UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#28: The Good Audit Episode 3: Sippin Snax with The Rind PR

Join Alison and Karin as they audit Sippin Snax with Stef Shapira and Lindsey Leroy of The Rind PR! Learn about everything you need, from product bundling to social posting as they look over this up-and-coming CPG brand. 

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#28 The Good Audit Episode 2: Sippin Snax with The Rind PR 

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Alison Smith: [00:43]
Welcome to the Umai Social Circle where we talk consumer goods tips to help business owners and marketers grow. We’re Allison and Karin, co-founders of Umai Marketing, and we are being joined today with Stef and Lindsey from The Rind PR. They are back for our four part series where we’re auditing young CPG brands on PR and digital marketing. So, welcome everyone to episode three. We are diving into Sippin SNAX, which offers gourmet snacks that pair perfectly with your craft beer, your wine, your cocktails.

Alison Smith: [01:22]
So. It’s a really interesting brand who… they seem like they partnered with mostly tap rooms and wineries, but due to COVID, when we all had to pivot, they also pivoted and started getting into the D2C genre, D2C presence, what have you. So, really interesting concept, would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on this brand and this concept in general.

Stef Shapira: [01:51]
Yeah. I like to drink alcoholic beverages and I like to have snacks, so I don’t get too drunk and also to just have everything taste better. What could be bad about this really? I think it’s a cool idea, and so many bars and tap rooms and whatnot have food trucks or different things, or sometimes there’ll be a bag of chips or something, but this is definitely taking it to another level to make it a little bit more fun, than just, “Oh, I need to eat something because I’m drinking.”

Alison Smith: [02:29]
Salt makes you want to drink more, so this is in the best interest of the B2B wine rooms and tap rooms.

Stef Shapira: [02:41]
Yeah. So hopefully everyone is selling, making a profit off of this.

Alison Smith: [02:45]

Stef Shapira: [02:47]
Cool. I think it’s a super interesting idea. Maybe there are some other similar things though I haven’t really seen any products geared specifically to this. So, obviously, great idea. And then we took a look from a PR standpoint, the first thing we look at is messaging. So, we really liked the tagline on the homepage which says “Snack more sip more,” which is basically, I think what you were just saying, Allison, if you are snacking more, it’s salty, you want to drink more and it’s like a cyclical thing until eventually they make you leave. That’s a great tagline. We also noticed, and I think maybe you all noticed this too. The snacks aren’t really pictured on the homepage, which is slightly confusing. The tagline is great, but you don’t really see what it is.

Stef Shapira: [03:50]
There’s a cool, I don’t really know if this is a video. I guess it’s a Gif of someone pouring wine, but still no snacks. I guess, towards the bottom, you see a couple of options, but it shows a t-shirt first, which is cool, but probably shouldn’t be at the forefront of what it is. I think just overall showing people what the product is at the top of the homepage is going to like… Because maybe people won’t scroll down if they don’t see it, if they are not like, “Oh, this looks delicious.” You want to maximize that reach by putting it at the top.

Alison Smith: [04:29]
I feel like it really, sip more, snack more, that’s a great tagline, especially because I feel like they are geared towards B2B, but regardless, I agree. I think it’s really important to show off what it is front and center before anyone has to scroll.

Lindsey Leroy: [04:49]
And I feel like it’s such a fun brand and such a fun concept, that I would want to see people enjoying the product, especially since it’s a pretty straightforward product and the more lifestyle shots I see, the more I’m going to want to buy it, need it.

Stef Shapira: [05:06]
One thing that I was noticing, obviously we’re in a weird place in terms of pandemic. I don’t think anywhere, at least in the United States, there are places where we’re really stuck at home and not going to the taprooms and the bars anymore. So, it becomes a thing where I see why they changed. I’m assuming changed or created this website for people to… like the D2C thing to happen at home. But, I don’t know. Another thing that was confusing to me too, is that there’s a link to Hops and Nuts. I don’t know if you all saw that too. I saw it on their social media.

Lindsey Leroy: [05:53]
Yes, I saw that on Instagram.

Stef Shapira: [05:56]
And I think if I were to guess, that the Hops and Nuts is, if it’s like a bar or a tap room buying it and then the Sippin SNAX is at home, so maybe…

Lindsey Leroy: [06:09]
 I think the Hops and Nuts may have been the original product, and the Sippin SNAX came out of… That was what I was guessing.

Karin Samelson: [06:19]
Yeah. I was thinking the same thing. Hops and Nuts was when they had B2B, but it says on their homepage that after the pandemic hit, 60% of their accounts wouldn’t make it back to be able to reopen. So, that’s why they brought in Sippin SNAX to be their retail grocery D2C offering. But I do, I completely agree. I think it’s really confusing the way it’s laid out there, And if you’re going to want to go on the D2C, go all in, don’t make it confusing to the consumer.

Stef Shapira: [06:49]
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. I feel like it took us all a little bit to get to the point where, “Oh, okay, this makes sense.” And it is-

Karin Samelson: [06:58]
[inaudible 00:06:59] have that much time with the consumer that stumbles upon it.

Stef Shapira: [07:01]

Karin Samelson: [07:02]
No one’s going to look as hard as we did, when we were trying to do this audit.

