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Keys to Success in Building Content and Community in 2023 | John Roman

Keys to Success in Building Content and Community in 2023 | John Roman

by Norman Farrar

2 months ago

More about John... Our guest is the CEO of BattlBrands. After leading several successful sales organizations in the telecommunications and software space for almost a decade, He began investing in companies predominantly in the eCommerce arena. In early 2016, He decided to join the BattlBox team in a full-time capacity.

Transcript from video:

so this is where I laugh when people say
that you have to be on Amazon it's a
great place it's where you know it
people want to buy but you can do it on
retail you can do it on Shopify all you
have to do is understand that it's
different types of marketing but um you
can excel
all right
hey everyone this is Norm Ferrar AKA The
Beard guy here and welcome to another
lunch with Norm the e-commerce and
Amazon FBA podcast
let me just take a break here
there we go oh too many cigars all right
so today we're going to be discussing
keys to success building content and
community in 2023 we're talking about
how growing a community how to grow
community in 2023 what misconceptions do
brands have about communities and
content marketing and how Brands can
build their Community uh more
effectively okay so that's it today well
welcome to lunch with Norm the
e-commerce and Amazon FBA podcast I'll
get through this one I'll get through
this one okay so today we're discussing
keys to success building content in
community in 2023 something very close
to my heart Our Guest today is the CEO
of battle Brands after leading several
successful sales organizations in the
Telecommunications and software space
for almost a decade he's begun he began
investing in companies uh primarily in
the e-commerce arena in 2016 he decided
to join battlebox
and add a full-time capacity today first
time guests we're talking with John
Roman okay but before we get to John
we're going to have a word from our
sponsor this episode of lunch with Norm
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and now let's get back to the show
and enjoy the show Welcome John
hey thanks for having me Norm you had to
put up with all that it was good I uh I
was pulling up the uh
the the tick tock that's going viral
right now I wanted to I wanted to see it
I got got my ears perked isn't that
great I haven't seen the video but I
know the last one but I I think uh you
know Kelsey's got a like he sucks at
most things but he's got a real I'm only
but you know I think it comes really
natural like the way that he's coming
across in those videos and uh wow so
that's their second one which is kind of
cool we had another one at 10 but he
hasn't been doing it that long and uh
all right let's see how that goes uh
We've we've got we've got this uh
program going zero to a hundred thousand
follower challenge so we'll see what
happens so but let's talk about you sir
um you're into something
uh why don't you explain it but I know
it's all survival and we're we're heavy
into survival with our influencer
program so this is kind of cool why
don't you talk about battle BattleBots
battle brands for a second sure so I
mean battle box is the is the brand
battle Brands is just
um the the Delaware entity that that has
has the company but battle boxes is the
brand it's it's outdoor and adventure
survival gear so anything that you might
need for survival or going to The Great
Outdoors camping hiking
um or you know just just hanging out
outside it's the full Gambit of of gear
um for people that enjoy the outdoors
perfect okay so now I just posted
something there just the Chuck I am
going to be in Chicago July 31st to the
third I think
um all right so let's talk about this
building content and Community I love it
I have a Content company and we love
building communities so you're right
where you're right in my sweet spot so
uh I hope we get lots of questions here
but talking about that community so
you're You've Got a Brand you're you're
building this brand how important was
building a community and how did you
sure so so when I look at what our
secret sauces of success it 100 is is
the the content in the community and and
those two things go go go truly hand in
um we when we we started off uh
initially it was one of the first things
we focused on the community piece we um
this was 2015. so things were a little
bit different we had a uh Reddit style
bulletin board if you will
um where it was where
it was it was just open to to anybody
that whether you were a customer or not
it was just a place to find like-minded
individuals if you were going hiking or
or camping or going down a trail and you
wanted to talk about it
um or talk about gear you got a new new
piece of gear you wanted to share or you
were looking to make a purchase
um you know that was that was part of
our initial launch strategy so we we we
saw Roy catch fire and we were in there
engaging and having the conversation and
even leading the conversation at times
but it it started to really snowball
very good how many people are in your
so so right now we have
um just the so we converted that a few
years ago to uh Facebook members only
um and the the main difference now is in
order to be in the group you have to be
an active subscriber to to battlebox you
have to have an active subscription any
tier but you have to be active
um and we don't see everybody everybody
um you know some people just want the
product they don't care about the
community but um I think right now we
have a little over 8 000 active
subscribers in the members only group
and for a subscription uh what does that
so we have four tiers
um the basic which is 35 Plus
um sales tax and I think at this point
like 46 States
um and then shipping all the way up to
the top tier which is the Pro Plus which
is 170 plus shipping sales tax ends up
being about 200 all in
um to full full Gambit from about 50ish
to to 200.
