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#29 The Good Audit Episode 4: The Cumin Club with The Rind PR

Join Alison and Karin as they audit The Cumin Club with Stef Shapira and Lindsey Leroy of The Rind PR! Learn about everything you need, from website click throughs to social copy as they look over this up-and-coming CPG brand.  

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#29 The Good Audit Episode 4: The Cumin Club with The Rind PR 

Calling all consumer goods, business owners, and marketing professionals. Does planning content ahead of time stress you out? Do you want to run Instagram and Facebook ads but just aren’t sure where to start? If your answer is yes and yes, then our mini course was made for you. It’s 100% free, and packed with essential tactics that you can implement as soon as today. To join in, visit our website at All right, let’s get on with the pod.

Karin Samelson: [00:45]
Welcome to the Umai social circle where we talk consumer goods tips to help business owners and marketers grow. We’re Karen and Allison, co-founders of Umai Marketing, and we’re being joined by Steph and Lindsay from The Rind PR for our four-part series where we’re auditing young CPG brands on PR and digital marketing. Welcome to episode four, and our final episode for now, where we’re diving into the Cumin Club. Hi guys, how are you?

Lindsey Leroy: [01:14]

Stef Shapira: [01:14]

Lindsey Leroy: [01:15]
Doing great.

Karin Samelson: [01:17]
Doing good. I’m looking at this Cumin Club, and we’ve been looking at it for a little while, and I don’t know why I haven’t signed up for it already.

Lindsey Leroy: [01:24]
I know. This was one example of some research that made me very hungry. And-

Karin Samelson: [01:31]
Yes, for sure.

Lindsey Leroy: [01:32]
And I feel that’s the whole point is to be appetizing and to encourage people to buy your product. So, mission accomplished.

Alison Smith: [01:41]
Yeah. Yep. Yeah, this is one I could definitely see myself using and figuring out how to cook better Indian food through-

Stef Shapira: [01:50]

Alison Smith: [01:51]
… Their prep and understanding it. And I just love Indian food in general. So-

Lindsey Leroy: [01:56]
Yeah. I feel I’m a big fan of meal kits or anything to make meal prep easier as somebody who hates to cook and who is not good at it, but enjoys-

Alison Smith: [02:08]
Plus babies. 

Lindsey Leroy: [02:09]
And you have a baby.

Alison Smith: [02:10]
What baby? 

Lindsey Leroy: [02:11]
I feel like anything to make being in the kitchen easier and quicker but still is delicious, I am here for it. I am your ideal customer. So, I was really excited when I started diving into the website to take a look at how it works and what some of the offerings are. And it is a beautiful site. I think the photography is beautiful, the colors are appeasing, the look of the actual site, I thought, was so great.

Lindsey Leroy: [02:46]
But my biggest question, and I may have just completely overlooked it, is, I don’t understand how many people each meal feeds. Is it just for one person, is it for two? I am totally fine to buy a meal kit that feeds one person, because honestly, most of the time I cook, I make one meal and split it in half between me and my three-year-old, but I would buy way more of it if I knew how many people it feeds. So, did anybody catch how many people each meal feeds?

Stef Shapira: [03:21]
I did not.

Karin Samelson: [03:22]
You did not? That’s a good note. I just assumed, which never assume, that it was one meal kit equals one meal for me.

Stef Shapira: [03:31]
Mm-hmm (affirmative). In my head I always assume it’s for two, like that’s the default.

Lindsey Leroy: [03:35]
I think a default is usually two, but who knows? I think everybody is different. And I think a lot of the HelloFresh’s of the world are doing for two or for four, and it’s usually laid out. And a lot of times people will cook for four if you have a bigger family or just to make leftovers, which is nice. I love doing either or.

Stef Shapira: [04:01]
Yeah, and me. You just want to know … Obviously, if someone’s buying it, they need to know how many it will feed so they can plan their grocery lists for other meals they’re going to have or
… It would just be a bummer to think you’re feeding a family of four but you can only feed two, and then you’re, “Well, now what do I do?” Anyway. It’s as simple as just writing the messaging down.

Lindsey Leroy: [04:27]
Exactly. So, I think going back to easy-to-digest messaging, and I think for the most part I understand what the differentiators are and how it works. But another thing that I noticed that I would definitely call out, because I do think it is a big differentiator, and I thought it was really interesting, when I started thinking about, “Oh, okay, so does each meal come with everything needed to make it,” because it sounds like you can make it in five minutes, which is amazing. But I was wondering, “Oh, do you need to add or have your own meat or something on the side?” Then, I realized, after digging down, that it’s all vegetarian. And it’s high end protein vegetarian dishes, which I feel is something that you would definitely want to call that out instead of having to discover it. And again, I could have just missed that, but I would definitely make that first and foremost in some of your brand messaging on the website. And that’s something that you would definitely want to call to attention when pitching this. There’s a ton of vegetarian forward publications that you can pitch that are more in the industry vertical or in trade vertical.

