Join me as I chat with Julia Foyster from Tweed Real Food. Julia reveals how emotional storytelling has been the driving force behind their eCommerce success, connecting customers to their farming heritage and fostering resilience in the face of challenges. Don’t miss this inspiring conversation on the power of emotions in eCommerce and so much more!
In today’s episode you’ll learn:
- The power of creating an emotional selling proposition to establish a strong connection with customers.
- How to effectively use storytelling as a marketing strategy to captivate and engage your audience.
- The importance of building familiarity and authenticity to gain the trust of customers and stand out from competitors.
- Strategies for overcoming challenges and sharing your journey to inspire and connect with customers.
- The value of building a community around your brand to foster loyalty and support.
- And so much more!
Juila Foyster: [00:00:00] I believe a business doesn’t need a unique selling proposition, but rather than emotional selling proposition, because we buy based on how familiar a brand is to us and how a brand makes us feel, feelings are stronger than product attributes.
Hi, and welcome to the Bright Minds of eCommerce podcast. I’m Dahna founder of Bright Red Marketing and after helping so many businesses in the e-commerce space over the years, I wanted to bring you the best advice from Australia and experts in e-commerce and e-commerce store owners. If you want to relatable stories and actionable advice and the latest Facebook advertising strategies, you’re in the right place.
One help with your Facebook and Instagram ads. Remember you can always book in a free strategy session at brightredmarketing.com.au forward slash free dash strategy dash session will run through your ads. See what’s working and what’s not. And no sales pitch. I promise. So let’s get into today’s episode. Today we’re here with Julia from Tweed Real Food.
[00:01:00] Hey Dahna, thanks for having me on the podcast.
Dahna Borg: It’s so great to have you.
So, tell us a little bit about your business and how it got started.
Juila Foyster: Sure, we’re located in the northern rivers and we make seasonings and vinegars here on our farm in Mooball. We have got a fairly small range of artisan unique flavor. There’s salts, wraps, dukkah. The last two dukkah’s we’ve created, even used the macadamias, we farm ourselves and yeah, so everything has been created kind of matching our farming business.
We’re fifth generation farmers who farm mainly avocados and macadamias and some lychees, and a few other crops. So yeah, the rubs are created around the cattle raise and then to set the dukkah, we now use the macadamias and we have our very, very best seller avo smash dukkah which compliments the avocados we grow. And we are a smallish team of [00:02:00] mainly school moms which is awesome.
And yeah, it’s been five years now. Great little business to have.
Dahna Borg: Congratulations. Five years is a, an accomplishment.
So you’ve accredited a lot of your success to sort of this storytelling concept. Can you tell us a little bit more about what that looks like for you guys?
Juila Foyster: Yeah, sure.
So I believe a business doesn’t need a unique selling proposition, but rather than emotional selling proposition, because we buy based on how familiar a brand is to us and how a brand makes us feel, feelings are stronger than product attributes. Everyone can make seasonings, but when someone buys from us, they buy from a fifth generation farmer.
So it started with me using Tweed Real Foods as a platform to give a bit of insight into an Aussie farmer’s life and we unfortunately had a lot of climate challenges thrown at us.
We had the bush fires ripped throughout wharf shed, floods, two [00:03:00] years of drought, a 10 minute hailstorm that destroyed 4 million avocados.
You name it. We somehow put our hand up for everything. So I always tell people where we are at, not like in our look at poor us, we are the victims, but more telling the story of how we overcome those challenges and our customers really love that.
So I ended up writing a book about it, called “There’s a story behind every meal” and everything has the purpose of deepening the appreciation for food; Aussie grown food, Aussie made and Aussie owned.
When people that sit at the dinner table and eat their meal to know who’s grown it, and also what has happened during the time something has grown. You pick up a piece of avocado from the shop that’s gone through floods, drop bushway, like all of those challenges that I mentioned before.