Stef Shapira: [07:06]
Right, exactly. So, I think of course it’s part of your story and it’s totally fine to mention that somewhere. But I think it’s just picking one with your messaging, not having to fully connect it. It doesn’t really matter. I don’t think too much. It’s interesting because I feel like at the beginning of the pandemic, this would’ve been a great media pitch, like a pandemic pivot. But at this point, that’s not necessarily what people are looking for. I think people are just literally wanting to think like, “Oh, I can enjoy these at home, because I’m going to drink at home and I’m going to snack at home.” So I think, yeah, just honing in on that, not spending too much time telling the back story, at least at this point, it makes sense.

Alison Smith: [08:04]
Are you saying there’s too much language surrounding the pandemic still and it should just be about “enjoy this at home and pair it with your favorite craft beer?”

Stef Shapira: [08:14]
Yeah. That’s what I’m thinking.

Alison Smith: [08:17]
I love… what did you say, pandemic pivot. I love that term. That’s a good one.

Stef Shapira: [08:21]
Yeah. I’m sure it’s a hashtag. So many businesses had to do that. I know the most obvious example I think of is a restaurant that, actually, like, Brian is an example. You all started bottling sauces and rubs and things, whereas before it wasn’t even really necessary to sell these products you would use at home, Just one to make money and two to provide some service to your customers. So many restaurants are like, “Okay, yeah. I’m going to bottle this sauce so I can make some money off of this.”

Lindsey Leroy: [09:05]
I feel it’s almost nearly every business had to pivot in some way, in some capacity. So I feel like it’s almost to me like the farm to table movement, where almost every restaurant is pretty much farm to table, so saying it, everybody’s already doing it, so it’s almost unnecessary. It’s expected, I guess. So, I feel like over telling the story. I think it definitely, it should be a part of the story because it explains why the name change or just the idea of how the product is intended to be used and consumed. So, I feel it’s definitely a part of the story, but I guess our advice would be to just hone in on that messaging, and really just zush it as they say.

Lindsey Leroy: [09:54]
And I think less said, more direct is definitely better, especially on a website where people don’t necessarily want to read paragraphs and paragraphs of a story, no matter how interesting. I think as straightforward as you can possibly be while still calling out the most important pieces of information. Which can be really hard. I think having an outside eye sometimes just helps in distilling that down.

Alison Smith: [10:23]
Yeah. It’s so hard to write your own “about us.” I’m pretty sure it’s one of the most-

Stef Shapira: [10:28]
Yes, for sure. Even for us.

Alison Smith: [10:30]
Yeah. You would think it would be like second nature, but it’s really difficult. But the founder looks really cool and fun and spunky. I don’t know her name. I don’t know their name.

Stef Shapira: [10:45]
That’s true.

Alison Smith: [10:26]
I don’t know why they started this business, Why have they been in the beer industry? There’s probably a really cool story, and I love that they’re showing up with their face and everything, but I would love to know more.

Stef Shapira: [11:04]
Yeah. There was a note that we had as well. It’s also interesting because if you go to, like at the topic of the website it mentions two different accolades in a sense. Like the Khe diverse trend selection, and it’s not totally clear what that award was. It’s like golden ticket winners for diversity. It mentions the quote from them. We believe that women, BIPAK, LGBTQIA plus veterans, et cetera, that’s the diversity. But I think playing up that diversity, not just, “Oh, here’s an award we won that is for that.” But more in that “about” section. Like, this is who I am, this is how I’m diverse. We talked about this, I think, I can’t remember which previous episode now, but women founded.

Stef Shapira: [11:58]
People are looking for people with diverse backgrounds to support for that reason, and at least spread the love. So I think whatever a founder is comfortable sharing about themselves, for the most part, I think it’s only going to help them, at least in the world we live in today by proudly saying those things.

Lindsey Leroy: [12:28]
Yeah. I think those keywords too also help when the media are looking at your website, or your Instagram profile and they’re considering coverage, especially if there are a few products in consideration, having some differentiator and keyword called out. Not necessarily as a spotlight on it, like “Look at this,” but it definitely, I think helps in terms of identifying brands to support like Stef said.

Stef Shapira: [12:59]
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And then, yeah, Going back to what we were saying before, I think maybe just consolidating somehow the Hops and Nuts and the Sippin SNAX on the same website would make it more cohesive, or just picking one name for both, because I think that if this website can talk about places they have been available, or even specific brands they’ve worked with and specific brand pairings, that will add a level of credibility, and why you want to buy it and enjoy it at home. It says on the package pair us with red wine or various things, but I think honestly this goes into probably a next thought about like-minded brands. Like for social and for influencers and whatnot, but it’s basically like if… I’m trying to think of a good example. Like if there’s a brewery and they sell the product or they pair really well, like a very specific, like a stout pairs well with these, then that other brand can share on their accounts and it just raises the awareness overall.

Stef Shapira: [14:18]
But besides that, it adds a level of credibility like if I was a media person and I went to the website and I saw that this brewery and this distillery that I’ve heard of also sell them or pairs well with them, then you’re more likely to want to cover it, than either something that just doesn’t have those call outs, for lack of for credibility to be like, “Okay, this is more legit. Other people like it, so it’s probably good.”

Lindsey Leroy: [14:47]
Yeah, for sure. That’s something I was thinking about too, just while I was on the Instagram account and just thinking about how would I enjoy these opportunities for getting in front of influencers and using, whether you have connections in the industry that were former retailers or former wholesale accounts, leaning on them to promote on their end is such a great value add. Thinking about lifestyle photography, sending out your product to influencers and having them post, you can use that user generated content on your own account. And it’s just great ways to really showcase how the product is used. It’s such a fun brand, and I feel like I want to see more in action or with… alongside drinking. Because I feel like we see a lot of product shots or just drinking shots, but I want to see them coming together and being enjoyed together.

