If you are a small food business, promoting your online business cost-effectively is non-negotiable. Having a business is one thing; getting people to know your business exists is another ball game. Sometimes, a business owner might think having their products on an e-commerce website or online food market will automatically bring customers their way. On lucky days, this can be true, but most often, you need to put in some work, as no platform understands your products or what’s unique about them better than you do. This comprehensive guide will walk you through 17 proven strategies to promote your online food business and build a successful brand. If you have any other strategies that have worked for your business, please share them in the comments section below.
1. Define Your Unique Selling Points ( USPs)
Your Unique Selling Points also known as USP are the qualities that make you different and appealing to your target customers. Knowing what sets you apart is the first step to building a successful online food business. Your USPs could be your secret recipes, locally sourced ingredients, environmental impact, or exceptional customer service.
- Make a list of qualities that make your business different from everyone in the same business.
- Highlight these aspects in your marketing materials and message.
2. Get An Online Storefront For your Food Business
Tap into the benefits of taking your food business online. You can consider setting up an online store on a local online market platform that supports you to effectively market your products locally, collaborate and possibly share resources with other businesses that complement yours.
Here are some steps you need to follow when setting up your food Business on a local online food market platform in Australia.
- Sign up to create a storefront.
- Customise your Storefront by adding a logo, banner image, business name and more.
- List your product and ensure your USPs are reflected in the product description on your listings. Your product description should provide description information a buyer would need to make a buying decision. If you are not sure, ask a friend to help you.
3. Optimise for Local Search
- Ensure that each of your product listings is optimised for local searches. List your products using the keywords that people will likely use when looking for your kind of product. Include your location in your listing description. The easiest way to do this is to think of what your potential buyers would ask search engines like Google — for example, home-cooked or Indian meals near me. Your description might say, “We provide delicious home-cooked Indian food in Nowra”.
- Add your product name and location to the “Alt text” section when adding a product image to your Food Markies online market listing.
- Learn How to Help Customers Find Your Food Products on Google and consistently implement the strategies you develop in the process.
4. Leverage Social Media
Social media is a great place to promote your online store. Create engaging content, share appealing photos of your products, and use relevant hashtags to reach a wider audience. Platforms like Google Business Profile, Instagram and Facebook are particularly effective for visual marketing. Your social media strategy can include the following:
- Adding your Food Markies online store link to your Google Business Profile, social media profile or bio, and posts.
- Announce on your socials to let people in your network know you now have an online store. Encourage them to shop online with you when they can’t reach your location. Remember to craft your message in a social way that gets your audience curious about checking out your new store. Try not to sound like you are soliciting for sales. Otherwise, you may turn people off.
- Stories about yourself, your staff, and your family (use caution, don’t give too much private information away, and keep it very general) usually interest people.
- Use video to make connections with your audience. Behind-the-scenes, making of videos, setting up, packing down, and events videos are all interesting to people who love to watch processes. Video is the king of socials.
- Give tips and how-to’s. People love tips and tricks. Sometimes, business owners are afraid if they show people what they do, no one will buy their products. It’s not accurate. Seeing how much love and passion goes into what you do makes your products more valuable.
- Always add the link to your online store in your social posts.
5. Always Engage with your Customers
- Always respond to customer queries, complaints and feedback promptly. It is essential because it will impact how others see your business and their opinion of you. Customer service still matters to your customers.
6. Consistency is Key
- Regular promotion of your online store will help shoppers remember you as the go-to business for products you offer. Out of sight can be out of mind. Large corporations use consistent brand promotion to condition consumers’ minds to associate their brands with the products or services they promote. Remember, it takes time.
7. Encourage Customer Reviews
- Ask your happy customers to leave reviews on your Google or socials. Positive reviews are gold when building trust with customers and future customers.
- Ask your loyal customers if they will do a video review — you can offer them incentives in exchange if necessary.
8. Customer Generated Content
- Encourage customers to share their food experiences on social media with a unique hashtag. Repost customer content featuring your products from your online store, and don’t forget to tag and thank them)
- Collaborate with other businesses. Organise cross-promotion on each other’s socials. You promote their business, and they promote yours.
- Partner with local food bloggers or influencers. They can review your online food business and share it with their followers, giving you more visibility.
10. Loyalty Programs
- Customers love loyalty programs, especially if they feel they are getting something for free. Reward your loyal customers with free items, first tastes, or trial products.
- Host a monthly prize draw (even better if you do this with other food businesses) and spread the news through your socials.
11. Special Promotions
- Offer incentives to attract new customers, such as free delivery for the first ten orders.
- Provide free samples of unique products for orders over a certain amount to encourage existing customers to try your new items.
- Implement weekly sales on select products to drive sales and create a sense of urgency.
- Offer limited-time promotions, like discounts on certain days or combo meal deals. Everyone loves a good deal, and it can attract new customers.
12. Email Marketing
- Send out regular emails to your customers. Include special discounts and offers exclusively to your email customers.
- Keep customers up to date on new menu items, special offers and the latest information on your local online business.
13. Monitor and Adapt
- Paying attention to your analytics will help you understand what is working and what isn’t, allowing you to put more time into those things. ‘
- Set time frames for marketing/promotion strategies. Don’t chop and change; put enough time into a new idea to see it work. You don’t want to give your customers/followers a concussion.
14. Personalised “Thank You” Cards.
- Pop a handwritten note or card into your customer’s order.
- Include a discount on their next order, or introduce a new customer discount or gift.
15. Spread the Word Locally
- Print flyers, posters, or business cards with your website URL and QR code that takes customers directly to your shop on Food Markies online market
- Include your print material in your customers’ order package. You can also ask other businesses you collaborate with to give them to their customers.
- Distribute them in public social places like community event centres or do a letterbox drop in your locality.
16. Packaging and Branding
- Invest in attractive and branded packaging to create a memorable unboxing experience for customers.
- Use consistent branding across all marketing materials. It reinforces brand recognition and creates a strong brand identity.
17. Content Marketing
- Consider adding a blog page to your store on Food Markies or submitting your content to the editorial team for additional content marketing opportunities. Blog content is useful in referring customers searching for information about products your food business offers.
Remember, promoting your online food store is an ongoing process. Keep learning, adapting, and engaging with your customers. With your incredible products and a commitment to some time to promote your business, your