Lindsey Leroy: [05:44]
But it’s also a great differentiator when pitching stories like “best vegetarian options for weeknight meals”, something that. So, after going through the process of how you would order the meal, I was looking through the website. And another thing that I was thinking about, I love Indian food. I eat it somewhat frequently, but I’m not as familiar with some of the dishes. And as somebody who loves the cuisine, I would definitely want to know a bit more about what some of these dishes are, if they’re traditional or even if they’re not necessarily super traditional-

Stef Shapira: [06:26]

Lindsey Leroy: [06:27]
… But understanding maybe what region it comes from, because you had mentioned “cuisines of India” but not “Indian cuisine”, which I think is really clever and it’s a good way to not pigeonhole yourself. So, I would love to know a bit more about what region it’s from, or even if it’s a recipe that is traditionally made for special occasions or is traditionally made with a certain meat, but this is a vegetarian option. Just a bit more info on the dishes themselves or some of the ingredients that people may not be as familiar with, that they understand, and just after looking on the Instagram account, having an idea of who the target market is.

Lindsey Leroy: [07:12]
And a lot of the influencers who are posting about it are either Indian themselves or have some connection to those cuisines. But I feel you can definitely open yourselves up to a whole new target demo of people who really enjoy eating Indian food but want to know more about the background of it, the flavor profile and things like that.

Alison Smith: [07:44]
I completely agree with that. I love how the ingredients list, what it requires, the calories. I think that’s really nice. But just some beautiful, spicy copy on where it’s from and what it tastes like and-

Stef Shapira: [08:01]

Alison Smith: [08:02]
Yeah. I think that would just help push it a little more.

Stef Shapira: [08:04]
I could see someone seeing that lack of information as a barrier, “Oh, I’m not sure what this really tastes like. They do have the peppers to show how spicy it is,” but I think even for us, I think we’ve all had Indian food before, but a lot of these are dishes I have not had. Or even it’s good to be reminded. If someone feels overwhelmed or they don’t understand something, there’s a barrier to entry in some way, then they’re not going to be as likely to order it. Some people think this is fun, but generally if it’s, “Oh, okay, I’ve gotta go to a separate browser and Google what this is before I decide what I’m going to eat,” it’s just, adding that information just makes it clear. And there’s fewer steps, I think, to converting into an actual sale of someone doing this, especially …

Stef Shapira: [09:00]
It’s not just one thing either. You have to get, I think, at least five. So, unless you’re feeling really adventurous to try something you don’t totally know, or you already know a lot about it, you’re probably not going to just go for it.

Alison Smith: [09:12]
Yeah. That’s such a good point that you do not want someone to jump off this site and start Googling and get into a deep Google hole where, paneer butter masala came from, and then forget that they were halfway through your checkout flow. That’s a really good point.

Stef Shapira: [09:32]
Yeah. It just can be really time consuming to be Googling what all of these things are. Again, you see a picture, you see ingredients, but I think people still want a bit more information before actually purchasing.

Lindsey Leroy: [09:46]
Yeah, totally agree. I think you really, you nailed it there. And sometimes I definitely will do the Google hole if I don’t know an ingredient or something, or I’m not sure. My kid loves different types of flavors and different types of cuisines, and she eats a lot of Asian, she eats a lot of Mediterranean, a lot of Indian, but if something is too spicy, she’s out. And she will remember that she ate that and then she won’t want to eat that food again. So, I try not to order anything that’s terribly spicy, so I’m always Googling certain ingredients. So, if there is, beyond the pepper little icons, if there is anything that indicates, or even maybe if there’s a key or something that you could do with illustrations that represents a certain region or something that people can identify that you can use to adopt on your site and on your packaging moving forward, that could be something fun.

Lindsey Leroy: [10:49]
But I’ll also go to the brand’s Instagram account and see what the dish looks like, just so I have an idea of how substantial it is or if there’s anything else that I need to add to it such as wine, what brand I open. So, the Instagram account for the Cumin Club is awesome. There’s such a great variety. And I know Karen and Alison, you guys will go into this, into way more detail on their IG account, but just in looking at who they’ve worked with in terms of influencers and other partners, I think they’ve done such a great job of engaging that community. And they’ve definitely worked with some really great influencers of varying sizes, which is awesome. I would definitely continue to do influencer outreach, offering exclusive promos or discount codes you can track, which I’ve seen that you guys have done. And the engagement looks like it’s been really great for that. It’s just a great way to track ROI for anybody who’s not doing that.