Lindsey Leroy: [15:59]
So, I feel like there’s a lot of opportunity to do collaborations or partnerships with, whether that is just like local, like starting small with local breweries or local distilleries. And then maybe it’s engaging with more regional partners statewide and then opening that up even more. But based on where you’re selling and where your customers are. I would love to see more drinking and snacking, sorry, sipping and snacking together.

Stef Shapira: [16:40]
Yeah, and we took a look to see if there was any influencer shares. You don’t really just look at the tagged part on an Instagram account, and there really wasn’t anything there. So, I think it’s just like adding influencers as part of a PR campaign. In a similar sense it could be starting local. Again, thinking about where your brand is available, and then trying to build awareness there that way. Obviously, if it’s a D2C thing, you can get it anywhere, but if you are tying in the tap rooms and other actual places to go, then focusing on those parts of the country or parts of the state makes sense. And maybe people want to go try it at the brewery before they buy a bunch for their house too. And yeah, that’s I think where some of those influencer packages that Lindsey was mentioning, can play in and you could potentially, if there’s a local brewery that your snacks are sold at, then you put together a cool package with your whatever product, whatever snack pairs with a beer from there, and then maybe also, I don’t know, like a pint glass that’s branded either with the… It could be a Sippin SNAX pint glass.

Stef Shapira: [18:21]
It doesn’t even have to be the brewery’s pint glass. or there’s probably some other front things, that’s the obvious one. It could be a wine glass, it could be a cocktail recipe that pairs really well with it. And, there is some amount that you have to spend when you’re giving influencers product for free, exchange for them sharing and then buying some of these additional glasses and merch and stuff. But overall, of course we’re biased, but we have found based on our experience of course, that those are the things that do build the awareness that brands need. Some more people are continuing to know about the product and actually buy it. So, you don’t have to go crazy. You can start locally with a few influencers and then once you’re like, “Oh, okay. I saw how this worked,” then you can expand.

Alison Smith: [19:18]
Yeah. So, a question on that because I do feel the same when you said start locally, that this brand really should put a lot of effort in like North Carolina, California, where they already have relationships that seem to be going well. So, how do they go about finding local influencers to work with?

Lindsey Leroy: [19:43]
I feel like my approach, and I don’t know if Stef, if she does this as well, first of all, I think about who the customer is, who’s actually buying these? Do they love craft beer? Where would they go? What would they do? Then I make a mental list or actual list of other brands and businesses that these target customers would actually go to or would follow, and potentially post about. Because obviously you want people who are posting about these brands. So, then I would go to those accounts and work back and see who has posted there and looking at their tagged photos on Instagram, and work back that way, if you are completely unfamiliar with influencers in that region.

Lindsey Leroy: [20:38]
But I think having an idea of who your competitors or who your like-minded brands are, is one of the biggest assets to how to approach influencers and media too, because with media, you want to know where your competitors are being covered and how they’re being covered and how they’re being talked about. And then other types of brands in that space or other types of businesses in that same space. So then you’re going to a local publication or newspaper, and then seeing the types of stories that these competitors or like-minded brands are being written about in, and seeing who’s writing these stories. So, you’re reverse engineering the story or the opportunity essentially. So, I think that’s probably the most direct yet somewhat tedious way to-

Alison Smith: [21:37]
The free version. Yeah, exactly. And what you said about competitors, that’s something you need to know for every piece of your business.

Stef Shapira: [21:48]
Yeah. That’s exactly what I was going to say.

Alison Smith: [21:51]
Yeah. It’s so important, and not only keeping a tab on what other people are doing and how they’re innovating and what the big brands are doing, so you can get some insights there, but also just staying inspired. We’re big on Inspo, we even have a Facebook group where we pull Inspo from the big brands for email, paid social and organic social, because creating content is hard. It’s a hard job and you really got to stay on top of it in order to create quality content. So, definitely follow your competitors on Instagram or sign up for their newsletter. You can do it from your private account, but definitely follow them around. And just to reiterate what Lindsey was saying, so basically you’re just going into Instagram, going to either influencers or local retailers in your space and then looking at the tags to find, is that how you were saying it works?

Lindsey Leroy: [23:02]
Yeah. Yeah. Looking at the tags and obviously if you’re going to… For Sippin SNAX for example, if there was a local brewery that was a craft brewery that has a good following, that’s pretty on brand, I would go into the tagged photos and take a look through the top. I think if you do it on maybe like a desktop, I don’t know if it does it on your phone, but a lot of times you can see the top photos and then you can sort it by recent. So, I would take a look at what the top photos are, which are going to have higher engagement, or looking at influencer posts that have a similar aesthetic to your brand. So, that’s another thing too, is you could find some really great influencers, but they may not necessarily be a fit aesthetic wise, or exactly like what you’re looking for.

Lindsey Leroy: [24:00]
So, if you found an influencer that has 100,000 followers and posted about craft beer, but is more of a fashion influencer or something, it may not necessarily be as much of a fit as an influencer that is more into food, beverage, hospitality space, but has 20,000 followers. So, I’d also take into consideration, not just the engagement or follower count, but also what type of content they’re posting. I think that’s really important too. So, there’s a lot of factors I think that go into considering an influencer campaign. And I feel like I could talk about this for hours. I think the easiest way to find influencers in your region that may potentially be a fit, and then you can narrow it down from there.

