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How To Use Content To Connect With Your Community

How To Use Content To Connect With Your Community

by Matt Edmundson

5 months ago

John Roman from BattlBox joins Matt in this episode of the eCommerce Podcast to share valuable insights from the tremendous success of his own business and on creating & testing content that resonates with your audience that you won't want to miss. Tune in now to discover the power of content in building strong, engaged communities.

Transcript from video:

A lot of the younger generation now, they're using TikTok as a search engine.
They're not using Google.
Which is, which is kind of mind blowing but it allows you, if you're, if you're
coming up with proper descriptions for your videos on TikTok and proper
hashtags, you're, you're setting yourself up for search organic.
And then of course YouTube is obviously populating all of that into Google.
So if someone's searching, um, the traditional way of Google,
your videos are gonna come up too.

Welcome to the e-Commerce podcast with me your host Matt Edmundson.
The eCommerce podcast is all about helping you deliver e-commerce.
And to help us do just that, I am chatting with today's special guest,

John Roman from the BattlBox Group about how to use content to connect with your

community, which, let's face it, we all wanna know how to do that better.
So I'm looking forward to this conversation, but before John
and I get into the nitty gritty, Let me give you my podcast pick.

Some previous episodes that I think you're gonna enjoy.
Check out how to tell stories that convert.
This was a fantastic conversation I had with a chap called Marcus uh, Cauchi
and let me tell you, Marcus is just an absolute legend, just full of stories.
And, uh, one of my favorite episodes.
So do check it out.
Also, check out content strategy is my new BFF!
Why it's essential for success, for successful e-commerce with Katie Wight.
Uh, she's also a beautiful lady with a lot of good things to say.
So do check that out.
You can access my podcast picks and also my entire archive of

episodes for free, uh, on our website at
Plus, if you're there sign up for the newsletter and we'll send you the links
to our podcast picks along with the notes from today's show that's today's

conversation with John, they get all delivered straight to your inbox,
totally for free at no cost to you.
Dear listener, which I think is pretty amazing.
Now, are you struggling to grow your e-commerce business?
Do you feel like you're constantly spinning plates trying to figure
out what to focus on next?
Well, let me tell you, I have been there and I've coached many people who have
been there, and I know how frustrating it can be, which is why it's exciting for us

that e-commerce cohort sponsors this show.
Now E-commerce cohort helps e-commerce businesses like yours
deliver an exceptional customer experience that drives results.
And to help you get started, we're excited to announce a brand new free resource for

you, and it's called E-Commerce Cycles.
It's a mini course where I walk you through our proven framework for building

a successful e-commerce business.
You know what?
I have coached a whole bunch of people.
And knowing what to do and actually do it are always two different things.
So we'll show you the specific steps that we take in our own eCommerce
business to implement the stuff that we need to do so you can see exactly

how this works and how you can put it in practice for your own business.
And the good news is, as I said, all of this is completely free and you can

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In fact, I say sign up.
You don't even need an email address.
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So head over to to get this free training and get started
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with the help of e-commerce cohort.
Now, all of that said, let's get into our conversation with

John, uh, John Roman.
I almost said Roman John.
John, sorry about that.
Almost got your name the wrong way around.
John Roman is the CEO and co-founder of the Electrifying BattlBox Group, home to

three explosive brands, BattlBox, Carnival Club, and Wanlow with a whopping $30

million e-commerce subscription portfolio.
This group is all about building strong content and community.
So much so that they've even landed.
Check it out, drum roll please.
Their own show on Netflix.
Now the excitement doesn't end there as the BattlBox group was recently
acquired uh, in October, 2021 as well.
So a whole lot of stuff to get into.
Uh, John, thanks for joining me.
It's great to have you here.
Super excited, man.
Got so many questions.
How are we doing?
Thanks for having me.
I'm excited to be here too.
Oh, it's great.
It's great.
Now, John, listen, I mean, we were talking before we hit the record button,
um, about various different things.
Uh, and I, I wanted.
Wanted to start out our conversation.
Sadaf has given me the opening question, and so I'm, I'm gonna
ask Sadaf's opening question.
If you don't know dear Listener, Sadaf is the producer of the show
and she's wonderful and she does a lot of research, and she's like, she
gives you the opening question to ask, which is, what is a non-negotiable
that you do every day, rain or shine?

Uh, 200 pushups every day,
Why 200?
Um, I, I honestly, the, it's not a good reason why I build up to that

with a group of, um, guys I do it with.
And, uh, I'm trying to get it raised higher and we, everybody has to agree

and not everyone's agreeing right now.
I wanna, I wanna take, I wanna take it up, um, further.
To what number?
I think ideally 500, but that's a long, long way to go.
That's a lot of, not, not all one time.
That's, that's not possible.
So we've been doing this almost a year now.
Um, so when we started we were doing a hundred a day.

And it's just slowly over time build up.
I think when I started doing it, the most I could do at one time was 25, 30.