your community uh or your product is it
so I'm getting to this other question
um the community is it strictly on
Amazon are you in retail
um where are you getting your customers
from so so the Uber majority is directly
on our website
um we are we we are on Amazon
uh in in we have the subscription on
there but the Lion's Share of our Amazon
revenue is simply just one-time products
okay so you don't drive people
um from Amazon over to your listing to
get them hooked into subscription model
so we we offer the the subscription we
we piloted uh Amazon
um subscription
um program that they had a few years ago
so so we're we're on there but but no I
mean it's the Amazon piece is is a very
small part of the business it's it's all
direct direct to Consumer yeah I
um I I deal with this other company 45
million dollar company and uh four
percent is Amazon sales so this is where
I laugh when people say that you have to
be on Amazon it's a great place it's
where you know it people want to buy but
you can do it on retail you can do it on
Shopify all you have to do is understand
that it's different types of marketing
but um you can Excel so like I I said
that the company
um was 45 million dollars with just a
few million on Amazon which isn't a bad
piece of the pie but uh it was only a
few million and then you had
um Chewie and you had all these other
retailers but what was killing it uh was
their ability to effectively uh collect
emails and do email marketing what
you're doing is brilliant by the way
um I'm I was shocked when you told me
your subscription model and you've got 8
000 subscribers so imagine that if
you're listening right now like I'm
looking at Cool Hand I know what he's uh
he's yeah he's trying to do so this is
Luke he's got a brand that he's trying
to build a community around
and I would think Luke it's probably
around the cooking community
it it should be pretty easy to do as
long as you give value but it's a long
like this is really a Long play even if
you had a hundred subscribers at 30
bucks a piece
you've got 8 000 with the mix we just we
just have 8 000 that are in the Facebook
group not everybody
um Oh I thought that was in your
subscriber base no that's just mem
active subscribers that are actually in
the Facebook Facebook group we're um
probably pretty close to double that in
in actual actual subscribers geez and uh
you know and I hope Kelsey told you I go
down a lot of different rabbit holes uh
it's probably because I'm old and I
can't focus on one thought or as my ADHD
I don't know what it is but uh anyways
uh Wilfred uh lightheart so anybody
who's listened to the podcast wilford's
been on a few times and he always drops
a few nuggets but he specializes in
groups and we did we had a company
together at one point until Facebook
shut us down for being fake which we
weren't I I don't think I look too fake
but uh anyways we did everything legit
above the board
um and uh we got shut down for being
fake and by the way we could never get
our community back so we specialized in
building communities starting with uh
politics so the Republican Party the
Democrat Party uh we ended up with five
million and one three million in the
other and all the Republican party stuff
got uh got uh deleted for being fake for
some reason just before the election so
uh anyways uh that's all I'm gonna say
about that but
what we did is we started to go okay
what kind we've got these two groups
we've got pets everybody likes pets but
what do Republicans like what do and we
did surveys what do uh Democrats like
what were their favorite breeds of dogs
and then we started to drill down you
John we had a 175
000 people
in our Schnauzer group
wow schnauzers yeah now just just think
what you could do with that you you know
if you had the ability first of all you
understand the group you understand how
the group talks but you have the ability
to have like it could be a five-step
funnel where you start off with you know
free plus shipping a little dog chain
with a little tag with you know you're
you're a Schnauzer on it or my Schnauzer
right yeah and you go right up you know
you could have Schnauzer shoes or you
could have pillows but you've got a
perfect platform to start targeting
Schnauzer lovers and you're in the same
survival groups ain't what you it's a
perfect place to go and market and I'm
curious do you trap emails
yeah yeah we um we we definitely uh
capture emails we have
um a full funnel of funnels of of trying
to get uh multiple campaigns based on
Behavior multiple offers to to to
capture those emails email account is a
very important channel for us so how
does that how is that in the
um Community do you find that really
um yeah it's emails has been always been
a very effective successful channel for
and does it help build so a lot of
people talk about
um in communities or trying to build up
um find influencers or brand ambassadors
I'm just kind of curious uh within your
groups do you find that there's you know
the cream of the crop the the people
that want to promote your product or you
have that brand ambassador that just
loves your product and will actually pay
you know with a discount to to buying
your product but really just that brand
yeah yeah absolutely so um you know we
have we have two independent programs
one for influencers but one four brand
um and yeah I mean the brand ambassadors
are are they're they're paying customers
right we do um do some surveys
um an internal uh one first that's just
basically uh uh similar to like a csat
just trying to see if they're a promoter
if they're gonna give us that nine or a
10 out of ten and um we have done some
funnels and some engagement and
communication with them to onboard them
um to be a brand ambassador
really I mean that's that's great uh and
your like when you're using or when
you're working with an influencer uh do
you pay them
so we've we've done the full Gambit of
um of influencers that you know call it
micro maybe micro Nano yeah yeah
um we've we've also done the paid ones
um we've had the most success with the I
guess the the it would be micro where
we're just supplying product right we're
