Observations On The Metrics That Matter For Natural Product Sales
The Long Tail Illustrated Graph
Predictable Results For Supplement Retailers - Read, Share, Ask, Tell and Buy
Content Marketing For Sequential Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results

What Is  Content Marketing?

Content Marketing is creating and sharing valuable free information to attract and convert prospects into customers, and those customers into repeat customers.

 

Is Targeted Content Marketing Right

For Your Natural Products Business?

 Before answering, consider the following:

Content marketing means creating and sharing valuable free content to attract and convert prospects into customers, and customers into repeat buyers.

The type of content you share is closely related to what you sell; in other words, you’re educating people so that they know, like, and trust you enough to do business with you, according to content marketing expert Brian Clark .

Content marketing isn’t advertising. It isn’t push marketing, in which messages are sprayed out at groups of consumers.

Rather, it’s a pull strategy — it’s the marketing of attraction says content marketer Rebecca Lieb . It’s being there with relevant, educational, helpful, compelling, engaging, and sometimes entertaining information when consumers need you and seek you out.

Content marketing is very good news for the natural products industry. Customers are looking for relevant information to give them the clarity and confidence that they’re making the right choice.

This is precisely where content marketing outperforms. As Andrew Davis says, Content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust. And trust drives revenue.

 

Why Content Marketing?

 

By August of 2015, 200 million people had installed ad blockers. That’s indicative of consumers shutting out “push” marketing messages. This is terrible news for traditional marketers who blast advertising messages with the false hope they’re raising awareness.

Worldwide “push” ad spending increased 5.7% in 2015 to nearly $570 billion.1 Medical print journal spending was up 8.4% with print ad pages rising 7.9% to 64,574 pages.2

That’s the scale of push marketing your message is competing against. Medical ad spending is directed to doctors. They are not seeing the latest nutritional research.

If your business involves nutritional supplements, natural products, organic food, or wellness products,  then content marketing is your new best friend.

Step into the consumer’s shoes for a moment. The inherent complexity within nutrition and biochemistry is often a barrier to understanding and experiencing the miraculous impacts that food and nutrition can have on our bodies.

That story is the most critical, compelling and rewarding one the natural products industry has to tell. That’s why content marketing can be so incredibly effective. It’s the only kind of marketing that provides ongoing value, whether you purchase the product or not, says Content Marketing Institute founder Joe Pulizzi..

Content marketing enhances the value of a product. Persistence and relevance always have a sweet spot for customers and the products they buy. Educated customers are worth their weight in gold for nutritional supplement businesses. They share, tell others about it, ask questions, and become actively engaged in purchasing nutritional products. At least that’s what our case studies reveal.

 

Driving Natural Product Sales With Targeted Content Marketing

 

We wanted to find out what impact relevant content would have on generating a specific shopper behavior. The behavioral result was a $ale!

 

Tests And Measures

We studied the impact on sales by testing four variables:

  • Distribution Method.
  • Distribution Sample Size.
  • Distribution Topic.
  • Specific Product SKUs.

 

Lessons Learned From Targeted Content Marketing

We learned natural product shoppers have unasked questions, unanswered questions and untapped health interests.We learned natural product retailers have numerous challenges in meeting these needs. For example:

  • Supplements are complicated and confusing for shoppers to navigate.
  • However shoppers are looking for a reason to buy nutritional products.
  • They appreciate reminders of benefits they get from the products you sell.
  • Shoppers who know more, buy more.

We learned that natural product retailers face a unique set of challenges. With a seemingly endless to-do list, retailers often overlook the importance of developing and nurturing shopper relationships. Managing shopper expectations brings challenges including:

  • :Lots of health promoting products to sell.
  • Some products that don’t sell well or don’t sell quickly enough.
  • Misunderstanding the distinction between education and advertising.
  • No way to measure the behaviors that drive store sales.

 

Predictable Profits

 

Retailers who use Nutrition News targeted content marketing enjoy plentiful and predictable profits.
Shoppers in stores who were given Nutrition News had more sales in less time than in stores without Nutrition News.

That’s because relevant educational content is “pull” marketing. It makes a dramatic impact on shopper engagement and shopper behavior. Sales flyers and advertising circulars are “push” marketing.

