The Vegan Taste
Re-imagined Website and Strategic Email Outreach Engages New and Returning Customers
Scope of Work: Visual Identity. Marketing Strategy. Print and Digital Marketing.
The Vegan Taste, a Phoenix-based vegan meal subscription service with roots dating back to 2004, faced new, pandemic-era issues. What worked for the company before — a no-frills website and minimal interactions with its customers — wasn’t working in early 2020.
Brenits Creative worked with The Vegan Taste and its executive chef Jason Wyrick to rethink its marketing priorities, how the company represented itself online, how it interacted with customers (the lifeblood of a subscription meal business), and approaches that could win more subscribers.
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ONLINE AND EMAIL MARKETING GENERATE TASTY ROI
The Vegan Taste began as a passion project for executive chef Jason Wyrick after reversing his diabetes by going vegan. Jason went from cooking vegan meals at home to becoming the first vegan chef to teach in the renowned Le Cordon Bleu program at the Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Adding to his already impressive resume, Jason became a New York Times best-selling author and, later, the owner of a fine-dining vegan restaurant, Casa Terra, located in Glendale, a Phoenix suburb.
We first met Jason pre-pandemic in early 2020 when he reached out to Brenits Creative for help rebranding The Vegan Taste. Once we learned about the company’s other challenges and opportunities, including some critical marketing gaps, we recommended that Jason put rebranding to the side to focus on higher priorities.
Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, forcing Jason to temporarily close Casa Terra and shift his full-time focus to The Vegan Taste. Even with a small-and-steady roster of devoted customers ordering meals for home delivery, Jason knew he’d needed to make some investments for The Vegan Taste to thrive during the pandemic and beyond.
Brenits Creative proposed a multi-faceted approach focused on four critical areas that Jason approved:
- Revamp The Vegan Taste website to streamline and improve the user experience and e-commerce backend.
- Advertise online to increase the company’s awareness and significantly grow its customer base.
- Develop a content marketing plan that included relevant topics and key messaging for blog posts and social media.
- Create a weekly email to announce the upcoming week’s menu, eliciting anticipation and orders from its customers.
- Update the brand identity to better reflect what they offer
Conversion-Optimized, Customer-Friendly Website
Brenits Creative tackled the website redesign from several fronts. We moved the site from the Wix platform to WordPress, which offered more design flexibility, and added WooCommerce for a better food ordering and payment experience.
We made extensive user experience and user interface improvements. These enhancements helped website visitors view the weekly menu more easily, navigate the site, understand the ordering process, and sign up for deliveries. A new opt-in form on the home page captured visitors’ email addresses in exchange for a meal delivery discount code that — thanks to the WooCommerce integration — automatically turned those discounted sales into full-price orders once the four-week coupon expired.
The new, conversion-focused website went live in June 2020. The Vegan Taste immediately began to reap the benefits of the site’s streamlined navigation and more compelling, complete information, including new, colorful photos to represent Chef Jason’s culinary creations better.
The site improvements played a significant role in The Vegan Taste, surpassing its 2020 revenue goals and growing its roster of regular and prospective customers from less than 80 to nearly 300 within six months.
Targeted Online Advertising Campaigns
Even with a vastly improved and more engaging website, The Vegan Taste needed more people across greater Phoenix to know about its meal delivery service.
The Brenits Creative team knew Google ads would be part of the marketing mix, but we needed to do extensive foundational work first. Our plan included search engine optimization (SEO), improving how Google and other search engines index the site. Keyword research played a role in this, as the team explored and implemented ways to improve the website’s placement in search and capitalize on the fact that non-vegans (for example, athletes and families) want to eat healthy, fresh food they can order locally.
We also set up Google Analytics to track and report website activity and campaign-related events and actions, such as capturing when people subscribe, fill out the site’s contact form and take other actions worth monitoring and measuring.
Once the keyword research, SEO, and analytics work were completed, we turned our attention to Google’s advertising platform. The Vegan Taste’s delivery area expands across the large Phoenix metropolitan area. With roughly 4 million people living within the company’s coverage zone, there was no shortage of people to target. But we needed a more focused, “geofenced” (area-specific), and keyword-driven approach to our Google ad placements to get the most from The Vegan Taste’s ad dollars.
