Episode 135

Balancing Growth on Amazon & Your Own Store

Peter Awad - Mission Meats
September 23, 2020
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Mission meats is just a few years old, but it’s gobbling up market share in the red-hot meat snack category.  Peter Awad is a long time eCommerce pro.  He started selling auto parts on eBay in 2000.  Now he and his co-founder Nick have built a meat snack store with a mission.  They’re using profits from eCommerce to help fight deforestation, educate children in Africa and support homeless women and children.  

But they don’t just have big hearts, they have some serious marketing chops too.  

In this episode, we explore the challenges and opportunities of marketing a product that could literally appeal to anyone.  We also explore how to maintain the balancing act of growing your own store AND growing on Amazon. 

  • How to treat Amazon from a merchandising perspective. 
  • Prospecting for new customers - Is this and Amazon first or Shopify first strategy
  • How to increase repeat purchases in a fun way
  • How pride or ego can limit growth with any paid ad channel
  • Crazy CRO tests and the practice of asking “what if the opposite were true?”
  • Important mindset issues that help fuel successful entrepreneurs

Mentioned in this episode:

Andrew Youderian

Perspectives

I Pour Life

Mission Meats: Amazon

Shop App

David Ogilvy

Scott Adams

Peter Drucker

The Legend Planner

“How Tim Ferriss Uses ’The Five Minute Journal’"

The Five Minute Journal

Peter Awad -  Co-Founder and CMO at Mission Meats

Via LinkedIn

Via Twitter

Via Instagram

Via YouTube


Mission Meats - Mission Meats Grass Fed Beef Snack - Sticks that Give Back

Via Facebook

Via Instagram

Via YouTube


Live Your Mission Podcast

Episode Transcript

Brett Curry:

Well, hello and welcome to another edition of the eCommerce Evolution Podcast. I'm your host, Brett Curry, CEO of OMG Commerce. And today we have a treat for you. We're going to dig into a merchant story. You're going to hear the background of a very successful, very fun online store. And we're going to tackle a lot of stuff. We're going to talk a little bit about strategy and we're going to get tactical. And we may even talk about mindset and some of the things that trip us up as entrepreneurs so it's going to be a lot of fun. I'm super excited about it.

Brett Curry:

I have with me today, the co-founder and CMO of Mission Meats. He's also the host of the Live Your Mission Podcast, Mr. Peter Awad. Peter, how's it going, man? Welcome to the show and thanks for coming on.

Peter Awad:

Doing great, man. That was quite an intro. I appreciate that.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Thanks. So quick interesting story. Peter and I met through a mutual friend, Andrew Youderian. Shout out to our good buddy there, what's up, man? So you and I were on a virtual call talking about Google ads and talking about your business. And then you were like, "Hey, I live in Dana Point. And I was like, "Whoa, weird." And I live in Missouri, I think a lot of people know this, I live in Missouri. And I said, "Well, I'm going to be in Dana Point three days from now." So we ended up having lunch in person, which was crazy.

Peter Awad:

Yeah. It was crazy.

Brett Curry:

So that was a ton of fun, but lots of cool stuff to talk about. Let's do this first. Explain to everybody, what is Mission Meats? What do you guys offer? What's unique about it and then we'd love to rewind the clock a little bit and hear the origin story as well.

Peter Awad:

Yeah, in a nutshell, we're super clean meat snacks, serving people that just need something portable. That's high protein, low carb, keto, all those buzz words. So meat stakes, bars, jerky that whole line. So if you're familiar with-

Brett Curry:

Which has become a trend. And I think I told you and I know a bunch of brands, because it's before I met you. But my wife and I went on a hike in the Grand Canyon. And super dry, dry of electrolytes so we ate meat snacks and coconut water. And that was the perfect combination. We felt like a million bucks. So meat snacks, I'm a huge fan and it's a big trend.

Peter Awad:

Yes, totally, man. When we started the business, I've always loved jerky. I've always loved meat snacks, but grew up on Slim Jims, which was just not necessarily clean.

Brett Curry:

If you're a professional wrestler, that's good for you. Who's their spokesperson, do you remember?

Peter Awad:

Macho Man Randy Savage.

Brett Curry:

Those are great. That's brilliant marketing, but yeah. When it comes to clean meat snacks, I don't think that probably qualifies.

Peter Awad:

No, I won't dog them here, but yes, they're totally conventional, artificial color, nitrates, all that stuff.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. So how does one get into the meat snack business? How did this all begin?

Peter Awad:

All good stories start with an accident. It was just by accident. I never thought I'd be in the food business, CPG, all that stuff. But I'm an old eCommerce guy, I've been in eCommerce since 2000, selling auto parts. And then from there-

Brett Curry:

That is real OG. 2000, that's old school, for sure.

Peter Awad:

The category I was in when I was first listed on eBay, I think we were like one of four listings or something like that.

Brett Curry:

And eBay was top dog back then too.

Peter Awad:

It totally was. And that was also another accident for... We can tell that story another day, but did that. Started a SaaS company, which was a huge failure. We did all kinds of stuff. But anyways, about six years ago, I knew I wanted to have a business that was started from the beginning that had a mission component. And it didn't need to be like the marketing focus, but we knew we wanted it baked in. But I didn't know what I was going to do with that idea. So I just put it in my back pocket. Fast forward several months, a friend of mine that was also in CPG, also in meat snacks. He was exiting and I had worked with him a little bit on it and I had some insight into the business and I also just loved that sort of product. So he was like, "Man, you'd be really good at this. It's something you should think about." But I didn't know anything about it. I don't know anything about animals and agriculture. I'm a Florida boy living in Ohio.