And, My first set this morning I did 80.
Um, wow.
So it's, it's, it's crazy.
It's this little thing, but holding yourself accountable to it.
And, um, and doing it, it just kind of sets.
Sets the pace.
Yeah, I imagine it does.
And I, I mean, I, it is interesting you say you do this with a group of guys,
because I think if you were just doing it on your own, it becomes quite hard.
But because there's a group of you doing it and there is that accountability
there, um, it's quite fascinating.
So you're doing 80 pushups at a time then that's, that's some good going

have to finish today.
So I did a, I did a set of 80 and a set of 70.
I'm at 150 for the day and finish the other 50, probably after this podcast, but

I'll probably do like 70 or 80, whatever I'm, whatever I can really tap out at.
Oh wow.
You just keep going until you can't go any further.
Until, until my arms.
Arms collapse.
And do you just eat lots and lots of protein?
Is that how it works?
No, I haven't changed my diet at all.
I probably don't, I don't eat that healthy.
Um, I go through kind of, you know, the ebbs and flows of life um,

where sometimes I'm eating healthy.
But 2023, there hasn't been a lot of healthiness in my diet, unfortunately.

No, no.
Fair enough.
Fair enough.
So, Well, I, I guess a question for, you know, you were, we're
talking about content, um, and, and creating content around community.

Is that why you started this challenge was to give you some form of content or was
there, was there some just, you just did it because you just felt like doing it?

Um, no, I wish there was a better story.
Um, I, uh, a, a little over a year ago I had a, a, um, protruding disc, my L4-5.

And, um, I went to the doctor, um, specialist, put me through

the gambit of we're gonna do some, um, some physical therapy.
And then they gave me, uh, that didn't work.
So they did a sh um, uh, they gave me a shot, like it was a, went to the

hospital and they gave me this mm-hmm.
Um, steroid injection into the spine and that didn't work.
And his final thing was you could have back surgery or focus on your core, and

you can't do sit ups because of your back, but pushups are really good for your core.
And, um, that, that was the reason I started it and I turned it into,

uh, activity and got people involved for the accountability piece.
Um, and it's not a good story on how to how I hurt my back either.
I asked my doctor, why did this happen?
And his response is, welcome to your forties.

Thanks, doc.
Really appreciate that.
Yeah, that's super helpful.
Appreciate that.
What's it gonna be like when I'm in my fifties?
I, I don't know.
I don't know.
So here you are in your forties and, um, you know, John, you've
got, uh, I'm intrigued by, uh, something I see behind you.
I see this actually when I watch a, cause I, I, I'm an avid YouTube consumer.

I probably watch YouTube more than any other channel.
And you have a YouTube plaque behind you, right?
We do, yeah.
The, uh, the silver one.
We we're on the way to getting the gold one.
We'll, we'll, we'll hit it this year pending something bad happening.
So what does the silver plaque mean?
So it's 100,000 subscribers.
Um, so we hit that in, the middle part of last year.

Well done.
And so what does, what does, what does gold mean?
Gold's a million.
So you are gonna have a channel with a million subscribers on soon.
That's the, that's the plan.
We're at 570,000 right now.
So we have a little bit of work to do.
But it's honestly, all the videos have done somewhat well, but there are

three, four videos that went crazy and boosted us, with the subscriber count.

And is the, is the YouTube channel connected with your, um, your business

or is the YouTube channel does something separate that, that you do?
No, it's the business channel.
So it's the B it's the BattlBox.
BattlBox channel.
So, uh, well let's get into this then.
So for those who may, who may not know, what is the BattlBox channel?
So, so BattlBox is, at its core, a monthly subscription box, um,

mystery box of outdoor gear, adventure gear, um, survival gear.

So, you know, whether you're prepping for an apocalypse or you wanna go hiking

with your buddies, or you wanna go camping with your family, really anything

adventure, centric in, the great outdoors.
That's what, that's what we send each month.
Which is, uh, I, I mean, I know what the BattlBox is.
You don't do it to the UK.
I, I noticed, uh, I think last time I checked, which was I was like, oh,
that my son would really enjoy this.
Um, so how did you get involved in the BattlBox?
I mean, uh, how did, what was the story behind that getting started?
So a buddy of mine, um, was every month his fiance was getting a subscription box.

It was a Birch box.
Yeah, yeah.
Was getting that in the mail.
And he'd watch her with this excitement and joy as she opened up this mystery box

of, of, um, you know, uh, makeup samples if for, for a lack of better description.

And every month she got it.
And she was just, it was this joyous moment.
And he, um, was like, man, I wanna feel that.
So he went online, tried to find, he was a out outdoors, outdoors man.

And he wanted to find something that was like that for him.
And there wasn't one.
So when there wasn't one, he, he, um, as an entrepreneur as well, he, um, the

business he had had a very slow season in December and in beginning of January.

So he worked on coming up with a concept at that point and, um, launched it in

February, uh, around Valentine's Day.
I came in as an investor mm-hmm.
Um, with a game plan to accomplish a couple things where we just, um, board

seats and business acumen advice.
Um, very minimal time, um, you know, maybe five hours a month.

And then my other, um, objective was I really wanted to break down

and document the, the product roadmap, the go-to market strategy.

Because my background was, um, software, B2B software sales, and

reoccurring revenue, um, models.
And I love that this was a consumer version of it.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
So the concept was document as much as possible and we wanna
launch some additional brands.
Um, and then once I came on board, it.

The time, um, that I was putting in quickly, uh, was

not with the expectations.
So it went from five hours a month to five hours a week to 10
hours a week to 40 hours a week.
And, um, I have a full-time job at the time, um, that I'm already
putting in more than 40 hours anyway.
So we hit this weird moment where, you know, I'm probably
putting 50 plus hours in a two different companies, one of which.

I'm, I'm not a principal.
Um, I have some options in case, in case something great happens
like an acquisition, but if, if I leave, I don't have anything.
And then on the other side, we have, um, BattlBox that I have significant

equity in and I'm enjoying it a lot more.
So, uh, in April, so we launched February 15 and April, 2016, I came on full-time.