Lindsey Leroy: [12:02]
And I would just continue to take a look at who your target customer is and who you want it to be, and then really engage with influencers who reach your desired target market, because I think that you can definitely expand beyond what you’re doing now. And I think this is a great service for anybody who’s short on time, moms, but also young professionals who like good food and who like different kinds of food. But I think there’s a lot of opportunities to continue doing what you’re doing tactic wise, and then just reaching a whole different group of people. But I’m curious what you guys would think in terms of influencer outreach and engagement. Any other insight that you’ve seen work well with a service this, or have you guys worked with any meal kits in the past?

Karin Samelson: [13:14]
We actually haven’t worked with a meal kit like this in the past, but honestly the affiliate program, the influencer program, isn’t going to be that far off. I think it’s super exciting that they’re working with such big influencers. I was actually surprised to see that because that generally means a bigger budget, a more established brand, but if you have that good funding and you can do this, I think that’s incredible. They just posted one three hours ago. Today is April 21st. And they did a collab post with a rather big influencer, and it was for a giveaway to encourage follows, but she’s also offering a code for money off. So, something I’d recommend there is to-

Stef Shapira: [14:01]

Karin Samelson: [14:01]
… Keep that separate, if you can get two posts out of that instead, because you’re not going to get both things from people. So, just being a bit more strategic with those influencer partners.

Lindsey Leroy: [14:11]
Totally agree. Yeah. And I feel you can use them in different ways. Some influencers, I think, find their discount code more valuable for their followers. And I think it just depends on who’s following them, what does their core demo look, and are they going to find a giveaway more valuable or a promo code, or is it just the type of content? Are they going to find a recipe and demo video more valuable? Yeah, I agree. I think splitting those up and maximizing your opportunities and maximizing influencers.

Lindsey Leroy: [14:53]
Stef, do you want to talk about media a bit?

Stef Shapira: [14:57]
Yes. So, basically, we always look to see, when we’re doing one of these audits, where a brand has been covered in the media. And it took a bit before we found some media coverage. So, there are a few media outlets, like, called out and linked on the Cumin Club website, but it’s pretty far down, and I honestly did not see it at first. And it says “as featured in”. And it has a few logos and links to stories, which is great, but not really any of these are your bigger national outlets. It’s, “your story”, “delivery”, “rank”, “go solo”. I have not actually heard of any of those. But coverage is still good. But when I did a bit more Google research, I found that there was some more coverage, specifically in Chicago Business Journal. So, it appears that this company’s based in Chicago. So, Chicago Business Journal built in, which is a similar type of website focused on different startup brands. So, I feel adding those to the press link portion of the website and also moving it up would be super helpful.

Stef Shapira: [16:39]
Then, I also noticed that there were one or two press releases that were on PR Newswire and Business Wire. So, for those of you who don’t know, actually, there’s mainly two different ways to share press releases. The ones that it looks they did were going to a wire service, and essentially you upload the press release and some photos and all the information, and then this wire service, like PR Newswire is probably the biggest one, it essentially sends it to a really substantial list of media. And that could be anything from national food writers and publications to newspapers to business outlets. You can actually tailor it. But what’s interesting is that, in theory that sounds like it’s a really great way to reach a lot of people and tell them about your brand. But for us, we normally are doing really tailored, customized emails to these writers and editors rather than blasting it out. And we found that you actually get better results from those personalized emails.

Stef Shapira: [18:04]
And that also said, it’s unclear exactly who the wire service is actually sending it to. You’ll get a list of outlets, but you don’t really know. So-

Lindsey Leroy: [18:20]
And I should say that it’s a paid service.

Stef Shapira: [18:22]
Yes. That too. I know that it’s one of those things where there’s a few different layers to it. And it’s not a cheap service either. It really depends on your budget. I would not say that it’s never a good idea to use a wire service, but I would say if you are choosing, especially if you have a limited budget, to actually even just hire some publicists like us or someone else who does this, to do that customized pitching with even sending the press release and following up and really making sure those are the specific writers you want, that’s going to actually get you more traction, than just blasting it out on the wire.

Stef Shapira: [19:06]
Some brands really love that level of credibility to send it out there. It shows that you’re this legit brand I feel, because it has some clout of some sort behind it to some people. Anyway. So, long story short, they did send something out, but I did not really see much as a result of it in any national food publication or lifestyle publication or business publication. There was some stuff in Chicago where they’re based, but if you’re going to spend that much money, granted I don’t know who they selected, but if you’re going to send out a wire, you’re probably selecting a lot of different people to send it to. So, you’re not really getting that much for paying for that, I would say.

Stef Shapira: [19:59]
And another thing that was interesting is that in that PR Newswire release there is inclusion of the Cumin Bowl, which appears to be a sister brand. And it’s more of a ghost kitchen, from what I can tell. A restaurant that’s on delivery platforms like Uber Eats and DoorDash, that’s serving healthy Indian food. So, it’s definitely the same owners, but it’s not clear, even in that press release, is it the same food? Are they literally just taking the freeze dried meal, planned meals and cooking them and then sending them to you, or is it a fresh-made meal or … It’s not clear until you look for a while, “Oh, but they’re connected.”

