How Waterdrop Revolutionized the Beverage Industry: A Marketing Deep Dive

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Waterdrop is an Austrian microdrink company that’s been changing the beverage industry since 2017.

Led by founder and CEO Martin Murray, Waterdrop is a fresh alternative to sweetened drinks that helps reduce plastic waste. They sell small cubes made from fruits and extracts that dissolve in water. It’s a new, eco-friendly way to stay hydrated.

In 2021, Waterdrop made news by getting $63.7 million in funding to grow its business worldwide.

With an estimated value between $264 and $396 million, it’s evident that this company is making waves. But how did a seemingly small idea become a global success?

In this breakdown, we’ll look at the marketing strategies that helped Waterdrop reach these heights. 

Let’s jump in! 

Step 1: Drive traffic through paid ads

Waterdrop doesn’t shy away from investing in advertising. They run both social ads (on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok) and Google ads (including search, display, and Google Shopping ads).

And they do a great job today, but it wasn’t always like that. 

In an interview, Martin Murray revealed that they faced a significant challenge: while their product packaging is visually appealing, it doesn’t effectively communicate what Waterdrop is all about. 

Eventually, they figured out that showing the product with glasses or bottles in their ads helped people understand it better.

This insight is reflected in their current ad campaigns, where they include bold images to leave no doubt that Waterdrop is a beverage. 

Waterdrop paid ads

Their advertising efforts encompass a mix of videos and images.

Most of their ads emphasize social proof, leveraging customer reviews and the number of customers to boost credibility. 

Waterdrop paid ads

Additionally, they use benefit-driven copy that highlights the unique advantages of choosing Waterdrop. 

Waterdrop paid ads

Step 2: Expand your reach with influencer marketing

According to Murray’s talk with OMR, one of the most important ways Waterdrop reaches new customers is through working with influencers.

When entering new markets where people don’t know about Waterdrop, influencer marketing is crucial.

“Annually, our spend on influencer co-ops is in the upper 6-figure range,” Murray revealed, showing how much Waterdrop invests in these collaborations to boost their brand.

These partnerships are key to their growth, helping them connect with different audiences through trusted voices.

They often give discounts to their influencers’ followers, like in the example below.  

Waterdrop also partners with big celebrities like Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Adriana Lima, and Novak Djokovic. 

Waterdrop paid ads

For these high-profile allies, Waterdrop creates special collaborations and unique products with dedicated landing pages.

Waterdrop collaboration with Rosie Huntington-Whiteley
Waterdrop collaboration with Novak Djokovic

Step 3: Target the right keywords with SEO

Waterdrop makes sure people can easily find them online with a smart SEO strategy.

At the heart of their SEO efforts is their blog. They write articles on topics like “isotonic solution,” “white tea benefits,” and “dehydration headache” to improve their search engine rankings.

By aligning their content with these keywords, Waterdrop not only attracts organic traffic but also establishes itself as an authoritative voice within the wellness sphere. 

Each article guides readers seeking solutions to their concerns towards Waterdrop’s innovative products. Embedded within these informative articles are subtle yet effective product recommendations.

Waterdrop embedded product recommendation in blog post
Waterdrop embedded product recommendation in blog post

Step 4: Focus on branding

Waterdrop knows how important it is to create a strong, memorable brand identity in everything they do, from product design to their website and marketing materials.

Their website is designed to catch the eye and feel fresh and sophisticated. From the homepage to each product page, they use high-quality images and videos to show what Waterdrop is all about.

Waterdrop homepage
Waterdrop product page
Waterdrop website

Their packaging is also visually appealing and designed with practicality and sustainability in mind.

Waterdrop reinforces its commitment to sustainability through its packaging by choosing eco-friendly materials and innovative packaging solutions.

Waterdrop packaging

Step 5: Create bundles to increase average order value

By curating collections, Waterdrop not only provides added value to their customers but also strategically increases their average order value (AOV).

These bundles include combinations of their signature microdrink cubes…

Waterdrop bundles

… and stylish bottles.

Waterdrop bundles

By offering these products together at a discounted rate, Waterdrop encourages customers to purchase more in one go, boosting overall sales.

For the consumer, this approach provides a convenient, cost-effective way to explore a wider range of Waterdrop’s offerings. With the starter sets, customers can easily try different flavors, which enhances their overall experience and increases satisfaction. 

This approach also helps introduce new or seasonal products, making it easier for customers to discover and fall in love with them.

Step 6: Optimize your website for conversions

Getting traffic is one thing, but what really matters is how effectively you can turn that traffic into customers. 

Here’s how Waterdrop does it.

One tactic they employ is the use of an email popup with a teaser. 

When new visitors land on the Waterdrop website, they’re greeted with a subtle yet enticing popup offering 15% off their first purchase in exchange for subscribing to the email newsletter. 

This immediate value proposition captures attention and encourages visitors to share their email addresses, building Waterdrop’s email list for future marketing efforts. And for the visitors who close the popup without subscribing? The teaser (see the bottom left corner below) keeps the offer visible in case they change their mind.

