Subscribe on your favorite listening app!

JD:

Hello, and welcome back to eCommerce in the Trenches. Today I am excited to bring to you Jeff Rasmussen from gfjules.com, which is a super cool site that’s all about gluten free living. Welcome, Jeff.

Jeff Rasmussen:

Thanks JD, it’s good to be here.

JD:

Awesome. Jeff, if you were to look out your door, right now, what would you see and where are you in the country?

Jeff Rasmussen:

I live outside of Baltimore, Maryland, not far from the airport, so if you’ve ever been in, or through, BWI Airport, about 15 minutes from here. Little bucolic superb called Catonsville. It’s a really great location. I’m 15 minutes from downtown Baltimore, 45 minutes from Washington D.C., three hours, on a train, to New York and an hour from the mountains. It’s a really great place to live.

JD:

Wonderful. Can you see water or is there snow on the ground? What would you see?

Jeff Rasmussen:

They’re calling for seven to 10 inches today. I think they just canceled school. Haven’t had much this winter, but, no, I would rather be looking out at water, or at the Rockies, or at Mount St. Helens, or anything, but it’s just a pretty typical suburb in that regard.

JD:

Nice, very cool. Well, it helps me get a feel for where you’re at and stuff. Before we get into how GF Jules came about, gluten free awareness, gluten free living, is a big part of my family’s life. My wife was diagnosed being gluten intolerant, actually, about 15 years ago. When our oldest son was one, she just started feeling really crummy and this was back before gluten free was a big deal.

Jeff Rasmussen:

That’s the dark ages, they call it.

JD:

Yeah, the dark ages, exactly. Nobody talked about it. It wasn’t an option on the menu, et cetera. She got so sick that I actually … We went to our local doc and he had some kidney tests done and some internal gastro stuff done. We weren’t getting any information, any positive feedback, or any feedback, at all, to solve the problem. And I just got frustrated. It was taking for ever, so we went to Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, which is a pretty good jaunt for us. It’s 13-14 hours from Colorado and they ran her through a myriad of tests. Finally, due to a simple blood test, and said, “She’s gluten intolerant and this is what you need to do.” It really changed her life. She was super sick, so I’m connected to gluten free and what you guys are all about.
By the way, Amy, my wife is super excited to try out GF Jules. Anyway, I’m glad to have you on.

Jeff Rasmussen:

We’ll be excited to get some products into her hands. It’s interesting, I joke it was the dark ages, but Jules, the name of the company and my wife, was diagnosed 19 years ago. The average, at that point, was 10 years of symptoms before diagnosis and shockingly, I mean, everybody’s heard about gluten free. It’s the butt of jokes. They’re all over the grocery stores now, but in the medical world, I think the average diagnosis still takes eight to nine years, if you can believe that.

There’s still so many doctors out there that don’t think of that first. Well, it should be thought of early, maybe not first, but there are such a long symptom of list of symptoms and it’s a shame that people have to go as long as they do, in this day and age, with the testing. Which isn’t foolproof, but still, we still have a long way to go. But that provides a lot of opportunities, which we’ll talk about, probably, in a little bit. But it’s still the wild west in the medical community. They just don’t think of it first.
But your wife will probably agree, and I know Jules does, and most of the people we meet that it’s a blessing to get a diagnosis, especially if it takes that long. But to know what’s wrong, we’ve all taken our car to the mechanic and it won’t act up for the mechanic, so when you finally get a diagnosis and your symptoms finally start abetting just because you’re eliminating some food is pretty pivotal in the positive category of health.

Celiac disease is the only autoimmune disease that has a cure. That’s another blessing, through people that say, “I can’t drink beer and eat pizza anymore.” But there’s a cure for your disease and it will add years back to your life, if you just cut out one food. I feel for your wife and good for you for taking matters into your own hand and getting some good diagnosis.

