How I'd grow Scientific Meal Planner

February 10, 2021

Scientific Meal Planner is a web app with an algorithm that uses the recommendations of nutritional science to generate balanced meal plans.

The algorithm gets information from a non-profit organization that presents scientific papers about nutrition to the public.

My first impression is that it’s a product that suffers from bad positioning.

It tries to position itself as being for everyone but it suggests serious dietary changes, basically making you go vegan.

It’s definitely not a product that any random person would use.

Who is it for, and what problem does it solve?

I think it’d be perfect for people who like the idea of being vegan but don’t know exactly how to do it and need help transitioning to a plant-based diet.

Once you establish your positioning, it needs to permeate your site, especially the homepage’s above-the-fold section.

In this case, for the headline I’d go with something benefit-oriented like: “Create easy-to-follow, science-backed meal plans to go vegan.”

There are also a few elements on the landing page that need to be improved to improve conversion rate.

The explainer video should last 30-90 seconds and not 5 minutes.

There are no testimonials that show customers who successfully went from A to B.

I wouldn’t require a signup to use the basic version.

A new visitor comes to the website, sees the product, thinks it’s cool but then drops off when they’re required to register and never come back.

But if they make it free to use without signing up, adoption will skyrocket.

The long term goal is to make people switch to a premium plan. The founder will need to decide which features will be premium-only.

I understand the social goal of helping people, but if they want to be profitable, there has to be a balance between free and premium.

People in the vegan community tend to communicate, so SMP can take advantage of this and incentivize word of mouth.

They could create a free community where people interested in learning more about the vegan diet could exchange opinions and help each other.

In SMP’s case, I’d start a Facebook group. An active FB group can be a great acquisition channel.

It can grow really quickly because the algorithm will show it to new targeted people and it’s easy to get engagement because people already open the app every day.

Pro tip: create a FB group or host the community on your website? There are pros and cons:

- Growth (winner: FB)
- Engagement (winner: FB)
- Ownership (winner: website)
- User experience (winner: website)

I’d probably say free community: FB group, and paid community: website.

SMP also needs to start creating content with a focus on articles that could perform well in search.

Right now, they’re only publishing product updates and opinion pieces. Unfortunately, no one is going to explicitly search for something like that.

To kickstart a blog, go after low-volume, high-intent keywords first, prioritizing informational KWs that might correlate with purchase intent.

E.g. someone looking for “what vegan does to your body” likely wants to go vegan, and they’ll use a tool that helps them.

If they remove the sign-up requirement, the free app itself could be an amazing linkable asset. Vegan publications would love to mention it.

Once they make the change, they should start an email outreach campaign to let other site owners in the niche know about the benefits of using SMP.

If leveraged wisely, Instagram could give them good results - SMP has lots of visual potential.

I’d partner with vegan instagrammers to launch a 7-day challenge: post a pic of one of the SMP-recommended dishes every day to win a prize.

This wouldn’t just generate organic buzz, but it’d also mean that everyone who participates will use SMP for 7 days.

This will show them how helpful SMP is, and plenty of them will keep using it even after the challenge is over.

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