sending them a box each month it's 200
it's worth 200 it's like it's it's it's
payment and if they're truly
if if they're aligned with us and
excited about the gear they're excited
about the gear right and getting 300
worth of gear for free each month to
review it which gives them content it it
truly is mutually beneficial and we and
they're the ones that move the needle
the most
you know
and that's what a lot of people don't
realize is
if you find these influencers that love
the product and and we we talk about go
out and and look at people within the
niche so survival or pets or schnauzers
but if you find somebody that blogs
about schnauzers or is a micro
influencer or um a nano influencer
I love Nano influencers and if I could
have a hundred Nano influencers or more
I would I would love it those are the
people like you say move the needle
because those are the people that have
500 followers that everybody else
forgets about and they just want the
product and it's bloody free
it's what great marketing yeah and and
you know you see it and I'm not going to
say this is the the case for all of
those larger influencers but uh more
times than not they hit a certain point
with With Their audience where they they
lose some genuineness
and you know genuineness actual genuine
excitement about the product when
talking about it consumers see that
consumers can tell that's that's what
they when they they see a product
if they see that genuine excitement
they're they're forming a connection
with that with that influence or whether
it's micro Nano or massive
um and they can tell and that's what
consumers want they want that connection
so you you you truly see it with those
those smaller ones more often than not
yeah I had a a friend of mine who was
the number one in his Niche
um huge Niche and
he decided that he was going to go out
and get this fairly big time YouTube guy
to promote his product so he sent him
out the product and uh I think

during the setup of this YouTube video
he was on he told me about a second and
a half but uh it probably was about five
seconds and it was far enough in the
background that you couldn't even read
the logo and he didn't even talk about
the product
it was crazy and he had to pay 7 500
bucks for that yeah we've we've never so
we've you know through the
eight eight plus years we've we've had
this brand we've probably experimented
with maybe a dozen like paid like call
it more than a thousand dollars
influencers and we've not once seen the
engagement the the needle moving like we
do with with the smaller ones like you
said give me a hundred smaller ones all
day long yeah yeah well I love that okay
let's talk about misconceptions about
Brands and and how they have to grow
that Community or their content
um misconceptions like yeah so let's say
that uh people who are listening right
now are saying I don't want to do it
because of this or it's going to take
too long or it's going to cost too much
so I'm I mean it I think at the end of
the day there there is a part where it
depends a little bit on on product right
so you look at where your product falls
on that that need want scale right and
uh the the more the farther you are from
um from the need where it's you know
starting to be in that discretionary
spend the more important having having
community and content is you know we've
seen this trend for it's been going on
for a while and every year it it moves
further you know up to the right where
that discretionary
spend consumers want to connect they
want to have a connection some sort of
relationship with those those Brands
they're buying for they want to they
want to connect with them I think you
look at um
you look at the success of a lot of um
influencers or YouTube stars that have
then come out with products and the
instant success of that it's it's
validation of that right Kylie Jenner
you know comes out with this with you
know makeup brand
um and it's instantly successful Mr
Beast launches Beast burgers and
um the candy bars
feastables and it's instant overnight
successes and it's because
um Their audience they're they're people
that are following them felt that
connection they feel that connection
they feel like they know them we're
we're in an interesting spot in society
where where
um consumers are looking towards these
um creators and and forming those
relationships with them instead of you
know traditional
you know in real life like in in person
like like we used to when we were
younger yeah you know um I I went to a a
really great I had a really great uh
weekend uh attending this conference
Jason flatlin was there Perry belts who
were there and they were talking about I
think it was uh Jason flatland that was
talking about
don't sell the ego of your product
you have to Target the personality of
your audience and as entrepreneurs a lot
of us
feel that
it's like building in the culture of
your company it's from the top down
you're dictating you know what the
culture should be and the same thing
with the brand you're dictating to your
audience what you think it should be and
that's completely wrong you should you
should know your audience and then build
the brand around your audience or at
least the messaging around that and a
lot of the times
even even these larger brands that I've
seen are micro Brands larger micro
um they have that problem they still
have that problem
um I thought that was a really good
point that I picked up on the on the
weekend it was very well said the other
thing I'm kind of curious
you're the CEO you were brought in as a
Hired Gun
um so I I was initially an investor okay
and then in to invested at during launch

so so technically one of the four
original Partners Founders
um and that was in February 2015 in
um April of 2016 I came on full time in
the capacity of CMO and then in October
2021 when we were acquired uh by a
Canadian spec I moved into the CEO
position and then when we
um bought the business back in April are
you Canadian I'm not oh okay I'm just
curious so we um
no we but we we have some Canadian team
members we acquired a company called
carnivore Club oh I know carnivore club
