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Influencer Marketing with Spencer Donaldson (December 2023)

Join us to learn about how Spencer grew Eat Well Nashville from 0 to 7-figures in revenue with influencer marketing.

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  • Michael Zarick

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Episode transcript

[00:00:08] Will Schreiber: Hey, I'm Will Schreiber, co-founder of Bottle, and welcome to our very first coffee chat. The goal of this is to buy you coffee to say thank you for all of the work you do to feed your community and make the world a better place. If you missed this December coffee. We're going to do these every month.

So go to Doesn't matter if you're using Bottle software or not. If you're in the meal delivery world, we want to celebrate you. So go to and we'll send you a free gift card for free coffee in January. And we hope you will join us for our next expert conversation today in this coffee chat.

We are hosting Spencer Donaldson and Spencer founded and grew Eat Well, Nashville, which was a meal prep business in Nashville, Tennessee, that he grew to seven figures and ended up selling. And we've gotten to know Spencer over the years and watched him. Grow, build and sell that business and have always been super impressed with how he operated it and more importantly, how he marketed it and grew it.

And after he left Eat Well, he started a marketing agency to help people in the meal delivery world, specifically grow their business through SEO, through influencer marketing, affiliate marketing, and a bunch of other tools. Today, we're talking about. Influencer marketing. It doesn't matter if you use bottle software or not.

We keep the conversation extremely straightforward so that anybody, regardless of what tools or software you're using, can take advantage of what he has to say and what he has to teach you. So about 10 minutes are spent just going through Spencer's background and how he started Eat Well. Uh, and then the back half of the conversation, we really get into some of his tools, tips, tricks, and strategies when it came to influencer marketing.

at Eat Well. Hope you enjoy the talk. Cheers to you. Hope you have a great cup of coffee in hand and I'll see you in January.

[00:02:04] Will Schreiber: Hey, Spencer. All right. We're back. We're back. We'll give it another minute before we really get started, um, to let a few other people join. But we were just on and you don't even have coffee. You've got celsius.

[00:02:22] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, it counts though. It's caffeine.

It's caffeine. We're good.

[00:02:27] Will Schreiber: So this is actually my 1st zoom webinar actually, and we have a Q and a feature. So the basic format of today is Spencer and I'm going to ask Spencer some questions. And then we're going to open up Q and a. And I have the Q and a questions pulled up.

. But let's get into it, Spencer. So, quick introduction and how I got to know Spencer a few years ago.

He was running at the time a meal prep business in Nashville called Eat Well Nashville. And we were always just really impressed with how he operated that business and grew it. And we've stayed in touch over the years and now Spencer runs a marketing agency after selling eat well. So just for everyone to have context.

Let's start at the eat well stuff. How'd you get into meal prep? And give a quick backstory of that business.

[00:03:14] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, my business partner, Rob Bellenpont and I started Eat Well Nashville in 2016. And it was just built out of a, essentially a need for healthy meals in the Nashville, Tennessee area.

We just found that there weren't a lot of great options for healthy, convenient meals. And so we really just. Set out to build a business that would provide what we needed desperately as founders and business owners. At that time, I was in real estate hopping from meeting to meeting and really just needed healthy options.

So that's where we decided to kick things off and launch the business that would just basically fulfill our need and offer us healthy options.

[00:03:55] Will Schreiber: And just I want to spend most of the talk on. What you learned from a marketing perspective and what you do now, but what were some of, like, the core challenges you faced and running eat well and or just somewhat like the high level things you learned or were surprising about running that business.

[00:04:14] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah. I mean, there are so many chat, like, I'd started a lot of different businesses ahead of eat well, Nashville. And, just the ability to scale is really difficult when you're scaling into delivering thousands of meals and really just. Figuring out all of the nuance around hiring and who to hire and who to bring in and how you keep your quality where it should be.

I think that's the biggest thing. Quality assurance in the product was very important for us figuring out how we could generate a high quality product at scale as we grew. Cause when we started, it was really small. I mean, our first month, I think we generated 50 to 100 customers, which was a lot for us.

We were working out of a shared kitchen. It was about 1000 square feet before we had an opportunity to move into the custom kitchen that we had built out and really. Starting out your quality is amazing and then figuring out how to scale from 100 customers to 1000 customers to thousands of customers is really a difficult challenge.

So figuring that out was the biggest thing. How do you scale this thing effectively and keep your quality where it needs to be to make sure your customers are happy and that you retain them?

[00:05:26] Will Schreiber: Yeah.

That is a huge challenge. What what was one of the more rewarding things of running eat well?

[00:05:33] Spencer Donaldson: I think the biggest thing for me was just the connection with the community. Everybody eats right? So everyone. Anyone in the community you can work with. So we had a lot of opportunities to support a bunch of different charities and offer support during the tornado when that had hit a few years ago in Nashville, which was really rewarding.

We were out serving a lot of folks who were affected by the tornado, also helping out during the pandemic when schools were shut down. We worked with a lot of different country music artists and different folks to help support the community and deliver meals to those folks. I think that was probably the most rewarding part.

I mean, just being able to support and drive awareness to that, there is a healthy meal business out there that provides meals in the community. So for us, that was. Probably the biggest thing just being a community based business and growing within the community and everyone feeling like, we were their next door neighbor.