Stef Shapira: [20:56]
But I did find some interesting stories like on Fast Casual, which is a restaurant trade website and QSR, which is for quick service restaurants. And that’s actually more notable national media coverage, but that was more on the Cumin Bowl, which is the ghost kitchen delivery service element. So, I think, in theory, it’s great if your business model is to be able to do both and you’re making money doing both, but in terms of messaging and media coverage, I think it’s either clearly seeing how they’re connected or clearly separating them and doing a separate push, maybe, for the Cumin Club and really positioning that as a CPG meal kit thing.

Stef Shapira: [21:46]
And it’s one of the things where I honestly can’t decide if it’s better for them to fully separate it or to put it in the same website and social and say who it is. Honestly, to me, this is almost a Hops and Nuts versus Sippin Snacks thing. Again, it’s not B2B versus D2C, but it’s Indian food in two different ways. But either way, honestly, I think there’s still room to maximize both businesses with more focused media outreach. So, it was a fun little Google adventure I took there.

Alison Smith: [22:29]
I know. You went deep on that.

Stef Shapira: [22:32]
I know. I feel I was giving you an investigative, like I was a detective.

Alison Smith: [22:37]
Exactly. That’s exactly what it felt like, and I loved it.

Stef Shapira: [22:42]
I know. As I went into it, I was, “I am really digging deep here. I don’t know if anyone cares.” But I went for it.

Alison Smith: [22:47]
Down the rabbit hole of the Cumin Bowl.

Stef Shapira: [22:50]
Yeah, exactly.

Alison Smith: [22:50]
Yeah. I don’t know either. I think it is interesting how some brands have started the ghost kitchen. I can’t think of the right word of when you’re on Uber Eats and what the like term is, if that comes to anyone’s mind.

Stef Shapira: [23:09]
Yeah. It’s “ghost kitchen” if you’re only available on delivery services, for the most part. It’s not a restaurant that someone goes to.

Alison Smith: [23:17]
Yeah. I thought it was called someone else, but I can’t remember. So, ghost kitchen obviously is the same-

Stef Shapira: [23:24]
Cloud Kitchen?

Alison Smith: [23:26]
God, I wish I could even think of that. I have no idea if … Personally I don’t have enough experience in this to know if they should merge or keep it separate. I think keeping it separate, I’m leaning towards that because that could get really confusing. And currently I like their site on a D2C basis. It’s very easy to know where you need to go. It’s, you click a button and you’re already in the checkout process. If there were more things to look at and click, I think it could be bad.

Stef Shapira: [24:02]
I think I just was as … Or one thought I just had was, I think maybe they are really focused on the business angle and the startup angle of it. So, they’re really trying to show we are successful with these businesses. Essentially we’re selling this much, all of those things. And to put those together in that context might make more sense, but for a lifestyle or a food publication, just for the average consumer think it does not make sense for them because they just want to know, what am I buying and does it taste good and what do I get, that sort of thing.

Alison Smith: [24:41]
So, you’re saying their PR is more about them as business people, is that what you’re saying?

Stef Shapira: [24:46]
I think so. Looking at the press release, and also, if you are going to focus on pitching business outlets and trade outlets, at least to some extent, it does make more sense to include both, because business a publication or business writer is going to care more about what is your business model and how are you making money, and those sorts of connections. Lots of numbers always for business publications, which for a regular food magazine, that means nothing. I would say, just figure out a way to head up more of these … Specifically for Cumin Club, food writers, food publications, lifestyle-type things, and then get some of that kind of currency, which I think really will play well with the influencers that you’re working with too. Because that’s obviously not super business minded and it’s not also bringing in the Cumin Bowl concept.

Lindsey Leroy: [25:52]
Yeah. So, it would be more of a focus on the product itself and how it helps people, whether that’s saving time or money. But I think there’s a lot of opportunity for pitching back-to-school, great ways to incorporate dorm room cooking, or ideas for making a meal in under 10 minutes if you’re a busy mom. So, I think there’s a lot of angles and opportunities to pitch the product itself, and it as a service with more of the lifestyle angle.

Karin Samelson: [26:39]
That time element of the five-minute meals, they’re just killing it. So, if you guys are good with the PR side, let’s jump onto the marketing side and just keep talking about that. So-

Stef Shapira: [26:52]
Yeah, go for it.

Karin Samelson: [26:53]
… One thing that I love is … I’m getting too excited. I’m going out of order of my notes. But that five-minute meal is doing so well on your TikTok. Your TikTok, there’s a couple videos that are … What’s the headline? It’s literally saying … Okay, I’ve got to make it bigger so I can read it. But, “How to make a meal …” or, “Making this authentic Indian food meal in under five minutes”. And those are doing so well. So, making sure that’s in your bio on both TikTok, and you have it already on Instagram, and just making sure that that’s stressed, because that’s the “why” behind the brand.

