How to Start a Food Business Online

How to Start and Market a Food Business Online
Looking to start a food business? Uncertain where to begin? Not to stress, we've put together some expert guidance to assist you at the start of your journey.

Over the last decade, there has been a significant rise in the use of digital marketing amongst SMEs. It’s cost effective, has a huge potential reach and the best part is, it can all be done from home.

Numerous people took this latched onto this opportunity during lockdown, as we begun to see a spike in new online business ventures.

This has been no exemption for food organizations, with a number of new online food businesses emerging.

An end to a year in quarantine may be in sight, but that doesn’t mean the innovativeness needs to stop. If you’re still hoping to launch your food business online but not sure where to start, keep reading to learn how.

What Type of Food Business Should I Start?

First things first, you need to decide what type of food business you’d like to start. In order to create a successful business, it’s always a good idea to have a specific niche you want to target. It may be a brownie subscription, a gourmet meat brand, or catering to the specifics such as halal, or veganism. Choosing a niche will allow for you to offer something to the market that others aren’t. Plus, it makes marketing your online business a whole lot easier.

What Should You Know Before Starting A Food Business

So, you’ve got that age-old family chutney recipe that’s too good not to share. Or you’ve come up with a brand to take the vegan world by storm. Starting a food business can be exciting, but there are a few things you should know before you dive in, just so you’ve got everything covered.

Register Your Premises

According to the Food Standards Agency, you need to have your premises registered 28 days before opening. If you’re starting a hospitality venture from home, research what you can and cannot do when it comes to equipment and practices. You’ll also need to show that you understand good food hygiene, and have all health and safety aspects covered, whether you’re starting from home or not.

Do your Research

Market research is vital when starting a business online. Creating a business plan, defining your audience, researching and identifying your competitors – all of these things are important to know, and will help you establish your business.

Find a name, Reserve Your Domain & Build A Website

Next step is to reserve your domain and get your eCommerce set up and running. Building a website isn’t as challenging as it sounds, there are great platforms available today that allow for an easy process. Or, if you’re looking to get a professional, bespoke website built for your food business, it’s worth getting in touch with us.

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How to Market Your Food Business

Okay so you’ve done your research, you’ve built your website and you’ve found your niche. Brilliant, let’s get to marketing.

There are several ways you can market your new business, so we’ll begin by exploring our top ones.

Social Media for Food & Drink Businesses

If used correctly, social media can skyrocket your business into success. Organically growing your account reassures customers that your business is legit and trustworthy.

Please, whatever you do, don’t buy followers… 

We know building followers organically is easier said than done but doing certain things can aid the process.

Producing content of your products in action, engaging with your followers, utilising all aspects of the platform, to name a few.  It all adds value and will help with the reputability of your brand on social media.

Researching how large brands use social media marketing can help provide inspiration as well.  

Using Paid Ads

Paid ads have a huge amount of reach and are perfect for online food and drink businesses. The two main types of paid ads are Google Adverts and sponsored adverts on Facebook.

Google Ads works on a keyword bidding system, and if you ‘win’ the auction, you’ll get listed at the top of Google’s search results. This can generate instantaneous traffic to your site, boom.

Even better, by bidding on a keyword that targets those at the end of their sales journey, you’re more likely to increase your conversion rate.

The reason being your products are shown to your audience when they’re actively looking to purchase your product, indicated in the keyword search habits. Keyword examples include ‘buy cake online’ or ‘brownie delivery near me’.

It’s a similar concept when using Facebook ads, however you can be a bit more specific with who you want to target. You can focus on key demographics such as age, gender, location and even the nitty gritty interests, such as veganism.

The great part about either of these channels is you’re in control of the cost. You can tailor it to your business needs and alter the spend based on how business is doing.

SEO for Online Food Businesses

SEO can seem daunting, but having your SEO nailed to a T is essential when starting a food business online.

In terms of basics, you want to make sure you have these 3 elements covered and filled with relevant information:

– SEO page title

– Google meta description

– Adding an image name to your products

This is so Google can read your website well and push it out to your target audience. Adding this information can double your traffic and sales generation, so its key to have correct.

Utilising keywords that are both niche and broad within your sector is vital throughout all aspects of SEO; it will target people at all areas of their sales journey.

To learn more, it’s best to research more in depth food and drink SEO tips.

Using an Agency

Have a bit of extra budget for your marketing? Consolidate all the above into one by going to a food and drink digital marketing agency. Or you could start working with an agency on just one of the above areas before moving on to another area as your business grows.

It will definitely save you time, especially if you’re a one man band. Although it can seem like a big investment, there are designated agencies out there that cater to SME’s, including us here at Online Growth Guru. Drop us an email, we’re more than happy to help with your marketing.

So, now you’re ready to launch your food and drink online empire, woohoo! Digital marketing is constantly evolving every day, and always presenting new opportunities for the food industry to grow online. So, keep a regular eye out for new tips and techniques on our blog about growing your food business online.

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