Nutrition News content is “pull” marketing. Knowing the difference is critical to your growth and profitability.

If shouting “Buy My Stuff, Buy My Stuff,” is your primary marketing message and ad budget, you are wasting resources and most likely annoying many of your customers. The more you push your stuff, the more you push your customers away. Unless your customers understand the full value represented by your offers, those offers will be largely irrelevant to them.

This is where the power of targeted content marketing brings huge leverage. Your customers are all interested in buying your products. Their interests and needs may change over time. Focusing their interests is how “pull” marketing ensures a steady supply of shoppers. These shoppers are well versed in the value of your offers because content marketing answers the question, “What’s in it for me?”

During our years in the natural products content marketing business, we have distinguished a sequence of predictable shopper behaviors that invariably lead to a sale. These behaviors are the direct result of targeted content marketing, and they are —

READ — SHARE — ASK — TELL — BUY

 

 

Case Study #1  Whole Foods Market, Fresno, CA

 

It’s Everybody’s Job

 

Eighteen months after launching Nutrition News in the Northern Pacific Region, we spoke with Walter Robb, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Whole Foods Market to share some preliminary observations.

We suggested Whole Foods was missing sales opportunities because the majority of their shoppers were not aware of it. To illustrate the point, we told him the story about the Fresno store’s experience with Nutrition News.

We informed Walter that Rosa Diaz (NBC manager), had been receiving an additional 1,500 copies per month during her first year of operation – a total of 2,000 newsletters. That quantity and consistency of distribution was sufficient to spark shopper engagement.

Walter remarked that Rosa’s store numbers had reached the top of that region’s comparative sales numbers in only twelve months.

Opening a new store, with a new team, introducing the Whole Foods brand and inviting the community on a retail journey, while closing the gap in comparative store sales in only 12 months, was amazing. But it wasn’t an accident.

 

One Retailer’s Experience With Targeted Content Marketing

What Rosa Told Us:

“We started using Nutrition News shortly after we opened our Fresno store. [At the time], our comparative sales numbers were the lowest in our region.

After we began a focused campaign of introducing Nutrition News to our customers, I noticed them bringing their copies back into the store and buying the supplements featured in the newsletter.

Within our first twelve months in operation, our sales numbers had climbed to the second highest in the region.
We’re convinced that our store team effort to make Nutrition News available to our customers was instrumental in achieving that remarkable result.”

 

Managing For Results

 

The  Whole Foods initial content marketing launch was in the Northern Pacific Region. It was only 500 copies per store. A mere 1.6% of 30,000 monthly visits. This was such a small shopper sample size that tracking for a measurable result was a Mission Impossible scenario.

The Fresno store was the only store in the region to distribute a sufficient quantity of targeted content to capture a significant number of shoppers’ attention. Rosa’s soaring results let us know without a doubt that Nutrition News content works.

Because of Rosa, we discovered some pretty amazing things about what natural product shoppers want out of their shopping experience.

We witnessed first hand what can happen for retailers who nurture and satisfy those expectations with targeted content marketing. Finding the varieties and levels of customer interests over time, make it possible to measure for results, which in this case was rocketing to the top of same-store comparative sales. Rosa understood her customers’ journey and nurtured it with targeted content marketing. There is no advertising in Nutrition News.

 

A Rewarding Shopping Experience

  • Putting the customer experience first was everybody’s job.
  • Customers often find supplements complicated, confusing.
  • Supplement complexity is time consuming to explain.
  • The front end team made an invitation to read Nutrition News at the checkout counter.
  • Rosa easily discovered how many copies to hit the store’s engagement sweet spot.
  • All her team members read Nutrition News, which was always in the break room.

Take-Aways For Profit

Relevant content marketing generates sustained impacts on shopper behaviors. Those behaviors lead directly to increased sales of nutritional supplements. Those sales did not happen for stores that failed to engage enough shoppers.

In this case, shopper behaviors launched a bottom to top leap in comparative store sales. The lost sales value highlights the gap between engaging shoppers with content they are interested in and the impact on store sales increases. What are those key shopper behaviors?

READ — SHARE — ASK — TELL — BUY

 

Case Study #2: Whole Foods Market, Monterey, CA

Category Moneyball  Gleaning Low Hanging Fruit

 

After Fresno’s success, Walter Robb suggested that we conduct a bag stuffing test in which product SKUs were tracked pre and post newsletter distribution.