I'm a member
awesome okay so so yeah so carnivore
um gentleman out of Toronto Tim Ray
um who's a close friend of mine had
started that Dragon's Den got a deal the
whole I I saw it yeah that's how I feel
about them
um so we had uh I had sold two Brands to
Tim smaller Brands
um in 2018 and then in 2019 he decided
he was going to be done with e-commerce
um sold the smaller Brands I sold him to
somebody else and then carnivore club
which was the you know his Flagship he
sold it to us and then oh my God and a
lot of time in Toronto but then
um so we inherited the Toronto his
Toronto team and then emerge
um the SPAC that acquired Us in 20 uh
2021 they're Toronto based as well so
further further time up up in Toronto
you're my new BFF
oh that's such a that's so funny and you
know what okay another Rabbit Hole
carnival club so I saw them on Dragon's
Den I thought oh you know that's that's
for me uh got the T-shirt I literally
bought the t-shirt and um anyway uh my
buddy was the red or he owned the dot
Club extension
and I told him I was in Florida and I
do you know like carnivore Club owns
carnivore club right and he goes no and
I went did you see the Dragon's Den
have you you should approach carnivore
Club to buy carnivore Club but I think
somebody had already picked it up but uh
yeah you guys had this is just I and I
think it still is Right
Eve car we have we have we have
carnivore and Dot CA or we did
I'm not involved anymore but we never
had oh okay I thought you did
but uh anyways it was this and uh uh anyways we
found out like I told you down the wrong
rabbit hole but anyway let's see it's
okay we're at the bottom of the hour oh
wow so we got a couple of things to to
talk about so first of all if you're new
to uh the podcast we have something
really cool at the end of every show and
that's called wheel of Kelsey and what
it is is a giveaway uh every week uh one
of our uh guests provided a giveaway uh
if they don't we provide a giveaway but
at the end of every show there's some
sort of prize today we've got a real
really great prize and John why don't
you talk about it I thought like when
you told me about this I thought this
was pretty cool sure so so we have the
four tiers that I had mentioned basic
Advance pro and pro plus
um and they stack so if you get the pro
you're getting everything from the basic
box everything from the advanced box and
then the pro box item and then there's
Pro Plus which is our
um most popular and biggest box so it's
everything from the basic everything
from the advance everything from the pro
and then the Pro Plus item which is a
high-end premium knife so think
typically about a hundred dollar
um high-end premium knife so all of it
in one and the proposes it truly is our
most popular we have 45 of our base is
is in that highest tier
um so we're giving away our our best
product the Pro Plus the Pro Plus box
wow to a winner today that is awesome so
a lot of time we have service providers
on today we have a brand that's just
killing it and you're getting their
product so I think that this is an a
very cool giveaway Kelsey make up a name
we're going to enter it as well uh and
also we have another
um special uh giveaway today this is a
separate giveaway anybody who wants to
attend Chicago I was talking to Brixton
Bennett he's the CEO of the company or
of the the event that we're going to in
Chicago uh next week uh so that um it's
called the Ecom Summit if uh well first
of all the prize he called me last night
he said look uh for your podcast if you
want to
um give away a ticket to the to the
event uh by all means just go ahead and
do it so it's hashtag Ecom Summit and
that's separate from what John's giving
away but it's a free ticket completely
free uh to The Summit in Chicago now if
you can't make it don't apply if you can
I know there's a few people that are
listening right now that can great if
nobody's listening right because you
have to be live to get this if you're
not then if we don't have anybody apply
then we're gonna go and give this ticket
away in the group okay in the Facebook
group but uh there's also if you don't
win this and if you want to go to
Chicago then there's I think it's a 30
discount and all you have to do
I forget the code Kelsey I'll post it in
there while we're talking but anyways
that's it hashtag wheel of Kelsey tag
two people you'll get a second entry and
now let's have a word from the sponsor
this episode of lunch with Norm is
sponsored by sure go marketing ready to
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your brand now let's get back to the
all right so that's good I see that
we're filling up here see that there's
gonna be a live winner for the Ecom
Summit which is great and uh lots of new
listeners so again uh if you're new we
do this every podcast uh hashtag wheel
of Kelsey uh if you've never seen the
wheel of Kelsey you definitely want to
stick around it's something special we
do at the end of every uh podcast is a
little animation
um and it's pretty cool and John you've
never seen it so all right just just
wait okay so let's move on and talk
about uh nope I don't know if you hear
it but my whatsapp's going off
what are you seeing are there any Trends
in building a community right now
no I mean
you know one of the the easiest ways is
is following you know the hacks of of
content right
um you know it was Tick Tock
um short form video content
um and an intern YouTube
um shorts and even Instagram reels
we're seeing the most
success when it comes to onboarding new
followers new members of the audience
which is a it's a longer foot longer
place but it's still top of funnel
um leads it's just it's a it's a much
longer longer game we're seeing the most
success still with short form video
um short form okay
so that's still crushing it for you yeah
so we um but but it's uh to anybody
listening it's not a overnight thing
it's a it's a long game so Tick Tock is
our largest Channel right now when it
comes to organic organic um followers
and and organic orders and customers
it was
probably the first year so we launched
it we we sat on the username with no
posts for for about a year in February