Alison Smith: [24:59]
Yeah. Definitely work with influencers who look like your ideal customer. There’s no need to go beyond that. It’s not going to make sense. I don’t know if you guys heard that groan.

Stef Shapira: [25:13]
I did.

Alison Smith: [25:14]
Man. He just groans every time he lays down, like he’s had the hardest life and the hardest day.

Stef Shapira: [25:21]
I thought he was just disagreeing with everything we were saying. “That’s not right.”

Alison Smith: [25:26]
Awesome. Okay. So anything else on the PR side, before we hop on over to the digital side, digital marketing?

Stef Shapira: [25:39]
I feel that’s it. We probably have some other related things to what you’re about to say, but I think we pretty much hit all our main talking points that we found.

Alison Smith: [25:49]
Yeah, that was awesome.

Karin Samelson: [25:51]
I think we’re going to have a little bit of overlap too, because it’s a lot of the things obviously that we are seeing, so let’s dive into the marketing side, the digital marketing side, and specifically Instagram first. So, going back to what you guys were talking about in not knowing what Sippin SNAX is versus Hops and Nuts, and how they’re both… Sippin SNAX tags Hops and Nuts, but Hops and Nuts doesn’t tag Sippin SNAX. I think the clarity can be done. Obviously there’s a lot to be done on the website, and I think for a brand to invest in new branding and packaging, they understand the importance of investing in their brand. So, I hope that they want to go forward with Sippin SNAX and make it the real deal product that they want it to be. The website needs a lot of updates, but for now, when we’re talking on Instagram, I think a lot of that differentiation can happen in the bio just for clarity’s sake.

Karin Samelson: [26:46]
So, Sippin SNAX, gourmet bar snacks, I like the name. That’s completely fine. You have your snack more sip more headline, tagline. Then it says from tap and tasting room approved Hops and Nuts. But then when I go to Hops and Nuts, it’s not very clear what that is. So, I would make it really, really clear if Hops and Nuts is your brand, that’s B2B and that’s the product that’s in the wineries and tap rooms, be more specific here so it’s less confusing. And I would put that at the end. Unless Hops and Nuts is this really established, reputable source, it doesn’t really need to be there in my opinion, because people don’t know what that is anyways. So just for clarity’s sake, just cleaning that bio up can make that really helpful. But what really excites me is how awesome the branding is.

Karin Samelson: [27:42]
And I love the naming. It’s like logger and lime. Okay. I definitely need to eat these craft peanuts with a logger. It’s so straightforward and fun. I think the content can match it for sure. So, a big rule that we like to stick by, rule, it’s hard and fast with the rules. It’s all gray, but we want people to stick to 80/20. 80% entertaining content, 20% sales focused. And when I look at the feed now, while I’m excited about the fun, the animations, the gifts, the videos, it all says the same thing. So, I’m looking at the top 12 posts, 10 of them say, “Snack more, sit more,” graphically somewhere. Not 10 of them, seven of them, maybe eight, maybe nine. Let’s count them 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 out of 12. Nine out of 12 say snack more, sip more.

Karin Samelson: [28:48]
I love that you’re trying to get the point across, but it’s so sales heavy, there’s no reason for someone to follow you because they can guess what you’re going to post next. What we want to do is really establish those messaging buckets that we’ve talked about in the past episodes. Think education, recipes, community focused stuff, behind the scenes. I love that the one real is the founder showing face, but there can be so much more of that. And I want you to jump into reels and think of really fun series that you can do. For example, someone doing a drink and a snack pairing, talking about the flavors and just having it be a running series. If it’s a founder, even better, you can also do a cocktail making series where you make cocktails, and it’s just a really beautiful, real recipe style video, and you’re snacking at the same time while you’re making the cocktail.

Karin Samelson: [29:43]
There’s so many fun things that you can do. And if you don’t have somebody on your team doing it, you can find one of these micro influencers that are super interested in the product that want to maybe make affiliate commission for promoting the product and making content for you. So, lots of great opportunity there. And then making the snacks look really delicious. Right now I think that you guys do a really great job of featuring the actual product. I think you can pull back on that a little bit. Because when we talk about 80/20, just a little bit less salesy to give people a reason to follow. Why are they following you? You want to build community, you want to give them something. So give them recipes, give them education, give them something fun to scroll past and really get excited about.

Karin Samelson: [30:28]
And then one other thing that I was thinking, you guys already mentioned it, but the amount of collaborations that can be done with this brand, they’re endless. There’s so many different alcohol companies, alcohol accessory companies. There’s so many different brands that would be so fun to do giveaways and collaborations with, which will help boost your social proof, your followers, your engagement, all of that good stuff, your brand awareness. So, collaborating with as many people as you can. And what we recommend is wherever you guys are creating your content or storing your content calendar, or if you’re not doing that yet, just simply creating a Google sheet and making a long list of people that would be your dream partners. So people that really make sense to collaborate with your brand, and then reach out to them. And we always tell people to shoot their shot, no matter how big a brand is.