So when you came on, was your, was your strategy then to go,

I'm gonna do a YouTube channel?
Um, or was, is this something you sort of stumbled into?
Was this that, I guess the question I'm asking here, um,
John, is, was, was YouTube a very deliberate strategy for you?

So it was part, it was a deliberate initial strategy.
We pivoted, uh, to what it is today.
So initially part of our go-to market strategy was even the first

month we were sending out dozens of BattlBoxes out to YouTube reviewers.

So people with, with any sort of following.
At the time, I think our, our, our kind of, our, our mark in the sand
was 10,000 subscribers or greater.
We're having conversations with them, sending them out, um, YouTube boxes
and just getting the, you know, free product in turn for free content.

Um, and we were building that channel, not our channel per se,
but our, our, our brand on YouTube via via reviewers influencers.

And, um, it took an interesting, um, slight pivot where just to date this, um,

it's crazy that we had this because it's not great for a conversion rate, but we
had a pre-purchase survey, um, in 2015.
Um, on our site.
And it was, how did you hear about us?
And it was the usual suspects, right?
So, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, etc.
Um, but we also had the option for another.
Where they could click that, click that little radio circle and type something in.
And we had about 20, 30% the first month we put this on there, say that

they came from us, um, from Currin1776.

So we're like, okay, we found the channel, but they weren't on our comped box.

Um, spreadsheet.
Yeah, that's right.
This is strange.
Um, so we then did some more research and, um, Currin1776 channel was

being ran by a guy named Brandon Currin, and he was a paying customer.
He was, he was buying our box doing these reviews.
This was his passion.
He was a career HVAC guy during the day and at nighttime he was
working on a YouTube channel.
We had a couple months in a row where it was like 20%, 30% of the people doing

the pre-purchase survey were saying they were coming from his channel.
Um, so we quickly reached out to him and said, Hey, uh, you don't
have to pay for the box anymore.
We're gonna keep sending it to you.
Um, just keep doing these reviews and then a few months go by, five, six months.

And we said, Hey, we need you to keep doing these, boxes still free.
We're also gonna give you $500 a month.
Please don't stop.
And, um, uh, short a little bit after I came on, we reached out to

him with a different proposition.
Quit your day job.
Move, move to Georgia.
Um, be a full, be full-time, the face of BattlBox.
And we're gonna pop out a lot more content.
It's not just gonna be the monthly review.
Yeah, we're gonna product test, we're going to start really building this
community of, of like-minded individuals.
Um, through content.
And so he moved his, moved his wife and three kids, um, and moved them down

to Georgia and we began just really focusing on content at that point.
So what, so the content you guys focused on, you bought this guy down.
I mean, obviously you were, you were starting to do well with YouTube.
I mean, he was obviously doing well with YouTube.
Was that the main channel that you focused on?
Were you like, we're just gonna own the YouTube space, or was
it a bit more broad than that?
So, so starting off it was, it was a little, it was a little bit more
broad, but not what it is today.
So initially it was Facebook, um, Instagram and YouTube,

and it was long form content.
So it was, it was, here's a product and we're gonna do a product review

um, in addition to the, the monthly mission box, as we were trying to do
three to four product reviews, um, and, and in the, in, in the way that

we were testing products to determine if, if they were gonna get our stamp
of approval to go into a BattlBox.
Um, so we're kind of really showing, showing how the sausage was made
and, um, it was just those channels and it wasn't honestly until.

And we were putting out quality content, but it was all long form the, it really
wasn't until, um, 2021 where we really started focusing on short form content.

And when we started with the short form content, that's when we saw, saw the crazy

growth in, in followers and audience.
We were adding on YouTube, maybe 500 to 600 subscribers a month, which

is no small number, but mm-hmm.
You know, it's a very slow, slow growth.
We were at 55,000 subscribers on YouTube.
Um, and then in early 2021 we started, uh, we finally started

putting out content on TikTok.
And we were having relative success early on, but in a small nominal number.

We were, you know, we had 5,000 subscribers and then 6,000, but we
were being, we were able to add them a lot quicker than we were on YouTube.
And the other channels.
And then we saw, you know, we'd occasionally get a win and I
document, I documented all this cuz it was a lot of losing.
But we were, we knew.
TikTok and short form content, there was something there.
So we kept doubling down, kept increasing frequency of our content,
and eventually we saw, um, as everybody did this, this rise of TikTok.

And um, you know, at that same time of our rise, our follower counts growing.
And then we said, okay, well, we're producing this short form content.

We're really taking long form content.
We're already shooting and we're just cutting it down.
Into short form, digestible content.
And YouTube has shorts, Instagram has reels, and we should, we're

already producing this content, let's just put it on all three.
And around that same.
TIME You saw both meta and, and Google and Facebook, really start being a

little bit concerned about TikTok.
So they made, they made those algorithm changes where they were treating
short form content, like it was gold.
Um, so we doubled down even further.
And we're putting a short form of content across all three channels.
And when we did that, we just saw YouTube start growing.
We weren't adding 500, we were adding 5,000 and then 50,000 of them.

And, um, you know, we quickly, what's crazy is, um, we're up to 570,000

on, on YouTube, but on TikTok, we're, we're closing in on 800,000, I believe.

