The marketing campaign for Blood Moon—which, as far as I can tell, consists of white2tea sending one newsletter that mentions it, not by name, in a parenthetical, putting the tea on the website, and maybe mentioning it once in a newsletter—was probably the most effective one I’ve seen for a tea that I have never tried.
What kind of tea is Blood Moon? Well. That’s the marketing. Here’s how it’s described on the website.
FOR CATEGORICAL BOXES, BLOOD MOON DOESN'T QUITE FIT INTO EITHER THE WHITE OR BLACK TEA BOX, AND TECHNICALLY IS PROBABLY AN OOLONG, DUE TO IT'S PARTIAL OXIDATION DURING PROCESSING. HOWEVER, FOR EASE OF UNDERSTANDING OF THIS TEA, SINCE IT DRINKS MORE LIKE A BLACK TEA/WHITE TEA HYBRID, WE HAVE LISTED IT ACROSS THOSE TWO CATEGORIES RATHER THAN AS AN OOLONG TEA, WHICH IN PRACTICE, IT DOES NOT REALLY RESEMBLE AT ALL.
White2tea ships its tea from China, which means that in practice, almost anyone in the Western world will take at least three weeks to get a shipment, and often substantially longer. (My November tea club, shipped in early November, still has not arrived.)
And yet I was not shocked that the tea was sold out by the time mine arrived. There’s something about telling a tea drinker “you’ve never had anything like it, and I can’t describe it” that makes people automatically hit the “buy” button.
The reality is that Blood Moon is a very good tea that is very hard to describe. It does have that initial sweet, almost floral taste of a white tea, which gives way to a golden, round caramel, which fades to the darker tones of a black tea. It definitely is not one or the other, and it’s certainly not an oolong. It’s a wonderful tea that rewards attention.
This brings me to the second half of why the marketing was so successful. I don’t think that just any tea dealer (and there are many) could describe a tea like that and have it fly off the shelves.
But when you’re selling something as individual and unique as small-batch teas, where things like where the tea was grown, what plants, what production methods, how it’s stored, are paramount, then your most important marketing tool is trust. You can have a brilliant description but if someone buys your teas based on beautiful marketing copy and gets something bland, they’re never going to buy another one.
Happy 30th birthday (to my car)
When I finished law school in 2006, I bought a car. I didn’t have a lot of money, and the job I had (working for a federal judge) was prestigious but paid my living expenses, the interest on my six figures in student loans, and not a whole lot else.
So I made a list of car wants.
I wanted a stick shift. (I was raised driving stick and I still love it.)
I wanted something small.
I didn’t want to spend more than $2000.
I wanted it to last at least two years.
I ended up buying a used 1993 Toyota Paseo for $1800, figuring that I would drive this car until it died and by then, I’d have a job that gave me a little more wiggle room in the budget.
Fast forward 16-plus years later. My car still has not died. (To be fair: I work from home now and maybe put a thousand miles on it on a yearly basis.) I hit the used car lottery, and I'm hoping that it holds on for even longer.
Every time I think about changing up my car, or I get pulled in by slick marketing for cars that have exciting new features like working air conditioners and music that is not a cassette deck, I think about how good this car has been, and I decided to trust it for another little while.
pick a book and/or books about me EDIT ALT TEXT
I've been thinking about marketing a lot as both an author and a reader, and for me, marketing is one thing, but it's very rare that I'll see slick marketing and think, “okay, I'll try it.”
Instead, if feels like the most effective marketing is trust: if I've already read an author, or if someone who I know shares my reading tastes tells me they like the book. One of the reasons I've made books free on occasion is simply because it lowers the bar for people to decide to trust.
This book has been free for a long time, so if you haven't given my books a try, or you know someone who might want to, I'd suggest it to you.
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