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

UMAI social circle cpg podcast

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

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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The Rind PR

Sippin Snax

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#28 The Good Audit Episode 2: Sippin Snax 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 course. All right, let’s get on with the pod.

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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#27: The Good Audit Episode 2: Lost River Apothecary with The Rind PR

UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#27: The Good Audit Episode 2: Lost River Apothecary with The Rind PR

Join Alison and Karin as they audit Lost River Apothecary with Stef Shapira and Lindsey Leroy of The Rind PR! Learn about everything you need, from sending product to influencers to product linking as they look over this up-and-coming CPG brand. 



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#27: The Good Audit Episode 2: Lost River Apothecary 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: [00:44]
Welcome to the Umai Social Circle, where we talk consumer goods tips to help business owners and marketers grow. We’re Karin and Alison, co-founders of Umai Marketing, and we’re being joined by Stef and Lindsey from the Rind PR for our four part series where we’re auditing young CPG brands on PR and digital marketing. Welcome to episode two, where we’re diving into Lost River Apothecary and herbal remedies brand offering all natural teas and salves. Stef, I want to thank you for joining us again. How are you today?
Stef Shapira: [01:20]
Pretty good. Thanks for having us.
Lindsey Leroy: [01:21]
Yeah, thanks for having us, you all.
Karin Samelson: [01:23]
Yeah, we had such a fun time with Willow Street snacks on our last one, on our last good audit. So it’s fun to go into a beauty brand. And we actually worked on the same beauty brand, a different one, so we’re really excited to talk about something similar.
Lindsey Leroy: [01:40]
Well, it’s fun to have a variety of different types of products too because it helps get your brain going in different ways and also gives me ideas of things that I need to pick up at the store.
Stef Shapira: [01:50]
I know.
Karin Samelson: [01:51]
Any new beauty product, I’m like, “Okay, I’ll try it.” You got me. Awesome. Well, do you guys want to jump in on your PR recommendations?
Stef Shapira: [01:59]
So I think one thing that’s good to start off by saying is that, for PR we have three areas that we specialize in and that we are going to be looking at in the audit. So the first one is messaging. How the story is told online and is there consistency? Are the words… Do they make sense? Is there missing information? That sort of thing. So we took a look at the Lost River Apothecary website for part of this audit, and one thing that was really great is that it clearly says at the top what the product is. It says, “Herbal remedies that restore balance and allow inner creativity to flow.” Granted, that might be a little flowery of language, but I think for the most part, you get what it is and then you can scroll down and see more about the specific products.
Stef Shapira: [03:01]
And also another thing that was great is it calls out their ethos, right on the homepage there, locally sourced, sustainably grown, and ethically foraged. So they understood the assignment of having a mission statement and trying to have it, like, be an overarching thing with what they do. Let’s see. Some things that seem like they might be missing from the website is more about… There isn’t an about page, but it tells more of a background story. And I would say this is also nice, but flowery language, but I get that it is a fit for this sort of brand and the people behind it, but there’s not really much about who is making it.
Stef Shapira: [03:53]
It doesn’t say anywhere who the person behind it is, which I think is an important part of being able to tell a story. Their social media says that they’re woman-owned, but that’s not included on the site. And I think especially, these days in the world we’re living in, people are making decisions based on different values like that. And I mean, the sustainability element is one value that drives people to purchase, so that’s great. But I think adding women-owned to that would help a lot as well.
Alison Smith: [04:32]
And that’s something that we talk about a lot. If you are a younger brand and you’re willing to step up and be the face of your brand, if that’s just through stories or ads or on your email list and also through your website, that really helps the customer just establish that no I can trust for that founder. And it’s scary and you don’t always have to do it forever. Once you hit the big time, then you can fade out a little if you want, but we always see the founder showing up, really help push the mission, the product. I mean, you’re the person that knows the most, you’re the person that created the product. So, totally agree with you on that one.
Stef Shapira: [05:27]
Yeah. And even for basically, I was just going to say, even for PR pitching to try to secure media stories, two things we always look at are business stories, which is like the founder story, how they got there, what their inspiration was for starting the brand and that sort of stuff where you have to be able to talk and talk. Your name is out there, your face is out there, that sort of thing. Or expert type stories, which are the founder talking about foraging or different herbs that are good for acne or for a rash or various things. So if you’re not really wanting to put yourself out there and do that, you’re potentially missing some media opportunities. Granted, we want everyone to be comfortable doing these things and we’re not going to ever set up an interview with a client if they really are resistant. But it’s just you want to make sure you’re doing as much as possible and thinking of those different angles and just proudly saying who you are and why you founded the business, and telling your story is a big part of it.
Lindsey Leroy: [06:37]
I think there could be, also, some opportunities in terms of media and pitching, that writers may see on your bio that inspire an idea. If that’s a trend piece that they’re working on, how to utilize yarrow in different ways. They may be working on something like that and they see that you have a herbalism background or whatever it is, may just inspire an idea. And it’s also great for creating content, whether that’s a personal blog or just working on social media posts that really show the behind the scenes and really give a face to the brand.
Stef Shapira: [07:16]
Yeah. I agree with all of that. Other things that we are looking at, it’s not totally clear to me from the site, if there are other places like retail places that this can be purchased, or even just where you can “find us” page could be helpful. With PR generally it’s good to… Well, one, if you want people to buy your product, you want to tell them where. That’s a basic, in terms of selling product, but besides that, the more places you are… And well, it adds credibility and if a writer or even an influencer is looking at your page and they’re like, “Oh, I know that store,” then it just adds another layer for people to connect with. I mean, this is definitely a smaller brand that honestly might not really be in many retail locations, but especially when a brand is getting into… It’s easy when you think of grocery if they’re getting into a Sprouts or a Whole Foods or something like that.
Stef Shapira: [08:20]
You definitely want to be putting that all over your website, in your social media, because again that adds credibility and it’s the thing that we can pitch to media as news as well. So then the next section that we looked at, was media and influencer tactics. This was definitely an area where there wasn’t a ton that looked like had happened yet with this brand. We didn’t see any media coverage. I think reaching out to media can be a really daunting thing for anyone who hasn’t really done it, for founders and really anyone. But I think that if you’re a little intimidated by it, the easiest place to start is maybe finding someone local, they’re going to be more likely to want to share a local story. So it could be just picking up your local magazine or looking at the website and finding someone’s name and normally their emails are on the website or it’s searchable. Or honestly you can even send it to the general email for the publication and just send a little bit about your story.
Stef Shapira: [9:37]
You’re not always going to get a response, but there’s definitely… It’s a lot less scary. There’s a lower barrier to entry, if that’s the phrase, than if you’re pitching a big national publication like, I don’t know, geez, all the ones that I was going to list are not doing print anymore. I was going to say InStyle. But obviously for any publication for online like Allure for a BD brand or something like that, that’s going to feel a little scarier, but if it’s someone who might be like, “Oh, I’m really interested in this local story,” or, “I want to support a local brand,” you’re likely to get a response.
Lindsey Leroy: [10:18]
And it looks like they have really great photography already on the website which is, I think, maybe half the battle when thinking about media relations and pitching is having really good high quality photos. Editors are way more likely to run coverage of your brand or your product if you have really good photos. So, making sure that you have that in one place, almost like a little, not necessarily a press kit, but a little media or PR package. So you have your labeled high-res photos, a little about the brand and maybe even some ideas on potential stories, whether that’s skincare tips for winter or how to use herbs on sunburn in the summer, things like that, that might help you break through the noise when you’re reaching out to media.
Alison Smith: [11:20]
So you’re saying have that type of content on the site, like blog content on the site?
Lindsey Leroy: [11:26]
Not necessarily on the website, but have it ready to go. And if you’ve already got your messaging really dialed in and you’ve got your photography gathered, it’s really just one more step to put that together on your end.
Stef Shapira: [11:43]
That’s the stuff that, before media’s going to cover, they’re going to need that anyway. That’s what we put in a pitch or what they’ll say, “Can you send us photos?” And then you’re not like, “Oh no, I’m not going to be in the story because I didn’t have my photos in this Dropbox in time,” or whatever. Just a little bit of increasing your chances and saving yourself some time by having that stuff ready.
Alison Smith: [12:07]
Get organized now, that’s y’all’s motto. I like it. For brands who can’t hire you guys, how do you generally advise them to get on those hits? Are they simply reaching out via email or how should they go about that process?
Lindsey Leroy: [12:31]
I think I would first take a look at where your competitors have been covered. Also think about your target market and what types of publications they’re reading, whether that’s print or digital or even newsletters, where they’re getting their information. And then make a list of who your ideal targets are. Let’s use Lost River, for example, their target market may be really focused on wellness, maybe more so than beauty. So a publication like Self or Women’s Health and I’m just talking about in the national sphere. Those publications may be a better target while they’re lofty goals, really honing in and going after those as opposed to making a blanket statement to everybody, I would see what types of stories your competitors are being included in and then work your way backwards. But I think seeing who’s writing the stories and then tracking down their contact info, whether that is… Honestly, a lot of freelance writers include their email address in their Twitter bio these days. You can get so much valuable information from Twitter.
Alison Smith: [14:04]
Twitter. Oh, okay. I like the hot tip. Love it. So find them on the publication and then stalk them on Twitter.
Lindsey Leroy: [14:16]
Stalk them on Twitter, not obsessively. And I would say-
Alison Smith: [14:19]
Just find their email on Twitter.