Um, wow.
Yeah, 842,000, I looked it up.
Um, so we're really just, we're painting it across all channels now, and we're,
we're testing it on Twitter now because Twitter made the change last month where
they're allowing short form video content.
So we're trying to stay ahead of the curve, um, and, and right now
everything is leading with short form.
So here I am.
John listening to you talk and I'm thinking, holy moly, you've
got a YouTube channel with closing up to a million subscribers,
hopefully by the end of the year.
You're doing short form content and you are basically selling a box, which is a
subscription box, which does outdoor gear.
So what sort of things do you do in your videos that sort of keeps people

engaged and keeps people coming back?
So we're really not selling, um, there's, there's not a lot
of selling going on at all.
I would say maybe one out of 20 videos is really selling in any, any capacity.

Um, and, and when it is, it's not a, it's not a hard sell.
Um, so we're, we're, we're doing this content, it's educational,

it's product reviews, there's some comical elements as well.
Um, really what, what, why this works is, you know, consumer behavior.

It's a constantly moving, moving little point, right.
But what we're seeing.
I think most people would agree with this is, and it's, it's not like
it started this year or last year.
It's been a slow move.
Um, but consumers for it depends on where the product is on the need wants scale.

Um, toilet paper content and community probably doesn't matter too much.
Because you need toilet paper.
Um, but you start going something that's more on the want scale, like
a mystery box of outdoor adventure.
Consumers wanna purchase from a brand they connect with, they
feel some kind of connection with.
Um, and, and that's what we're building, right?
So we have, um, uh, there's, there's other additional elements.
So when you're a active subscriber with us, we're, you're put in a Facebook
members only group where you have to be an active subscriber to be in the group,
and not everyone takes advantage of it.
Um, but you know, we have maybe 8,000 active members in there, and they, it,

they're, they're fostering friendships.
These people are posting and they're doing hiking meet meetups
and camping meetups and Oh wow.
Grab a beer meetups.
Um, and it's really creating this community, which, which
is the real value add, right?
People wanna feel connection To others.
And I think the consumer behavior suggests they also wanna feel connection
to the brands that they're spending their hard-earned dollars with.
Um, I, it was a long answer, but the content is not selling the product per se.

It's just showing off this lifestyle and educating.

We did a educational piece, long form, and the short form will be dropping this
week, um, on electric magnetic pulses.
So EMPs, which are typically, they're gonna be caused by like a, a solar flare.

Um, but now there's concern that countries might have.
A weaponized version of this.
Um, so it's like a actual thing that people are searching for on Google.

You're seeing it up on the trends.
So we did a discussion about it and it's just trying to cater this
content towards what people, people wanna know, people wanna see.
So I'm genuinely really curious now and in the sense that, um, I.

I've never really been able to crack YouTube.
Um, and I, you know, we've dabbled in a few things, which is probably
why we've never really cracked it.
Do you know what i mean we've just dabbled.
So I'm kind of curious if you're, if you know the guys listening to the show, the
guys and the girls are sort of, they've got their e-commerce business and they're
thinking, well, this all sounds great, but I don't, I don't already have a hundred
thousand followers or 50,000 followers.
I've got 50.
Do you know what I mean?
It, it's like, or 60 subscribers to my YouTube channel.
Where is a, I guess where do, where do, where do we stop when we're

actually right at the beginning?
Um, because it feels like you look at it and you hear stories like from you, and
you look at the, but you look at that mountain and you go, oh my goodness.
That's a huge thing to climb.
Like, so I'm kind of curious where, where do you begin when you don't
really have the, the, the sort of the channel to begin with?
So, you know now, now on TikTok or, or YouTube, if, if we're getting under 10,000

views, we view it as a failure, right?
But, but I say that to say, yeah, but that Right, that's not realistic for everyone.

It doesn't, doesn't address your question.
Um, starting off over a hundred views or over 200 views on TikTok,

um, that's considered okay.
The bar, right?
If you're putting out, um, any sort of decent content, um, in short form, YouTube

still treats short form like gold, right?
All the platforms do at the, um, if you put out a short form piece of short form

content, you're going to get a hundred random strangers looking at it on YouTube.
And you're gonna only do it on TikTok.
You're gonna get 200 random strangers.
So that's the bar.
So start putting out, um, the number one rule is consistent content, right?
Like you have to truly commit to this and you have to commit to it knowing
you're not gonna see success right away, and you just can't give up.
You just have to believe that and, and honestly believe this.
If you don't believe this, then you shouldn't be doing it.
But believe that you're putting out good content, um, and consistently do it.

I would say at bare minimum, Five outta seven days a week.
But you should try to post daily content, right?
Um, and what you should do is test different types, right?

Whether it's product review, whether it's, you know, making the, making

the, the, the salami of your business.
Come up with five, seven different angles mm-hmm.
Of what you think content could be like and test them all.
And don't just test them all one time.
Test them all multiple times and find that one video or that one type of video

that is netting you 300, 400 or 500 views.
And when you find that one, double down on that, still be testing the
other ones, but now increase frequency of that type of content 2X it.

And, and you always wanna lean in on test everything, but when you find a

certain type of content is resonating with more audience, you just want to
instantly lean on, lean in on, on that.
And that's what we've done.
When we find something that works, we slight pivot additional resources.
We're leaning in on that type of content.
And we're gonna keep pushing it.
Um, and even so, um, There's, there's billions of people in the world, right?

