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Newsletter #1052: The “Lessons from Blue Apron” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Blue Apron is a subscription-based service that delivers to your house all of the ingredients you need to make a few meals a week. The ingredients are seasonal, healthy, and sometimes include the hard-to-find stuff you can’t usually get at your grocery store. It’s a fun concept that gets couples and families cooking stuff they wouldn’t normally make each week, and they have plenty of great marketing ideas, too.

Here are three clever lessons from Blue Apron:

1. Give your customers referral tools
2. Teach people something
3. Share the spotlight
4. Check it out: COLOURlovers

1. Give your customers referral tools

Every Blue Apron customer can give three friends a trial week of the service. Then, if those friends sign on, they each get three weeks to give away too. And since Blue Apron is a subscription service, a free week is like a sample — if they like it, they’ll sign up for the real deal. This referral system lowers the barrier to entry for new customers and makes it easy to track where your best word of mouth is coming from.

The lesson: Word of mouth tools like these not only give new customers a great first experience, they also help your current customers look good in front of their friends. How can you help your customers give someone a gift?

2. Teach people something

One of the unique features of Blue Apron are the ingredients themselves. The meals (which include exact amounts of ingredients you need) feature stuff you’ve never cooked with before — things like heirloom eggplant, choy sum, and stone fruits. They also have how-to videos for the basics like mincing, dicing, and caramelizing, and their recipes have pop-outs that give some background on a certain ingredient and its typical uses and flavors. Every meal is an adventure, and you learn a new technique every time.

The lesson: When you teach people something, you give them something to talk about. It’s a long-term word of mouth topic they’ll share with their friends the next time they bring a caramelized onion and butternut squash goat cheese pizza to a dinner party.

Learn more: Blue Apron Videos

3. Share the spotlight

On their site, Blue Apron shares information about their suppliers like the farmers that grow their peppers, the dairies that make their goat cheese, and the noodle makers that supply their ramen. They also feature their customers’ in cooking video compilations and photos customers submit from the meals they make.

The lesson: Blue Apron knows that to get people to talk about you, you have to make them look good, too. The more they highlight the people around them, like their customers and vendors, the more networks their message will spread to.

Learn more: Blue Apron Partners

4. Check it out: COLOURlovers

This community shares ideas and inspiration for colors, palettes, and patterns for stuff like weddings, home decor, fashion, and web and print design.

Check it out: COLOURlovers

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