Karin Samelson: [27:44]
He made it because he didn’t have enough time to cook meals, he didn’t have enough time to make authentic meals, and so that’s where it stemmed from. So, just making sure that’s woven throughout the storytelling with all of your content is so paramount to the actual mission of the brand and to get people to actually purchase it. But all in all, I really do love the variation in the content, the reels, the recipes, the memes, the relatable content, it’s all really good. And to see you guys doing collabs with these bigger influencers is really exciting too, because that is how you’re going to reach those bigger audiences.

Karin Samelson: [28:19]
And for anybody that is listening and doesn’t really know what we’re talking about, go check it out. They’re using the collab post where you can share the same engagement on the same exact post for two different accounts, which just gives a lot of visibility into your brand, especially when you’re working with influencers in that way. Then, for the bio, which I just mentioned for TikTok. On Instagram, some simple tweaks that can be made to really help with searchability is to change the headline. So, right now, just as the Cumin Club, and I can assume that not a lot of people are searching that, but if you change it to something like “Indian Meal Kits” or “Indian Meal Kits and Recipes”, or something that might be a bit more searchable, you could get more eyeballs on the brand.

Karin Samelson: [29:07]
Then, I love that you guys mentioned this earlier, and a lot of Indian people are vegetarians, but for people that don’t know that, to absolutely have that call-out everywhere. It’s so easy for a meat eater to add meat later, but having that vegetarian call-out is such a benefit that is very easily called out.

Karin Samelson: [29:34]
Okay. What else? So, you guys have a link tree that leads to a bunch of links. You guys have already updated it, which is really exciting. But when you click through, something that you can easily do is just have that call out again. I’m really obsessed with that 4,99 per meal call out because it’s really tempting. I’m, “Oh, my gosh, I just spent $20 on my delivery food today.” So, having that 4,99 per meal in your call-to-action button to just really entice people to click through would be helpful. Then, I’m going to continue being picky because I really did like the content. I think you guys are doing a great job. But for Instagram in particular, I would recommend less text on the graphics. Some of these graphics are a bit overwhelming with how much text is on it. It’s going to be hard for me to stop my scroll and read all of the text on it.

Karin Samelson: [30:34]
So, splitting it up with a carousel post or something like that, that would be a lot easier to consume and more fun to engage with while they’re swiping through. For instance, your regional food series, I love that. You guys aren’t only talking about the product itself, but you’re talking about the origin story of it as well. And I would recommend just carousel posts, make it easy for us to look through it. But I think I only have one more call-out for TikTok in particular. Some of your videos have just popped off. You all, I don’t know if you all looked at their TikTok, but there’s one with 330,000 views.

Alison Smith: [31:15]

Lindsey Leroy: [31:15]

Karin Samelson: [31:16]
Yeah. Wow.

Karin Samelson: [31:19]
I know. Right? So, a lot of them, the biggest ones are, “Me living peacefully knowing I can make Indian food in five minutes.” “When your friend tells you you can’t cook Indian food in five minutes.” That “five minute” angle is really capturing people. So, keep doing it. It doesn’t even matter if most of your videos say that. If it’s a recipe video, keep doing it. It’s obviously working and reaching new people. Then, I think it’s so fun, the one that has reached 331,000 people is, “Indian movies to see this weekend,” and they do that as a series, and I think that’s just phenomenal. And that’s what TikTok’s about, having that relatable style content that has nothing to do with your product but everything to do with the demographic, your customer. I think that’s so fun.

Lindsey Leroy: [32:09]
I feel it gives it such a fun personality to the brand. And I think people are definitely way more up to connect with somebody who has personality as opposed to a brand, or just pay attention to and listen to a person as opposed to a brand. So, giving it more personality is so important.

Alison Smith: [32:32]
Yeah. It’s, no human only likes your meal. It’s, only one interest is meal delivery. Once you define your customer avatar, it’s, “Oh, they’re also are interested in Indian movies and music and … What else are they interested in?” I just love that they clicked with them. And it seems it was fruitful.

Karin Samelson: [32:57]
Yeah. And there’s so many other veins to go through. I feel Omsom does a really good job of this in terms of relatable content that their niche understands. So, there’s so many things. Omsom, I was taking a look at their TikTok just to try and think of ideas for the Cumin Club, and there’s just so many things going on. They talk about all sorts of relatable stuff. And once one hits, then you do those series again. And I love that you guys have done that and I want you do more of it.

Alison Smith: [33:32]
Good job, Cumin Club.

Karin Samelson: [33:35]
Good job. Cool. Should we talk about the website a bit more?

