that so many like Founders
29:47 CEOs inventors that I've interviewed on on this podcast over the years and I'm really impressed when people say that I
29:52 talk direct to customers because I think it's so it's so easy for you especially
29:58 of all people with your role job role and all your responsibilities in the business it's so easy for you to go I haven't got time for that I'll hire a
30:03 customer service team the fact that you're engaging with them and this a complete side topic we'll come back to community and SEC but how much does that
30:10 help influence the the decisions you make and the way you make decisions across the whole group it's huge so our
30:16 entire procurement team is in the group um our marketing team is in the group
30:21 and we're all interacting because we're we're learning like these are our
30:26 customers these are the reason we get to do this job every day they're going to tell us what they want like and they if
30:34 they're giving us money they deserve to get what they want so like we should listen and I I think I think to your
30:39 point A lot of times it's that Ivory Tower Management where it's it's inep
30:45 it's toned deaf they're not truly listening um and they make spreadsheets they make decisions based on profit not
30:51 based on like if we just released a really good product what happens to our profit profit at the end of that it's just theong it's it I don't want to say
30:58 it's the wrong way it's not the it's not the current day best way to do things
31:03 like times have changed like you can still be very profitable and still make um a have a great business but doing it
31:11 the right way and listening to your customers and um not assuming that you have it all figured out because they'll
31:17 help you they they they're giving you money they want the best experience they're gonna tell you how to how to be
31:22 better yeah yeah absolutely and on a again final side note we come back to community got of question questions about the about how you guys managed
31:28 that but the I mean the the word of the year in the US in 2023 was authenticity and at first I was like all right
31:34 classic what you know I can sometimes be a little bit cynical was like sure fine whatever but actually yeah when I
31:40 started looking at the way the world is right now the way politicians are the way social media is the way companies have to operate um the way we educate
31:48 people as well authenticity is so key I mean how many YouTube videos do you see saying like you know what's happening
31:53 with climate change and then you just get a barrage of comments going this is false or this is outdated now and you're
31:59 like no one's even no one who's projecting the video out has even said this is outdated it's all the comments going because these all the people are
32:05 really interested in like what's happening to the climate what we're doing with the planet how long is this going to happen for you know hundreds of years potentially but let's not talk
32:11 about too much about the climate but the point being is that authenticity of you talking to customers to go you know so
32:16 when somebody says like we need to invest more in customer service you can quite quickly probably go yes we do or no we don't or actually this is what I'm
32:23 seeing does everybody agree and does that does that make sense you know when I to our customers I see as having the best customer service in the industry
32:30 maybe our MRA is XYZ you know we we need to run faster than the competitors or we need to be so stand out that they all
32:36 don't exist soon and so actually yeah let's invest more in customer service and how should we do it what are people
32:41 asking for well you know the answers to those questions we yeah we have a we have our PA at all times absolutely
32:46 absolutely back to the community then I guess the first question I've got is you've got the Facebook group you've got YouTube channel you've got email you got

How Do You Come Up With Content For Your Company?
32:52 SMS you got a whole range of things how do you come up with that content you know how do you come up with enough
32:58 stories and and things to actually communicate out and and talk to customers about so so it does help that
33:04 you know um we have we have full-time creators Brandon and we also have a gentleman named Austin um so there's
33:12 there's no shortage of of them turning on the camera um and and and grabbing
33:18 grabbing some content um and then we have a social media manager that you know does the schedule but also comes up
33:25 with with content ourselves and and we have a video editing team so we're
33:30 constantly pulling existing content from the archives and chopping it back up repurposing it there's a lot of
33:36 repurposing content um where you know we might we might shoot a 20 minute video
33:43 and over the course of the next two years there might we might have done 80
33:48 80 shorts from it just in if it performed well in different variations and versions um so it's it's a team
33:56 effort uh and then you know being honest every every Monday we have a strategy call um it's it's marketing it's our two
34:04 creators um we jump on and for an hour we talk about what everybody's working
34:09 on for the week and what the strategy is if we're seeing anything trending on reals or shorts or or Tik Tok and hey
34:17 can we take an approach on this video y can we Loop Loop in something else we're working to this just open communication
34:25 and just always is always thinking of ideas and it's kind of a culture of um
34:34 if any of us see something of an opportunity that is in the marketing part of the team like dude you have the
34:40 login you should be logged in anyway jump in there and post something like it doesn't sometimes it's a lot
34:47 trust yeah but it's it's it's a small team and um you know we have the typical
34:53 process content content goes to the video editing team video editing team gives it to us once approved goes to the
35:00 social marketing um scheduling team once they schedule it then has to be approved again and it goes but it's a it's a long
35:08 process yeah sometimes you just gotta you just got to go and just go directly
35:14 farm to table as fast as you can um and we have a team can do it yeah yeah I was
35:20 gonna say being Nimble as well is is you know you guys sound like you're so lean in terms of like every Monday we might
35:25 rip up the whole r rle book every week for three weeks because the rule book's not working and change it keep changing the game I get a big question then and