Blair Holland of the Monterey store (a long time Nutrition News supporter now retired) agreed to conduct the test. She asked her scan coordinator to locate their slowest moving products.

For this test she chose to track all her chromium SKUs. The front end team agreed to distribute the newsletters at the registers. Chromium sales were tracked for six weeks prior to the content distribution launch.

The object was to introduce the Nutrition News “Chromium” newsletter to customers and track any resulting chromium sales. For this test, the store increased the number of newsletters from 500 to 2000 copies.

We devised a simple introductory script for the cashiers. They were asked to say: “We’re considering giving this newsletter to all of our customers for free. Would you read it and tell us what you think? It’s normally $49/yr.” If they said, “No”, they didn’t receive a newsletter.

 

Managing For Results:  Awareness + Attention = Accelerated Category Sales

 

Blair reported that within two to three weeks after the distribution weekend, chromium sales had increased 18 times over the previous six weeks pre-test numbers.

Category Specific Sales Increased Across ALL Chromium Brands.

In only three weeks chromium sales increased despite no evidence that the cashiers actually introduced the newsletters. (This wasn’t tracked).

Blair also commented that the test was conducted during the summer and that the chromium edition was considered controversial.
Circumstances aside, the test clearly “indicates an under-served customer population and the potential for significant inventory returns over time” according to Blair.

 

Nutrition News content marketing was directly responsible
for an 1800% sales increase in an under performing category,
in only three weeks.
Take-Aways For Profit: The Good News:
  • Slow moving inventory categories can be targeted, stimulated.and turned faster and more frequently.
  • It’s a numbers game. Copies distributed are key to raising awareness, engaging interests and fulfilling expectations.
  • No matter how, when or where, as long as Nutrition News gets into a shopper’s hands, the sequence of engagement behaviors leading to a sale get activated.

Those predictable and repeatable shopper behaviors are —

READ — SHARE — ASK — TELL — BUY

Content Marketing For Brands, Manufacturers, Distributors Lessons Learned From A National Campaign

 

Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results

Case Study #3: Enyzmatic Therapy Retailer Engagement

This national campaign promotion was framed as a “game” and it was played by selected, participating Enzymatic Therapy retailers across the country.

At Dr.Teitelbaum’s request, we included all stores in Maryland and Virginia, his local area. This included all the Whole Foods Market stores open in those states at the time. This was their first encounter with Nutrition News content marketing.

To help drive sales, flyers announcing the game along with a “How To Play The Game” Tip Sheet were included with each store’s shipment of Nutrition News “From Fatigued To Fantastic” content.

 

 

Shopper Engagement

We targeted anyone with fatigue, chronic fatigue, fybromyalgia or other immune response stressors. Targeted shoppers were identified by distributing copies of Nutrition News written specifically for this national campaign. The object was to locate the targeted shoppers as quickly as possible.

Product sales was the ultimate metric tracked. However, other notable customer behaviors included:

  • requests to staff for more information
  • guidance to the appropriate products
  • carrying a copy of Nutrition News in the store .

Predictable Profit
Content Marketing By The Numbers

Enzymatic Therapy measured SKUs for the 2 month test period and compared those sales to the same time 12 months earlier. They also compared SKUs for the 2 months of the test with total sales over the previous 12 months.

Enzymatic Therapy reported that the measured SKUs increased to 813,892 units from 40,392 units sold during the same period 12 months earlier.
Product sales was the ultimate metric tracked. However, other notable customer behaviors included:

  • requests to staff for more information
  • guidance to the appropriate products
  • carrying a copy of Nutrition News in the store .

 

 

 

813,892 units from 40,392 units

In Only Two Months!

That’s Right

 

 

 

Growth Hacking With Content Marketing
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results

Nutrition News Targeted Content Marketing Generated:

 

  • 793,500 New Sales.

  • 19.6 Times More Sales or

  • 1960% Sales Increase In Only Two Months

  • 97.50% of all new sales dollars earned .

Product sales was the ultimate metric tracked. However, other notable customer behaviors included:

  • requests to staff for more information
  • guidance to the appropriate products
  • carrying a copy of Nutrition News in the store .