Karin Samelson: [31:24]
If they look at yours and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, that branding’s awesome. The product is so amazing. I haven’t seen something like this before and I want to try it myself,” they just might partner with you. So, that is definitely what I think you guys should be doing. And we recommend doing these partnerships like two times a month when you’re in that high growth phase. So, try that out. And then the last note I’m going to say on Instagram, because I’m pumbling you with a lot of stuff, even though I think you’re doing an amazing job with getting content out at the rate that you are, is go beyond that constant call to action to snack more, sip more that I just mentioned, and tell the reader why they should. When I’m reading the caption or when I’m looking at the creative, why should I? There’s so many different reasons to want to do it, tell me why I can’t live without your product. Why I need it in my bar cart at all times. I just went hard y’all. Do you guys have any thoughts about Instagram?

Lindsey Leroy: [32:22]
That’s so true. And I was thinking too, like incorporating photos or reels in I guess different scenarios of how to enjoy. The first thing I was thinking about after having checks mix at a bar, which I love, this is like an actual elevated version of that, was having this at home for a party or game night. That for me, I don’t necessarily like to cook or put together amazing charcuterie boards or anything like that, while I would love to, I would love to have something that’s easy that I know people are going to like, that is a little bit different than just pouring out a container of pretzels or whatever it is. So, showcasing fun scenarios where this could and should be enjoyed, and like you said, why people need it. But yeah, I was thinking, man, if I saw this, if I saw a game night, I’d be like, “Oh, I do need to host a game night and I should buy a couple of these bags and maybe I’m going to get a couple different kinds.” Having that inspo so readily accessible for people to view it, whether that’s on the website or on Instagram, I think is like light bulb moment.

Karin Samelson: [33:49]
Yeah. I completely agree. And I think that there’s a lot of power in UGC style content. We all know this, and a lot of this looks to be stock photography or just more produced images. And it’s like give this to so many micro influencers, see what you can get from it. Find ones that are true advocates of it that are like, “I’m obsessed with this. I have to have this chocolate porter every time I’m having a porter now,” and you’re going to get a lot better content. And I love what you’re saying. It’s like, if you have wine night with your girlfriends once a week and you see these ladies having wine and whatever, vineyard red craft peanuts at the same time, it’s like, “Oh, I need to have that with our wine next time.” I think the opportunity is here because it’s so specific. They have really honed in on who their customer is, it seems like.

Karin Samelson: [34:41]
So, I think that’s a really fun opportunity. There’s so much that can happen. It’s exciting. When I see a brand like this and I’m like, “If our team could just get our hands on it,” that’s always a good thing because I feel like there’s a lot of legs. It’s beautiful branding, lots of colors to work with, lots of different types of products that will lend itself to different types of content. I think it’s a fun brand for sure. So with the website, Alison, what were you seeing?

Alison Smith: [35:16]
Yeah, I just want to reiterate because Stef and Lindsey brought up a lot of good website points. So, about the hero image, just showing off more product, showing off more lifestyle images, And then again with the shop section, in your collection section where all of your products are laid out, always feature the best sellers first. I don’t think that’s your t-shirt, your t-shirt is showing up first. If it is, then my bad. But generally you want your best sellers to be front and center so that it’s easy for people to just click and shop. Again, there’s also a collection on me on the front page too. So, just make sure that the right products are being shown on the homepage. And then they’re in the right order on the collections page. Another thing that we were thinking, if you are going to continue pursuing D2C, it would be a great move to bundle your products.

Alison Smith: [36:27]
So, bundle your two to three best sellers or bundle a salty pack and bundle a sweet pack. And that’s just going to help get your average order of value higher. Right now I think it’s at $7. Obviously people can buy multiples, but you really need product bundles that are at least over $20. That’s just going to help if you ever decide to run ads, it’s just going to help you make a return a lot faster. And you have a lot of that data in your backend. If you’re using Shopify or whatever platform you’re using, you can generally see customer bot always buys this and this. So you can start to understand the patterns there. So, use that knowledge to create those bundles. And then I am not going to lie. I’m still a little confused about Sippin SNAX versus the, what is it? Hops and Nuts. Because there’s wholesale on Sippin SNAX.

Alison Smith: [37:37]
So, if you don’t want to link that wholesale page from Sippin SNAX over to Hops and Nuts, then consider adding the where to buy or where we’re located on that wholesale page. Consider building it out to look like a true wholesale page, and showing off a map and showing people we’re at your bar five miles down the road, because otherwise it’s just confusing, and it just feels like it’s a missed opportunity at this point. But I will say like Karin and everyone else has said, it’s gorgeous branding. And the website is, it’s nice looking. You’ve done a great job. It’s just cleaning some things up and getting a little organized. And earlier I said, I didn’t know your name. I do. It’s Melissa, but I just meant adding that to the about us. It seems like you have a cool story and sharing and relating to your consumers, your customers in the about us section of your website, I think could really go a long way. Any other web thoughts y’all?

Lindsey Leroy: [38:50]
No, I think, yeah, you’ve definitely hit some of the things I was thinking about just in terms of wholesale, how to distinguish. And I think Stef brought this up earlier, but as you’re signing on retailers, having a list of where it’s available to purchase, even though somebody who visits your website may not be able to purchase it from that retailer’s website, gives credibility. So, if writers or influencers or anybody or customers are going to your website and they’re scrolling through and they’re trying to decide if they want to buy, and they see that it’s actually available at a couple of their favorite breweries or distilleries or wineries, it gives it a certain level of credibility, and I think it also opens up the doors for more collaborations. There’s just so many possibilities when you make that information known.