Brett Curry:

It seems really complex too. Just thinking about, it seems daunting.

Peter Awad:

It is. I don't know how to source these materials and where to get them produced. I didn't know anything. But I also happened to have a friend of mine that's an aggie, who's now my co-founder. Who had all the experience I didn't have and I have all the experience he didn't have. So we were just perfect compliments, like match made in heaven, I always say. So talking with him, it turned out just fast forward a few months that we both wanted to start the same business. We both had similar ideas for the name. We both wanted to have a mission component baked in. We also, oddly enough had same ideas for a logo, like almost identical. We had both hand-sketched separately. It's crazy. So him and I started chatting and the rest is history. We order our first pallet and we hit the ground running.

Brett Curry:

That's so cool. I personally love partnerships. I think they can be fantastic. They can also be a nightmare. We hear lots of nightmare partnership stories. But I think if you have the right partner and you guys are really complimentary, like you guys talked about and all those other things, that can be great. Quick, funny story, I don't think, I've mentioned this on the podcast. Three years before we started OMG, my business partner, Chris Brewer and... I'd done some projects for Chris and we'd done a few things together. And I started telling my wife like, "Hey, I don't think I ever want a business partner. But if I did, Chris Brewer, I could partner with that guy, trust that guy." Anyway, either way we ended up being business partners and it's all been really good. So let's talk a little bit about the mission component. So you and your co-founder, you wanted a mission component. How is that baked into the company? Why is that important to you guys? Just talk about what that looks like a little bit.

Peter Awad:

Yeah. So we committed in the beginning at minimum 10% of profits. We were going to go to organizations that were doing amazing things in the world. So in the beginning, I had a friend of mine that had taken 1,000s of people to Africa. She's a missionary, running an organization, amazing person, her name's Jodi. And I called her up and said, "Hey, I'm going to start this food business. I want to support food-related organizations, relief-related organizations. What do you think?" And she said, "I hate it." I said, "Okay."

Brett Curry:

Not the response you were expecting.

Peter Awad:

I'm like, "All right, tell me more." And she's like, "I think that you're a founder and you should support organizations that are giving people the opportunity to lift themselves up instead of just going in and supporting a food program." She said, "Food programs are great. And I think you should support organizations that are more entrepreneurial." So our first mission organization's called Educate throughout Uganda. And they take kids in high school, in college and they put them through an entrepreneurship program, essentially. Where in the end they'll have a business to support themselves or maybe even support a few employees and support their community in that way. And since then, we partnered with perspectives in Minneapolis, women and children's home, helping people get off the streets. But also they're very, very strict. They help you eventually support yourself. And they're like, "Hey, you're not going to live here forever. You are going to figure out how to support yourself and you're going to leave this place one day. You're not staying here forever. This is not a career for you." So that's how it's been baked in from the beginning. And we've got a multitude more that we support.

Brett Curry:

It's so cool. I love it. And we personally invested in mission work and as a company we have as well. And it was so interesting. It's been a number of years now. Not exactly the same story, but I remember talking to a guy who ran an orphanage in Haiti. And this was around the time when they had big earthquakes. And I said, "Well, all this relief, it's got to be really good." And he's like, "No, man, it's priced us back 100 years." And I think that may be an exaggeration, but he said, "You know what? What can happen is sometimes you get all this relief that just squashes the local economy. And now they're no longer self-sustaining. So what you think is charity and compassion, you're actually crippling.

Brett Curry:

So it's not that you don't help, you just help strategically and you help with micro loans and you help entrepreneurs and you help feed sustainability in those communities. That creates lasting change." That was like this huge aha moment to me, like we can't just throw money at a problem or throw food to a part of the world. You got to be strategic to really create a lasting impact. So that's fantastic. It does seem like this mission component, like meat snacks has become popular, where you got Toms giving away shoes. And all these other companies. It's also become kind of a marketing play as well. It seems like that was more of a passion and a calling for you guys rather than just a marketing ploy.

Peter Awad:

No doubt. Nick spent three years in Haiti. Melissa, my wife and I, we've gone on a couple mission trips and even perspectives in Minneapolis. We've taken the kids there and they packed backpacks with us for their Summer Backpack Program. It's just one of those things that we do. It's baked into who we are and we wanted it to be part of the company that we are building. And this is also why really it's not at the forefront of our marketing. It's there and if you like that, cool, we win, this is what we've got. But if you're just here for clean meat snacks, we're going to win too. So we didn't want it to be like, "Hey, come support our mission. And by the way, we've got these meat snacks." It couldn't be that way. And that came from the advice of other friends as well and you can do that. And maybe most people might not even care about it, but it's who we are and we're going to bake it into the company that we're building.

Brett Curry:

That's fantastic. I love it so much. We've really spent a lot of time investing and there's an organization called I Pour Life that we're a huge fan of. They help develop at-risk younger adults build life skills and help them get jobs, stuff like that. And they also help widows in Kore, Africa start their own businesses. So we're helping with that. Just really cool sustainable stuff. Well, let's shift gears a little bit. Let's talk strategy. So I want to hear your thoughts. It's always so fascinating to talk to merchants and figure out how you view different key topics in eCommerce.

Brett Curry:

And then after we talk strategy a little bit, we're getting into some tactics as well. So I first want to hear your philosophy on Amazon. I know you guys do a lot of volume on Amazon. How do you view Amazon? Are you full assortment on your website? Full assortment on Amazon? Are you full speed ahead with growth on Amazon? Or do you view Amazon more as a necessary evil and you need to be there to capture that demand? What's your overall strategy with Amazon and your own website?