[00:06:34] Will Schreiber: That's very

cool. And a question here from Hannah, because you brought up the kind of quality and scaling production. She's wondering at what point did you determine, um, it was time to move past a shared kitchen if you were ever in one and into your own, or how did you scale the operations

in the end?

[00:06:54] Spencer Donaldson: I think we knew immediately, like early on, the fact that we had such a good reception right away from the jump, we knew it was going to be a great opportunity. We had, reviewed other meal prep businesses in the area. So our intention. Was to grow into our own kitchen. Anyways, we already had the build out plans ready going into the business because we said, if we're going to do this, we're going to do this.

Right. So I think we were in the shared kitchen for just a couple of months before we ended up in our custom built kitchen.

[00:07:26] Will Schreiber: Very cool. All right. I have had a few more people join I just want to give a quick welcome. Again, to Spencer, who had built and sold eat well, Nashville now runs a marketing agency, which we're going to get to in a 2nd on.

Tools and ideas to market your business. But one other kind of like, happy coffee day question for you. Do you, what's your favorite coffee shop in Nashville?

[00:07:51] Spencer Donaldson: Ooh, um, I really like Elegy in East Nashville. It's like a small coffee shop, so it's not one of the better known ones, but that's by far probably my best, my favorite option for both food and coffee for


All Are you from Nashville

originally? Did you grow up there?

No, I grew up just outside of Detroit and I've been here for about 12 years now.

[00:08:14] Will Schreiber: What brought you to Nashville? So I also lived in Nashville, as many of you might know for six or seven years. Awesome city. Curious what brought you there?

[00:08:24] Spencer Donaldson: I chased my now wife down here. So I chased the girl.

[00:08:30] Will Schreiber: That's a good reason. Always. Yeah.

[00:08:33] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, we're married and have a one year old daughter. So we're doing well.

[00:08:37] Will Schreiber: Yeah, cool. All right. These are awesome questions rolling in. We will circle back to them as it relates to Spencer's time. Running eat well, but let's get into the promised meat of this conversation, which so, Spencer now runs a marketing agency based out of Nashville for anyone who's curious, happy to put you in touch with Spencer.

If you just reach out to me after this call but we influencer marketing. And Spencer had this kind of put together these 5 points of. What it takes to do influencer marketing. So, Spencer, how did you all think about influencer marketing at EatWell? And let's start there. There's a lot to dig into.

[00:09:21] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah. So honestly for us working with influencers was not just a a factor of marketing. It was also a way to get rid of our excess food. So every week we would generate, a little bit of extra food, just. By way of how the business works, you're always, adding a few extra meals to what you're delivering.

And, if anything comes up, you can dip into those excess meals that you have in your inventory. So we were taking a lot of that excess and instead of, donating it. At a lower cost. What we would do is invite influencers to come and share in those meals and try those meals out. So basically it's just a way for us to grow the business, get the word out.

And we would just say, Hey, come check out our fridge and sign an agreement, a quick agreement that you're going to post several times on one of your social channels, and they would get the word out about the meals that we were producing.

[00:10:19] Will Schreiber: And how would you find find influencers?

[00:10:23] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, so there's a lot of different ways like over the, the years that's changed.

Still one of the best ways is just to do hashtag searches. On Instagram, if you're looking at Instagram, you can also tick talk. Now you can easily search. So if you're finding keywords based on Nashville, for instance, or whatever city you're located in, you want to look for influencers in those areas.

And then once you find someone, if you look through Their follower list, you'll usually find other influencers that you can work with. So really, that's the best way to do it is to find people that you enjoy their content. But then, there's also a bunch of other tools that you can use like Hype Auditor, Collabster Influence City, and then TikTok Creator Marketplace.

So those are some of the areas that you can utilize, you want to be very careful to look at any influencer and qualify them appropriately to make sure that they're in your city or whatever geographic region you're in. So you get the most out of those influencers.

[00:11:25] Will Schreiber: And then how would you qualify influencers?

So I imagine you use one of those tools, you're searching hashtags, you build a list. How did you deem that someone was worth reaching out to?

[00:11:37] Spencer Donaldson: So number one, you want to check, there's a tool called InBeat, which will allow you to check to see if if someone has potential. The audience or fake engagement.

So you want to be careful. That's the first thing you want to make sure that, a lot of people are buying followers, a lot of people are buying comments and likes and things like that. So first thing to do is to check to make sure that the audience is real.

[00:11:58] Will Schreiber: And then what's

the name of that tool?

We'll also send out in the email kind of links to these tools that Spencer mentions. But what was the

name of that?

[00:12:05] Spencer Donaldson: That one's called InBeat. It's in beat. co. So that'll tell you whether or not the audience is real or fake. And so that's the most important thing is that, because there's a lot of people buying those and then you can work, depending on what city you're in, you can work with influencers of all sizes between micro influencers and macro influencers.

So we would always say 10, 000 plus followers and then 3 percent plus engagement. So the bigger the influencer though, the lower that engagement rate may be. So it might be 2%, but they've got a million followers. Well, that's still maybe a person that's good to work with just depending on how big their audience is.

So you want to take their audience size into account, but yeah, in general, if you have. But also when you work with these influencers, you want to ask to see their audience metrics. So you know that most of their audiences in your geographic area where you're serving, because if you don't, then what's the point?

It's wasted audience. So it's not a great opportunity if they're.

They're not there.

