Top 3 Forms of Advertising Marketing That a Food Business Should Use

Advertising for the food industry is not as straightforward as in other sectors. 

Marketers here often deal with highly perishable goods that should move fast and appeal to specific niches. 

The top 3 forms of advertising marketing that food businesses should use are, 1) Guerrilla marketing, 2) Referral marketing, and 3) Digital marketing. Combined, these 3 advertising and marketing strategies will build your customer base and keep them buying more of your food products.

Moreover, food marketing should ideally appeal to multiple senses, including smell, sight, taste, and texture. Elements like this are all part of your brand, some of which we discussed in Marketing lessons from the most popular food companies (Top 10 brands).

Anyway, marketers should thoroughly research the best options for their products and pick the locations where they will find the highest number of clients for them to be successful. This is called concentration of market segment, and is core to your marketing strategy. 

Here are the three forms of advertising marketing that food companies should focus on for the highest returns.

1. Guerilla Marketing strategies for your food business

Guerilla marketing, as its name suggests, uses an element of surprise, customer experience and customer engagement to promote products to the right audiences. The methods used are nontraditional and fun and creative in most cases, relying upon  personal interactions -- all while using a favorably smaller budget compared to traditional marketing approaches. 

Guerilla marketing works so well because it aims to thrill clients while leaving them feeling unique, valued, and positively intrigued. All these draw clients into your sales funnel.

There are almost no rules in guerilla marketing, but the four-wall approach will help you succeed. The four walls you should focus on are:

  1. Effective, regular communication with customers through events, product touch points, email and direct mail 
  2. Building the best work environment for employees so they are excited about better serving the customer
  3. Turning clients into brand ambassadors through social media, user generated content, rewards, give-aways, promotions, and more -- keep it exciting
  4. Reaching clients within 5-15m of your location -- regardless of the radius, the goal is to build your customer’s sense of community

The technique is often employed in places with high foot traffic where people are ready to purchase items, like in trade shows, busy streets, strip malls, and concerts. Guerilla marketing techniques will increase the foot traffic into your store and make you the talk of your target community.

One idea of using guerilla marketing for a food company is ethically and legally turning to graffiti on walls along highly-trafficked areas. You can consider carefully blasting fliers and branded t-shirts or free samples, or scarves into crowds at events. Funny stickers placed in prominent places can also capture your clients’ attention as well. Again, there are no rules and this is a good time to brainstorm ideas as it could lead to a breakthrough as we discuss in How to make a breakthrough in business (+Checklist).

2. Referral Marketing will bring more of your best food customers

Experts suggest that as much as 84% of customers base their purchase decisions on peer recommendations. Therefore, referrals are among the most effective and easiest options for getting people to choose you because they are sure you are a credible brand. Before focusing your efforts on referral marketing, have a goal and plan, start at the beginning of your sales funnel, research your target market then follow up with your customers.

One way to build your referral program is to reward your current clients with giveaways, bonuses, and discounts that will boost their experiences. This will get them talking about your business to their peers. For instance, you can offer a $100 discount to customers for each referral they make to your business that turns into a paying customer.

You can also build partnerships with your local social media influencers, businesses, and community. The partnerships will see these entities refer clients to your business. The partnerships are ideally with non-competing entities. For example, as a food company, you can partner with a local food blogger specializing in cooking. He/she will use our products in his/her recipes so his/her followers can choose your brand for their cuisine.

But remember, the best marketers have a strategic plan for their referral marketing, and they know that simply saying we rely upon referrals is not a plan. 

Building a marketing system that drives referrals from 50% of every new customer through a structured program that results in 25 new referred customers per week who do an average of $55 per new sale is a formal referral program. With some focused energy, a plan and a little time for it to become successful, you can do it!

The first place to start here is by developing a simple referral card, similar to a business card, asking your customers to write down two referrals of other people that would enjoy our food products. Be sure to make a great offer to both the person doing the referring and to the person being introduced. These will turn out to be your best customers, so don’t limit yourself before you even get started.

Go here for more information on how to build your referral marketing systems.

3. Digital Marketing strategies that work

Online marketing has taken over in almost all sectors, especially in the food business as we discussed in How Do You Market a Food and Beverage Business Online? (+examples)

There are many digital advertising platforms, as we review in How Do Food Companies Advertise Their Products? (6 tasty ways). But you should focus on the ones on which your target market is found. Most local restaurant customers, for example, are on Instagram, Facebook, and sometimes Pinterest. Here, there are thousands of mouth-watering food pictures that will have them trooping to your restaurant. If you are marketing a restaurant, go here and implement these strategies as soon as possible: What is the best marketing strategy for restaurants?.

Harness the power of your Google Business Profile (was called Google My Business) in your digital marketing plan. This free and convenient tool works like an online phonebook on which you can list your information to attract clients. Google My Business is crucial for all food companies that want to reach local clients. It boosts traffic to your website, business’’ appeal, customer trust, and local sales. Go here to learn how to use Google My Business.

Partnerships can also happen in digital marketing. Depending upon your ideal target customer, partner with local professionals like accountants, attorneys, and realtors on their online platforms. Give their clients unique discounts on your offerings and cater to their professional events to boost your online visibility through their digital platforms. 

Email marketing plays a critical role in your digital marketing plan. Creatively collect your clients’ email addresses and constantly communicate with them. The messages should not solely focus on your offers, but be personalized to be effective. For example, send the clients a happy birthday, mother’s day, father’s day, or anniversary message and give them a free product for these special occasions, in order to get them in the door.

Remember to track relevant KPIs to know your progress after instituting any of the above steps to market your food company. Start here: 5 Important Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) in Marketing.

Food company marketing might seem straightforward, but this is far from the case. 

It is prudent to have a great marketing team well-versed in the food business. This will help you to gain more customers and keep more of them coming back!

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