Stef Shapira: [14:21]
A lot of times their emails are on Instagram too.
Alison Smith: [14:25]
Okay, awesome.
Stef Shapira: [14:27]
I feel it’s easier to find, not everyone’s email, but it’s a lot easier to find people’s emails than you would think.
Alison Smith: [14:35]
Yeah. We actually have a scraping tool that we use. It’s just a free Chrome plugin. I just search scrape or something and-
Stef Shapira: [14:46]
That’s such a weird word.
Karin Samelson: [14:47]
It doesn’t always pull the good.
Alison Smith: [14:51]
Yeah. It only pulls emails that are already on the page, just so you don’t have to search through the whole website. But it is helpful if you’re like, “Who do I need to contact?” And then you just run the scrape tool and then you’re like, “Okay.”
Lindsey Leroy: [15:05]
And I would say in terms of best practices, if you are reaching out, I will say reach out and keep it really succinct. So make sure that you have your… Get your point across in three sentences, if you can, introduce your brand. You don’t need to go over the top. You don’t necessarily need to send an entire press release. But I would make sure that you can get it out in a few sentences and then ask if they would like more information. Offer up pertinent info, like if you’re available on Amazon, if you have an affiliate program. And if you have high quality photos, don’t ever attach photos, but the shorter, the better as an initial interaction is more likely to get a response. And then-
Karin Samelson: [15:50]
Why don’t you want people attaching photos?
Lindsey Leroy: [15:53]
If you attach photos, I guarantee you an editor or writer will delete it almost immediately. They get so many emails with attachments. And I had this problem when I worked at fashion PR in New York that you’d get so many attachments that your inbox will crash. So anytime [crosstalk 00:16:12] Yes.
Stef Shapira: [16:13]
Put it in a Dropbox or Google drive. Basically link it, don’t literally attach the file.
Lindsey Leroy: [16:19]
Link it, don’t provide a photo.
Karin Samelson: [16:20]
Great tips, you all. I had a question really quick before we get too far away from it. But you were saying don’t annoy them, how many times is too many times to reach out pitching to the same writer or editor?
Lindsey Leroy: [16:39]
I think it depends on what you’re following. If you’re just following up to say like, “Hey, did you get my email?” Or just wanted to check in to see if this was of interest, I would say maybe no more than two or three times. If you have something new and if you can, wait a little bit and then gauge interest and also provide maybe something new, whether that is like, “I just wanted to follow up to see if this was of interest. We also just got picked up by Whole Foods. I just wanted to put that on your radar.” Or if there is some timely event or seasonal hook, to include that in your follow up as well. So it’s not just like, “Hey, did you get my email below?”
Stef Shapira: [17:23]
Yeah. I think a lot of it is sometimes, if it’s the wording, over and over again. Imagine if-
Alison Smith: [17:30]
Did you get my email? Hey, did you get my email?
Stef Shapira: [17:33]
Yeah. Every day for like three weeks, that would 100% be annoying to everyone, I think. So it’s, spacing it out and then coming up with a new angle for the follow-up email.
Alison Smith: [17:44]
Yeah. I’m just curious too, is it ever good to be in a follow up like, “Hey, so and so wrote us up and it’s a competitor,” or would that turn them off you think?
Stef Shapira: [17:57]
I feel that one’s tough. It depends on what the story is. I feel maybe don’t do it for the most part. I would say, maybe if you’re going to have some press that you are excited about, just add it to your website or put it on your social media, but I don’t know if that’s a strong pitch point.
Alison Smith: [18:17]
Don’t lead with it, okay.
Lindsey Leroy: [18:19]
And you always want to make sure that you’re providing value to that publication. So you want to make sure that your product is a fit for the readers first of all. And that it’s providing value in some way. So if you are able to offer an exclusive discount to that publication, sometimes that’s really valuable. Or if it’s just something that their readers would find of interest and at that time too. Why is it timely? Why do they need to cover your brand now? Is it new or is there something, again, tied to seasonality or an event. So really make sure you’re considering all of those things. It’s a lot.
Alison Smith: [19:03]
Very cool. You’re seasoned and have a lot of little nuances that are I think really helpful.
Stef Shapira: [19:12]
Yeah, for sure. I mean, we’ve been doing this for a while separately. I don’t even know, I think it’s over 20 or 25 years combined experience. So I feel we definitely even learned things from our early days of doing PR, where they’re like, “Oh, Never doing that again.”
Lindsey Leroy: [19:32]
Still learning, still growing.
Stef Shapira: [19:37]
Things are changing frequently, obviously with more of a digital push, fewer print magazines, affiliates, all kinds of other things. So either way, I think the core of PR pitching to media and just really in general, honestly, even in terms of marketing, it’s all about, how are you telling your story and how are you coming up with creative ways to do that as well. And keeping things fresh. I mean, that’s been the same as long as PR has existed.
Lindsey Leroy: [20:09]
Well, and with the rise of influencers, it also opens the door for a lot more opportunities that are a little bit of a lower barrier to entry. So sending product to influencers in exchange for posts or in exchange for a mention on their social media, is so much easier as there are so many more influencers, so many more types of influencers, a varying degrees of quality I would say, but I think there’s a lot of value in reaching micro influencers. And I think that’s something that Lost River can definitely take advantage of. And taking a look at who’s in the area, who’s in the region, who has posted about… This is also working backwards like you would with media, take a look at like-minded brands or locations, whether that’s a spa that’s really similar to your ethos. Or even if it’s a wellness food product, taking a look at whether or not any influencers have posted about that brand, having the idea that they may like yours as well and make a list of who those potential targets might be.
Lindsey Leroy: [21:35]
But I think working with micro influencers, so like under 10,000 followers, is a great place to start. And I think, in terms of reaching out, I think DMing on Instagram is completely acceptable. Again, most influencers will include their email in their bio or you can click their email and find their contact info. But really think about and consider what the package looks like, that you’re putting together to potentially send these influencers. You’ll see a lot of unboxing videos that the influencers posts on their social channels. So the more interesting or fun or memorable the package actually is, and that’s the physical package, so not just putting a bunch of bubble wrap in there, the more interesting that is, the more likely they’ll post more content. I think that’s the direction that a lot of brands are going.
Lindsey Leroy: [22:38]
So you can send the same thing to everyone. You can switch it up and make it a little bit more custom. I always recommend including a handwritten note and something that’s really personalized. It takes 30 seconds to do, but it makes such a big difference and it really helps establish a more of a partnership feel and relationship between yourself and the influencer. They’re also way more likely to post about you down the road, or want to work with you again.
Alison Smith: [23:10]
The handwritten note, I mean, it is scalable. There are companies, I think we have a friend who has a company, she has many employees who write these beautiful handwritten notes. But it’s just, I mean, getting a handwritten note from a brand that’s just going to establish so much likeness. It’s just so powerful. If you have any numbers on conversion versus, with handwritten notes, without handwritten notes, I would love to hear them, but I know that’s probably a really hard thing to track.
Lindsey Leroy: [23:50]
I have two shout outs for local brands that have done that really well. Siete always includes really great personalized handwritten notes in their mailers. I know that they work with a lot of influencers and I just over the moon adore that brand, but they also do a lot of tastemaker outreach to wellness people, influencers, chefs, bartenders, et cetera. It makes a world of difference. It creates this brand ambassador in a way that’s not a traditional liquor brand ambassador or whatever it is. You become an arbiter of the brand and I’m talking about it now. And I always tell my friends when they ask for recommendations for those types of products. And then Made In also is another great one that includes really awesome handwritten notes. And it gives you all the feels.
Stef Shapira: [24:52]
Yeah. And it’s clear that there are handwritten notes because the influencers or the tastemakers love them so much that they’re sharing them on their social. So I have not received a package from either brand, so I cannot attest to.
Lindsey Leroy: [25:06]
It’s only because my husband’s a chef. I personally do not receive-
Alison Smith: [25:10]
Oh, you get the perks. So do you have-
Stef Shapira: [25:13]
Does anybody want to send me anything?
Alison Smith: [25:15]
Please include a handwritten note as well. So do you guys have any hard numbers or vague numbers even about the conversion when you work with brands, sending influencer packages, handwritten, non-handwritten notes?
Lindsey Leroy: [25:31]
I don’t, but I am going to get that. And on our next podcast, I will have a chart for you.
Alison Smith: [25:37]
Want the data.
Lindsey Leroy: [25:39]
Going to make you a pie chart, get ready.
Alison Smith: [25:42]
Sweet. Love a good pie chart.
Karin Samelson: [25:44]
All right y’all, is there anything else PR related that you saw that Lost River could implement?
Lindsey Leroy: [25:50]
I think the last bucket that we’ll just mention is, the community building or community engagement. That’s something that we love to do because it’s fun and creative, but also really helps reach your target market in a unique and fun way. That’s anything from participating at an event or doing a popup at a spa, something like that. We saw a few examples, but not too many, just looking on Instagram. It looks like they’re available at a hotel spa, which is a great opportunity to engage with the hotel and spa guests on social media. Leveraging your wholesale partners or any other partners to create an opportunity, whether that is a giveaway on social or hosting, offering to host a popup or a sampling opportunity or inclusion in some gift bag if they have an event going on. But really leaning on your existing partners and then looking for potential new partners.