[00:13:13] Will Schreiber: And so, okay. So you've identified influencers. You've checked it. It's not full of spam and purchased audience. How did you then craft or do a reach out in terms of the pitch of, um, being an influencer for Eatwell?

[00:13:26] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, I think the pitch is the most important part, right? Like, influencers and content creators need content ideas at all times. So most people are just reaching out and saying, Hey, we'd love for you to promote my product. Well, that's not good enough. To do that. So what you want to do is really look into the influencers, figure out what they care about.

And a big thing you can do is just align with the charity, even if it's a charity that you like or a charity that the influencer likes and say, Hey, we were looking to see if you might be interested in collaborating to help support a local charity. That's a different pitch. That influencer wants to be seen in that light as someone who is promoting charitable work and it's something different.

So you're giving them an opportunity to support the community versus saying, Hey, just promote my product. So you're giving them a whole different way of doing business with you. Plus you're giving them the content ideas. You're crafting the content ideas for them, which that's what they're going to, you want to let them have their own freedom when they create content.

Coming up with good ideas for them. They're always going to look at you in a good light if you do that. So you really want to figure out how you can go about creating something. And sometimes it's, if someone, if an influencer loves dogs. That has a million, million followers, maybe align with a charity that helps support foster dogs or something like that and ask if they'd be willing to help you promote that.

And once you get them in, you have a conversation about what you can do later on to support the business. Usually they're happy to do that, but you're just coming in with a different pitch. What causes do they have? What food do they like? And what's on your menu that might align with that. If they like avocado toast and maybe you have avocado toast on your menu, then you bring that up in the conversation.

But a lot of times this is just coming straight from DM. And also you can find a lot of influencers emails out there and then

[00:15:28] Will Schreiber: You threw out a specific example that I thought was cool. There was a I think bad tornadoes in Nashville 1 year to explain just so that there's a specific example what you did.

Yeah, and that effort.

[00:15:41] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah. I

mean, so basically the tornado came through and we just reached out to a bunch of influencers and said, Hey, we're going to be out serving food to anyone who's affected by the tornado, whether or not it's someone who was affected or any of the 1st responders or anyone helping clean up, we're going to be out serving food at this location.

And we set up a buffet in a parking lot. And we just said, Hey, would you all mind just sharing this with your community so everybody knows that we're here to support and they can come get food from us. And that opened up that conversation with a lot of those influencers to, really have a greater talk about how we can collaborate together overall.

[00:16:23] Will Schreiber: Yeah, um, definitely. It's it seems like coming in and building some sort of conversation that isn't directly. Hey, promote my stuff is the most effective way to come at it.

[00:16:36] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, they're getting pitched on that all the time, they're getting so many pitches. That's not even gonna, they'll find you if they like your product and work with you.

But the best way is to find a different angle to get in there.

[00:16:49] Will Schreiber: Yeah. And when we were talking, you mentioned, like, one of the keys to success with influencer marketing is building that long term relationship. And obviously, this idea of a mutually beneficial relationship where you're both supporting the community.

Or you're giving them a content idea or giving them something to post is a way to do that. But you also brought up a really cool idea that you call it. I believe a creator board where you had an ongoing relationship with these influencers. Can you talk a little bit about that?

[00:17:18] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah. I mean, what you want to do in general, this is something that, we work with a lot of clients on now is just helping them create a feedback loop with the influencers that they work with.

So they're more tied into the brand. So a good way to do that is to create, we would just call it an advisory board or a creator board where you're basically, you've got a bunch of influencers on that board who have an impact on your business. So basically it's, Hey, what do you guys think on the new meal that we just released?

Do you have any ideas for meals that you would like? And then also you're connecting the creators that you work with so that they can collaborate too. So it's just creating an environment where it's a community of those influencers and creators that you're working with. And we've seen that work really well.

It's like, what else are you going to do to build community within your business with those creators? And that just ties them much more into what you're doing than just getting them meals. And then letting them go home and having a transactional relationship where you're saying, Hey, you've got to post this many times.

Here's the exact amount of sales I need to have because, let's face it. Influencer marketing is the top of funnel marketing strategy. Without a lot of frequency, you're not going to convert people into customers for you. So you need to figure out good ways to collaborate with the influencers.

Another thing that you want to do is work with influencers friends. So like usually these influencers will have a group of friends that they collaborate with, and you'll see that in their posts. You want to work with all of their friends because they're going to have the same audience. And you need that frequency.

So the greater the cluster of influencers or creators that you're working with that cross promote, the better off you are in generating business. So that's another thing to think about. And just getting all those people on that board and tying them into the business will definitely give you a leg up in generating.

And you're coming up with content ideas too, like while you're doing that. So it's like, how can we support them versus them just support us. And by doing that, you're getting much better deals. And you're also figuring out ways to work with them over a three or six month period versus just, Oh, we're going to do a one post this week and see how it works.

You want to definitely do longer term deals,

[00:19:40] Will Schreiber: right?

Let's I could keep asking you questions about this for a while, but there's a lot of good ones here in the Q and a yeah, I would love to get to. So, let's start with the influencer specific one. So, Hannah's asked what's some of the best. Messaging or catchy phrases that you would advise or give ideas for the influencers to post.

[00:20:02] Spencer Donaldson: So for them to post about your business?