JD:

Well, and thank you. Not to be a Mayo Clinic spokesperson here, but one of the cool things about their process is they really share information. Because it was the dark ages, I really believe that if we hadn’t gone to Mayo, we would have gone from specialist, to specialist, to specialist. Because they just weren’t looking for it. They were not looking for … They were treating the symptoms, they weren’t looking for something that was coming from the gut. That was throwing your whole body out of whack.
We were fortunate that we were able to do that, but enough about us. Let’s talk about GF Jules. How did you guys comes about? I know Jules was diagnosed 19 years ago, but how did it become the company that it is today?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Well, she started a company about 11 years and it had another name. Jules and I met 10 years ago in church. She was finishing up a book and I heard her talking to our pastor about a deadline, and I’m a writer, marketing writer, and that perked my ears up. In addition to her being the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met in my life. We ended up helping … I ended up helping her with her book and then she was just starting to get into selling flour mixes in a big way and formed a company. But with two small kids at home, at the time, she needed some help and called in a couple of partners that turned out to be ne’er-do-wells. I know that rough language for your podcast, but they were ne’er-do-wells and locked us out of the business about four years ago.

Anyway, so we had to reform. We had a good thing going. We were in a great sales territory, had lots of new customers, and we had to literally start from scratch. So we looked each other in the eye and said, “Is this worth money we don’t even have, to control our own destiny, and to call the shots?” They didn’t think that she needed to concern herself much more than with recipes and that’s so wrong, because she’s the best asset the company has and one of the brightest lights in the gluten free community.

We said, “Let’s do it,” and we started literally from scratch and built it the way we wanted to build it. Here we are, we’re still going, still growing, so I think that’s a good sign.

JD:

Absolutely, absolutely. How do you attract customers, right now? How are you getting on somebody’s radar that is exploring gluten free options?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Well, we are blessed with prodigious site visitor numbers based on the fact that my wife is a tireless content creator. She’s assistant editor of Gluten Free and More Magazine. She speaks all over the country. She is an influential food blogger for the natural food products industry. We have thousands of pages of content, 400 plus recipes. Part of what our ex-partners had a problem with was her spending so much time on this content creation, because this was way back when social media was just coming around. She did it because she needed to do it. She needed to tell people how to take care of themselves, how to read labels, how to convert into a gluten free life, how to eat out, how to date, how to go to a potluck supper.

They didn’t want to do that. They just wanted to have sales and make more products. Because of what she’s done, since that first blog post on … Geez, it was September, we were in Boston at the Natural Food Products Expo East and I remember she did it from the hotel room. She posted her first blog, but now you can’t really Google much, in terms of gluten free, and not stumble over Jules Shepard or GF Jules. So we’re blessed with that and it just gets better and better. We spend a lot of time and effort doing SEO optimization of those posts and of all the recipes. Doing our homework on the site, itself, and it ranks pretty highly, even compared to some of our competitors that have funding and spend millions of dollars on advertising. We rank very, very highly because of the quality of the information that Jules puts out, and updates, and year after year it just gets better.
We have a lot of great organic traffic and have relied on that, especially in the lean restart up years where we didn’t have any money to put into paid advertising. We really depended on that.

JD:

It’s really interesting that you really focus on SEO and organic traffic, because Amy and I, my wife, and our business, we were the polar opposite. In some ways it’s bit us in the butt. It’s funny, we’re really looking at building up our SEO efforts, even though we did it, starting, probably, in 2015, trying to implement best practices, and keywords, and all that kind of stuff. But we just haven’t been a major blogging entity or, my wife, she’s not gifted at writing, necessarily. She’s a good writer, but she doesn’t see herself as a writer, really.

I can absolutely learn a lot from you. We really focused on paid traffic channels. It’s interesting, I mean, I talked to a lot of eCommerce business owners and it seems like that really do have a bent, or a leaning, or a gifting in one or the other. It’s very rare that you find … Because we’re all small shops, I mean, typically, even if you’re doing five, six, $7 million a year, you’ve got a small core team that drives strategy. If you have giftings, or experience, in paid traffic, that’s usually the way you go and if you have it in SEO, and organic, traffic that seems like where it’s a total 80-20. I mean, you apply the majority of your effort in one direction and that’s usually what you get.