Lindsey Leroy: [27:11]
Again, really digging in and seeing what your competitors are doing in the space or what some of your deal like-minded brands and partners in the area are doing and reaching out and just gauging interest. They may already have an existing event that they may want you to participate in, whether that is an earth day, shopping event or something and they’re looking for a holistic or all natural brand to come in and do some sampling, just for example. But I think there’s a lot of opportunities to engage with potential partners that I haven’t really seen too much just on the Instagram. I think that they’re a really new brand, so there’s definitely an opportunity just to introduce yourself as a brand and say, like, “Hey, we’re new to the community. We’d love to partner up on whatever you have going on.”
Karin Samelson: [28:18]
Cool. All great points. And I think something I’m going to bring up as we dive into the more marketing and digital side is, and I’d love to hear your PR thoughts on this too, especially with partnerships, but let’s just jump into the marketing side, if that’s okay with you all. So first we’re going to go through Instagram right away. So I don’t know exactly when product was available, but they launched on Instagram. Oh, maybe I do know when product’s available. I do know, I should know. It was on January 31st. So February 1st was when they first launched their first batch, but in January they started posting a little bit, on Instagram, about the brand. And so it’s a very new brand. It’s been three and a half months since they started doing that, and only a couple months since they launched the actual product.
Karin Samelson: [29:17]
So there’s so much good stuff here already. I’m assuming the founder’s doing this, because it’s such a new brand, but you can tell that the person’s an artist and that really reflects in the content that’s being shared. I don’t think everybody needs to be an artist to be able to do this. I don’t think it has to be so aesthetically pleasing. It’s just a bonus that this is a talent that this person is right brained, maybe left brained too, I don’t know, but it’s really obviously beautiful content. And in both the creative and the copy, I’m just super impressed with what’s going out. They’re super social savvy and the content is quality, but they’re still keeping up and maintaining the consistency. So I love it. I love the content. I love the variation. I love that they’re talking about a lot of different messaging buckets. There’s great engagement.
Karin Samelson: [30:12]
But something that differentiated it to me with the different products in the same space, is the emphasis throughout the content and in the bio, of it being indigenous, inspired on native land. I believe she says it’s Yakima and Siletz Land and that she’s in Lyle. And it’s just a really beautiful way that she weaves in that storytelling throughout the content too. And I believe 5% of her proceeds go to indigenous communities, organizations and I think that’s a really amazing thing to stress because she is living off the land.
Karin Samelson: [31:01]
And I also really like how she has tagged herself in the bio so that we can go into her personal profile and see how she’s living and what she’s doing. And you can learn so much about, like she just bought this huge acreage property where she’s going to be planting a lot of different things on the property and growing her own herbal remedies. And I think that’s incredible. And I’d love to see more of that too. I know that she’s doing a little bit, but bring some of that stuff that you’re open to sharing on your personal page onto your business one as well, if it reflects on your business. I think that could be a really fun thing to do. And it will also get more of your friends and family over there as well, which is vital in this early stage.
Alison Smith: [31:47]
I did not see that initially, so Jenna, I want your life. First of all, this is so cool. I mean, I also love that you’re willing to connect your business with your personal life and it’s also great that your personal feed is well curated, for lack of a better term. Any way you could show up more on your website, so people who maybe didn’t pop over to your profile, they could learn more about you. You seem to have this great aesthetic and really like beautiful life and imagery. And I love your Husky puppy as well.
Karin Samelson: [32:33]
Real cute Husky. It’s a whole lifestyle and bringing, I can see half of your content that you share on your personal, on your business one too, because what we find is that these brands that are open… I mean, you talked about Siete earlier, what’s more founder and community and brand, the people that are behind the brand focus than that brand. And being open to that, invites a lot of people to come in and be able to connect with you better. And that is all what social media is about. Of course, it’s about entertainment, but it’s also about, mostly about community and connection. I hope, and I hope that continues to be that way. So, a lot of compliments, but I think a lot can be done in terms of, just like Alison said, a little bit more behind the scenes, a little bit more sharing of your every day and not worrying too much about the aesthetic in fear that it might make things look wonky. It won’t.
Karin Samelson: [33:37]
It all looks really great. And I will say it time and time again, I will say it to as many people as I can, your feed doesn’t have to look perfect. That is a very old way of thinking, so you’re doing great there. And another obvious thing, and I think it pertains to a lot of early stage brands, is focusing on your social proof. So focusing on growth strategies to make sure that you look more established, like if I saw this brand and it had a few thousand followers, it would make me feel more comfortable purchasing. That’s what that social proof is all about. It’s saying, seeing, “Oh, that person. All of these people like this brand and follow this brand and trust this brand, maybe I need to figure out what the fuss is about.” So focusing on growth strategies, so things that your brand can do and all other brands can do is partnering or collaborating with like-minded brands.
Karin Samelson: [34:39]
So any other brand that shares a very similar customer persona avatar as yours, partner with them, do giveaways, have fun. And when you do engage in those giveaways, we always recommend boosting a little bit. So we have a course and one of our students did a, Alison, make sure I’m saying this right, but he did a giveaway over the course of two days or three days for $25 and what was his… It was an outrageous follow. And it was just such a small amount of money, but it hit. Sometimes it hits, sometimes it doesn’t, you always want to test what the prize is, who you’re partnering with, all that kind of stuff. But sometimes when it hits, it really hits. And when you boost, our recommendation, our rule of thumb is we’re trying to get less… equal to, or less than $1 per follow.
Karin Samelson: [35:41]
So if you boosted $25, I want you to get 25 followers that are super engaged, actually interested in your product. You’re going to see a 10% fall off, so actually make that more than 25 followers. But I think he was making, I don’t know, it was like 20 cents per follower, something like that, where it was just like, “Oh. Good, good boost.” So giveaways, boost him a little bit and then more reels content. And I do not doubt that this lady can make beautiful video content because the two reels that she has are so nice. Did you all see that tea reel she had? I was like, “Who is this lady? Who made this? So beautiful.” She’s outside, she’s using natural light. She laid a sheet down and she’s just making tea. She’s making her tea and it’s just this really beautiful aesthetic.
Karin Samelson: [36:41]
And to be quite honest, 841 views, post it again. Put a different song on it, post it again, and see if you can raise your views because it’s always really poopy to spend a lot of time on something, post it and not get a lot of views on it. And that’s not your fault, that’s just Instagram. So post it again, put a different song on it. If that one does better, feel free to archive this one so you don’t have two of the same videos so close to each other, but I would encourage it again. And then this process one where you’re using that funnel, more, more of it, people want to see behind the scenes and that you’re literally just setting up your camera and showing the production line, which people are so fascinated by. It’s like our fascination with pimple popping videos. Is anybody else? Is that just me? No, I know it’s not just me.
Alison Smith: [37:38]
I made my search build into all pimple popping videos.
Lindsey Leroy: [37:36]
Oh my God.
Karin Samelson: [37:48]
Yeah. It was one of our employees. They were like, “Who’s been engaging with pimple popping videos? It’s all in our search.” And Alison was like, “That was definitely me.”
Alison Smith: [37:57]
One thing that you’ve started, you just can’t stop. Same thing with behind the scenes.
Karin Samelson: [38:02]
Same thing.
Stef Shapira: [38:04]
Same thing.
Karin Samelson: [38:05]
Same thing with your process videos. It’s like, there’s something about it that’s just super relaxing. It’s like ASMR.
Alison Smith: [38:11]
I was just going to say, just like the ASMR.
Karin Samelson: [38:13]
Yeah. More of that. I would try and do it as much as possible. I love the variation. You’re doing carousel posts. You’re doing videos. You’re doing static images. Keep it up. But if you can, and you have the time, up that video content on your land. She posted this. Did she post this? I got a little lost in this feed, y’all, because it’s so beautiful. But she posted, I think it was on her personal. See it was on her… Maybe it was, you guys, I don’t remember, but it was her planting different… It was so cool. It was like, “I’m planting this Sequoia, this little Sequoia transplant. And hopefully it’s going to become this big tree later.” And it was just so cool. And it’s just like, I want to see that on your feed too, because it’s that part of the storytelling that people love. So more of that.
Lindsey Leroy: [39:08]
Quick question. For brands, I guess, for smaller brands that don’t have a huge breadth of products, what do you recommend in terms of frequency of posting on Instagram specifically?
Karin Samelson: [39:23]
I love that question. The same amount. The same amount that I would tell anybody. So even if you have one product, think of all of the different benefits of it, think of all of the different ways that you can talk about it and talk about it just as often as anybody else would talk about their products. Alison always says this, but when we are talking to a new brand, there’s always one or two hero products. It’s got to make up like 80% of your sales. So that’s normal anyways, for there to be these hero products that you talk about all the time. So I would say very, very similar if not the same strategy and you’re going to want to post about it as much as you can. You want to track your analytics to see what’s working and then do more of what’s working, do less of what’s not.
Karin Samelson: [40:14]
Let’s move a little over to the website, now that we’ve talked about Instagram. So going to the website, I love that you guys called out the banner, that hero banner on the website, herbal remedies that restore balance and allow inner creativity to flow. I like it. I would like to see probably more of product focus at first because I’m like, “Is this a course? Do I learn about how to make it? What is it? What can I get here?” So I would love that with the call to action. But first and foremost, implementing a popup and a first time order discount is something that we really want brands, especially ones that don’t have a lot of proof yet because they just launched, to do because you want to drive trial, you want to get people to try it. So having that popup, getting as many emails as you can, setting up all your email flows after that, we want to see that done.
