What’s the problem?
We have a problem here at Vegbox HQ. We don’t have enough income to plan reliably for the long term, whether on staffing, produce or supporting local initiatives, like Life After Hummus, into which we would like to invest any surplus profits. The Covid pandemic has made it abundantly clear that we need more of a safety net to enable us to be better prepared to weather future shocks.
Although we were fortunate enough to benefit from the initial lockdown, when our membership numbers increased to new heights, we have still not reached a stable level. Now we have transitioned into a post-lockdown world, we’ve been losing a lot of these members at an alarming rate, as people embrace their pre-pandemic lifestyles and start returning to the shops, not to mention the sudden exodus of people from London, as they realise they don’t want to be tied down to the Big Smoke any longer.
We need to firm up our membership to enable us to regularly make enough money to continue working as we are. It’s not all doom and gloom though, as this could also be viewed as an opportunity for us to reach more people. Our mission to promote and increase accessibility to local and organic veg is an important one of cultural transformation and the more members we have, the more effective we can be. Organic and localism are becoming increasingly part of the collective consciousness and over the last 10 years we have contributed towards that and helped people to access veg that upholds those values and practices. There is still so much potential for Vegbox to reach more of the community.
With that in mind we are looking to run a membership campaign over the next 2 months. Unfortunately, as mentioned we have limited cash, so that makes it very difficult for us to grow our membership, but…
What’s the solution?
We may not have much money but we do have an amazing and proactive member base – that’s you!
The People Powered Marketing Plan centres our membership as our source of power. We are relying on the collective strength of all of you to get us though these tough times. We are asking all of you to participate in some short activities every week, which will help us to build our membership back up.
There are 300+ wonderful, vibrant and supportive members signed up to our Vegbox cooperative, some of you attend our dinners and events, some help out at the packing yard and some complete our surveys. All of you participate in different ways and each way is unique and valuable to us. It helps us to continue to function, but also legitimises us as a community project, which the community want to contribute towards and see thrive. We believe that the work we do is valuable and it is empowering to see you rallying behind us. Thank you so much for what you bring and give to this project and community. We couldn’t do it without you!
Now we are calling on our you all to support us in a new way. We are relying on your power to help us to come out of this stronger and better than before.
What’s the plan?
Over the next two months, our goal is to increase our membership by 200, from 300 to 500. To do this we are asking every member (even better if you can get other members of your household involved) to participate in two actions each week. If everyone participates, we will be sure to make up the numbers in no time.
Since we are almost doubling our membership we urge everyone to take a mere half an hour out of their busy week to help us reach our target. It is just for 2 months, just 9 weeks, so please join us for this short surge and transition Vegbox into a new stable stage.
If you require any assistance please do not hesitate to reach out and we will try and support you.
This week’s two actions:
Action 1: Recommend us to a friend
If you find yourself with a friend discussing sustainability, healthy living or food then take the chance to tell them about our work and how much you love Kentish Town Vegbox.
Why not follow it up by sending them the link to our sign up page? https://vegbox.org.uk/sign-up/
Word of mouth is our favourite method of growth, as it encourages coming together, discussion and community building. As it happens, getting a recommendation from a friend is one of the best ways to get through to people. We are all more likely to take on the advice of someone near to us, who we trust and admire.
To help you with this task we have some suggestions…
Email a friend
If Vegbox isn’t coming up naturally during conversation you might find it easier to write an email to your friend explaining why you think they might like being a part of Kentish Town Vegbox. The more personal the more likely they are to listen, so try and make it specific to them.
Here you have the added benefit of being able to add pictures and the link to our website’s sign up page, if you fancy.
What points should you hit?
- Local produce
- The freshest veg
- Better than supermarkets
- Recipe cards
- Invested in the community
- Supporting local growing projects
- Cooperative + member engagement
Share a Family or Mega bag with a friend
Why not use this as an opportunity to form a strong and lasting bond between you and a neighbour, flat mate or friend? Rather than ask them if they want to join Vegbox as an individual, you could suggest that you upgrade your current bag and share with them. You could even collaborate on meals!
This is helpful for us because the bigger bags are economically more viable for us as the profit margins are less tight.
Give a friend one of our new Welcome Packs
If you don’t feel like you are up for verbally promoting Vegbox you can turn to our new Welcome Packs. They are beautiful and full of information about the Vegbox project and how great it is. So all you need to do is hand it over and the Welcome Pack will do the rest. (Reach out to us if you want a copy.)
Invite a friend over for a Vegbox dinner
What better way to demonstrate the amazing quality of our veg than to eat it? This will leave ample opportunity for Kentish Town Vegbox to come up in conversation naturally.
Action 2: Increase Social Media Reach
If you have social media accounts please share, comment, tag, save and like our posts and page as often as possible. Especially our new promotional post called “Why we love Kentish Town Vegbox”. If everyone helps with this action we can increase our reach from a few hundred to thousands.
Some of you may know that the algorithms on social media do NOT favour small independent organisations, such as our own. They prefer big brands, with high production value, hyperbolic clickbait titles and sexualised content. Unfortunately, our aubergine recipes just aren’t hot enough and don’t make the cut.