And I think it makes a difference when you eat it, if you know what has happened and [00:04:00] that storytelling, as I said, is one thing the customers feel that bond with you and feel like they wanna support you. It’s like purchasing with a purpose, but also it’s like the pool marketing versus the push marketing.
So we charged up our brand. To be a brand others want to be associated with. So Woolworth, for example, reached out to us and they allegedly called us six times and begged us to come onto their marketplace. And I had always said, no, no, we we’re gonna stay away from the big guns and. Just focus on the other small businesses and specialty shops.
But yeah, we finally said yes to Woolworth. And yeah, that was a good move. And then Harvey Norman has just knocked on our door. They want to stock us on their marketplace and People hear about us and they’re wanna associate with us.
We also get away with very low wholesale margins. Because, people [00:05:00] want us in their shops so they can say, look, we bought this product from this beautiful fifth generation farming family. And our customers, they’re more like brand ambassadors. They know our story. They tell the story even when they use the product or introduce the products to their friends and family.
We’ve got a good referral and rewards program that kind of supports that. So they feel confident in referring us.
Dahna Borg: I love that so much.
So when you are talking about your storytelling, obviously you guys have written book, which is incredible. Is it more in the way that you do things on Instagram, your newsletters? Like how are you putting that story out there? Because I know that’s something people really struggle with.
Juila Foyster: Yeah, it’s everywhere. Every touchpoint basically we have with our customer, whether that’s on the website, our social media. We have got a really good new social media manager and we film this little videos about avocados or we just show what animals we have [00:06:00] here, how we grow the crop, things like that.
So there’s always a good balance between product and story on our social media, but it’s my email signature. It’s absolutely just every touchpoint we make sure people know that we are fifth generation farmers.
Dahna Borg: I love that. So in light of that, what are some of your sort of favorite marketing strategies, techniques, platforms that you guys use?
Juila Foyster: I would say currently being on different marketplaces has supported the lack of e-com sales. A lot of businesses are feeling after Covid and obviously the political climate, so there’s not as many single sales we have, but as I said, we are on Woolworth and then we’re about to go on Harvey Norman, we’re about to launch onto Amazon. But also the wholesale platform Fair has been really good for us. It’s a marketplace, but purely for shops and sellers like us. That put us in front of a [00:07:00] lot of new eyes. And then in terms of marketing here, I’d say SEO and email marketing are probably the strongest, income bringers.
Dahna Borg: Yeah.
Juila Foyster: We work on weekly by writing blog posts and also writing recipes. And the way we write the recipes is not necessarily based on the products, but it’s based on first we do the keyword research and see what keywords have a lot of hits, but not too many existing content.
You kind of like try to niche as much as possible with still a good search volume. And then we write the recipe based on that and finds good pictures or even take the pictures ourselves. So yeah, we start with a keyword and then our email marketing it’s a good mixture of campaigns and flows.
We have an enormous amount of flows because I like things automated. We run a pretty lean ship here. Everything automated is a [00:08:00] bonus for us. It all flows are based on actions taken on our website. Literally anything you do on the website triggers some sort of email that’s quite personalized, obviously to the action you’ve taken.
And then a lot based off that, rewards and referral program. They’re quite deeply and widely written out. And then when we send campaigns, we highly segment.
So we segment by whether people have been active either on the website or with the email. So if they’ve opened, if they’ve clicked, if they’ve purchased, if they’ve, yeah.
Done anything on the website, abandoned card or whatever. So we make sure they’ve been active somehow and haven’t just dropped off. And let’s say everyone who’s been active in the last 30 days, 60, 90, and we build it up all the way to 180 days. So we always try to keep our account really, really healthy because if you drop under certain numbers, you also drop into the spam folder, and we obviously want to avoid that.
Although we’ve got a pretty high number of signups and [00:09:00] we always push for more, it’s a big focus of our to grow that signup list. We also kick a lot of people off that list. So as soon as they drop off and they don’t serve the email program a purpose anymore, we delete them out.