I have a lot to learn from you guys. I want to talk briefly about your background, because when I did a little bit of digging, you’re no slouch when it comes to writing either. You actually worked with Ogilvy and Mather back in ’88. Is that right?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Back in the day, yeah. I’ve been a career-long advertising copywriter for over 30 years. Unlike some of the people, I was on that cutoff age-wise when the digital world reared its head in social media and a lot of my contemporaries didn’t stay up with that and I did. Because I’ve been freelance for most of my career, and you do what your clients need. If they need websites built, and they need email campaigns, and paper click, and guest blogging, and ghost writing, then you do what you got to do. So I’ve been doing that all along. It really is a great marrying of Jules’ passion, as a member, and a leader of the gluten free and celiac community. And her love of baking and recipe development.

We both do food photography, but then I do most of the marketing and it’s great. You spend a whole career looking for meaning, and I’ve had a couple of meaningful jobs, but nothing as meaningful as this. I still tell people we pop out of bed in the morning, because we love what we do. I also do customer service, so I get to talk to these dear little old ladies who are afraid of their computers, or who are still bewildered about the diagnosis. I write the emails and Jules’ blogs and we love what we do. We love the voice of being helpful, and approachable, and sometimes funny and offbeat and irreverent, but totally serious when there’s a health issue.

It’s been a great focusing of everything I’ve done from a creative and conceptual down to the nitty-gritty and a data analytical standpoint. Because as a freelancer, you also do a lot of the data and a lot of the strategy sessions for the clients. So it has really been a real blessing to bring our two skillsets together.

JD:

That’s fantastic. When I was looking at your portfolio, I saw an anti-litter campaign, the Keep America Beautiful. You did the writing on that, I’m assuming, yes?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Yeah, that’s my favorite campaign I’ve ever done.

JD:

I love it. Breaking up on Valentine’s Day, litteringiswrongtoo.org; shaving your cat, litteringiswrongtoo.org. I love this. Proposing on a blind date with the wedding ring in the bottom of the champagne glass, I just … It’s so good. It’s punchy, captivating, interruption, it interrupts you.

Jeff Rasmussen:

That was fun. We actually pitched that against Ogilvy New York. Just my long-time art director partner, and I, working through a PR agency, pitched that and we beat-out Ogilvy, which we weren’t supposed to have done. They, unfortunately, didn’t fund the campaign like they should have, because that thing should still be running. I mean, that’s an endless … It’s been ripped off by major advertisers and they haven’t wanted to cease and desist them, but it was great. It was great fun to do. We got some great radio out of it and little TV … Jules stars in one of the videos we did of the guy operating on the wrong leg, just a lot of fun.

JD:

That’s great. Networking at funerals, that’s a good one. That’s a good one.

Jeff Rasmussen:

That’s my favorite.

JD:

That’s good. Great. Recently, you … Revenue Conduit and Unific, which is the sponsor of this podcast, so this is a shameless plug a little bit. But they did an 80-20 RFM analysis, a report, for GF Jules and I’d like to talk a little bit about … A little bit of insight, maybe, that you may have gotten that either confirmed something that you knew or actually was insightful, just the data. For those of you who don’t know, obviously, 80-20 is the Pareto Principle and it basically … Most of you are familiar with that, but basically it says that 20% of your efforts will generate 80% of your results. RFM states for Recency, how recently a customer has purchased or engaged with you, whatever you’re measuring, frequency and monetary. Frequency is how many times they’ve purchased and then monetary, obviously, is how much money they’ve spent with you.

It’s just a great lens to be able to look at the data of your actual purchasers. Jeff, just quickly, is there anything? I know it’s been pretty recent that you had this done, so you haven’t been able to take a lot of action on the data, but can you share something about that data, about that report, that might be beneficial for our listeners?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Yeah, I can. I’ve been a Revenue Conduit customer for two years and I came up through all sides of advertising and one of them was direct marketing, direct mail, back in the day. What was always intriguing about direct mail, to me, again, this is 20 years ago, but it was awesome because you could put a mail package in the mail and just within a couple of months, you could know how it was working.