Targeting Shoppers
Content Marketing In-Store Results

The stores receiving Nutrition News got a minimum of 250 copies. Some stores received many more. Stores reported unit sales increases ranging from a low of 1552 units all the way up to 33,017 units.

Of the total number of units sold, 23 times more units were sold in the first month, and 34 times more units were sold during the second month than were sold during the previous twelve months.

Targeting Whole Foods Shoppers
Results By The Numbers

How did the Whole Foods stores do? Unit sales in Whole Foods stores increased from 2,115 units to 40,595 units or over 1900% more sales than over the previous 12 month period.

In Maryland, Whole Foods stores sales increased from 1 unit to 16 units sold. That’s 16 times or 1600% more sales in two months than during the previous twelve. In Virginia stores, sales increased from 8 units to 105 units, thirteen times or 1300% more sales in two months than during the previous twelve.

Targeting Retailers
Comparing Stores Who Do With Stores Who Don’t

This national campaign was to selected retailers.This gave us additional insights into customer responses to targeted content. Since we know shoppers frequenting a particular store brand share commonalities, we could easily see the difference that customer awareness can have on sales.

A noteworthy impact of targeted content marketing, or rather its absence, can be seen in the relationship between product sales and product returns. As mentioned, the test design excluded Whole Foods stores in NJ, NY and MA from the distribution list.

 

The excluded stores all showed negative sales or returns to Enzymatic Therapy over the same test period .

 

Store sales in VA and MD up 1300% and 1600% respectively, while store sales in NY, NJ, MA were negative or return to vendor.
Shoppers in NY, NJ, and MA like shoppers everywhere, have similar interests and motivations for shopping where they do.

Some of the impacts from losing these value creation opportunities show up as:

  • Lost customer engagement
  • Undistinguished consumer interests
  • Lost current sales
  • Lost future repeat sales

This was a test. Extrapolating on the potential lost dollars and  lost value opportunities available every day, in every store, this one test illustrates the scale of  undistinguished shopper interests can have on sales. .

Lack of awareness affects customers, retailers and manufacturers. It also affects the industry’s ability to scale and grow faster.

All of this happened in two months time.

The Dynamics Of Engagement

 

The dynamics of engagement offer significant leverage for the natural products industry. The sequence of READ, SHARE, ASK, TELL and BUY using Nutrition News content is easy, engaging and the most effective way to educate shoppers about the benefits of the products you sell.

When it comes to customer education, clearly it’s a case of more is better. The more newsletters, the more shopper engagement, the more sales. Targeted content marketing educates shoppers. It’s a natural and obvious sequence.

Appropriate saturation and consistent delivery of relevant educational content pays significant dividends in a hungry audience . Sales increases continue to build in successive months as Nutrition News copies continue to circulate.

Unfortunately that sequence gets interrupted when “push” marketing messages are the only marketing tool in your tool kit.

Effective content marketing continues to deepen customer understanding about nutrition and builds anticipation for how nutritional products could work for them.

Eventually this builds trust, pulling them in to purchasing. That makes your “push” advertising and sales offers more welcome and more effective. Your customers have a context. That builds trust and affinity. It reduces barriers to sales.

Your biggest bonus by far, is a growing number of educated shoppers who readily understand and share the value of your products.

 

Shoppers who know more buy more.
Shoppers who read Nutrition News,
buy more, and they buy again.

We sold 1000 units of melatonin within five days of distributing the Nutrition News melatonin issue.

Kemper Isley

Vitamin Cottage

Our chromium sales increased 1800% within two weeks of asking our customers to read Nutrition News and tell us what they thought about it.

Blair Holland

NBC Team Leader (Retired), Whole Foods Market

Because we use the Sales Multiplier Program and track topic inventory, we know that our supplement sales have increased nearly 10%. I can’t count the times people I’ve never seen in the store before have picked up a Nutrition News, taken it home, and then come back to the store with it, and purchased the supplements from that issue.

Jeff Dalley

Supplement Department, Sun Harvest Farms

Current Issue

Berries

Our Favorite Testimonial

 

Nutrition News was exactly what I was looking for. It soon became my #1 bag-stuffer. I have never seen anything that can compare with Nutrition News and still to this day it continues to work. It is so well written. I know of nothing better at delivering measurable sales goals.

