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Gertrude Hawk Chocolates

Updates to the Gertrude Hawk website and marketing efforts yield deliciously rich returns for this family-owned chocolate company.

Gertrude Hawk Chocolates

In 2020, we launched a new website for Gertrude Hawk Chocolates that was a chocoholics dream, complete with the elements to compliment a chocolate company with such a rich history. Digital was given a boost, and so were packaging, photography, print and more. Yet that was just the beginning, as the team at Hammer Marketing has been busy over the last few years, tweaking and optimizing Gertrude Hawk’s digital presence for even more delicious returns. Since the refresh, the ongoing relationship has helped the company thrive on many fronts.


In 2020, our Hammer Commerce team migrated the Gertrude Hawk Chocolates website from ColdFusion to Magento 2 (Adobe Commerce), a popular eCommerce platform that offers more robust features, flexibility, and scalability. As most of the Gertrude Hawk Chocolates site was built for ecommerce, this was a perfect fit for the company. We custom-built a large portion of the website to align with the company’s fundraising business, making the website one-of-a-kind.

Among the many initiatives with the website refresh, the team focused on ensuring data was available to the Gertrude Hawk Chocolates team to help make better decisions moving forward. This included a custom dashboard and actionable data to provide a direct look at how areas of the business were performing based on select metrics, such as weekly sales goals.


As the Hammer Commerce and Hammer Marketing teams both manage areas of the site, we continually implement additions and improvements, especially for the fundraising side of the business, which offers schools/organizations the opportunity to raise money by selling chocolates. In 2021, we established a digital fundraising signup form—and together with paid marketing efforts—boosted fundraising form signups by an impressive 40.24%.

In 2022, Gertrude Hawk integrated their Point of Sale (POS) system—the cash register system used in stores—to streamline inventory needs and manage both online and in-store sales. To facilitate the transition, Gertrude Hawk Chocolates worked with a third party to help customize the experience to include a refreshed rewards program (Goodies Rewards) and enhance customer interactions and data. With the new system in place, we can now segment customers better than ever before. For example, customers can be marketed to, based on the last store they shopped at, or the products they purchase most frequently. In addition to segmentation, orders now flow to the same place, which makes for a more robust and efficient way to manage inventory and integrate their rewards program. Now, all shoppers can earn rewards in store or online, with a better user experience overall.

Email Marketing

A priority for Gertrude Hawk Chocolates is email marketing. The Hammer Marketing team creates and executes email efforts for the company, with unique identities for each business unit.

Within email, the Hammer Marketing team is constantly evolving Gertrude Hawk Chocolates’ use of transactional email. We initially redesigned the standard template on the website to include a custom look, while providing more personalization and tracking information. In 2022, we audited and refreshed email templates, automations and the fundraising email process. The biggest change we made during this process was additional fundraising emails that included helpful information during important times throughout their online fundraiser. The goal of this effort was to provide the fundraising chairperson helpful information to boost fundraiser sales without having to hunt for information on the website, or come up with it on their own.

Has email marketing been effective? The answer is a resounding “yes.” Total dollars brought to the site from email campaigns, automations (abandoned cart), and strategic targeting and segmentation is up 74.80%.

Digital Advertising

Digitally speaking, we made additional updates to the website in 2021 that made the fundraising process more digital. While fundraisers can still sign up by phone, the company wanted to start pushing its customers to take a more digital approach. Today, the growth of new fundraising organizations coming to Gertrude Hawk Chocolates digitally is done by Google and social ads. Further, if desired, a fundraising chairperson can choose to sign up online and manage all their fundraising activities through their online account with little need for a phone call or traditional methods used before.

In 2022, the Hammer Marketing team leaned into Google’s new Performance Max campaign options. It’s been an enormous success, as the number of people who came to the site via Google ads was up a whopping 40.27%.

During Google’s recent sunset of Universal Analytics and adoption of Google Analytics 4 (GA4), we took the opportunity to revamp online tracking into the company’s different business units—wholesale, retail, and fundraising. This allowed us to fully separate reporting without the need to filter data first. Additionally, we implemented a long list of custom events, allowing the teams to analyze data based on granular user interaction on the website. With customized data, we can segment loyal customers to better market to them.

As for social, we launched Tik Tok short form reels and stories recorded during Gertrude Hawk Chocolate photo sessions and posted on TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook to promote seasonal products, giveaways, and fundraising signups. We also set up an SMS message system, which is slated to be the fastest growing and most profitable outlet for 2023. Initial results showed a 33% click-through rate, with a 92% conversion rate on welcome promotions. We are aggressively testing SMS to remain a present, competitive, and delicious reminder in customer’s inboxes.

The result of this comprehensive approach to digital? Organic traffic increased Year Over Year (2021/2022) by 171%.


As the 2020 Gertrude Hawk logo had run its course, a modern logo is being rolled out, boasting a new color palette with black, and a bolder punch and clean lines, yet still with most of traditional elements from previous packaging. Smidgens are now dressed in fresh bright colored packages with patterns differentiating between milk and dark chocolate. Select products feature new patterns, colors, and metallic inks. In addition, resealable bags replaced boxes, which are more consumer friendly.


As if the photos of Gertrude Hawk chocolates weren’t mouthwatering enough, we updated photography with close-up shots of chocolate, gooey peanut butter and other products—which no one could resist. Previously, the photos had lots of props and more product variety; today, the individual chocolates get the spotlight.


To promote the brand and give a cohesive look and feel we designed holiday themed print pieces for Gertrude Hawk’s Retail and Fundraising divisions. The catalogs were filled with custom photography to highlight products that we also used in ongoing digital campaigns. Additionally, we designed the Business Gifting catalog to promote products specifically curated for employers who give gifts to employees, clients, and vendors. Each piece was between eight and 16 pages and filled with products, highlights and pricing information.

Retail Signs

We also created custom signs for both the fall and holiday shopping seasons. Utilizing custom photography with festive themes, the signs were used throughout brick and mortar locations as well as in social media and email campaigns to create a consistent brand look.

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