Alison Smith: [33:40]
I like the website. I think your brand could be up for a refresh soon, and things could just get a little more designed. But I like the website. It’s pretty easy to know where you need to go. And I really like the subscription form. It’s very clear. I that you’ve laid out at what step of the process the person’s in. The only thing I would think for that form is to add your reviews. So, you have some really good reviews on the homepage. Most people aren’t going to scroll that far and look at those reviews because of where they are lower down on the homepage. So, add one or two or three in a row on each part of the review process just to continue to get people to be, “Oh, wait, I do want this. Oh, it’s X amount of dollars. Wait, I do want this still.” Having those reviews, I think, could help increase conversions.

Alison Smith: [34:50]
Also, adding in FAQs on the subscription form. Obviously, that’s something that you’ll want to test because on most forms we say keep it to the bare minimum so people aren’t getting distracted, but, Lindsey had a lot of questions, so I’m assuming a lot of other people might have some questions. So, any FAQs that you continue to get through email or social, compile those, and maybe make a dropdown and test that on your subscription form to see if that is helpful or if that reduces convergence.

Lindsey Leroy: [35:31]
I love me an FAQ page.

Alison Smith: [35:33]

Lindsey Leroy: [35:34]
It’s always, if I have more than one question about a product or a service or something, if I’m on a website, I’m going immediately to the FAQs and I’m reading everything so that I don’t have to Google or ask anybody and …

Alison Smith: [35:49]
They’re fun, especially when they have a dropdown, you’re, “Ooh, what’s this one? Ooh-

Lindsey Leroy: [35:54]
Yeah. Especially if it has some personality and they’ve got a little sass or snark to some of their responses, I always love that. I’m, “Oh, okay. All right. Maybe I will buy this.”

Alison Smith: [36:04]
Yeah. The personality thing is so important. It feels like you’re interacting with a human instead of your computer, which you are.

Lindsey Leroy: [36:14]
Yeah. Because face it, also, people will ask dumb questions that are probably answered in a very public place that is easy to find, but regardless, people will ask these questions. So, just calling it out as much as possible helps to hopefully eliminate that.

Alison Smith: [36:33]
Yeah. For sure. Yeah. Anything else with the website Karin, that you’re seeing?

Karin Samelson: [36:39]
No. It’s so simple to navigate, which was really pleasing to me, because some of that can get really confusing on my end. I don’t do a lot of this stuff, but clicking into the meal plans, I’m, “Okay, 10-meal plan? Let’s do it.” And having the photos of the actual products is so nice. It is very helpful. I feel I would like to see a bit more tasty imagery. It’s that droolworthy imagery when it comes to the homepage before I even have to click into what the product looks like on those pages, because what if they don’t click through because it doesn’t look good yet? So, investing a bit more. I know, Alison, you just mentioned maybe a rebrand soon on the actual packaging. So, that could definitely be something that you could invest in in the near future.

Alison Smith: [37:41]
But once you get in there and you get to actually see the meals, it’s really nice. The menu is nice. Yeah. And final thing I’ll say on the website is, it does take the user a lot of clicks until you’re at least securing their email address. There’s, I don’t know, probably four clicks, maybe five clicks before you’re getting to that email address. So, I’m guessing you have a lot of drop-offs from traffic to purchase. So, something that I didn’t see was an exit intent pop up. So, when someone is leaving that checkout flow or leaving your homepage, I think there should be an exit intent that says, “Hey, you wanna save 20% off your first order, enter your email,” and then you’re doing the bulk of the retargeting, remarketing through your email instead of paying more money, add dollars for traffic, or just losing that customer in total. So, I didn’t see a popup. Did anyone else?

Karin Samelson: [38:51]
I love that idea, Alison. So, I saw a popup opt-in for 15% off.

Alison Smith: [38:56]
Okay, okay.

Karin Samelson: [38:58]
Yeah. But something they could fix at the bottom of the page, if somebody quickly … People are always, “I hate popups. We get it, we’re still going to do it.” So, if someone closes out of the popup and goes to the bottom of your page for that opt-in and just, say, sign up for the newsletter. So, it can say “For 15% off your first order, you can just make a quick edit to that.” But Alison, were you talking about an exit popup, an additional one?

Alison Smith: [39:26]
Yeah. I would test both. I must not have remembered getting the first popup, but that’s great if you guys have that already set up. But maybe just a pop up that triggers … So, that first popup is for the homepage, or whatever. Your exit intent popup could be just for checkout, and that could be maybe a bit of a sweeter deal. Something like that could be interesting.

Karin Samelson: [39:59]
What have you been seeing on the paid side?