[00:20:06] Will Schreiber: Yeah, I think if you were helping craft content ideas for the influencers, what are some of those ideas or like things that work in terms of like, I guess, actually driving traffic to your site on the behalf. Yeah, I

[00:20:22] Spencer Donaldson: mean, I think so you're letting number 1, you want to let the influencer drive the car.

They have to come up with. The specifics around how other messaging to their audience, they built that audience. They're the ones that. Are going to do a great job with the audience. You can give them ideas, but when it comes down to the specifics, you really want them to do that. But I think in general, it's staying away from just promoting the product.

It's like, how else can you collaborate? Like we talked about with the charities, what else is going on in the community? Did they have a new product launch? That you can promote to like, how else can you get involved with them? That's not just like. You don't want it to seem transactional. So you gotta be careful about what you're pitching.

It's like, Hey, we want to build a relationship with you. So, and I would stay away from giving them specifics around the language, I would let them craft that so that it's more successful because every

[00:21:18] Will Schreiber: audience is a little bit different. And then what did you on that though, what did you set as your success metric for an influencer post, was it.

New customers, did you attach some sort of lifetime value to that? That. Oh, these people actually drove what ended up becoming recurring customers. How did you think about the efficacy of those posts?

[00:21:42] Spencer Donaldson: See for us, it's you want to be careful about those metrics. There's things you can do. You can use something like viral sweeps, a sweepstakes platform that allows you to wait entries.

So like if someone signs up via email, it might be worth 15 entries. If they just follow you, it's worth five entries. So there's technology like that, that will allow you to collect different pieces of information. Along with purchases. If someone purchases, you can give them more entries into the sweepstakes.

So you can do something like that. But a lot of times, in your checkout flow, you want to ask people where they come from, and you'll get, a lot of influencers, discount codes and things like that, but when it comes down to it, a lot of people just don't use the discount codes.

So if you say, how did you hear about us? You may get an answer if you make it required versus just. Having a discount code that is specific to the influencer, you can you can track visits to the website from their link too. So you'll see success there. But again, with influencers, it's the top of funnel strategy.

So your goal with influencers should be to drive your email list, signups, your social following. And over time that will convert, but those are the things that you want to focus on, which is why you want to keep this really low cost and kind of focus on providing them with free product versus paying them it's.

And that's why you've got to appeal to their senses outside of just, this is a monetary transactional relationship so that they're more willing to give you a better deal and work just for product.

[00:23:22] Will Schreiber: So that leads perfectly into another question we got, which is, can you share more on converting influencer content into sales?

And if I'm translating a little bit your strategy, it seemed like was take influencer traffic and those posts and drive them. To a first touch point with your brand and get them on an email list. Get them somehow in your funnel, maybe even just to hit your website, pixel to retarget them with ads.

Can you talk a bit more about how you think about influencers as top of funnel and then eventually converting them into customers? Yeah,

[00:23:58] Spencer Donaldson: I think influencers are really just a way to get people in the funnel interested in your product. You will get purchases. It's really hard to track which is one of the challenging things.

So that's why you want to do this as low cost as possible if you can. But yeah you just want to look at your email signups and make sure you have a solid email cadence along with that. And the other thing too, when you work with the influencers, you want to ask them for ownership over the content.

So you're going to have them send you the raw video files, the raw photos that they've taken and use that in your marketing communication as well. So if you're doing an email flow and they've done a post, take some of those photos or those videos and put it in the post so it's. More likely to resonate with the folks to drive that sale once they're in your email list.

So that's how we think about it. It's more about email signup and social following. And that kind of thing versus bottom line where it's going to convert.

[00:24:54] Will Schreiber: And is that typically in the agreement? Anything you post we can use as well. Shared

[00:24:59] Spencer Donaldson: IP. Yeah. Yeah. We own the content. We request that you send us the raw video files and

[00:25:06] Will Schreiber: photos.

Got it. Another question here. Back to that influencer board concept. What environment or tool did you use to manage that or to manage your list of influencers? Something like a Facebook group chat or something else?

[00:25:23] Spencer Donaldson: So for us, what we've done, especially recently is just set up zoom calls where we have zoom calls with everyone, but you can definitely use a Facebook group.

Or something like that, even having a group text you can do that as well. And so that's. An option for you to build it, but really anything that there's community that they're likely to sign in. But for us, it was, it's more or less just setting up a monthly call with those influencers. And if they can make it great, if they can't, no problem, but a lot of them do show up.

So. I think a monthly cadence is important just to keep them tied

[00:25:59] Will Schreiber: into the brain. Some sort of update every month. Yeah. Yeah. Another just tactical question here. Okay. You've got influencers, you agree to create content. How do you have them share that content with you? Email it, Google Drive.

Did you have any sort of tool or tech to help manage that?

[00:26:19] Spencer Donaldson: What we typically do is just Google Drive. But honestly, it just depends on how many you're managing. Like, for some clients in our marketing agency, where we're managing like 300 influencers. It has to be a lot more organized, but if you're managing, say 20 or 30 good relationships, you can manage it however you want.

That's easiest for you, either email, Google drive, or just have them text you. The easier it is for the influencer, the more likely it is that you're going to get that content and have an easier time working with them. So you just want to, be conscious of that. If you can do it via text, that's even better.

[00:26:56] Will Schreiber: And then another idea or just brainstorming. I think the, question here from from somebody, the charity idea is great. Would you ever just do something as simple as trade meals for posts? Or do people usually ask to be paid in cash?