2021 we finally started posting with it
and um it took the better part of a year
to really have like any
actual major success but by you know the
12 to 18 month range after doing it
non-stop it became our largest channel
and it didn't exist previously and then
we took those same learnings and started
applying them to YouTube
um and and Instagram I think YouTube was
so we launched the YouTube channel
almost immediately
um of us launching the brand in 2015 and
it was a slow and steady
um 500
um about 500 to a thousand
um subscribers new followers every month
so we were sitting at about I think 54
um and it was just a slow steady growth
we started doing the the real the
YouTube shorts on there and and we
weren't Reinventing the wheel we were
taking the same
um short form we were using for tick
tock and putting it uh you know
uploading it to tick tock and uploading
into YouTube and we cracked it and and
YouTube we went from 54
000 to I'm gonna cheat really quick and
look we're currently at 719
um do we have the oh right here
somewhere yeah the little silver for a
hundred now we want the gold one for a
million that's that's our goal this year
that's that's fantastic and all that was
was taking your content repurposing the
content and uh putting it on YouTube
that's great uh with your product I
you mentioned knife
and I I know there's so many things that
can get you suspended or banned do you
have to be careful about what you're
it's it's it's it's rough it's it's a
nightmare we um
we didn't know so when we it just a a
funny story because it actually deals
with Community
um you know we launched
in 2015. we didn't know any better about
diversifying we were 99 of all of our
stuff was coming from Facebook right
right that's what we knew launch launch
ads on Facebook and um come Labor Day of
that first year we're gonna have our
biggest sale ever we know we're gonna
have our biggest Revenue weekend ever
and um like Friday at six o'clock all of
our ads get shut off shut down account
canceled you're done
um do not do not uh pass go and
we obviously you know anybody listening
if you've ever tried to get Facebook on
the phone it's not try yeah good luck so
we're trying everything we actually you
know posted in the Forum
um where this community that we're
building hey does anybody know anybody
at Facebook like we explained what
happened our ads got shut down one of
our customers worked at Facebook and
this is this is pre-pandemic so people
were stolen person and not only worked
at Facebook but was a couple
you know a couple feet or a couple rows
and offices away from the manual team
that kills accounts and he's like I work
at Facebook and I know who did this hold
on a second and he walked over there and
came back reported back to us within an
hour we were back in business lesson
learned at that point Diversified
diversify diversify
Facebook and met meta it in general is
the toughest on um on the knives yeah
and products Tick Tock um bite dance
isn't far behind it though they they're
both very very strict when it comes to
that so we have to have a
um unique experience for for that
have you experienced Tick Tock shop yet
we have yeah what do you think
um I like it
um it's it's it's the future right yeah
um it's it's how people purchase and and
it's they're they're browsing and it
just makes it easy
it's uh yeah but to answer your
questions It's Tricky we have to have
microsites and special landing pages and
making sure that you know the knives are
they can't get to the knives within
three clicks of the landing page
interesting it's a full-time job just
having these unique assets that are for
for tick tock and and Facebook yeah I
know one of our clients excuse me
I know one of our clients
he he sells
um high-end uh chef knives and they
happen to be called Damascus knives I
know Damascus yeah because the word
Damascus was in the knife we got our
listing suspended and it took two weeks
to get it back yeah we um yeah Damascus
uh so when we first launched
um we were our tagline was uh tactical
and survival gear
and tactical is much like Damascus it's
basically a four-letter word when it
comes to
um digital advertising for at least near
the Facebooks of the world so we
actually got rid of tactical and put
survival in Outdoors
um just because
it wasn't worth it right we couldn't we
we don't include tactical gear anymore
um because it's that much of a challenge
to to advertise with with anything like
do you see any uh any other forms of
content evolving
um so so a couple things that that we're
watching you know you look at this live
aspect and I think everybody was pretty
Bull on it just because of the success
of it in China and they they just
assumed that it's going to be successful
here too
um I don't know if it'll pick up at the
same speed ratio as it is in China I
don't know if it ever will
um I I do think we'll see more more
things in line with like Tick Tock shop
right I think eventually the streaming
platforms will will have Integrations
where you know you're watching something
and whether it's you know makeup they're
using or
um the guy has a basketball jersey I
think you'll be able to make shop
purchases that way
um I think it'll be a really full
integration with just your your
streaming your TV watching
you know it's uh it's interesting uh our
family used to own a couple of uh uh
factories in Taiwan my brother and I
would go over there and
you'd be seeing people at a restaurant
this is 20 years ago and or yeah 20
years ago wow anyways the evolution of
using a phone what we're at right now we
were seeing back in Taiwan and even
it's crazy but uh you go into a
restaurant everybody talking on their
phone everybody was talking on their
excuse me for a second
I gotta cut back on those cigars but uh
but anyway
walking in to a bathroom
people talking it drives me crazy that's
one of my pet peeves by the way not
gonna get into it but people talking
business or whoever while you're in the
can you not turn off your phone right
all of this stuff was happening back
then texting was going crazy like even
in Europe you know we weren't we had not
