April 15, 2024

TF #043: The Ultimate Guide to Lookalike Audiences for Meal Subscription Services

TF #043: The Ultimate Guide to Lookalike Audiences for Meal Subscription Services

Maximize Your Reach: The Ultimate Guide to Lookalike Audiences for Meal Subscription Services

You’ve spent time, resources, and budget finding, engaging, and activating your core audience. So when it’s time to scale, why start over? 

Creating and promoting to lookalike audiences is a powerful strategy for heat-and-eat meal subscription brands looking to expand their customer base. By targeting individuals with characteristics similar to your current customers, you can efficiently allocate your marketing resources to those most likely to engage with your service. The best part: using basic platforms like Meta, it’s easy to find and activate those potential subscribers. 

Understanding lookalike audiences

Targeting a lookalike audience is a simple, straightforward approach to building your audience with limited waste. In short, you’ll identify and engage a group of individuals resembling your existing customers in terms of demographics, interests, and online behavior.  

To find and engage those prospects, you’ll tap into advanced algorithms to analyze your current customer data and find new users who match these profiles, offering a higher probability of conversion due to their similar characteristics. It’s simple, efficient, and depending on the platforms you use, can cost as little as $5 to get started. Start here: 

Step 1. Identify your source audience: The First Step.

The first step in creating a lookalike audience is identifying your source audience. This group should be composed of your best customers based on criteria such as purchase frequency, average order value, or engagement level. Utilizing high-quality data is crucial, as the effectiveness of your lookalike audience depends on the relevance of your source group.

Step 2. Use existing customer data

Leveraging existing customer data is key to creating a robust source audience for your lookalike campaigns. Begin by diving into your CRM system, keeping an eye on customers’ purchasing habits, preferences, and interactions with your brand. Look for valuable insights such as who your most frequent buyers are, which products are most popular, and any common characteristics these buyers share.

Next, focus on your email lists. These are goldmines of engaged users who have already shown interest in your brand by signing up for updates, offers, or newsletters. Analyzing open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates from these lists can offer further insights into what appeals to your core audience and which segments are most responsive.

Your website traffic, especially those segments that have made a purchase or interacted with key pages, can also inform your understanding of who your ideal customers are. Tools like Google Analytics can help you track user behavior on your site, identify patterns, and segment users based on actions that correlate with high engagement or purchase intent.

As you collect and organize this data, it’s imperative to maintain a high standard of data privacy and ethics. Adhere strictly to relevant data protection regulations such as CCPA in California, ensuring that customer information is collected and used promptly. This means obtaining explicit consent for using their data in marketing initiatives and providing clear options for users to opt out or manage their data preferences.

Step 3. Choose the right platforms

Again, while the technology for identifying lookalike audiences is complex, it’s easy to tap into platforms like Meta, Google, and LinkedIn to get the job done. Each of these platforms offers tools for creating lookalike audiences and, from there, marketing and even optimizing your outreach to these prospects.  

To get started, select the platform where your target demographic is most active. For a meal subscription service, platforms with a strong focus on lifestyle and consumer goods, such as Meta and Instagram, can be particularly effective. LinkedIn could be the right go-to if your business skews more towards corporate deliveries. 

Step 4. Set up your lookalike audiences

Next, input your source audience data on your chosen platforms – you’ll be prompted to enter relevant information such as gender, age, location, and lifestyle attributes. Then, specify the size of your lookalike audience. A smaller size typically results in a more closely matched audience but reaches fewer people. At the same time, a larger audience increases reach but may decrease the similarity to your source audience.

Step 5: Launch your promotions

With your audience set, the next step is to craft your marketing messages to resonate with these key prospects. Be sure to highlight the unique selling points of your meal subscription service, such as convenience, quality, or dietary variety. Consider what attracted your current customers and use similar themes to appeal to your lookalike audience. It’s also a good idea to consider incentives – special discounts, offers, or trials encouraging opt-ins. Don’t underestimate the power of free meals, upgrades, or meaningful discounts to entice a prospect to subscribe. 

With your campaign set, the final pre-launch step is to map out the journey for your new leads. Ensure your ads lead to a landing page optimized for conversions, with all the necessary information about your service, with a clear call to action (CTA).

Step 6: Monitor and Improve

Keep in mind that these campaigns should never veer into the “set-it-and-forget-it” zone, even if they’re high-performing out of the gate. Track your campaigns’ performance closely. Platforms like Meta and Google provide detailed analytics on ad performance, audience engagement, and conversion rates. Use this data to refine your targeting, creative, and offer.

Armed with these insights, don’t be afraid to experiment with different aspects of your campaigns, including the source audience, messaging, and creative. A/B testing can reveal valuable insights into what works best for attracting customers from your lookalike audience.


Your next step? Dive in. Creating and promoting to lookalike audiences offers a strategic avenue for heat-and-eat meal subscription businesses to expand their reach and connect with potential customers who are predisposed to be interested in their offerings. By carefully crafting your source audience, tailoring your marketing messages, and continuously optimizing your approach based on performance data, you can unlock the full potential of lookalike audiences to drive growth and sustainability for your business. Remember, success in this endeavor relies on strategic targeting, compelling messaging, and an unwavering commitment to understanding and engaging your new audience segments.

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