Karin Samelson: [41:08]
We’ll always talk about email and we talked about on the last audit. I really recommend to do that. And then the second one on the website, just really quickly, would be to make that free shipping over $100 automatic. Don’t make them use that promo code free ship 100, it’s awesome that you have a free ship option, but just make it automatic so that you can utilize that first order discount and the free shipping just to entice more people to purchase. It just makes it a little bit easier on everyone in the long run.
Alison Smith: [41:42]
And that might be, the offer that you can do at this time, but maybe you are able to get more efficient and things like that, consider testing if dropping that free shipping to like 50 or 75 for a bit, is going to help you convert users better. In terms of that automatic discount, if you’re using Shopify, which, I don’t think I checked if you are or not, that’s something that you can easily set up in the backend to just automatically apply that discount, so there’s just less friction during the entire checkout process.
Karin Samelson: [42:20]
He’s on the Squarespace.
Alison Smith: [42:23]
Oh, Squarespace. Okay. I don’t know too much about Squarespace, but hopefully there’s an automatic app that you could use to help with that. Certainly it’s been years since I’ve used Squarespace.
Lindsey Leroy: [42:42]
They just see an email about, and maybe they already offered this, but linking up your Instagram and Squarespace to make it easier to shop on your Instagram account through your Squarespace site. If it wasn’t already an option, it is now, or it is now easier to do.
Alison Smith: [43:04]
So beyond Instagram shopping, it’s-
Lindsey Leroy: [43:08]
Beyond that. So you would, I guess you would link up on the backend so that it would-
Alison Smith: [43:14]
Like your catalog. Got you. That’s how Shopify interacts with Instagram, is it’s your catalog shows up, you can tag on your Instagram and then you can go shop on your site. So I’m guessing Squarespace implemented something like that. I mean, social shopping is huge, it’s the future. Don’t quote me on that. But we really do think, I mean, it’s less clicking, less people getting off of their endless scrolling on TikTok and Instagram. It keeps them right inside the platform, which Meta’s obviously going to love you to stay on their platform. So, highly recommend setting up IG and Facebook shops. Salves, I just learned it’s salves and not Selves. Salves or general supplement herbal space can get denied for IG shops, unfortunately, so I’m not sure Lost River, if you’ll be able to, but definitely check it out. You’ve got such a beautiful shopping space already on your Instagram, it would be great to allow that.
Lindsey Leroy: [44:32]
I’m [crosstalk 00:44:33]
Karin Samelson: [44:34]
Yeah, they’re lumping salves into that… They’re making that as hard to sell as supplements?
Alison Smith: [44:40]
I would say anything in the herbal space is flagged as supplements. Even if you’re all natural, all those things. They, a lot of times lump them in, and it’s really hard to get out of that category and get into the health and beauty category.
Stef Shapira: [44:56]
Yeah. That’s confusing. Well also because some of her products are tea, obviously you ingest. Then something that’s topical is more like beauty. I could see how with something you’re putting inside your body, that would make more sense to me, but it’s how-
Lindsey Leroy: [45:16]
Opposite in this case.
Alison Smith: [45:18]
Well it looks like her catalog is approved, so she’s all good. It’s just sending over to website so check out IG shopping. See if that is something that could work for you. Beyond that with the website, Karin signed up to see if you have a welcome email, because that’s the kind of person she is and she did not see a welcome email. So that’s one of our first and favorite emails that we’ll ever set up. It goes along with that popup, once you enter your email address, you get that first introduction welcome, here’s a discount. And then that user goes through your full indoctrination flow. So it’s just that first send and it’s really important. So look into that, if you set up a popup. And then again, beautiful content, beautiful packaging, would love to see some more people and people with product, some more lifestyle shots across all assets.
Alison Smith: [46:24]
We talked about this on the last episode. How consumers just want to see themselves in that piece of photography or video. And so those type of shoots can be super helpful. They don’t have to be produced shoots even. Can be like, hey, I’m having a party and I’m going to invite all my friends and I’m just going to happen to be going around with my products and taking as many photos and videos as possible. So there’s different ways to do that, on a budget, if you will. So paid social. I saw some ads creep in and then now they’re gone. So I don’t know if I’m not looking in the right spot again, but I did see some really great ads. So congrats on doing that. If you’re doing it yourself, that’s amazing. Being a business owner and running ads and doing social and PR and everything is really impressive. But I don’t see them anymore, so I’m going to speak on what I remember.
Alison Smith: [47:32]
I remember seeing mostly product photography, just like the photos that are on your website. Just remember, like we just said, native photos are your friends. So when we say native photos, photos and videos that look like the photos and videos on your Instagram feed. So I would say pull in your IG posts. You don’t have to make brand new structured ad creatives and videos. It’s really about utilizing everything you have and not making yourself work more. So you can simply go in, if you’re launching ads and just pull existing posts, pull in a really great reel or even stories you can pull in as ads just to make sure they make sense to run as evergreen ads. And those we see performing better than even our designed creative. So definitely look into that. Work smarter, not harder.
Karin Samelson: [48:38]
And I want to stress that when Alison’s saying pull in, she’s not saying screenshot and copy and paste the copy. She’s talking about there are buttons to press inside ads manager where you can literally be like, “I want to do this Instagram post of mine.”
Alison Smith:[48:56]
And we’re also not saying boost. We’re not talking about boost and boosting is a whole other thing. We’re talking about, create a campaign and ads manager. Once you’re at the ad level, it will say, create an ad or use existing post and you’ll go in and you’ll use an existing post. That’s also where your branded content will show up where the existing posts are. That’s a whole other ballgame. That’s if an influencer posts about you and allows you to run that post as an ad, that’s where that’s going to be. Those are powerful as well. And hit us up if you need help, we’re happy to help. And then the copy. So the one thing I saw with a copy, it was good copy. I think it had some storytelling. It talked about some value props, but we could break it up a bit.
Alison Smith: [49:46]
It was large paragraph text. People scrolling through their feed, especially Instagram ads, you’re seeing maybe a sentence, a sentence and a half. So try a shorter copy as well as long form copy. Both work really well. But I think the main point I wanted to get across here is use emojis. Emojis just help catch the reader’s eye. It helps them get through the blocks of text. You don’t have to use silly, dumb emojis. You can use the sparkle emoji or something cute like that. But try pulling some emojis in if you’re doing longer copy.
Lindsey Leroy: [50:27]
I feel like emojis also help me when I’m scrolling through. It makes me think that it’s like a friend of mine or something. I feel like it gives it more personality and creates more of a… Just creates more of a personality for a brand. You feel a little bit more, I don’t know, comfortable to stop and peruse.
Alison Smith: [50:51]
Absolutely. When you’re writing and I… So I’ve been advertising for 10 years or something. When I first started, I used, what is it? Caps case, everything was like U capitalize, R capitalize, like-
Karin Samelson: [51:06]
Camel case.
Alison Smith: [51:07]
Camel case. Where every single word was capitalized, because I was like, this is an ad. This is a professional ad. I quickly realized that was silly. So the big rule of thumb when you’re writing copy is speak like you’re speaking to a friend. Don’t misspell words. Don’t use slang or things like that. But it should be pretty. What’s the word I’m looking for? Native. Should be pretty like-
Lindsey Leroy: [51:36]
Alison Smith: [51:37]
Just casual. Beyond the emojis, we love emojis. We use Emojipedia if you’re looking for an emoji dictionary. Also in the copy, think about some value propositions to have. A great way to start off a piece of copy is calling out the user. So any way you can call out the user without getting flagged. So you can’t say, “Do you have eczema question mark?” You can’t say that. You can massage that, but use that in a way to call out the user. That’s a great starting line for your copy. But think of more problems that your product’s solving. I saw that you talk about eczema a lot on your salve and that is a huge differentiator between any other products out there. So definitely relate to that. I don’t think you can say that outright, but talk about dry skin, cracked skin, things like that. And what your product can do, that’s a huge differentiator. And then, I’m just rolling guys. So feel free to stop me.
Alison Smith: [52:49]
But video, just like Karin said, so you can pull in those reels, those beautiful reels that you’re making. You can pull those in as ads, but you can also make more video. So anytime you’re out on your property, anytime you’re doing those, making the salves or processing the teas or making yourself a tea, film it. Film it with beautiful light in the morning, film it in the evening. Get 15, 30 and 60 second quick videos that you can smash together or add testimonials on top. Or just a simple video of your property with value propositions on it, could really work as an ad. So just always have this guy on you and always filming. It’s not always going to be the best, but the more you have, definitely the better.
Alison Smith: [53:40]
And then my final ad piece of advice is never ever, ever send an ad to your homepage. So when you launch an ad, send it as far into the checkout process as you can possibly get. So if you’re running an ad for tea, send them to the URL for, let’s see, slash essential teas, so that they have less places to click through. They’re already on the product page and they can purchase straight from there. If you’re selling your duo, send them to slash essential duo. Just that extra click can really drive down conversion, so just remember that if or when you want to run ads.
Lindsey Leroy: [54:32]
So if they were running an ad for something that was a little bit more general, or maybe it was for the holiday season, but wanted to push a bunch of their products, what would you recommend sending them to?
Alison Smith: [54:44]
Yeah. And we are talking about e-commerce so there could be a little if and wins, but if it’s a holiday collection, most likely you’re going to make a collection on Shopify, Squarespace for that. So you would send them to collection slash holiday or whatever that is. So you’re at least getting them past the homepage where they have to find where they need to go. You’re getting them as far into it as possible. If you made a bundle for them, you’re sending them directly to that product bundle page. So generally the list for this place will ever send for e-commerce would be slash collections where they can shop all products.
