Brothers freeze dried fruit

Ecommerce Sunday Brothers International Food

The funny thing about online marketing is that if you do it right the target audience will find you and they will think it was their idea.

So it is like 93 degrees here and I stumbled across Brothers International Food website, a company from my hometown of Rochester, NY that sells Freeze-Dried Fruit Snacks. Even better is that they are from Batavia, where I went to school decades ago. RIP: Taco Joint.

They have a stellar Pinterest channel which was the first thing I looked at. A food product like this that likely has a majority younger female audience is Pinterest gold for marketing. (Also Instagram).

So as always happens when I start investigating I keep going and going. Marketing is a game of seeing what you have happening on the site and fixing little things. The game is to increase a percentage point at every stage of the sales process and let them compound into large gains. EX: 1 % more people, 1% more pages viewed, 1% more in the cart 1% less abandoned carts and 1% more people coming back to shop in the future. Now take your gains shown here and test the math with 300K monthly visitors. If you have average carts around 40-70 bucks in them then that small bump above is likely almost 5 figures in profit.

This would have been way more fun if I had access to their analytics.

With the number of new ways to get more traffic the small things can add up to 6 figures very fast. But this is way more fun when you have access to the “big” things.

(It should be said, this is a pretty great site, that ranks well and someone paid attention to a lot of details. Most the opportunity I see here is based around growing the sources of traffic and not UX issues.)

Lets start here:

When this search is performed, our Google product listing ad displays us top left. The product listed is the $144 – 200 pack – which is off putting to the retail “mom” consumer performing this search. I would guess whatever click rate this $144 listing gets, a smaller product lot size would get double. Our exact match product names should always display the product listing mostly commonly purchased through organic searches (seems like our first percentage point opportunity has been found).

Anayltics would tell you which size of this product most often converts through organic searches. Now this is a PPC shopping product ad, but the search that generates it is organic. Whichever channel of traffic you base this decision on you will likely see the same preferences (though organic generally out performs text ads). You can also base the decision of which to feature here on total profit per organic visitor if you prefer the value of all sales over conversion rate for a single sale. % of visitors through organic that looked at this product during their visit and then converted with this product in their cart, which size did they buy.

Conversion rate metric will include more total customers which can add up on repeat purchases. So I would take higher converting over bigger basket since I have faith in making them a lifetime customer and can sell to the larger list down the road.

serpsOrganically the brothers site is the top listing, which should be expected with such a small term showing only 14,100 results. But the listing goes to the category page and not the product page. This puts the user in a position to have to search again on the website and lengthens the steps before checkout.

When searching mango fruit crisps the top ranking page is again the category page beating out the product page. The product page is second in line. On the product page the description field provided by the CMS is empty.

And the robots.txt file seems to be the culprit?

User-agent: *
Disallow: /

Also related to this issue, the site pages fail Google’s own mobile friendly test. While the site looks great on mobile this test is the same criteria Google will be using to determine if IT THINKS the site is mobile friendly. A case of what they see is more important.

With most CMS systems this is due to template, css or JS files being blocked causing it to look wrong to the Googlebot.


While the page is well laid out and uses cononical tagging well, many of the product pages leave an empty description field. This empty field leaves the page with little to distinguish it other than just the HEADING tags.  The product summary field needs to be created as uniquely as possible. Ecommerce sites often have this challenge to deal with. Very often product descriptions come from the same source on all sites selling a product. It is very hard to compete in search when you all have the same content to serve up. One way I have dealt with this in the past was creating a light “spintax” script that slightly modified the adjective used in the manufacturer’s descriptions. This did not give me 100% unique content, but just enough to differentiate myself from other similar online store product pages.

In this case the summary section is a primary spot to expand upon the keywords we can contend for. We can already rank for what we are selling, so why not add a few more phrases or opportunities to be found for similar needs.

Other phrases that are not exact but can lead to sales that come to mind are:

  • healthy fruit snacks
  • snacks for kids lunches
  • Healthy snack alternatives
  • dry fruit snack

All of these phrases are potential customers that no content exists for on the page. This is essentially forfeited traffic. A single short paragraph written right could cover all 4 of these terms. Doing this would only add to the traffic and has no down side. It also gives us a location for inline linking to cross sell similar products and increase the total value of carts on the site, which is priority KPI.

No YouTube icon on the site?

Seems like a clear underuse of video. While video may not seem like a natural fit it will always provide duplicate listings for your products in the search engines. Not only can visuals convince people to finish a sale but the video icon will attract more clicks than current text listings in search. Every click you get off Google and to your site has multiple points of value.

  • It takes them away from your competition and prevents them from becoming loyal to the competition instead of your customer now or in the future.
  • It pushes a competing link off of page 1 and eliminates them from the choices.
  • It gives you a listing on the second largest search engine in the world, which is not Bing, YouTube.
  • It gives you an additional avenue to pick up subscribers that can be available for promotional pushes in the future.
  • It provides more visits to the site that become re-marketing targets. A larger re-marketing list in total.
  • It provides a channel for free advertisement via sharing.
  • It provides brand recognition and opens the door to very valuable YouTube partnerships.

