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#48: Refining your brand strategy with Meghan and Sam

UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#48: Refining your brand strategy with Meghan and Sam

Welcome to episode #48 where we’re diving into branding for your consumer goods brands. Our co-founders, Alison and Karin, have teamed up with dynamic duo: Meghan Martin, our Strategy Director, and Sam Laubach, our Creative Director to bring you this episode. Meghan and Sam, cousins and business partners, started Here and Now Creative Co. years ago to bring strategic and eye-catching branding and packaging to the CPG world. Fast forward 5 years, and their work has graced Forbes, Shark Tank, Vogue, and beyond, AND they’ve now partnered with UMAI to provide branding and packaging offerings under the UMAI umbrella. Get ready to talk about brand strategies and packaging expertise, folks. Let’s dive in! 🎧 

Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:59 – 5:05] Introduction to Meghan and Sam
[5:07 – 6:12] The decision to team up with UMAI
[6:13 – 9:23] Exploring essential brand strategy elements and their significance 
[9:24 – 11:30] Effective visual identity strategies for brand differentiation
[11:31 – 15:14] Brands and trendy visual identity: fad or strategy?
[15:15 – 19:04] Optimizing brand visual identity: strategies for success
[19:05 – 22:26] Common branding pitfalls
[22:27 – 23:52] Branding advice for small and emerging businesses
[23:53 – 25:33] Closing + affordable Mini Brand Guide for startups and emerging brands

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#48: Refining your brand strategy with Meghan and Sam

Alison Smith: [0:17]
Howdy, listeners. We’re Alison.
Karin Samelson: [0:18]
And I’m Karin.
Alison Smith: [0:19]
And we love growing CPG brands.
Karin Samelson: [0:22]
We’re the founders of a digital and social media marketing agency, UMAI Marketing, and creators of The Consumer Goods Growth Course, where we’ve helped grow dozens of brands to six and seven figures.
Alison Smith: [0:32]
We’re former in-house marketers turned consumer goods marketing educators, who’ve set off on a mission to provide CPG founders and marketers with actionable strategies that drive community and sales. We’re talking real results.
Karin Samelson: [0:46]
If you’re wanting to learn simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies needed to drive real brand growth, without breaking the bank or sacrificing your social life, then this is the podcast for you. Let’s get into today’s episode.

Karin Samelson: [0:59]
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 Meghan Martin and Sam Laubach, our new strategy director and creative director leading our branding and packaging efforts here at UMAI. Thanks for being on the podcast today, y’all.

Meghan Martin & Samantha Laubach: [1:24]
Thanks for having us.

Karin Samelson: [1:26]
Yeah. How’s your day been?

Meghan Martin: [1:28]
Good. Good.

Samantha Laubach: [1:31]
Good, good. Excited to have our chat today.

Karin Samelson: [1:32]
Yes, we’re talking branding.

Alison Smith: [1:37]
Branding is so exciting. I’m excited for this.

Karin Samelson: [1:41]
Yeah, and honestly, we have partnered … We now have branding and packaging at UMAI, but Meghan and Sam have a lot to teach us, as they’re the experts. So we’re going to kind roll through some of that and hopefully learn alongside of you guys. But before we start, we’d love to get a little bit of background on how you came into these roles. So Meghan, do you want to start?

Meghan Martin: [2:03]
Yeah, absolutely. I’ll kick it off. For me, I had started my branding career pretty much right out of school. Was working at a creative agency, and then after that went in-house for a tech company. And then I remember working in that tech company, we were sitting in a meeting with a creative agency and I was like, “Wow, I really would like to be back on the other side of the table.” So not long after that, Sam and I started freelancing together and then we decided to go for it full time. Now we’ve had here now for the last five years and have built brands for lots of different types of businesses and been able to work with clients pretty much all over the world.

Karin Samelson: [2:42]
Nice. Yeah, that’s such an interesting thought of being on the other side of the table and just being like, “This isn’t right. This doesn’t feel right.” So glad you could get back onto the creative side, agency side.

Meghan Martin: [2:55]
Yes. It was eyeopening for sure.

Karin Samelson: [2:58]
Sam, what about you?

Samantha Laubach: [3:01]
So I had some in-house experience when I was still in school. And then when I graduated I had another in-house job. And I remember being, for lack of better, I was unfulfilled with what I was doing. I was doing a lot of websites, a lot of more digital work. And I remember at that point I think I had dabbled a little bit in branding. And I remember Meghan texting me one day being like, “Why don’t we join forces?” And at first I was like, “I don’t know. I mean, I don’t know how that would work.” And then eventually we went for it and then the rest was history. Basically we went full time, and five years later our work’s been featured in Forbes and Vogue and we had a client on Shark Tank. It’s been a wild ride. Many twists and turns. And now we’re here.

Alison Smith: [3:48]
Yeah, y’all are just so creative and killing it. I love it. I mean, Forbes, Vogue, Shark Tank. That’s amazing. How did y’all feel when those publications and media happened? How does that feel?

Samantha Laubach: [4:05]
It’s so satisfying. I remember the Shark Tank being … Because we’re cousins also, so our whole family knew, everyone was watching it. It was a really big deal. It was very, very cool.

Meghan Martin: [4:16]
Yeah, Shark Tank was probably the biggest, because it was TV. We could actually watch it in real time. So that was probably the biggest one. That was pretty awesome. And then the others were media publications, so they’re still exciting, but not quite as fun as being able to watch it on TV.

Karin Samelson: [4:32]
Sorry, I have to say, the Sharks have seen your work. That is so crazy. That’s a big deal.

Samantha Laubach: [4:38]
It is so crazy. Yeah.

Alison Smith: [4:43]
Were any deals made? Did anyone … Who made the deal?

Meghan Martin: [4:47]
Yeah. Think it was Mr. Wonderful.

Alison Smith: [4:50]
Love it. And now, I mean we’re so excited to join forces, with just such an amazing talented duo. So let’s give everyone a bit of a background on how we decided to just team up.

Meghan Martin: [5:07]
Yeah, I think we’ve known each other for a while. We’ve worked with the same clients, we’ve referred work back and forth to each other for quite some time, and then the conversation kind of started of why don’t we see if it makes sense to just actually work all under one roof? And then you guys kind of brought that to the table and we were like, “Yes, let’s try it.” And it made a lot of sense. A lot of our clients have asked, “How do we continue working on our end?” It’s hard to just give a client a finished project and be like, “Okay, that’s it.” And not be able to help them continue to grow that brand. So it made a lot of sense on that end to be able to continue seeing how the brand can grow beyond just initial launch.

Alison Smith: [5:50]
Yeah, absolutely. I mean, it just makes so much sense that the continuation of how the brand should look goes more into the strategy on how we continue to present the brand to actual consumers, whether it be retail, or D2C, e-commerce, what have you. So makes a lot of sense. We’re super excited about it. Let’s now get into the nitty-gritty and teach everyone your ways. So tell us first a bit about what’s included in a brand strategy. Why is it important for brands to really nail that down?

Meghan Martin: [6:32]
Yes, brand strategy is super important. Brand strategy is the why behind everything that you do. It’s essentially the foundation of your brand. And it allows you to answer the questions, does doing this thing make sense for my brand? Does talking to this audience or following this trend even makes sense for my brand? So that’s where strategy comes in. And what’s included varies depending on who you’re working with and what their process looks like. But for us, the process includes mission, vision, brand statement, your brand assets or idea, your target audience positioning and your unique selling point, and then also your brand values. Those are kind of the core things that we focus on, on brand strategy. And then all of those allow us to then make the right decision for design and for the creative work.

Karin Samelson: [7:24]
Yeah. And what does the brand risk if they don’t establish this at the beginning?

Meghan Martin: [7:34]

Samantha Laubach: [7:34]
Everything. Yeah.

Meghan Martin: [7:37]
A lot of things for sure. But I’d say the biggest is inconsistency. And that is the thing that everyone asks us for. That’s what everyone wants out of their brand when they come to us is how do I create something cohesive? How do I create consistency across all of everything that I’m putting out into the world? And that strategy is what allows you to do that, especially that core essence of who you are. That’s what creates that consistency. And without it, you’re going to kind of be guessing a little bit. You don’t have any filter for, again, that question of does this make sense?

Karin Samelson: [8:11]
And so a brand that maybe is a little bit down the road, they’ve been in business for a few years and they think that they have that bund up. Is it ever too late to reflect back on it, to work on it again, to breathe new life into it?

Samantha Laubach: [8:31]
I would say no. I feel like it’s- You really should be evaluating it, if not every year, I would say twice a year, just making sure, are we still talking to the same target audience? Has that shifted? Do we need to make any changes in our messaging? Are we staying true to our brand values? Say you’re launching a new product, does this even make sense for who we are as a brand, or are we just trying to appeal to all these different people? So I would say it’s never too late.

Alison Smith: [8:58]
Yeah. And if you really are noticing those cracks and inconsistencies, then I mean it’s the same with marketing. We bring on a brand and we notice certain channels aren’t making sense, the ROI is not there. We go back to the foundations and really think about the basics and what’s really going to work. So same with marketing really aligns there.

Alison Smith: [9:24]
So tell us how new and existing brands can use their visual identity to really stand out in their space. I mean, there’s so many categories like ready-to-drink coffees and things like that that can seem overcrowded. So how can that brand stand out on the shelf?

Samantha Laubach: [9:48]
I would say do a competitor analysis. That’s the biggest thing and that’s part of the strategy. And also figure out what makes you different. That’s again, that big part of the strategy is how are you unique from your competitors? Is it your story? Honestly, it all goes back to strategy. Our design is so intentional that we don’t do any creative or design without making sure that it’s super, super intentional.

Meghan Martin: [10:12]
Yeah, I’d agree. It all comes back to strategy at the end of the day. And your values again are going to help your unique selling point compared to your competitors. And also your values, I would say are your biggest points to refer back to when you’re trying to figure out how do I stand out, and what makes me unique.

Karin Samelson: [10:31]
Yeah. So standing out isn’t just what’s on your pretty packaging, what it looks like on the shelf? Well, that’s a big part of it. There’s a lot that goes on in the backend. And honestly, I can’t tell you how many times that we’ve had discovery calls with people that were interested in marketing and we say like, “Okay, who are your biggest competitors? Just so we can jog our memories, have a good idea, write it down so we can do some research later.” And some brands will say, “We don’t have any competitors,” or, “We don’t know who they are.” And so that’s honestly, it’s not a red flag because we’re all learning, but it’s a moment to reflect and be like, you do have competitors. Somewhere along the line you have somebody that’s doing something similar unless it’s completely new innovation, but how often does that happen? So that’s a really good reminder to do that analysis and do all that upfront strategy work to make sure you stand out.
So let’s talk a little bit about trends in branding. We see it a lot where a lot of packaging, a lot of branding kind of looks all the same because it’s following this super Gen Z trendy stuff that’s going on, but it’s cute and it’s nice for now, but what are your thoughts about brands hopping on these trends when it comes to their visual identity and their brand identity?

Meghan Martin: [11:57]
Yeah, I think that’s where, again, favorite word of the day strategy comes in because, again … Yeah, I think, and a lot of founders get Shiny Object Syndrome as well where they’re like, “Oh, we like what this brand’s doing and this brand’s doing.” And as you said, it’s a trend right now, but is that going to last the length of time? And that’s again, we’re coming in, what are your values? What is your story? What makes you unique? And then that influences the design. So we’re not just looking at the trends we’re looking at, yes, we obviously want you to look current and modern, but also beyond that. What happens in five years when gradients are no longer popular, or whatever the current trend is? You have to be able to think long-term, and think deeper than just, “Okay, this is pretty right now.”

Alison Smith: [12:49]
I love that you talked about ingredients too, and I love that y’all dive that deep. I recently had a conversation with someone in the keto space and their branding was all about keto. And that was huge, and they probably made a ton of money when keto really was at its peak, but if you go to Google Trends right now, it’s slowly on the decline and now they’re like, “Oh, shoot. We have to rebrand and rethink not only our packaging, but our messaging and who we’re targeting as well, because it’s now not the biggest thing in the world.” We’ve moved on. So it’s just really huge that y’all actually dive in that deep to really consider things like that as well.

Karin Samelson: [13:34]
I really like that you brought that up, Alison, because Meghan said gradients like color gradients.

Meghan Martin: [13:43]
Gradients. So true. It’s true.

Samantha Laubach: [13:44]
Which is so true.

Meghan Martin: [13:45]
It trends across the board.

Alison Smith: [13:48]
Meghan, you said gradients?

Meghan Martin: [13:50]
Yes, gradients, yeah. Like the design. Yes. But ingredients too. Because your brand is more than your product as well. Actually really good brands, the product doesn’t matter. People go in, you see these brands that are super successful and it’s because they’re selling beyond their product. They’re selling something that people want to be part of beyond the product. So that’s something always we push founders to think about as well is, who are you? What do you stand for beyond just this product? Especially if you’re starting new in a category, this is kind of an interesting place to be because right now, yeah, you might not have competitors in that category to Karin’s point, but you will, especially if you’re first in your category, and then they’re going to come in and do it better. So how do you keep that expectation and keep your recognition and your own space, your own lane in that category when you’re no longer the only one in it?

Alison Smith: [14:55]
Yeah. Well, sorry for not hearing you correctly, but I’m glad we got to talk about that as well. We’ve dug really deep into kind of the behind the scenes, the strategy, the messaging, and you did speak on Shiny Object Syndrome, but I really want to hear y’all’s thoughts about the actual end product, whether it be the packaging or just their overall typography, visual identity, things like that. How can a brand really execute their best visual identity? What are the most important things? What goes on the packaging? Let’s talk about really the pretty stuff.

Samantha Laubach: [15:43]
I mean, pretty packaging always wins. It’s always going to, so I think it’s just, again, staying true to who you are, and all of those pieces are part of the puzzle of what makes up your brand. So I feel like you don’t have to have the most interesting looking font. You can have a really simple clean font, but if it’s done really well and it communicates what your product is really well, and people can understand what it is on the shelf automatically, people don’t want to have to work to understand who you are and what you’re selling. So being able to communicate it in a way that’s clear and looks really good, they don’t have to waste any brain calories on it. That’s the biggest thing.

Meghan Martin: [16:20]
That is something I think a shift in packaging that is definitely happening. Having a ton of call-outs on the front of packaging used to be so important, and that’s how everyone did it. And now I think you’re really seeing this change, this shift into just simplicity. And it’s interesting because, and it’s a question we get a lot of, what do I need to put on my packaging? How much stuff should I have on the front where it’s visible? And I think it really depends on the impact that you want to make. I’ve seen brands that do really well, that actually have literally nothing but their logo on the front. They have no information about the product, but when they’re sitting on a shelf already in category, you already have that context of, I know what this product is because it’s sitting with these other products and it’s in this place in the store. So it’s interesting, and I think it just goes back to strategy as everything does. But, yeah.

Alison Smith: [17:21]
Yeah, I mean, we love that y’all are strategic minded. Just another anecdote, back in the day we worked with a brand and their consumer was most definitely women who were 65 and up. And they decided to rebrand. They did not work with y’all, even though we asked them to work with y’all, they worked with someone else. Not going to name names. It was a beautiful rebrand, but it had gradient, actually, I’m pretty sure it had gradient. It was going after the Gen Z category, which is fine. You do want to expand your user base. Absolutely. But it just did not fit whatsoever, and we had a hard time really going after the actual consumers. It was a fairly new brand. And that just goes to say, if you are going to work with a branding or packaging agency, and you decide not to go with us, that’s totally fine, but just make sure that strategy is equally as important as creativity with that agency. Otherwise, you’re kind of set up for failure down the line when you go to actually market your brand.

Karin Samelson: [18:41]
That was a tough one. We really loved the brand so much, and it was so fun marketing to this older crowd. And they are purchasers, they have the money, they could buy whatever they want, whatever they want. And then it was like, “Oh, okay. This just isn’t the same.” Yeah, womp-womp. But yeah, that’s upsetting.

Alison Smith: [19:05]
Yeah. Okay. Well, let’s close this out with a big question that I think every brand really wants to know, is maybe on their mind. What is the biggest mistake that you see brands make when it comes to their branding? Or we can talk about packaging.

Samantha Laubach: [19:22] 
Not adhering to your brand guide or style guide, and jumping on every single trend. Because again, it’s not going to be consistent. No one’s going to know who you are. You need brand recognition. That’s one of the most important things. And brand loyalty. And not adhering to your brand guide is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.

Karin Samelson: [19:41]
Can you give an example of that, Sam? Yeah.