Karin Samelson: [55:24]
Lots of tips that you can implement ASAP. Really cool. Is there anything else that you guys want to leave Lost River with?
Lindsey Leroy: [55:36]
Keep doing what you’re doing. I feel like they have such a beautiful basis. It has an interesting story. The website makes me feel very calm. So I already feel very good about the product. And I was just looking on the Instagram page and I love the carousel posts that talk about each ingredient. I think that’s so clever. I think it’s just helpful to educate consumers if they don’t necessarily know what a specific ingredient is, but I’d say, keep doing what you’re doing just more of it.
Karin Samelson: [56:12]
Awesome guys. Okay. Well the Rind, is there anything that you want to leave the audience with?
Lindsey Leroy: [56:19]
Well, if you ever have any questions about PR, whether or not you are ready for it, if you need it, what to do, anything like that, feel free to reach out to us or DM us on Instagram. In addition to offering our PR services, we also do consulting, where we’ll do a brand audit like this, but it’ll be a little bit more tailored and you’ll get a PR toolkit which will help, hopefully answer all of your questions. But feel free to reach out anytime. We’re here.
Karin Samelson: [56:55]
Awesome. And on our end, on the marketing end, we have the Umai Mini Course and it’s a great place to start for smaller brands or medium size brands looking to up their digital marketing game. It’s a free five day course and gives a lot of juicy tips and things that you may not be implementing already. Well, all right guys, thanks again for joining us. We’ll be back with episode three very soon.
Stef Shapira: [57:26]
Yeah. Thanks for having us. This was fun.
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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#26: The Good Audit Episode 1: Willow Street Snacks with The Rind PR

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#26: The Good Audit Episode 1: Willow Street Snacks with The Rind PR

Join Alison and Karin as they audit Willow St. Snacks with Stef Shapira and Lindsey Leroy of The Rind PR! Learn about everything you need, from influencer affiliates to product photography, as they look over this up-and-coming CPG brand. 

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Willow St. Snacks 

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#26: The Good Audit Episode 1: Willow Street Snacks 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.
Alison Smith: [00:44]
Hey, welcome to the UMAI Social Circle, where we talk consumer goods tips to help business owners and marketers grow. We’re Alison and Karin, co-founders of UMAI Marketing. And we are being joined today, by Stef and Lindsey from The Rind PR for our special four part series, where we’re auditing young CPG brands on PR and digital marketing. So welcome everyone to episode one. We’re diving into Willow St. Snacks, which is a grass fed biltong, I hope I’m saying that right, who offers flavors like cherry habanero, buffalo mushroom, and sweet and sour pear. Really cool and fun flavors. So let’s kick off this audit with The Rind. They’re going to take the lead on their PR suggestions and tips for Willow St. So ladies, take it away.
Stef Shapira: [01:40]
Okay. I guess, I will kind of kick this off then. So yeah, for PR, we want to look at a lot of different things. But really, what we focus on is storytelling and brand awareness. So the first thing we looked at when we were doing this audit, was the website. Looking at the messaging on the site itself and kind of digging into different parts. Obviously, there’s the different products and about those. And then ideally, our brand is going to have a bit about their story and a bit about what sets them apart. So we were looking at that on the Willow St. Snacks page and the product section where they kind of talk about what they do differently is good and clear about how the jerky’s made. And there’s a lot of focus on the quality of the beef and the handmade approach. But one thing that we saw that was clearly missing here, is that it doesn’t really say anywhere on the website that they make biltong.
Stef Shapira: [02:48]
If you look at the product, you see it says biltong on the packaging but it doesn’t really say anywhere that they make biltong, which is different from jerky and how it’s different. So yeah, definitely if you’re doing something different from the norm, it’s a good idea to call it out in your messaging. And the messaging could be on your website, but also it’s one of those things where overall, when we’re, as peer professional sharing a story with the media, we want to be able to easily find those things and call them out. And then when people are going back to the website, it should connect there as well with those kind of key differentiators.
Alison Smith: [03:32]
We made that note as well. Karin and I were lucky enough to work with a biltong, I don’t know why I struggle with that word, brand back in the day. But that was the first time I’ve ever heard of it. And so I’m assuming the average consumer, that’s probably something new, the average consumer who’s very familiar or eating beef jerky, would come here and not fully understand right off the bat. So I think that education on the website and then through all the other marketing materials, would be really crucial for them.
Stef Shapira: [04:13]
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. So it’s something that I think we can agree, that is an obvious differentiator that should really be called out across all marketing platforms, really. So, yeah. And then other things that we are looking at, there’s the, our story page on their website and you can tell they wrote it themselves. It’s really casual and fun, but I think adding information about who the founders or the makers are, is always really important as well. It’s a big part of the story and a lot of times, it’s like, “Why did you decide to make it? Are you solving a problem that you saw and you are trying to solve that with your product? Or is there nothing else like what you’re doing on the market or nothing else that is the right quality?” Or things like that. I think that is something that they could call out a bit more and even just like, “What are the qualifications of the founders or the people that are making them?” That can be another part of the story of the brand and why people want to buy it.
Lindsey Leroy: [05:28]
So I think something else that we noticed just on a first initial pass, is understanding really clearly where the product is available beyond the website and beyond direct to consumer. And I think obviously, you want to maximize D2C sales and your website is kind of how you’re going to do it. But also, giving additional points of sale options like and Kroger. Even if they’re not necessarily available at that time, having a “coming soon” on the website, just so you’re consistent from social media to your website. You want to make sure that how you’re telling your story is consistent across all platforms. And Alison, you mentioned that, making sure that you’re telling your story from all of your marketing materials to your website and then to the media and that it’s consistent but also easy to understand.
Lindsey Leroy: [06:30]
And then when we’re looking at how to reach the media, it really starts with how to tell a story and taking a step back in understanding the story. And so really making sure that all of your talking points on the website are pretty easy to understand and I think Stef kind of hit the nail on the head with maybe not everybody knows the difference between jerky and biltong. And really calling that out on the website, I think, would go a long way. Because as publicists, we can explain that to our media contacts, but having somebody have to search through the website, you may lose that customer.
Lindsey Leroy: [07:16]
We also kind of dove into the website and did a kind of a quick Google search to see what media coverage there may have been and found a couple links and I think it’s awesome to be able to leverage that press and it’s great that they’ve gotten that media coverage already, but maybe having a separate section on the website, whether that’s another tab or landing page where people can go to view where it’s been covered and just making sure that all of the links are clickable. Because I think that there were a few links that may have either been dead links or went to, not necessarily the right website.
Alison Smith: [08:02]
Yeah. I didn’t even see any press when I was looking through. So if they have some press hits, let’s see them. That’s such good clout, right?
Lindsey Leroy: [08:13]
Karin Samelson: [08:14]
Right. And yeah, when we’re pitching to media… Before you’re going to buy something, before you’re going to cover something, if you’re a media person, you’re going to do some Googling yourself to see what’s already been covered. And having a little bit of clout is good, or even knowing what’s already been covered and figuring out what is still left, what hasn’t been covered, is also helpful for media. So it’s all kind of part of how you’re presenting yourself to them, just on the internet, essentially.
Alison Smith: [08:50]
Yeah. And you all are talking about the two links on their website, on the homepage at the bottom that are dead links?
Karin Samelson: [08:55]
Alison Smith: [08:56]
It’s such a good reminder to us all, to just audit our website a little bit more often than we’re used to. Because that’s amazing to have those hits and to get picked up like that but if it’s not leading to anything, what’s the use, right?
Stef Shapira: [09:12]
Yeah, exactly.
Alison Smith: [09:13]
Is that something you all see a lot with different news or media sites changing links and then you’ve lost your back link? You’ve lost the link as the customer or the client?
Lindsey Leroy: [09:28]
It sometimes happens and I always recommend making sure that you’re capturing all of your press hits and keeping them either in a press report or even just creating something on Canva is great, because then you can use that as a template to share on social. You can include it in a newsletter like, “Hey, have you seen us in Fox News?” And being able to leverage that ongoing, even if for example, if a website does a total overhaul or God forbid, with media publications kind of closing, you run the risk of having a great press hit on a publication that is no longer in service, that’s kind of defunct now. So you want to make sure that you’re keeping everything in a master press report. Those can also be used for pitching decks for investors or you’re sending it out to potential retailers. Those are great ways to just kind of show how you’re seen in the market and give you kind of that credibility that a lot of people are looking for.
Alison Smith: [10:45]
Yeah. I love that idea of keeping a Canva template. Is that what you meant by a Canva? Yeah, because I mean, that is huge proof for if you ever want to run ads, if your target market, if you want to run geo targeted ads in Boston or retail ads in Boston and in that ad, it’s a quote from the Boston Herald and their logo or what have you, that’s going to be a lot more influential than not having that. So definitely keeping track of that and just remembering to utilize it across all of your channels.
Lindsey Leroy: [11:27]
Yeah, exactly. And another big thing that we do at The Rind in addition to media relations is influencer relation, and I know there’s a lot of crossover in those types of services with the rise of social media and marketing and PR agencies, just because it’s such a great tool. There’s such a low barrier to entry for a lot of brands that may not necessarily have a huge budget for campaigns. So when we were looking through the Instagram account, didn’t really see any influencer campaigns. And a lot of times, just taking a quick look through a tagged post and seeing if there was anything that was UGC reposted on the Instagram account, but didn’t really see much of that. And I think that’s definitely a great area of opportunity to dive in and really gain some visibility.
