“It all started when one woman in a dorm room had the seed of an idea, which she planted and tended, and which over time, grew to feed the world. It took hard work and determination, but she did it. You can too.”
The need for FEED
Founded by Lauren Bush, FEED Projects (www.feedprojects.com) is a social business that sells high-quality, fashionable products that literally help to feed the world. FEED donates a specific amount of money from every sold product to the UNICEF World Food Program, an organisation which helps to fight hunger.
For each Ethically Creative branded FEED bag I purchased, 10 school meals were provided to children in impoverished countries. You’ll read more about my personal journey with FEED later, but for now, enjoy reading why FEED’s website flourishes, and how your website can too.
12 tips from the FEED website
1. About page: Share your personal story
No matter how many competitors you have, there is only one you.
And you are amazing.
You are a socially responsible person running a business that is changing the world. Your contribution may seem small but there is no small way of changing the world. If you run an ethical business, by virtue of simply existing, your impact is enormous. That’s why your story needs to be shared and celebrated on your website, particularly on your About page. When people visit your About page they want to learn about you, the person behind the pixels.
On FEED’s About page, you’ll see that Lauren has written in third person using sentences like, “Lauren founded FEED in 2007”. This is an option for you too, or if you prefer, you can write in first person: “My love of animals inspired me to create a cruelty-free line of cosmetics”.
No matter how you approach the writing, just remember to share your story. It will sell your brand far more than generic sales statements ever will.
2. Ensure your website is a lead-generation tool by encouraging newsletter sign ups
Only a small percentage of people who visit your website will buy something immediately, however, many more may purchase/contact you down the track if you keep in touch with them via a newsletter or social media updates.
It’s important to view your website as a place to generate leads rather than a place to just make instant sales. In fact, without a newsletter lead-generation tool, you could lose thousands of potential buyers over the life of your business. So the goal is to encourage people to leave their email address before clicking away from your site.
FEED have come up with an excellent strategy. The very first image you see when you visit their site includes an incentive to sign up to their newsletter. You receive 10% off your first purchase if you subscribe.
In your case, you don’t need an instant sign up message, you could have a simple, permanent sign up box to the right of each page. Also, rather than offering a discount on products and services, you could offer a free eBook or interesting article instead. Whatever you offer, it needs to be irresistible so that people feel compelled to sign up before leaving.
A note on social media. Although it’s important to also encourage people to connect with you via social media channels, the priority is getting newsletter sign ups. This is because you have total control over your newsletter, but you don’t have any control over social media platforms. For example, if you build an enormous following on Facebook, and one day Facebook no longer exists or substantially changes their rules, you could instantly lose your entire community. It’s not a risk worth taking.
3. Stay in touch with your community
Once someone has signed up to your newsletter they have become a member of your community. Nurture your community by staying in touch at least once a month. Not only does regular contact create a strong connection, it also promotes Top of Mind Awareness. Top of Mind Awareness is the process of keeping your brand at the forefront of people’s thoughts, so that they’ll think of your business when they’re ready to make a purchase.
4. Have an effective website tagline
Absolutely every website and brand must have a tagline. Without a tagline you could literally lose thousands of customers. You only have a few precious seconds to grab people’s attention and inform them about what you offer – convey this information with an effective tagline.
FEED’S tagline is Creating good products that help feed the world. It’s descriptive and direct, which means the minute you visit their site, you’re in no doubt as to what they offer.
5. Have clear navigation
Your website visitors want to find information in a quick and easy manner. One way to improve useability is to have clear navigation in the form of a straightforward, uncluttered menu bar; which contains descriptive menu tabs.
At Ethically Creative, we suggest no more than 7 menu tabs. Any more than that and the menu bar can become confusing and aesthetically unappealing.
FEED have a simple, easy-to-use top menu bar. They’ve even further simplified it by placing a divider between the product tabs and business information tabs. In fact, the business information is even in another colour! If you want to buy a bag from their site, you can get there in one quick click. If you want to find out about their mission, again, one quick click.