Peter Awad:

It's definitely changed over time as all good strategies should. One thing, we believe in it. And if you heard me talk in a podcast two years ago, I'll probably say something completely different now, and it should be that way.

Brett Curry:

That's a sign of a good entrepreneur though, right? We all have sometimes this tendency to consistently hold onto something, but when the data changes, our opinion should change. And that's so it should be.

Peter Awad:

Absolutely and with all the stuff with Corona, it's like, "Hey man," I remember joking. I think I even said this to you. It's like all the things that were conventional wisdom, they're not anymore. It's like you got to test everything now because the stuff that didn't work before that absolutely you would've said would never have worked, well it's working now. The things that we offer now, I would never have thought would work before. And now we're like, "Well, let's just try it. Let's see what happens."

Peter Awad:

And it works, sometimes it doesn't. For Amazon, I think it's a necessary evil. I think there's so much traffic there. I think that people's eyeballs are there, that you should absolutely be there. A lot of people are going to disagree with me on that. I think at least for our category, you need to be there. It's definitely a great customer acquisition channel for us. As far as our assortment, the thing that has changed for me is that I felt like you shouldn't put everything everywhere.

Peter Awad:

So we have everything on the Amazon. We've got everything on the website and if you want to shop directly from us, cool. If you want to go directly to Amazon, because that's where you shop for everything, great. And where I've changed, and especially throughout this year and as Amazon's fulfillment service has been up and down. Right now, as we're talking, delivery's terrible, inbound shipping is just awful. I don't know what's going on over there, but it's terrible. So as that has changed, we've realized like, "Man, we can offer a much better service level on the website."

Peter Awad:

And then we also are much more nimble. So we can merchandise in ways that Amazon won't let you merchandise. You can't get eyeballs in front of people or get in front of eyeballs. So we offer bundles and packages and limited edition products in the website that we're just never going to offer on Amazon or we're not planning on doing. So that's been our opinion. I know there's plenty of brands that have decided that there's not going to be on Amazon at all and that's fine. I feel like at least for our category, that's a huge mistake.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. I fully agree. I do think a case can be made that, "Hey, we want to build our own website and build our own customer base first. And then we'll also offer our products on Amazon." Or, "Hey, there may be some brands that can do really well apart from Amazon altogether." But when you consider that if the percent-ish of eCommerce, maybe it's a little more, maybe a little less is on Amazon. I know a lot of people, as you look at the older demographic, my parents, my in-laws, as they start to shop online more. A lot of times they're just shopping on Amazon, that's it. You have to consider it. But I actually like the approach that you guys have where you're looking at, "Hey, so we've got these limited edition products, these special bundles, these unique things we're doing on our site."

Brett Curry:

And one thing we noticed and the spotlight was shined on this during the lockdowns is when ship times are delayed on Amazon or some of that messaging changes. People will go to Google, then search for your brand there. We saw this huge spike with several of our clients, some in the supplement space and some in the educational space and a few others. But whenever the lockdowns got real nasty and Amazon was delaying shipments, we started to see a spike of brand name two-day shipping, people searching for that on Google. So you've got to diversify. But even some good friends of mine, they were always like, "Nah, we're just going to keep waiting on Amazon." They're going on Amazon now. And I think it's more about just being smart and having control. So any advice you would give, how do you protect your brand on Amazon? How do you avoid some of the negative side of Amazon, whether that's knockoffs or fear that Amazon's going to steal your business? How do you capitalize on the traffic and try to mitigate some of the downsides of being on Amazon?

Peter Awad:

Yeah. So being an old automotive guy, I understand all the knockoffs. And I also understand if you are a reseller, you're just one of many, and it's really hard to get the buy box. And you're just like a race to the bottom, all these problems. But as a brand, especially in the food space, it's like, there's not necessarily a knock... You can't knock our stuff off.

Brett Curry:

It's not so easy to go knock off a beef stick, right?

Peter Awad:

You can have your own and that's fine, but you're not going to necessarily knock ours off. But we do not let any of our resellers, any of the people that we wholesale to sell on there. We're not going to compete with you in that space. I don't want to deal with, maybe someone's shipping some product in that's commingled with ours that is going to expire. We still don't want to deal with any of that hassle. So we definitely don't let anybody else sell on our listings. So we don't deal with any of that stuff either. And of course, you want to be brand registered and have that little bit additional, extra protection, although that's also proving not totally foolproof. It's still a must, but there's plenty of times where, like we're dealing with an issue right now where they're like, "Oh, well, you can't really change it." And it's something in our listing. It's like, "Well, it's ours and we're registered and I don't understand your response."

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Amazon and so whatever.

Peter Awad:

So whatever. Yeah.

Brett Curry:

Cool. So are you guys primarily FBA, Fulfilled by Amazon, are you Fulfilled by Merchant? Are you doing any vendor stuff, any 1P stuff?

Peter Awad:

We're not doing any 1P for the same reason, as far as if you want to have some control, we're not selling to Amazon and they're going to... So we're not doing any that. And we're mostly FBA, because of what we sell, we've got multiple pack sizes and everything. So it's like almost impossible to stock everything. So the fast movers, of course, they're in FBA and otherwise we're doing Fulfilled by Merchant on the rest of the product.

