It has been tough for online food & beverage brands to keep up with their marketing efforts let alone maintain the bottom line this year. Some have had to cut ad spend way back, or even pause until they have the resources (and bandwidth) to pick things back up again. But even with all the chaos we really think these businesses should take the time now to assess where they are and then regroup to implement change going into 2024. So what kind of change are we talkin’ about here? We mean changes to your E-commerce marketing strategy.
We wanted this post to be a helpful resource for brands who are in the early stages of growth and are looking for an extra push to get the needle more towards the right. If you’re not in the early stages that’s fine too. What matters is sticking to the new plan and following each tip, we prepared for you below:
- Assess & Update
- Hire Influencers
- Start a Give-back Campaign
- Invest in Location-based Marketing
- Create a Better User Experience
1. Assess & Update
If your food or beverage brand is selling online chances are you use one of the two most popular E-commerce platforms: Shopify or WooCommerce. Both of these platforms are wonderful and are what we use for our clients and internal projects. A lot of brands use other platforms but oftentimes run into issues with control and scaling up their business. If you’re using a smaller platform you may want to look into switching to either one above. If you do use either Shopify or WooCommerce then we suggest taking these components into account for optimization:
Have you looked into the back of your website/platform lately? Chances are you need to make updates to the core components of your website. This means updating to the latest version of your E-commerce marketing platform and CMS. But before you do, make sure you plan for it, and back up your files and databases.
Extensions & Plugins
What extensions or plugins are you currently using and not using? Are they working? What needs to change to make sure you have the right extensions in place for conversion optimization, email communications, or other functionality? Some E-commerce extensions come with a one-time cost but a lot are monthly expenses that add up quickly. Make sure you plan for the ones you really need and sync with third-party applications that help your business.
There should not be any excuse for having detailed analytics being pulled from your store. The built-in analytics that comes with the platform are not always enough. As web analytics apps become more useful using artificial intelligence and machine learning you should always be on the lookout for the best ones. Google just came out with a new version of Google Analytics. Google Analytics 4 features smarter insights for businesses to improve their marketing decisions and drive higher ROI. If you already have Google Analytics as your go-to then you’re pretty much winning right now as an online store.
2. Hire Influencers
Social media influencers are only increasing in numbers these days. They’re on 3 key platforms right now. Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube. For food and beverage brands the money maker right now is Instagram. It’s where the famous hashtag #foodporn was born. We assume your business is on these channels but have you thought about implementing an influencer strategy? This is a long-term one. You want to develop relationships with your influencers because they are the ones trusting your brand and encouraging their followers. This effort can help boost your E-commerce sales and share more valuable audience insights. We recently created our own strategy for WalkClub that targets micro-influencers in North Carolina.
3. Start a Give-back Campaign
What is a “Give-back” campaign? This is a campaign where a brand finds a cause (or multiple) to give back to. That could be a local or national charity. It can also be an effort to reinvest in sustainability and environmental practices for the business. More and more food brands are jumping on the bandwagon because these kinds of plays bring more value and more fulfillment. Check out this Fast Company list of the 10 most innovative food companies in 2020 that are driving real change with their campaigns.
4. Invest in Location-based Marketing
Location-based marketing is still pretty new to the food business world. Bigger brands have already started to implement campaigns and see great returns on investment. More recently, marketing software companies are making their tools more affordable for SMBs to use.
So what is it? These tools basically allow you to collect past foot traffic using geolocation data and use it online to retarget those users on specific devices. You can also see analytics like what percentages of foot traffic are your loyal customers and a lot more valuable insights. Here’s a few examples of what current brands are using it for:
- App downloads from current customers
- Win over new customers who visit competitors
- Target affinity or in-market audiences
5. Create Better User Experience
We shared with you in tip 1 about the new Google Analytics. But we also know that Google is changing its search platform to create a better user experience for searchers. To keep up with that brands need to implement new best practices for serving their web pages. If you want better SEO in 2021 you’ll need to know what things you need to update with your website. A recent article from Think with Google mentions this quote:
“As users get more used to digital tools and products due to the pandemic, they will get better at interacting with ads and demand a better user experience,” Delfino predicts. “That means no broken links, confusing CTAs, slow pages, or desktop-only websites. I see a bigger role this coming year for UX teams in creating delightful and functional end-to-end advertising experiences.”Bruno Delfino – Brand Marketing Manager, Google