4 Marketing Strategies to Build Your Food Brand
Marketing is the heart of every successful business. Having a great product can result in repeat sales, but marketing is the first step in creating awareness about your brand. As Chron.com shares, “Getting a new product out for customers to see and try out is the first step in selling that product successfully. Even the best product will do little good for the public if they do not know it exists.”
Here are four solid strategies to help boost your marketing, no matter your budget.
1. Subscription Boxes
Whether it’s wine, unicorns, or macarons, there is now a subscription box for just about everything. Sent out weekly, monthly, or quarterly, subscription boxes are curated collections of niche products meant to target people with specific interests. And, if used correctly, they can be a highly successful addition to your marketing strategy.
While in-store food sampling and demos reach people who are in a store at a specific time, subscription boxes have a much farther influence. They are used to target your ideal customer and introduce new people to your brand, even those who are outside of your niche. According to McKinsey & Company, “15% of online shoppers have signed up for one or more subscriptions to receive products on a recurring basis, frequently through monthly boxes.” The e-commerce subscription has grown to a whopping $2.6B industry, making it a viable marketing tool for the foreseeable future.
Finding a subscription box that fits your brand is as easy as a simple Google search. Looking at the websites and social media accounts of different subscription companies will give you an idea of the products they curate, and the product feedback from subscribers. If you manufacture various types of flours made from unique ingredients like bananas or chickpeas, then boxes like My Bakers Box aimed towards home bakers could be an excellent fit for your brand. Or if fitness fans are your target audience, then boxes like HealthyMe Living or CoreGains might be a better fit.
If your brand is consistently coming up with new and exciting products, like unique candy flavors or different coffee blends, you can even curate your own subscription boxes. Companies like Cratejoy allow you to make boxes and market them to the thousands of customers already using the site.
Subscription boxes aren’t for every business. Some boxes contain sample size packs of products, but others include full-sized products, which means an upfront investment either way. But if it is within your budget, subscription boxes can be a great way to convert users into buyers.
2. Sponsoring or Donating to Community Events
Sponsoring events around your community has multiple marketing benefits. Not only are you involved in events that target your ideal customers, but it also increases your business’s overall social responsibility. Social responsibility in business is the idea that a company’s profit-making ventures should be balanced out by activities that provide a benefit to society. This can be especially beneficial to small businesses looking to establish themselves in local markets.
One of the easiest ways to get involved with community events is to provide free samples. While handing out samples may not seem like the most effective marketing strategy for smaller business (after all you’re spending money without any guarantee on return) they can provide a considerable boost to your company. Samples have been shown to increase sales, in some cases by as much as 2000%.
Own an energy bar company? Local charity races or marathons draw in the types of customers that would respond best to your product.
If providing free samples is out of your budget, then just getting involved locally can still have lasting benefits. Showing that you care about the community can build trust in your brand, and provide consumers with a positive attitude toward your business.
3. Influencer Marketing
No matter what type of product you’re selling, there’s a niche-based influencer out there that fits perfectly with your brand. Influencers use their social media accounts, blogs, and websites to reach thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of followers daily. In fact, according to Penny Baldwin, CMO at McAfee, “80% of the Internet’s impressions are driven by just 6% of its users.”
Finding the right influencer comes to down to a few key factors: their reach, relevance, engagement, and authenticity. If you can identify influencers with shared values to your brand, chances are their followers will be interested in your products. Social media users tend to view influencer reviews as being more authentic and have a higher likelihood of purchasing the products recommended to them.
The cost of working with an influencer comes down to the type of marketing they will be providing, and the size of their audience. Smaller influencers can charge hundreds of dollars, while the largest influencers can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars for a single post or video. Digiday breaks down the influencer price scale as:
- Instagram: $1,000 per 100,000 followers
- Snapchat: Starting at $500 per campaign in 24 hours
- Youtube: $2,000 per 100,000 followers
It’s also important to take into consideration the type and frequency of sponsored campaigns an influencer has previously done before working with them. While many influencers take the time to create thoughtful content for brands that fit their online persona, others frequently promote a vast variety of products, making them appear insincere and their promoted campaigns, less effective.
If you’re struggling to find the right influencers in your niche, websites like Buzzsumo, Influencity, and Followerwonk are excellent starting points. They can help you to identify the online reach and specific niche of influencers, and can also help you build in building your online presence.
4. Social Media
Influencers aren’t the only way to harness the power of social media to promote your brand. Social media is one of the most cost-effective and efficient methods of marketing for businesses, no matter your budget size. It increases your brand awareness and helps to increase brand loyalty and reach more potential customers.
Getting followers to engage with your brand is a great way to strengthen your online presence. Own a company that manufactures protein powder? Encourage your Instagram followers to share pictures of their protein shake creations using a custom hashtag. Launching a new product? Run a Twitter giveaway to generate interest before your product even hits the shelves.
Learning about the demographics of your followers provide an easy way to determine the appeal of your brand and who is interested in your products. Social media dashboards like Sprout Social and Brand24 give instant information about social media growth, follower interactions, and follower demographics, allowing you to learn what posts are working for you, and which ones aren’t.
Social media is also a great way to test how your product is faring against current market trends. Searches on different platforms provide a quick overview of currently trending products, allowing you to compare how your products fit into the current marketplace. Conducting polls on your platforms, or asking followers to provide their opinions on specific products is a speedy and effective way to gather customer feedback.
To make the best use out of your social media, plan on posting regularly. How often can depend on the platform (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.), but posting once a day is a good general rule to start out. The best thing about social media is that it is a highly customizable marketing strategy, so play around to find what works best for your brand!