So 500 people see something, make a variation of that video

and put that variation on there.
Slightly change it.
You wanna remove the, um, the, the meta tags from it, right?
So you don't want any of the platforms so I'll be able to
identify, so rip the audio from it.
Uh, in any metadata you don't want.
YouTube or TikTok to identify it as the same video as before.
But make a variation of the one video that did really well, make a variation of it
and post it again, um, with, with slightly different audio and slightly different
video makeup and, and you're testing then is it, is it that type of content?

Um, and they make it so easy these days with video editing.
You can, um, If you're familiar with the, uh, app, mobile app called Cap Cut,

they have a web version too, but you can do insane video editing with cap cut.

Um, I, I am not a video editor.
I have the Adobe Suite on, on my, um, my computer, but it's not good, right?

It's not a good use of my time.
I am not gonna put out a quality product.
I don't know what I'm doing, but man, I'm like a, a video expert.

With cap cut, it's very, it's very, um, user-friendly and allows a novice

like myself to, to edit videos.
Um, and I think that's it, right?
So yeah, 200 views.
Find the thing that gives you 400 views or 500 views, double down on that.
The cool thing about all the platforms is, um, eventually you're going to,

you're gonna hit a win with a video.
Um, of some sort.
Now it's a relative win, right?
So starting off, it might be that video that gets you over a thousand views.
Um, but all the, the reality of, of the matter is all platforms,

um, have some gamification built into their algorithm, um, from to,

to make, um, creators continue.
Um, so you're going to see they're eventually gonna find something that
checks boxes for them, that they're gonna disperse to more audience
member and get you more views.
Um, so if you, if you continue down the grind, it's just, it's doing it over
and over again, not seeing the results, but knowing that you have to continue.
That's the challenge.
Most people, you know, they try for two weeks and they have
no success, so they give up.
In reality, in reality, TikTok, we took TikTok from zero to, uh, 400,000

in about nine months, and it was all, there weren't any wins in the beginning.

It was trying to get that thousand view Hmm.
Video and then trying to consistently get thousand view videos, but it
was, it was building from zero.
And just finding the content that that was, people were wanting to share.
People were wanting to click the like button, leave a comment.
Um, and, and you see tricks on it, right?
You see, um, there's one, uh, person I follow that he'll mispronounce or

misspell a word on purpose because in today's day and age, you know, there's

thousand guys are gonna be like.
Yeah, I'm gonna tell you that you're not spelling it right.
Yeah, yeah.
It's forcing engagement.
Um, yeah.
So there's like little tricks like that, just sticking, sticking with
it and, and posting consistently.
This is really interesting John right?
So let's say I, I'm, I'm, uh, I'm starting my e-commerce business, or I'm, you
know, I've been around for a while, but I don't, I've not really done the content.
And I'm going, you know what?
I'm listening to you talking.
I'm going, I, I, I dunno how long it's gonna take to do those videos,
but I'm totally gonna do it and I'm gonna stick it out and I'm gonna
see what's, what's gonna happen.
I have two questions for you, right?
One is, how do I know what to do in those videos?
So I think that freaks people out.
Maybe we'll come back to that.
And my second question, and maybe we'll start here, is, is it worth it?
So you've got 500 and some subscribers to YouTube, 800 and some survivor.

800 or thousand subscribers to your TikTok.

How many of those in effect become subscribers to the BattlBox?
Do you know what I mean?
Because part of me is like, well, I could have half a million people over
here subscribe to the YouTube channel, but if no one's buying over here, what's
the, why am I doing this over here?
So the first, the first part, first question on what do you do?
What, what should the content be?
I don't think you have to reinvent the wheel here, right?
You can look at similar brands or brands that might be in the, a
higher, you know, general space.
Start looking the ones you know up and you're likely gonna find one of them
that is having success with this and look at the content they're doing.
And, and honestly it's a cheat sheet because you can probably come up why I
said, you know, come up with your five to seven different things, different kind of
types of content you want to test, you're probably looking at a playbook on, on
that brand, on what's working for them.
Um, so I.
I think finding, finding the ideas.
You don't have to reinvent the wheel, the answers.
The answer is already there.
Um, and I think from that, if, if, if you have any creative juices, you're,

you're going to have some ideas, okay, well this is working for them.
We can do that, but we can also do this.
You're gonna, it's really starts the idea flow.
Um, and the, okay, the second.
My mind went blank.
What was the second question?
Does it work?
You know, out of your half million subscribers, do, how
many of 'em become customers?
So, so it's a great question.
So the reality is these customers are not converting at the same rate

as paid targeted traffic, right?
Just not the case.
Um, what we're doing is it's a very top of funnel, um, and we're a hundred percent

gonna re prospect remarket to them, right?
We're putting up some exclusive offers to try to capture their
email when they go to our page.
Um, and then depending on, on their behavior with the, uh, first few ads or

emails, we're then doing, you know, pretty detailed segmenting and identifying.

The best fits that are highly engaged.
And then we are, we are getting aggressive with email campaigns and
re prospecting and offers and sms.
And if they downloaded our, our mobile app, we're sending
'em an Android or iOS push.
Um, we are, we are trying to convert 'em in traditional e-commerce ways once

we capture them into our ecosystem, whether it's yeah, through, through,
you know, a traditional pixel.
Or getting their email address.
Um, so they don't, they don't convert the same way.
Um, you're, you're typically seeing 10% of, of a, a standard conversion rate.