Waterdrop email popup with teaser
Waterdrop email popup with teaser

Want to copy Waterdrop’s email popup with a teaser? Try these templates:

But Waterdrop’s CRO strategy doesn’t stop there. They know that personal engagement is key to converting visitors into customers. 

To this end, they offer a hydration quiz—an interactive feature that asks a few simple questions about the visitor’s hydration habits, preferences, and needs. 

Waterdrop hydration quiz
Waterdrop hydration quiz

Based on the responses, the quiz provides personalized product recommendations tailored to the individual’s unique profile.

Waterdrop hydration quiz

This quiz helps visitors decide which products are best for them and guides them directly to the products that are most likely to meet their needs. By reducing the decision-making friction, Waterdrop increases the likelihood of a purchase.

You can also create a quiz popup with OptiMonk: 

Another great CRO tactic is their country redirect popup. 

As a global company with different websites tailored for each country, Waterdrop ensures that visitors always land on the right version of their site.

When someone visits the US website from another country, they are greeted with a personalized popup. 

This popup features the visitor’s country flag and a friendly message like, “Hey, we think you’re from [country].” The message is displayed in the visitor’s native language, making it more engaging and easier to understand. The popup then provides a direct link to the appropriate website for their country.

Waterdrop country redirection popup

This personalized popup creates a seamless experience for international visitors.

If you’d like to create something similar, you can use OptiMonk’s popup software. 

Step 7: Build a community

From the very beginning, Waterdrop understood the power of community in driving brand loyalty and growth. 

They started by creating a Facebook group where customers could share their experiences, provide feedback, and feel like they were part of the Waterdrop journey. 

Waterdrop Facebook group

This group became a valuable resource for understanding what customers loved about the product and what needed improvement.

They used this feedback to guide their product development, introducing new products based on customer suggestions and discontinuing products that weren’t popular. This iterative process helped to improve their product lineup.

Today, Waterdrop takes community-building to the next level with their loyalty program: the waterdrop® Club. 

Waterdrop loyalty program

This program is designed to reward loyal customers and foster a deeper sense of belonging. Members of the waterdrop® Club enjoy exclusive perks, such as early access to new products, special discounts, and unique rewards.

Waterdrop loyalty program
Waterdrop loyalty program

This approach not only improves customer satisfaction and retention but also turns loyal customers into brand advocates, driving organic growth and strengthening Waterdrop’s market presence.

In addition to these community-building efforts, Waterdrop has developed a hydration app that further connects and engages their customers.

The app allows users to log their daily water intake, helping them monitor and improve their hydration habits. This feature encourages users to stay consistent with their hydration goals and promotes the regular use of Waterdrop products.

Users can also view detailed statistics about their drinking habits and participate in in-app challenges. These challenges add an element of fun and gamification.

Waterdrop loyalty program

Step 8: Offer a subscription model

In addition to one-time purchases, Waterdrop also offers a subscription model. 

This option allows customers to subscribe for regular deliveries of their favorite microdrinks, ensuring they never run out of their preferred hydration solutions while saving on purchases.

Waterdrop subscription model
Waterdrop subscription model

For a business like Waterdrop, the subscription model is a smart strategy for several reasons:

  1. Consistent revenue: Subscriptions provide a reliable and predictable revenue stream.
  2. Customer convenience: Subscriptions take the hassle out of reordering. Customers can set their delivery frequency according to their usage (monthly, bi-monthly, etc.)
  3. Increased customer loyalty: By signing up for a subscription, customers are making a long-term commitment to the brand. This ongoing relationship fosters greater loyalty and reduces the likelihood of customers switching to competitors.

Step 9: Use humor

Waterdrop knows that a touch of humor can go a long way toward building a memorable brand. 

Every April 1st, they entertain their audience with an April Fool’s joke, showing their playful side and engaging their community in a fun way.

This year on Instagram, Waterdrop announced “Waterdog,” which they jokingly claimed was the world’s first microdrink for dogs. 

The post featured cute dogs and cleverly crafted content that had their followers laughing and sharing. The engagement on the post showed that people loved the joke, and some even wished it was real.

Waterdrop funny Instagram post

Last year’s April Fool’s prank was even better with the announcement of “BEERO.” 

They made a hilarious video where they rewrote Enrique Iglesias’ hit song “Hero,” turning it into a funny anthem for their fictional beer-flavored microdrink. 

What can you learn from this? 

Don’t be afraid to use humor. It creates an emotional connection with your audience. And when done right, it encourages sharing and boosts engagement.

Wrapping up

Waterdrop’s success story is a great example of how to grow a business globally.

Since starting in 2017, this Austrian company has changed the beverage industry with its healthy, eco-friendly products.

In this breakdown, we’ve looked at the main strategies that helped Waterdrop succeed. Their approach teaches important lessons for any DTC business wanting to innovate, engage customers, and thrive in a competitive market.

Embrace new ideas, listen to your customers, and don’t be afraid to have some fun along the way!

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