Hello Fresh Copy

We were HelloFresh customers. The food is good enough. The recipes are simple enough. The logistics are easy enough. Is the copywriting convincing enough?

(Received August, 2022)

The good. This card has two goals: get our attention and convey ease. The ‘$155 OFF’ attracts attention and interest. The ‘3 surprise gifts’ is good too. Gifts are better than discounts because they are a CAC Trojan Horse, seed additional purchases, and delight the customer. Businesses undervalue gift giving. 

The bad. ‘Packed schedule?’ & ‘We’ve got your back.’ & ‘…more time around the table with fam this fall!’ Terrible copy. There’s no story. 

Persuasion is about ease. One form of ease is the story we tell ourselves. I’m a busy mom/dad and about to be busier because school is back/holidays are coming/ summer camps and vacations and need help to make food that is cheap/quick/tasty/easy. Help me tell myself this story. It’s like mad libs.

One idea:

Erin, back to school? We’ve got your supplies. With Quick & Easy Meals ready in ~20 minutes or less, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time eating your favorite foods with your favorite people. 

Or: 

Erin, back to school, back to the office, back to the store for more folders, then candy, then gifts. With Quick & Easy Meals ready in ~20 minutes or less, you can spend more time at home with the family than at the store getting their groceries. 

Or:

Erin, what’s for dinner tonight? Something Quick, Easy, and Healthy for the whole family? Remember how easy it was to have everything delivered, prepared, and ready to go? Come back to Hello Fresh and save $155.

Surprisingly there’s no indication that we were customers. People are customers for a reason. HelloFresh must find the JTBD and use that language for good copywriting.

The interesting. That QR code. Tools work best in the right conditions. Restaurant menus could be great for QR codes. It’s interesting here. Getting the app must be a point of friction, this may solve that. 

Good copywriting begins with curiosity. Businesses must talk to customers, identify their priorities, create prototypes, get feedback, and work out the kinks. Then they can use the customer’s words to present a solution. 

It’s hard to crique copywriting without knowing the goal. Maybe this works. Maybe the ‘$155’ is the most important thing. Maybe – but maybe not. 

Remember Rule #27:You can’t sell anybody anything, they must discover they want it.

How we decide

Our first boil, 2019

Moving to Florida in 2018 has been mostly positive. Y’all and ma’am are great and I use them each day. The weather is wonderful. We also make a boil.

A low-country boil (minus the pesky crawfish) is a holiday and weekend staple. Boil water with seasoning; add potatoes, corn, onions, sausage, shrimp, enjoy. The ratio of work to taste is very low. It’s a good deal.

But making it the first time was hard. We had friends over and I didn’t want to be the person who gave everyone food poisoning or served potatoes that tasted like dirt. The whole meal went great, if not a touch spicy, and each subsequent preparation has been slightly easier even for serving a crowd.

There’s a lot of other options we could do as well. We made a lot of chili when we lived in Ohio. We could order out, make sausage stuffed potatoes, or any number of things. But we don’t. We make a boil.

A boil is familiar. It’s easy. The opportunity cost is opaque. Will <other meal> be better? We don’t know. Let’s make a boil.

A lot of decisions are like this. Opportunity costs are hard to quantify.

During the late teens one bit of regular startup advice was that a product had to be 10x better than the existing option. While JTBD offers a slightly different approach, the idea is a good one. People do switch from one thing to another all the time but it’s often because the decision to do so is easy.

Making a boil in Ohio: hard.

Making a boil in Florida: easy.

Organizations then can consider how to dial the friction up or down. To keep serving people, make it easy for them to stay. To serve new people, make it easy for them to switch.

Cowen’s Chow Choices

One local topic during COVID has been motor homes. Some fellow dog walkers want one, some don’t. The obstacle, as often the case, is cost.

A few friends have them and universally they mention the deal they got. It was either a family friend, a distressed seller or a trade-up-buy-out-sale. For us, the math doesn’t work. Thirty-thousand dollars is a lot of nights at a Hampton Inn.

“Buying good things can’t be the secret to success in investing. It has to be the price you pay. It’s not what you buy, it’s what you pay. There’s no asset so good it can’t become overpriced.” – Howard Marks

Great rewards come where value diverges from price. This is the moneyball insight. This is the JTBD insight. This is Tyler Cowen’s Dining Guide insight too.

Where are the wrong metrics being used?

Consider the name of a restaurant suggests Cowen. Would you eat at an Ethiopian restaurant called EYO Sports Bar? Cowen commented: “When I heard that name I thought, this place must be great. When Americans want to eat Ethiopian food what kind of name are they looking for? The Red Sea? Queen of Sheba? Fine. But when it’s EYO Sports bar you know it’s really for Ethiopians.”

In general, better food will be at places with bad names.

Also avoid places on the beaten path, full of beautiful people, and with famous chefs. These are all metrics some people use to choose a restaurant but that don’t necessarily contribute to the quality of the food. It might be good food, but won’t be a good deal.

Instead, use the economic Cowen espouses. Like the name Rus-Uz, a place that serves Russian and Uzbekistan food (and caters!) in Arlington Virginia. Ask, “‘What is the appeal to the masses?’ In relative terms it’s the Russians, so of course that means the Uzbek dishes are better.”

One way to think about metrics is to consider anything that has been quantified, counted, or numbered. It’s easy to count units but hard to count quality.

Part of the reason personal productivity has been an internet subject for so long is that it’s hard to measure. How does someone measure their work? Ask anyone who creates content online and they’ll tell you that it’s the oddest posts that get shared the most. The best productivity advice might just be: don’t give up.

Like this idea? Read more here.