Um, but that's still a lot.
So, you know, if, if your, if your site normally converts at a, you know, for

using round easy numbers, so I don't mess up the math at a 2% conversion rate.
These guys are probably gonna convert at a 0.2.
And that's probably like on the good side.
Um, we'll have some things where a video goes really does really well,
and we look at the traffic and it's performing at a fraction of that, right?
It's only these people are only converting at 0.08.
Um, but the, the reality is it's still.

There's value on time and there's value on spending the editing time,
whether it's you or someone else, but the content lives forever.
Um, and it's still the, the cost is still less than, than traditional paid.

Um, and, you know, we're seeing, you know, TikTok as, as an example, we
already know YouTube is doing it, but you're starting to get some search engine
optimization into the mix for your brand.
Um, it's, it's, it's kind of insane that, um, I don't do this, but I know that a

lot of the younger generation now, they're using TikTok to search for stuff, right?

Whether they're looking for a certain product or they're looking, they're
in, in going into the city and they wanna go to a restaurant, they're
using TikTok as a search engine.
They're not using Google.
Which is, which is kind of mind blowing.
Um, but it really is, yeah.
It, it allows you, if you're, if you're coming up with proper descriptions mm-hmm.
For your videos on TikTok and proper hashtags, you're, you're setting yourself
up for, you know, search organic.
And then of course YouTube is obviously populating all of that into Google.
So if someone's searching, um, the traditional way of Google,
your videos are gonna come up too.
Ah, it's, it's mesmerizing stuff, John.
I'm not gonna lie.
It's just you kind of thinking, you, oh, goodness me, there's
a world out there, you know?
Um, and that somehow, if I can tap into that, um, it'd be great.

And I can see how, um, a bit like what we do with the podcast, right?
You, we do the podcast and people think, well, if you get a podcast and you get a
thousand people listening to your podcast, you know, a hundred of 'em are gonna
become clients, which is not true at.
Um, but you, there are all these other benefits that I
experience to doing podcasts.
So you do get people who convert and they'll join a course or whatever.
Um, but you, you build credibility.
You, there's, there's, you know, there's, there's sort of the engagement,
there's, there's a whole bunch of other things that you sort of build.
Um, around doing the podcast, so I'm assuming and listening to you talk
because the conversion numbers are so low that there are a lot of added extra
benefits for you to carry on doing.
The, the YouTube channel.
One of the things that you said, which I thought was really interesting was
actually, even though the conversion rates are much lower, they're still
more cost effective than paid social.
So then it does become a numbers game.
So then I go, well actually now I understand why you want a million people,
because if you've got a million people converting a 0.02 or whatever it is,

um, then obviously the, the cost of
creating the content for that million people to consume is an
awful lot lower, I'm guessing, per conversion than your paid media.
Um, so I, I like that.
But what, what are some of the other benefits that you guys experience
for going through all this pain and aggravation of creating

this constant content machine?
You know?
So I'm glad you, you mentioned the podcast piece because it's the same model.

The same, the same benefits.
It, they're eerily similar.
We're subject, we we're becoming subject matter experts in the outdoors.
It, it's, it's a softer sell.
Um, you're, you know, on the, on the business side and the podcast
side, you're building a network and it's, it's the same thing.
You're building an audience.
They really are very, very, very similar.
It's, it's, it's just, it's, it's the way people ingest content now
and they ingest it in ways they didn't before and embarrassing

amounts that they didn't before.
Um, and I think that it's as, it's as simple as that
to, to answer your question.
Um, in addition to that, you know, there's, there's the home runs, right?
Um, a home run that is not easy to replicate is the Netflix TV show.

So what the Netflix TV show did for us, which, you know, I think that's,
that's hitting the grand slam.
That's, that's, yeah.
You know, best case scenario, will we get another show we're trying.
Um, we're continuing to try to replicate and get an additional show.
Um, but what that show did for us was, um, leading up to it, we were

getting about 125-30,000 unique visitors a month on our site.

The month, uh, July, 2020 that that show dropped.
We had, uh, 1.2 million unique visitors.
And Netflix didn't give us like a, a call to action at the end.
Go to
It was just people, um, searching on Google.
For us.
So we saw obviously a, a, a increase in direct traffic.
An increase in Google organic, Google paid, um, those were the,
the three, you know, buckets in, in analytics, if you will mm-hmm.
Of, of that traffic.
But that we, we did a 10 x, uh, already relatively, um,
acceptable number of traffic, got 10 Xed because of a, a TV show.
Um, and it's just, it's just interesting.
You're, you're looking for the home runs like that.
We've had, um, you know, a couple videos.
We had one video, uh, testing a water filtration, um, that
got 35 million views and
that's as it would and why would it not, right?
I don't know.
Um, it's a lot of views and, um, it really is.
It, and it, it, that was on TikTok.
We, it's, um, it has more than that on YouTube.
But, but from that came, um, just obviously there, there