JD:

Right. A couple of months, that was like lightning.

Jeff Rasmussen:

Versus a half million dollars spot for American Express that runs on the Olympics. I’m like, “Okay, you don’t know how that worked.” Fast forward to digital marketing and it’s just the data, obviously, and we’ve all heard that and we will continue hearing it, but the data is king. I’ve lost myself for extended periods of times just looking at and mixing and matching the data that Revenue Conduit and HubSpot, which is the CRM we used, makes available. As a way of trying to find patterns, find reasons, find casualties in the data with the new customers, the people that come in and spend $100 on their first order, which is pretty darn good for packaged goods that don’t cost that much.

And the people that kick our tires, literally, and open every email and are in the Facebook group and they don’t make their first purchase until the third year. It’s just all over the map. So the 80-20 was a really great way to quantify that and to validate a lot of stuff that I had a good hunch about. But looking at the top 20% of customers accounting for only, in my case, 60% of sales instead of 80. Justin was great in walking me through that. He’s the guy that did the 80-20 and just saying that, that’s not necessarily good or bad. I feel like it’s probably a little better that we don’t have 80% of our sales tied up in just 20% of our people.

That made us feel good that we’re doing some good things, in terms of repeat purchase rate. And that’s where the RFM comes in, as well. I’ll admit, I didn’t probably give enough attention to the RFM metrics within Revenue Conduit, but maybe I’ll throw a little back on them and maybe they didn’t tell me how important it was, or what I could be learning in the early days when I was a new customer, but I had 720 things going, as well.

It’s good to know that those things are being tracked and that you can pull reports like this, and see, and pick a line and say, “I want to move this number over the next six months. I want, a year from now, I want this to be 30% better.” And knowing what that will equate to on your bottom line, and that’s a great way for somebody to say, “Is this going to be worth my time?” We’re all small business owners, like you said, and we all do a lot of things. If you can move something, and increase it 10%, and that’s going to be worth 100 grand, that might be worth your time.

JD:

Absolutely.

Jeff Rasmussen:

It’s been great to see that in a couple of screenshots, where the effort should be made and what the outcome might be.

JD:

Well, it will be interesting, one of the things I think about is, obviously, you guys are kicking tail when it comes to SEO and organic traffic. It will be fun for you to pull out some of your best customers, maybe your 5% or your 10% of your best customers, and then create some lookalike audiences on some pay channels, Facebook or whatever, or Pinterest might be a great channel for you, I don’t know. And be able to actually go after those people who are predisposed to spending the most amount of money with you and see if Facebook can identify people just like them. It would be like a shortcut for you guys to just gleaning some really high converting, high lifetime value, customers out of your existing data.

Jeff Rasmussen:

Well, and you’re exactly right, and I’ve already done that. That was one of the first things I did after I hung up, was pull out that top 20% and whip it over to Facebook. I don’t know how many of the listeners have done it, probably, I’m the last to the party, but it’s been interesting to me to see how long it has taken Facebook to “learn” what that audience is and to start firing up numbers. Because it was a couple, three or four, days before they even gave reach and impression numbers for that lookalike audience.

JD:

Interesting.

Jeff Rasmussen:

It will be interesting to watch and to monitor the results. I’m totally excited about it because even with our healthy growth that we’ve enjoyed every year, you still would like to be more efficient in your efforts and concentrate your meager ad dollars and your precious time to the groups that are going to be most advantageous. So we’re very excited about that part.

JD:

Absolutely.

Jeff Rasmussen:

It will be worth every penny to even move half a percentage on your best 20% lookalike audience, would obviously justify the cost of an 80-20 many times over. Again, I’m excited.

