Udi’s Gluten Free Foods’ Sweet Sample Marketing Strategy
A little over four years ago, I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. This means I can’t eat foods containing the gluten protein, which is frequently found in wheat, rye, barley and other grains. These grains also happen to be the building blocks of any food I’d consider delicious, so naturally I was devastated. Even though 2008 wasn’t that long ago, there weren’t too many good gluten free options out there.
However, about two years ago I was introduced to Udi’s Gluten Free Foods. Their slogan is what got my attention: “We’re bringing sandwich back.” Up until that point, I had not found any breads that were palatable without toasting. Udi’s promised to bring back peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, hot dogs, hamburgers and so much more.
Delicious solutions aside, the marketer in me also saw how GOOD Udi’s was at promoting their products. Their website was a wealth of knowledge and following them on social media was actually enjoyable. This inspired me to take an in-depth look at what they’re doing and how other businesses can apply these tactics…
Since a website is the most significant slice of the Internet any company can have, so I’ll start with that. Right away Udi’s comes across as a company you’ll love to do business with.
On the left sidebar you have the option to choose why you’re visiting the site. For example, “Doctor’s Orders” or “Health Nut” are both choices. Once you select the one that fits you, even more options come up, enabling Udi’s to know exactly who they’re talking to. After they know that information, you’re taken to a page with tons of resources targeted for your group, including news links, facts, recipes and shopping lists.
Of course, they also include the typical products lists, special offers and social media links. They’re on four different social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +. Social media is where Udi’s really shines, and I’ll cover the five main reasons that is next.
Social Media Superstars
Facebook, Twitter and Google + are fairly similar in what they can do: share pictures, updates and any other information you’d like your followers to know. Udi’s strategy for all three is the same: ask questions, provide fill in the blank statements, post shareable pictures and news and include new recipe ideas.
Engaging the Audience
Posing a question or providing a fill in the blank statement has two benefits: you get to learn more about your audience and it keeps them engaged with your business.
For example: if Udi’s asks “What’s your favorite Udi’s product?” they’re essentially polling the audience. Same goes for “I use Udi’s ______ every day.” With the responses to this, they know what products they should focus on more, which to feature more recipes on and what coupons they should provide.
While Udi’s can reap the benefits of getting the answers to these questions, they’re also keeping subscribers happy and engaged. Maybe someone was afraid to try Udi’s Millet-Chia Bread, but upon seeing all the positive comments, they decide to give it a try and love it.
My personal favorite is when they ask questions like “What has been your best/worst gluten free vacation experience?” I’ve gotten new ideas and was able to share my own experiences with fellow Udi’s fans.
Sharing Valuable Content
Just like on their website, Udi’s continues to share the good stuff on social media. It’s hard for the average person to keep up with everything that’s going on in the industry. I’m subscribed to a few different blogs, but I tend to get the most valuable news from Udi’s. From important news to fun GIFs, you’ll want to become a fan just so you can stay up-to-date.
As I mentioned, recipes are also shared on social media. Udi’s shares dozens of delicious recipes (their bread pudding one is amazing) across multiple channels at zero cost to their audience. They could have compiled everything in a cookbook and sold it, but they chose to share it instead. This is key when it comes to building relationships with your audience.
Because Udi’s works so hard in nurturing their audience, when they do have something they want to sell, they sell a lot. There hasn’t been a new product Udi’s released that I haven’t tried.
Pinning on Pinterest
With Pinterest being relatively new to the social network world and because it’s more image-based than its cousins, I wanted to talk about it separately.
What better way to get foodie fans excited than sharing mouth-watering, detailed photographs of the foods they love? This is the idea behind Udi’s Pinterest boards, which include categories such as:
- Is it Really Gluten Free?
- Gluten Free Grilling
- Gluten Free Lunchbox
- Gluten Free Picnics
- …and more!
Not only do their boards share delightful photos, they’re another way to present even more valuable content.
I can’t help but notice every promotional email that comes my way – working for an email service provider does that to you.
Udi’s emails tend to be short and to the point. They usually contain things like new product announcements, coupons or contests. Most of what they email about is also on social media or their website, but emailing is just another way to remind people what’s happening and allows them to keep that reminder in their inbox if they want to revisit anything. You’ll notice it’s a lot harder to revisit a Facebook post.
Because they are so active on social media, Udi’s only sends weekly emails. It’s an email that I look forward to and check out right away.
You Can Be Like Udi’s
Udi’s isn’t doing anything unique to the gluten free industry – they’re simply providing positive experiences for their audience on a consistent basis. This means anyone, food industry or otherwise, can follow their lead by doing the following:
- Create a site that has areas for each niche of your audience
- Set up multiple social media accounts
- Actively use social media and engage your audience
- Share valuable content for free
- Learn what your audience is interested in and responds best to
I hope Udi’s continues on their successful path, and I can’t wait to taste their next big thing!
Crystal Gouldey is an Education Marketing Associate at AWeber, the leading email service provider for small-to-medium businesses. She regularly writes for the AWeber blog: http://www.aweber.com/blog/.