There are many food producers and processors that are in a better place because they invested in building their online community. Companies who have an opportunity to communicate directly with their best advocates will have a better chance to succeed today and in the future. It is work and there are investments required to build and nurture your online community. As you can see your customers (retailers) are doing it. By the way it is good to be on their list to see what they are saying to consumers too. This is not simply a strategy to promote and sell. You need to provide value in exchange for the privilege of consumers letting you into their life and taking their time.
It all starts with a great definition of who will buy your products. Once you know who they are and why they buy, you can shift to building your online community. You should define the value you will deliver early in the process. What is important to the people who will buy your products? There are many opportunities to deliver value:
- Allow them to test new products first
- First chance at new products on the market
- Special offers only available to them
- Inside information about things happening in your business
- Exciting milestones or achievements for your business
- Other things to deliver value and make them feel engaged
At SKUFood our customers see the most value in the information we can provide about the market and how to make their business better. That is where we focus our communication in our community.
One of the biggest benefits of a community is you control the conversation. In social media you can create content or ads but there is always the opportunity for anyone to impact your efforts. Within your online community you have the control and can determine the value you will deliver. The leverage consumers have is they can leave so you need to maintain the level of engagement and value.
Creating an online community is not too difficult. You need to explain the benefits and make it easy to join. Consumers must also feel confidence in your ability to protect their information. This is very important, as this information they share with you is very valuable to them.
Once you have created your online community you can learn so much from them. They are some of the best sources of information about your products, your business and where to go next. Often at SKUFood the people in the community ask questions or request information that helps us determine what is important to you and what we should do next. To be transparent our June series on Internet marketing came form a suggestion someone in the SKUFood community made.
We are seeing big brands build websites very quickly to sell direct to consumers. Yes they will generate sales, but more importantly they will develop consumers who are interested in their products. The Pepsi offers are only available in the U.S. and Heinz is in the U.K.
We want to share some insights to help you understand your online community and how to build it and how to make it a great success.
Join us on Wednesday June 10 for our next Recipe for Success, presented by FCC when Shaun Whynacht from Blue Cow Marketing will join us to share insights into online communities. Shaun has great experience building and maintaining online communities. This is not an IT session; it is an Internet Marketing session for food & beverage.
Join us Wednesday at 2 pm Atlantic (1 pm Eastern)
To help you figure out how to build the best Internet marketing plan for your food or beverage business our Recipe for Success, presented by FCC, in June will be dedicated to Internet marketing.
If you are like me a lot of this can be a challenge. This will be focused on food and beverage and designed to help you get it done. Join us for the next 3 Wednesdays presented by FCC:
June 10 Creating your community – How to build an effective online community that will want to buy from you.
June 17 Social media – We will discuss how to promote your business on social media through posts and ads.
June 24 Influencers – More and more people buy because someone tells them it is a good decision. Influencers do just that, they influence people to buy.
How are you doing with your online meetings?
There is no doubt people are working differently. Many of the changes will have an impact on how we work in the future. The technology is great and keeps getting better but you need to find opportunities to break up the online sessions and bring interaction into the mix. We have been thinking about how we can do more of this and relate it to food. Food brings people together and believe it or not we can do it, even if we are in different cities!
We have been working with The Kilted Chef Alain Bosse to develop interactive sessions where you learn, create and get inspired. For your next virtual sales meeting or planning session, what are you doing for lunch or supper? In the past when you met in person you would probably go out to eat or maybe order in. We can help you re-create these meals virtually. Meetings are important, however relationships are built over food. Give me a call (902) 489-2900 or send me an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will explain how we can create an incredible experience for your team and we will even use your products!
Have you attended your first virtual trade show yet? With the challenges of getting people together virtual trade shows are being planned. Food and Beverage Atlantic have organized the Atlantic Canada Showcase June 24th and 25th. They have over 40 Atlantic Canadian companies from a variety of categories participating. I would encourage you to check it out. We had a webinar last week and there are many things that are the same and many things that are different. You need to check it out and learn more.
At SKUFood we have changed our model to address the changing priorities of producers and processors in the food industry. All of those great conferences and events are not happening so I will not be able to travel across the country with my shopping cart. I will miss those events but we are making changes to allow us to deliver virtually. If you would like more information about that just send me an email at Peter@SKUFood.com or give me a call at (902) 489-2900. There are many great opportunities to interact virtually with your audience.
We made the decision to make our SKUFood content available online too. It was/is a lot of work and success does not come overnight. In our case the product is information, processes to help you deliver better results and a community of people in the food industry.
We are also doing all of our consulting and coaching online. With the technology available now we can talk while you are wherever you want to be. It takes less time and you can be very focused and effective from your own chair. If you have a challenge with a customer or need some advice just send me an email at Peter@SKUFood.com or give me a call at (902) 489-2900. There are many great opportunities to interact virtually with your audience.