Samantha Laubach: [
Say you’re on Canva and you want to start using this new template, and it’s every other week, it’s a new template. And no shade to Canva at all, I think it’s a great tool, but it’s more of like when you’re using pre-made designs that weren’t designed for you with your brand, and your fonts and your colors and even your imagery, then you’re designing these new things every single time. And when someone’s on their Instagram or whatever and they land on this post, they’re not going to know that that’s your brand because it’s like, “Oh, this doesn’t even look like what their brand looks like.” So we see it all the time, and it’s a shame. As brand designers, it’s a shame.

Meghan Martin: [20:23]
Yeah, it’s tough, especially if you’ve designed the brand and all of a sudden you’re like, “What are you doing?” Yeah, that’s a big one. Mine would be similar, but not having your core essence of who you are defined and trying to piece things together or just, again, I think early stage, if you’re not thinking bigger picture, you start thinking, I need a logo, I need fonts, I need a color palette. And you’re not thinking about the full picture. And that’s again, where inconsistencies come in to play because you don’t have that full vision defined ahead of time. So similar to Sam’s, but more in the core essence of who you are beyond your visuals.

Alison Smith: [21:06]
Yeah, I mean, we are all for Canva templates. Use Canva templates, just upload your typography and your colors first, use the template and then click one button and it’s your typography. I mean, that’s the only thing. Just make sure that you’re actually using what your branding agency gave you.

Meghan Martin: [21:30]
Yeah. And repeat them. I think that’s the other thing is, again, it’s the, “Oh, we’ll put a new template, and a brand new thing.” And it’s something else new. Reuse and repeat and create consistency because that is how you get that recognition. And you can keep using the same layout per se, or you can keep using same elements to create that consistency without changing it completely every single time.

Karin Samelson: [21:54]
Yeah, I think that’s a big thing that we see with marketing too, is that there is no need to reinvent the wheel all the time. And we tend to over complicate things as humans all the time because we want to be better, we want to perform better, we want it to look better. But it’s just a reminder that if your brand identity is strong and your visual identity is strong, then there’s no need to reinvent it all the time. It’s lean in to what was built for you with your brand and product in mind. So I love that advice.

Is there anything else that you would like to leave our audience with in terms of a lot of folks listening have smaller brands, emerging brands, and if they have been using Canva templates and not following their brand guidelines, or they maybe haven’t even started creating their branding yet, what would a big piece of advice be for them?

Samantha Laubach: [22:53]
Get really clear on who you are, what makes you different. And if you don’t have a visual identity yet, then pick four colors that you want to use for every single asset you create and stick to them. And then choose one or two fonts, and just keep it simple. I think when in doubt, just keep it simple. I think people over complicate it and it doesn’t have to be at all. But I would say the biggest thing is get clear on who you are and what makes you different.

Meghan Martin: [23:!19]
Yeah, that would be mine as well is … Well a little bit more to it. Get clear on who you are and also, who are you beyond? What do you want to be known for and what do you want to stand for beyond your product?

Alison Smith: [23:36]
Love it. I feel like everyone should ask their self that too.

Meghan Martin: [23:41]
It is. It’s kind of the same. Yeah.

Samantha Laubach: [23:42]
Branding is very personal and it’s kind of like a person. It really is like a person.

Alison Smith: [23:48]
Treat your brand like it’s a human being. Love that.

Samantha Laubach: [23:51]

Karin Samelson: [23:52]
Well, all right. Thank you so much Meghan and Sam for being here during this episode and talking about branding and educating us. And thank you everyone for tuning in. And we want to share something that we are now offering to a exclusive group of founders each month. We are introducing a mini brand guide offering for early stage and emerging brand founders at a very, very reduced price point. So you guys know we love giving back where we can and we talk to dozens of founders every single month who have the same pain point. Their product ideation and development is super strong, but their branding needs a lot of support and guidance to gain consumer interest and sales down the road. So as mentioned in this episode is the importance of a well constructed and thought out brand guide before you start on anything else, including your marketing.

And that’s why we’re opening up applications for our mini brand guide. To help you refine your brand’s visual identity, we’ll be taking on only three brands a month and in only one week, we will help you define your brand direction, including color palette, type, hierarchy, imagery, use and direction, brand voice and examples and strategic elements, as well as application mock-ups so that you can see this direction in action for your emails and social posts and all of your marketing. So if you’d like to apply for an exclusive spot, go to to learn more and apply now. And we can’t wait to help you refine that visual identity.

Karin Samelson: [25:34]
Thanks for listening to the UMAI Social circle, y’all. We’re here to support you in your CPG journey, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new podcast episodes. And while you’re at it, please leave us a review on your listening platform of choice. Shoot us a DM at UMAI Marketing on Instagram, if you have any topics you want us to cover on new podcast episodes.

Alison Smith: [25:53]
And don’t forget to access our free masterclass where we’re showing you how to create a solid marketing strategy. You can access that at, and we’ll meet you back here for the next episode.


Join below for marketing inspo & trends 👇👇👇

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Branding and Packaging Case Studies


Branding and Packaging Case Studies

Branding and packaging play a crucial role in the success of consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. These elements aren’t just cosmetic additions, they are strategic tools that directly impact a brand’s ability to stand out on the shelf, connect with consumers, and drive those sales!!

In a highly competitive marketplace, where consumers are bombarded with choices, effective branding and packaging can make the difference between a product’s success and failure. It’s about conveying value, building trust, and influencing purchasing decisions.

CPG brands must start with, and continuously leverage, quality branding to remain relevant and competitive in today’s fast-paced consumer landscape.

[[ Interested in branding and packaging services? Book a call HERE. ]]

Let’s take a look at some of our branding and packaging case studies for CPG brands…



Services provided: 

  • Brand Strategy 
  • Visual Identity 
  • Packaging Design 
  • Creative Direction

Objective: To create a conceptual, non-alcoholic aperitif brand that’s meant to be enjoyed simply with no end result in mind.

Brand Inspiration: Although ethereal in design, the intention for this not-so-boozy libation is to enjoy where you are. It is a moment of bliss created by nothing other than the partaker’s willingness to embrace it.

For the brand’s inspiration, we set our scene in a garden where you see a butterfly gently flap its wings and float around the flowers. It is a reminder to stop and appreciate the moment. The brand’s visual identity is an ode to this scene. Each flavor takes on a specific theme with a specific flavor profile – allowing you to be fully present when partaking.


  1. Simplicity: Monarch’s essence lies in its simplicity. No lofty promises, just an invitation to revel in the present.
  2. Mindfulness: The brand’s very soul encourages mindful living, an antidote to our hectic world.
  3. Nature’s Elegance: The garden and butterfly evoke nature’s grace, harmonizing with Monarch’s calming presence.
  4. Indulgence in the Now: Monarch is more than a beverage; it’s a moment of bliss, born from your willingness to embrace it.
  5. Music and Experience: The Monarch playlist enhances the experience, offering a sensory journey that aligns with each flavor.


  1. Ethereal Design: The packaging design mirrors the garden scene, creating a tangible connection with Monarch’s inspiration.
  2. Flavor Themes: Each Monarch flavor carries a unique visual theme, enhancing the anticipation and enjoyment of the drinking experience.
  3. Present-Centric: The packaging communicates the brand’s focus on the present, encouraging a pause in the chaos.
  4. Uncomplicated Luxury: Monarch’s packaging embodies luxury without pretension, celebrating simplicity.
  5. Invitation: The packaging is an open invitation to sit back, sip slowly, and savor the moment.


Services provided: 

  • Visual Identity 
  • Creative Direction
  • Social Assets

Objective: To elevate the existing Hi, skin brand by creating a seamless experience that blends the interior design of the studios with all other customer touchpoints.

Brand Inspiration: From the terrazzo floors to the bold color palette, and even the fun music, this place is completely unique to any other facial studio. Taking inspiration from the one-of-a-kind interior design of the studios, we developed an identity that carries this uniqueness throughout all brand applications.


  1. Unique Interior Design Integration: Elevating the Hi, skin brand meant seamlessly merging the distinctive studio interior design with all customer interactions. Step into a Hi, skin studio, and you’ll dive headfirst into an unforgettable experience.
  2. Studio-Inspired Identity: Our branding journey drew inspiration from the inimitable studio aesthetics, crafting an identity that extends this distinctiveness across all brand touchpoints. In collaboration with the innovative minds at Willa Creative, we elevated the brand experience, inviting individuals not just to greet their skin but to forge a lasting relationship with it.
  3. Playful Brand Personality: Our brand personality and messaging embrace a playful and welcoming tone. The use of circles, lines, and negative space layouts mirrors the very elements that grace the physical studio space, weaving the studio’s essence into every aspect of Hi, skin.


Services provided: 

  • Visual Identity Design
  • Product Naming
  • Creative Direction
  • Packaging Design

Objective: To reimagine and revamp the brand identity and packaging design by telling the unique story of MAGICDATES through its authentic values and voice.

Brand Inspiration: MAGICDATES draws its inspiration from the rich tapestry of Middle Eastern culture, where the date holds a cherished place in tradition and nostalgia. Founder Diana Jarrar’s own upbringing in Damascus, Syria, and her deep-rooted connection to both Syrian and Palestinian heritage serve as the brand’s wellspring of authenticity. By fusing the allure of dates with the power of storytelling, MAGICDATES not only honors ancient culinary traditions but also invites consumers to embark on a sensory journey, where every bite is a taste of culture, love, and cherished memories.


  1. Authenticity: MAGICDATES embodies the authentic values and traditions of Middle Eastern cultures, celebrating the timeless appeal of dates.
  2. Cultural Connection: The brand leverages Diana’s background to connect with consumers through the rich heritage of Syria and Palestine.
  3. Storytelling: MAGICDATES uses its packaging to tell a unique story of culture, love, and food, fostering a deeper connection with customers.
  4. Emotional Appeal: The brand taps into nostalgia and fond childhood memories associated with dates, creating an emotional bond with consumers.


  1. Immersive Experience: The packaging design aims to immerse consumers in the brand’s story and inspiration.
  2. Artistic Collaboration: Zeindee Designs, an illustrator, collaborates with the brand to create stunning ingredient artwork featured across all product variations.
  3. Homage to Homeland: The packaging design incorporates layered landscapes inspired by the beauty of the Middle East, particularly the homeland of the sweet treat’s origin.
  4. Mosaic Patterns: Mosaic tile patterns adorn the packaging’s gusset, paying homage to the region’s artistic traditions.
  5. Line Differentiation: To help consumers easily distinguish between product lines, the original line features a daytime scene, while the chocolate-covered line showcases a night scene.


Services provided: 

  • Creative Direction
  • Content Strategy
  • Social Media Content Creation
  • Imagery Direction

Objective: To create a curated social media direction that accurately reflects the brand’s personality and appeals to its target audience.

Brand Inspiration: Gwell draws its inspiration from the profound belief that well-being should be an everyday privilege, not a distant aspiration. Founded on a personal journey of resilience and self-discovery, Gwell embodies the spirit of inclusivity, authenticity, and approachability. It aspires to disrupt the wellness industry’s high standards and unreachable price tags, instead offering functional snacks infused with humor, relatability, and a dash of playfulness. Gwell’s vibrant color palette and down-to-earth imagery reflect a brand that celebrates the beauty of individuality and promotes accessible wellness for all. In every bite and interaction, Gwell aims to inspire others to live better and embrace a balanced, wholesome lifestyle.


  1. Brand Identity: This encompasses the overall personality,values, and mission of Gwell, which revolves around promoting wellness and making it accessible for all.
  2. FounderStory: Highlighting Fawziyya’s personal journey and the origin of Gwell’s products, which adds a human touch to the brand and conveys authenticity.
  3. Target Audience Segmentation: Understanding and catering to two distinct audience segments, health enthusiasts, and aspiring health seekers, is a critical part of the branding strategy.
  4. Uniqueness: Emphasizing Gwell’s unique approach to wellness compared to other brands in the industry, characterized by a laid back attitude.
  5. Playful Color Palette: The use of colors in branding to evoke a light-hearted and approachable image.


Services provided: 

  • Brand Strategy
  • Visual Identity
  • Creative Direction
  • Product Photography Art Direction

Objective: To reimagine the idea of a ‘spiritual’ brand – stepping away from the boho, witchcraft, new age brand directions that overwhelm the market, and instead imagine an entirely different approach that speaks to an audience looking for a unique experience. 

Brand Inspiration: Basic Ritual Supply Co. draws its inspiration from the captivating duality of simplicity and boldness. Like the serene surface of a calm lake concealing the depth beneath, our brand combines straightforward accessibility with unapologetic uniqueness. We’re driven by the spirit of the ’90s, where nostalgia meets modernity, and where the ordinary transforms into something extraordinary. Our identity celebrates individuality and empowers practitioners to express themselves freely, all while making the world of crystals and candle magic refreshingly basic, approachable, and absolutely unforgettable.


  1. Unveiling the Duality: Basic Ritual Supply Co. artfully balances the abstract and practical aspects of spirituality. Our brand makes the esoteric accessible.
  2. Simple and Iconic: Brand identity hinges on ‘basic’ elements. Typography, colors, and icons prioritize simplicity while incorporating distinctive details.
  3. 90s Nostalgia: Infused with ’90s nostalgia, our visual identity captures attention and resonates with individuals who embrace uniqueness.
  4. Color Palette: Our palette blends primary colors with vibrant accents, creating a harmonious yet attention-grabbing visual tone.
  5. Typography System: A clean sans-serif font is complemented by occasional script fonts, underscoring the brand’s duality and approachability.


Services provided: 

  • Brand Strategy
  • Visual Identity
  • Packaging Design
  • Creative Direction

Objective: To create a conceptual beer brand that creates a unique experience for the alternative target audience.

Brand Inspiration: After Hours Alcoholic Beverage draws its inspiration from the laid-back vibes of the California beach lifestyle. It’s all about embracing the alternative, youthful spirit that comes alive when the sun sets and the night begins. The brand is punchy, captivating, and designed to resonate with those seeking unique experiences. With a conceptual approach that speaks to potential partners and a packaging that features vibrant beach-inspired graphics and bold typography, After Hours aims to be the go-to choice for those seeking a taste of the after-hours adventure.


  1. Lifestyle Branding: The brand is centered around a California beach lifestyle, appealing to a youthful and alternative audience.
  2. Youthful Appeal: Designed to attract a young and alternative audience.
  3. Conceptual Branding: The brand is conceptual but has garnered significant attention.
  4. Attractive Visuals: The branding is captivating and attention-grabbing.


  1. Vibrant Label Design: The label design is vibrant and eye-catching.
  2. Beach-Inspired Graphics: Graphics on the packaging draw inspiration from California beaches.
  3. Bold Typography: Typography on the packaging is bold and distinctive.
  4. Shelf Appeal: The packaging stands out on the shelf and attracts attention.
  5. Alluring Visuals: Visual elements on the packaging are alluring and enticing.


Services provided: 

  • Visual Identity Design
  • Creative Direction
  • Website Design
  • Social Media Content Creation

Objective: To build a brand identity and lifestyle around Storica’s newest wine, a fruity, dry rosé.

Brand Inspiration: Inspired by the vibrant and mystical tapestry of Armenian culture, SHOFER Rosé redefines the world of rosé wines. It celebrates the rich heritage of Armenian winemaking, blending tradition with a fresh, modern perspective. SHOFER invites wine lovers to explore a global community connected by a shared respect for ancient wine traditions, all while savoring the refreshing, red-berried flavors of Armenia’s finest grapes. With a timeless style and an immersive design, SHOFER Rosé encapsulates the essence of Armenia’s wine culture, inviting consumers to embark on a sensory journey with each sip.


  1. Brand Identity: SHOFER Rosé aims to establish a strong and unique brand identity that sets it apart from other rosé wine brands. The brand identity is deeply rooted in celebrating Armenian culture and heritage.
  2. Cultural Celebration: SHOFER Rosé positions itself as a wine brand that goes beyond style, focusing on substance by celebrating the vibrancy and mystique of Armenian culture. This cultural celebration becomes a central element of the brand’s identity.
  3. Heritage Respect: The brand values ancient winemaking heritage while presenting it with a fresh, modern perspective. This respect for heritage is a core tenet of SHOFER Rosé’s identity.
  4. Typography: The brand employs a classic thin-weighted serif font for a timeless and elegant style, consistent with the label design. The typography creates a cohesive and recognizable look for the brand.
  5. Color Palette: SHOFER Rosé’s color palette prominently features rosé pink, aligning with its product and creating a visual connection with the wine itself. Additional colors from the label design are used to maintain consistency.
  6. Logo Variations: The brand has developed four distinct logo variations, including a unique handwritten script version. These variations add versatility and character to the brand identity.
  7. Illustrative Elements: Elements from the label illustration are integrated into the brand and website design, reinforcing the idea of a journey to Armenia through the wine. This immersive approach adds depth to the brand identity.