So we only ever send to, let’s say the highest would probably be a campaign to go out to quarter of our signups. And that just keeps us over certain numbers. I think our opening rates are between 50 and 60%, so they’re rather high. And then good click through good order rates.
And we try to be obviously rather relevant with our emails and provide value and don’t sell, sell, sell all the time.
Dahna Borg: I wanna go back. You talked about your seo. Is there a process that you follow to find the right keywords and then go through that? I think that’s something that a lot of people could really learn from. I think a lot of people write these blog posts and they just go, oh, I just gonna put a blog post out.
But you’ve got a really, really nice system to that. So I’d love to know more about how you do that.
Juila Foyster: Yeah, so I don’t actually do that myself anymore. I’ve got someone who [00:10:00] does that about five hours a week for me. What he does is I believe he uses Sam Rush, which is a great SEO o tool for lots and lots of different purposes, like competitor research and everything.
So yeah, he finds the keywords in there and then you just have to judge the keywords, or not even just one keyword
You wouldn’t just write a Aussie mate, but you would write Aussie mate seasonings or he like you, you just combine a few keywords to you go more niche. And then we use chat GPT to write a lot of the content and chat GPT is as good as you feed it. So once you know the keywords you go. Write me a blog post for this particular recipe, including the following keywords.
And then you go through once chat GPT gives you the answer to that, then we go through it and kind of like rewrite it because you don’t want too much [00:11:00] from chatGPT on your website. Otherwise you get penalized by Google.
Dahna Borg: Yeah.
Juila Foyster: They’ve got a pretty good algorithm now finding out what’s AI and what’s real.
So you have to make sure whatever is written there is highly relevant. And then we do a lot of back linking on our website, but also try to get backlinks from Other businesses , from other websites that have got a really good authority like push us up in the Google ranking as well.
I always say SEOs T L C, it’s the technical part where you have to make sure you’ve got no error pages, things like that. And the C is the content that you create and then the A is the links, like I said, you need the internal linking where it makes sense but then also the back linking.
The latest block post, for example, has been in a collaboration with Altina drinks. They are a non-alcoholic, super mega yummy drinks that I’m not addicted to. [00:12:00] So we’re basically then wrote a blog post about them and kind of like what’s the common nominator. So both businesses are female led.
And then how their non-alcoholic still wines pair with our seasonings and then we are linking to her product pages to the individual products and to her website. So it’s never good to do link for link. It needs to be highly relevant for Google to recognize it, not penalize you a nd you need to have a good block post around it.
Dahna Borg: Lovely. I think that’s some really great SEO advice there. So thank you very much for sharing. You also mentioned that your email marketing, I’m assuming you’re using Clavio.
Juila Foyster: Yes.
Dahna Borg: You said you’ve got thousands of flows. Can you tell us a little bit about the strategy around that and sort of how you decide what deserves to be automated?
I know that people get stuck into the sort of same ideas around flows. So might be nice to hear some unique ideas.
Juila Foyster: Yeah, sure. I wish I had thousands, but it’s more like close [00:13:00] to a hundred. It’s basically everything that’s automizable. I atomize and Clavio has got a lot of great templates. . My highest converting one is actually the post-purchase one.
For some reason. But the welcome flow is obviously somewhere where you can start. Say everyone who signs up to your list gets a nice email, and then over a few emails, you introduce your brand, your products anything that could stop your customer from buying any roadblocks you make sure you address there.
But, Creates, as I said, that emotional connection to your brand. Tell your story in there bit by bit. Don’t overwhelm them. Don’t write an essay in your first email. And then everyone who purchase from any of the emails goes in straight into a different flow. And then if no one has taken action after think it’s 60 days or something, I would’ve to look up the exact number and then.
Gets a [00:14:00] surprise sale. So, um, they then get, um, I like 20% off trim box to kinda like give them one last sale Um, and then if they don’t take advantage of that, think they get one last reminder that they still can get that 20% discount and then they leave my subscriber’s list completely because if they haven’t converted after that, I don’t think they will ever convert.