JD:

Absolutely, absolutely, that’s great. You’ve done a great job attracting customers the last four years with all of the blogging efforts and everything. Once somebody gets to the site, what are you doing that you think is really working well, when it comes to converting them? To getting them from somebody who’s engaging with the content, with the articles, with the valuable information, to actually getting them over to your store. Because on your … I would assume, and maybe correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like your funnel, the top of your funnel, would be to get them to engage on the content side of things. Is that correct?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Well, it is. We have a dichotomy in our content. We have so many recipes and that is, by far, the single most searched for gluten free content. A lot of people pop onto our page and I think I wait 20, or 25, seconds and we have a quick little popup that says, “Get a free recipe every day via email and just leave your email address.” Again, we’re blessed to get six, seven, 800 of those a month, just by little things on the site.

Then within specific content, like when your wife was diagnosed, she probably went on … Well, maybe not online 15 years ago, but people who are diagnosed, they go online, they have it, how do I go gluten free? What the heck is gluten? There are some obvious indicators of search results that land people on content that we have written and structured our site accordingly. It’s not a blog, those are pages that are indexed differently than just blog posts on how to go gluten free, 18 bread baking tips, is alcohol gluten free? There’s just … I mean, my wife is just tireless in the content she creates.

But based on the content, then they’re sending us signals about where they are in their journey. So if they’re looking for a gluten free flour substitute for Belgian waffles, that’s one thing, but if you’re looking into, how do I go gluten free, is beer gluten free? That tells us things about where they are, then we popup little offers within the context of the site that offers a free ebook, a free, How to Go Gluten Free ebook. That then starts a workflow through HubSpot that we can then walk them along and gauge where they are and how we can be of service. Then make them offers along the way.

Our best customer is one that diagnosed and doesn’t waste all of their time buying the crap that you can buy at a grocery store that just tastes like [gak 00:25:58]. Our product really is superior in every way. It’s been voted number one by the gluten free community three years in a row. And it’s not in stores because we can’t compete with rice flour from some of the big brands. So we try to grab those people earlier in their journey and let them know there is a difference. We have a saying, I think it’s even on the site, “Playground sand is gluten free, but you wouldn’t want to make a cake with it.”

JD:

That’s awesome.

Jeff Rasmussen:

It’s just depending on where they are in the journey and then on the other side of that coin, we were running some Facebook ads the other day, it was coming up to Passover and some comments on the site were from these cagey veterans. You can tell they’ve been around the gluten free block and all they wanted to talk about was how expensive this is, “It’s so expensive, I would never try that.” Then you don’t care enough to try, or you don’t care what you feed your guests, or your kids.

We take those things and we customize the workflows and the journey through the top of the funnel and down into the funnel. We have a very successful sampling program. We have $7.50 sample, which includes the shipping and we lose a $1.20 on it. I mean, we just do, but we convert 52% of those people into paying customers, because that’s how good our product is. So I don’t mind losing a buck a sample, when I know that they’re going to make six muffins that are going to bring tears to their eyes. People send us pictures, they write us, they call us, I mean, it’s like, “Oh my God.”

Converting those people and lowering that price point on that first purchase, especially if some of them have been burned. I bet, 75% of the people we deal with, would admit they wasted money on inferior products. Because they were convenient, because they were name brand, or whatever. That’s why we, literally, lose money to get our product into their hand and then they know, as soon as they bite into that first muffin, they realize, okay, I’m done looking. I’ve just found a flour.

It’s probably a roundabout answer, but there are lots of, obviously, personas that enter our site and we try to intercept them based on content where they land and how they interact with our site. Obviously, there are lots of other things that we can poll from people who visit the product page for the flour, but don’t buy. And then we have workflows for those people, as well. People that only buy mixes and never buy flour. That says a lot about them, they don’t bake from scratch. So we target them accordingly.

JD:

Couple things, one, Joe Polish, I don’t know if you’ve heard of him, but he has a podcast called I Love Marketing. He’s a direct response guy. I was just listening to him recently and one of the things that he said is, it’s important to attract your ideal customer, but it’s equally as important to repel those that aren’t a good fit. We’ve got a fairly significant Facebook fan page, as well. It’s just amazing, isn’t it, the people who have opinions about things? Sometimes I like to just say, “You know what? Bless you on your day, but we’re not a good fit. We don’t see the world the same way and that’s okay.”

