11 Essential Ingredients For A Food Business’s Presence Online
18th April 2018
Did you know that according to the FDF the food and drink manufacturing sector is the biggest manufacturing sector in the UK, larger than automotive and aerospace combined? The food industry contributes £28.8 billion to the UK economy, that’s a lot of calories!
We know the foodie industry is a highly competitive market and that getting noticed takes time, thought and know-how. To get the attention your business deserves and in order to grow your customer base you need a good recipe to follow, so that’s why we have identified the 11 essential ingredients for your food business’s online presence.
A dollop of first impression
1. Website Layout
Success or failure begins with a great first impression, and your potential customers’ impressions are very likely to be created via your website. When customers visit your website, is it visually attractive? What impression would you have as a first-time visitor? These are important questions to ask yourself as 38% of consumers will switch devices or stop interacting with content altogether if the content is unattractive in its layout or imagery, according to Adobe.
Particularly important in the food industry is the visually stimulating element, an essential ingredient for your online presence. If your website isn’t visually attractive, your customers won’t be convinced that the food you provide is either. Furthermore, research suggests that a poor website experience can even suggest to people that the business they are visiting doesn’t care.
Related article: 5 Reasons To Invest In A New Website.
As with every other thriving business, whether they’re in the food industry or not, it is essential to have a website that is mobile-friendly. Consumers now favour the use of mobile phones to go online: the share of global mobile phone traffic so far in 2018 is 52.2% according to a study.
This shows the importance that it’s essential to make a good impression visually with your regular website, but with your mobile website too, otherwise, your online presence could suffer. Having a mobile-optimised website is an essential ingredient which your business cannot afford to miss out of the recipe.
Related article: Why Is It Important That Your Website Is Mobile-friendly?
3. Strong CTAs
A CTA (call-to-action) is a very important ingredient for a successful online presence because it turns your online visitors into conversions. CTAs are used to encourage and guide your visitors to do something to take action, such as ‘buy now’ or ‘get in touch’ or ‘download this recipe’ or ‘sign up to our tasty newsletter’.
There are numerous different types of CTAs, so knowing how to effectively use them is what matters the most. This comes down to the design, the placement, the volume and what’s written on the CTA. Without putting time and effort into strategically placing your CTAs, you could end up with a poor conversion rate.
A mouthful of content
4. Speaking directly to your audience
When it comes to your website’s content, it needs to speak to your target audience, and this is not just applicable to your website copy. This is across all types of content, from pictures, to blog posts, to videos. However, you first need to understand who your audience is.
Creating customer personas for your different types of customers is a great way to understand who your audience is (but note that you should only have 2-3 personas to avoid a confusing message).
For example, if you are targeting a younger, care-free audience your language and tone would be different to if you are targeting young families.
5. Being transparent with your practices & sources
Your business’s backstory may be more important than you think. Customers, especially in the food industry, want to know how ethical your brand is. The backstory is the transparency of your business, such as: who your manufacturers/traders are (if not yourself), ingredients and their sources, production and manufacturing processes.
Even if you are a perfectly ethical brand with perfectly safe and good practices in place, without giving a backstory (even if it’s just a brief one), customers might start asking why, and assume that you’re hiding something. By providing transparency, it will help build customer loyalty as your customers trust your brand and agree with your business strategy.
A pinch of relevant traffic
6. SEO (Organic Traffic)
SEO (search engine optimisation) is an essential ingredient for your online presence and is often overlooked. SEO helps towards bringing quality, relevant traffic to your website and helps with ranking your site on search engine results pages (SERP). SEO done right matches a user’s online intent with your content online, so in other words, when someone is looking for your product they find you.
For example, a vegan website can use the keywords ‘vegan food in Dorset’ or ‘dairy free cakes near me’ etc. Without a great SEO strategy in place, you could miss out on making sales to people who are proactively looking online for your type of business and product.
(Related article: 10 Eye-Opening Statistics to Show The Importance of SEO for Businesses)
7. PPC (Paid Traffic)
Similarly to SEO, PPC (pay-per-click) ads are paramount to bring relevant traffic. Aside from the fact that the traffic coming from PPC is paid for (as opposed to organic), PPC ads differ from SEO as they allow you to exclude keywords, so you can reach your ideal online consumer only and not be visible to irrelevant audiences. For example, if you are targeting a high-end market and want your products to be associated with luxurious products, you can specifically choose to avoid keyword queries such as ‘bargains’, ‘cheap’ or ‘student’.
The use of negative keywords (see image) in PPC is really useful because you’re reducing the risk of getting irrelevant online traffic and audiences that aren’t likely to buy from you.
A bite of Social Media
8. Instagram Pictures
Social media has proved to be very successful for online presence in the food industry. Platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest (where you can share images and videos) are a must.
According to an article by Financial Times, over 208 million Instagram posts have been hashtagged “food” since 2010.
This statistic demonstrates how powerful social media is for the food industry. With food being so visually appealing it can really work to your advantage. In order to showcase your food business best on Instagram, you will need to start with beautiful, drool-worthy photos of your food. Quality images are key.
Hashtags are the heart and soul of Instagram and it is important you have a solid understanding of how it works. Best practice is to use a mix of very popular and very niche Instagram food hashtags and to do your research to try to narrow down which food hashtags are used by your niche.
Take a look at our infographic here: What Content Should You Be Posting On Social Media?
9. Facebook Content
Another social media platform that sits well in the food industry is Facebook. It’s a great platform to post your own content on as it isn’t limited in terms of characters/images/videos etc.
For example, sharing a recipe on Facebook using your product would work well.
Facebook also has a shop section which is a tab that you can add to your business’s Facebook page that lets you list your products/services. If you have a shop section on your Facebook account, you may appear in the marketplace on Facebook, allowing social users to discover your products/services in ways other than your website.
A quick mix of video
10. Short Videos on Instagram
Video content on social media is a great way to build your brand awareness and customer loyalty as it can be fun, informative and engaging. It helps you to build trust with your audience and create an emotional connection between them and your food.
Do you think a video is only for the big brands with big budgets? Think again, technology on our phones and social platforms are great tools for you to get noticed without the price tag.
Short Instagram videos (or “stories”) can be a very effective and powerful marketing strategy, especially when done right. It doesn’t matter who you’re marketing to, who your target audience is, where they live, what job they have — research shows people love video content. It’s both more engaging and easier to process mentally.
11. Long Videos on YouTube
To boost your online presence YouTube is a great platform for the food industry, it is another way to engage your audience in your business. Unlike Instagram, your videos can be up to 12 hours long on YouTube! So you have more options on the types of videos you can upload; a short how-to video, or a longer step-by-step tutorial/cooking lesson, a walk around your farm or shop, an edit of all the food events you visited this summer.
Of course, the flipside is that although your followers on Instagram may be more likely to forgive you if the quality of your short videos is “okay”, longer videos must be of near-perfect quality if you want to make a name for yourself. The key ingredients for quality are camera, light, sound, actors. The good news is that if your budget is limited and you can’t afford a full production, you can still advertise your business on YouTube by placing an ad on other people’s videos (for instance placing an ad for your recipes on one of Jamie Oliver’s videos), therefore getting traffic to your website out of someone else’s video content.
Improve Your Presence Online
We hope this article gave you insight into the different aspects of a successful and strong presence online.
If you are interested in working with us to help you put into practice all these essential ingredients, contact us via the form below (We’d love to hear from you).
Alternatively, read more about how we can help you in your digital journey by providing you with a digital audit: Steps To Kick-start Your Business’s Digital Journey Today.