Services provided: 

  • Brand Strategy
  • Visual Identity Design
  • Digital Marketing Material
  • Print Marketing Material
  • Packaging Design
  • E-commerce Website
  • Design and Development
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Creative Direction
  • Brand Consulting

Objective: To create a memorable candle brand that stands out in an increasingly saturated market.

Brand Inspiration: It draws its inspiration from the untamed beauty of Colorado’s rugged mountains and lush forests. Rooted in the belief that candles should kindle joy and make any place feel like home, the brand exudes simplicity, sincerity, and timelessness. It aspires to encourage customers to savor life’s simple moments with all-natural ingredients and candles named after specific times and places. The visual identity, characterized by a classic serif font and muted earth tones, mirrors the brand’s honest and inviting nature, ensuring a memorable and heartfelt experience for all who encounter it.


  1. Design Inspiration: Draws from the rugged beauty of Colorado’s mountain terrains and dense forests.
    Logo: Features a classic serif font, offering a warm and inviting feeling. The stenciled effect in the letters adds a touch of nostalgia.
  2. Color Palette: Utilizes muted earth tones, echoing the natural world.
  3. Typography: Classic and inviting fonts complement the brand’s sincerity and simplicity.
  4. Messaging: Sincere, Down-to-Earth. Emphasizes natural ingredients and encourages customers to cherish simple moments.
  5. Candle Naming Strategy: Each candle is named after a specific time and place, inspiring customers to savor the present moment.


  1. Concept: A memorable, branded experience that resonates with the brand’s essence.
  2. Visual Elements: Incorporates branded details and captures the simplicity of life’s moments.
  3. Color Palette: Aligns with the muted earth tones of the overall brand, creating consistency


Services provided: 

  • Creative Direction
  • Packaging Design
  • Package Sourcing

Objective: To design a packaging solution that reflects the brand’s mission of being free from single-use plastic without compromising quality.

Brand Inspiration: Unwrapped Life is a beacon of hope in the beauty industry’s sea of excess. Rooted in a profound commitment to sustainability, it’s a brand inspired by nature’s purity and the belief that true beauty starts with conscious choices. Unwrapped Life empowers individuals to embrace clean beauty without compromise, challenging the status quo with products that are as environmentally responsible as they are effective. Their inspiration lies in the simplicity of nature and the elegance of minimalism, as they redefine luxury, proving that the true essence of opulence resides not in extravagant packaging, but in the radiant results of their plastic-free, eco-conscious offerings.


  1. Eco-Conscious Branding: Unwrapped Life positions itself as an environmentally responsible brand committed to reducing plastic waste in the beauty industry.
  2. Clean Beauty: The brand focuses on clean and natural ingredients, emphasizing a commitment to product quality.
  3. Luxury Perception Shift: Unwrapped Life challenges the conventional notion of luxury being associated with extravagant packaging, aiming to redefine luxury through product quality.
  4. Minimalist Branding: The branding leans towards minimalism, emphasizing simplicity and sustainability.
  5. Embossed Logo: The use of an embossed logo on the tin lid adds a premium and branded touch to the packaging.


  1. Eco-Friendly Packaging: The packaging is designed with sustainability in mind, with a focus on minimizing waste and being fully recyclable and compostable.
  2. Custom Inserts: The custom insert in the sliding box enhances product presentation and secures the tins.
  3. Color Coding: Differentiating product variants with colored bands on the outer box and inner tray aids in product identification and adds visual interest.
  4. Matte Finish: The choice of matte finishes on the kraft material contributes to a sophisticated appearance while maintaining recyclability.
  5. Reusable Tin: The design of the reusable tin is a key component of the packaging, allowing customers to use it repeatedly.


Services provided: 

  • Brand Positioning
  • Visual Identity
  • Web Design &
  • Development
  • Print Design
  • Digital Marketing Material
  • Ad Design (Digital and Print)

Objective: To create a progressive financial brand and an educational platform that inspires millennial and BIPOC womxn to take a hold of their finances and build the life they desire. This brand will provide educational content that is current, approachable, and visually vibrant.

Brand Inspiration: It draws its inspiration from the vibrant tapestry of pop culture, the rhythmic beats of music, the unstoppable force of female empowerment brands, and the personal journey of its founder, Nyibol. With a mission to empower millennial and BIPOC womxn, this brand’s vision is a fusion of modernity and timelessness, captured in dynamic typography and bold colors. It symbolizes the evolution of personal finance, aiming to be a relatable best friend in the financial world rather than a traditional banker. Hustle & Cashflow thrives on celebrating individuality, embracing feminism, and inspiring confidence on the path to financial independence.


  1. Brand Vision: Empower millennial and BIPOC womxn to achieve financial independence. Pop culture, music, female empowerment, and the founder’s personal story. Relatable, approachable, like a trusted friend.
  2. Visual Identity: Modern, feminine, and empowering. Bold color palette. Dynamic typography. Unique brand imagery. Unapologetic bold serif in the wordmark. Abstract letters in the wordmark.
  3. Target Audience: Millennial and BIPOC womxn. Focus on Canada. Addressing gaps in financial education and representation.
  4. Competitor Analysis: Existing brands use sterile content, dry copy, intimidating language, and gimmicks.
  5. Core Message: Hustle & Cashflow is the modern womxn’s guide to personal finance.

Testimonials of the work:

Branding for a Nutrition Brand:

“Working with Here and Now Creative Co felt super natural, personal, and specific to what our brand is all about. I feel like we got more value than we paid for.

Branding for Investment Company:

“This was the first time I had ever worked with a branding and strategy company, and we loved that they were an all-female team. What really stood out about Here and Now was that they listened and heard us out. It was a wonderful experience.”

We also felt that they were really creatively inspired. They didn’t show us anything that we had already seen before. Everything stemmed from their own design and impressively captured who we were as founders.”

Branding for Skincare Company:

“Here and Now did everything professionally. They never took over, and they only tried to guide me — they listened to everything I wanted and implemented it well.

Branding Services for Snack Company:

“I loved their reassuring energy and confidence. I felt like they were really going to make sure I got what I’ve envisioned. They were SO patient and great at taking feedback. Big branding agencies often have a lot of ego attached to their process. I loved that they’re a small team and I got to communicate with both of them every time. They were a small agency with tremendous skills and expertise!

We’re delighted to provide branding and packaging solutions tailored to consumer packaged goods brands. Our goal is to deliver practical, effective solutions that enhance your product’s identity, is results-driven, and chock full of market appeal. Let’s work together to make your brand stand out on the shelf and ultimately increase those sales!. 

Any questions? Book a call

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#47: 3 Tips to Training your Marketing Team

UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#47: 3 Tips to Training your Marketing Team

Welcome to episode 47, where we’ll discuss our top tips for training your marketing team. Our co-founder Alison will dive into the importance of ongoing education and training in the agency and marketing space. At UMAI, our approach has always been to hire & train bright individuals with potential and focus on ongoing education for our team. We’ve developed our own comprehensive training course, drawing from our decade of experience as in-house marketers, as well as in our marketing agency. In this episode, Alison will share key insights to elevate your marketing team’s skills and help your brand scale. Let’s get started! 🤓

Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:58 – 2:37] UMAI Marketing’s top tips for training marketers
[2:38 – 5:14] Tip 1: Document Everything
[5:15 – 7:52] Tip 2: Incentivize Continued Learning
[7:53 – 10:41] Tip 3: Onboarding and Ongoing training
[10:42 – 11:31] Check out our Marketing Training resources!

Mentions from this episode: 

Learn more and Start growing with us 

UMAI Marketing socials  –

Get the Black Friday Cyber Monday Kit, here

Stay in touch:

Join UMAI’s Facebook Group: CORE 

#47: 3 Tips to Training your Marketing Team

Alison Smith: [0:17]
Howdy, listeners. We’re Alison.
Karin Samelson: [0:18]
And I’m Karin.
Alison Smith: [0:19]
And we love growing CPG brands.
Karin Samelson: [0:22]
We’re the founders of a digital and social media marketing agency, UMAI Marketing, and creators of The Consumer Goods Growth Course, where we’ve helped grow dozens of brands to six and seven figures.
Alison Smith: [0:32]
We’re former in-house marketers turned consumer goods marketing educators, who’ve set off on a mission to provide CPG founders and marketers with actionable strategies that drive community and sales. We’re talking real results.
Karin Samelson: [0:46]
If you’re wanting to learn simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies needed to drive real brand growth, without breaking the bank or sacrificing your social life, then this is the podcast for you. Let’s get into today’s episode.
Alison Smith: [0:58] 
Hello, everyone, and welcome to episode number 47. We’re calling it Our Top Tips for Training Your Marketing Team. Alison here, and I’m here to talk to you about something that is near and dear to our heart, and really something that every single one of our team members values as well. That is ongoing education and training. It’s very important if you’re in the agency or marketing space. So when we started UMAI, Karen and I knew that we wanted to find talented, smart individuals with potential, but not necessarily experts in their field. We’d rather hire someone smart and savvy rather than, say, field experts who may not be a great culture fit, and give them the training and education that they need to develop their skills.

So from the beginning, we drilled building out SOPs for everything, and even created our own course to train anyone, including our team, how to be a great marketer. We put everything we knew in this training course that we learned from the past 10 years of being in-house as well as in our own marketing agency serving multiple CPG brands at the time. So in today’s episode, we’re going to be sharing a few of our best tips on how to train your new marketing hire or get your marketing team to the next level to help your brand scale. All right, let’s get into it.

Tip number one, document everything, especially anything that is repeatable or anything that you know is the best way to do something that you want the rest of your team to follow, or something that is inherently difficult or the average person would need direction. Documenting it is going to speed up that process for anyone on your team. Most of these documents come in the form of a written SOP, or standard operating procedures, or we use a lot of video, so video captures using Loom or a screen recording via QuickTime Player is great. As you start collecting all of your SOPs, all of your video how-tos, create a library of them. For example, ours is stored in a Google Drive folder, and we have sub-folders with all of the different marketing levers that we pull, so like one for social media, one for email, and we try to use keywords so someone can come into our internal SOP Drive folder and quickly search for exactly what they need.

These have become super handy, obviously when we bring and onboard someone new to our team, but also with interns. We have generally three-to-six-month intern contracts, and it could get overwhelming retraining every quarter, so instead what we do is we give them exactly the SOPs that they’re going to need, exact videos that they’re going to need, and they can get started right off the bat. And final thing about documenting everything. This was something that Karin and I ingrained in our team, every single person that came on, our first hire, we said, “Everything you do, we want to see an SOP for it,” and this just made it super streamlined. We could review those SOPs instead of shadowing that person for a week. We could just look at their SOP and say, “You should do it this way. This way would be faster,” or we’d learn something new. And then if that person went on to a different role and we hired someone else, they had everything that they needed upon onboarding, so a huge thing to do when you’re starting a company or an agency is to drill that into your team, “Do it yourself. Write as many SOPs. Do as many videos as you can,” as you go through different processes.

Okay, tip number two is incentivizing continued learning. Sometimes, the education and the value of learning alone are incentive enough for marketers. Generally, marketers love learning. It’s really part of our job. But if you can find out what incentivizes your team beyond just the value of education or beyond just getting better at developing their skills, then you can better ensure that your team is constantly learning, improving, and evolving, which is only going to be great for your own business.

For example, we give our team a yearly stipend for them to spend on any new course to take, so they’ll just know that they have a certain amount of money a year. Sometimes we go over it, but they will just come to us and be like, “Hey, I think I really need a course on project management. I think I’m taking too long to get things moving through a Basecamp, or our project management system. I think if I took the time to learn more, then we could be even more streamlined as a team.” And it’s like, “Okay, do it. Let’s go. Here’s your money. We’ll buy it for you,” and generally, more of the team members step up and also take someone’s course too.

We also have no-call Fridays, because Fridays, for us, if you do need to take Friday off, go for it, but having a quiet Friday allows our team to reserve some of that time to learning, online learning through courses, reading, email newsletters, blogs, et cetera, so Fridays are generally our time to learn. 

And then the final thing I’ll say about incentivizing continued learning is we do a quarterly anonymous survey to our team. If you have a small team, it might be difficult to know, to be anonymous, but making it anonymous just helps people know that they can be as honest as possible, and we simply just ask them, “What motivates you to do a good job?” And a few other questions. And the answers are all over the board. Some people, it’s money. Some people, it’s just words of affirmation. Some people just need to know that they’re supported by the team, and that they are supporting their own team, which is awesome. So really try to dive in and understand what each person needs to be better, work harder, et cetera, because it’s not always what you think it’s going to be.

And then finally, tip number three is onboarding and ongoing training, so ensure your onboarding is the best user experience possible. Onboarding your team, you should spend a good chunk of your time making sure it is streamlined and easy to comprehend, so take your time onboarding new employees, and let them shadow the person who is currently doing that role for as long as possible. For our team, onboarding lasts eight weeks, so what happens in week one is just getting a deep dive, downloading all of the materials. We have an onboarding deck, with videos and links to everything, just getting familiar, meeting the team, things like that. And then shadowing starts, and shadowing lasts around four weeks, so they’re going to shadow the person who is currently doing that job for four weeks. If you can do that on your team, the more time they get to see how the job has been done, the better, and during that shadowing period, they also start providing feedback on what they think could be improved, what could be better. It’s always great to get new eyes on a role that’s been in existence for years, and maybe hasn’t changed that much or evolved.

And then after that four-week period, the next four weeks are them kind of stepping into a leadership role, stepping into that role, and having the person who previously had that role shadow them. So they might be on any client-facing calls or team calls, but silent, and then providing feedback after the call, and then they’ll also have a weekly call, usually with the person whose role they’re taking over, just to talk through any questions, or any feedback, or anything that they think could be better with the role.

But it also doesn’t stop at onboarding your team, especially for marketers. As things change constantly in this space, so if you want your team to stay current and optimized, it’s important that you provide ongoing training or continued learning, so sending your team to things like marketing conferences, having them sign up for webinars or other virtual events, or doing like we do and giving them a stipend or purchasing a online course for them. While this is maybe an additional upfront cost, it is absolutely worth the investment in not needing to rehire and onboard again. That takes a lot of resources to do, and it’s better to have retention with your employees, so having to rehire and onboard is obviously losing a lot of valuable time, and we all know that time is money.

All right, y’all. That is it for our top three tips for training your team to stay current and continue to create better and better marketers. Investing in your team is investing in your business, so if you’re ready to make an investment in training or continued marketing education, you absolutely should check out the Consumer Goods Growth Course. It’s the digital blueprint that will allow you to train your marketing team and drive consistent sales for your CPG, and you can do it all in just six weeks. It’s what we use to train every single person that comes on our team. If you want to learn more about it, you can go to, and as always, you can DM us on Instagram @umaimarketing if you have any questions after listening to this episode.

Karin Samelson: [11:32]
Thanks for listening to the UMAI Social Circle, y’all. We’re here to support you in your CPG journey, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new podcast episodes. And while you’re at it, please leave us a review on your listening platform of choice. Shoot us a DM @umaimarketing on Instagram if you have any topics you want us to cover on new podcast episodes.

Alison Smith: [11:50]
And don’t forget to access our free masterclass, where we’re showing you how to create a solid marketing strategy. You can access that at And we’ll meet you back here for the next episode.
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#46: Mary Ruth’s Promo Email Deep Dive

promo email
UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#46: Mary Ruth's Promo Email Deep Dive

We’re talking about boosting your Q4 profitability! 🤑 As we gear up for the exciting holiday season, including Black Friday and Cyber Monday, now is prime time to start laying the foundation for your most successful sales quarter ever. And guess what? It’s time to start planning your promo emails!

In this episode, we’re going to talk about how to create promo emails that get you results; we’re talkin’ opens, clicks, and SALES! We’ll look at a successful example from MaryRuth’s Organics, and we’ll share three key tips for writing effective promo emails: urgency, social proof, and simplicity. 

Let’s dive into the world of promotional emails and seize the sales that lie ahead. Success is just a few clicks away – so let’s get started! 📩

Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:58 – 1:47] Introduction to promo emails
[1:48 – 3:25] Mary Ruth’s Organics killer promo email strategy
[3:26 – 5:15] Tips for creating effective promotional emails
[5:16 – 7:50] Three promo email must-haves
[7:51 -9:06] Closing + BFCM Kit is now available!