caught on until way later and seeing
what's happening in China and how they
use that instrument is crazy and guess
what it is going to happen like and I I
think Elon is on to it like his
announcements I think it was yesterday
or the day before talking about what his
vision is for X is
is right along the lines of WhatsApp
so which people had people had suggested
that right in the beginning when he
first bought it they had said like there
were Rumblings that that's was his
um but to hear him now say it you know
after the death is settled from all this
I'd be interesting to see what happens
yeah that's a that'll be a new Evolution
of this platform at least in North
okay the next part to this so you've got
the community
um you're keeping on it you did a
magnificent job on YouTube but how do
you nurture your community and how do
you build that loyal customer base
sure so so you know it it truly is about
the customer experience
um and you know one of the ways we do
that so we have this this this members
only Facebook group right
um you know not all subscribers are in
there but we we try to educate our
subscribers as much as possible to get
them in the group
um we're in there interacting
um there doesn't there's normally not a
day that goes by that I'm not in there
on my personal Facebook account chatting
with customers
um and and it's kind of like the the
culture of our entire company we have
I'd say
five six seven
every day there's different battle box
team members in there engaging
we're we're we're really having
conversations like it's one just big
Community one big family and um
having you know it's a it's a
double-edged sword
um I get tagged on my personal Facebook
account when there's customer issues
um so you know it goes both ways but but
that level of Engagement
um and in the interactions we have that
again consumers can tell when they're
genuine interactions right
um is is a is is is part of the secret
sauce another big thing is um so we have
it's a little unique to us because we're
you know designing this mystery
Discovery box every month
um but we're weighing in heavily on our
customers to help us
um because who want who's who's best at
telling you what the best box and best
items to be in the Box it's going to be
our customers right so we're constantly
interacting with them they're they're
constantly bringing bringing us ideas
we're betting those ideas and then you
know when if if one of their products
gets selected we're definitely shouting
from the rooftops that hey you know Tim
from from Sioux Falls
found found this item and every month at
least one of the items is a is an item
from one of our customers so it's it's
little things like that
um but it's just really truly engaging
um making sure that you're definitely on
all of your interactions the the tone is
you're on the same level as as your
customers and and
um and you really care
I think that's the important you just
said you really care as the brand and

sometimes I've seen and you know this
when you get that interaction from
um I would just call it your general VA
and you know from the Philippines or
from wherever you know and and you could
see it's a canned response that they've
just cut and paste and that that can
turn you off so quickly
um you say you get tagged or if people
reach out
um I make it the same point that if
somebody's uh direct uh messaging me I'm
answering back it might take me a few
days but I'm answering back
um if it's in the group there's lots of
people that can answer a question it
doesn't have to be me and we have a
great Community to do that so I was just
going to ask you about that because you
have the community it doesn't have to be
your employee you've probably got
moderators in the community that are
just Brands eccentric and they just want
to be part of your brand is that correct
yeah so um yeah so you know in the in
the Facebook group we have five
moderators they're not battle box
employees they're BattleBots they were
battle box customers
um and they became you know they were
they were brand ambassadors they were
um when people were asking questions and
might tag me to your point Norm they
were jumping in and answering because
they knew the answer
um and they knew that that the workings
of the of the brand just as well as we
um because they're passionate so it's a
it's a natural progression for them to
um to become you know moderate is that
in between but we know we've had some
some pretty cool stories two of them
come to mind so we had a customer he was
you know brand ambassador super engaged
in the community interacting with
everybody answering questions uh he's a
uh he was a nurse professional nurse and
he um
ended up becoming a moderator and then
at that point he was like you know I'm
I'm looking for you know some extra work
do you have any ideas do or do you guys
have any part-time stuff we said you
know we could always use some part-time
customer service help and he did that
um and then it got to the point where he
was passionate and really enjoying it
and doing a really great job he now fast
forward a few years he's our head of
customer experience wow you put the the
scrubs down and joined us full-time
um another story of it is
um we're you know part of our initial
go-to Market strategy was sending about
30 boxes out to YouTubers for just you
know organic reviews weren't paying them
they need content here's free gear
Etc and um
to date ourselves of 2015 and and and
clearly not running conversion
optimization tests on our site uh we had
a pre-purchase survey where we were
asking customers how'd you hear about us
right and it's all your usual suspects
you know Facebook Twitter Instagram
Pinterest and there was an other and
we were you know tracking this and the
second month we saw a large amount of
other it was like 20 25 and they were
writing this name in Currin
um current 1776 Brandon Curran a bunch
of different ways but the same thing and
we um
we start googling trying to find it we
find this YouTube channel and this guy's
reviewing our boxes perfect this was our
plan yeah we jump into our Google
spreadsheet he's not there he's not one
of the 30.
