5 steps to getting your company ready for Veganuary
Launched in the UK in January 2014, Veganuary is a non-profit organisation that encourages people to try vegan for January and beyond. Since the campaign started, more than 500,000 people have registered to try vegan, although data suggests that ten times more people actually participate and try vegan in January each year.
Lisa brings you the 5 steps to make the most of veganuary for your business.
Is Veganuary on your radar for your vegan business? It’s an amazing marketing tool and provides you with the ideal opportunity to leverage Veganuary’s success and high impact to drive your sales, visibility and brand recognition every year. It’s also an ideal opportunity to get involved with a great charity and encourage non-vegans to give veganism a try (and hopefully then not let it go!). This isn’t something that you should take lightly or think it’s not worth a bit of time and effort to engage with – the increased visibility and new customers you can attract during Veganuary could ensure you have an amazing financial year! Even if you don’t usually promote your product or service as vegan, Veganuary is the perfect time to do this.
What is Veganuary?
Veganuary is a registered charity which encourages people to take a 31-day vegan pledge in January each year; the aim is to raise the visibility of veganism and help move us towards a vegan world. People who sign up to the pledge receive support directly from Veganuary via daily emails which are full of encouragement, information, advice and lots of recipes.
Veganuary provides support to companies who wish to promote their vegan products, launches and special offers during their Veganuary campaign. There is also the opportunity to have your special offers featured on their website special offers page (which had over 20k visitors in January 2020), in their email campaigns (which has over 540k English-speaking subscribers), and they may even promote your Veganuary PR story as well. They are happy to provide advice and support to companies engaging with the Veganuary campaign – the more the merrier!
This is an ideal launch platform for new products and services, a month-long campaign of special offers, a rebrand, and reminding your customers that you’re here – all whilst raising your profile at the same time.
Veganuary has increased in popularity over the past few years. In 2020, the mainstream media published 1,370 media stories about Veganuary every single day! Veganuary’s surge in popularity has been the driving force for supermarkets doubling (or even tripling) their vegan ranges. In 2020 400,000 people took the Veganuary pledge across 192 countries, and 72% of these at the end of January said that they were planning to stay vegan. 72%! Unfortunately, we’ve all seen supermarkets then remove all their extra vegan products on 1st February each year, so that immediately makes it more difficult for these hopeful vegans to remain on their journey – but we can help them with our support, products and services too.
Many people also try Veganuary but don’t sign up to the pledge itself. According to a Kantar study, in 2019, 4.7% of the UK population gave up animal products during January – that’s 1.31 million people. Only 10% of that number had signed up to the Veganuary pledge, so the official figures are way under the number of people who actually participate. That number increases massively when you look at people who use Veganuary to ‘dabble’ a little. In fact, 1 in 3 people said that they tried vegan options in January 2020, which is amazing! We want to ensure that all of these people’s experiences are wonderful and encourage them to take the full pledge the following year – and then continue their vegan journey.
How to use Veganuary to increase your sales and visibility
We’ve got 5 steps for how to best participate in Veganuary and how to leverage it to increase the success of your vegan business.
1. The earlier you plan the better
We always think there’s plenty of time to plan and put things into action. This is why we’re often woefully unprepared when that time seems to appear out of nowhere. Yes, your current urgent to-do items need doing; yes, your emails need answering; yes, you need to return those client phone calls; and yes, you need to take your dog for a walk and help your kids with their homework. But remember that the earlier you start your plan for Veganuary the less likely it will appear to be an insurmountable mountain to climb!
2. Create your Veganuary marketing plan
Now that you’ve decided that you should plan for Veganuary early, book time in your calendar to work on your marketing plan for it. Then, the most important thing is to stick to it and don’t work on anything else during that allocated time. Also, always add a bit more time than you think you’ll need – it’s always better to have more time than you need for a project instead of half-finishing it due to time constraints.
When that allotted calendar time arrives you can start creating your marketing plan for Veganuary. Consider whether you want to create some Veganuary special offers; these can take the form of competitions, prize draws and discounts. You don’t even need to offer money off your products or services; instead, you could give 10% of your profits to charity during Veganuary. Remember that this is a great opportunity to increase your visibility, so if you can do anything to stand out from the crowd then do it!
Are there any possible collaborations with other vegan businesses? This could take the form of creating a new product together specifically for Veganuary, or teaming up with another vegan business to offer a Veganuary package. Remember how much help and guidance we needed when we first went vegan? That’s what you can help Veganuary participants with – make things easy and exciting for them, and also offer something exciting for long-term vegans where you can. For example, if you’re a vegan B&B then you could work with your local vegan restaurant or cafe to offer a special dinner package for your guests during Veganuary; this will make it easy for people trying out vegan for the first time, and it will also make things easy for long-standing vegans who are also looking for your local recommendations. If you think that collaborating could be a great idea for your company, then the earlier you suggest this to other vegan companies the better, as they’ll need to get their skates on to make it happen with you too!
Consider putting together a PR story for your Veganuary participation. This is a great way to get your business some coverage at the same time as promoting and supporting the vegan cause. When you’re writing a PR story, make it personal. Think about why you’re participating in Veganuary, why it matters to you, why you created your business, and what you’re doing differently. It’s the personal aspects which make your story stand out. As well as any online sources, you should be looking to get your PR story into the local newspaper. Don’t forget about our VBT PR Masterclass with Caroline Burgess-Pike of Eden Green PR – if you’re not sure where to start with PR, watching this video will give you all the pointers you need to write your Veganuary PR story.