Lindsey Leroy: [12:31]
And I think there’s a ton of opportunity with CPG brands and influencer campaigns these days, because a lot of influencers, while they are looking for paid opportunities, a lot will still support some of these smaller brands, especially if it’s more of a micro influencer and it’s a niche product. I mean, something like this I think… Biltong is something that’s still kind of unique and I think people would be… Influencers specifically would be really interested in. Especially if there’s kind of a paleo health angle.
Karin Samelson: [13:03]
Something that’s like… I don’t know if we were completely clear on this because it’s not really clear in their marketing, you get what I mean? I know we can see their offerings, but they have vegan options. They have mushroom jerky on top of their grass fed beef jerky or biltong, my bad. And it’s just like, “Wow, this is…” I feel like the opportunities are a little bit a lot more open with being able to partner with micro influencers because you can go for anybody. Anybody can either have vegan mushroom jerky or beef biltong, right?
Stef Shapira: [13:49]
Yeah. I mean, I will admit, I didn’t even notice they had mushroom jerky because there’s a video of a cow on the homepage. They’re really leaning into the beef component of it, which is great. It’s part of the story but it seems like that got lost and is a big part of the story as well. And yeah, there’s definitely vegan vegetarian influencers out there that would make sense to have them share it. And then you can have your keto, CrossFit, et cetera, type people with the beef. That’s just one type of influencers, there’s obviously foodie influencers and things like that that you can kind of tap into. So, yeah.
Alison Smith: [14:40]
I mean, even if it’s beyond just going straight vegan for that product, that there’s such a huge push for just educated, smart consumers to be more plant based. And that could really be more of the value prop behind that product, these products are from cows and are made and really well. But if you’re trying to include more plants into your diet, there’s an awesome… I mean, vegan buffalo mushroom jerky sounds so good. I really want to try it too.
Alison Smith: [15:22]
Yeah, it got lost on me too though. I didn’t notice it.
Karin Samelson: [15:24]
When it comes to those, stuff, when you just said that, it kind of peaked my interest because we have opinions. But when you’re looking at the keto, paleo influencer versus the foodie influencer, is there influencer that you think moves the needle more? Like lifestyle? There’s so many different groups.
Stef Shapira: [15:46]
I mean, I feel like it really depends on the brand. I don’t think really across the board, there’s a certain kind and we can fit people into these, or influencers into these different buckets and verticals of lifestyle or vegan or whatever. But a lot of times, there’s other things in their accounts that aren’t only that as well, and there could be overlap, it could be vegan and lifestyle or there’s just different things that you kind of realize when you’re researching influencers. But I mean, I think it ultimately comes down to what the brand is and what their goal is and then trying to hit as many of the different influencers as possible. Of course, with budget and time that goes into outreach, you can’t always hit up all of them at the same time.
Stef Shapira: [16:40]
But also one thing to think about too, is coming up with custom influencer packages for the different types of influencers, finding like-minded brands, finding other vegan brands, right? And then sending those to the vegan influencers or something that’s like all keto snacks. Or even if it’s a wellness influencer, there’s maybe some other, I don’t know, just some other wellness brand that makes sense. Whether it’s like, I don’t know, water bottle or… I’m blanking on other good ideas right now, but…
Karin Samelson: [17:22]
That’s really interesting. So are you kind of suggesting these PR boxes to influencers, it is a good idea to include an array of products? That’s a new concept to me, at least.
Stef Shapira: [17:35]
Honestly, influencers, the way you approach influencers has really changed. I mean, at the core, it’s still kind of the same, you’re sending them something and asking them to post or share in some way. But the actual packages, if you’re thinking about how many packages any given influencer or for this matter, the same thing actually applies to media samples too. The amount of packages these people get every day is crazy, right? So you really have to get creative and think, “What is going to make my brand’s package stand out?” Whether it’s something that’s just going to look better on social media, or if… I think we found that there the most impactful packages in terms of ROI or ones that have things that are items they could also use during their regular day or if it’s a whole package with all the components of a recipe. So they can actually make it, not just like, “Here’s a shirt and some biltong.”
Karin Samelson: [18:39]
Oh, good idea.
Lindsey Leroy: [18:41]
For something, I think that is attached to a seasonality or an event. So if you’re sending something out in the beginning of summer, maybe it’s like “ultimate road trip pack,” or if it’s in August, it’s like a back to school survival guide, something like that. And so you’re potentially wrangling other like-minded brands but also items that kind of make sense or that really showcase how to use that product. I think those are the ones that kind of make the most impact. And then to kind of tag onto that with influencers, I think the most effective campaigns, and you probably see this in your world a lot with newsletters, is that having some sort of call to action is the best way to really measure the effectiveness of that campaign.
Alison Smith: [19:38]
Yeah. Can you expand on call to action? What that would look like?
Lindsey Leroy: [19:43]
So I think a great call to action for an influencer campaign specifically, can range anywhere from a special discount code that is exclusive to that influencer. So anytime you see somebody post like, “Use my code, GEN20 for 20% off your first purchase,” that’s a great incentive for their followers. You’ll also be able to track that.
Alison Smith: [20:13]
And you can track it, right.
Lindsey Leroy: [20:14]
You want to kind of see what types of… I mean, effectively, you want to have influencers be your partners and you want to be able to work with them again. And so creating this partnership that is beneficial for them and you, is the best use of everybody’s time. And so if they’re seeing a lot of their followers find this really beneficial, they’re going to want to work with you again, or if they’re set up as an affiliate and they’re getting a commission on the back end. We’ve worked with brands that have done that, where the influencers receive a certain percentage commission on any sales that they push to the website. So yeah, I think doing some sort of promo code or special offer, anything that feels exclusive or feels special, whether or not it actually is, you could be working with a couple different influencers if it is like a sneak peek at a flavor that you’re releasing that is special just to them, something that just really kind of feels a little bit unique.
Lindsey Leroy: [21:27]
You can also… If you don’t feel comfortable doing a discount code, if you’re pushing something that is a new product where it’s limited release, that’s another call to action where there’s this kind of finite amount of product and people are going to want to scoop it up immediately, things like that. So there’s a lot of different roads you can kind of take and yeah, I think it’s a great way to be able to track ROI as well.
Alison Smith: [21:58]
Yeah. For us, that’s the most important part, is being able to track it. Awesome. Well, hot tips coming from the PR ladies. What else do we got?
Lindsey Leroy: [22:07]
So in our dive onto Instagram, took a look at what are some of the community engagement or relationships that Willow St. Snacks has, whether that is retail or wholesale partners, or what are some of these giveaways with other brands and also really taking a look at what some of the competitors are doing and doing really well. And I think finding like-minded brands and opportunities to collaborate, whether that is a giveaway. And so that’s kind of like a group giveaway, where you have five products and you have to follow all of the brands in order to win or comment, it’s a great way to build your social media following and to gain visibility on some of these other brands’ platforms. It’s also a great way to potentially create other newsworthy PR moments, if you’re doing some sort of like a collaboration or partnership.
Lindsey Leroy: [23:19]
So a couple of opportunities that I think they did really well with, the CLEAN.FIT box is a great way to leverage other brands and really kind of create those connections on social media and really just kind of showcasing your products alongside the CPG community. And seeing what other like-minded brands are doing on social, and maybe it’s teaming up with another brand to co-host a hike, or including a bag of product in a swag bag at an event that is like a wellness event or something like that.
Stef Shapira: [24:05]
Those are basically like community building and partnership type things, which is in a sense, we have three pillars of what we do, which is media relations, influencers and then community building and partnerships. And those are the three ways that we pretty much suggest a brand is utilizing with PR to create brand awareness in different ways. So if someone sees a media story and then they also notice this brand is sponsoring a hike they’re going on, it’s just building that brand identity a bit more. So yeah, we’re always trying to think of, what are the ways in these three areas that brands can get in front of more people? Or even just build a stronger relationship with the same people.
Alison Smith: [24:56]
So do you guys have a set amount of giveaways or collaborations that you try to produce and run for clients? Is there a number that people should try to be hitting?
Lindsey Leroy: [25:13]
Not necessarily, I think it kind of just goes back to what your goals are and if your goals are to increase your social media following by X amount of follower in six months or something like that, that’s just one of the tactics and just kind of measuring how successful some of those partnerships or giveaways are, and then reassessing as needed. But I think for us, in this community building area, a lot of times, clients are really looking to increase visibility but also create partnerships that give them authenticity in that community and allow them to connect with people in a really different way. I mean, it’s a lifeline to consumers that doesn’t feel like they’re being advertised to. And so we’re always trying to find, as the landscape changes, we’re always trying to find creative ways to reach a target market. And this is just one of those different avenues that we find really effective and can be really fun.
Lindsey Leroy: [26:34]
Any sort of collaborations, whether that is a CBD brand coming up with a custom ice cream, it’s one way to get in front of the community and talk about the brand. And it also creates a newsworthy PR moment that we can then use to pitch to media. Plus, it allows great social media content. We can send it to influencers, which then creates UGC content. It offers up opportunities for marketing in newsletter content. And I think also connecting with like-minded brands, provides opportunities to lend yourself as an expert, whether that is giving tips on types of vegan snacks to bring on a picnic or entrepreneurial stories and tips for other brands, whether they’re using it on a guest blog or a newsletter and then vice versa.