[00:27:13] Spencer Donaldson: I mean, we were only, with something like food, everybody needs to eat.

And so if you're offering free meals most people would trade for posts. So we would just ask for a certain type of post. So depending on how you want to set up the deal, you can ask for story posts. So if you're going to get story posts that only last for 24 hours, you ask for more of those. So you might say, give me four story posts for however many meals you want to offer them.

Or you might say, or you could do one feed post instead. So it's just figuring out the value of each post to your business. And how you want to go about asking them to do that. But it was all trade. Really the charity conversations are just a way to get in the door. And to have those conversations and then you start that partnership where you start trading meals on a weekly or bi weekly basis, and get posts for those.

[00:28:10] Will Schreiber: More generally beyond the influencer stuff. Have you ever done giveaways on social media? And is that. And successful. Yeah. I mean,

[00:28:18] Spencer Donaldson: giveaways will work, but they, people are skeptical of like the longer giveaways have been around. The more skeptical people are because a lot of people will run giveaways and not actually give the prize away.

So if you're going to, I always think

[00:28:32] Will Schreiber: about that. I'm always skeptical as a consumer of giveaways. Yeah. I'm like, is anyone ever going to get the X

[00:28:39] Spencer Donaldson: Box? Yeah. Well, that, that's why it's important. Yeah. It's gotta be a a valuable prize. So you don't want it to, you can't just be like, Oh, this is a 50 giveaway.

Most people aren't going to take the time. And if they do, it's very little engagement. So it's gotta be a good amount. So if you're going to give away 500 or a thousand dollars with the meals, that's much more appealing. And then when you actually do the giveaway, actually market the fact that you gave away those meals and who you gave them away to.

So that way people know you're serious about it and that you actually do give away that way the next time you do it, people are like, okay they actually fulfill on their promise.

[00:29:20] Will Schreiber: Right. Yeah, that is funny. I'm like, man, that you could totally just not give it away. And, but that's a good point. If you go and make a big noise and even maybe feature the person who won, that'd be cool.

[00:29:33] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, a hundred percent. You should definitely do that for sure.

[00:29:36] Will Schreiber: Another question. Somebody trying to structure time periods of working with influencers. Any and saying that you had mentioned the three to six month window. Any more thoughts on that? Maybe like, what's a good time timeline in terms of working with different influencers?

[00:29:53] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, I think you'll see, you should see results within three months. So minimum, I would say three months by saying three months, you're saying to the influencer, like, I want to work with you and I'm willing to take a chance with you. So as long as you've done everything else and you verified the audience and everything like that, I think three months is a good starting point.

Then if it's not working out, then you can just cancel the agreement after that point and work with someone else. A lot of times too, you want to rotate the audience. So, one one influencer might have one audience, say if you're doing healthy meal prep, one influencers got a fitness audience.

Well, you want to target that audience, but you might also want to target stay at home moms. So you want to make sure the audiences that you're targeting are buried. So you are rotating through the influencers every three to six months if you can, but if it's a great relationship and they're providing value, you can continue to offer them a product.

In exchange

[00:30:52] Will Schreiber: for posts. Yeah. And as it relates to, we have a question about running Google ads, which is quite different from social media marketing. So I'm curious from from just like a high level, where did influencer marketing rank in your mind in terms of, a driver of revenue from from the marketing pie and how did that stack against something like AdWords in your experience?

[00:31:16] Spencer Donaldson: I mean, so long term influencer marketing is a big part of any business. If you do it right now, if you do it wrong, it's going to fail miserably for you. Whereas. It's a top of funnel strategy again, though. So you're looking at generating emails, opting people into an email service, and then making sure that you're keeping them informed.

So there's added costs on top of what you're doing with the influencers in order to convert with something like Google AdWords. You can see right away whether or not it's converting. So in my opinion, SEO and AdWords are the greatest marketing channels for almost any business. So for me, from a conversion standpoint, those are channels that you can easily look at metrics and make sure that you're converting.

So I would focus heavily on those when it comes to your marketing budget. Now, if you've got excess meals and you think, Hey, I've got excess meals. I either have to throw them away, give them away, or I can give them to influencers and then it's a marketing expense. If you look at it that way, then it costs you almost nothing.

And it's a great model to work with influencers. So, doing that is important, but Google ads far and away, SEO far and away are the best

[00:32:32] Will Schreiber: drivers for performance, so one plug for Spencer here his current marketing agency does great work with SEO. And AdWords and again, if you're interested in connecting with Spencer let me know.

We'll put you on touch. We will, though, have a dedicated coffee chat and then hopefully much more content after that. Coming out about this question about AdWords and some of these other strategies. So it's a great question, and Spencer is totally right that the difference, as we all know, and social media and Google ads is one has intent.

Someone's searching for meals over on Google, and the other is top of funnel, which correct me if I'm wrong, Spencer, but that's really why the goal of the influencer marketing is getting you in the funnel. Because the intent isn't there necessarily to buy it, but they're interested in your business.

They're interested in your brand. So using the influencer marketing to get your customer on a list. Get them into your funnel so that when they are ready to buy and do have intent, your brand comes to mind and they're ready to

[00:33:36] Spencer Donaldson: do it. Yeah, you're exactly right.

[00:33:39] Will Schreiber: All right. Some more kind of social media questions.

do You see that hashtag still generate leads? and any ideas on how to grow followers or engagement beyond just posting?