As the founder of Enzymatic Therapy and now the founder of EuroPharma, I have always relied on Siri to write my technical bulletins and newsletters because I believe she knows how to reach the customers’ minds and give them current scientific information that will make your customers hungry for her timely information.

Remember, as your customers become more knowledgeable in health and nutrition they reach a level of unparalleled health and [they become] a thankful, loyal customer.

Terry Lemerond, Retailer, Founder Enzymatic Therapy and Europharma

Observations On The Metrics That Matter For Natural Product Sales
The Long Tail Illustrated Graph
Predictable Results For Supplement Retailers - Read, Share, Ask, Tell and Buy
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results
Nutrition News Content Marketing For Predictable Results

The Long Tail Impact Of Customer Education On The Future Of Your Natural Products Business

Observations

We frequently get calls and requests from your customers, and our loyal readers.Three recent reader requests are notable and worth sharing. The first involves someone ordering seven gift subscriptions. A second subscriber renewed for ten more years. A third reader wrote us looking for a particular issue of Nutrition News. Nothing unusual about that. What made this request remarkable was that this reader requested a specific volume, number, year and title of Nutrition News. Here’s the kicker. It was published twenty-five years ago!!

The Long Tail

The long tail refers to a feature of some statistical distributions. You’ve probably heard that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. That’s the Pareto Principle. In this case, a graph with customers on the ‘x’ axis and sales on the ‘y’ axis, the long tail is represented by the portion of the curve to the right of the 20th percentile – where 80% of your customers are.

If we observe these distributions we can often distinguish specific kinds of mechanisms.
The implications of the long tail suggest that a variation of only one mechanism can make a dramatic impact on the frequency of certain events occurring in the distribution.

For example, when a Whole Foods store distributed the Nutrition News chromium issue, chromium sales increased 1800% in three weeks. The mechanism was offering Nutrition News to a population interested but unaware of chromium’s health value.

Customer Education

The growth of the natural products industry was fueled by customer education. For those who don’t remember, there was a time when natural products and nutritional supplements were thought to be a “fringe” market.

In nearly forty years of observing the natural products industry, we’ve distinguished five key mechanisms that make deep connections with other, seemingly unrelated systems. They are: Read, Share, Ask, Tell and Buy!!

These five mechanisms lead to predictable natural product sales This is why there’s so much scientific and social interest in studying these long tail distributions and the underlying relationships that create them.

Our three reader request examples bear that out. After reading a Nutrition News we have a ten year renewal, seven new subscribers and a reader so devoted, she wanted something she remembered from twenty-five years ago. Talk about the power of a targeted content marketing strategy.

These readers also share another common denominator. They are your customers. Each one was introduced to Nutrition News in a natural products store. Commitment to education and a little generosity is the secret sauce that created the long tail for the “Nutrition News Effect.”

Education Leverages The Long Tail Impact Of Your Store’s Future

If more of your customers were like our readers, how much more could you sell?

If more of your customers introduced seven of their closest friends to your store, how quickly would your business grow?

If more of your customers were approaching ten or twenty-five years of loyalty because they hold you in high regard and trust you, what other opportunities could you explore?

The key to unlocking the long tail is being relevant in as many relationships as possible. From a customer perspective, it’s looking for a health outcome and products they trust to support that outcome. From a retailer perspective, it’s managing all your store’s skus for maximum inventory turns.

Education is by far the biggest return on investment you can make for your store’s long tail distribution. Customers’ needs change over time. The value proposition for natural products and nutritional supplements is indisputable. Education is the key to being relevant from multiple perspectives. Customer’s as well as retailers, brands, manufacturers, or distributors benefit.

It’s a mechanism that can dramatically shift the frequency of certain events occurring in your store’s long tail distribution curve. It’s a strategic approach to showcasing your store’s products while adding high value to your customers’ shopping experience.

For most of you this is preaching to the choir and as we begin a New Year, it’s a good time to review your opportunities for more sales and growth. The first place to look is at the number of customers you have and the number of copies of Nutrition News you’re distributing. If there’s a large gap, there’s a large opportunity for additional sales and new customers. Give us a call and we’ll be happy to help you set up a plan to maximize the long tail in your store.

December 2012

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