Lindsey Leroy: [27:51]
So I think it just goes back to, long story short, figuring out what your goals are and what you’re hoping to achieve through that, and then kind of creating a strategy. But I think when you’re looking at I guess, Willow St. Snacks specifically, in terms of what some of the other opportunities and areas of opportunities are, we noticed that they are available in a couple retailers and leaning on them to help leverage their availability there, like Foragers in New York for example, opens them up to their network and using them as a resource for tips as well. So kind of using the same tactics with a different type of partner.
Karin Samelson: [28:43]
So many partnership opportunities. I love that. It’s like, why not? We talk about it on digital so much too. If there is an audience overlap, not overlap, but likeness, you got to partner. That’s how to find… I mean, it is one of the best ways to be able to grow your audience. So-
Lindsey Leroy: [29:02]
Yeah, for sure.
Karin Samelson: [29:04]
… great tips. Cool. Is there anything else PR related that you guys saw that you want to go over before we jump into the marketing and digital side?
Stef Shapira: [29:11]
I feel like that pretty much covers it.
Lindsey Leroy: [29:14]
I think there’s a lot of opportunity and I think it seems like a really interesting product. And I think there’s a great base with photography and with the story to kind of build on that, to create a lot of opportunities.
Karin Samelson: [29:29]
I love that. Opportunity. Good. And excuse me for the gentleman across the street revving his motorcycle engine. If you guys hear that, that’s what’s happening. So hopefully, that doesn’t bother you too much. But okay, so we’ve covered PR. Let’s get into a little bit of a marketing dive audit if you will, and we’re going to start with Instagram. So that’s always the first place that I look generally. I know I should go to a website, but I generally do look at the Instagram. Because I’m like, “What are they doing? How are they active? What kind of social proof do they have? What are they posting?”
Karin Samelson: [30:06]
So as I look through it, the main thing that catches my attention right away, is that it’s just product, product, product, product, product. And what we generally like to do, not generally, we always like to do this. We want to establish what we call messaging buckets. People call them content pillars. You can call them whatever you want, but there’s just these themed pieces of content that you can establish and create subtopics beneath it. So that the content that you’re putting out on social is super varied, it’s engaging. People are entertained and they want to keep following you. There’s no reason to follow anybody on social if you’re not being entertained in some way. So establishing those messaging buckets is going to be key. I don’t know if they’ve done it yet. It just seems like super product heavy, so I don’t feel like they have. But if you have, maybe just add a few more things. And one of the things that I think you guys can touch on so much more, is that when I look at your bio, I love your headline, biltong, jerky and vegan snacks. Super searchable, anybody can go in your search and find that, and it might bring you to their page.
Karin Samelson: [31:21]
But the first two words in their bio, outside of their headline says, “Responsible beefing.” I’m like, “Oh yeah, I love that. Yes, let’s talk about sustainability. Let’s talk about regenerative agriculture.” Let’s talk about whatever you guys think of when you want to say, call out responsible beefing. But when I’m looking through the content, I see nothing about responsible beefing. There’s very little to none. Actually, when I look at the past couple months, when it comes to that phrase, responsible beefing, responsible farming. So I would love to see that education messaging bucket super uplifted. And I think that ties into what you guys were talking about on PR and on the website it’s like we’re building a story. When we’re marketing, we’re storytelling, we’re trying to build the brand in that way. And that comes from touching on different aspects of the business, stressing the things that are really important to you and your mission. And that is really helpful in the content that you share. You guys are on the same page about that, right?
Stef Shapira: [32:29]
Yeah. And also, media and influencers like you, like most people, are also going to go to the Instagram page. Even if sometimes we send them the website first, everyone’s still going to look at Instagram to further see, visually see how they can flash out their story or if there’s more there. So yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense, to be using their social media account to really share that story too.
Karin Samelson: [32:56]
Yeah. Yeah, definitely. And another happy suggestion would be, if you guys don’t have a Canva account, get Canva. I want every brand to have Canva because it’s so dang easy and you don’t need a graphic designer and there’s so many templates and you guys have fun branding. So get a Canva account, upload your branded guidelines or brand colors and typography and all that good stuff. So that you can create a lot of fun educational content that way too. A lot of imagery, a lot of infographics and things like that generally perform really well in this space, because there’s a lot of information. A lot of education is shared. And I don’t know, some article posted, it’s just like 90 something, it’s a high number percent of consumers. Especially, the younger generation are talking about how they want to only purchase from mission based sustainable brands. So it’s like, “Let’s stress this as much as possible.” I love that you’re putting it in the bio but give it to me elsewhere.
Karin Samelson: [34:00]
Okay, another thing I saw. So link and bio. When we are on Instagram, you can’t add links anywhere else on your post. You have one place to put your link, give it to us, tell us where we need to go to immediately perform an action, a purchase. Giving you my email. Something that you want from me and generally, that’s not just the homepage of your website, unless you have a popup that comes up or something that’s going to get me right when I get to your website. So if there are multiple places that you want to send people, you have a little bit of recipe and blog content stuff. I know that you guys were featuring it lower in the feed. I don’t know if you’re doing it so much anymore. Use a link tree, use something that can insert a lot of different links and just make sure that those top ones are your most important ones.
Karin Samelson: [34:57]
So if you’re offering a percent off or you’re offering free shipping for first time, or a percent off for first time purchasers or free shipping on all orders or whatever it is, have that at the very top to entice people to click through. And then the last thing I want to talk about on Instagram, is variation in actual content. So what I love to see is that this brand is doing a little bit of behind the scenes, trying to talk about some of their employees, giving a little look at them. It’s a good idea to edit those a little bit more, I would say. So whether that’s to just knock off the first few seconds or so of you establishing the set, getting the person comfortable in front of the camera and things like that, you can edit that out. I’m not going to be nitpicky on this though, because I’m just glad you’re doing it. But with reels content, there’s so much opportunity here.
Karin Samelson: [35:53]
So just play with video content, keep playing with different types of content. But I would challenge this brand to keep it short and sweet, making some under 10 seconds. A lot of people are talking about the seven second thing right now, and try using trending audio. So a few ideas could be short farm clips. If you’re talking about responsible beefing, show it to me. Show me the responsible beefing. Pouring jerky into a bowl using slo-mo with some trending audio or the process of making biltong. You guys have the production facility. People love those process videos. Give us some of those, make them quick. And yeah, I think those are just some quick ideas that came to mind.
Lindsey Leroy: [36:35]
Do you guys have recommendations for brands on, I guess, the percentage of video to static posts and how much-
Stef Shapira: [36:46]
I was literally going to ask that same question.
Karin Samelson: [36:48]
Oh, well, both of y’all are asking.
Stef Shapira: [36:51]
So curious. We have to know.
Lindsey Leroy: [36:53]
Video performs really well. And I know that most people enjoy watching videos, but they can be a little bit more time consuming to make. But yeah, what would be your recommendation for that?
Karin Samelson: [37:06]
I would say, and it kind of plays into exactly what you said, establishing your goals, but in the same vein. I want to say whatever you are capable, because we’re talking to people, founders who are doing this themselves still. Whatever you are capable of doing with the time that you have allotted for your marketing, and I need you to allot some time for marketing. So if that means that you can only get one video out a month, then get that video out a month. If it means that you are able to get one a week, make it a goal to get that one out a week. So generally, the more video content, the better. You can always utilize trending things online that you see, as long as you ask permissions to reshare and things like that. But there’s so many little pieces of video content that you don’t need to try really hard on. Like I said, pouring jerky into a bowl and slo-mo. And then when you’re scrolling Instagram, they’re like, “Put this audio onto your last camera video and it’s romantic.” So little things like that, just play into it and try and see what hits because you never know.
Karin Samelson: [38:17]
But I think outside of just video, because that seems a little bit more intimidating for some people, I would stress the importance of varied content, whether it comes to carousel posts and static posts and video posts. And I think later, which is some social media software, just put out something that out of all of these millions of things that they’ve researched or pulled analytics from, carousel posts are some of the highest engaged, above static posts and above video posts, not reals. So it’s just like, “I want to see some carousel posts here too.” And that’s where Canva can come in, to make it really easy to do that. So there’s not a hard and fast answer to how many video posts I want a brand to do, but as much as you can is always a good answer.
Stef Shapira: [39:06]
Yeah. That makes sense. What else did you see in terms of tips, looking at their social?
Karin Samelson: [39:14]
Yeah. Honestly, that was… To not overwhelm, I think that’s the starting point that I want to share with them. Just keeping it varied, leaning into the short form video content, refining your actual content buckets or pillars or messaging buckets. And really talking about the responsible beefing part of it. Because if you’re going to put it up front and center like that, I want to see as much of that as possible. Yeah. And then some of this ties into website stuff. When I come to a website, no matter what website it is, I want you to get me with either a banner at the top or a popup that’s telling me that you’re going to give me something if I make a purchase. I want to feel that way, especially with these smaller brands. So a popup that says, “I need something from you, aka an email address, and I’m going to give you 10% off your first order.”