6. Include excellent photography
Quality photographs will increase the chances of people buying your products because they’ll have an accurate idea of what you’re selling. Quality photos will also contribute to the professional look and feel of your website.
Although FEED have used a professional photographer (which is ideal), you can still achieve professional results with a good camera. In fact many mobile devices take high-quality photographs these days.
FEED also allows you to zoom in on any area of a photograph to get a closer view, which is helpful if you’d like to see the workmanship.
7. Include useful product descriptions
Always remember to provide useful details about your products so visitors can make informed purchasing decisions.
In FEED’s case, they sometimes include a story behind a particular product, as they’ve done below with the original FEED bag.
8. Don’t be shy. Be clear about your impact.
If you sell products or services that directly make an impact, then be clear about this impact. Inform people of how their purchase will make a difference.
9. Be specific about how you give back
Unfortunately, some businesses make token or misleading offerings related to their social responsibility efforts, which creates consumer mistrust. To allay any fears, explain how you give back on your FAQ page.
10. Ensure the tone of your copy is friendly
FEED personalise their copy by referring to customers and potential customers as “friends”. They also welcome back returning customers with a personalised message: “It’s great to see you back here. Thank you for continuing to make your purchase count”.
People readily connect with friendly copy, but they feel turned off by overly formal or bossy copy. So always ensure the tone of your copy is warm and welcoming.
11. Include Social Proof
In the psychology of persuasion, the phrase social proof refers to how individuals are guided by the actions of others. For example, if you see a long line of customers outside a gelato shop, you automatically think the gelato must taste great, and you maybe even join the queue. That’s the power of social proof.
You can harness social proof on your website by including testimonials, case studies and details of your impact.
12. Be unique
Although there are a lot of rules related to websites, you can still be unique and personal while following those rules.
For example, FEED know it’s important to put the shopping cart symbol in the top right-hand side of their website because that’s where customers will look for it, but, they’ve personalised the symbol with an image of their own bag. Perhaps you can personalise your site in small but interesting ways too?
Enjoyed these tips?
I hope you’ve enjoyed picking up practical website tips in this article while learning a bit about FEED in the process!
FEED is an established, well-known business now, but it all started when one woman in a dorm room had the seed of an idea, which she planted and tended, and which over time, grew to feed the world. It took hard work and determination, but she did it. You can too. At Ethically Creative, we are here to support you in any way we can.
If you’re interested, I outline my own journey with FEED below. If this is where we part ways for today, please visit our blog again soon for more useful advice.
My journey with FEED
(By Shona) I read the book Start Something that Matters by the owner of Tom’s Shoes, Blake Mycoskie, who mentioned Lauren Bush and FEED. Naturally, when it came to putting together gift-bags for my own Ethically Creative clients, I remembered FEED and thought they would be perfect.
I visited the FEED website and instantly fell in love!
The quality of the products and the ethos behind FEED was incredible. FEED was exactly the type of supplier I wanted to partner with. I loved that by doing something as simple as buying a bag I could feed 10 or more children in impoverished countries. Why wouldn’t I choose FEED for Ethically Creative branded bags?
I worked with FEED’s Vice President of Operations, Katy, who went above and beyond for me. Although we are on two opposite sides of the world, her friendly messages were in my inbox every morning. Not only that, she was genuinely excited for me. She answered every question I had (and there were many!) She even took the time to take photos of other bags so I could compare the printing quality for my logo. Katy worked closely with her printer who exceptionally matched my logo colours. I loved working with her and can’t wait to do so again.
When the bags arrived I was astounded.
The craftsmanship is better than any other bag I’ve seen. The material is thick, heavy and durable. The stitching is strong, thick and aplenty. The handles are wide and sewn sturdily into the fabric. I have complete faith these bags will carry even the heaviest and most ambitious hopes and dreams.
It’s all recyclable too of course, and the FEED stamp on the inside pocket is a constant reminder of how this bag has helped change the world.
I’m proud that I’ve partnered with FEED, and I’m incredibly proud to give these bags to my clients. FEED bags are not necessarily an item to place gifts inside (though I do!); the bag is a gift in itself! I know my wonderful, valued clients will love these bags as much as I do.