I recently became a customer of Huel, a meal replacement shake that contains all essential minerals, proteins and fats. Huel promises to save you more time and offer a balanced meal.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because there is already so much written about how to acquire new customers as a business. But almost nowhere do I find stories about how someone became a customer of a product or service, which seems at least as interesting to me. That is why I did the exercise for myself: how did I become a customer of Huel?

Maybe I should provide some context first: I’m a marketer in a start-up environment. As a digital expert, I’m very tech-savvy not only within my work but also outside of it. I always have the latest Apple products (bye bye savings) and read magazines like WIRED that focus on technology and innovation.

”As a marketer, I know that on average someone needs eight touchpoints before they convert.”

Furthermore, I am the kind of person who becomes more sporty by wearing a smart watch (tracking steps became an obsession!) and drinks more water by buying a dopper (one of those hip drinking cans you see everywhere these days). Simply put: products are capable of changing my behavior.

As a marketer, I know that it takes an average of eight touchpoints for someone to convert. That is, someone has to come into contact with a product or service eight times before they decide to buy. Let’s see what touch points it took me to purchase my first bottle of Huel.

Word of mouth

As I mentioned, I work in a start-up environment, within a co-working space. One of those start-ups, a tech company that develops HR applications, steps past my desk every day with a big white bag and a shaker heading for the kitchen. Que pasa?

Curious as I am, I want to know all about it. So my first contact with the brand is pure word of mouth. Someone tells me about the product, what it means to them and why I should care. That’s also the crucial moment where I see the logo and packaging for the first time.

Note: at the moment I am not at all thinking of replacing my daily sandwich or salad with some powder, they are still far too precious to me. At this point, I’m far from convinced that this product is for me.


Meanwhile, because of the increasing number of users, Huel is becoming a popular topic of conversation in the office. Because my curiosity is triggered even more, I decide to taste the product. Not good, is the painful conclusion. An earthy taste that hits the stomach like a brick.

“Not tasty, is the painful conclusion. An earthy taste that hits the stomach like a brick.”

Am I bugged?

Google and Facebook are listening to your conversations – so they say. Well, a few days after I first sampled Huel, I did get a Facebook ad on my News Feed. Whether this is pure coincidence or eavesdropping by a tech giant we’ll leave aside for now. I click on their website. The first impression is good: nice branding, I can find all the information quickly, and through the many photos and testimonials I also get the perception that many people are enthusiastic about it.

85% of your first time buyers convert after a first website visit. And I do, I order Huel for the first time.

The Facebook Ad that appeared on my News Feed.


The order is delivered surprisingly fast. After two days, I receive a large box of two bags of banana-flavored meal replacement powder, a Huel cup, and an included T-shirt that looks remarkably hip and comfortable so I wear it inside and out. The taste is starting to get used to and when someone asks about the t-shirt I tell this story. Yep, I’m now spreading the word.

“85% of your first time buyers convert after an initial website visit. And so do I, ordering Huel for the first time.”

E-mail marketing

Meanwhile, I follow the brand on Instagram and am subscribed to their newsletter (forgot to check off that I want to receive it). When it comes time for my new order, I get an email indicating that I get a €10 discount if I can convince someone else to order for the first time as well. Since I have spoken to several people about this, this will be a piece of cake.

I now encourage other people to become customers and without realising it, I am an ambassador for their brand.

Good job Huel.

The referral offer I received from Huel in my mailbox.

Map out your customer journey

My experience with Huel shows once again that a good customer journey tells a story that pulls you in as a customer; from discovering a brand to becoming a true ambassador. Although it is often overlooked by start-ups, mapping such a customer journey provides essential insights.

To get you started mapping out your customer journey, we at Birdhouse Services put together the Customer Journey Template for you. This will allow you to map out which goals and tools are best used per specific phase in the costumer journey of your potential customer. The perfect exercise for gaining more insight and moreover a useful brainstorm! Download the Customer Journey Template at the bottom of this page.

Dimitri Devroe
Marketing Manager Birdhouse Services

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