um so we do some investigating and he's
a full paying customer
um in our top Pro Plus box and uh so
another month goes by and he's he's
again he's getting us a lot of customers
so we reach out to them we're like hey
Brandon we love what you're doing uh
you don't have to pay for your box
anymore we're gonna keep sending you
about the three just keep doing what
you're doing and then a few months go by
and it's continuing and he's he's
starting to get followers and we're like
Brandon change of plans we're gonna pay
you 500 every month keep doing exactly
what you're doing
um is perfect and then a few months go
um and we're like hey Brandon uh please
uh career HVAC guy been doing it for two
um longer than two decades in uh North
Carolina we're like we're in Georgia do
you want to quit your job
um join battlebox full-time be the face
of our brand
um obviously you have to convince your
your wife and three kids but do you want
to do that and he he retired from HVAC
this was on a nighttime side hustle
passion he enjoyed doing reviews on
YouTube I like his job and now he's
joined us full time and if you see
anything battled box related video wise
you see Brandon he's the uh big cool
bearded guy

and now he's the face that's crazy what
a great story it's like the ultimate
um tale of community
yeah it kind of leads into my other
question but it seems like you know
Brandon started off it just uh you know
becoming part of your community then you
evolve this into where it's at now but
what about the small seller just took a
course excited about getting into
um into Amazon or whatever and they want
to start building that Community where
can they start
um I think I think it's easy and it's
it's it's you can start small just by
putting out some sort of consistent
content online or starting on a Reddit
uh or a bulletin board or even just
creating a Facebook group right I think
I think all brands should have
some sort of Facebook group or some sort
of place for Community to to um
to join right yeah people are looking
for a community
yeah if they're if they're passionate
about what their hobbies are then yeah
for sure and then it's almost for
anything yeah you know there there's
certain things that yeah you're not
going to build a community for but for
the most part you know I would probably
say the high majority of of Amazon
fit right into communities
100 I mean you the the you can quickly
find and just searching on like Facebook
and seeing it the hundreds of thousands
of of group of of groups right that are
the small niches or even in larger ones
of Amazon sellers in fact if you're
going up this is a Stephen black thing
is going becoming a part of a community
to understanding how they talk what's
the lingo so you become an expert and
you can talk that lingo and put it into
um into your titles and bullets and yeah
you know and so if you do that and this
wouldn't be kosher in some communities
but if you join let's say of a Schnauzer
community and you're looking for
Schnauzer pet owners
well there's your influencer base right
there if you reach out to the moderator
and ask if you can put a post in and
just asking for people to become
influencers and you give them a product
I don't think people are going to be too
upset now if you're a brand doing it you
might be if another Brand's trying to do
it but
um I I think that's another really great
way to recruit influencers just go into
a group wherever your Niche is and ask
the modern just don't post it because
that could be against their terms but
ask the moderators yeah and I mean it's
it truly is a mutually beneficial offer
you're trying to make right you want to
send people product you want and and you
in turn obviously get the eyeballs so
yeah and there's there's a there is a
Facebook group for everything there is
yeah everything yep you're 100 right
okay so just to keep on track here uh
Kelsey I think there's a few questions
you want to get to them yeah so we've
got a couple people talking about their
their brands and let's see from Cool
Hand 99 uh sustainable living is the
community I'm building the whole go
green eco-friendly lifestyle I'm
incorporating Healthy Home Cooking in my
content to incorporate the bamboo
um I've seen uh Luke's group too and uh
I know he's just looking for more tips
so I think uh hopefully he got some tips
today but that's just a little comment
from Luke and from rad uh we sell
outdoor portable products for campers
hunters and hikers do you accept outside
vendors to sell in your battle box if
yes is it a commission base how can we
do it
yeah um so I guess I could interpret the
question in two different ways one
um if if you're looking to sell battle
box products
um yeah we we have an affiliate program
you can you can um go to our site and
search for Affiliates or just go to
Google type in battlebox Affiliates and
we're on share sell and Avant link
um on the flip side to have your product
in battlebox
um absolutely so what we do is we have a
very stringent procurement process but
um you would just go to our site and
there's a I'll cheat really quick and
see I believe it's under so you go to
our main site you click on
um let's see
Community I believe community
and there's yeah you go to the community
tab go down to vendors and there's a
form to fill out if you want your
product in battlebox and that's through
some automation kicks it over to our
team procurement team will reach out and
give you kind of walk you through the
all right very good there you go red
okay and our last question uh from drip
uh drip fit uh when starting a
subscription plan for a product uh where
do I start
um so so drip if you have any
clarification on that
um by all means toss it in there but I
guess on a high level
um you know you
most products do have some sort of
subscription element it could be a
subscribe subscribe and save if it's a
replenishable product
um you know with battlebox for more of
the Discovery Model but we have some
replenishable products on our site that
we do you know Amazon started at the
Subscribe and save Model A lot of
products are a perfect perfect fit for
um and then on the you know there's
other ways too there's the the
um subscription model where you could
just be giving yourselves a you know it
could be a small month your annual fee
and it's a membership and with that
um value add whether it's discounts off
of products
um or you know discounts from vendors
and and partners
um making sure I replenishing