Stef Shapira: [39:56]
Yeah. And I was thinking, I love the idea of the bundles for many reasons, but it’s also a really good way to collaborate. Granted they might end up having to make some new product, so I don’t know obviously how challenging that is, but if it’s a limited edition thing. If there is a brewery and you’re doing a bundle that is co-branded with them, you could have one paired with each of their beers, and then it would be a more equal partnership where everyone’s promoting it, so it’s like a limited edition thing where you could pitch that to media and to influencers. The pattern with customer behavior is that if something is limited edition, you’re going to act to buy it, versus being like, “I can buy this anytime.”

Stef Shapira: [40:53]
Versus the, “Oh, it’s only limited edition. There’s only so many. If I don’t get this now, then I might not get it at all.” And obviously a good way to get in front of the brewery or the wineries audience. So yeah, I think just like the bundles in general are good, but I think we just keep being like, “So many cross promotional opportunities here.”

Alison Smith: [41:21]
Yeah, no, I love that. And, that’s something that I think you should really just keep in your back pocket that if you’re eCommerce brand, instead of always running sales or things like that, there’s other ways to produce scarcity through these limited edition products or collaborations. What is the [inaudible 00:41:44] does an amazing job at doing those types of collaborations and they’re limited. You can only get until they sell out.

Stef Shapira: [41:51]
I love those.

Alison Smith: [41:53]
They do a really good job. Yeah. I think they did one with Disney recently.

Stef Shapira: [41:58]
Yeah. Was it for the turning red movie? I feel like the Fishwife, it’s the canned fish, which doesn’t sound sexy, but it is. They did something with Fly By Jing, which also does a lot of collabs, and yeah, I think that’s already back ordered. There’s a lot of examples out there.

Alison Smith: [42:25]
Yeah. You don’t have to go to Disney. 

Stef Shapira: [42:28]
Yeah, you don’t have to start there.

Alison Smith: [42:30]
You can go local. Just make sure that the input is worth the output. It can be a lot on brands to produce those limited quantity, limited edition things, but always something to test and keep in your back pocket. I think that’s really interesting. So yeah, that’s web. That’s a wrap on web. I think we all touch on it.

Karin Samelson: [42:55]
I have one thing for web.

Alison Smith: [42:57]
Karin’s got one thing for web.

Karin Samelson: [42:59]
Just because when I’m on the homepage, I can’t get over this. And I think that the product is too good to just completely ignore like this. So, when I’m on the homepage, all I see is a big sign that says snack more, sip more, and I have no idea what that means in this moment. And I know that we’re talking about it’s a good tagline and it’s part, that’s great, but what I’m hearing is, “Okay, if I eat more stuff, I can drink more stuff.” That’s the message I get. But when I scroll down, I see another tagline that I think I like more. It’s craft a great pairing with Sippin SNAX. It’s actually telling me that there’s a pairing element, that there’s like a drink this and this.

Karin Samelson: [43:47]
So, in my mind, I’m like craft a great pairing and then have the actual pairing as a visual, would be so strong. I’d be like, “Oh, that’s what this is. That’s what I’m doing.” There’s a lot to be said with crafting a great website, but that homepage, that header image is so important that I would play with testing that, to see if you get more clicks. Do you guys-

Alison Smith: [44:17]
I think we all agree that we need some product or some lifestyle sip and snack as the hero. But what Karin’s saying is, testing the snack more sip more versus what was it Karin? Craft a great pairing

Karin Samelson: [44:33]
Craft a great pairing.

Alison Smith: [44:35]
So that could be something that you just ask your friends and family or run a survey. You can also run a website AB test. It’s really difficult to get results on AB test when you’re a young brand however, so it might be something that you would need to reach out to friends to really solidify that. Unless you’re sold on what it currently is. But I think that’s really interesting that that’s what stood out to you, Karin.

Karin Samelson: [45:06]
Yeah. And, there’s so much space in between that header and the next section, and that home-taining, I don’t know what that means.

Alison Smith: [45:14]
It just clicked for me. What is entertaining?

Stef Shapira: [45:19]
Yeah. That’s one thing that I was calling out earlier. It’s so in your face that this is like only for at home, but then it gets confusing because they’re wholesale. I’m assuming you don’t wholesale to your house, I don’t know. You really want a lot of product.

Alison Smith: [45:39]
And that’s okay. This is the pandemic pivot.

Stef Shapira: [45:45]
Yeah. 100%. It’s clear that’s what it was.

Alison Smith: [45:48]
Yeah. We’re all trying to figure it out and understand what the best avenue is, and maybe that’s what’s happening here. So hopefully there is enough time that’s passed that you can understand which direction you can take, and then just get very literal on your website about that direction. Okay. Any other web thoughts?

Karin Samelson: [46:09]
No. My last thought after being like the website needs a lot of work, which I’m sure you already know, that’s why you’re asking for input on it, is that this is a product. I look at a lot of snacks all day. That’s all I do. I look at snacks, food and bev, and this is a product where I’m like, “Oh, dang, this is a good idea and this looks delicious, and I know that people would want this.” So I just keep that in your mind, as you hear us talking about all the things that can be improved, because we think the product is awesome. It’s a really nice idea. It’s cool, and I think it worked so good B2B and direct to consumer. So, it’s great work. It’s great work.