Alison Smith: [40:02]
Yeah, let’s get into some paid. So, you guys are running ads. They are looking good. I am loving what I’m seeing. So, great job there. And I don’t know who your overall marketing team is, but I just think that everyone should have a quick round of applause. You guys are killing it. You’re doing really good, and it’s awesome to see. So, some tips on the paid side is, consider sending … I think most of your ads, if not all of them, are sending directly, again, to your homepage? That is just one extra click for folks. So, if you’re doing retargeting, definitely try sending them to that plans page where they’re already in there, and start building out your plan, and then also test that with prospecting for new people.

Alison Smith: [40:54]
Try sending them directly to that plans page so they can just go ahead and get started without needing to click anything, especially if it’s a good call for you guys to build out that. Choose your plan page with FAQs and reviews. And that’s going to be a really nice landing page for traffic versus the homepage. Then, in terms of ad creative. So, the same note what Karin was saying on organic is, there’s too much text, so it’s hard to read. With ads, they’re just highly designed creatives, which a lot of times are great to test and work, but we are seeing that the more native, natural looking creatives are outperforming anything else, so any of the graphic design creatives. So, would love to see more videos, videos that are clean. And some ideas for you would be having either your influencers or your friends and family film opening their first box and just unboxing the box.

Alison Smith: [42:04]
I think HelloFresh would be a great ads library to look at. I think they have a lot of, it looks like influencer and native shot on your iPhone, unboxing videos that they’ve run for a very long time. I still get them, I think. So, definitely look at some unboxing videos shot on your iPhone, supernatural, native looking.

Karin Samelson: [42:32]
Real quick. For people that don’t know where you can see other people’s ads, where can they see that?

Alison Smith: [42:38]
Yeah. So, go to, and inside of that you can search any brand, and you should be able to see if they’re running ads, you should be able to see all of their ads that they’re currently running. So, that’s a great place to get inspired. It’s somewhere I’m constantly in to-

Stef Shapira: [43:03]
That’s a great resource that I did not know about. So-

Alison Smith: [43:07]
Yeah. I always forget people don’t know about it. I think there actually is one for TikTok too. I just need to get the URL for that. So, stalk some of the big guys, stalk some of the HelloFresh’s of the world and see what they’re up to. Some more ad ideas for the creative is utilizing your Reels and TikToks. Karin was just talking about how great of a job you guys are doing. I wouldn’t say pull in the one about Indian movies, but pull in some that makes sense, that could be an Evergreen ad and make sense and sell your product so you don’t have to recreate ad creatives. You can simply, inside ads manager, go in and pull in the Instagram reel or the Instagram post or the Instagram story right into your ad. It’s going to keep all of the social proof on it, and then you can run conversion campaigns, sending them straight to purchase your meal kit.

Alison Smith: [44:12]
So, definitely utilize that. And that will help you balance out your ad creatives to be more native like we were talking about. Then, the other thing is utilizing branded content. If you’re going to continue with this influencer campaign, it seems you’re doing a great job with it. Consider talking to them beforehand about using their post as an ad. It’s called Branded Content. It does take a bit of backend work, not a lot, to set it up, but basically the creator will need to turn on a setting in her Instagram or his Instagram, and then you’ll be able to pull in that post from their profile and run ads from their profile to your product so it looks this huge influencer is paying to promote your product, which gives you so much clout. So, definitely check out Branded Content.

Alison Smith: [45:13]
The post you’ve done on 4/22 was absolutely gorgeous. Also, the post on 4/11, those could make really great branded content ads. But the moral of the story is, use what you’re already working with. You guys are doing a killer job on social. Simply pull in that content as ads, make everything more native. You’re hitting on some really awesome value propositions in your creatives already. The five-minute meals I love. That’s probably the biggest seller, that, and “a taste of home”. But love already what you’re talking about inside your creative. So, continue with that. Also, bringing in the 4,99 a meal, if you haven’t already, that’s a big one. Then, in terms of targeting, I don’t know who you’re targeting. We can’t see that on our side, but there is an option to target people who have moved to the States from India.

Alison Smith: [46:12]
So, that could be something that’s interesting, to target people who have recently moved here from India, they’re missing their home cooking, or maybe they moved out of their parents’ house and they’re missing their mom or dad’s cooking. So, that could be an interesting one, if you’re not already targeting them.

Karin Samelson: [46:30]
That is specific.

Alison Smith: [46:33]
That is specific, yeah. Very specific.

Karin Samelson: [46:33]
Now, that’s so cool.

Alison Smith: [46:38]
It could be too narrow and not a great thing to target, but it could be interesting as well. Also, I love what you guys were saying about vegetarians. I didn’t even put it together that these are vegetarian meals. And you could obviously target vegetarian Indian-Americans, or wherever you sell your product, but you could go beyond and target any vegetarian who is interested in Indian food or something like that to expand and broaden who you’re targeting. So, that’s a wrap with ads, unless anyone has anything else to add?

Karin Samelson: [47:19]
Nope. I just love this brand. I think it’s such a great idea. And it looks they’re killing it right now. So, keep it up.