Brett Curry:

Cool. So you're the CMO, you're a marketing guy, you've been doing this since 2000, which is amazing. As you guys are pushing for new customer acquisition, you're reaching cold audiences, you're reaching new customers. Are you primarily pushing them to your site? And then just with the idea of, okay, but then if someone sees that, they go to the sign and they just want to see if it's on Amazon, will capture them there, if they go there? Or are you also aggressively growing on the Amazon platform? What's your philosophy on new customer acquisition?

Peter Awad:

We're only driving to the website right now. So for paid, we're driving everything to the website. Now there's new attribution options with Amazon where you can measure. So that might change your opinion moving forward. Up until now, it's always been like, okay, well, we're going to bleed some of these people to Amazon. But that's okay, we're creating brand awareness. And then our branded search is going to go up. And our branded traffic's going to go up on Amazon. Let's see if we could still make the RoAS work. But at the same time, it's like we're creating a... As we're trying to improve, our way to capture and keep people on that website versus bleeding over to Amazon. So whether that's free two-day shipping or free one-day shipping, which is stuff that we're working on right now, actually to 95% of the country or customer service or live chat, or points or rewards programs. Whatever it is, subscribe and save to keep people there. We're focused on that.

Brett Curry:

I love that. And I think if you can speed up that delivery time, if you get someone to order once, the repeat orders, and then you guys are Shopify, correct?

Peter Awad:

Mm-hmm. (affirmative)

Brett Curry:

I've had several merchants now that I've got everything saved on Shopify. I like the shop app, it's kind of handy so getting those repeat orders is really quite simple, quite easy. So I want to talk about a few things related to what you just said. So the Amazon attribution piece and that's something our Amazon department's working with that a lot. In a lot of cases, take Google ads as an example, we run most Google ads obviously to the.com right to our clients' sites. But we also look at, Hey, what if someone's searching for our brand and then Amazon, or maybe a competitor and then Amazon. So then where someone's identifying themselves as an Amazon buyer. Then we want to maybe run a Google ad, but send it to the Amazon listing or the Amazon storefront or whatever. Is that what you're talking about, using Amazon Attribution to help track that through?

Peter Awad:

And we have not done that yet, but I love that. Because you're not going to change their mind. It's like similar to conquesting. You know conquesting is like, "The RoAS is going to be lower," because you're trying to change people's mind like, "Oh, they're looking for that brand. Let me get my brand in front of them." Trying to steer somebody away that's an avid Amazon user, the person that's got multiple packages showing up every day, this guy over here, probably you. It's hard to change that because you just know what to expect. You touched on earlier Brett it's like that tide did shift a little bit and it's a little wonky right now with not knowing like, "Oh, is my package going to show up today? Or am I going to go to Amazon and it shows like five additional day lead time?" So the tide has shifted a little bit and I think it's created an opportunity for us to get out of our seat and fix some things that maybe you weren't focused on. Because you felt like you were going to bleed those folks to Amazon. The tide has definitely shifted back a little bit.

Brett Curry:

It has. And it's been one of those... Obviously Amazon is a huge beneficiary of this shift to increased online consumption. But because so much traffic went there, smaller merchants really benefited as well. And I think again, once someone makes that initial order and they see how easy it is and then they're likely to reorder. And to your point about multiple Amazon packages. I asked my wife the other day, Brittany, I said, "How many days out of the week do you think we get an Amazon package?" And she's like, "The most." So I think that may be an.. But it happens. So that's where I think with that strategy we were talking about before, where someone identifies themselves as, I'm an Amazon shopper. You're probably not going to change their mind. You could try. Or you could also not fight that uphill battle and just say, "Well, great then I'm going to capture you on Amazon and go that route." So let's talk a little bit about some of your acquisition strategies. What have you found to be most powerful? What traffic strategies work for meat snack business?

Peter Awad:

Yeah. So here's what's tough about us. I'm going to give you one of the worst answers ever in marketing. I think you may have even asked me this when we met Brett, it's like, "Who eats this stuff?" I'm like, "Everybody."

Brett Curry:

On the surface they like, "Oh, that's easy." No, it's actually harder that way.

Peter Awad:

It's terrible. So I was like, "Oh, I got busy moms. I've got busy executives. I've got people at Lyft. I have people that hike. I've got people that rock climb." You name it, we cover it. We sold a ton of preppers during coronavirus spikes as far as the quarantine stuff. So it's all over the board. So I don't know if I'd point at one thing, but I think that for us, what's worked really, really well is targeting affinity groups. And really finding out who in these affinity groups are actually spending, that are looking for the products that we offer. And just churning through them. So we may be focused on camping one week and hiking the next and just churning through all these different affinity groups and finding out what it is that's working for them. And then on top of that, what's been interesting is bundling packages that are also appealing to those affinity groups. So we actually target people that like spicy products and we're putting together spicy bundles.

Brett Curry:

You got me there, buddy. You got me intrigued now. I am a spicy food fan for sure and I love hot sauce.

Peter Awad:

We've got a Carolina Reaper jerky, I can send you.

Brett Curry:

Is that a Reaper jerky, you said?

Peter Awad:

Mm-hmm. (affirmative).

Brett Curry:

Yeah, dude, I'm all over that. I'll repay you somehow. That's amazing. So what's really interesting there, some companies may say, "Okay, hey, where are the..." She and I were just talking about this before we hit record. I was talking about David Ogilvy, one of the fathers of modern advertising. And back in the 60s, I believe maybe 50s, he got the Dove soap account and Dove soap was just focusing on cleanliness and anti-bacteria and all that stuff. And he said, "No, I don't think that's our market. I think we need to make this the luxury bar and as an escape from your problems." And I'm actually butchering, because I don't remember the exact tagline now. But all the pictures were a woman in a bath using Dove. And this was the relaxing luxury bar or whatever.

