sweetriot, a New York-based small business that blends all-natural chocolate with a social mission, has not struggled to find appreciative customers of its tasty chocolate-covered cacao beans. The challenge was to build a cohesive online strategy that would take the company to the next level. Too bad all the details were buried in mounds of unused data that no one had time to dig through.
Started in 2005 by entrepreneur Sarah Endline, sweetriot delivers a thoughtful product, sourced in Latin America, in a recyclable, reusable package. In addition, the packaging features a rotation of artwork from innovative designers in the arts community, a quality that contributed to its distinction as the first food product sold in the Museum of Modern Art Design Store.
Analyze Site Data
Despite her rapid rise to success in the organic chocolate world, Endline recognized the need to leverage the internet to help deliver their message. The company wasn’t starting from scratch, as Endline was already well-versed in the benefits of developing an Internet strategy after spending years working on branding projects for multiple technology companies. In fact, she had stored the data from sweetriot’s online initiatives for its entire three-year history, but, like many small business owners, she lacked the time and resources needed to analyze the information.
This enormous wealth of historical data on marketing efforts and customer purchasing behavior provided an opportunity for Endline and the OPEN “Out of the Box” team to look for trends in sweetriot’s online initiatives and to build a plan for growth.
“It was brilliant that she had saved every bit of data,” says Alison Reichert, a member of the OPEN team working with sweetriot. “It was so helpful and made a bigger impact to work with real numbers.”
The OPEN team sifted through Endline’s metrics about the business and its past marketing decisions, including website design, purchase flow and paid search.
“We were looking for more of an optimization than an overhaul,” Endline says. “Working with OPEN ‘Out of the Box’ was great timing because we hadn’t made any radical changes to the business. It was a good opportunity for them to see what was already succeeding and to make suggestions for ways we could improve.”
Optimize for Long-Term Success
Once this data analysis was completed, the OPEN “Out of the Box” team came up with a set of possible directions for online growth ranging from quicker, low-resource ideas to longer-term ways to optimize the business.
“We literally went through every page of her website and identified best practices based on industry standards and our knowledge,” says Brian Lenhart, another member of the OPEN team working with sweetriot. “Then, we tried to include specifics about how to communicate in a way that will drive revenue and help her reach her goals."
In particular, sweetriot undertook an outreach campaign to raise awareness through search engine marketing tactics, including organic search and paid ad placement. Endline has also found great success using online viral marketing and blogging to connect with her savvy customer base.
“When we focused and looked at it strategically, we could see the potential and the importance of the blogging space in general as a way of creating one-to-one relationships,” says Lenhart.
With OPEN’s assistance on how to target the ideal audience for sweetriot’s product on blogs and online press websites, Endline has been able to spread the word about the business and her mission, which includes promoting global diversity and sustainability through direct trade practices.
This has led to other online developments as well, including efforts to redesign the site’s home page and streamline the company’s overall purchase flow, providing an easier way for customers to buy the all-natural chocolate.
Business owners who wish to improve their online marketing presence can follow similar steps, such as taking an honest look at their websites to make sure customers can navigate them easily, keeping a record of measurable results in order to have a benchmark for future growth and joining the thriving blogging community.
“Working with OPEN ‘Out of the Box’ helped us to identify what was going to have the most impact on our sales,” says Endline. “The whole report they compiled was a great external perspective.”
OPEN “Out of the Box” team: Brian Lenhart, Alison Reichert, Lainie Spierer, and Balachandra Visalatha