If you decide that you don’t want to do a Veganuary campaign with special offers, collaborations or PR stories, then you can still associate yourself with Veganuary via your social media. They love small independent companies getting involved too, and there are lots of assets you can use (see below for links).
Now that you’ve considered in what ways you’re going to participate with Veganuary, you can start to plan your social media around it. How often are you going to post? What are you going to post about? Make sure that you get the Veganuary sign-up link from their website, then whenever you post about Veganuary share this link so that people know how to participate. Think about whether you want to help non-vegans try things they haven’t discovered yet – via social media during Veganuary you could tell them about your favourite accidentally vegan product (in the UK this is often Oreos), share your favourite vegan recipes each week, or let them know your favourite vegan milk which won’t curdle in their coffee.
Do you have an email list of customers? What content about Veganuary could you put in emails to them, or do you want to provide them with specific special offers for being long-standing customers and/or vegans? Can you give them a challenge of signing up as many non-vegan friends and family to Veganuary as they can, with the opportunity of a reward to who converted the most people to veganism beyond 1st February?
3. Prepare everything you need before January
You have your marketing plan, so now you need to ensure that you fully prepare everything you need before January arrives. It’s no good having a plan if you get to 1st January and you can’t put it into action because you didn’t prepare! So, book some more time into your calendar where the only thing you’ll be doing is preparing everything from your Veganuary marketing plan.
Some of the things you’ll need to do during this time are:
- Note the relevant Veganuary hashtags and names you’ll be using in your social media posts, for example, @weareveganuary @veganuary #veganuary (always check these as they may be subject to change, and some hashtags use the current year also).
- Download the Veganuary logos and brand guidelines from their website. You don’t need to register to be able to do this. Make sure you read the brand guidelines and use the up-to-date Veganuary logo in any graphics you create. You can find the Veganuary toolkit download link for this here.
- Based on your social media plan, create the graphics and content you need. If you also use a social media scheduler, schedule the posts. Otherwise, save them somewhere safe so that you can manually post them during January.
- If you need to create any new landing pages or content for your website, create any graphics or copy you need for that. Put a reminder in your diary for when you need to add these to your website.
- If you’re creating email campaigns, get them set up and scheduled to send during January.
- If a PR story is part of your marketing plan then now is the time to write it. Put a reminder in your calendar so that you know when to send this out to online sources, your local newspaper, or add it to your website as an exciting news item (you could also then link to this from your social posts).
- If you are collaborating with another company for a Veganuary offer or package, share your social plans and/or PR story with them also, and ask them to do the same in return. Sharing each other’s content is a great way to continue the collaboration online.
- If you have special offers and/or a PR story for Veganuary, then contact the Veganuary corporate team to share details of those with them, as there is a chance they may share them with their followers. They do give priority to those who use official Veganuary branding on promotion materials / social posts, who share their sign-up link with their followers, and include a quote from Veganuary in their PR (don’t be afraid to ask!). If you want to share details with them, email their team at firstname.lastname@example.org
4. It’s Veganuary – put your plan into action and be amazing!
So, you’ve completed your marketing plan, you’ve done all your preparations, and now is the time to shine! Even if you have scheduled your social media posts, this isn’t a project where you should just sit back and expect things to happen. There are lots of businesses participating in Veganuary, so you need to make sure that you participate in a remarkable way! This isn’t the time to be passive; use Veganuary to be as active as you can as a business. Don’t just post your own social media posts; search using the #veganuary hashtag and share other interesting Veganuary posts, comment on their posts, get involved in interesting conversations, be a conversation starter, and share your knowledge and excitement. Be as responsive as you can be, be encouraging to people trying out vegan for the first time, and be incredibly positive in everything you’re saying and doing.
Remember that during this time your goal isn’t just to increase sales. Your main goal is to increase your visibility and be a business that non-vegans and vegans alike remember and want to engage with throughout Veganuary and beyond. But what you should also do is create a cause-led goal for yourself. For example, how many non-vegans can you get to try a vegan product?
And lastly, don’t forget about the vegans! Veganuary’s focus is on creating new vegans, but long-standing vegans also want your products and services too. You may also find that an increase in your online activity during January has improved your relationship with your previous followers and customers also, and so you likely want to consider continuing that positivity and engagement moving forward.
"Don’t forget about the vegans! Veganuary’s focus is on creating new vegans, but long-standing vegans also want your products and services too."
5. Don’t stop just because Veganuary is over
Veganuary isn’t just for January. We all know what it’s like – we get super excited in January with all the supermarkets suddenly stocking vegan products we’ve been wanting for ages, and then cry on 1st February when they stop making and stocking those products. So, let’s not be part of that problem – always look beyond January. What collaborations could you do with other vegan companies throughout the year? Can you make products or services even more exciting by teaming up? Remain active on social media – don’t let all your hard work and relationship-building go to waste just because it’s not January anymore. What other challenges or exciting activities could you encourage your customers and followers to undertake throughout the year?
Also, think about the people who engaged with you or made purchases during Veganuary but who have since disappeared. Can you offer them any incentives or promotions to entice them back to you? If you’ve made new contacts or customers, be thinking during January how to keep them for the rest of the year. How can you encourage them to remain vegan and support them through their journey?
Find out more about Veganuary: uk.veganuary.com
Find out more about corporate collaborations with Veganuary: uk.veganuary.com/corporate-collaborations
Being vegan businesses we’re in a unique position to not only supply other vegans with what they need, but also to educate and encourage non-vegans to start their vegan journey and continue it. That’s the power of what you do.
Engaging with Veganuary is a great way to support the vegan cause, help other people to get on the vegan bus and not want to ever get off, at the same time as increasing the visibility of your vegan business. So, what are you waiting for?
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