Alison Smith: [46:52]
Yeah. Great work. And definitely want to get some and try it. The flavors look really fun too, so, okay. So moving on to paid social. So, it’s very difficult to do a paid audit when there’s no Ads running. I don’t know if you’ve ever run Ads. So, just bear with me, my overall first thoughts were B2B, honestly. That’s where I would think that your brand was heading. Now that we’re talking about pandemic pivot, there could be room to run B2B retailer driven ads and D2C ads. For D2C Ads though, you got to get that AOB up. You got to bundle some things because you’re not going to make a return if you’re selling a $7 product. It really needs to be closer to the $40 range. I know I said minimum 20, but really we want it closer to 40.

Alison Smith: [47:50]
You can always do like upsells and cross sells or get them on your email list to continue that selling pattern. But with D2C, just like everyone was saying, we want to see more lifestyle, more UGC, User Generated Content. It doesn’t have to mean that you need to pay influencers to create that content for you. You look like you probably have a lot of friends, so host a party, give your snacks away to your friends and family and just be like, take five iPhone shots for me. And hopefully you can use some of those. Just people using the product and sipping on the correct alcohol with the product is really what we would want here. And that’s what makes great Ads. If you ever do an influencer campaign, getting any of those influencer posts or stories and running those as Ads, pushing them to your website, asking for sales, also recipes could be a thing here.

Alison Smith: [48:58]
A lot of the nut brands that we’ve worked with in the past, we grind up the nuts and add them to a salad and just have all these. There’s a lot of different messaging buckets that you could fall into. So, that’s another thing that could potentially work well for an ad for D2C. But in terms of B2B, where I think that there’s a lot of potential for growth, It looks like you already have a really long list of people that, retailers that you work with, businesses that you work with. So, there’s some things that you could do to increase that reach. Increase the amount of stores that you get into, and then also allow the consumers that live around those stores to be aware that they can find you at X, Y, Z tap room.

Alison Smith: [49:50]
So, we call those geo targeted campaigns. And geo targeting just basically means you’re targeting people who live within a certain radius of a zip code or a specific address. So, for B2B, if you want to expand your B2B presence, you could pull in an address, like say you really want to get into this new winery across town. So you can actually pull that address and target people within five miles of that address, and also target people who own wineries and hopefully get in front of the person that owns that winery. It’s a really interesting way to increase your touch points before you actually call the person on the phone and say, “Hey, I have this product.” They’ve likely seen your ads a couple of times. So, it’s a really interesting way to get those touchpoints in before you actually make contact with someone. And these types of ads are really inexpensive too.

Alison Smith: [50:53]
So, generally for geo targeting campaigns, we spend $5 a day and our objectives are the cheaper objectives like reach. And you can reach a thousand people for two to $3 on Meta or TikTok. So, something interesting you could try, and that’s for getting into new businesses. For targeting consumers, so say you’re in this specific winery and you need to push product. You need people to be asking for Sippin SNAX when they go to this winery. So, you can target people who live within a 10 mile radius of this winery and show off your UGC style AD, show off your product with the wine and just let them know that you’re there so that they know. They’re already familiar with your brand. They know to go there if they want your product, all those things. And like I said, those types of Ads are generally very inexpensive, so that could be a very, very small budget if that’s something you’d want to test out. We got thoughts?

Karin Samelson: [52:07]
That’s a lot less expensive, right? It’s just not even like a little bit less expensive, it’s a lot less expensive to do those to your budget.

Alison Smith: [52:16]
It is so much less expensive, yes. So, we label it as high cost and lower cost in terms of the objectives you can choose on Meta and TikTok and all those platforms. So, the high cost ones, it’s going to cost a lot of money to ask someone to buy from you. That’s going to be probably the highest cost thing that you can ask for. So, that’s like your D2C Ads. After that, it’s most likely going to be asking for an email address or something like that. Like a registration, an add to cart. Anything in the checkout flow is going to be expensive, and that costs per mill for those costs to reach a thousand people for those more expensive events, is around $10. For the cheaper events, like reaching people, having someone engage with an Ad or simple brand awareness, or even traffic campaigns where you could send these people to your store, if you have a store locator on your website, which I think you should do. That costs for [inaudible 00:53:25] cost to reach a thousand people is generally around two to $3. So you can reach a thousand people for two bucks, which is pretty cool. So, we’re recommending the cheaper events for geo targeted campaigns.

Karin Samelson: [53:41]
At this point, when the website still needs a lot of optimizations, it’s like, you’re not ready to send people to go purchase from your page right now, because there’s a lot of things that need to be worked out before you start spending your money in that way.

Alison Smith: [53:56]
Yeah. So, that’s a really good point. You can’t just throw money at a problem. Not that this is at all. There’s a lot of things you have to check off and do before you can be profitable with D2C eCommerce like conversion campaigns. One of them, making sure your website is converting at 4% pre-advertising spend. That’s not a lot of sites convert at that. So you need to make sure you’re converting there. You need to make sure you’ve really nailed down your organic social. Hopefully get some influencer in UGC going for you. You need to make sure that your email funnels are all set up so that people are getting indoctrinated and educated and sold through email too. So, there’s a lot of things that have to happen before you should start spending on eCommerce campaigns.

Lindsey Leroy: [54:53]
In terms of organic content, do you all usually recommend cross platform sharing? Like using the same content on TikTok, Instagram? What do you usually recommend in terms of getting the most engagement, or I guess getting the most bang for your buck when creating content?