And then that also means they will hurt my analytics so they get put into a sunset list and lemme say goodbye to them.
Dahna Borg: That’s such a clever strategy. I love that so much. And also you sort of touched on the marketplaces. Obviously people are reaching out to you. But is there anything that you’d sort of recommend for people that want to get into those sorts of spaces? Obviously getting Into the Woolworth marketplace is huge.
Fair is it hard to get on [00:15:00] Fair?
Juila Foyster: No, so fair is a really, really good starting point. Woolworth you have to work through a lot of roadblocks. you have to follow a lot of rules and read a lot of pages of contracts and all of that. But first pretty easy and pretty straightforward and gave us immediate sales so you can basically just go onto fair and then apply to become a seller.
For us, it didn’t actually take long to get approved and then it sinks. With your Shopify shop our Shopify already has got wholesale prices and, retail prices. And then the wholesale prices are just hidden so you can work with tags. So you just go into your, Shopify products, all the ones that you want to feed interfere get the fair tag, and then you can just tell.
Fair to sync with those once then have attack. And then there’s lots and lots of things that you can do to optimize your shop.
I’ve just had [00:16:00] a chat with manager this morning to further push it. If you onboard other retailers or other brands, you get rewards from fair and you get seen better.
But then there’s also things like how to optimize your shop fronts by putting product attributes in there. And obviously good quality photography. It’s really important for website and any marketplaces and, again Woolworth has got very strict rules, even how you can display your product.
So wejust h ad a photo shoot just for Woolworth but fear accepts anything, but you obviously want it to be as good as you possibly can. And then they also have a section where you can tell your story. You can record a video, which I still really, really want to do to greet shop owners.
think that’s a really good thing to do that, I haven’t nailed just yet. And then, collections are apparently important and also to change those [00:17:00] collections over regularly. I’m about to put a new collection in their like winter warmers or stuff because a lot of shops by seasonal products I need to brainstorm what other collections would make sense now, but the more often you change it up and the higher quality, the more conversions you receive at the end of the day.
And I think we are sitting at 9% conversion rate. So
That’s, pretty good.
Dahna Borg: Lovely. So obviously you’re quite experienced in these marketplaces now. Is there anything that you know now that you didn’t know when you started that would’ve made life easier for you?
Juila Foyster: I think. You just have to take it one step at a time. Don’t give up. Roadblocks will come up, but it’s well worth working through them. I don’t think that there is any particular advice I could give because every business face different challenges.
Listing on those platforms. Maybe one [00:18:00] thing I was glad I knew. was that Woolworth really wanted us to list on their marketplace so our commission with them is 15%. So that’s pretty good because they obviously find customers for us. If you do it via Facebook marketing, you pay so much more. Especially with our products being really low price points.
You know, we’re talking 10, 10 to $20 items here. So 15% is not much for us. Facebook marketing or Instagram or. TikTok, anything would be much, much more than that. And then when Harvey Norman approached me, they were like, oh yeah, we usually do 20 to 30%. And I’m like, yeah, no, that doesn’t work for me.
Let’s try 15% . Which I think was, it was a bulk move, but I knew we were worth a great to, so I thought minus as well try. You can always start negotiating., they agreed to it. So
Dahna Borg: That’s fantastic. I suppose if you don’t have a benchmark of what’s to be expected and what other people [00:19:00] are getting, and they came up to you and said, yeah, 50%. You’d be like, I don’t know if this is normal. Like, what, what’s the standard? So thank you very much for sharing. I appreciate that.
Juila Foyster: What I did at the beginning, I revisited all of my cost of goods and I had it all in a big Excel spreadsheet. And then I worked out if the commission would be X amount, if we, do a promotion with Woolworth, we then worked out kind of like if we. Do and 20% off promo with Woolworth, then we still have X amount of profit.
So I ran through every single product, all our hemp and everything, and worked that out again. So I knew I. If they take 15% commission and we go 20% off, I would still make profit. And one product of our trim hamper then has got our, all our samples in it. We would still at least break even. So even if we do the promo, it’s like paid marketing for us.