Karin Samelson: [40:12]
Because email always, always, always, no matter how big or small your brand is, should be one of your biggest marketing lovers because you own that data. It’s not on the whim of any other big social media corporation, you have these emails that they have given you and you can send them, responsibly, what you want to send them. So I want to see a popup for lead gen or I want to see a banner that tells me that you’re going to give me something in exchange for either an email or a purchase. So I want to see that first. And then, I’m glad that y’all said this earlier, when you were talking about PR, but coming to the website and seeing a picture of a cow and it’s just being grass fed beef. It’s like, “Okay, I get it. That’s cool, I like it.”
Karin Samelson: [41:02]
But let’s try and refine what that headline looks like, what that hero image looks like and the call to action. We want a button, we want to be able to click through and purchase. I want you to tell me where I need to go, I don’t want to have to search for it. So even if you want to have a picture of a beautiful… I wish I knew what kind of cow this was. It’s on the tip of my tongue, if anybody knows. But if you want to have that, overlay some of your packaging too. And have a call to action button that’s like, “Shop now,” or something that will get me to your collections page, to your shop page to potentially purchase.
Alison Smith: [41:40]
Yeah, I would love to see product or a product in use, something like that on this hero image. The cow photo is gorgeous though. Definitely you can utilize it in so many ways, but I completely agree with you there. Beyond just that hero image, investing, it’s such a thing. Investing in product photography is just so important for CPG brands. And I think having a shoot, it can be a small shoot with a local photographer, just trying to get some more package photos. And if you have any friends or family, or if you want to hire models to get their hands in the bags or their face in your bag, just getting some lifestyle photography as well as that studio or package photography, I think could really just elevate your entire marketing assets. So I highly recommend doing that.
Alison Smith: [42:46]
I would look at EPIC Provisions. I mean, love them. But their product photo is their packaging. And again, with CPG, packaging is so important. It’s what makes people stop when they’re shopping in retail. People want to see what they’re going to get and they like opening boxes and it’s really fun. So I think replacing your current product photos, which your branding is beautiful, to your actual package and then maybe some additional lifestyle photos, could really help conversions there. We had the same note, we already talked about what is biltong. So we know but not everyone else may know. So just-
Lindsey Leroy: [43:35]
[inaudible 00:43:35] we know. I had to look it up, but now that I know what it is-
Alison Smith: [43:41]
Oh, Lindsay did not know.
Stef Shapira: [43:43]
I have had other brands of biltong before, and it is delicious. So everyone should try it. If you eat-
Karin Samelson: [43:51]
Endorsed by Stef.
Stef Shapira: [43:54]
Even if you don’t eat meat, there is mushroom biltong, apparently.
Karin Samelson: [43:57]
She’s a saleswoman.
Lindsey Leroy: [44:00]
Sorry, when I started just kind of like Googling to do some more research on what biltong actually is. And I came across a couple competitors and seeing how they were explaining it. I think, Stryve is, I think might be how you say it. A really good job on their website and on their social and getting to the point on what biltong is and why you should love it. So that was something that I noticed. And back to what you were talking about, Alison with photography on the website. Having the lifestyle pictures, just how you enjoy the product, how you’re… Whether that’s like the hand in the bag or-
Stef Shapira: [44:41]
A hike.
Lindsey Leroy: [44:44]
… bag in your bag while you’re on the go. Just showing how you would use it, eat it and enjoy it. I think is so useful, not just for the website but also for us, for pitching, to be able to have great high res imagery, is such a value add. And it’s a great way to increase your odds of getting meat coverage.
Alison Smith: [45:08]
Yeah. I like how you put that, how the user is going to use it. Because when you’re buying a product, you’re really kind of thinking about yourself and how it’s going to change your life or improve your life. So I think that would be huge. And then on the educational piece, again, if you need to, I would do your own research and definitely look up Stryve. It’s S-T-R-Y-V-E, I believe. But try to relate it to the beef jerky eaters of the world. Why should they switch from beef jerky that they’ve eaten their whole life into biltong? And how is it different? How’s the taste better? Why is it better? All of those things are super important and they should be highlighted, as soon as you get to your website or really anywhere else.
Alison Smith: [46:03]
And then let’s move to paid social. So there’s no paid ads running but that’s okay. Not everyone needs to start off running ads, but we’d like to talk about some things that you could do, if you decide to run ads in the future. So this is kind of a website note as well, that Karin and I put together. So getting product bundles on your site. So we generally like to see the average order value on your site, at least at the $20 range. So 20 to 40 at least, I would say. So try bundling some of your best sellers and make a best seller pack. Do a three pack of your vegan jerky, do certain combinations based on the data that you’re seeing from customers and create more bundles. Also, I don’t think that you guys are using subscription at this time. This is a product that I think could make an awesome subscription for anyone that wants to come on your site and automatically get these to their door on a bi-monthly basis. So definitely try to get that AOV up just by doing those simple things like bundling and subscription.
Alison Smith: [47:22]
Again, the product photos. I think we need some lifestyle photos and show off the packaging again, that’s going to help with ad conversions as well, if you ever want to run ads. And then back to the educational side. So with ads, we’ve worked with a biltong brand before and there is going to be an initial educational piece to these ads, just because not everyone is aware yet of what it is. So I would really look into targeting the big beef jerky brands or people who love beef jerky as your audience is. And then just like everyone has been saying, layout why biltong is better than beef jerky, why you should make the switch. Targeting keto people, targeting people who are into paleo or other health. Anything that your products value propositions touch on, definitely look into targeting those people. And then of course, you can target the vegans with your mushroom jerky. So those are some audiences that you could look at.
Alison Smith: [48:32]
And then just looking at your actual product value props. So 17 grams of protein, thinly sliced and tender, no nitrates, no preservatives. Those would be awesome pieces of copy on your ads. Those are also things that you can include in your messaging on your organic social, or through your email marketing as well. So those are some really great value props on your product that you can definitely highlight. It’s also a low calorie, it’s a low calorie snack. So there’s so much stuff to talk about here, which is really exciting. And then talking back to those press hits that you’ve received. So again, those can make some really awesome ads because it gives you an extra dose of clout and social proof just starting off. So say you’re trying to expand in the Boston market or say, you even have a retailer in Boston and you’re wanting people to go and shop in store. You can run targeted ads in that area and use those press hits, those local press hits and really hit that audience hard with all that social proof. So definitely use all those assets that you already have if you decide to run ads in the future.
Alison Smith: [49:53]
We also are huge fans of UGC styled ads. So UGC means user generated content. Basically, it’s content that other people have created for you, or you can just DIY it and create it yourself. It looks just like really native looking content that your friend or family would post on their Instagram or on their Facebook. And it’s them taking the product on a hike, making a recipe or just simply eating it. And those types of ads with people in it, that look super native like they were shot on an iPhone, are generally the most highly converting ads that you can run. And the awesome part is, you don’t have to hire a photographer, a videographer to create them. You can send some to your friends and family, ask them to take photos, or if you’re running one of those influencer campaigns, make sure to ask them if you can use these types of content in your ads as well. And then I think someone brought up recipes as well, and I think it’s on your website. So using biltong in different recipes or as like a salad topper.
Alison Smith: [51:07]
Showing people how to actually use the product beyond just snacking, could be really interesting for content. We also love any behind the scenes. Like if you are visiting a farm where your cows are raised, or if you want to talk about your story and your mission and why you came to create this product, those types of ads are also really, really powerful. And then highlight definitely that you have free shipping. So free shipping increases conversions, I would say 90% of the time. So highlighting that you have free shipping on your site for all domestic orders through your ad creatives, is really going to help people go and check out. And if you do decide to use one of those lead generation popups on your site, and offer like 10% off if someone signs up for your email, you can also use that 10% off in your ads to help those first time buyers actually initiate a checkout. It’s going to help them push them over the edge. So I just ran through that y’all. Those are my little paid social ad tips. I also think that this brand could kill it on Amazon. I don’t know if you guys are running Amazon ads. We’re not an Amazon ads agency, but I think this brand really suits itself for Amazon as well.
Stef Shapira: [52:28]
I was going to say it’s just helpful for us. I think we both kind of know what the other company… What are counterparts in this do, but to hear how it all ties together, like for a press hit, we get the press hit and then it can be maximized on a paid ad. Or we work with an influencer and they create user generated content, which then can be used on the actual account or obviously, a paid ad and other things like that. So it’s like really ideally, a brand is doing all of these things, but I know it’s a lot. So even just taking pieces of this and figuring out how to maximize it from the PR into the marketing or vice versa, I guess.
Alison Smith: [53:22]
Definitely, it’s like an ecosystem that you don’t want to work harder. Just really think about how you can use those assets across all of your marketing channels.
Lindsey Leroy: [53:33]
And support each other [inaudible 00:53:35] essentially, for the same goal.
Alison Smith: [53:38]
Yeah. Yeah. We have the same goal, exactly. Make some sales. All right, PR team, The Rind, anything else you want to leave our listeners with?
Lindsey Leroy: [53:52]
I would just say that if you ever have any questions about whether or not you’re ready for PR or how to get started, just contact us. We also, in addition to offering monthly PR services and launch campaigns, we also offer consulting. So we do brand audits just like this one with kind of a tailored toolkit to your brand. So we’ll dive into what you guys are doing and what you can be doing.
Alison Smith: [54:26]
That is awesome. I think that’s super duper valuable. And also UMAI Marketing has a free five day mini course. So if you are a young brand or if you’re a marketer who wants to brush up on your digital marketing, you can sign up for our mini course and The Rind PR’s audits. And we’ll link both of those in the show notes.
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 @umaimarketing, or check out our website, Catch you back here soon.