Brett Curry:

So you could look at a product and say, "Hey, we're just going to focus all of our branding at this one niche, this one category." Or you could say, "Well, no, that doesn't make sense long-term because the same meat spec could appeal to a busy mom or cross-fitter. So in that case, we'll just speak to them, but speak to them, not with one blanket message. But with a tailored message to them." And that's easy now or easier with Facebook and YouTube targeting, things like that. So I like that approach a lot. So tackling that problem of, "Hey, it's hard to be everything to everybody. So don't do that." Get a tailored message to those individual audiences.

Peter Awad:

Yeah. Because what are you looking for, man? You're looking for conversion, but you need click-through first. And the way that you're going to increase click-through is by being relevant to that audience that you're serving to. So just like working backwards from the goal of open your wallet please and buy my stuff too. How can I get you to even click through to what I'm serving up?

Brett Curry:

Excellent. Any interesting takeaways? I know you guys have done well on Facebook and stuff. Any interesting ad approaches or unique offers or anything that's been interesting of late?

Peter Awad:

I don't have something super interesting, but I do find something fascinating. A lot of times it's the creative that you thought would be the worst, sometimes it turns out to be the best. So Janell, who's my counterpart, who helps me with a lot of the stuff, she's really probably the brains behind this and not me. We were going through some of the creative and some of the data. And she's like, "Look at the photo that's winning right now." And it was like the ugliest, it was like .. sticks in a wooden bowl. I hate the photo. I can't even look at it now. I hate it.

Peter Awad:

But out of the 10 that we were serving up, that one, for some reason, I still don't even understand it, Brett. Why is that interesting to you? Why does that get you to stop scrolling? Why are you clicking through on that ugly photo? Maybe you can relate to it. Maybe you're like, "Oh, I got an empty bowl with no snacks on my counter. And I would like for it to be full like that one." I'm not sure. So to me, and we all know this already. It's like you can go in with an educated guess at what's going to work. But you really got to throw in some outliers there to say, "Okay, well I hate this photo. Maybe there's something about it that's going to resonate." And try them because you really just don't know.

Brett Curry:

I love it. I think it's the difference being right and getting it right. Sometimes as entrepreneurs we want to be right. So we want to say, "Oh, this is the image that I think is going to be best. So we want to just push that and only run that." Versus, "This is what I think is going to be right. But I'm also going to test these other things. And at the end of the day, I want to let the data speak." And I'm going, "Whatever image, whatever ad is working, that's what I'm going to go with." And yeah, man, it happens. We just had an automotive client recently where we retooled a couple of their ads and some of the ones we retooled really worked well. But there's this one variation that I was like, "I don't really like that," because there's this one part where this regular, like a really bad actor. And we were all just cringing at it, but we were like, "Ah, we'll run it." And it was the winner. So we were like, "Okay, it's painful for me, but I don't care." I want the CPA. I want to be able to scale this thing.

Peter Awad:

And a story about that just really, really quick. I don't want to glaze over it. This to me is the difference between the folks that get it and the folks that don't. And what I mean by that is like, you've got to leave ego. You can't have it. So Nick and I talk about all the time, like, I don't really care-

Brett Curry:

And Nick's your co-founder, right?

Peter Awad:

My co-founder. I don't really care if I'm right and I don't care if he's right. I want what's right for the company. And I want what the customer is actually going to show us and vote with their wallets and show us like, this is what we want. Whether it's a product or service or ad group, whatever. So to me, I think early on, you got to remember, this is not about you winning. This is not about being right. This is not about your ego. Forget that. Leave that at the door. We just think what's best for the company. And when you can do that, then you can think more creatively, I think.

Brett Curry:

100%. I love it. It's so interesting actually, that quote of being right versus getting it right. I actually heard that applied to Steve Jobs. And a lot of people think Steve Jobs, huge ego, really pushed for things. And those assessments are probably true. But I heard someone say he always got it right. And he was very opinionated. He would push and push and push for his opinion. But if the evidence was stacked up that showed that he was wrong, or if he would sometimes just push his employees just to see if they would push back. And if they pushed back hard enough and it made sense to him, he'd be like, "Okay, fine. We'll, go that route." And in the end, he usually got it right. So, yeah, it's just super, super important. Let's talk about a couple things. So you mentioned bundles, you mentioned getting someone to buy again on your site. Anything interesting or any tips for getting more repeat purchases? And you still have consumable, it's very tasty. So that helps for sure.

Peter Awad:

Yeah. And that was to me, a real big appeal in starting the company it's like, you can build that relationship over time. Which to me is really exciting. I like talking as you can see. I like talking to people. I like developing that relationship. So instead of it being a one-off purchase, it's like to me really, really fun. So we offer subscriptions on the site. We offer a 10% discount. If you get on the subscription, we promote pretty heavily. And then if you're on our email list and typically we're marketing to repeat purchasers. We will release a new product or a limited edition product, or offer a sale to people that we consider super fans first. So if you hit a certain threshold that we've set in Klaviyo, then you're going to get this promotion or deal before anybody else. So we try to do that. We're encouraging-

Brett Curry:

And you're letting them know that as well. You're letting them know, "Hey, you're the only one that has access or you're part of a select group that has access to this new offer."