If people don’t want to invest in having a great high-quality product that’s really good for them, then they’re not a good fit. They go eat rich flour. And I’ve had it and it sticks. I don’t like it. I think I’ve tried every bad gluten free, especially, brownies. That’s the toughest one. My wife has tried and I’m just like, “I want the Hershey’s, or the Ghirardelli, or whatever it is. The one that you used to make, that’s the one I want.”

Jeff Rasmussen:

What’s interesting about what we do is that we’re not just selling a baseball cap that you either like or you don’t or it fits. We’re selling ingredients and recipes and support. If you’re a bad baker, you can take our flour, which has, literally, 400 five-star reviews on our site, and if you make the recipe wrong, or you just think you can use margarine instead of butter, and then you want to complain and give us a one-star rating and blow us up on social media. We tiptoe around that because it’s like, “I hear you. I don’t doubt you had a bad experience, it happens, but if you’re willing to walk through it with us,” that, to us, is an opportunity to provide amazing customer service.

People are largely amazed because Jules, herself, will get on the phone and walk you through what the heck happened to your biscuits. Oh, you twisted the cup when you cut them. Well, that compresses the cell structure and that prevents them from rising. That’s why they look like hockey … I mean, it’s like something simple like that. It’s interesting for us because it really presents an opportunity, but sometimes, like you said, you get somebody that just wants to be an ass and tell you that your cornbread is the worst cornbread in the history of the world. It’s like, “Really? Because we have 200 reviews that say it’s … ” Yeah, you’re right and sometimes you’ve just got to let them go. Sometimes I write real long copy emails and then just delete them, just to get it out of my system.

JD:

I understand. I understand. Yeah, obviously, somebody urinated in your Cheerios this morning and you are having a really, really bad day. Then you’re like, delete, delete, delete. You’re using HubSpot as your CRM, correct?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Yes.

JD:

Then WordPress and Woo Commerce is your main platform. Is that correct?

Jeff Rasmussen:

No, we were Woo Commerce for the first, God, two and a half years, or something like that. WordPress, we don’t have any problems with WordPress, as a content platform. I didn’t have much good to say about Woo Commerce. I called it Whoa Commerce. We migrated to Shopify a year and a half ago. It’s much better from an everyday standpoint. Making changes to your site doesn’t take 40 seconds for the page to refresh. It’s got some shortcoming, especially in the couponing area. Woo Commerce had great coupons, very creative kinds of coupons, like scaled, tiered, kind of discounting and stuff. The coupons on Shopify are abysmal, but we’re on Shopify now and just, by-in-large, love it.

JD:

Nice. The content pages are on WordPress and then Shopify is where your store is, correct?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Yes.

JD:

Okay, good. I was running Built With on your WordPress site and it was still showing a little bit of Woo Commerce connection there. That’s where I got my data messed up. Question, and this is neither here, nor there, with HubSpot, but HubSpot has positioned itself as to be a dream for content marketers. Their blog structure and the way that they bring people through top, mid, and end of the funnel, longer sales cycles, typically. At least, I’m used to converting a significant percentage of the people that visit a product the first time.

We have an impulse purchase. There’s not a lot of education, typically, that goes to buying a headband. But, obviously, you have a bunch of pages already built out. You have great SEO exposure and you probably don’t want to mess with that, but have you been tempted to migrate some of your content off of WordPress into the HubSpot ecosystem? Or could you speak a little bit about that, because I just know very high level stuff. I’ve not been down in the weeds with that.

Jeff Rasmussen:

Yeah, we … I’ve never really seen the, or been presented, the case to pull my stuff over to HubSpot. Everything that we evaluated and decided to go to HubSpot for I can do with lending pages on WordPress. I had lending pages on HubSpot and it’s neither here, nor there, to me. There’s no reason to pull all the content over to HubSpot, especially as arduous as that would be with the site of ours, scale. Ours isn’t a huge site, but it’s big enough that we’re two overworked people. The reason would have to be pretty compelling.