was an uptick in traffic.
There was an uptick in, um, in email submissions and emails
that we're capturing collecting.
Um, from that video though, came some other cool things.
Um, a bunch of, um, I guess you would consider them media
companies, but a lot of the.
Those, those sites and pages that just post content, other
people's content all the time.
We had a few of them reach out to us and say, Hey, can we repost your content?
We're gonna tag you.
Well ab absolutely.
Um, so we have all these other companies now posting, reposting
that video and tagging us, which means they then come to our page,
they like our page, or they follow up, follow us, depending on channel.
So it's like a just.
Constant snowball that's just getting larger and larger and larger.
That's just, it's funny, isn't it?
And so how do you, how do you keep it engaging?
I mean, cuz.
I am imagining John, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but I'm
imagining that the bigger it gets, the more successful it gets, the
more pressure you put upon yourselves to deliver great content, right?
So I'm imagining, uh, as a channel gets better, the, the cameras get bigger.
That Do you know what I mean?
The, the production value gets higher.
Um, Which is a pressure I don't think you have when it's just you sat around
a kitchen table cuz you're starting, you know, your first online store,
you've got a mobile phone and that's it.
How, what do you guys do to sort of keep that content fresh?
How do you, how do you work that?
So, yeah.
So yeah, now we've gotten to a point where expectations are rising and
it, it's a new challenge, right?
Before was the challenge of let's just get some content,
but now expectations are there.
So we're we're just constantly having meetings, trying to figure out how

can we make some additional content.
Um, surprisingly, uh, chat GPT has been a, a friend of ours.

So, um, giving us ideas.
We, we were in Las Vegas for a conference and we had the idea we had seen on TikTok.

In other channels where people were just asking random people questions.
And we said, okay, there's something there.
People watch these videos cuz they have millions of views and
millions of likes and shares.
Um, how do we, how do we kind of do this but make it our own?
So we ask chat GPT and chat GPT told us and we then came up with a bunch

of questions we could ask and we
then also ask chat GPT, what questions should we ask?
And we, it's not just, that's not what we all we typed, right?
We gave it context and direction Yeah.
And sure what we're trying to accomplish from it and what
is it's gonna be used for.
And it popped out 20 questions to us, and most of 'em are better
than the questions we came up with.
Um, and then so we said, okay, well let's do a true test.
In some of the content, we ask our questions, and in some of the content, we,

uh, we ask the chat GPT questions and the dang chat GPT questions perform better.

Um, that's fascinating.
So that, that's, you know, I know.
Maybe not as much as it was, but for the last couple months, chat GPT has been
the buzz that everyone's talking to.
That's how we're using it.
We're using it as leverage.
How do we go faster and stronger?
Um, in ways.
And they're mostly content driven.
We're asking them for, um, okay, we wanna film this, write us a script.

And it's giving us, now, it's not ever getting into a hundred percent right?
It's getting us, it's getting it from, we're getting it taken from zero to five.
It's taking it from five to 85.
And then at that point, we're then just editing, honing it, making it our own.
But it's shaving probably 8, 9, 10 hours out of, out of a process for us.

Um, which is, which is pretty cool.
Yeah, it's, it's, I, I like that and I like the fact you've mentioned that
it's, it's not, it's not necessarily perfect, but it, it, I think it's a great
place to give you ideas, doesn't it?
And it sort of jumpstarts that process.
I was on Mid Journey the other day, um, as playing around with that.

Which is like, I dunno if you come across Mid Journey, but it's
just sort of like a, a AI imagery.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
And it's just incredible.
So we were like telling it, right?
I want you to create website, UX, UI with this idea and that idea.
I'm just coming up with some thoughts.
What it comes back with, you can't use, but it can send you down a.
It gives you ideas.
I tell you, uh, John, I'm a bit of a regulars to the show, will know.
I, I sort of dabble in carpentry and joinery.
I like to make stuff outta wood.
It's like my little hobby, if you like.
And my daughter, who's 16 years old, she wants me to make her
a new bed, which I designed.
We'd gone on Pinterest, we'd looked at images together and we design, we drew
it up and designed it and I was, I'm just about to start cutting all the wood.
And then I was on mid journey and I thought.
I wonder what would happen if, and so I just put in some prompts into
Mid Journey, come back with some bed designs and my daughter see them, and
she went, dad, that design you did.
I don't want that.
I want that one.
That that thing is done there.
And we're like, oh my goodness.
It's, uh, it's really interesting how it sets you off in the, in the right path.
But, uh, I think you, I, I think you nailed it though, right?
It, it helps with the, with the ideas.
It's not gonna be a replacement, but it, it, it helps guide you towards creation.

And it's interesting that you are doing it, um, using it on a
channel as, as big as you guys are.
What does, um, what does the future look like, John, for you guys?
Where do you want, I mean, you obviously, your, your aim this year
is to get the, the gold plaque, which is a million YouTube subscribers.
Um, but beyond that, what sort of are the things are you, are you guys aiming for?

So, so far this year we, we brought on our second full-time video editor.

Um, our, our short-term goal, which we'd like to figure out in q2, I don't

know if we will, but that's a, at least what we're hoping for is we wanna
bring on another full-time creator.
Um, and that'll allow us to just output a way more additional content.

Um, we're gonna change our thinking this year.
Previously, you know, we have BattlBox, we have Carnivore Club, we have Wanlow
we have these additional brands.
But we've always built the brand and then tried to build the content and community.

On top of it, I think this next brand we launch, we're gonna build the content

and community first, and then listen to that audience and really just inspect

and understand the demographics and the makeup and what that audience is.
And then cater a brand.
That's made specifically for that audience.
Uh, which is a, for us it's the reverse order.
You look at, um, we're talking about YouTube content.
Um, so many, obviously, Mr.
Beast is the one that everyone knows.
Um, that's what he did.
He built this content and community and then he dumps a burger brand.
And a, and a cookie or chocolate brand on top, and they're instant

success in his Yeah.
Right now, you know, is it easy to build a community and follower account like him?

