How I'd grow SURI

May 28, 2023

SURI is an electric toothbrush.

Now, when you’re selling what is basically a commodity, you need a compelling differentiation strategy, or it’s game over.

Why should people choose you instead of one of the category leaders

SURI needs to give people a good enough reason to buy from them instead of Oral-B or Philips

SURI went all-in on eco-friendliness. 

Each component is reusable, repairable, or recyclable. Their brush heads are made from plant-based corn starch, and their bristles are made from castor oil. They’re a certified B-Corporation.

In fact, the name itself - SURI - stands for: “sustainable rituals.”

SURI’s mission is to create personal care products that help people live more sustainably

This is clear on their landing page messaging, which is not bad – but I find it too generic.

“Harmony with the planet,” “Designed to last a lifetime,”… 

This might be the perfect case for the “Us vs. Them” narrative.

Pick an enemy (traditional companies) and tell visitors what’s wrong with buying from them vs. buying from you.

“Buying a traditional toothbrush harms our planet, but by choosing a SURI toothbrush, you can help keep the impact to a minimum”

Analyzing their reviews is an excellent way to see what SURI should focus on.

From the reviews, it’s clear that people - even the ones really into eco-friendliness - care a lot about how well the toothbrushes clean their teeth.

That’s an aspect SURI should valorize a lot more on their landing. Right now, there are just a few references to it.

When you find a pattern across online reviews, it’s worth doubling down on in your messaging

Their product page is really good. It has good images, social proof, free shipping, money-back guarantee… all the things that decrease friction and increase trust.

But again, there’s almost nothing in the copy on how well the product cleans teeth. Just 3 words aren’t going to cut it – they need to fix this.

One thing that could help might be adding a video with a third-party test made by a dentist. This might be a good way to reassure visitors about the product’s effectiveness.

I’d love to save the world, but I want to save my teeth first, and the copy isn’t helping

When you add a toothbrush to your cart, they try to upsell you brush heads and accessories.

Standard practice, but done well – with small details like reassuring about the shipping speed and confirming that taxes are included.

They could make it even better by adding some special offers!

I’ve already decided to buy it, and I have my wallet open, so it’s the perfect moment to offer me a bundle with all the complementary products, and there’s a good chance I’ll take it

To be successful, every company needs to obsess over increasing their customer lifetime value.

What SURI could do to maximize theirs looks obvious to me: offer a subscription for replacement heads.

But for some reason, they’re not doing it. They currently only offer one-time purchases.

Offering a replacement heads subscription would be good for the company and handy for the customers since I don’t think you can find them in local supermarkets or places other than their site

To get in front of new customers, I’d start by doing audience research to find out who already has a following around sustainability. Then, I’d look for ways to get in front of them.

They could do podcast interviews to tell their story.

They could sponsor a few newsletters.

They could do giveaways in online communities.

People passionate about the environment are always looking for Earth-friendly choices to lower their impact.

There are many paid tools you can use for audience research. Alternatively, just using good old Google and scrolling should do the trick

Once they acquire customers, SURI needs a mechanism to ensure the customer spreads the word to others.

In this case, a good trigger might be the commitment to take action to support a specific environmental cause – even better if they let the referrer choose it!

“Refer a friend, and we will plant trees, sponsor an endangered animal, remove plastic from oceans… You decide!”

Several studies showed that referral programs can be very effective, but the key is to deeply understand what motivates your customers to take action – and it’s not always money

The word Suri has a lot of different meanings. A government department in Puerto Rico. Tom Cruise’s daughter. A place in India.

Depending on the location, device, and other factors, SURI isn’t ranking in the first position for its brand name, which might be a problem.

This is one of the times when spending money on Google Ads to bid on your brand name makes sense.

I’m not generally a fan of bidding on your brand name, but in some cases (like when your competitors are doing it) it can be a wise choice

SURI is in a perfect position to leverage search thanks to how their PR did a great job and secured a lot of press coverage that generated great links from reputable websites.

This authority allows them to rank for a few important commercial keywords like “sonic toothbrush.”

But they can target only so many commercial keywords, and they’re capped by volume.

That’s where a good content strategy comes into place. Right now, they only have a few articles on their blog, and the topics aren’t very popular.

As much as these articles might be interesting, no one is looking for those keywords on Google, so not many people will find and read them

Finding good topics worth writing about can be as simple as browsing online communities where people post questions about your niche.

For example, a keyword like “choosing toothbrush bristles” would be perfect for SURI because:

- It’s a high-intent term for people looking to buy
- Websites currently ranking for it have low domain authority
- The existing content is not detailed and it’s overall pretty weak

A quick check on Reddit showed many people asking if it’s better to buy a toothbrush with soft or hard bristles

Social networks are going to be very important for a consumer product like SURI. A common mistake companies make is trying to be everywhere and spreading themselves too thin. I agree with their choice to go all in on Instagram and TikTok.

But since they’re a new company, organic won’t be enough. To get the scale they need, they have to run ads.

They are actually running multiple campaigns, and I really like what they’re doing. They created a ton of different creatives, hitting potential customers from different angles. Videos, images, user-generated content – they’re doing everything.

When you run ads, your number one goal is to stop the scroll, but since every person is different, not everyone will resonate with the same content, so you need a portfolio of very different creatives

Pro tip: If you want to start running your first campaign on Facebook or Instagram, remember that the algorithm needs conversion data to understand who your buyers are. Otherwise, it doesn’t know who to show your campaigns to; you’ll just waste money.

The algorithm needs at least 7 conversions per day to learn, so you’ll have to set a daily budget of at least 7x your CAC.

If you don’t know it because you didn’t run ads before, pick the maximum amount you can afford to spend to acquire a customer and make a profit.

The more conversions an ad gets, the better the system becomes at optimizing its performance

One thing I wish more companies started doing is to keep their eyes open for the organic content (both theirs and user-generated) that performed well, then repurpose it as a paid ad.

For example, a creator did a fun comparison video of SURI vs. the toothbrush people used 7000 years ago, and it got an incredible 8 million views.

Ad platforms give incredibly low CPMs to ads that manage to keep people’s attention, so SURI should definitely try to run a paid campaign with it.

A creative like this could work well at the top of the funnel to introduce people to the SURI brand. Then, they could retarget those who viewed it for more than a certain percentage with an offer

Learn marketing from case studies

Every month I pick a new website and write a marketing case study explaining exactly how I’d grow it