I mean, I use all of the workflows and all of the calls to actions, all of the lead flows, and things like that. I just can do it all on the WordPress site and just use the linking back and forth.

JD:

Nice, okay, great. You’ve converted people, they’ve got this warm fuzzy relationship with you. You’re converting 52% of your trial purchasers into paying customers. You’re probably ROI positive, I’m assuming, on a vast majority of those, once they actually convert the second time. How are you retaining them? Because the beauty of your product is it’s consumable by the very nature. Do you have workflows built-in based upon the skew that they purchase and the typical consumption timeframe, when they would need to be reordering that product? How sophisticated are you guys getting? How do you approach your retention?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Well, that’s a good question. I spend a lot of time, last year, trying to wrap my head around that. Justin and I talked about it when we went over the 80-20, because it’s one thing to talk about average order size, or number of orders, or recency, but it’s totally effected, as it would surprise no one, by the size of the order. If you buy a one and a half pound can of flour from me, that’s five cups of flour. That’s a couple of recipes. That’s great, we created that size as a lower price point, so people could say, “I’ve already wasted hundreds of dollars on crappy flour. This one says it’s good, but …” We wanted to lower the price point from 21 bucks, which is our four and a half pound bag.

We have a one and a half pound can. Somebody that orders that, that’s truly interested in baking with it and putting it through its paces, will be done with that in a week. I mean, they really will. Then I have people that come in and based on the social proof that we have on our site, and the recommendations, and our being number one for three years, they’ll buy 18 pounds on their first purchase. They’ll literally buy a four and a half pound bag.

You can’t just … It has to be tied to the amount of product they buy. It’s a consumable, yes, but it really has to do … I don’t want to start bugging people, or even offer them coupons, if they’ve got 18 pounds of flour that just got to their house. That’s a longer window for me, so I did a lot of analysis last year just trying to find out, based on the size of the order, how long, what is that lagging. It was neat to see the medium between first and second purchases that the 80-20 shows. But I was talking to Justin about the next generation of that would be based on price, based on volume, because it might be 138 days for people to buy nine pounds, but if you bought one and a half pounds, I bet it’s less than 138 days, if I’m doing my job right.

JD:

It might be seven, like you said, or 10.

Jeff Rasmussen:

We have people and it’s a beautiful thing. We pause here and just revel at it sometimes. We’ll see somebody order a flour sample on a Monday. They’ll get the sample delivered on Thursday and make muffins on Thursday and order on Friday. How awesome is that? That’s not out of the ordinary either, but obviously we have a lot of people that order the sample and then something happens and it gets pushed aside and covered up. And it’s weeks and months later.

That’s always going to be a challenge because we have sales regularly and people take advantage of the sales, but we all take advantage of sales and buy things we don’t need, or aren’t ready to use. So it’s always going to be a challenge for me to find out when that perfect point is where I want to nudge people along, but I don’t want to give away something I don’t need to give away.

JD:

Well, it seems, I’m preaching to the choir here, but whether it’s a first-time purchaser who bought a four-pack, 18 pounds, or somebody, a first-time purchaser, who bought the sample pack. The onus is on you guys to get people mixing that stuff up and baking something.

Jeff Rasmussen:

Yes.

JD:

That’s where pointing them back, I’m sure that you’re pointing them back to content, articles, videos, just teasing them along. You can do this, it’s great, wait until you taste it.

Jeff Rasmussen:

Well, Jules is tireless. I mean, she moderates all of her social media communities herself. So 19,000 Twitter followers, 47,000 people on Facebook, she’s out there answering questions and offering recipe support. And she’s posting all the time. We call it food porn, and if you like food, you like food. If you like to bake it, you like it even more. We send out 250 to 300,000 emails a month that are recipes, just giving people ideas for St. Patrick’s Day. And just trying to be timely, trying not to be too intrusive, but if you’re on social media, I mean, she’s everywhere. She’s all over and then, now, our customers are starting to post pictures of their creations with our flour.