Peter Awad:

We do. The cynical side of me is if I got that email, I'd be like, "Yeah, whatever. You send this to 10,000 people and so I'm not that special," but we do do that. They know to hit it and then we also have a rewards program. So very quickly you can get a 20% discount, which is heavy for us. We don't usually discount that far. So just to encourage that repeat purchase rate.

Brett Curry:

How does your rewards program work? Because I've seen some companies that really do that well. In fact, I got an email from a supplement company where I'd made a bunch of orders for a while. And then I've tapered off one, because I still have a lot of product left. But I got this email saying, "Hey, you have X number of reward points." And, "Hey, that's enough to get one of these things free." And I'm like, "Well, maybe I should go check it out and get that thing." How do you guys run your rewards program?

Peter Awad:

Yeah. So it's a point system, which they all are. And then at certain thresholds you'll get a discount. So you can use your points and redeem them for a dollar amount at any time. Or you can save them up and get a 20% discount coupon. Or you can save them up and get a free sampler pack. Those are the way that they work. And then we have them tied into the reviews and stuff. You leave us a review, you'll get additional points. If you follow us, you'll get additional points. All those things to increase engagement and try to just build the greater ecosystem.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. And how do you promote the rewards program? Is that something you talk about right out of the gate? Or does that come after purchase number two? How does that look?

Peter Awad:

So on the thank you page, I believe because it's just changing all the time, as you know.

Brett Curry:

Hopefully you're split testing, all that.

Peter Awad:

Right. So on the thank you page, we encourage them to create a rewards account. So they can essentially get the points for the purchase they just made. So we feel like that's the best way to onboard them. It's like, "Hey, you just made a purchase. Don't you want the points and you can sign up here." And that's just a couple of clicks and they've got that account. And then we're promoting that with, the rewards program we use is called Smile. So Smile's got a widget. So all the emails we send out have a section that's dynamic, that'll show if you're not a rewards member, it'll say, "Hey, don't you know we have this?" And if you are, it'll actually show your points balance on there and that you can redeem them. So that's what we're doing.

Brett Curry:

Very cool. What are you doing to incentivize? I know you're doing the 10% discount. What are you doing to incentivize subscription? Any interesting things you're doing on page and, or email followups, maybe after someone makes one or two purchases, how are you pushing subscription to them?

Peter Awad:

Yeah, we're promoting them on a regular basis, just because on our editorial calendar, we have them scheduled to send out to market those. Sometimes as another snippet on like a promotion that we're running, we'll say, "Don't you know you can save an additional." So if we're running up 10% sale on product, like all the spicy, we just ran a sale on all spicy. And we'll say, "You can save an additional 10% if you subscribe." So that's what we're doing. It's nothing super fancy.

Brett Curry:

But that's great. So the save an additional 10% if you subscribe, you're doing that in the cart, like as a checkout? Or are you doing that in the email afterwards?

Peter Awad:

We're doing that in the email afterwards now. And we're about to get this built because it seems simple on the surface, but it's super complicated. Just a one click check box in the cart for you to be able to switch over from this one-time subscription that you've added over. So we're working on that. We're working on some on-page, silent nudges, we're calling them to get you to move over into subscriptions. So those are the things we're doing. What I find fascinating about subscriptions is that it's pretty dang clear. It's right there. There's price. And then there's a one-time purchase price and there's a subscription. And we'll have people along the live chat say, "How do I subscribe?"

Brett Curry:

It's the button that says subscribe that's right in front of you.

Peter Awad:

Yeah, it's right there.

Brett Curry:

How do I say this without sounding snarky? Yeah. So what's really interesting to me, just heard Ezra Firestone, a friend of mine talking recently about subscriptions. And his whole business is BOOM, by Cindy Joseph.

Peter Awad:

And he does an offer?

Brett Curry:

He doesn't, but here's why. His market hates him. So he even said they've offered a few times. So they're mainly selling to boomer women, women over 50, a lot of them over 60, 65. He said when they offered it, they got pushed back and not many takers. And then even now he said people will make orders and then call to say, "Hey, that's not like an auto subscription." There's one-time order like, "No, it's just one-time." So it's like, you do have to understand your market. Personally, I love subscriptions because I don't want to think about. So my cereal's on subscription, my supplements are under subscription. So I think for most people it's great. But I think this also goes back to knowing your audience and knowing what do they want? Most want subscriptions, but what do they want? How do you communicate it clearly? All those things are super, super important.

Peter Awad:

Yeah. And to that point real quick I think that demographic is used to getting taken advantage of as far as getting a phone call, to get them to send their life savings over to whoever the heck. So that-

Brett Curry:

It's still hard for them to cancel. They don't understand how to cancel so they're afraid of waste.

Peter Awad:

Yeah. And they're not as tech savvy, typically not to generalize. So that's super interesting. So we have some older demographic that purchase our product and we had issues with subscription too. So I've got another app. I don't know how many. We've got 75 apps, it feels like now on Shopify. And this one, all it does is it's very, very clear and well-designed notification three days before subscription, like, "Hey, just a heads up, you have a subscription and this is what it is. And this is when we're shipping it out. And if you have too much, just click this button and we'll delay it. If you got on this by accident, just click this link and you can cancel." So that has helped confusion a ton because we had folks that it would just show up on their door even though we sent a three-day notification before. And they would say, "Hey, what the heck is this? I didn't order this." And they did, right?