We knew we would be competing with several national, deep-pocket competitors, such as Blue Apron, Purple Carrot, and HelloFresh, with their vegan and plant-based meal offerings. We designed hyperlocal ads to show up in both search and display positions online. We employed a remarketing strategy, where people who engaged with the ads and visited The Vegan Taste’s website would see the company’s ads again later when they were online. We also created a series of local ads that appeared before certain YouTube videos.
The Google and YouTube ads successfully generated enough new leads and customers that The Vegan Taste continues to allocate some of its marketing dollars for online ads. In Phoenix’s highly competitive restaurant, specialty foods, and food delivery market, The Vegan Taste captured an impressive “share of voice” (market visibility) using online ads that we continue to build upon in subsequent campaigns.
Engaging Content Plan for Blog and Social Media
Our team developed a content plan to support The Vegan Taste’s new strategic marketing efforts. We added a blog, Plant-Forward, to build out the website content, engage customers and followers and have a way to incorporate more relevant keywords into the site. This SEO-friendly strategy would help more people discover The Vegan Taste.
Adding a blog to a website isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it effort. It takes an ongoing commitment to keep a blog updated with articles that inform, educate and entice. Fully executing on our content strategy, week after week with hands-on, tactical support from The Vegan Taste team, keeps the company’s blog updated with timely, keyword-focused articles, such as Health Benefits of a Vegan Diet and short stories featuring The Vegan Taste’s creations. (Tacos Veracruz, anyone?)
The blog and photo-rich website brought new energy to The Vegan Taste’s social media channels with posts that enticed followers and reminded customers of what was in store for them with the week’s upcoming menu. A creative and consistent social media presence allowed the company to expound on the benefits of plant-based food, reaching people who don’t consider themselves to be vegan. The Vegan Taste also shares customer reviews (social proof for the win) and fun giveaways to build engagement and foster repeat business.
Weekly Email Outreach to Its Customer Base
Before hiring Brenits Creative, The Vegan Taste’s customers had to visit the company’s website to see what was on the menu. While some customers remembered to do this, others forgot to check in, and their connection to the company’s vegan food began to wane.
We knew email marketing would be key in retaining and growing The Vegan Taste’s customer base and were excited to get this critical element in place.
The Brenits Creative team designed the email template and process for weekly emails. Today, more than 3,500 people receive a mid-week email from The Vegan Taste with details and photos showing the upcoming menu. The message is designed to build brand loyalty and encourage customers to place an order before end-of-day each Friday.
Many customers enjoy recurring orders from The Vegan Taste, signing up for multi-week subscriptions. However, some customers put their orders on pause and still want to remain connected to the company. With both audiences in mind, The Vegan Taste’s weekly email is an essential component of the company’s ongoing marketing efforts, reaching vegans who buy meals each week while keeping the doors open for other customer types.
“A big benefit of working with Brenits Creative is our improved website. It was so disjointed before, and it was hard to access customer information and know their payment history and active status. That information’s now readily available and easy to find.”
Bill Lane, Director of Business Development for The Vegan taste
THE KEY TAKEAWAY
THE VEGAN TASTE CONTINUES ITS ONLINE AND EMAIL MARKETING EFFORTS
While the pandemic’s impact seems to lessen each week, many restaurants and food service businesses still struggle to make up for lost time. The Vegan Taste, a bright spot in the industry, continues to experience growth. We were honored to play a leading role in its success story and counted ourselves lucky (and satiated) to sample so many of chef Jason’s vegan creations.
Our work helped The Vegan Taste exceed its initial goals. With 70 subscribers at the start of when we began working with Jason and his team, we collectively set a goal to add 30 more within the first month and over 200 regular-delivery subscribers by the end of 2020. Happily, we met both goals early on and blew past them to see 280 customers at year-end.
Jason and his team love the improved, optimized website and are very happy with our team’s continued partnership. We meet regularly to review marketing priorities and brainstorm new ideas for continued growth.
We look forward to what comes next in our collaboration with chef Jason and The Vegan Taste team – and their mission of more people in the Phoenix area eating and enjoying healthy and delicious plant-based food.
Working with the Brenits Creative team, who understands the online space and could see the potential for many more customers, helped us realize it’s a much bigger marketplace than we first thought.
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