[00:33:51] Spencer Donaldson: You got to think about it this way. And I talked to a lot of clients about this, the social media platforms are not incentivized to promote your organic posts. So you gotta be creative with this. Like they, Metta and Facebook want you to advertise. They don't want you to have an organic following to be able to sell off of organic posts.

So, the hashtag model doesn't work great anymore. Now, the influencer model, though, does help you build a following. So, working with influencers, that's, you'll grow a following just working with influencers. So, that's an easy metric to look at when you're working with influencers. You can also have the influencers promote, Hey, go follow Eatwell Nashville or whatever your business is.

And and They'll go drive an audience for you, but when it comes to organic social, there's just so many people competing for attention. And I think Metta is really good at figuring out like, Hey, we can't promote this business or they're not going to pay for ads. So we don't see organic as a great model right now.

Tick tock, you can grow a better organic following. YouTube's better too, because it's a a search model. Same with tick tock, both of them. Have search ads, which we recommend. So now tick tock is running almost like an AdWords model when folks search, because it is more of a search engine. Now, same with YouTube.

Those videos last it's not disposable content.

[00:35:23] Will Schreiber: So that, that confuses me though. I've heard this from so many people that I feel young, I guess every year I get less young feeling more and more disconnected from Gen Z every day. And my friends who are, in their mid to low twenties, talk about searching TikTok and it blows my mind.

It's like, what are you searching for? And what's the result? Like, what's the consumer behavior there? Like, if I were searching for meals, why am I searching TikTok? And like, what would I be searching? Do you know?

[00:35:55] Spencer Donaldson: Well, I mean, for

me, it's like, I search TikTok now. I mean, I just want quick information in video format.

Like almost a step by step tutorial. It's easy to consume. It's 15 to 30 seconds. So like, anything like that would be helpful. I mean, I've done it for lawn care advice, things like that. Cause I don't have time to watch a full YouTube video. I just want something that's a bullet point quick thing.

So I think there's a lot of, things about meal recipes. I search new restaurants in cities. If I go travel to a city, I'll search for what restaurants. Are in those cities and you'll pull up a ton of content on TikTok.

[00:36:33] Will Schreiber: Yeah. Yeah. And this is a quick aside, but I feel like YouTube shot itself in the foot here with they used to only monetize videos that are at least 10 minutes.

And so they forced their creators to stretch the video out. And what you just said is interesting. I don't have time to go watch a 10 minute video. it's an interesting kind of like incentive design flaw that they ended up with.

[00:36:56] Spencer Donaldson: I think, yeah, people just don't want to read as much, like the and even with websites that we build.

For SEO purposes, we tell everyone a lot of that content is just built for the search engine, not really the end user. So people just have less time. They're less engaged. They have more ads coming at them. I think I read a study that said people see between four and 10, 000 advertisements a day, which is crazy to think about.

So yeah, you just got to think about people's time. It's so, it's so distracted. Wow.

[00:37:29] Will Schreiber: All right. Where does social media ads fall on the scheme of SEO, AdWords and influencer marketing? Like, would you recommend doing them? And what budget split would you recommend?

[00:37:42] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, I mean, I would say budget.

You want to push a majority of your budget towards Google. Anyone who has that intent, if they're searching, like, Austin meal deliveries. Or meal delivery companies, that they're buying. So that's going to be best again, social ads, you're generating interest. So it's not as far down the funnel, but I think if you have good UGC ads and content, then you're going to drive business doing it.

So I think Google AdWords, SEO first, , a solid web presence, that kind of thing. And then after that. You want to do a Facebook and Instagram ads. You just got to make sure that the content you don't want canvas style of content. You want video, UGC video. Everyone's talking about that user generated content.

So whether or not, and that's one of the great things about doing influencer marketing, you're asking them for ownership over that content. So you can run ads utilizing those videos. And so that's what we

[00:38:43] Will Schreiber: Just to get specific, what kind of a content you need, don't post a list of your menu in text.

Like instead post someone in camera style, Hey, here's our food this week. We're talking to the camera that performs way better. Yeah. I'm

[00:38:58] Spencer Donaldson: talking static posts where it's just texts over, a stock image or something. You see a lot of companies do that. That doesn't work and it's a waste

[00:39:07] Will Schreiber: of money. Is Canva the best platform you think for creating that kind of content and editing videos or is there another tool you recommend?

[00:39:15] Spencer Donaldson: No. If you're gonna do a bit like CapCut is great. That's integrated with TikTok for editing. Canva is good for like email and stuff like that, creating those type of graphics, but there's a lot of better editing softwares you can use. For UGC, but again, if you work with influencers, a lot of times they're going to edit that content for you.

So you can go directly into your ads. Yeah.

[00:39:38] Will Schreiber: Do you ever boost those posts on Instagram and find that it's worth

[00:39:43] Spencer Donaldson: it? Yeah. If you have good UGC, for sure. Yeah, it's along the same lines. Yep.

[00:39:51] Will Schreiber: And then what kind of a high level like revenue percentage of revenue. Do you think about allotting to an annual marketing budget?

[00:40:01] Spencer Donaldson: I mean, this is all over the map, right? And it depends on what you're considering. I mean, between at least 5%, that's what. What we would look at two to 5%, somewhere in that range, you can get resourceful with it and you can do things yourself and hire someone in house, or you can go to an agency where it's going to be more expensive because they have to cover their costs.