Probably not.
But if you, if you can build at a smaller scale, a community and an audience, I

think understanding that community and then building the brand on top of it,
I think it's, it's, it's reversed for us, but you're seeing people do it in
that order and doing it really well.
Um, I think that's helped.
It is reverse for you, but the, the, the, the in effect, the principle
is still the same, isn't it?
It's, it's, you, you guys are focusing very heavily on content and community.

It's what you guys do well, and out of that, um, you, you,
you've managed to monetize.
Now before you had a product, you went and found the community.
Uh, now you're on about getting the community and, and doing it, the product.
But it's this, there's still this principle of produce content that your
community wants to consume, right?
I'm kind of curious as we, as we close the show here, you've been
doing this a couple years, right?
And you've, you, you guys have got a lot going on.
What's, what's something maybe two or three points that you wish you knew at

the start that, um, that you sort of figured out along the way that would've
really, really helped you and sort of got you on your journey a lot quicker?

So the, the number one thing is diversification of lead source.
Um, so right now we're super diversified, um, typically,
and, and there's ebbs and flows.
And when a campaign, um, advertising campaign is doing well and really

well, it might, it's gonna temporarily bridge this role and break it.

But we wanna have no single lead source currently.
Giving us more than a sixth or 16% of, of our customers.

Um, cause we never wanna be dependent on, on a specific platform or, or area.

Now I wish we knew that before, um, you know, go 2015, we were

advertising only on Facebook.
Now we were sending those YouTube boxes, but we were only advertising on Facebook.

We were getting customer, acquiring customers for $5.
Um, and you know, knowing,
bring back those days, right?
I would've, I would've gotten as many credit cards as, as banks have given
me and Yeah maxed every single one out.
Um, I think a mistake.
Well people see, and I think it's, it's very much true now
in a post iOS world where, where wins are, are a little farther and
few between than they used to be.
Um, when you get a win go mm-hmm.
Like figure out, figure out what overselling the problems that causes.
And like it's a good problem to have and you can figure it out.
Um, just, you ha, I think when you see something that works, you
have to double down, triple down in as fast as you possibly can.
Capitalize on on that, that winning and make it as big of a victory as possible.

Um, go, I don't think you can go on the assumption that, oh, we can just pause
this campaign and next month we'll, we'll start back up and it's gonna work.
Um, I think that's the, the biggest piece of advice is just so.

Just oversell and, and figure out how to solve for that later.

Um, get the customers while you can because it's, it's
such a different landscape now.
Really powerful stuff.
Really powerful stuff.
John, listen, it's been great chatting to you on the show, man.
And, um, uh, thank you for answering my, my questions and, and, uh, helping me feel

a bit more inspired about this whole area.
How do people reach you?
How do they connect with you if they want to do that?
Um, probably best is LinkedIn.
Um, LinkedIn, uh, I'm self admittedly I'm on Twitter, but I'm horrible at it.

But, but I'm pretty, I'm pretty good at LinkedIn.
Uh, and, uh, I also have a, a blog, uh, where I just

kind of write what we're working on.
Um, it's, it's not your typical stuff that's only filled with wins.

It's, it's filled with losses too, because, you know, I feel.
There's such learning experiences from the losses.
And people don't really document that.
Um, and I like it because two, it helps me process it in how we can learn from

it and be better, stronger, faster.
But also, if I can put it out there and someone can read it and
it can, it can save them a step.
Not make the same mistake I made, then it's a win.
And what's your blog?
We will of course link to that and to your LinkedIn profile, uh, in the
show notes as well on the website.
If you are on regular to the email, they'll also be in the email.
Um, but John, genuine, uh, real appreciation man for you
coming on the show and sharing your insights and thoughts.
And, um, I'm gonna be going and checking out your YouTube channel.
Uh, we'll connect on uh, LinkedIn just because we can, and I'm gonna
connect with you on Twitter just because I'm also rubbish at it as well.
So we'll just be rubbish together and um, I'll see how we get on.

Uh, but it's been awesome.
Thanks, man.
Genuinely, really, really appreciate it.
Thanks for coming on the show.
Thanks for having me, Matt.
Really appreciate it.
Oh no no worries.
So there you have it.
Another fantastic conversation with John.
As I said, uh, all of the links to John, his LinkedIn and Twitter that
he never uses as well as to his blog will be, uh, on the website, in the

show notes at
It'll also be in the newsletter, which is emailed out.
If you're not on the list, get on the list.
And they just come straight to you?
Uh, now let me just say, be sure to follow the e-Commerce podcast wherever you get

your podcast from because we've got yet more great conversations lined up, and
I don't want you to miss any of them.
Also, let me give a big shout out to today's show
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Remember to check out their free online training at

Uh, just have a go.
Uh, see how you get on.
And before I wrap up today's episode, lemme just take a moment
to invite you, dear listener, to become a part of the show.
If you're an e-commerce entrepreneur or an expert in the area of e-commerce
and would like to share your insights with, uh, amazing audience,
we would love to hear from you.
Or maybe, you know somebody.
Just head over to the website,, follow
the links, get in touch.
We would love to hear from you.
Yes, we would.
And in case no one has told you yet today.
You dear listener, are awesome.
Yes, you are.
Created awesome.
It's just a burden you have to bear.
I have to bear it.
John definitely has to bear it, and you've gotta bear it as well.
So it just is what it is.
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The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Estella
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That's it from me.
That's it from John.
Thank you so much for joining us.
Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world.
I'll see you next time.
Bye for now.