Karin Samelson: [55:18]
Yeah. So, with Facebook and Instagram, the platforms are really different, but with Facebook, it’s so hard to get engagement now. It’s because you’re not reaching anybody. It’s not that people don’t like what you’re saying, it’s you can’t reach anybody. You have to pay for it on Facebook. So, that’s why we don’t want anybody to spend very much time at all, crafting an actual strategy for Facebook because of that. So, a lot of the times we’ll take what we’re doing on Instagram and we’ll share it on Facebook too. We’ll take out hashtags, we’ll tag appropriately. We’ll link appropriately because you can link on Facebook and you can’t on Instagram, and all that good stuff. But when it comes to TikTok, it’s a completely different strategy. And when it comes to Pinterest, it’s a completely different strategy. So, you can still use the same messaging bucket and theme of the post, but the creative and the copy, it has to be different.

Karin Samelson: [56:17]
So, let’s take an example, for Pinterest, you want it to be a certain dimension. You want it to be a certain vertical dimension. You want to be able to send people to a link to your site. For Instagram, you have so many dimensions to work with and you are really wanting engagement. You’re wanting people to share it. You’re wanting people to save it. You’re wanting people to like it and comment. And then with TikTok, it’s only video content. Sure you can make slide shows with photos, and that’s all well and good, but it’s such a completely different content strategy because there, you’re not really selling as much. You’re mostly connecting and entertaining. So, very different strategy between Meta and TikTok. So, I wouldn’t recommend. If you’re already creating reels for Instagram, sure. If you want to share it to TikTok and see what happens, that’s completely fine. Why not? But don’t expect for that to be the way you grow.

Alison Smith: [57:17]
Okay. Cool. Any final thoughts about Sippin SNAX?

Karin Samelson: [57:23]
No, but I need that Peppa snacks mix.

Alison Smith: [57:26]
Yeah, for sure. 

Stef Shapira: [57:28]
We should have a party, and do my nails.

Karin Samelson: [57:32]
We can have a party…

Lindsey Leroy: [57:34]
Yes. This is the perfect reminder, perfect excuse. We should get a variety pack, one of everything, test it out.

Alison Smith: [57:42]
Yeah, that reminded me. I wanted to talk about that for, this could work with organic or paid, but this is a great product to match with events. So, anytime there’s a big football game in a local one, like a, I don’t know who plays for what, North Carolina university.

Karin Samelson: [58:03]
That sounds great.

Alison Smith: [58:05]
Run an Ad two weeks before and just be like, “Hey, this is the perfect snack for the North Carolina football team.”

Karin Samelson: [58:14]
I love that idea.

Stef Shapira: [58:17]
Yeah. I think that’s really smart. And also you can use that for influencers because they’re planning their parties and they can stage a cool photo and share it and be like, “I’m getting ready for the game. I bought this. Here’s a discount code or direct link that goes back to,” that’s somehow connected to that influencer, so you can track how many people actually like tapping on their link to buy these snacks. I was going to say also for media opportunities, it might just be like Super Bowl. That’s one that happens. I think people around the country celebrate that. I love how we’re like, “We’re sports people.” I’m not, but anyway, for Super Bowl it could be local. A lot of times it’s like where to get wings for Super Bowl, but it could just be like snacks to buy or ways to make your party platter for the Super Bowl or whatever. Could be for the Oscar party.

Lindsey Leroy: [59:25]
I feel like there’s always entertaining stories on types of products to amp up your home entertaining game. So, always think about like seasonality or events to give a reason for people to care about your product at that moment. Because I think Karin or Alison, one of you guys had said “Why would you care now?” Give people a reason to. So, thinking about events and seasonality, whenever you’re planning your social media posts, your influencer engagement, if you’re doing media outreach obviously with ads, it all ties together. So yeah, definitely look at a calendar and take a few steps back, and plan out your quarter or your year, just like that.

Alison Smith: [1:00:16]
Definitely. Well, thank you The Rind PR team for another great episode and a great audit.

Stef Shapira: [1:00:24]
Thanks for having us back.

Alison Smith: [1:00:27]
Of course. Yeah. We got one more to do, and then you’re done with us for a little bit.

Lindsey Leroy: [1:00:33]
You’re never fully done with us.

Alison Smith: [1:00:34]
No, but anything you want to leave the audience before we sign off?

Stef Shapira: [1:00:40]
Yeah. I think that hopefully this is super helpful for these brands and other brands that some of these things might be able to apply to them as well, or even just for anyone looking at social media and media and understanding a little bit more. But besides that, if you are in the place where you’re interested in thinking about PR in addition to our regular larger scale campaigns, we do offer consulting services and we can do audits. Basically just like this, more tailored. If anyone is interested in that and you can get a peer toolkit and it’s the best practices for those who are really wanting to learn more and apply it to their brand.

Alison Smith: [1:01:30]
Awesome. Definitely do that, and we will link how you can get in touch with [inaudible 01:01:37] in the show notes. And then also Umai offers a free five day mini course. So, if you are a young brand or a marketer, just looking to refresh your skills, definitely sign up for our mini course. It’s lots of actual tips that cover organic social, paid social and email marketing for CPG. All right, guys, that is a wrap. Thank you so much.

Umai social circle is a CPG agency driven podcast based out of Austin, Texas. We’re excited to share more behind the scene insights, chats with industry leaders and whatever else we learn along the way. Follow us on Instagram at Umai marketing or check out our website Catch you back here soon.

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