Youtube has dozens of fitness channels with 6 and 7 figure follower bases. A program where you reach out and get contact information for as many as possible and send free samples would be an extremely effective partnership opportunity. Most YouTube channel owners are flattered by the recognition of a large company and grateful for samples sent to them that cost us little. A single video or mention with praise provides a soapbox to tens of thousands or like minded future shoppers. Links built in this way from thought leaders in fitness and health online would also have incredibly high SEO value.

A good example. Stephen Curry NBA MVP’s wife Ayesha Curry has a cooking channel on YouTube. How much value would a mention or product shot on there be worth at this current time. A box with samples and a glossy print out of a few recipes from the blog have a chance at becoming a huge boon of new site visitors.If it doesn’t work you are out $20 worth of product, if it does get her attention you sell $1000 worth and pick up 10 lifetime customers perhaps.

Video is also not a one off like a TV ad would be, video online has years of residual value. Piling up traffic sources that last is the key to a sales line graph that continues to go up.

Schannelome channels


In one days time 100 channels of this kind can be compiled and contacted. They have a large audience, but not too large where they won’t be motivated by your gift of free samples. You can also include a data sheet about the traffic you get and let them know you will be linking to any content they produce regarding their opinion of the product. Maybe offer a 1 month promo or a company blog post to their channel.

Trading audiences is the fastest way to grow your own with no loss of business, it’s a win-win.

There are already a few mention on YouTube of the products like freeze dried bananas here. While this is just a knock off with 1400 views it is also a chance to en gauge them and ask for their address to send them some other samples of yours. Doing the same for your competitions products being reviewed online is another outlet for outreach. You have people with a pre-built base working for you for almost free. Isn;t a salesman with an established portfolio worth a lot to a company? Well let’s hope they don’t learn that too soon.

A product like healthy living was made for social media. Engaging at the user’s level will pay returns quickly frmo established audiences you can hand select from. Users love getting noticed but what they view as a “large” company. You get the good online PR, a pre-built audience ready to learn about you and you make a YouTuber’s day.

404404 page cross selling.

The 404 page is always a item I check. We have the sorry page that comes by default and the maybe you should spell it better statement – but – On a site with such a specialized product line even 3 or 4 suggested items on the 404 page could lead more people to what they want without having to research for an item.

I would have a row of 3 items that are top sellers and have a row under that saying “Did you know these items are on sale now!” with 3 specials underneath that.

Even if they don’t want those items you get them quickly back looking at products without having to click to open the search box and typing again. If they are on mobile this is not easy to do. Think like they are always on mobile just to be safe.

Let’s talk about 404 issues. And by this I mean “chat about it”. A $15 per month ZopIM account would have a chat box on ONLY the 404 page. Next time someone gets that bummer page that can cause a bounce let’s have a chat box that says “Nobody likes a 404 page, what I can I help you find?” By having it only on the 404 page you would not need to dedicate staff to it. This is a super cheap way to push a few extra people over the finish line. (Another of those small gains just got made, and they are adding up.)

reviewsProduct Reviews

Great reviews on this site but I had to go looking for them. If you add a conditional piece of PHP to the product listing page you can show off good reviews. Anything that has a 4 star average or better should show the stars right next to the price or action buttons. Anything under 4 stars doesn’t show it except for down below where it currently is.

twitterTwitter posts being used for promos

Currently running fruit of the month and other promos linking directly to the site. Human faces have been proven to get more looks on heat mapping tests. An ad that is easy to identify as an ad is instantly skipped on social media. Use more people in the imagery as they enjoy your product.

Facebook dynamic product ads

With a product that begs to be used on social media and a catalog that is already prepopulated, Facebook’s new dynamic product ads are a perfect match.  You already have csv files of you product data that can be easily duplicated to the format needed for this ad feed. Facebook ability to target in ways that Google and YouTube cannot makes it essential. Basing audiences on people’s past likes, personal status and hobbies is a great way to find like minded audiences without the need for them to type a keyword. As always look at the the additional benefits that can come from a marketing channel. In this case a larger social audience you can build for future promotions and more visitors to build Google re-marketing lists. Write you ads in a way that speaks like your audience speaks. Doing this makes it more likely to generate those free shares that add to your overall CPA down the road.

One last free idea.

Look for a plugin that offers a discount at checkout if the customer shares their purchase online before checking out. Magento has a very good one that says “tweet or share for 5% off right now!”. The customer clicks it, it opens the login box for them to approve the application and it instantly takes 5% (or whatever) off their cart amount. The share to their 400 friends and 500 followers is easily worth $3.50 from a $70 cart.




About author

Todd Kron

of Sellaholics is a veteran of Analytics, PPC, Display, video, UX, conversion optimization, affiliate programs, web design and web programming since 2002. My background includes affiliate sales to 6 figures, director of a web design agency, and currently the digital manager for a leading energy company located in Huntersville, NC. From search to sale 1000 different ways is my background. Sellaholics is a Google Partner Agency.