Mentions from this episode: 

Learn more and Start growing with us 

UMAI Marketing socials  –

Get the Black Friday Cyber Monday Kit, here

Stay in touch:

Join UMAI’s Facebook Group: CORE 

#46: Mary Ruth’s Promo Email Deep Dive

Alison Smith: [0:17]
Howdy, listeners. We’re Alison.
Karin Samelson: [0:18]
And I’m Karin.
Alison Smith: [0:19]
And we love growing CPG brands.
Karin Samelson: [0:22]
We’re the founders of a digital and social media marketing agency, UMAI Marketing, and creators of The Consumer Goods Growth Course, where we’ve helped grow dozens of brands to six and seven figures.
Alison Smith: [0:32]
We’re former in-house marketers turned consumer goods marketing educators, who’ve set off on a mission to provide CPG founders and marketers with actionable strategies that drive community and sales. We’re talking real results.
Karin Samelson: [0:46]
If you’re wanting to learn simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies needed to drive real brand growth, without breaking the bank or sacrificing your social life, then this is the podcast for you. Let’s get into today’s episode.
Karin Samelson: [0:58]
Hi, y’all. I’m here to keep sharing tips on how to make Q4 your most profitable quarter yet. Black Friday, Cyber Monday planning is in full swing and it’s the perfect time to dive in and start setting up the groundwork for the biggest sales of the year. In today’s episode, we’re going to be talking all about promo emails. So to start, we’re just going to talk about what a brand that we really love, who kills it with e-commerce did, and then give you some tips on what to do with your emails coming up. So we are going to be talking about MaryRuth’s Organics. It’s a supplement company that has supplements for babies, toddlers, adults, just about everybody, and their e-commerce really crushes it.
What they did, they had four daily emails over four days, hyping the sale on Black Friday through Cyber Monday. So Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. They didn’t have an early sale or anything like that, they just did it for those four days last year. The emails were super short and sweet and contained large headlines detailing the promo, included lots of social proof in the form of testimonials and they had plenty of product blocks to encourage folks to click through and purchase. Product blocks meaning pulling in from Klaviyo and it’s your product in it, it shows the pricing and it has a button to click and shop now. Subject lines were really straightforward and three of the four subject lines featured the promo really prominently. They also included some urgency, with language like, “Limited time,” and “Extended,” and the use of the hourglass timer and alarm clock emojis to really just push opening it right now, getting the product right now and utilizing the sale. The CTA buttons, the call to action buttons were really active. They used active language like, “Shop sale now,” and “Bundle up,” to encourage increasing average order value and bundling and, “Last days to save,” again with the urgency and, “Save now.” So that is a really high look at what they sent last year. 
But you’re asking, “Hey, what am I going to do this year?” So here are some additional tips. How many emails should I send during my promo? What we generally say is it depends on how long your promo is. So for shorter promos, send an email every day, if you’re able, just like MaryRuth’s did, they had a four-day promo and they sent an email every single day. For longer promos with a longer duration, send a reminder email at least every two to three days, depending on how long it is.
You want to make sure that it’s top of mind for your customers and they’re getting reminders often, especially it’s longer. And you might be asking yourself, when should I send these emails? What we want you to do is test your sends throughout the year and find the typical day and time that you get your highest opens and clicks. So there is some preliminary work that you need to do. You need to be testing a lot during the entire year to make sure that you know the data, you know you have the analytics that tell you, “Hey, send it on Mondays. Send it on Wednesdays. Send it in the mornings. Send it in the afternoons to be able to get the highest opens, clicks and revenue from your emails.” Make sure at the very least though that you have an email going out the day your promo launches, an email going out 24 hours before it ends and then make sure to resend your emails to non-openers. That first and last one are super important to sending to non-openers. So you can do that on the backend, you can toggle and segment based on if they’ve opened, clicked or just generally engaged with your emails. 
And what should be in those emails? The three things that we want you to focus on with your promo emails is urgency, as we’ve discussed. Social proof, like testimonials showing that other people like your product and the people that are reading your email will as well. And keep it simple, a simple design. You want to make sure that everything is above the fold. A click to your website, all of the important details, no one has to keep scrolling through their email to be able to figure out exactly what you’re offering them.
And then a few subject line recommendations. Keep it straightforward and direct. You don’t need to get all fancy with your language here, just keep that copy super straightforward and direct and put the promo details front and center. If you’re offering 50% off, 40% off, 30% off, make it very clear in your subject line that that’s what you’re doing. And then again, I’ve said it once, twice, three times already, I’m going to say it a fourth time, add in some urgency, especially for those last couple of emails you sent. “Last chance to get this deal. Last chance to get the biggest deal of the year.” And then there’s an option to add in a first name field to really make your customer feel special. Think of yourself as a consumer. When I get an email in my inbox that says, “Hey, Karin, open this for 50% off.” I’m like, “Oh my gosh, no problem. I will. I’ll get on it.”
And then some call to action recommendations. Again, use active language. You can also test using second person pronouns like you, your, yours. And an example of that is, “Get your discount now.” It just has that personalization and connection to the person reading your email. You can also test using your most bold, branded colors and make sure the color contrast is really there. So for example, try to avoid using a yellow call to action button with white font on it. You want to make sure it’s bold and super easy to read. And add those call to actions throughout the email. Put them everywhere, put them in buttons, put them in hyperlink in the plain text, put call to actions everywhere to get somebody to click through and purchase. And of course, as mentioned, make sure to have at least one call to action above the fold. So that can be a tiny, thin banner at the very top of the email, it can be a hyperlink if it’s a plain text email, it can be a call to action button right underneath a header text.
So those are some super basic examples of how to send, what to put in your subject line, how to design the email. And never forget those three things that we mentioned, it’s that urgency, social proof and simple design for your promo emails and you’re going to crush it. So if you want to make Q4 the most profitable quarter yet without the headache of not knowing what to share and when, we’ve made it super easy on you, you now have access to the Black Friday, Cyber Monday kit. It’s a comprehensive checklist that details all of the assets that you need in order to execute a high converting profitable holiday promo. Or just about any promo really.
It’s the same strategies we’ve implemented to make our clients millions in revenue over the years. The kit also contains done-for-you templates that allow you to plug in your brand info, export and schedule with a few clicks of a button. Check it out now at That’s Now let’s go get those sales.
Karin Samelson: [9:07]
Thanks for listening to the UMAI Social Circle y’all. We’re here to support you in your CPG journey, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new podcast episodes. And while you’re at it, please leave us a review on your listening platform of choice. Shoot us a DM at UMAI Marketing on Instagram if you have any topics you want us to cover on new podcast episodes.
Alison Smith: [9:25]
And don’t forget to access our free masterclass where we’re showing you how to create a solid marketing strategy. You can access that at And we’ll meet you back here for the next episode.
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How to Execute Killer Holiday/BFCM Promos


How to Execute Killer Holiday/BFCM Promos


Turkey Day is right around the corner (YES, in the marketing world it is!), so it’s time to start preparing a killer Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) marketing plan. That’s right – it’s not too late to improve upon any existing plans you have in the queue or start a campaign from scratch.

And instead of winging it, we want to make it easy for you. We’re going to walk (or Turkey Trot) you through step-by-step on how to decide on your promo offer AND how to execute it.

Let’s get right into it!

How to decide on your promo offer:

 Step 1:  Test promo offers ahead of time for big sales seasons  

  • Don’t start with a Black Friday promo offer cold turkey! We don’t recommend testing new offers on Black Friday/Cyber Monday. Testing a new offer can be a hit or miss, so do it ahead of time! For example, if you want to run a tiered offer for BFCM, we’d highly recommend testing a smaller threshold offer during a different holiday sale (for example:  Labor Day) to determine which tiers would work best. Then, you can replicate the offer later on with different pricing thresholds. 
    • If you have a new business and don’t have much sales data to work off of, you can start with building email leads and test segmenting offers. To determine what’s going to work with your audience you can run an email A/B test with a % off offer vs. a $ off offer. The winner of this test can help you determine which type of offer would be good to move forward with.

Step 2: Determine your Promo Profit 

  • In order to give your customers a juicy discount, you’ll need to determine your Gross Profit Margin first. To get this, use the formula: (Net Sales – COGS) / Net Sales. Then, you’ll need to pull your average order value (AOV). Once you know your Gross Profit Margin and AOV, you can play with various offers such as percentages or dollars off and see which offer will fit within your profit margins. 
    • If you don’t have a true idea of what your AOV is, you can instead base this profit margin off of COGS alone to help determine what’s doable for your brand.

How to execute:

Step 1: Set clear goals (and debrief from last year’s promos)

  • It’s so important to look back at your previous promos (if you ran them) to see how they performed and what you can improve on. During debrief from last year’s promos, we found that our top performing promos are:
    • Tiered
    • Bundles
    • Free gift w/ purchase
    • Seasonal, small-batch, and limited edition offerings 
  • We set primary goals of a percentage increase in YoY sales and secondary + tertiary goals (that help us reach our primary goal) of:
    • Increased AOV % via ads
    • Increased ROAS % via ads
    • Increased email revenue %
    • Increased email CTR %

Step 2: Make an irresistible offer

  • Don’t forget a vital step BEFORE you deliver your irresistible offer… SERVE your audience!! Give them value, establish trust, and provide the best user experience possible, not just once, but in the months leading up to your big promos. Then you can hit ‘em with that juicy promo! (See Step 1 for promo ideas!)
  • Consider an early bird campaign because:
    •  1. People love feeling like they’re VIP/getting something exclusive and
    •  2. Get those sales in before folks get picky with where they’re spending their money.
  • Research and decide on your web stack or web apps that you’ll need for the promo.
    • Examples: an announcement bar, a cart upsell app, a sales page builder, etc.
      • If you’re running a tiered discount, try this helpful Shopfiy app: Tiered Discounts– it does operate using codes but it applies it to the cart automatically and stacks to create awesome tiered discounts.
        • We’ve found that the mid-tier code usually gets the most redemptions and the higher and lower tier codes aren’t used as much – this can help with AOV if your pricing thresholds are set higher!
      • For bundle discounts, we like to use Bundler – this allows you to create mix & match bundles AND stack discounts on top of them.

Step 3: Create scroll-stopping content

  • Give someone a reason to stop and read/watch your content! Use bold colors and clear headlines that detail the main reasons why someone would want to take advantage of the offer.
  • Draft up several emails, social posts, and social ads to support the promo campaign (the amount of each will vary depending on your audience size and what you’re currently doing).
  • Another thing to consider is how the offer is presented. This can make or break the potential of getting a sale. For some, 15% off is less attractive than a $ off offer! Testing, like we mentioned, will help you determine what your audience responds best to. 
  • Creating a sense of urgency is also the tur-KEY (When will we stop with these? It’s hard to say.) to your promo messaging! Someone is more enticed to buy if they know a sale ends in 24 hours vs. a week long sale. Keep hyping that scarcity and time limit until the sale is gone for good! 
  • An app like Countdown Timer Ultimate can really get the message across that this sale is ending SOON! Add this to your main website page, cart, and product pages to create that sense of urgency.

Step 4: Test everything!

  • Ensure that your website is optimized, and fast! You can run a speed test (for free with Google’s PageSpeed Insights) and install an app, like Lucky Orange, to see if there are any site issues that could bring down your conversion rate.
  • Audit your email automations, ad campaigns, and social to ensure that everything is firing correctly & email deliverability is good, ads are optimized, and social bio descriptions are optimized for search and clicks to website.
  • Make sure your promos are SIMPLE and CLEAR! 
    • Provide your audience with promo details when applicable (start and end date, codes needed, products included, etc.) Try to utilize automatic discounts or sitewide sales at a static discount to avoid the probable misspelling or user error that comes along with using promo codes.
  • Test the checkout flow and press GOOOO!

By implementing the strategies above, we increased sales 80% YoY for a beauty brand we work with and we’re looking to make some more gravy this year!

If you’re looking for even more tips and tricks to make your holiday promos the best ever, our *new* BFCM Kit makes it easier for your business to have its most profitable holiday promo yet! The BFCM Kit includes social, ads, and email templates, promo checklists, and a total BFCM execution plan.

Let’s make Q4 the best sales quarter yet (without all the stress)!

Ready to create a 7-figure Consumer Goods Brand without wasting money on strategies that don't work?

Then it's time you join the Consumer Goods Growth Course & start driving the results you've been wanting!

Book a call with us now & learn how you can start making consistant, 7-figure sales!

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#45: How to decide on your promo offer (ft. Carley)

UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#45: How to decide on your promo offer (ft. Carley)

Hi there, CPG friends! Welcome to Episode 45, where we’re diving deeper into how to choose a successful promo offer for your brand. With Q4 just around the corner, it’s time to gear up and make some serious cash! And guess what? We’re here to equip you with the best tips and tricks to make this sales quarter your most successful one yet.

Today’s episode is extra special because we have our amazing team member Carley Jones joining us to share her promo expertise and insights. Together, we’re going to unleash six revenue-driving tips that will help you pick killer promo offers, and set the stage for a profitable Q4.

So buckle up; next stop: choosing your Q4 promo offer. 🎉


Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:59 – 3:50] Introduction to Planning Your Q4 Promos
[3:56 – 5:55] Tip 1: Test Promo Offers First
[6:54 – 9:09] Tip 2: Determine Your Promo Profit Margin
[9:10 – 13:59] Tip 3: Determine Your Web Needs
[14:00 – 20:06] Tip 4: Keep it Simple
[20:07 – 22:42] Tip 5: Test Messaging
[22:43 – 28:34] Tip 6: Don’t Overdue Sales!
[28:35 – 30:03] Closing + How to Work with Us!

Mentions from this episode: 

Apps mentioned –

Learn more and Start growing with us 

UMAI Marketing socials  –

Get the BFCM Kit, here

Stay in touch:

Join UMAI’s Facebook Group: CORE 

#45: How to decide on your promo offer (ft. Carley)