Brett Curry:

Subscription did, click the button. And I think that's something that's huge. And I think there may be still some this old school mindset that some people have where it's like, "No, no, I don't want to make it really hard for someone to cancel because it's going to kill conversion and stuff." But no, you're just going to make people mad. And if someone feels confident and comfortable, but canceling, adjusting, whatever is easy. They're going to be more likely to subscribe and more likely to be happy and refer and your life will be way easier. And theirs will be too, if you make that process smooth.

Peter Awad:

And you already paid to acquire them. So if you can just let them kick the can down the road another four weeks before their next shipment and then they go ahead and reorder. Totally cool. No problem. I'd rather you do that than cancel any day of the week.

Brett Curry:

Absolutely. That's really cool. Any new things you're testing from a CRO perspective, conversion rate optimization, perspective? Anything you're testing or any recent wins or anything to highlight there?

Peter Awad:

Not a recent one, but definitely testing, doing something like I said earlier, counterintuitive, which is removing all product pages.

Brett Curry:

Removing all product pages, what do you mean?

Peter Awad:

So just having one option, which would be like, "Hey, here's a... Create your own..." So we just started build your own bundles. So you can pick whatever flavors you want and whatever quantities you want, put that together and leave. I'm just curious, like what if we got rid of all our product pages and what if it was just this one build your own bundle page. And you just came there and there's nowhere else to go and just pick your flavors and leave.

Brett Curry:

That sound nuts. It could be great, I don't know. So you're rolling out that test now?

Peter Awad:

So we just got the bundle builder all set up and ready to go. And we're running some tests as far as like, if people are using it with still keeping our product pages. So one thing to know about me is I like drastic tests. I want information right now. A lot of times it bites me, but sometimes it's like, "Oh, well we just figured it out, took 24 hours and we figured it out." And if it doesn't work, we don't do that again. And let's move on instead of just having this long drawn out test. It's probably not for everybody, but-

Brett Curry:

Yeah, but I love that you're thinking that way, I love that you're testing. And it reminds me there's this exercise actually saw this again in a Scott Adams book, the guy that wrote the Dilbert cartoon. Who would always say, "Hey, what if the opposite is true? So this is our long-held belief. This is what we've been doing as a business. What if the opposite was true?" And not that you would do the opposite, but just that you would question the opposite. And sometimes you'll get brilliant breakthroughs. Or I think this is a cousin to that. Well, let's do something like a radical test, not with all of your traffic and not with your entire business. But let's do a radical small test and see how it does, which is super interesting.

Peter Awad:

That's where a lot of the innovation comes from though. It's like when I was walking through the meat plant for the first time, I didn't know what any of the equipment was. I didn't know anything. So almost every question I asked, I was like, "Hey, listen. I'm not a meat guy. But this is probably a stupid question, but why do you guys do it this way? Over in automotive, we would do it this way." And almost every single time they would say, "I don't know."

Brett Curry:

Maybe this is the way we've always cut the meat.

Peter Awad:

Yeah, I guess we can do that. Almost every single time. It's just because they've been so close to it and they've been doing it for so long that they just... So I love what if we did the opposite? This is the perfect question.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. So cool. Awesome. Well, let's do this. So a quick recommendation, then we're going to talk mindset for a minute because I think it'll be really fun and you and I had great offline chats. We'll talk mindset. I do recommend everybody go check out Mission Meats and it is missionmeats.co. Is that correct?

Peter Awad:

It is.

Brett Curry:

So missionmeats.co first of all, get some snacks. You can get them from the office for your remote workers or whatever, check that out. But also get on the list, pay attention. And I say this a lot on the podcast, but one of the best things that I think you can do is follow smart marketers, follow people that are really good at what they do. So check out what Peter and crew are doing at Mission Meats. So let's shift gears just a little bit Peter. I had a great conversation, I think before we hit record about mindset and about self-doubt. And about just some of the crazy things that creep up on entrepreneurs like us. They can get us down a little bit and keep us from being as successful as we could be mentally and spiritually in business and all that. So do you want to talk about your recent experience and some takeaways there?

Peter Awad:

Yeah. So Brett and I were talking, just before we hit record, you'd asked what else I want to talk about. And for me, I think that mindset's such a huge thing. And I've been infatuated with it since the beginning, because I feel like entrepreneurship is a roller coaster. It always is. It always has been. It's never going to end. So you have great days where you're on top of the world and the next day, you feel like the dumbest person ever and things are just not working. And this is why I've been infatuated actually with a planner and just documenting my thoughts. And what I'm working towards so the down days I can remind myself, like, "No dude, two days ago you were super inspired and you were inspired to do this. And this is what you were excited about. Don't forget dummy."

Peter Awad:

And I think we need that because we learn things and we quickly forget them. So what I was talking to you about earlier is that on Monday, this week, I was just having a down day, man. I just felt like nothing's working. And even my wife was like, "What's your deal? Last week you were like on top of the world, you were super inspired. You were driving me nuts because you were so on fire and it's Monday and what the heck's wrong with you?" And the thing that I've learned over the years, is it only takes a couple of losses. It takes something you were super excited about like a new campaign, a new product you wanted to launch something you were so sure, like this is brilliant. It's going to kill it. And then it doesn't. And you get a couple of those in a row and the devil on your shoulder's like, "Hey, dummy-"

Brett Curry:

"You didn't go as far as you thought you would. You're not as good as you thought you were."