So as long [00:20:00] as I can cover all my costs and maybe even make a little bit of a profit, we were happy to give them a 20% off promo. So during the Christmas period, we actually did that for four weeks and that was awesome. And, these platforms you get more visibility with increase of sales.
So the more we sell, the more we get put in front of other people’s eyes, the more we sell again. So sometimes you just have to give it that extra push. Say our Christmas period was awesome with Woolworth has dropped off a little bit, but you know, it’s still money that comes in that I don’t have to do anything for anymore from here.
So again, it’s that automatization that I so love.
Dahna Borg: I love that so much. And just to touch on a completely different topic you’ve won so many awards for Tweed Real Fruits. Can you tell us a little bit about the. How you’ve done that. Obviously your food’s amazing. But other than having a, an [00:21:00] amazing product, what’s that awards process like?
Juila Foyster: So there’s different types of awards. There is those awards that you pay a fee to enter. And you can enter as many categories as you want. And there’s awards organizations that will then make. money with you entering the worlds. So that’s their whole business strategy. They are good for first awards because they usually want you to win because they want you to carry their badge out in the world as it’s marketing for them.
So they’re good ones to start with. then there’s also the government ones. We have won a few through Business New South Wales, for example. And they have a really good standing because people recognize that they are government awards.
And then they are the product awards. And we’ve won a few of those and we’ve just entered another, six products. They’re like the Melbourne fine Food [00:22:00] Awards or Sydney or Tasmania. They’re like the little medals that you see on the wine bottles. So those funds are really good as well because we can then put them onto our products and people recognize those awards. And it doesn’t even matter if it’s Melbourne or Sydney or whatever.
They just recognize Bronze Silva and Gold. So they have been really good and those ones are easy to enter because they’re just judged on taste, on flavor, and they’re blind judged. So you don’t have to enter a lot of information while with the other, especially the business government awards you have to write a bit of an essay.
You have to explain who you are, why you should win in that. Particular category. So we, for example, won in, excellence in micro Business. So we had to show why, what’s so excellent about what we do. And then I also won as best business leader. So I explained what I do with my staff and what makes me a good leader, which is a bit of a weird one to write.
Dahna Borg: It obviously worked out well for you.
Juila Foyster: [00:23:00] it did, it did. And you stick to the truth, but you obviously make yourself look
Dahna Borg: good
Juila Foyster: and it’s, sometimes it’s just the wording of things and I like to think that I’m a good leader. And we have a really good atmosphere and work and so I asked my staff like, what do you think is so good about me being a leader?
And so they helped me a bit but I also like to send it to all sorts of different people.
Just gimme a bit of feedback on the submission because very often you’re too close to your own business and you don’t see the obvious things. they will.
But because it’s so time consuming this year and last year, I haven’t actually entered anything but the product awards.
Cuz yeah, they’re pretty quick. My staff can actually do it themselves. It’s just the details in and, send off the products for the judging. So, that’s what I’ve focused on. But it would be nice to win awards again.
Dahna Borg: I’m sure they have some value for a good couple of years too.
Juila Foyster: I’d say so. And it just gives you that reputation of the [00:24:00] government has given them awards. Other programs have given them awards. Surely there has to be something about them. But also our reviewers play a big role in our marketing strategy. So that’s built into our email strategy as well. We use Judge Me an app through Shopify to get our reviews that are on the website.
That’s all automated through the app. So 21 days after people purchase, they receive an email asking for a review. in the email I also say, if you there’s anything wrong, Please email us, call us, let us know because we wanna make it up to you. So A, that gives them a good feeling that we actually care.
And b, obviously stops them from leaving a one star review on the website. We also say in the email that has made a difference is like, Hey, your review is actually going to go live on our website. Because sometimes people weren’t aware, so they would just [00:25:00] write feedback in there.
