Five tips to help get your food business online

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 23rd May 2018

By Tara Commerford

For many small businesses, creating a website might seem like no easy feat. Yet, for small businesses in the food industry, it is worth it. Nine out of ten people who search the internet for good food are using their smartphones or tablets to guide their purchase.

Having an online presence can be crucial for small businesses in the food industry, because it is where your customers spend a good chunk of their time.

So, if you’re a small business focused on offering great food that hasn’t yet gone digital, now is the right time to get started.

Research conducted by marketing company GoDaddy has shown that 83% of small businesses with a website said it gave them an edge over competitors without websites.

Here are five things you should consider helping you create an online presence for your small business to help it grow as we head into the latter half of 2018.

  1. Choose and register your domain name

Choosing and creating a domain name will be one of your most valuable business assets. Your chosen domain name will mark your all-important presence in the online world, which will be used to help your customers engage with you on your website, via email and in social media. When choosing your domain name, we recommend keeping it simple on your first go. Your domain name should be easily recognisable so try using keywords that spell out what your business is or does. This will be great for your SEO and potential customers will have an easier time finding you among the crowd. For example, Ray Meagher went into the hot sauce business, so settled on as his domain name.

There are now also plenty of options for domain name endings if you’re after something particularly unique or catchy to help better describe your business. Make sure to choose one that’s highly relevant to your business to help your customer identify with you. Such as raysflaminghotsauce.

  1. No business is too small for a website!

GoDaddy research also found well over a third (39%) of single-person businesses believe their business is too small to warrant a website. Businesses with 2-5 employees were not far behind either with 32% thinking a website was unnecessary. But why sell yourself short?

Irrespective of size, in today’s digital environment websites can help be a real driver for growth. They can bring opportunity to diversify revenue streams by giving your business access to a new digitally savvy customer base. A sleek and professional looking website can also help to build your brand image and provide an effective way to engage with new and prospective customers.

And if time and cost is putting you off – don’t let it. It’s entirely possible to create a professional looking website in less than an hour – and for little cost. Especially for brand new food businesses with significant overhead and limited leftover cash, it can be a great investment.

  1. Don’t be afraid to do it yourself

A huge ‘put off’ for small businesses thinking about getting online may be the prospect of researching and engaging a company to do it for them. That can be especially daunting if technology isn’t your forte!

But it really doesn’t have to be that complicated. Today, even the least tech savvy among us can get themselves online quickly by taking advantage of intuitive web building tools and platforms, along with the availability of impressive website templates.

  1. Mobile optimisation is key

With over 74% of Australians relying on their smartphones as much as they do their desktops when browsing the web, small businesses can’t afford to drop the ball half way through their ‘digital transformation’. Getting your website fit for mobile browsing is essential.

Consumer behaviour is very different across desktop and mobile. While desktop or laptop browsing tends to be more casual, mobile browsing is often done ‘on the go’ with a specific objective in mind. People will often rely on their smartphones to find restaurant opening hours, stockist contact details, product reviews, and even meal purchases during their commute so dinner is ready when they get home. So, what does all this mean? It means your mobile site will likely grab attention when it really counts. Therefore, it’s important that your website looks professional and is easy to navigate on both a smaller mobile device, as well as on a traditional desktop device.

  1. Use your new online presence to connect with customers

Consumers aren’t just interested in how your products or services stack up against competitors, they’re increasingly choosing brands based on their values, purpose, and overall experiences they deliver. In marketing terms, it’s called the ‘brand story’ and your website plays a crucial part in telling and controlling your own story.

A business’ website is a virtual hub where existing and potential consumers can participate with your business, learn from it, and feel engaged by it – whether it be through impressive visuals, engaging content, or multiple communication touchpoints. A content-rich website is also essential for a robust social media strategy that inspires trust and confidence in your business. By promoting your content through your social media channels, such as a Facebook page or Instagram account, you can also link back interested audiences to your website.

By providing multiple ways for people to interact with your business in a way that suits them, including online, overall engagement can rise, and growth in your venture can follow.

Tara is a media & Technology executive with over 15 years’ international and commercial experience in the operation, management, and expansion of companies with a focus on market entry, business development, team building and brand strategy.

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