Alison Smith: [0:17]
Howdy, listeners. We’re Alison.
Karin Samelson: [0:18]
And I’m Karin.
Alison Smith: [0:19]
And we love growing CPG brands.
Karin Samelson: [0:22]
We’re the founders of a digital and social media marketing agency, Umai Marketing, and creators of The Consumer Goods Growth Course, where we’ve helped grow dozens of brands to six and seven figures.
Alison Smith: [0:32]
We’re former in-house marketers turned consumer goods marketing educators, who’ve set off on a mission to provide CPG founders and marketers with actionable strategies that drive community and sales. We’re talking real results.
Karin Samelson: [0:46]
If you’re wanting to learn simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies needed to drive real brand growth, without breaking the bank or sacrificing your social life, then this is the podcast for you. Let’s get into today’s episode.
Alison Smith: [0:59]
Welcome to Episode 45, Six Tips for Picking a Killer Promo Offer. We’re going to be talking about our promotional offers to get you ready for the lovely Q4 season. Q4 is generally, the biggest sales quarter for brands like yourself to make a large chunk of change. So we are here to get you prepped and eager to put together the best sales quarter yet. Today is an extra special episode, as we have our team member, Carley, on with us today. Welcome, Carley.
Carley Jones: [1:41]
Thank you.
Karin Samelson: [1:43]
Yay, Carley. How are you doing today?
Carley Jones: [1:47]
I am good. I’m excited to be on my first podcast ever.
Karin Samelson: [1:53]
Ever, I know.
Carley Jones: [1:55]
Glad it’s with you guys.
Karin Samelson: [1:56]
How have we not had you on? I don’t know. But for anybody who’s listening, leave a extra special review saying Carley was your favorite guest ever, so it can live on. But Carley Jones has been with UMAI for a really long time. How long has it been now, Carley? Three years?
Carley Jones: [2:16]
Almost three years.
Alison Smith: [2:19]
Almost three years. I’ll file it.
Carley Jones: [2:20]
The end of this month.
Karin Samelson: [2:21]
Oh, it’s so crazy. We’ve only been around for five, so more than half of that time. And we’re so thankful for her. Carley started on as our marketing coordinator, creating a lot of content for us. She has a side hustle, she’s amazing at photography, and then she moved into account management. So, a lot of our old clients definitely know Carley, and current clients, really. Now, she is our project manager here at UMAI, and she helps us execute some amazing promos for our current clients.
Carley Jones: [2:53]
Yeah, it’s crazy. Time flies when you’re having fun. I can’t believe it’s almost three years. Thank you, guys.
Karin Samelson: [3:00]
Three years is a long time.
Carley Jones: [3:03]
A very long time. Very, very proud of that, and all of the growth and stuff that we’ve had. So yeah, thank you guys so much for having me. I know that it’s a super, super busy time. It’s Q3, so we’re all gearing up for our Black Friday, Cyber Monday campaigns, but just keep in mind that these tips can be applicable for any sort of promo, throughout any quarter. Keep that in mind as you’re listening to this or watching it.
Our recommendation is, typically, one major promo per quarter, with smaller segmented offers each month, and we’ll obviously get into this a little bit more, but Black Friday, Cyber Monday should be your biggest sale of the year, to really, really end that year strong. So, let’s get into our six tips for picking a killer promo offer.
Tip number one, this is, test promo offers ahead of time for big sales seasons. We typically don’t recommend testing new offers on Black Friday, Cyber Monday. You really want this sale to do well and testing offers can go really well or really bad. So, do it ahead of time, figure out what works for your audience, really.
So, let’s say that you want to run a tiered offer for Black Friday, Cyber Monday. We’d highly recommend testing a smaller threshold during a Memorial Day sale or a Labor Day sale, to determine which of those tiers would work best, and then replicate that offer later on with different pricing thresholds. This can really, really help you determine what your audience is going to respond best to.
Alison Smith: [4:49]
Yeah, I will say, not only what you just said, Carley, to help understand what customers will respond to, but also there’s so many different web apps and things that have to get integrated and it’s just almost like a trial run for you or your team too, to make sure this isn’t going to be an absolute shit show day.
Carley Jones: [5:12]
Yeah, yeah. It’s definitely a lot easier if you’ve tried something before and you know what apps work, and you know what customer service issues you could potentially have, and then rework from there. So, definitely important to think ahead and test ahead.
Karin Samelson: [5:28]
Yeah, and who wants to be stressed out during the holiday season? These are literally called Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday promos. No one wants to worry about this. We don’t want you to worry about it, so.
Carley Jones: [5:39]
Karin Samelson: [5:40]
We have a wide variety of folks who we chat with and learn alongside, and some brands are brand new. Brand, brand new. Either they haven’t even started their branding, they just have this concept, or they’ve just launched last month. So, what advice would we give to a new brand that just launched and doesn’t have very much sales data to work off of?
Carley Jones: [6:04]
And we’ve experienced this a few times as well, as an agency, and we definitely recommend starting with building email leads and test segmenting offers there. Your best bet to determine what’s going to work with your audience is to run some sort of email AB test, with a percent off offer versus a dollar off offer. And the winner of this test can really help determine which type of offer would be good to move forward with. Regardless of if your audience is a hundred people or 50 people, you can always see what the winner is and move forward from there. Like we said before, I mean, it really is all about testing, when it comes to that.
Karin Samelson: [6:43]
Now, we can go in-
Alison Smith: [6:45]
That’s our motto.
Carley Jones: [6:47]
Yeah, just keep testing. That’s what we always say, and it’s definitely one of the biggest rules that we abide by.
We can go into tip number two, now. This is, determining your promo profit. To do this, you will have a formula. You’ll need to first determine your gross profit margin. To get this, use the formula net sales minus cost of goods sold or COGS, divided by net sales. Then you’ll need to pull in your average order value. This can typically be pulled from Shopify or some sort of reporting software. And once you know your gross profit margin and your AOV, you can then play with percentages and dollars off, to see which offer will fit within your profit margins. We do have a calculator for this. I’m not sure if it’s something that we’ve shared, but definitely can. This could help determine a tiered offer like we mentioned before, where it’s a multiple dollars off or percent offs, that are stacked on one another. Or, even be used to help determine a free shipping threshold as well, just based on your profit margins.
Alison Smith: [7:57]
Yeah, so that calculator that Carley just mentioned, it is our Break Even Calculator. We’ll add it to the show notes, so that you guys can input all your numbers. And it’ll basically, tell you how much you can spend to acquire a customer, what your profit margin’s going to be. And also, I know we just threw a lot of formulas and weird abbreviations and things at you, so we’ll break all of that down in the show notes. No need to make notes, it’ll all be there.
But, okay. So for newer brands or brands that haven’t launched yet, but they’re prepping for launch, they have no idea what their AOV is. They can just use their COGS to understand how much they can discount or spend to acquire a customer and break even, right?
Carley Jones: [8:48]
Yes, you can definitely just go off of that cost of goods sold. That’s a really good base to make your profit margin off of, to really help determine what’s doable for your brand. And it’s also good, because once you have an idea of what your offer can be, then you can actually get into the nitty-gritty and promo logistics, and all of that.
So that kind of segues us into tip number three, which is, determine if a promotional landing page is needed. This will really depend on what your offer is and how robust that offer is. If it’s a simple 15% off site-wide sale, the answer of needing a promotional landing page is probably no. A website banner with a clear CTA would more likely suffice in that instance. But, if you really, really want to hit it out of the park for a sale like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, we definitely recommend it, having a landing page, regardless of what that offer is. This makes it super, super simple for your customers to purchase and get the discount that they are actually looking for. It just keeps URLs simple. It keeps your homepage simple. It really, really simplifies the whole process, whenever you have that landing page.
Alison Smith: [9:59]
Yeah, absolutely. Because you can hide things like menu at the top, so people aren’t going off and clicking off. It’s just like they’re there, they’re focused, they know where to click, and that’s all you want.
Carley Jones: [10:11]
Alison Smith: [10:14]
But, yeah. So let’s talk more about web stacks. Love some apps. So what are your favorite apps and software? What are we currently using for landing page builds?
Carley Jones: [10:30]
There are so many, and honestly, it really just depends on what integrates seamlessly with your Shopify plan, if you’re using Shopify. Personally, I prefer Show Grant Shogun. It’s an app that integrates really, really seamlessly with most Shopify themes. So we usually will use that for promo landing pages or early bird opt-in pages that are related to promos.
We’ve also used PageFly in the past. It can be a little bit tricky to use this platform, but it does have a drag and drop feature that makes the actual design and build of a landing page super seamless. To keep it easy, you can also just do existing product pages that you have, or collection pages if it’s a site-wide sale or something, and make super slight edits to headers, to include the sale offer language. You can also include price markdowns on the actual page or creating a percent off banner in Canva to add to the page. The possibilities with that are super, super endless, and usually look a lot more natural because it’s an actual product page for your site that matches your theme. But whatever you decide to do, just keep it simple.
Alison Smith: [11:43]
Another one of our mottos. Yes, keep it simple, smarty. That’s like, it’s so easy as a marketer or just a business owner, entrepreneur, to just be so into shiny object syndrome, wanting to test it and do it all. So we often have to remind ourselves when we’re building out promotional launches, wait, someone always asks, “Is this too complicated? How do we just make this really streamlined and easy?” And generally, when you do that for promos, your revenue’s going to be higher because if you are confused, your customer is likely going to be confused.
Carley Jones: [12:28]
Alison Smith: [12:31]
So I will also mention some other apps that we’ve used in the past and we like to. And this just kind of goes back to why you want to test your promo before, because sometimes you’ll want to use Shogun for instance, but it doesn’t connect with another app that you need to use for this promo. So that, it’s so important to make sure everything’s going to work together. So some other ones we are Instapage and Zipify. I think Zipify, is that Ezra Firestone’s? I think that might be his product. And then also-
Karin Samelson: [13:08]
Hey, Ezra, give us some commish if anybody use Zipify.
Alison Smith: [13:13]
Yeah, we need that affiliate. And then also we wanted to share our little sneaky tip to find what your competitors are using for their promos, or just all the time for conversion rate optimization. So to do this, all you have to do is go to your competitor’s website and then right click with your mouse, and then choose Inspect, and then it’ll just be a bunch of code and stuff. But in that code, you can actually find out exactly what your competitors are using for popups, or any plugins, or anything that will help with conversion rate optimization. So if you feel like getting sneaky, use that little tip, but okay, let’s get into tip number four, Carley.
Carley Jones: [
Sneaky. I love it. So like Alison mentioned before, she mentioned KISS. So tip number four is, keep it simple. Complicated promo logistics can really lead to a customer service headache. Trust me, you don’t want to launch an offer and then immediately receive 60 customer service inquiries about a broken link, or an invalid promo code, instead of seeing sales or 60 happy customers. It can really, really just put a huge damper on things. And if your promo isn’t successful from the start, it can be really, really hard to come back from that, because then you’ll have to send oops emails or an oops SMS, which can be successful. But if you don’t have to deal with that stress, just make sure that things are running smoothly ahead of time by keeping it really, really simple.
We almost always will recommend utilizing automatic discounts for most offers when it’s applicable, to avoid that probable misspelling or user error that comes along with using promo codes. No matter how simple a code could be, like Welcome 15, you’re still going to get customer service inquiries about it. You’d be surprised. So if you can avoid it, definitely do so.
If you do have to use a promo code, we highly, highly recommend creating something called an addended link. Shopify will actually automatically make this for you, now. They used to not, but now they do. You can actually make these yourselves with a Google URL builder or something, and use it across platforms to promote your offer. What it does is it attaches the code, whatever you made in your platform, to a unique URL, and applies that code to someone’s cart automatically, as long as their cash is clear. If it’s not clear, it won’t automatically apply it. So there can be some issues there, but it does avoid the promo code debacle that sometimes happens.
Karin Samelson: [16:07]
Yeah, and if you’ve been selling online or have ever done a promo before, you know how easy it is for people to make mistakes because it’s a constant. You’ll constantly get people like, “Why isn’t this code working?” It’s like, “Well, because you didn’t put it right.” So just making it super easy for them so that you make more money. And we’re all about working smarter, not harder, and keeping it really simple. And we know that apps can make our lives so much easier, and make a really positive difference in our campaigns. So what apps would you recommend to make this process just even more seamless for potential customers?
Carley Jones: [16:45]
Yeah, so some apps are better than others, so definitely do your research. Do it on your own. Look at the Shopify store, look at what reviews people have, and also just ask around to your network and see what people are using. Testing apps ahead of time is really going to ensure that there are no bugs. The last thing you want to do is install an app, thinking it will work on the day of a promo, and then it goes live and it crashes your checkout page. That’s happened. That’s happened, because some apps do have bugs.
So some of my personal recs that have worked well for our clients in the past, there’s an app called Bundler that works with most Shopify themes, and it allows you to create sort of mix and match bundles and stacks discounts on top of them automatically. So it can be a really, really easy way to make bundles for your page.
There’s an app called notably, Tiered Discounts that does exactly that, and it’s one of my favorites. It does operate using codes, but it actually applies to the cart automatically, and stacks to create a really, really awesome tiered discount feature. And, it pops up when you’re getting close to that threshold. It’s just super interactive and it’s done really, really well for some of our Black Friday, Cyber Monday promos.
Karin Samelson: [18:04]
Carley, real quick, what is a tiered discount?
Carley Jones: [18:07]
So it’s like anytime that there’s a percent off or a dollar off discount that’s stacked. So let’s say you do 10% off 35, and then 15% off 45, and so on, and so on. You can have as many stacks as you want with this app, which I found really interesting. But, we’ve found that over the years of using these tiered discounts and this app in particular, that the mid-tier code, so whatever your middle offer is, if you have three, usually gets the most uses out of the higher and lower tier codes that aren’t used as much.
This can really help with AOV, if your pricing thresholds are set a little bit higher. So knowing your profit margins comes in handy when developing discounts like this. So yeah, just a little tidbit that your mid-tier is probably the one that’s going to be used the most. So make sure you set that threshold where it’s going to help your AOV out a little bit, because there’s just something with consumer behavior and consumer psychology where it’s like they see the lower one and they’re like, “Oh, I want to spend a little bit more and get a little bit of a better discount,” but then maybe the higher one’s too much. So the mid-tier one just comes off a little bit more appealing.
Alison Smith: [19:18]
Yeah, it’s always great to give people choices, but lead them to what you want them to do. And with our tiered discounts, I believe how we think about it is when there’s three tiers, the first tier is usually around our normal AOV, and then the second tier is like 20% or so more, and then we go from there for the third-highest tier, if that’s helpful for anyone. When you’re actually trying to set these, obviously, test them for your own business, every niche is going to be different. All these talks about apps is making me hungry, too.
Karin Samelson: [19:59]
Oh, my God.
Alison Smith: [20:00]
I’m like, mm-mm, apps.
Karin Samelson: [20:03]
Whoever is editing this, please keep that. Please keep that in.
Carley Jones: [20:07]
Now let’s move into tip number five. So this is, pay attention to how the promo is worded. How the offer is presented to a customer can really make or break the potential of getting a sale. For some, 15% off is less attractive than a dollar off offer and vice versa. Testing, like we mentioned in step one, will really help determine what your audience responds best to. With our clients, it really just depends. Some of them, percent off offers work better, some installer off offers work better. It really, really just depends on that audience.
Creating a sense of urgency is also key to adding to your promo messaging. Someone is way more enticed to buy if they know a sale ends in 24 hours, versus a sale that lasts seven days. For instance, they may see one of your emails and not buy, since they know the sale is going on through end of month. So keep hyping that scarcity, and set a time limit until that sale is gone for good. It’s really, really important to have that sense of urgency across your promo assets.
Karin Samelson: [21:17]
We as consumers, we’re not just marketers, we’re consumers too. And if you give me a deadline, I’m going to want to purchase. I don’t want it to end without me getting something I’ve been looking at. So I love that tip. And even more so, what do you feel about timers on emails or on the website’s cart pages?
Carley Jones: [21:40]
Definitely recommend having something, some sort of countdown timer. There’s a ton on Shopify. There’s some that can even be integrated with your email platform. The one that I am used to using is called Countdown Timer Ultimate. There’s so many, but it can really, really get the message across that this sale is ending soon and you need to make your purchase now. And definitely recommend having that on either your main website page, where it’s just a timer that’s ticking. I’ve even seen them on the little header bars. Not header bars. Those are called something way more legit than that, but like the top bar.
Karin Samelson: [22:20]
Announcement bar.
Carley Jones: [22:21]
Yeah, announcement bar on your webpage. Definitely having them added to your cart at checkout so people can see when that sale is actually ending. And then of course, on those product pages or your landing page like we mentioned before, to create that sense of urgency. So that app was called Countdown Timer Ultimate. We’ll have it linked in the notes. But yeah, now it’s time for our final tip and it’s a big one, so keep that in mind.
Tip six is, don’t train your audience to expect a sale. You’re probably thinking that we just spent all of this time talking about promos, and best practices, and what to do and what not to do, but please, please, please remember to use promos sparingly throughout the year. You do not want to train your audience to only buy when there’s an offer on the table. They’re just going to wait till you send the next promo email or they run across your next promo ad. And that can really, really hinder getting sales.
Timing for promos will almost always vary, but you don’t want your customers waiting for the next week long sale to purchase. You have to create that, “I need to order now,” feeling, since they don’t know the next time that it’ll be discounted. Obviously, we all know consumer behavior. People are expecting a sale on Black Friday, Cyber Monday. That’s a little bit different. Sometimes they will wait, but other times they’ll be like, “Okay, I need this now. I’m going to buy.” Getting customers to buy at full price will be a year long effort.
But keep in mind that, promos can still sweeten the deal for certain customer segments. So if you have people who’ve never bought but keep engaging with you or adding to cart, this is when those abandoned cart emails will come in super handy with offers attached, or enticing returning customers to buy after a certain period of time that they haven’t. So, that’s where win back offers will come into play. It really, really just depends on being strategic and not always offering a site-wide sale, all the time to everyone.
Alison Smith: [24:25]
We talk about segmentation all the time, but it’s just so important to hit the right person with the right offer at the right time. But it’s also so easy to fall into kind of like a dopamine trap with promotions, as a brand owner or marketer. You’re sending your list a really great promo deal, and then a ton of money rolls in within a 48-hour period. And it feels good, and you’re like, “Wow, I want to do this all the time and just get a huge cash infusion.” But really what Carley’s talked about is, what you’re doing is you’re training your list to expect it all the time if you continue to do this. And then sales are just going to start dwindling between these periods, and you’re going to be attracting only low value customers, versus creating a brand that’s full of super engaged lifetime fans.
So Carley, let’s talk about what the right range of promos for a CPG, D2C brand is throughout the year.
Carley Jones: [25:31]
Yeah, outside of those Evergreen offers, like we mentioned, so the win backs, your welcome email flows, manning carts, all of that, we’d recommend having two to four major site wide sales a year. If you go the two sales a year route, having a summer and fall sale is typically the way to go. Just kind of break it up by season. Fall sale will obviously be the Black Friday, Cyber Monday time, but if you opt for four sales a year, this typically will equal out to one sale a quarter, which is what we try to do for our clients. And, can include New Year’s, Memorial Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and then holiday sales.
These can vary. The timing of these can vary, based on the brand that you have. If you have a brand that is applicable to kids’ products, maybe having a back to school sale makes a little bit more sense, than a Memorial Day sale. Really, really think about what your brand is, and your mission, and who it is that you’re targeting to determine these four sales a year, because it’s going to be different.
This does not mean that you can’t run a promo every month, because you can to specific audiences, just not everyone. Maybe hit your top engaged email list with a flash sale, or entice a non-purchaser segment with the deal that they just can’t refuse and it gets them to buy. The promo possibilities are super, super endless, and you just have to find what works for your audience and keep refining it.
One of the tips that we don’t have on here is really looking back at past promotions. Look at what you did before and see what performed and replicate it again. It can be really, really easy and simple to do that.
Alison Smith: [27:17]
Yeah, so just to kind of recap what Carley just said, because it is so easy and we see it all the time, where people are just like, “Oh, I want to run another sale, another sale.” And then you create so much more work for yourself, too, if you become that brand and you’re just constantly doing that.
So kind of a recap is, we recommend two to four site-wide sales, and that’s where it’s visible on your website. You’re maybe running ads, you may post on social, and you send emails. And even within all those things, you can still segment with email marketing. You still can segment out who exactly you want to send to, to make sure that you’re getting good deliverability. Same with ads. You want to make sure you are spending money that’s going to make money, so you can still do things to kind of reign it in.
But, two to four site-wide promos max a year. Everything else can be to a very specific list, and no one else knows it’s happening on the rest of your list. And that’s really cool. You can get really, really smart with your segmented little promos that you can run.
Karin Samelson: [28:35]
Awesome, guys. Okay. So that was a lot of information all at once. And so, just to recap all of the amazing tips that Carley has shared for us today. Tip number one, test promo offers ahead of time for big sales seasons. Tip number two, determine your promo profit. Tip number three, determine if a promotional landing page is needed. Tip number four, keep it simple. Tip number five, pay attention to how the promo is worded. And tip number six, don’t train your audience to expect a sale.
Alison Smith: [29:06]
That’s right. I hope everyone got a ton of value from these six quick and dirty tips to run a great promo. And if you’re ready to make this year your most profitable year yet, we are now actually taking on our Q4 clients. So we’re accepting new clients for Q4. I believe we have three spots left at the time of this episode. So, if you want to come work with us, you can apply on our website. We’ll help you reach your ideal customers, we’ll help you optimize, strategize, and create high performing social email, and ad content and campaigns for your brand. So to do that, you can book a call with us at If you also go to our website, there should be a little form that you can click on and fill in, and we’d love to chat with you.
Karin Samelson: [30:04]
Thanks for listening to the UMAI Social Circle, y’all. We’re here to support you in your CPG journey, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new podcast episodes. And while you’re at it, please leave us a review on your listening platform of choice. Shoot us a DM at UMAI Marketing on Instagram, if you have any topics you want us to cover on new podcast episodes.
Alison Smith: [30:21]
And don’t forget to access our free masterclass, where we’re showing you how to create a solid marketing strategy. You can access that at, and we’ll meet you back here for the next episode.
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#44: BFCM Case Study: How to Plan an 80% Revenue Increase Promotion!

UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#44: BFCM Case Study: How to Plan an 80% Revenue Increase Promotion!

We’re diving into the exciting world of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. 🎉 With Q3 just around the corner, it’s time to gear up and start mapping out your holiday promotions to end the year on a high note.

In this episode, we’ll be taking a look back at last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday campaign we executed for a skincare client. In this BFCM case study episode, we’ll review how we planned, executed, and analyzed the biggest sales event for D2C CPG of the year! And how we secured this client an impressive 80% increase in revenue year over year.

By the end of this episode, you’ll be armed with valuable insights to help you plan your very own killer Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or holiday sale. Get ready to take your sales to new heights! 🚀


Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:59 – 2:12] Introduction to our Black Friday, Cyber Monday (BFCM) Case Study
[2:13 – 6:52] Set Your Goals and Debrief
[6:53 – 8:17] Prioritize Value and Education Before Launch
[8:18 – 10:14] Master Testing and Optimize
[10:15 – 11:38] Audit Your Channels
[11:39 – 15:17] Organize, Plan, and Create Assets
[15:18- 18:00] Create an Early Bird Phase
[18:01 – 22:31] Execute Your Launch via Email, Ads, Organic Social, and Web!
[22:32 – 30:36] Recap: Analyze Your Goals and Determine Where You Succeeded or Missed the Mark
[30:37 – 31:47] Closing

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#44: BFCM Case Study: How to Plan an 80% Revenue Increase Promotion!


Alison Smith: [0:17]
Howdy, listeners. We’re Alison.
Karin Samelson: [0:18]
And I’m Karin.
Alison Smith: [0:19]
And we love growing CPG brands.
Karin Samelson: [0:22]
We’re the founders of a digital and social media marketing agency, UMAI Marketing and creators of the Consumer Goods Growth Course, where we’ve helped grow dozens of brands to six and seven figures.
Alison Smith: [0:32]
We’re former in-house marketers turned consumer goods marketing educators, who’ve set off on a mission to provide CPG founders and marketers with actionable strategies that drive community and sales. We’re talking real results.
Karin Samelson: [0:46]
If you’re wanting to learn simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies needed to drive real brand growth without breaking the bank or sacrificing your social life, then this is the podcast for you. Let’s get into today’s episode.
Alison Smith: [0:59]
Hello everyone and welcome to today’s episode. Allison here. Today, it is just me and we are talking Black Friday, Cyber Monday. As we all know, we’re heading in into Q3. We know what that means. It’s time to start planning your holiday and Black Friday, Cyber Monday promos to close out your year strong.
In today’s episode, we’re going to look back at our Black Friday, Cyber Monday promo from last year for a client in the skincare space. This client is a small, two-person team who created a super strong brand using social media alone, and we were brought in in 2022 to execute their emails and social ads to really capitalize on all the organic hard work that they’ve been putting into their business. We’ll talk about what worked for this CPG brand’s BFCM, Black Friday, Cyber Monday promotion that garnered an exciting 80% increase in revenue from the previous year so that you can also plan a killer Black Friday, Cyber Monday or holiday sell yourself.
All right, let’s get into it. The first step that we did and that you should also do before starting to execute your promotion is setting your goals and also debriefing from last year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or holiday promo. You’re going to want to review what worked and what didn’t from your previous promos. So if you don’t already have all that data, pull it into a sheet or a document and add the timeline, what offers you use, what channels you use, and really understand what worked, what didn’t, what channels you didn’t even need to execute. Really think about what you’re capable of executing for this year and try this time to just focus on a few of the highest ROI channels for promotions rather than too many low-return, high-effort channels. That’s something we see a lot for smaller or medium-sized brands even. They make promotions too messy with too many moving parts and it ends up flopping.
Obviously, our goal for everyone is to get them omnichannel, but it’s better to execute really well on a few strong channels than execute and flop on too many channels and stress yourself out. So something to consider. When we did this for this brand, we looked back at top performing promos in the past and we identified four different offers that worked really well and had high revenue from our customers. The first one was a tiered promo. A tiered promo is usually there’s three different cart values with different percents attached to them. For example, save 10% when you order $50 or more, save 15% when you order $75 or more, and then save 20% when you order 100 or more. That’s what we call a tiered promo. We also saw that bundles worked really well. So bundling skews that are alike or products that people generally buy together, bundle them together. Usually when you do this, you’re going to be able to offer a more significant discount that’s really attractive.
And then the third offer that worked really well for this brand was a free gift with purchase. Usually, the free gift is after they purchase a certain tiered amount or if they purchase a certain bundle or skew, they get a free awesome gift as a reward. And then finally, seasonal or small batch or limited edition products did really well for this particular brand.
So we were identifying these four different offers and analyzing them to see what we wanted to run with for this year’s Black Friday, Cyber Monday. After we did some of that offer and promo analysis, we went ahead and started setting our goals. We set a primary goal of increasing our revenue by 20% when compared to the previous period last year. 20% is pretty much a standard increase for a lot of brands. We didn’t have a lot of historical data to go off of, hence using a pretty standard 20% here.
And so after you set your primary goal, which generally is going to be sales or revenue, then it’s important to set your secondary and tertiary KPI goals. These are the KPIs that are going to help you measure along the way as your promo unfolds and are more of the actions that get you to that end goal, that end primary goal. For us, they were increasing our average order value for ads by 20%, another 20% standard increase. We wanted to hit a combined ROAS, return on ad spend of 400%. We wanted to make $17,000 in our email promo campaigns alone, and we wanted to hit a 2% click-through rate with our email promo campaigns. So you can see that the secondary and tertiary KPI goals are specifically different channel goals that will help us get that end primary KPI of a revenue increase.
After you have set your goals and done some analysis and debriefing of your previous promos to understand what resonates with your customers, the next step in the process is to ensure that you’re currently or have plans to give value and education before your pre-launch or pre-promo starts. Really the quarters before Q2, Q3 should really be about giving value to your leads, to your followers, establishing that trust and then giving them the best pre-purchase and post-purchase experience possible to really establish that know, like and trust. So your emails and your social media and even your ads at this point should not be super salesy. Your goal is still to gain sales, but you’re not really running promos or big discounts or anything like that. You’re really speaking about the value of your product, your brand’s mission, using social proof like that to make the sale. You’re not going headfirst into promos at this point. Again, you’re giving a lot of education throughout your ad creatives and your email and your posts as well. At this time, before your pre-promo launch, focus on giving value and education.
Okay, and then next we get into the test and perfect stage. After we’re ensuring that we are set up to give value in the months and weeks before we start the actual promo campaigns, we do need to ensure that all things are functioning across all the channels that we use. We need to ensure that our website conversion rate was optimized and it was fast. For this client, we ran a speed test, which you can also do for free with Google PageSpeed. We also installed an app called Lucky Orange. It’s like a heatmap that you can install on your website. I believe they have a free version as well. You can watch people actually go through your website, go through your checkout flows, everything and see if there’s any issues on your site that people are getting stuck on or that are bringing your conversion rate down.
We then tested our different offers that we talked about just before those four different offers that we identified and we tested them two small segments of our top engaged leads. We didn’t use our bigger promos and bigger discounts because we reserved those for Black Friday, Cyber Monday maybe one other time a year. We don’t want our audience to expect that kind of discount. We tested those different types of offers with a smaller level or smaller discounts, lesser valued gifts. So highly encourage you if you’ve planned earlier enough to test out different offers to your top engaged email leads, see what they’re going to like best. You can even survey your list and ask them what they want this Black Friday, Cyber Monday.
After we did the testing, we also audited our email automations. We audited our ad campaigns and our social media channels to ensure that everything was firing correctly and deliverability was good. We wanted to make sure our ads were optimized, there was no issues with any of the pages that we are linking to and that our social channel’s bio was… the bio description was optimized for search. And then finally we researched and decided on our web stack or the web apps that we’d need for the promo. That does take some time to, if you’re using Shopify, to sort through all the different apps that they have and find the right one that actually connects with everything that you needed to connect to. So get started on that early, but look for apps like if you need an announcement bar that talks about the sale sitewide, if you need a cart upsell app to help people hit certain thresholds, if you’re doing like a free gift with purchase, if you need a sales page builder for this particular promo. So think about all the things that you could use over this promo period that would really help increase your conversion rate and then go ahead and install them and just make sure that they actually do what you need them to do because we’ve run into that a few times.
After the test and perfect phase, then we get into the organizing, the planning, and the actual creation of the assets in these campaigns. We decided on which offer we wanted to move forward with, which was, for this brand, we went with the free gift with purchase. If they purchased over $100 with a product, they got a free really awesome $25 gift. The gift we chose, we even put some thought into that as well. The gift we chose was a great stocking stuffer or it was something that anyone would want as their free gift. So it was kind of a universal great gift. We decided on that offer, then we made a what we call a promo brief.
A promo brief is it’s really great if you’re working with a team, an agency, or even riding solo. It’s just a quick one-page document or a quick Google Sheet that outlines the promo start and end dates, the URLs that you’re going to send all traffic to, the links to all of your asset folders, like your email assets, your social assets, your ad assets, and then any other important notes about the promo. It’s really your and your team’s one-stop doc to get a full rundown of everything that you need to know to execute so that you’re not stressing on promo day, wondering where files are or where you’re sending traffic or anything like that. And then you can also use this sheet or document that you created to come back to to make notes on when you’re debriefing on what worked and what didn’t.
And then as part as the organization and planning process, we then added all of the assets we needed into our content calendar. We just filled in the different days on our calendar on when these assets would go live on email, ads and social media so that we had a visual representation as well on the timeline of this promo. We decided we were going to need four emails, four ads and four social media posts that we were going to repost to stories as well. And then the messaging and creatives that we made for this promo really spoke about hyping the promo. We talked about the value of the product and the free gift and the benefits it would provide to the customer. And then of course we talked about the scarcity and urgency, that this is limited time, we often run out of stock, things like that.
If you’re wanting our assets for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and holiday promos, we actually will be launching our Black Friday, Cyber Monday kit very soon. It’s going to have Canva templates for emails, Canva templates for ads, Canva templates for social media. It’s going to have a sheet for all of your KPI and goal tracking, a place to do your promo briefs and debriefs, and then also a pre and post promo checklist and a few other things too. It’s basically everything you need to have a successful promo. If you do want access to the Black Friday, Cyber Monday kit when it comes out, send us a DM on Instagram now, @umaimarketing with the letters BFCM and we can tell you more about it. Moving on though.
After the organized plan and create phase, now we get into the pre-launch phase. We call this our early bird phase, and this is really about asking people to raise their hand and tell you that they want to buy your product. Our strategy for this promo was to gain existing and new leads about two weeks before the promotion started to get a super engaged list ready to send the promo to first. As we knew, getting these people on an early bird list was going to help increase deliverability of our emails and likely lead to an increase in earnings per recipient. With ads, email and social, what we did is we announced that folks could go sign up to our early bird list and get first dibs on accessing the sale. All we did was make a super simple landing page to capture and tag these leads with Klaviyo. The copy was made to get the lead excited for this sale and it was like coming soon and dramatic. Also, show them love by giving them an exclusive first peak at the promo, first dibs on the promo.
So it had both of those elements for the copy. And then to do a pre-launch early bird strategy, simply just send one, maybe two emails to your list and do the coming soon hype that they would be getting exclusive first access to this offer. Send that email to your entire list and direct them to that landing page where they can opt in and get tagged with the early bird segment. And then for ads, run prospecting and retargeting ads to that same landing page. Getting people to pre-opt in. The cost per lead on ads should be, if you’re sending to a landing page, around $3 for totally new cold audiences. Retargeting, it should be even less. Or you can run an on Meta lead form type of ad where they just opt in straight on Facebook and Instagram. Those cost per leads are $1 to $2. They’re super-duper cheap. So you’re not spending a lot of money gaining these leads. And then on social, you’ll just post just like similar to your email or your ad that your followers can go to the link in your bio and sign up to your early bird landing page to get first access to your sale. That’s the early bird strategy. 
Now, we’re going to get into the actual launch. We created three emails total announcing the promo. They spoke on the value of the products, the scarcity of this promo, and then finally hyping on the urgency that the promo was ending soon. We sent the promo announcement and all other promo emails first to our early bird segment. So the early birds were in their own segment then to our top engaged leads. Your top engaged leads are generally people who have interacted with the last three to six of the last emails that you’ve sent. And then finally, our third segment that got the email was the rest of the list. But you want to keep them separated because they’re going to have different levels of deliverability and you want to ensure that as many people as possible actually get the email in their primary inbox. That’s why we practice this type of segmentation for promos.
We also practice resends. Instead of creating more emails, which you absolutely can do, we won’t hold you back, but if you don’t have time to create six emails versus three, what we do a lot of times is we just resend the same email at a later date with a different, hopefully juicier subject line to people who didn’t open the initial email. Because if they didn’t open that initial email within three to six days, they’d probably already archived it. They’re probably not going to read it. So try getting their attention again with just a new subject line and it’s going to be a brand new email body for them. They likely have not seen it.
And then with ads, we created three ads for the actual promo. They were UGC style ads. We are really a UGC native first agency. That’s just what works and converts for CPG brands on Meta. These ads introduced the promo and the free gift, the benefits of the free gift. We also added testimonials, showed how to use the products, and it had a really strong call to action and we were sending the promo emails and the ads straight to our collections page with more details about purchasing $100 worth of product to get that free gift. And then for organic social, we use the same messaging as above in different high-performing formats like using reels and carousel posts. For social, you can add that link in your bio and use that call to action to tell them to go to the link to shop.
Again, for web, since this was a cart threshold offer of $100, like I mentioned earlier, we created a collection for this offer with the details just at the very top of that collection. And again, we sent all traffic here and then we also used an announcement bar to highlight the promo if someone landed on any page organically on the website so that they could just click that announcement bar, gets taken straight to the collection where they got some information and were able to directly shop. The reason we didn’t use a sales page for this is because it was an order threshold product. If you are doing something like just a bundle or something a bit more specific, absolutely test using a sales page if that’s something within your wheelhouse. Sales pages generally are higher converting than your original regular website because a lot of times you’ll remove a lot of the clutter, like menus and extra things like that, and it’s just a very focused way to get someone to buy.
We also used a cart upsell app. If you just search that in Shopify app store, you should find plenty. But that helped customers reach the threshold. So every time they added a product to their cart, a little sidebar popped up and it said, “You are $55 away from getting your free $25 in value gift.” That really helped people understand where they were at in getting that free gift and help them increase their cart value. That was a pretty broad recap of the strategy that we used for this client’s 2022 Black Friday, Cyber Monday. 
We talked about our goals in the beginning, so let’s recap and see how we did. With revenue, we ended up knocking our revenue goal out of the park. We had a goal of a 20% increase, but we were able to secure an 80% increase in revenue when compared to the previous period. Our biggest revenue driver was actually attributed to our ad campaigns. We made over 50% of our revenue from ads alone. We had a really great cost per acquisition before our promo started. So our evergreen ad campaigns had a really good cost to acquire a purchase. We knew our audiences really well. We had tested our audiences a lot. We had tested our best messaging and creative types months beforehand and leading up to the sale. So our ad account was very much optimized at this point. I want to make that clear. We had a very optimized ad account.
We also started our promo ads earlier than any of our other channels. Ads started before we announced on email and social media. A lot of people start their Black Friday, Cyber Monday promos either on that Friday or like the Thursday before. We started a lot earlier to ensure that we had better deliverability with our ads in the auction. Because with the ad auction over this time period, it gets slammed and there is no room for any player, costs start to rise. We started only ads earlier because we knew this was going to happen, and that allowed us to really secure more touch points to drive people to purchase. It allowed us to slowly optimize these promo campaigns versus just dumping a ton of money per day for four days. We got to kind of spread out the budget and increase it slowly as we saw profitability.
If you’re planning on running ads for a Black Friday, Cyber Monday or holiday promo, really in the post iOS 14 world, it does take a bit longer to optimize your campaign. So we would recommend, if possible, trying to launch those campaigns earlier than any other channels where you’re going to announce the promo. And then our secondary and tertiary goals. First up is average order value. We were able to hit over a 30% increase in average order value month over month versus our 20% goal, which is awesome. That was huge for us, and that was a huge reason for our revenue being so successful. Also, our ROAS goal, return on ad spend goal, we set it for a 400% return on ad spend. We were able to hit 450%. So we were 50% more than our goal. Let’s kind of break that ROAS down. We generated 345% returns on our completely cold prospecting audiences and attracted tons of new customers via this promo for even higher lifetime value down the road. So really great returns on brand new people, especially for a promo and for the first time hearing about this brand. And then our retargeting campaign had a return of ad spend of 5.5 or 550%, which is right in the range that we wanted it to be, which is awesome.
I will say a note on prospecting during promos, that means like going out and targeting cold people who don’t know about your brand. These types of campaigns generally need a minimum about $100 a day for them to work. So if your budget is a lot lower than those requirements, we would recommend just focusing your efforts on retargeting your list during a Black Friday or other promo at this time until you’re able to spend around the $100 a day mark. And then another one of our goals was our cost per acquisition goal. Because we launched our ad campaigns early, we were able to optimize the campaigns throughout the month, which was something that I think we’ll likely do again if the budget is there. We actually saw a $2 cost per acquisition reduction month over month. Our goal here was just keep cost per acquisition the same because we do know that it rises during this time. So a reduction was a fantastic bonus. I think a big reason on how we did this is of course we retargeted with I think around 20% of our ad budget. The remainder of our budget went to prospecting for this promo, and we actually used a completely open audience. We didn’t use any lookalikes or interest groups. It’s because we knew that our pixel was well seasoned, our account was well optimized. With that open audience, that was the biggest driver for our reduction in cost per acquisition. It was really important though that we had enough budget to actually optimize and drive down cost per acquisition. So remember that note that if you’re not around the $100 a day mark, you’re not able to spend that much on your ad campaigns, focus on retargeting for now. 
And then finally, our email revenue and click-through rate goals. We just nearly missed our click-through rate goal. I think our goal was a 2% click-through rate for our promo emails. We hit 1.7, but we did exceed our email promo sales goal by over $3,000, which is great. Overall, the email promo campaigns generated $20,000 in extra revenue for the promo alone, which we considered a win even though we didn’t hit the click-through rate goal.
With our emails, we really got straight to the point with these emails. Email promos generally just, you can highlight the sale. The copy can speak about value and things like that, but it should be really clear when someone opens a promo email, what the offer is and where to click. That’s really your main goal here. We also tested all of our subject lines to get the highest opens and used our client’s top send times too. So even if you’ve done all the subject line and send time testing beforehand, I would still recommend creating at least two different subject lines, testing send times at the time of sending these promos and allowing your email platform like Klaviyo to test this. What we do generally is we test the subject lines and after 20% of the list has been sent, Klaviyo will choose the winner and send the remainder 80% of the list with the winning subject line.
And then going back to missing our click-through rate goal for our promo emails. What we think happened here was our resends did drive down this metric. Remember, we would resend to non openers, but these resends also did help us exceed our revenue goals. So it was kind of a win-lose there. After looking at the data, we think we could have increased our click-through rate and actually hit our goal and maintained our revenue on our resends if we didn’t resend the entire non opener list, but instead resent to people who didn’t open and are more engaged. So something to consider if you’re going to test resending your email this promo or holiday season.
That’s a wrap up our Black Friday, Cyber Monday case study. We hope you enjoyed this case study episode and hopefully got some fresh ideas. If you’re ready to make this year your most profitable yet, we are now taking on Q4 clients and would love the chance to work with you. We are here to reach your ideal customers, help you optimize, strategize, and create high performing social email and advertising campaigns for your brand. Let’s make your Q4 the most profitable yet. Book a call with us at and we would love to chat. Thanks for listening y’all.
Karin Samelson: [31:24]
Thanks for listening to the UMAI Social Circle, y’all. We’re here to support you in your CPG journey, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new podcast episodes. While you’re at it, please leave us a review on your listening platform of choice. Shoot us a DM at UMAI Marketing on Instagram if you have any topics you want us to cover on new podcast episodes.
Alison Smith: [31:34]
And don’t forget to access our free masterclass where we’re showing you how to create a solid marketing strategy. You can access that at and we’ll meet you back here for the next episode.
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Listicle of Our Favorite Holiday Promos