Lindsey Leroy: [47:31]
Yeah. This is a fun one that I’m excited. I feel we covered such a variety of types of products-

Stef Shapira: [47:39]
Yeah, that’s true.

Lindsey Leroy: [47:40]
… And I am excited to actually try them all now.

Alison Smith: [47:44]
Yeah. We’re going to have a party and try them all, right?

Stef Shapira: [47:48]
Yeah. I definitely am fighting the urge to not order Indian food tonight and instead make whatever healthy thing I have in my fridge. So, yes, party is needed for sure.

Lindsey Leroy: [48:04]
Quick Q. Where do you get your Indian food here?

Stef Shapira: [48:08]
I still like Asiana, but you guys-

Lindsey Leroy: [48:16]
I love Asiana.

Stef Shapira: [48:18]
… You guys live closer to it than I do, so I don’t –

Karin Samelson: [48:20]
What is that? I need to know.

Lindsey Leroy: [48:23]
Asiana, it is on … It’s William Cannon-

Stef Shapira: [48:26]
And 35, basically.

Lindsey Leroy: [48:27]
It’s basically 35. It’s where that Gold’s Gym and Academy are?

Stef Shapira: [48:32]
Tucci’s Subs is also … [Tanchuchu 00:48:34] is there.

Alison Smith: [48:33]
Tucci’s Subs.

Lindsey Leroy: [48:36]

Stef Shapira: [48:37]
So, it’s on the other side. Yeah. 

Lindsey Leroy: [48:38]
It’s around the corner. It’s Caddy Corner from Tucci’s. It’s my very favorite Indian. Yeah.

Karin Samelson: [48:44]
Oh. Good to know.

Alison Smith: [48:46]
Yeah. We’re going to go tonight.

Stef Shapira: [48:48]
I’m definitely ordering there tonight.

Stef Shapira: [48:49]
Saffron, which is there’s one up on West, off MoPac. So, it’s north, essentially, north central. It’s closer to me. They’re good. There’s also one in Rollingwood. Is that Lakeway? I should know this. Anyway. There’s also a Saffron over there. I don’t know. Nash is also pretty good.

Karin Samelson: [49:11]
You guys know a lot of Indian food places here, and I did not know about any of these.

Stef Shapira: [49:16]
Where do you go?

Lindsey Leroy: [49:17]
I think [Target 00:49:16] is not bad.

Alison Smith: [49:18]
I haven’t had Indian food in so long, I’ll just order from the Clay Pit once a year, because I’m, “I don’t know where …”

Karin Samelson: [49:25]
Clay Pit is good.

Alison Smith:[49:27]
Yeah. I love [inaudible 00:49:31]. Yeah. But there’s more, apparently, that I need to find.

Stef Shapira: [49:36]
Yeah. I spend all my time looking for restaurants. So, that is the one thing I can give recommendations on. Well, besides PR. So, two things.

Karin Samelson: [49:47]
Indian food and PR.

Stef Shapira: [49:51]

Karin Samelson: [49:51]
All food, all food.

Stef Shapira: [49:52]

Karin Samelson: [49:53]
Well, awesome. You all, thank you so much for doing this. Hopefully people thought that it was helpful and they got something out of it, and maybe we can do some more in the future, but in the meantime, how can people find you?

Stef Shapira: [50:04]
Yeah. Our website and Instagram is @therindtx or, obviously. And it was great that we had these brands actually reply to our social media. I don’t even know if we officially said anywhere that’s how we selected these brands, but we put a call out and we asked if anyone wanted a free PR and marketing audit. And there were a few others, but these were the four that made the most sense. But feel free to tag yourself or reach out, DM us. If you’re also interested, we at The Rind do full PR campaigns, of course, but we also will do some consulting and do audits, pretty similar to this one. More tailored options as well. So, just hit us up.

Karin Samelson: [51:02]
Awesome, y’all. Then, for Umai and Marketing, we have a minicourse that is a great place to start for brands looking to just up their digital marketing game. Lots of snippets, lots of juicy nuggets in there as well. And outside of that, we’re on Instagram. We’re doing our best on TikTok. We’re hanging out being weirdos. So, come here and come say hi.

Alison Smith: [51:27]
Being weird on TikTok.

Karin Samelson: [51:29]
“Being weird on TikTok” has to be a tagline. It’s just, that’s what TikTok is.

Stef Shapira: [51:34]
Yeah. If you’re successful in TikTok you’ve got to be weird, right?

Karin Samelson: [51:38]
Got to be weird. Yeah.

Alison Smith: [51:39]

Karin Samelson: [51:40]
All right, y’all-

Alison Smith: [51:40]
Well, thank you guys.

Karin Samelson: [51:41]
Thank you so much.

Lindsey Leroy: [51:41]
All right. Thanks.

My 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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