It just depends on how you want to do it. But yeah, I mean, most companies need to spend around 5% in marketing.

[00:40:31] Will Schreiber: And then back to that kind of gauging success question. As you said, codes often don't get used hard to measure ROI and sales. How would you gauge an independent, individual influencer as they were successful or not?

You mentioned like you can start to see results after three months for someone that's working. What results are you referring to? What do you look at and say? Yeah, that they're working. They're a good brand promoter. It's whatever

[00:40:59] Spencer Donaldson: metric you're trying to drive. So if it's email signups, then it's email signups.

If it's followers. And you'll notice a bump in, like, if you see a bunch of followers after someone posts, that it's probably from those posts. So that's a good indicator. So you're going to consider all factors. You're going to see if you have a lift on your website, if you've got a lift on your website, you've got new followers, you've got email signups, then you're great.

You do want to see web traffic and that's why there's. You can have, the website, you could have an exit intent pop up and, if someone comes to the website and fills that, that exit intent form out for a discount code, for instance, if it says before you leave, get 15 percent off.

And someone fills that out, if you had a lift in traffic and a lift in your email list, based on that exit intent pop up, it worked. So, you just have to decide on what metric you're going to measure the influencer on upfront based on the posts. And you can tell them, like, here's what we want to promote.

We want to promote building our email list. We want to promote adding followers. Whatever it is.

[00:42:05] Will Schreiber: Yeah. And that's why the ROI to sales, as you mentioned, is so hard. It's really, like, you have to believe that the lift in followers, lift in email, lift in website visitors, Is contributing to a lift in traffic or a lift in sales, but it's really hard to tie it back.

There's just like an issue.

[00:42:26] Spencer Donaldson: Well, that's why you got to look at it different. So if you look at it So for instance, for us, how we looked at it, we're getting rid of waste meals that would be gone anyways, right? We're also getting UGC content. So the video ownership, we have ownership over those videos.

We can use it in email and ads. So when you think of the value of those meals and what you're giving away versus what you're getting, it's actually negligible. If you do it right. If you're getting ownership over that content, cause you can run that in ads that would cost you. More than what the meals cost just to get that video.

So that's how you have to look at it. And then how those metrics are driven. You just pay attention to what's happening after those promotions happen and you should be good.

[00:43:10] Will Schreiber: Yeah. My main takeaway so far, I think our first, you got to build long term relationship and like be friendly with an influencer instead of just direct.

Transactional and building those two. You need to drive funnel versus drive direct sales. So because it's not intent based marketing, the goal from an influencer post is to get you on an email list, to get you to the site, to get you in a pixel tag, to get you as a follower. That's the real direct outcome of influencer marketing.

And then third user generated content performs so much better. Then anything static that asset alone, and then using that in the email list that people sign up for and in your story for the account that people have now followed is the real juice and then converting that cost that, lead to a customer over time.

Do you do feel like those are the. That's at least been my three main takeaways so far.

[00:44:11] Spencer Donaldson: No, that's a hundred percent accurate. And that's why we're just getting creative and how we can work with these influencers in a low cost way, which is why appealing with the charity aspect or coming up with content ideas for them is so important because you're going to be able to get a better deal with them than if you're just asking them to

[00:44:29] Will Schreiber: promote a product.


Lots of awesome questions here .

So if you could stick around for about 10 more minutes. There's a few more.

[00:44:36] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, I can take, yeah, I can take 10 more. Yeah. Okay.

[00:44:40] Will Schreiber: All right. For the small business, how do you suggest handling an influencer program? Does, should the business owner handle it? Do you recommend an agency? Is it worth hiring someone part time?

[00:44:53] Spencer Donaldson: For us, we always, like now as an agency, we do this for a lot of different clients. But as a business owner, a great way to do it is just to have someone at the entry level position in marketing, help you out with that. So someone who's maybe just out of college who can have that communication, who understands social media, it's really going to be easy for them to do it.

Now, as the business owner, you want to be engaged with them too. So if you're doing a creator board, be on those calls, because they want to know who the owner is. They want to feel like they have an interaction with the owner, but the initial setup can happen from someone outside of the ownership role.

[00:45:34] Will Schreiber: And question here that influencer marketing seems to have lost efficacy in the last six to 12 months compared to what I think were definite boom times for meal delivery of 21, 22. When everyone ordered online, like these e commerce graphs are insane of. We've all snapped back to the trend.

And so going into next year, how do you see influencer marketing changing evolving? In 2024.

[00:46:01] Spencer Donaldson: Well, I mean, I think when you say it's losing efficacy, I think there's a lot of noise in the market. So it's a competitive market. You need to make sure you're on top of all channels. So more of the good creators are on Tik TOK, so that's something to keep in mind.

So making sure that you're switching channels. Also, it's a lot easier for people to fake their following. And so keeping that in mind, there's just a lot of folks when we had the boom with influencers that went out and bought engagement, they went out and bought followers. So finding the right ones takes a little bit more effort.

And I think that's important, but I think creator marketing overall, if you're looking at all channels, we're seeing that do really well overall. So just keep that in mind. You're not just staying on Instagram. You're not just doing Instagram story posts anymore. You're getting creative in how you do this.

So, and if you do that, you're going to see a significant boost in your business.