35:33 this all sounds very exciting and very fun where you've got to today how did you get to this though like so people be listening going all right John sounds
35:40 great I've got a team of four in the whole business that's like procurement sending products out marketing the lot
35:46 you know I've just brought my first marketing agency on board um and from surveying you guys recently I know that's quite a common situation for you
35:53 when did you get like your first content personal how did you create content before that was it just a you know if it
35:58 wasn't you did you forget to do it half the time because you got so many other things to do or how did you guys kind of Kickstart that whole content process
36:05 yeah so so you know in the in the beginning um we were we were doing content ourselves um
36:13 and to your point like we also had to run the Facebook ads and we also had to figure out was going in the box so it
36:20 was uh Balancing Act and you know were we always doing the right amount
36:26 absolutely not um we were we were doing the best we could when we when we brought Brandon on
36:32 full-time in in the second year um Brandon was Farm the table he shot the
36:37 video he was the star of the video he edited the video yeah he posted the video I love that Farm to Table makes
36:44 far table 100% him um and uh and and it was that way for several years um it
36:51 wasn't until um so you know we we did add some marketing additions in year year four
36:59 year five and then in 2021 we added a video editor and then shortly after
37:06 another video editor and then as we grew another video editor um but it was it
37:11 was it was very slow and steady you know for for for over a year it was myself or
37:18 one of my partners doing the content once Brandon came full-time he was doing it but he was doing every aspect of it
37:27 um and and then it wasn't until probably year four year five that we started
37:32 adding additional team members so it was definitely definitely a marathon not a Sprint yeah absolutely absolutely and I
37:39 think it's good that it's that because it means someone can't come and copy you tomorrow it's like they got to go through that whole process to make the content as good as yours and by the time
37:45 they've caught up to where you are today you've moved on to the next you know you've started the next marathon on to
37:50 the next phase um I guess final question then I've just just suddenly see what the time is and we probably need to uh start bringing things into land but I
37:56 think good place to land on this is It's 2024 now and as you say like you you guys hit such a sweet spot all those
38:03 years ago where it was like okay this is just current customers are receptive to this customers are buying this kind of
38:08 stuff just we've got a different product to put in the Box um a good product but a different one that we can put in the box and get people
38:14 engaging what I don't want to ask the question of like what's changed but I guess how is it different today in terms
38:20 of customer acquisition specifically um you know like how how much more do you guys have to do what channels have
38:25 changed obviously Facebook killed themselves well iOS killed Facebook and Facebook did nothing to to try and
38:31 change that um yeah absolutely nothing yeah most stupid decision I think meta's ever made um but yeah what what are you

How To Acquire Customers Today
38:38 guys doing today to acquire customers you know how different does it look today to it to when you first started so
38:43 so it's it's it's a lot different than when we first started so when we first started we'd typically be running um the
38:51 ad and it was I don't want to say necessarily A a straight impulse purchase
38:57 but you know obviously on the Facebook side pretty pretty imp pulsy and then once once the Google side and we had
39:03 search obviously they're late in the funnel and and oftentimes looking to purchase and they're doing research and
39:09 trying to figure it out um it was you know typically typically a Sub sub week
39:17 process when we first started off from someone hearing about us to being a customer often times same day um now you
39:25 know we have a a post purchase survey and I think uh I looked as I looked at
39:30 it I believe yesterday and 40% of our new new subscribers new
39:36 members the this month of February have known about us for greater than six months wow they're just signing that's a
39:44 long time so it's a it's a much different um organic content really is
39:50 our top of funnel um and then in the same way that
39:56 so the organic content's top of funnel but the same way that we used to use um
40:02 search for pushing mid funnel kind of getting them to the next step we use all
40:10 of social advertising in that same manner now just moving them along closer to purchasing decision um which is which
40:18 is weird and different that um there's still some prospecting that occurs everywhere um including including Google
40:25 and Facebook but um it's just a much longer buying cycle now yeah yeah absolutely and it's interesting you say
40:31 that because we're seeing that with clients as well which we're not going to talk about this today because I could do 10 hours a 10 hour episode on this which
40:37 is attribution and talking about then so how do you know your Facebook ads are working and so um yeah if you want to
40:42 listen to that topic stay tuned we we do cover it every few months we sometimes do like 15 20 minutes on it but um I
40:49 mean look John I've written a whole page of notes while I've been talking stuff to ask you stuff that um is making sense
40:54 amazing statements amazing journey I want to say a massive thank you from me and and from the team here for for joining us today it's been great to have
41:00 you on the show no this was absolutely great I I feel like feel like we ran out of time I wanted to keep keep talking
41:06 about all this stuff yeah yeah well we might have you back at some point John we've got your email address so we'll yeah we might invite you back on something in the future and and if we do
41:12 obviously subscribe to our email address everybody and we'll uh we'll send you a newsletter once once John's back but yeah massive thanks to John thank you
41:19 for everybody for tuning in today as well hope you found today useful if you have hit the Subscribe button leave us a review and yeah go and subscribe to our
41:25 newsletter on our website thanks for tuning in and we'll uh we'll see you again next [Music]
41:37 week