Natural Products News Round Table – Part 3 – Future Proofing the Natural Products Industry

Natural Products News Round Table – Part 3 – Future Proofing the Natural Products Industry

Back in October last year, I was invited to the Diversified headquarters in Brighton. Diversified are the publishers of Natural Products News and Natural Beauty News, amongst other titles, and organisers of several trade events including Natural & Organic Products Europe.  

The panel was chaired by Julia Zaltzman, editor of Natural Beauty News, and also sitting were Jayn Sterland, managing director of Weleda, Kirstie & Luke Sherriff co-founders of Pinks Boutique and Stockport health store Amaranth’s owner, Joanne Hill.

Four questions were posed, and I thought it would be interesting to share my musings on all of them with you. Here is the third question:

  1. Future ProofingWe continue to see growth in the natural beauty industry – the Soil Association’s 2015 Organic Market Report showed sales of its certified organic beauty products jumped 20% in 2014, to reach just over £44m. The number of applicants it received grew 51% – but can we keep the integrity of organic intact whilst still being able to scale it up?

I believe that yes, the natural products industry can maintain its integrity and scale its growth, however in order to do this we need to unify on messaging to consumers. The Soil Association’s #campaignforclarity and #lookforthelabel messages are fabulous for both businesses and consumers alike.

I believe for continued growth, the natural products industry needs to go back to its roots and jump on board the slow movement. Storytelling remains an important element for natural products brands, and sustainability and traceability ethics are only going to become more important for consumers as they become more aware of and engaged with environmental issues.

At the Organic Beauty Week briefing for 2016, David from Herbfarmacy raised a very valid point: “less of the free from, more of the “from”.” In other words, brands need to focus more on the benefits of natural and organic, and not just bad mouth mainstream ingredients. Natural brands have an ongoing responsibility to continue the education of consumers when it comes to ingredients and benefits.

There is also education to be done with pushing the message that organic is not more expensive. Yes, it may be more expensive that the cheap mainstream products, but when compared to a product of similar quality and brand positioning, one will find time and time again that natural and/or organic are not necessarily the more expensive options. Particularly when you look at the cost of ingredients inside.

Greenwashing must be fought, but not in a radicalised extremist way. Again, this all comes down to how you convey the message, and always make sure your points are backed up with hard scientific facts. Give your statements credibility, don’t leave yourself open to criticism for having a weak argument.

For brands, when they think about scaling up, they must understand that different channels have different roles and functions within their growth:

  • Independents: the trusted companion. These stores have an incredibly loyal customer base and are going to be around forever. Compare them to London corner shops, which I am sure everyone thought would close down as supermarkets and “local” supermarkets came into existence. The corner shops are still going strong, and some of them are even stocking natural product basics now!
  • Multis: the threat for the independents. However, these stores are undoubtedly selling products at a higher price point than the indies. The multis are destinations for natural health and beauty newbies, tourists, or a day’s outing as a special treat for those passionate about organic.
  • Supermarkets: the convenience. Who doesn’t want to be able to pick up a body wash or soap because they’ve run out, whilst doing their weekly shop? The shop can be in store or online. The best thing for the industry about natural and organic being in supermarkets is the massive exposure to millions of consumers. It has certainly aided progress of natural and organic into the mainstream.
  • Department stores and concept stores: the shopping window. These listings are not always lucrative for brands, but they still serve a purpose. They give brands kudos, and like supermarkets, they act as a window to raise brand awareness due to the large footfall within such stores.

How do you feel about the progression of natural and organic into the mainstream? Do you think we can future-proof the industry? We’d love to hear from you! me@rebeccagoodyear.com

Is Your Marketing Strategy Ready for Micro-Moments?

Is Your Marketing Strategy Ready for Micro-Moments?

Is your marketing strategy ready for micro-moments? 

Because apparently, that’s all consumers have time for these days. Life is fast and we are bombarded by more information than ever before. We are more or less always plugged in and switched on to technology, whether at work or play, thanks to television, radio, internet and smartphones.

Technology has given us all the opportunity to be entrepreneurs. Thanks to this technology, it is easier than ever for brands and businesses to get their message out to an audience. However, it also means that we are all served more information and have more intelligence at our fingertips available at the touch of a button than any library could ever hold.

So, when you are preparing your digital content strategy, you have to keep all of this in mind. You may be able to write beautiful long-form content, and don’t get me wrong, this most certainly has a place, but you also need to include some micro-moments in your strategy.

What should your micro-moments look, or read, like? Well, the main reason that consumers will look up or Google something is to answer a question, mostly in the health and beauty arena people are looking to solve a problem.

So, if you have products that may be beneficial to certain conditions, write a short form blog post about this. Make sure your headline confirms that this content is going to answer the problem your consumer is looking to solve. E.g. “How To Manage & Improve Hormonal Acne in 5 Easy Steps” or “The Best Nutrients for Maintaining Joint Health”.

When planning your micro-moments, you should use the Google Keyword Research Tool to find out what keyword phrases are being searched for and also look at your Google Analytics and topics your customers are searching for when they land on your website. Another great tool we’ve found is answerthepublic.com, a site where you type in your keyword and tens and hundreds of questions and search terms are presented to you.

Try to keep the content to 300 words or thereabouts, this will be an under two minute read for the majority of readers. If your content is product-related, be sure to include a clickable link or links to the product for ease of purchase.

As always, it is important to social share this content you have crafted. Be sure to once again reiterate in the promotional tweet or post what problem or issue your blog is going to solve; how the post will improve the consumer’s life. Whilst Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Linkedin are the obvious choices for this type of article, why not try getting creative with Pinterest and Instagram, and look towards other publishing sites such as Linkedin Pulse, Huffington Post and Medium.

Finally, you can potentially reach out to consumers already pondering the answer to your chosen question, thanks to sites such as Quora and Reddit. See what answer people are looking for in your field of expertise, and direct them to your website where they can find your already prepared answer. A link on a popular thread on either of these sites can become a major source of traffic for your website.

Have you experimented with micro-moments? Are they part of your content strategy already? We’d love to hear from you! For any advice please email hi@rebeccagoodyear.com