Peter Awad:

"You're a fake man. You're a fraud, you're an imposter." And I feel like we've all got that. And the thing is you're not going to eradicate it. It's there. And being of the faith that I am, I know that that's just lies. Lies from the enemy that's just telling me these things that are just not true. And it's okay for a minute, wallow in it. I had a Monday where I'm like, "Man, nothing's working. I don't know what I'm going to do." But Tuesday I woke up and I thought, "No, dude, this is BS, it's not true. Couple things maybe work and what can we learn from them?" And sure enough, we made a couple of tweaks and we started to see, not like amazing home runs, but glimmers of hope like, "Oh, okay, this needed a couple more tweaks and it's going to need a couple more. And soon enough, we're going to keep turning those screws and soon enough, you're going to have some wins there." But if you can't get out of that Monday for me, the Monday, you're not going to find the Tuesday. You're not going to find the wins because you're just wallowing in these lies.

Brett Curry:

I love that so much. I think a couple of things that are encouraging here. One a reminder that all of us deal with this. So Peter, I was running a mission based company and killing it and doing so good and appearing on other podcasts, all this stuff. He has bad days too. Running a successful agency, I have bad days too. I mentioned to you before we hit record and I already talked about David Ogilvy a little bit. But David Ogilvy, one of the most successful advertising dudes of all time build one of the largest ad agencies of all time, it's still going today, long after his passing.

Brett Curry:

I remember reading a quote from him, and this was during the height of his career. He said, "In the back of my mind, every time we closed a new account, I wondered is this the one that I'm going to drop the ball on? Is this the one I'm going to screw up." And I thought, "Well, if it can happen to David Ogilvy and he's just like top of the world, it can happen to all of us. It's going to happen." So I think one it's normal. And two, you hit the nail on the head. It doesn't take more than just a couple of failures to create all this self-doubt or questions or whatever.

Brett Curry:

And think it can also be a loss in other ways. So just something that I've been processing is our company is really growing and we're growing in terms of number of people. And a lot of that is really, really exciting. I love investing in people. I love seeing our team grow and see them grow individually. But part of this process of growing is me as CEO, stepping back and saying, "I can no longer do this thing that I used to do and I could do really well." Or, "I've got to give up control of this thing. And my COO Sara's going to take more responsibility because she's doing great."

Brett Curry:

But there's also this feeling of loss there too. I guess in some ways I had some identity wrapped up in that thing, that one task that I did. I can't do it anymore. We're growing too fast so I've got to focus over here. So I think that's caused me to like, I've gone back to some Peter Drucker books, Effective Executive and looking at some other stuff and reworking my calendar. And just saying, "Hey, it's not supposed to be easy. If it was easy, then everybody would do it." And this is part of what makes the journey interesting. So yeah, I'm really glad you brought that up because we all need that mental retooling, that mental reset, whatever it is. Whether it's changing our inputs to get better advice from people, whether it's just changing ourselves talk a little bit. It's just critical. It's critical for success and health and enjoyment and all those things.

Peter Awad:

Yeah. I mentioned a planner.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. What was the planner? I was going to ask about that.

Peter Awad:

It's called the Legend Planner. I probably did five minutes of research and grabbed this off of Amazon. For me, it was just about the format and placeholders for certain things. And where it's helped me is like the days that I'm inspired, I write that down. Those are the things like, this is who I want to be, these are my dreams, this is the person that I want to become. These are the goals that I want to hit, all these things. So when I'm down, I can look and I can remember like, "No, dude, this is just a rough day." And you also said something too, before we started recording, which I think is super important. Sometimes it's just purely over-work or not getting-

Brett Curry:

Yeah.

Peter Awad:

Right. Sometimes you're not having a bad day, bro. You've been working too long. Turn the dang computer off and go chill out, man. Or get 10 hours of sleep tonight instead of getting six. That sometimes is enough to just snap you out of it. You're not depressed, you're tired.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. 100%. Love that so much. And one thing that I started doing, I don't think I've ever mentioned on the podcast, but a five-minute journal. And I remember this from the Tim Ferriss Podcast, it seems like it's maybe similar to what you're doing, but it's like .. Yeah, start the day with gratitude. What am I going to accomplish? And then at the end of the day, what are three amazing things that happened. Three things you learned from, whatever. I've been doing that for about two years now. My to-do list, I keep digital because that's just the way I like to work. But something about writing stuff down is still really, really powerful.

Peter Awad:

Yeah. There's a thought process of planning from behind and essentially what it means, it's like I asked you a homeschool statement. But at night I write down just... Instead of having, because, I'm the same, I'm in the sauna all day long. All my to-do's in there, I'm not going to write them down. This is stupid for me. But for my Monday plan, I do it at night and it's like, "Oh, these are the things that I got done. It felt really good." And it's not like checklists from work. It's like, "Oh, no, I played kickball with the kids, went swimming in the ocean." All these things. It's like the same thing as gratitude. It's like, "Oh, this was a really good day." I'm thankful for those things.

Brett Curry:

One of the simplest things you can do to increase happiness and I think it's just so powerful. So that's awesome. I will link to that planner in the show notes. I'll also link to the five-minute journal. Really good stuff, man. Peter, this was a blast. I'm really glad you carved out the time. Glad you made this happen and glad you also pushed to go beyond, I stay tactical and strategic on this podcast a lot. But talking mindset, it was a good little addition. It added some flavor to this podcast, which was really fun. So thank you my friend. Appreciate you taking the time.

Peter Awad:

Thanks bro. I appreciate it.

Brett Curry:

Yeah. Awesome. So we'll have to do it again sometime. With that, that will do it for this show. As always, we'd love to hear from you, our listeners love feedback. Let us know what you like, what you don't like. And if you have it already, we'd love that review on iTunes, that helps other people discover the show. And with that until next time. Thank you.

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