Yeah, it’s just trying to stay top-of-mind and give people … And, again, we’ll see people that have been on our rolls for two or three years without a purchase, and then, all of a sudden, some double-dark chocolate beer cake will just push them over the edge and convince them to buy. They’ll buy nine pounds of flour and they’ll be regular from then on out. Like, “Wow.”

JD:

I love that. I love that. That is so funny. With everything that you have done, from starting at Ogilvy and Mather, to all the different experiences, those super funny, anti-littering campaign, that you did, to, now, really connected, leveraging all of your giftings, in partnership with Jules at GF Jules here. Do you have an encouragement, or something for other entrepreneurs who have experienced really difficult times, like possibly four years ago, with you guys where there was the major change and the relaunch, or they’re at the top of their game, right now, and they have yet to go through a valley. What would you say to us out there?

Jeff Rasmussen:

It’s almost trite and maybe that’s a good thing, because I won’t be the only person saying it, but you got to love what you do. You’ve got to have a passion for this. I’m not gluten free, but I live with somebody who’s gluten free and we live gluten free essentially. I can have a beer, but we don’t even really eat gluten free, but I’m as passionate about the gluten free community as I’m as passionate about any other facet of my life. Because we are really helping people. We’re uniting families, again, that can all eat the same birthday cake, instead of going out and buying a crappy little rice cake for the five year old and everybody else gets to eat real good cake.

We actually are building something important and that motivates us. That’s why we answer the phone at 11 o’clock, if we’re just watching the hockey game or something and the customer service line rings. I’ll answer it every time. It’s just if you know in your heart that you’ve got something that people need, even if it’s an impulse buy, if you know they need it, and they want it, and that makes them feel good, or sexy, or pretty, or athletic, or whatever. Awesome, good for you, and if you know that, in your heart, I don’t think you can go wrong. If you’ve got to go into debt and you’ve got to go through the court system and extricate yourself from the package of the last iteration, then if you’re passionate … That’s a good test.

You sit there and look at yourself and say, “This is going to be worth this substantial amount of time and money this is going to take. And emotional where-with-all to do. If you can answer that, yes,” I remember asking Jules that question on our couch and she didn’t even really hesitate. She said, “Yes.” Like done, we’ll do whatever we have to do.

Here we are and our customers love us and we love our customers. If there’s a passion there, what’s the saying, if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life. We’re totally guilty of working way too much, beyond when we have to. There aren’t fires burning, but here we … It’s 1:30 in the morning the other day and we’re like, “Hey, we should stop working. We can do this tomorrow.” But if you love what you do, and you’ve got people that depend on you, and you’ve got a good product, and we have a good product. We’ve got it all together and I’ve always told people, “If you wanted to build a brand around somebody, it would be my wife, because she’s incredibly intelligent. She’s passionate. She’s funny. She’s sexy. She’s photogenic. She’s committed. She’s available. She’s the real thing.”

That’s exactly what you want to build a brand around. It’s been great to bring our skillsets together to do that.

JD:

That’s fantastic. Well, you are racking up the brownie points my friend. I believe you when you say all of those things, but good for you guys. Sounds like you have a great marriage. Wish you all the best of luck. Where would you like for people to go to connect with you, or Jules, or learn more about gluten free living?

Jeff Rasmussen:

Just check out GF Jules, J-U-L-E-S, gfjules.com. It’s a fun place to be. There’s some great pictures of food on there. Every picture on the site we made and photographed ourself, we don’t use stock photography, so it’s the real deal. It is what it is. We don’t make claims we can’t substantiate. It’s just a good place to be and we’re blessed with lots of people that refer lots of their friends and family to our site because they believe and they trust us. Anybody that knows anybody who’s living gluten free, that’s the best place to start.

JD:

Fantastic. Well, Jeff, Jeff Rasmussen, thank you so much for being on eCommerce in the Trenches and we’ll just sign off for now.

Jeff Rasmussen:

JD thanks, it’s been a lot of fun.