And not even think about how many stars they give us. So sometimes the feedback was incredible, but it was the one star review. So it’s a bit explanatory in the email. Once that email has gone out and somebody has left us a review between one and three stars, They receive an email saying we are so sorry that you had this experience.
And again, like, how can we make it up to you here? All the ways contact us. Luckily we have such a beautiful, loyal customer base that we don’t receive those ones very often. But those ones then get taken out of that flow dealt with.
Dahna Borg: Personally,
Juila Foyster: Exactly. But the others stay in there.
And then a day after they’ve left a four or five star review, we also ask them to, us a favor and leave us a Google review. So Google is obviously something you cannot filter or change up or anything. So that kind guarantees us if somebody gives us a four five star review on the website, the Google Review [00:26:00] won’t be too bad. then I think about a year, maybe even already two years ago now judge me announced that Google will actually. Allow the judge me reviews to be uploaded into Google reviews. So I was like, oh, awesome. Like, I’ve got three and a half thousand good reviews on my website. Sweet. I’ll get them onto Google.
And then I submitted everything and they literally got back to me and said, no, that’s not believable. Your reviews are too good. I’m like, what’s on earth? They’re true reviews. Like I said, what sort of login do I have to give you to show you that we haven’t filtered anything out? That we actually work really hard to achieve those, reviews.
Anyway I went back and forth and it like escalated to higher up and, yeah, they said we won’t do it. We are not going. take your judgment reviews and put them onto our Google reviews. And I’m like, great. How can I use this? Uh, so I sent an email to all our email [00:27:00] subscribers and I said, Hey, guess what just happened to us?
Google was so, naughty to us. You could help us by actually going onto Google and leaving us a review. And it took about 12 hours and we had over 205 technical reviews.
So that works in our favor. I’m always a fan of taking some sort of challenge that you have from turning it into something really positive.
Don’t be shy to actually talk to your customers about things. The more you involve them into processes, the more that emotional connection you will form with them.
Dahna Borg: I love that and I think that’s such a wonderful note for us to finish on. So we’ll just ask the last couple of questions we ask everyone. But thank you so much. You’ve shared such valuable information. I really appreciate it. So do you have any strategies or habits that you follow each day to help you stay on track in business?
Juila Foyster: I have employed a pa.
Dahna Borg: Amazing.
Juila Foyster: I’ve made it in life. I just need a maid and. [00:28:00] She literally makes sure I stay on track. I have got this massive Excel spreadsheet that is segmented into the different areas in the business whether that’s marketing supply chain staff even private . All the to-dos go in there.
They get color coded by how important they are or how time pressing they are. And her main job is to not let me start a new project before I have finished one.
Dahna Borg: Don’t we all need one of those?
Juila Foyster: Yeah, because I’m like, Ooh, shiny thing. I wanna do this and I wanna do that. And then another 16 to-dos, go on the list. So yeah, I’m trying to stay on track and finish something off before I start something new.
Dahna Borg: Do you have a favorite business book?
Juila Foyster: I am a big fan of Lisa Jones.
Dahna Borg: Lovely.
Juila Foyster: Who owns, com academy? She is an e-com genius. So everything she puts out. I’m currently reading her book[00:29:00] she also has got a great podcast and like you really good marketing advice in
Dahna Borg: Amazing. I assume her podcast is your favorite podcast. Do you have a different favorite podcast?
Juila Foyster: I don’t think I have a favorite podcast. I just love listening to them all, I’d say. But I’ve listen to her entire podcast and I’ve started listening to you.
Dahna Borg: Thank you. And if people wanna visit you, what’s the best way for them to find you?
Juila Foyster: So our website is, tweedrealfood.com and all our handles are just Tweet Real Food and you finders on different social media platforms.
Dahna Borg: Wonderful. , thank you so much for joining us on the show. It’s been a pleasure having you.
Juila Foyster: Thank you so much.
Dahna Borg: Thanks for listening to the bright minds of e-commerce podcast. As always you’ll find the show notes at brightredmarketing.com.au. Forward slash episode 43