Ballantine Helps John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks Increase Website Traffic & Revenue

Food Manufacturer Digital Marketing Case Study


John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks


SEO, Content Marketing, Blogger Outreach, Social Media and Paid Advertising

15% increase in revenue and a 32% increase in website traffic


John Wm. Macy’s CheeseSticks is a northern New Jersey-based producer of twice baked gourmet snacks. Their flagship product, the eponymous CheeseSticks, are made from layers of fresh sourdough, fine aged cheeses and hand-picked spices, but their product line includes a variety of other sweet and savory flavors. The company has been in business for over 30 years, and their products are available at supermarkets nationwide, large big box retailers, as well as on their own website to support online sales.

Ballantine worked with CheeseSticks previously in 2014, providing SEO and light blogging services, but their relationship really bloomed in 2015. CheeseSticks’ goal for digital marketing was to build brand awareness and drive sales, so Ballantine put together a comprehensive digital marketing program that included a variety of strategies.

  An Evolving Marketing Strategy

SEO and Content Marketing

While Ballantine had been providing CheeseSticks with some blog content in 2014, this effort was expanded significantly in 2015. Quality blog content added on a regular basis engages readers and provides significant SEO benefits.

The blog strategy included:

  •  Standard Blog Posts – weekly blog posts that are optimized for organic search traffic.
  •  Skyscraper Posts – Quarterly long-form blog posts that are optimized for organic search traffic.
  •  SEO – While Ballantine and CheeseSticks scaled back their SEO efforts in 2015, they maintained a light program to maintain and grow organic search traffic.

Blogger Outreach

Ballantine and CheeseSticks made it a goal for 2015 to engage influencers in the food, cheese, & wine blogosphere. They connected with 10 bloggers in 2015 who provided product reviews and giveaways to engage their reader base. The bloggers and CheeseSticks shared these reviews on social media to help build brand awareness and expand reach. In some cases, CheeseSticks also provided guest posts to these blogs.

Engaging outside bloggers not only increases brand awareness to a new circle of readers, but also increases referral website traffic and provides quality links back to the CheeseSticks website.

Social Media Strategy

Since CheeseSticks’ customers can be found on a variety of social media platforms, Ballantine applied a multi-prong strategy to increase visibility on multiple platforms.

  •  Facebook – Strategic and optimized posts on a regular schedule. The strategy also included engaging with fans and managing the reputation of the CheeseSticks brand.
  •  Twitter – Strategic and optimized posts on a regular schedule including relevant hashtags and engagement with fans.
  •  Pinterest – Strategic and optimized posts on a regular schedule.

CheeseSticks significantly boosted their social media reach in 2015 and, as a result, their website traffic from social media increased 110% versus 2014. Social media allows the company to interact with fans, obtain product feedback, share recipes, promote blog content and advertise special deals. Fans can then quickly share info with their friends, increasing the brand awareness even further.

Paid Advertising

Ballantine’s digital marketing strategy for CheeseSticks also included paid advertisingthrough Google and social media.

  • Facebook Advertising – Ran several advertisement campaigns throughout the year, including boosted posts and advertisements highlighting the company’s promotion with a major big box retailer.
  •  Twitter Advertising – Tested advertisements targeting foodies and highlighting a promotion the company was holding with a major big box retailer.
  •  Google Advertising – Ran banner advertising on recipe sites and food blogs to raise brand awareness. They also ran dynamic remarketing campaigns targeting cart abandoners with tailored ads. This strategy resulted in a 185% ROI on click spend.


Despite the fact that CheeseSticks is an established 30-year-old brand with a strong online presence, these digital marketing strategies have resulted in strong gains in 2015 versus 2014.

CheeseSticks and Ballantine are focusing on three key metrics:

  •  Impressions – A total of 3.4 million impressions were seen over Facebook, Google Paid Search, and Twitter.
  •  Website Traffic – CheeseSticks saw a 32% increase in overall website traffic over 2014 numbers including a 29% increase in organic search traffic and a 110% increase in traffic from social media.
  •  E-commerce Revenues – Revenues through their website were up 15% and the number of overall transactions were up 16%. Not only are more people visiting the site, but more people are buying.

The digital marketing strategy that Ballantine designed for CheeseSticks resulted in big improvements in engagement and conversions over the previous year and significant increases in brand recognition.