If you are looking to start an online food business then you have come to the right place. We are going to walk you through the steps to develop a marketing plan to help you get the most out of your new company.
Step one: Identify your target audience
Who is your target audience? Think about this for a moment, who are you trying to sell your goods or services to? You will have a clear picture in mind of who you are trying to reach when you answer this question. Your target audience is comprised of people who have an interest in your product or service, they are the people you want to entice to buy what you are offering.
If you are looking to grow your business quickly then start by segmenting your audience into groups with common interest. For example, if you are selling gluten-free food then target audiences who have an interest in a gluten-free diet or who have a family member with an interest in eating gluten-free may be a part of your target audience. You can use a tool like Google Analytics to segment your traffic and gain a better understanding of your audience. Once you have your segments then you can begin to communicate with each audience group on an individual basis to ignite interest in your product or service.
Step two: Decide what you will offer
Now that you have a clear idea of who you are targeting with your product, you can begin to think about what you will offer. The two main things to consider here are; 1) Your pricing and 2) The value you offer customers. When it comes to your pricing you want to ensure that you are setting a fair price for your product given its popularity. It is also important that you consider the demand for your product and whether you need to increase or decrease your prices to meet this demand. The more you know about your target audience, the better you can decide on the appropriate price for your product. Also remember that the price you set will be what you offer in the first place, most customers are not going to look at other prices offered by competitors even if these competitors are offering the same product at a lower price.
Step three: Determining how and where you will sell your product
You have your target audience, now all you need is a way to sell your product to them. There are many different ways to do this, but first let’s discuss some of the pros and cons of each option.
The first step is to decide whether you will sell your product online or through a physical location. Each option has its perks and quirks and you will need to consider these before making a decision.
The first step in the evolution of selling online is to establish your web presence. For those looking to sell their food products online then the first port of call should be their website. Having a presence on the web allows potential customers to learn about your product or service without having to navigate through complicated websites or smartphone apps. Establishing a quality website is essential as it will be the first step to converting traffic into paying customers. If your website is appealing to the eye and easy to navigate then you may entice more people to buy what you are offering online. You can use a tool like Google Analytics to track the success of your website.
2. Through a physical location.
Selling your product through a physical location is more traditional but has several advantages. Establishing a retail store has many perks as you can leverage your brand and offer customers a hands-on experience. If you are looking for a way to grow your business quickly then consider creating a pop-up store for a day or two in a prominent location such as a busy city.
This way you can gauge reactions to your product and gather important demographic information about your target audience. Establishing a retail location has several drawbacks as it requires a lot of investment and commitment. You need to be able to commit to the location and provide an environment where customers feel comfortable buying your product. If this is something you are considering then ensure that you are doing so in a smart way. Establishing retail stores takes a lot of planning and research, to create the perfect customer experience you will need to consider various factors such as; layout of the store, equipment and fixtures, location, and staffing. Doing your research will give you a clear picture of whether this is the right direction for your company or not.
Step four: Determining the marketing strategy
After you have determined how and where you will sell your product then it’s time to set a marketing strategy. There are four steps to creating an effective marketing plan; 1) Define your objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs), 2) Determining the metrics you will use to assess the success of your plan, 3) Craft your messaging, and 4) Set a timeline for the plan.
1. Define your objectives and key performance indicators (KPIs)
Your marketing strategy will be measured in terms of concrete results and you will need to set some key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge the success of your plan. Defining your objectives and KPIs will help you benchmark your marketing plan against, if it is to achieve any kind of success. Some examples of objectives and KPIs you may consider including are;
- increase in sales volume
- increase in profit margin
- growth of brand awareness
- increase in customer engagement
- reduction in customer acquisition costs
- reduction in churn (customer turnover)
- reduction in marketing costs
- growth of the top of the funnel (attraction, desire, and consideration)
- growth of the bottom of the funnel (awareness, consideration, and conversion)
- growth of the company
2. Determining the metrics you will use to assess the success of your plan
With each step you will gain an understanding of how your marketing plan is performing and this is where you determine which metrics to use for the next step.
3. Craft your messaging
Once you have a clear idea of the metrics you will use to gauge the success of your plan then it’s time to craft your messaging. The purpose of your messaging is to set the stage for your marketing strategy by explaining to customers what you are trying to achieve and why they should care. Your messaging will form the backbone of your strategy and drive every aspect of your plan. Your messaging needs to be concise yet informative and easy for customers to understand. Crafting an effective message is an art and takes some planning and testing, ensuring that your intended audience understands your message and cares about what you are trying to achieve.
4. Set a timeline for the plan
Setting a timeline for the plan is crucial as it will allow you to measure your progress and decide whether the plan is achieving the results you were hoping for. Remember to plan for the long-term and be realistic about what you can achieve in the short-term. Having a clear timeline for the plan will also serve as a guide for those involved in the planning process, ensuring that no one loses sight of the end-result.
Ensure that you are staying organized and collecting all the necessary materials for the plan, having a binder for the plan or something similar will keep all the materials, including ideas, in one place and ensure that everything is accessible at all times.
Having a plan in place will prove to be invaluable as you can begin to chart your progress and identify areas where you are achieving success and areas where you could do better. Plans should be re-visited from time to time to ensure that nothing is becoming stale and that all the necessary materials are being collected and used appropriately. Additionally, plans can be adapted and refined as necessary to ensure they are meeting their end-result, keeping you on track and on the right path to achieving your business goals.