replenishing monthly okay thank you drip
so there's a bunch of tools you can use
um so just to talk about battle boxes
Tech stack
um you know we're we have a if you're
selling on
um direct to Consumer on your website we
have Shopify and then we have recharge
for the subscription Boeing and it's
it's fairly fairly easy to set up
um on the the Amazon side
um normally you could probably keep me
honest here I you'd think you don't have
to you can set up subscribe and say but
all it's doing is is putting another
purchase through right yeah and um I
don't particularly like uh Amazon
subscribe and save model at least for my
products because my products I might
want to put them on sale or play around
with price optimization and then I'll
always get the nasty email saying you
know if you don't stop this uh you know
uh your
um your eligibility for subscribe and
save will be terminated and thank you
so I just for me
I put an insert into my product the
insert drives people I like that they'll
have you know any of the beauty let's
say beauty or pet drive it over to the
website there'll be something there of
added value maybe it's a new uh soap
scent or something along those lines
something to get them engaged and then
uh I get them into the subscription so
it's upsell down so cross-sell once they
get to the site and that's where we
would pick up our subscriptions not so
much on subscribe and save on Amazon
it's it's funny the the reasons you gave
for why not on Amazon are the same
reasons as a consumer I don't on Amazon
I don't do the Subscribe and save
because I know that on our side we're
always testing stuff and like that
doesn't work yeah
so uh okay so I think that's the end of
the questions uh John how do is that
right Kelsey

so I just thought it was my eyes but uh
anyways how do people get a hold of you
or your team if they're interested uh in
uh battlebox subscribing to battlebox uh
just seeing some of the stuff that
you're doing
sure so best way
um I think Kelsey just dropped it is is there's no e in though
there's no e in there so b-a-t-t-l b o x
um you can also go to Netflix search for
um we have a Netflix original series
um on there called Southern survival
where it's it's literally every episode
we're testing gear to determine if we're
gonna put it in a battle box
um to for for me personally
um I'm most active on LinkedIn and then
uh but I am on all channels and uh
online queso
um online queso one word it's it's my
blog where I'm just literally talking
about e-commerce stuff but talking about
it's it's not all victories it's not all
wins yeah and I try to share honestly
more losses because there's always some
learnings there that uh I'm taking from
it and if I can if I can share those
losses and learnings it might save
someone else from making the same
mistakes that that I made because I make
a lot so I call that fail to succeed
yeah you have to fail to succeed right
okay so uh let's see last call if you're
interested in uh any of our giveaways
today we have two so the first one and
most important is the battle box Pro uh
which is worth 200 it really has a value
of about 300.
um so uh John is giving that away uh all
you have to do is hashtag Willa Kelsey
tag two people you'll get a second entry
and then our second giveaway today
completely separate if you're in the
Chicago area next week and you want to
go to Ecom Summit uh Braxton Bennett uh
has given us a free ticket he just let
me know uh yesterday just said here you
go if you want to give it away on your
lunch with Norm go ahead just to give
you a quick uh bit of information about
it this isn't like every other event uh
Kevin's gonna be there he's going to be
doing some hacks but for the most part
it's going to be workshops so you'll
actually be able to get into work
Workshop you'll have action items he's
uh he set it up a little bit different
than any other event that I've gone to
this year so just check that out if
you're interested hashtag Ecom Summit
and we'll do
one lucky winner as long as you're in
Chicago next week
um you'll uh you'll have a chance to win
and that's it last uh last word from a
sponsor then we'll get over to wila
Kelsey this episode of lunch with Norm
is sponsored by Jeff chick legal Amazon
suspensions are very real but how do
sellers like us protect ourselves
against these costly suspensions without
spending thousands of dollars for a very
low monthly retainer of just 89 get full
access to Amazon attorney Jeff Schick
mention lunch with norm and receive 50
off the first two months visit today that's j e f f s c h

i c now let's get back to the show

okay so Kelsey it's time John's never
seen it

there we go ah that was awesome
all right cows don't leave us hanging
don't leave us hanging all right sorry
my wife I was just cutting out a little
bit but here we go I'm gonna pull up the
wheel we've got two wheels happening and
we've got an extra entry from Caitlyn
that I gotta sneak in here as well
okay uh we're all set so we do this
every single podcast
um so make sure you come back for the
next one we're gonna Shuffle these up
uh if you are the winner please email me
okay lunch with
and drip is on a roll trip just one last
week or Monday you did congrats
trip uh if you can I guess I'm guessing
just uh your address I send that over to
me and I'll connect you with John and
then we've got uh one more okay yes for
drip let's send them over uh a lunch
with Norm mug as well
get him one of those
all right sounds good and then
um let's see who today's winner is okay
hold it before you spit spin that yeah I
just want to make sure
if everybody on the wheel can actually
like just say you know uh
just let us know if you win
if you you have to be in Chicago uh for
this ticket okay for next week so just
in case you win and you're not there uh
just let us know and we'll spin again
all right so I'm gonna spin this this
for the Ecom Summit
and let's see who today's winner is I
wonder if it's going to be dripped twice
no I was thinking I was wondering if I
was going to be
all right chuck all right
very good okay so that's fantastic I
know Chuck's in Chicago I know Steve's
in Chicago uh so anybody else let us
know might have this Meetup
um and uh or a cigar night whatever
whatever you'd like but uh this has been
awesome John we're gonna pull you
backstage just stick around for a second
but you've been great thank you for all
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