To help us perform better with the algorithm and reach a larger audience you can do five things:
The most effective way to help us reach a larger audience is to share our content. Sharing increases the visibility of our content without relying on the algorithm to show it to people. It can triple the reach of our content instantly.
These have slightly less effect than sharing, but they will help us to game the algorithm. On top of that, we value your contributions and genuinely want to hear what you have to say. We are a community and a cooperative, so please talk to us: tell us what you like and don’t like. We will listen and make changes.
If you share a picture of our veg, you packing at the yard, or cooking with the ingredients from your Vegbox, tag us! The tags will help people to find our page and hopefully lead to them joining as a member.
Likes and Saves
These are two ways to help that involve as little as a single click of a button. It may seem like a small insignificant gesture, but please like and save as many of our posts as possible – this has a real, tangible effect on our ability to reach customers.
Action 3: Flier Distribution
This week every member will receive one flier in their bag to give to someone. Fliers contain all the information you need and all you need to do is give it to someone and your work is done. If you would like more than 1 flier please let us know and we can make sure that you get some more.
Here are some idea for your flier:
As I mentioned before there is a lot of power in familial recommendations, so give your flier to someone you know well. On top of that, it is much more likely to be effective if you give it to someone who is genuinely interested in values that Vegbox upholds – localism, community building, sustainability, seasonality and organic farming.
Reuse, reduce, recycle
So I had this cunning idea to both save on paper and amplify the impact of a single flier. When you pass on your flier encourage them to pass the flier on when they have finished with it, rather than binning it. I am going to clipping a note to the fliers as well to remind everyone to pass it on.
The flier gives a great overview, but it does leave a lot up to the imagination. Your chosen recipient will undoubtedly have a lot of questions and the best way to keep them engaged will be to answer them there and then. As a member of Vegbox you will have a lot of valuable knowledge that you probably don’t even know that you hold, so don’t be afraid to try. If there are questions you can’t answer, defer them to our website or me (Caleb). They can contact me at email@example.com
Broaden our community
So far the tactic has been to play it safe and use what little resources to reach potential members who are more or less directly connected to our members. This means that it is unlikely that we are going to reach new communities and demographics. It is no easy feat to make inroads into a new community, but if you are feeling bold then you can give a flier to someone outside your most immediate circle and try and persuade them why Vegbox is for them.
Pin it up
Rather than giving it to someone, you could also stick it in your window, or on a local community notice board. If you don’t fancy giving it to any one, as a local business if you can put it in their window or notice board. Many people pass by and these can be quite effective at communicating to community members.
Join our flyering team
If you want to help us reach more people and communities, join our flyering team and hit the streets with us. Click here to join. The group is used solely to announce when and where we will be flyering, this will not be another group that is constantly going off in you pocket. They is no obligation to show up, but if you are interested and available send Caleb a private message to let him know that you are coming along.
Action 4: Becoming a community pick up point
Do you have a space on your property where you could store a few Vegboxes? Or where we could install a shed?
Our community pick up point network is key to attracting new members. Because of the unique way that our Vegbox works we can only reach people within walking distance of our pick up points. The more points on the map we have the more members we can reach.
Reach out to us if you think you might be able to be a pick up point, and don’t forget that the added benefit is that you will have your Vegbox delivered straight to your door. We also offer discounts to those who are interested in that.
Action 5: Share your story
We love hearing from our members, so if you want to share a nice story about you and your experience with Vegbox we would love to publish it. It might be about how you have been exposed to a new ingredient or recipe that you and your family really enjoy, or about some of the people you have met through volunteering at the packing yard. Any little story, no matter how small, is welcome.
You can either send the story to us and we can turn it into a media post, or if you prefer you can create it on your preferred social media platform and tag us in it. Some of you already do this when you receive a humongous parsnip, or when you cook with the vegetable that we send you, so please continue to engage with our page and link it to a nice story about yourself.
Action 6: Digital-flyer email
As mentioned in the update, attached to this email is a digital version of the Vegbox flyer. We are really excited to have our beautiful new flyer and we would like it to reach as many people as possible. When you send it please cc or bcc in firstname.lastname@example.org. This will help me to get a better idea of how many people are engaging with the actions.
As I am sure many of you are, we are haunted by the ghosts of all the trees that must be felled so that we can get the flyers printed. Although we have transitioned away from having printouts regularly in the veg bags, we haven’t yet found a good alternative to paper flyers. Help us to reduce the amount of flyers that we need to get printed by sharing this digital copy with your friends and neighbours. When sending it please remember to make the message as personal and thoughtful as possible to maximise the chances of success.
This may seem a bit too similar to previous actions, but the reason I am pushing this method so hard is that it is very powerful and I want to drive that point home.
Action 7: Review us online
I am sure, like me, when you are shopping around on the internet you often read the reviews to get a real feel of what is your best option. At the moment we really don’t have that many reviews online. I would like to see us double the amount of reviews over the next week. You can review us on Google and on Facebook. If you have time please try and write something honest and detailed. I know that when I am reading reviews it is the quality as well as the quantity of reviews that persuades me that this is the one for me.
Online searching is the most frequent way that new members find us and we want these potential members to see just how much our members love what we do. Online we have to compete with adverts from all of the big veg box schemes, so every little helps to differentiate ourselves from them.