[00:47:02] Will Schreiber: Is that, does that mean when you say that, does that mean you're also going over to TikTok now? Or does it mean you can't just post to the grid? Like it really, like, you should be experimenting with reels. You should be cross posting.

I know it's a new feature what strategies come to mind.

[00:47:19] Spencer Donaldson: If you're on Instagram, you should really only be doing reels. Because Instagram no, like Instagram knows they're competing with TikTok. So you just have to think in their terms of how they're doing things. They're going to promote reels because they want it to compete with TikTok.

And so they're going to push reels more than they're going to push anything else. So it's just not as easy, but yeah, reels are important. TikTok YouTube shorts is another decent platform to utilize. So just getting creative and trying different channels and, working, finding some tick tockers and just testing.

So think of this as a testing process. And if you do that, you're going to do well overall in general, some things aren't going to work. Not everything works. So it's important to remember that. How do you feel about Yelp ads? Yelp ads, honestly, that's something we never really engaged with.

Mainly, and I don't know if you've had this happen, but as a small business owner, like, the sales reps at Yelp are just ridiculous. They'll call you up constantly. So it was a big turn off. They're like hard selling salespeople for these local listing ads. So it was a huge turn off. So we never went forward with it.

So I don't have a ton of information.

[00:48:32] Will Schreiber: I have a few friends who have worked on that sales floor. that's the whole company. It's intense. They just cold call people all day. And I love the meme about Yelp. That's it's like the mafia, like they're going to win that SEO box and then call you and say wouldn't it be a shame if we stop linking to you unless you start paying us money.

it Doesn't feel good. Yeah, I know. Not at all. Yelp is the worst. Don't do it. Yeah. Thoughts on utilizing Pinterest for meal delivery?

[00:49:02] Spencer Donaldson: I honestly, we never saw success with it. For something like meal delivery, I don't, you could probably get creative, but most people who are on Pinterest are looking for recipes. So I don't see that being a good channel just from my perspective. If anyone knows different, they'll let me know because I'm curious to know if anyone is utilizing that successfully.

[00:49:24] Will Schreiber: I'll have to let you know if we see anyone. Okay, here's a more general question. Yeah, customer here works out of a cloud kitchen and it's online only. No, I presume no physical locations. How can they or how would you recommend them get or work on getting a diversity of local customers?

Without having a storefront or

[00:49:45] Spencer Donaldson: I mean, a great way that we did it is we did when we kick things off. We did a lot of lunch and learns at businesses. Now things have changed. Like, so I don't know. Not as many people are in the office, but I think a lot of companies are going back to the office.

So if you can figure out how to get in front of a group of people and do a lunch and learn, and even if you did it buffet style, if you're a meal prep company and you did a buffet, buffet style luncheon and you talk about what you do, you'll generate a lot of customers from that. That's a good way just to get face to face with the low unity.

But it's figuring out how to get in front of those groups. It could be a church lunch and learn, or it could be a real estate agent lunch and learn there's a lot of ways

[00:50:26] Will Schreiber: Yeah, sure. Here to give you a shout out just, I don't, again, I don't know if everyone could see the Q and a questions.

Just a local chamber gym presentation that sparks me. We see a lot of businesses really utilize gyms very successfully. So I don't know if it pertains to your business specifically based on your target customer, the kinds of meals you're making. But if you're targeting a specific kind of diet. Or if you're targeting a specific health goal aligning with the people who are helping similar clients achieve those goals is a really good idea.

So we see people partner with personal trainers and have that be really successful. We see people partner with nutritionists and that'd be really successful. People who are also helping their customers eat better and live a better life and finding those people in your community We see is really effective.

Last question here from the Q and a oh, another we do over 1000 meals to hospitals each week. That's really cool.

[00:51:26] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah, that's great. That's perfect.

[00:51:28] Will Schreiber: So last question here did you ever promote on LinkedIn would love to the contact us would love to offer box breakfast and lunch options to businesses.

[00:51:37] Spencer Donaldson: No, but we are seeing a lot more traction with our clients on LinkedIn in general. So I do think it is. A good model and it's not the posts that are working are always almost like a slide post. So it'll be, a bunch of different images, essentially of the product and then you could do, you could talk about what's in your meals.

And how that affects people's health and how it relates to their work. I think if you did something like that, it would work. And I think that's a great idea because no one's really using LinkedIn to market meals. So I would definitely know that route. I think that's a cool idea.

[00:52:15] Will Schreiber: Yeah.

Well, Spencer, thank you so much for joining us.

This was our first ever coffee chat this December. You're a very qualified helpful first person to learn from. To everyone listening in thank you so much. We love you guys, love what you're doing love supporting your local community so we just really hope that you take the coffee, enjoy it and you do not need to be a customer of ours to use the gift card or to sign up every month.

We'll be doing another one next month and another one the month after that. Feel free to keep signing up. You do not have to be a customer to do that. And to our customers if you'd like to chat more about this just email me, text me we'd love to hop on a call. We can do a debrief, chat more about what was discussed today.

And if anyone wants Spencer's information as mentioned, just let me know. And I will put you in touch. Hope everybody has an awesome December, a great holiday season. And good morning, having to have an awesome day.

[00:53:19] Spencer Donaldson: Thanks guys. A

great talking with you all. And we'll talk soon.

[00:53:22] Will Schreiber: Sounds good.

Thanks again, Spencer.

[00:53:25] Spencer Donaldson: Yeah. Take care.

Will see you.