Direct Mail Replaces Fb for Barbeque Vendor


Apple’s iOS 14 privateness change has upended promoting on Fb. Retailers accustomed to stellar ROI should now settle for modest or less-than-modest efficiency.

However not Lea Richards. She’s the founding father of Pig of the Month, an Ohio-based direct-to-consumer vendor of barbeque. She informed me, “With post-iOS 14 advertisements not working, we’re getting again into junk mail. We’ve discovered good outcomes, as much as 6-times return.”

Richards launched Pig of the Month in 2010. The corporate has grown. She has tremendously expanded its product line and now supplies logistics providers for different sellers.

She and I lately mentioned her journey. Our complete audio dialog is embedded under. The transcript is edited for readability and size.

Bandholz: Inform us about Pig of the Month.

Lea Richards: We do direct-to-consumer barbecue, shipped straight to your door.

We began with ribs. Now we do brisket, pulled pork, and corned beef. We have now 50 flavors of bacon and bacon jam. We additionally supply natural free-range meat — strip steaks, fillets, pork tenderloins, every kind of stuff.

My background is in finance, which I hated. I used to be on the lookout for a brand new alternative. I had moved again to my hometown of Dayton, Ohio. It was 2010. My dad has at all times been a rib lover. For Father’s Day, I ordered ribs by way of the web from a spot in Memphis.

The order got here, and it was simply okay. Not many individuals have been delivery meals on the web but. It was largely the large guys — Omaha Steaks, Harry & David. My dad informed me, “I believe there’s a chance right here.”

I didn’t have a greater thought. So I mentioned, “Certain, I’ll give it a go.”

I had no thought what I used to be entering into once I began over a decade in the past. I wouldn’t begin this enterprise now. It’s expensive and time-intensive.

Plus there are many authorities laws. They alter on a regular basis. It sucks.

Bandholz: Do you ship in frozen containers?

Richards: We use Styrofoam, which has sustainability points. So we’re making an attempt to get away from it. However we nonetheless use dry ice to maintain the contents at a protected temperature.

Bandholz: What’s your provide chain?

Richards: We custom-fabricated an enormous smoker with a rotisserie that grills and smokes concurrently. We do all the pieces right here in our warehouse, after which we ship it from the again dock.

We strive to not retailer our meat for greater than 30 days. The freezer area turns into a difficulty. Freezers are costly to run. We preserve about two weeks of inventory.

Sustainability, sourcing, and high quality are vital to us. At first, I required all the pieces to be natural, free-range, and humanely raised. I went to the farms the place we have been sourcing to see their practices. I requested them, “Are you treating the animals nicely? Have they got clear meals, clear water, and area to stroll?”

I’ve at all times believed in high quality meals over amount.

Bandholz: How does that scale?

Richards: It’s onerous. We’ve had so as to add farmers as a result of lots of them aren’t trying to increase. We max out their provide. We’re making an attempt to keep away from turning to large-scale suppliers. Fortunately, fairly a couple of farmers have an interest within the sustainably raised meat enterprise.

Bandholz: How do you develop your viewers?

Richards: We received fortunate at first. I didn’t have any cash. I banked on getting good press. We managed to seem on Good Morning America, the Immediately present, and Rachael Ray. It was a bunch of huge press straight away.

I saved these e-mail addresses. I used to be huge on e-mail advertising and marketing from the beginning. That’s at all times been our principal driver. SMS is an enormous piece now. With post-iOS 14 advertisements not working, we’re getting again into junk mail.

We’ve discovered good outcomes with junk mail, as much as 6-times return. We’re utilizing it primarily for acquisition, working with three way partnership companions, cross-promoting to one another’s buyer lists. We use a junk mail service that automates the fabric sending course of. Our companions are corporations that supply complementary merchandise, equivalent to grilling and patio provides and cigar and wine corporations. They’ve the identical goal buyer however don’t compete with us.

We’ve examined a postcard, a tri-fold, and a small booklet. Segmentation is essential. It’s trial and error and fixed iterations. We do many small assessments — 500 to 1,000 folks. We don’t do any massive mailings till we’ve gotten to a selected fee of return from one of many assessments.

The fee ranges from 35 to 65 cents every, together with postage and relying on the burden.

The segmentation technique is primarily by ZIP code. We’ve sometimes focused prospects by the area as a result of grilling season varies based mostly on climate. Holidays are huge for us. The 4 to 6 weeks earlier than Christmas are huge, as are Valentine’s Day, the Tremendous Bowl, and Father’s Day.

Bandholz: What are the calls-to-action on these mailers?

Richards: Free objects with a purchase order have been profitable. We’ve accomplished free bottles of sauce, free bacon caramels, and free bacon jam with any buy over $25. Share-off promotions have been an entire flop. Individuals are bombarded with these affords. Greenback quantities often do nicely, equivalent to $20 off the primary order or retailer credit score.

Bandholz: Have you ever thought-about serving to different retailers ship perishable items?

Richards: Sure. We’ll do each — promote to our prospects and assist different retailers. Apparently, delivery for others occurred organically. A buyer did a bacon-of-the-month membership. He didn’t make his personal merchandise and requested us if we may personal label and ship for them. It grew. Now we ship a bunch of their merchandise. That led to extra companies coming to us by phrase of mouth.

It wasn’t one thing I deliberate, however there are big alternatives in logistics, warehousing, and delivery. People who wish to begin a enterprise ought to contemplate logistics.

Bandholz: The place can folks discover you, assist you, purchase some meat?

Richards: Verify us out at We’re additionally on Instagram. I’m on LinkedIn.


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