Listicle of Our Favorite BFCM and/or Holiday Promos

Holiday planning in July? You betcha! July is a GREAT time to start planning a successful holiday promo execution! Q4 can be a stressful time for everyone looking to wrap up the year strong, so we want to help get you started (early!!) on executing your perfect Black Friday Cyber Monday (BFCM for short) or holiday promotions.

Where to begin? We got you! 

Step 1: Set clear goals (and debrief from last year’s promos if you ran them)

Step 2: Make an irresistible offer

Step 3: Create scroll-stopping content

Step 4: Test everything!

Now to get your ideas flowin’ we’ve listed some real life examples of CPG brands that executed some killer holiday promos.

MaryRuth’s Organics: A straightforward BFCM campaign!

MaryRuth’s Organics has some quality e-commerce focused marketing… If you haven’t already, scour their website, sign up for the email + SMS, check out their ads in the Facebook Ads Library, follow them on social, and take a look at the robust work they do with affiliates and influencers. Guaranteed you’ll learn something!

In 2022, they employed a straightforward 25% off sitewide discount and sent emails daily. Outside of the 25% off sitewide – they boasted UP TO 30% off sitewide in all subject lines and some headlines to promote their discounted bundles. Bundles are great for increasing AOV and promoting during holiday shopping since it allows people to try multiple different flavors and/or products (or share the variety with their loved ones).

4 email subject lines:

Email 1:

Email 2:

Poppi: CANCEL Black Friday (but not really at all)

Poppi put a little spice on their BFCM promo by saying they were CANCELING it. But not really because the founder explains in this video posted on Tuesday, November 15 (Black Friday was on November 25) that they’re still providing a sale but making it *exclusive* to email and SMS subscribers… More sales AND more email + SMS opt-ins? YES, please!

But then, to no one’s surprise, they still did a Cyber Monday 30% off deal.

Important note: you can see from some of those comments that Poppi didn’t complete our “step 4: test everything” well enough… Looks like the instructions on how and where to get the 30% off for Cyber Monday weren’t clear and that likely lost them some sales (and created more customer service inquiries than expected). Don’t forget to include all terms in your marketing assets, test the promo on your own website (and have others test it, too), and make it as EASY as possible for people to purchase!

OUR PLACE: Give back while getting sales.

If you’re a brand that has several sales a year and you’re not keen on sharing an additional discount during BFCM, consider a Giving Tuesday campaign like Our Place did last year!

For every purchase made on their site from Giving Tuesday (November 29) through the end of the year, they donated meals through three different food banks. Not only are they living up to their mission of “connecting across the kitchen table” – they’re also getting those sales.

The holidays are all about giving – and if you have a really strong community and a lot of retargeting opportunities (retargeting your leads and audiences who *already* know your brand via channels like email + advertising) – then a campaign like this can be quite the money maker.

Ritual Supplements: Keep the party going through the New Year! 

The holiday season + new year is HOT for people focusing on their wellness, and Ritual jumped on that by sharing back to back promos.

They launched their BFCM deal early (November 18, the friday before Black Friday) and promoted bundling (again, to increase that AOV! ← which is great for established brands but may be harder for emerging brands that don’t have an established sales and customer base yet). They offered 40% off when someone bundled with one of the SKUs, which also likely helped drive trial to one of their newer, popular products, Symbiotic+! 

Then on *actual* Black Friday through Cyber Monday – they posted daily to promote the bundle deal utilizing Reels (for potential higher reach) + a meme.

Butttttt it doesn’t end here!

On Christmas day, Ritual took a break with a “BRB post”, but came back swinging on the 26th with their New Year’s 30% off sale to promote new subscriptions! Keepin’ those good vibes and sales going.


Trouva: Create a gift guide
“Gift guide themed emails see a 48% higher transaction rate than purely promotional emails,” (Campaign Monitor). This!

Put together a compelling gift guide based on any number of details, like gender, price point, or product color. Don’t forget to have fun with it to set your post apart from the crowd! Here’s a short list of some of our favorite gift guide titles from PopSugar:

“13 Unique Gift Ideas For the Dad Who Says He Wants Nothing”
“30+ White Elephant Gifts So Cute, Everyone Will Be Fighting Over Them”
“Psst, Santa — All We Want For Christmas Are These Sweet Treats From Target”

Here’s an example from Trouva (a curated marketplace for brick and mortar independent shops) of a gift guide based on sustainable products.


Cards Against Humanity: Make a statement

Okay – this one’s a little crazy, but hear us out!

Back in 2013, Cards Against Humanity took the opposite approach to BFCM. Instead of decreasing their prices, they increased them by $5 across the board.

Cards Against Humanity

“Amazon [was] hesitant, but green-lit the price-rise and sat back incredulous as the card game’s sales actually increased year-on-year. The ‘sale’ was widely shared on Twitter and Tumblr, was the top post on Reddit and was widely covered in news outlets the world over,” (Our Social Times).

amazon data


It’s the mostttttt wonderful time of the year* why not make it even better by watching more SALES roll in. 🤑

And if you’re ready reading this and are HYPED to kill your BFCM or holiday promos but need help executing – book a call with us HERE to see how we can help you! 

We only have THREE agency spots available for new clients in Q4 – so book a call ASAP if you’re wanting to see those sales 📈.

Any questions? Drop ‘em in the comments for us!

Ready to create a 7-figure Consumer Goods Brand without wasting money on strategies that don't work?

Then it's time you join the Consumer Goods Growth Course & start driving the results you've been wanting!

Book a call with us now & learn how you can start making consistant, 7-figure sales!

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#43: 6 Tips for Using Canva to Create Quality Content Faster

UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#43: 6 Tips for Using Canva to Create Quality Content Faster

Hey, y’all! 👋🏼 Today, we’re chatting about one of our FAVORITE tools to make content creation easier, whether you’re a marketer, social media enthusiast, founder, or even a small business owner. We’re talking about the wonderful world of Canva! If you’re not using it yet, no worries. We are here to share 6 quick-and-dirty tips on how you can use Canva to whip up high-quality content quicker than ever. So, get ready to level up your social game and create content in a flash with these awesome Canva hacks! Let’s jump right in! 🤓🎨


Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:59 – 5:13] Introduction to Canva
[5:15 – 8:01] Tip 1: Create Your Brand Kit
[8:02 – 12:34] Tip 2: Pull in Gifs as Memes
[12:35 – 14:15] Tip 3: Explore Stock Imagery, Videos, and Audio Elements
[14:16 – 16:42] Tip 4: The Power of Background Remover and Magic Eraser
[16:43 – 18:45] Tip 5: Canva Assistant “Magic Write”
[18:46 – 20:45] Tip 6: Utilize Templates Whenever Possible
[20:49 – 21:21] How to Access The Consumer Goods Social Media Marketing Kit

Mentions from this episode: 

Learn more and Start growing with us –

UMAI Marketing socials  –

Get the Social Media Marketing Kit, here

Stay in touch:

Join UMAI’s Facebook Group: CORE 

#43: 6 Tips for Using Canva to Create Quality Content Faster 


Alison Smith: [0:17]
Howdy listeners, we’re Alison.
Karin Samelson: [0:19]
And I’m Karin.
Alison Smith: [0:20]
And we love growing CPG brands.
Karin Samelson: [0:23]
We’re the founders of a digital and social media marketing agency, UMI Marketing and creators of the Consumer Goods Growth course, where we’ve helped grow dozens of brands to six and seven figures.
Alison Smith: [0:33]
We’re a former in-house marketers, turn consumer goods marketing educators who’ve set off on a mission to provide CPG founders and marketers with actionable strategies that drive community and sales. We’re talking real results.
Karin Samelson: [0:46]
If you’re wanting to learn simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies needed to drive real brand growth without breaking the bank or sacrificing your social life, then this is the podcast for you. Let’s get into today’s episode.
Alison Smith: [0:59]
We’re all about working smarter and not harder when it comes to marketing and creating content. Luckily, there are a whole lot of resources. Today, we’ll be talking about one of them, Canva, that make your life as a marketer, a social media marketer, a founder, a small business owner, so much easier. We’re going to give you our top six tips on how you can use the awesome tool of Canva to create quality content a whole lot faster.
Karin Samelson: [1:37]
Alison Smith: [1:38]
Karin and I are on today together. Karin, how’s it going?
Karin Samelson: [1:42]
It’s going good. It’s a Friday and Alison and I have to work on… I know. What are we doing on a Friday? We are pretty strict about not having any calls or any meetings on Friday, but we were like, “Oh gosh, we got to stay on track.” Sometimes, you just got to do what you got to do.
Alison Smith: [2:02]
That’s right. We got to do what we got to do. Yeah, usually Fridays, no calls. Like Karin said, we’re pretty strict on that. It’s the time that you can do all the things that you didn’t get to do on the week or even deep thinking. Also, personally, if I have any errands, I’ll do that on Friday. During the week, There’s not really a whole lot of time to do that.
Karin Samelson: [2:31]
Exactly. Yeah, I told my partner, I was really annoying about it, I was like, “We have a very strict no call policy on Fridays, but tomorrow, yes, we have.” He was like, “You mean you rarely do.” I was like, “No, we never do.”
Alison Smith: [2:49]
Yeah, this is a rarity. Yeah, my partner said the exact same thing. He was like, “I thought you didn’t really do that on Fridays,” whatever.
Karin Samelson: [2:59]
Jokes on us.
Alison Smith: [3:00]
It’s also Summer Friday, so it’s extra bad of us, we’ll into it. Sorry for all the complaints, but yes happy to do it.
Karin Samelson: [3:11]
Yeah. While unfortunately, this podcast isn’t sponsored, wish it was, shout out Canva, we really just love Canva because of all the time it saves us. All of us know Photoshop, a lot of us know Illustrator, but Canva, it makes it a breeze for us. It’s a graphic design platform that helps make marketing content and even things like presentations really easily. You can use Canva on a free account or you can pay for the premium version to have access to a few more features. We’re going to be covering some of those features that you’ll need the Pro access to but we’ll also be sharing some things that can be utilized on the free version as well.
Alison Smith: [3:56]
I will say I was a diehard Adobe gal-
Karin Samelson: [4:00]
Alison Smith: [4:02]
… For a very long time. And I think you, Karin, were popping up in Slack. Caleb’s tight in Austin, they were in billboards everywhere at the same time. I was like-
Karin Samelson: [4:14]
Oh, I don’t remember that.
Alison Smith: [4:15]
There was a billboard on 290, I think, towards the airport, and I was just like, “No, Adobe’s where it’s at.” Our entire suite is in Adobe, so I was Anti-Canva. I was like, “It’s so basic.”
Karin Samelson: [4:34]
It’s for noobs.
Alison Smith: [4:35]
Yeah, it’s for noobs. I’m actually a noob, I’m not a graphic designer, but anyways, I thought I was cool because I could use Photoshop. But they have developed so much even past this past year, they have increased all their offerings, they have so much. We’re going to talk about all of it, highly recommend anyone, especially if you’re not developed graphic designer, illustrator, Canva is for everyone. Sponsor us, Canva.
Karin Samelson: [5:07]
Why are we not affiliates? That’s okay. Maybe by the time this airs, we’ll get a link for y’all.
Alison Smith: [5:14]
But first and foremost, this is our first tip, and this is setting your foundation, this is what you should do really before really diving in. It’s uploading your brand kit into Canva. What does that mean? That’s your brand colors, your typography, your logo, all of your product photos, product images, all of that.
Step one is just get all of that in there. It’s just going to make it a lot easier if you create an organized folder with your brand kit. It’s going to prompt you to do that, it’s basically going to ask you to fill that all in. Just don’t skip that step, it’s just imperative to making everything streamlined and easy.
Some example folders that you can make within your brand kit, within these folders would be your product images of all your SKUs, you can also make a folder for your social posts. We like to segment all of our social posts by their type, so we’ll have a folder for our Carousel posts, a folder for our reels, a folder for our static graphics. That makes it really easy because exactly where everything is. Also, say, you know, need a carousel post for the week. You go into that folder, you can do the one before, edit it. It’s just going to be a lot, lot faster for you to crank out some content.
Pro-tip, you can also have a folder for presentations too. If you’re an agency and you have to do a lot of webinars or proposals, pitch decks, if you’re a brand and you have to create a lot of investor presentations, you can have a folder for these. You don’t have to make these ugly old school, I think of my dad’s presentations. Those are out. You can make beautiful presentations with Canva templates, PowerPoint presentations, and make them beautiful and all your brand kits there, so it’ll be super simple to pull everything in. That’s really going to help you add that branded touch and really impress any investor or retailer or whoever that you’re presenting to.
Going to make a strong brand aesthetic and that’s tip one, create a brand kit in Canva.
Karin Samelson: [7:50]
While you might be like, “Yeah, duh, guys,” there are some of you that may not have updated your brand kit in Canva. That is just like, we have to say that.
The next tip we have for you is pulling in GIFS for memes. You see brands having memes in their content and static posts and reels and wherever they want to use them. You’re like, “Where do they pull that GIF from? How do they do that?” They’re probably most likely doing it in Canva. We are constantly talking about how we need to be posting more video content since that is just one of the best ways to reach new cold audiences on social but we also know that it can be really time-consuming to make videos from scratch. Again, work smarter, not harder, and create some meme reels. That means just a reel that’s a short form piece of video content that has a meme on it.
Meme, meaning it has text on it, but then you can pull in GIFS to make it super relatable and just making it a full overarching mean. You can pull things like relatable tweets direct from Twitter or Reddit or Pinterest, and or you can pull in again, those GIFS and add some clever copy that you think will resonate with your audience. We’re going to get into the nitty-gritty on some of these just to help you help guide you on where to go in Canva. But obviously, you can Google any of the things that we’re saying and find out how to do it by reading it there.
But first, you’re going to want to create a new design in reels dimensions. That’s 1080 by 1920. We’re always trying to be vertical here. Simply add one of your brand colors as the background color, or you can step it up a notch and use a template that you add your brand elements to and more on that later. The next, you’re going to scroll on the left. On the left, you’re going to have a lot of different options. One of the options is going to be apps. When you click into apps, you’re going to search for Giphy, which is spelled G-I-P-H-Y. Once you’re in Giphy within Canva, then you can search for any GIF you’d like. Think of your customer avatar and your ideal demographic when searching for GIFS and think of things like popular bands or popular shows and movies or celebrities that your audience resonates with.
All you got to do is type that in, find one you like, click on your favorite, add some text if that relates to your audience and the GIF you chose and that’s really it. You’re adding some text, you’re adding a relatable GIF, and you’re exporting it as a video and that is a reel. That is a very, very, very easy short form video piece of content that you can make and one up that and duplicate it a couple times and make a few while you’re in there and that’s three different videos that you can post throughout the month.
Using GIF within Canva for meme reels is something we really, really like doing.
Alison Smith: [11:07]
Any video, is it going to be highlighted by social platforms for the most part? Is that a better idea to make a video than a static image for the most part?
Karin Samelson: [11:23]
Yeah, I would say for the most part. There’s no black and white terms, everything is gray on digital for the most part. What we try to do is try to make as much as we can into a piece of video content, but to always test other versions of it too. If you’re like, “Okay, I’ve done a whole lot of those, let me try to do it in a square version,” and it’s static, it’s not moving, it’s just an image and some text and it’s still a meme, try it out, see what happens. See if you get more shares on that. But for the most part, try and make as many videos as you can.
Alison Smith: [12:03]
And that’s a quick and dirty tip to make videos, so that’s awesome.
I noticed you’re JIF and you’re not GIF. You’re GIF. Team GIF.
Karin Samelson: [12:13]
I’m Team GIF.
Alison Smith: [12:17]
Oh, you’re Team GIF.
Karin Samelson: [12:18]
I’m Team GIF. We’ve discussed this in the past.
Alison Smith: [12:22]
Oh no.
Karin Samelson: [12:23]
I’m only Team GIF. Even though the creator of them calls them JIFS. that is peanut butter and I am not interested.
Alison Smith: [12:32]
Don’t get it confused.
Okay, moving on to our third tip, stock imagery. There is stock imagery in Canva if you didn’t know this. Gone are the days where I have three bookmarks of the stock sites that I need to search through to maybe find what I need. It’s all on Canva now, which is super easy. It’s just a one-stop shop.
When you’re creating a new design, there’s a tab called Elements on your left-hand sidebar, and you can search in the Elements for whatever you need. You can find all the photos, it’ll also show you different… Other than Elements, it will also show you videos, graphics, audio even, so it’s all going to be in there. Say you need a background photo or you’re creating an ad and you need some stock imagery to help fill some things, just search what you need. People at a party chatting, it’s going to be in there, it’s free to use, royalty free imagery that you can just simply pull in and no more searching the web for stock imagery or stock video or paying whatever royal imagery, whatever it’s called, 5.99 for an image. Tip number three, Canva has stock imagery as well, and video and audio in Elements.
Karin Samelson: [14:06] 
It’s a one stop shot, that’s what we want here. We want to make it super easy. If you’re going to pay for it with a Pro version, use it as much as humanly possible.
The fourth tip we have is to utilize tools like the background remover and or the Magic eraser. Again, we have always been Adobe hype women, but this is so much freaking easier. While it’s not as refined, social isn’t about being as refined anymore. Just do what you can with what you have. With the background remover, you can remove the background on most images with just the click of a button.
If you have a product image that you want to add onto a graphic, but it’s currently photographed on maybe a colorful or a busy background and you can’t find the PNG of it, just use the background remover. You can navigate to this by uploading an image into the design and then clicking edit photo. And if you have a Pro account, you’ll see the BG remover in that left-hand panel. You’re going to click that and then instantly watch the background disappear.
In the same way that the background remover works, you can also use the Magic Eraser to get rid of any unwanted objects in your images. This does work best if the background isn’t too busy. While it’s not perfect, it can be quite helpful when you’re just working quickly or you don’t know Photoshop or work with anyone who does. A tip is just keep going over the sections you’re trying to remove if it doesn’t erase completely on the first go around. But eventually, it will completely erase.
There’s actually another AI tool in beta right now that will allow you to completely replace an object in an image with something else that you dream of. This is a bit more advanced and definitely not a foolproof method, it can come up with some hilariously imperfect things, but it’s just something that you could also play around with.
Alison Smith: [16:08]
Actually, I’m an AI stan. Do you know what a stan is?
Karin Samelson: [16:14]
Yes. I know it. 
Alison Smith: [16:17]
I just learned what it is. I thought people were trying to say fan and we’re saying stan, so I googled it. For those of you who don’t know, a stan is a Gen Z turn for a super fan. I’m sure everyone knows but me, but I just learned it, so I wanted to show off my Gen Z terminology. Love me some AI and that brings us to hot tip number five, Canva Assistant Magic Write.
I’m just obsessed with AI. I use it for everything. It gets weird, but it’s really fun to play with. Like Karin said, sometimes things get really weird. It’s like, okay, for sure this is a robot and use a human touch but Magic Write is also in the Canva platform, and it’s a lot like ChatGPT if you guys have been using that. It’s going to write you headlines or any text or anything you need. It’s at the bottom corner, I believe of where you’re designing. You should see it, it’s like a little sparkle graphic. But when you see it, try it out, click it. It’s only available on the Pro plan though. If you don’t have the Pro plan, you can just go into ChatGPT and use that instead if you’re just not able to think of copy.
Yeah, use it. It can help you write headlines or short pieces of text. You’ll just want to use a human touch and go in and adjust it based on your brand, your tone, make sure it sounds like it’s not a robot. Love it. Love that Canvas… They’ve launched a lot of AI in the past few months, so really, really cool, fun tip to speed things up.
Karin Samelson: [18:14] 
Yeah, for sure. It’s not going to be perfect. Whatever prompt you put in there, no matter what it is, it’s never going to be perfect. It will get pretty close and maybe eventually, it will be perfect, but right now, it’s not. But you can use it as just inspiration, like Alison said. You can use it for headlines, for those Carousel posts that you’re creating, or even example texts for those meme reels that we talked about. Let it do the hard work for you to get your juices flowing, and then you can refine it and make it make sense.
The last tip we have for you is to utilize templates whenever possible. Literally, everything that we’ve shared today, templates would really, really, really help it. If you’re not graphically or creatively inclined, utilizing those templates is just going to up level the overall design and give you more time to focus on all of the other important stuff that you’re doing.
Canva has a number of free templates, but if you really are looking for proven top performing graphics, check out the social media marketing kit for designs that are super high performing. We have seen and tested them on hundreds of other consumer packaged goods brands and these are the best of the best on what we see bringing in the biggest amount of reach and brand awareness as well as engagement. You can find them at It’s the social media marketing kit and we’ll link those in the show notes for you too, because it’s really hard to remember things like that. Yeah, check it out. It has a lot of templates that are going to make your life a lot easier because you don’t need to start from scratch on most things. That’s a waste of time in our opinion.
Alison Smith: [20:06]
And like Karin said, we’ve been doing this for a long time, working with a lot of brands, and we have to create 16 to 20 pieces of content per brand per month, so we’ve definitely seen what works and what doesn’t, and we kind of just pulled the top performers and it’s just like, “Here you go,” just start smarter instead of testing. Definitely check it out, it’s a pretty cool kit.
Yeah, that wraps up our six top tips for Canva.
Karin Samelson: [20:47]
Woohoo, well thanks for listening, everyone.
Karin Samelson: [20:49]
Thanks for listening to the UMI Social Circle, y’all. We’re here to support you in your CPG journey, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new podcast episodes. While you’re at it, please leave us a review on your listening platform of choice. Shoot us a DM at UMI Marketing on Instagram. If you have any topics you want us to cover on new podcast episodes.
Alison Smith: [21:08]
And don’t forget to access our free masterclass where we’re showing you how to create a solid marketing strategy. You can access that at, and we’ll meet you back here for the next episode.
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#42: How to Utilize User Generated Content to Drive Sales

UMAI social circle cpg podcast

#42: How to Utilize User Generated Content to Drive Sales

In this episode, Karin discusses the importance of utilizing user-generated content (UGC) as a cost-effective way to drive sales for consumer goods brands. UGC refers to content that’s created by customers, content creators (or even your mother, brother, best friend, next door neighbor), and it’s known for its authentic appearance and messaging. Karin shares some effective strategies for leveraging UGC to increase sales and engagement, even on a limited budget.

Tune in to learn more about how UGC can benefit your brand and how to make the most of it. 📸


Let Us Break It Down For You…

[0:58 – 1:57] What is UGC and how you can utilize it to drive sales
[1:58 – 2:35] Building community first on social with UGC
[2:36 – 3:08] Using UGC for high-converting social ad creative
[3:09 – 4:27] Exploring alternative sources of UGC
[4:28 – 5:05] Closing and plug-ins

Mentions from this episode: 

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Stay in touch:

Join UMAI’s Facebook Group: CORE 

#42: How to Utilize User Generated Content to Drive Sales


Alison Smith: [0:17]
Howdy listeners, we’re Alison.

Karin Samelson: [0:19]
And I’m Karin.

Alison Smith: [0:20]
And we love growing CPG brands.

Karin Samelson: [0:22]
We’re the founders of a digital and social media marketing agency, UMAI Marketing, and creators of the Consumer Goods Growth Course, where we’ve helped grow dozens of brands to six and seven figures.

Alison Smith: [0:33]
We’re former in-house marketers turn consumer goods marketing educators who’ve set off on a mission to provide CPG founders and marketers with actionable strategies that drive community and sales. We’re talking real results.

Karin Samelson: [0:46]
If you’re wanting to learn simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies needed to drive real brand growth without breaking the bank or sacrificing your social life, then this is the podcast for you. Let’s get into today’s episode. 

[0:58] Properly utilizing user-generated content is a great and cost-effective way to drive more sales for your brand. In today’s episode, we’re talking about how consumer goods brands can utilize user-generated content the right way to help drive sales. Hi everybody, it’s just Karin on today, and it’s a beautiful day. Well, it’s not that beautiful, it’s a little rainy and gloomy outside in Austin, Texas today, but it’s a great day because we’re going to be talking about driving sales with UGC. UGC is an acronym for user-generated content, and UGC is brand-specific content created by customers or brand advocates. It really is lo-fi, it looks like something very native on your feed while you’re scrolling. And right now, it’s some of our highest performing content and we’re going to give you a few ideas on how to utilize this content to drive sales.

[1:58] First thing you can do is start requesting permission to repost when someone tags you on social. That can help foster community and trust in your brand, which will always lead to more sales down the road. And you can also start sharing as much UGC as you can to your Instagram stories. So when someone tags you on their feed or mentions you in their stories, make sure to share that to your stories and add a link, a link sticker to your product pages on those slides so that you can try and get as many folks as you can to your website. You want to drive traffic to your product pages, you want them to look through your offerings and purchase. UGC is constantly some of our highest performing ad creatives on social as well. So you’re going to want to have a lot of UGC style ad creatives running and testing constantly.

If you want to use tagged content, so if a creator uses your product, tags you in it and you’re like, “Ooh, that would make it a really good ad,” just make sure to always get permission to repost creators’ content and you will have to specify that those are going to be used for ads. A lot of times, creators definitely want to know that. 

[3:11] And so if you’re like, “Cool, Karin, that’s great, that would be really easy if we already had creators tagging us. But what can I do if we just launched or we don’t have a lot of tagged UGC, we don’t have a lot of people using and tagging us?” The answer is ask friends and family to shoot some video testimonials for you. If you have a bit more of a budget, you can even utilize on-website apps like to source more custom content from users. Or you can use apps like minisocial or, which pairs brands with microinfluencer creators who can produce user-generated content on demand and at more scale. So if you have a budget.

[3:55] Other ways you can source UGC is running a giveaway on social, where customers can share pictures or videos of themselves using your product. And as long as you offer a really nice, a really juicy prize to incentivize these folks to enter to win, you might get some really, really good content. Just make sure to have some fine print in there in the giveaway rules that says that you’ll be allowed to utilize those videos for marketing purposes once they enter to win. 

[4:28] So those are a few ways to source some UGC, whether you pay for it or you source it from your community or you just ask your friends and family, because we know that UGC performs and helps drive sales. So the more UGC a brand has the more social proofs and likelihood someone will follow along to learn more and eventually try the product. It’s all about that social proof and UGC really satisfies that in a lot of ways.

So that’s about it. We wanted to make it short and sweet and actionable. So if you have any questions, let us know. But thanks for listening, really appreciate you guys spending some time with me today. 

Karin Samelson: [5:05]
Thanks for listening to the UMAI Social Circle, y’all. We’re here to support you in your CPG journey, so be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss any new podcast episodes. And while you’re at it, please leave us a review on your listening platform of choice. Shoot us at DM at UMAI Marketing on Instagram. If you have any topics you want us to cover on new podcast episodes.

Alison Smith: [5:24]
And don’t forget to access our free masterclass, where we’re showing you how to create a solid marketing strategy. You can access that at and we’ll meet you back here for the next episode.