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If you want to learn to promote local food, you have come to the right place!
That’s because, given the choice, more people are opting for local food than ever before.
So if you have ever asked yourself, “How do you promote local food?”, that‘s exactly what this brief tutorial is about.
How to promote local food: 1) Identify the local market of people most likely to be interested in your food niche, 2) Join forces with local businesses that have synergy, 3) Promote the benefits of your food, 4) Reward customers for repeat purchases, 5) Optimize your Google My Business account, 6) Educate your target market with recipes and great content, 7) Make it easy to buy using eCommerce strategies, 8) Get active in the community, 9) Share your success with customers and local media
With seemingly endless competition from popular food companies that sell a large number of products such as Nestle, Campbell Foods, Pepsi, Hormel, Tyson Foods, and other big food companies, finding people to purchase from your local food business may seem like an overwhelming task.
But if you can focus on the benefits your products deliver, you will find that most people will be delighted to purchase from your local food business instead of a large corporate brand. But, you need to make it easy for the customer to buy and educate the customer on the value you bring.
Here are the 9 ways you can promote your local food, make more money and have fun at the same time!
Below is a list of the best practices for local food promotion to maximize your sales and profits in this highly important niche.
The term ‘local food’ describes the food grown and produced within a specific area. This means your food is considered unique to the region.
This also describes specific methods of cooking or the ingredients used, that are unique to the local area.
Additionally, you play a key role in being a responsible member of your local community because countless trucks do not have to travel long distances using a lot of fuel to deliver your food, and your local food is extra fresh.
Furthermore, this improves your brand image and supports your local economy. And with the increase in food tourism, your local fresh foods can also be magnets for tourists.
Nothing can replace old-fashioned interaction with your community when promoting local food.
Take time to interact with the local community during community events and contribute to whatever they are doing. Add value without expecting anything in return. The community will soon consider your brand as one with community roots, look to you as the leader in your niche and you will start to acquire long term, loyal, local customers -- who will become ambassadors for your brand.
Even when selling local foods, purely focusing on marketing media and foregoing one-on-one interactions will make your brand seem foreign. This hands-on approach will position your brand exactly how you want it as a staple in the local community.
Aim for doing at least one community event per month, especially if you are just building your customer base.
This is a natural extension of step 1, above.
You’ll find that the first time you add value to a local community event, you will naturally find other businesses to join forces with.
Joining forces with other local businesses and professionals, whether local food or not, will significantly boost your position among your target market.
It also makes people associate your business with a sense of community.
With most people advocating for support for local businesses, this will increase your customer base. Over time, as trust is built, you can do cross-selling campaigns with these businesses to market your products to their customers.
Many local foods are grown, sourced and packaged differently than foods that are shipped across the globe.
You know this already.
But the customer does not.
And this is a huge opportunity to further position your local food business as the automatic go-to food for whatever your niche is.
You just need to educate the customer on the benefits and the value you bring.
Not only is local food healthier, but your food probably has many many more health benefits. You just need to list them and educate your target market.
Moreover, most of the local cuisine features natural ingredients found in specific locations instead of artificial food additives.
This further heightens your local food health benefits. Emphasize elements like this when advertising your food products to attract those conscious of the highest health benefits in the food they consume.
Gaining a new customer requires 10x more resources than keeping an existing customer.
Please read this again whether this business principle is new to you, or even if you are a veteran marketer, it is a valuable reminder.
This literally means you need to put more resources into keeping your customers coming back. They don’t have loyalty simply because you are local.
They have loyalty because of the benefits they gain as a result of being a valued customer.
Your job as a local food business is to provide value and educate your customers on how to buy more of your great, local foods.
After all, taking on the biggest food brands in the world requires your local food product to be better. Not just in taste, quality, texture and packaging, but in how you gain and keep customers.
There are tons of ways to have a loyalty program. Your eCommerce software will have many options.
Or you can simply do it like a coffee shop loyalty program with a punch card.
A simple, efficient loyalty program can give your local food business a competitive advantage over the big huge multinational brands.
Another way to give your local food business a competitive advantage over the big brands is to optimize your Google My Business (GMB) profile.
GMB is the main digital platform for local food businesses.
Here, the people in your locality can know what to expect when they visit your store.
To be an easy find for the locals, ensure your local food business shows up on the local results section in Google Search and Google Maps results. You do this with Google My Business.
To optimize your profile, update your contact numbers, address, food business category, food and store photos, operating hours, and business name so clients can easily find you.
With a regularly updated, and exceptional GMB listing, you will attract local clients and visitors looking for local foods.
Both local and non-local customers will want to try your food product(s), but will have questions.
This is at least one reason why you want to educate your customers and target market through recipes and educational content.
The most common way of doing this is through a blog or through social media posts. Ideally, do both.
Another excellent starting point is to include recipes and educational content as brochures, pamphlets or simply flyers with every product purchase.
External events like pop-up stores, festival markets, and food festivals are good options for getting the word out on your local food.
During these events, you can also get feedback for your clients on what they are looking for so that you tailor your brand to attract the best customers.
Nonetheless, be vigilant to only participate in big events that benefit your brand. And do your best to aggressively gain as many customers as you possibly can to justify the cost of attending.
Do this by doing giveaways, free samples, and contests. You need to make your offer so compelling that your potential customers are excited to give you their information so you can market to them, gain them as a customer and provide more value.
Opt for events with a high number of attendees, get insights from other food brands that have previously attended the events, and consider your price point vis-à-vis an event’s attendees to pick beneficial events.
Most clients opt for the convenience of ordering their foods online, so your digital store needs to be optimized to make sales.
Encourage online orders. Do this through promotions, specials, and engaging content.
Figure out how to make delivery free.
You can introduce discounts for orders above a specified amount or offer free delivery.
Even small discounts and special promotions can increase your online orders since people are always looking for deals.
Customers hate feeling like simple money-making machines.
To get clients hooked on your local food, celebrate important milestones with them.
Make them part of your community.
Because they are.
In your regular educational content, share information about how long you've been in business, special ingredients, other non competing vendors you use, local events, meeting opportunities, and ways to further strengthen your bond with your local customers.
This again, will give you a competitive advantage over the big brands.
This makes them feel like a special part of your brand and increases referrals.
This means sending a package for birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. If they are too far, you can send them messages of goodwill. Though the packages might initially seem expensive, the guaranteed returns are worth it (See item 4 above).
Marketing local foods might seem challenging without some direction.
Hopefully, the above tips have pointed you in the right direction for making profits in this awesome and important sector.
No one single strategy above is a magic bullet for maximizing your sales. But used in combination, all these strategies together will work wonders for your local food business!