Monthly Archives: February 2013

Consumers do use food brand websites…regularly.

Consumers are increasingly using Internet sources for making food and beverage purchasing decisions. In a recent Nielsen study, The Nielsen Global Survey of New Product Purchase Sentiment, more than 29,000 consumers with Internet access were surveyed about their use of online sources in a number of product categories, and 60% indicated that for the food and beverage category, buying decisions are influenced by online information sources.

A primary online source cited for the food and beverage category was brand websites. The Hartman Group has reported that 45% of respondents in a recent survey of theirs claimed they visited food and beverage websites weekly, and 17% visit such sites daily. The most sought after information from food and beverage brand websites is recipes according to 30% of the respondents. Almost one-quarter (23%) visit food websites seeking nutritional information, followed by 17% seeking food preparation information, and 13% seeking manufacturer or retailer coupons and specials.

These findings make a strong case for food and beverage brand websites that are rich in dynamic content. There are opportunities to grow product awareness and purchases through menu and recipe suggestions, as well as visual references for a variety of occasions to serve products. The ROI on investing in a well designed, consumer friendly website, that is easy to navigate, and provides meaningful, dynamic content could be substantial based on these consumer findings.

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Email marketing still works and here’s why.

In terms of  online marketing history, email may seem like an elder parent compared to the wide variety of “young” media, i.e. social. However, take a look at the data from a recent Docstoc study that appeared in the 2/11/13 Center for Media Research, Research Brief if you have any doubt about the continuing relevance and effectiveness of email as part of the online marketing mix.

  • An impressive 94% of all internet users go online specifically to send and read emails…the most utilized internet activity.

Compare that to these other common internet activities:

  • Accessing and using search engines: 87%
  • Using map functions and getting driving directions: 86%
  • Checking weather conditions: 81%
  • Accessing news: 75%
  • Shopping and purchasing products: 66%
  • Engaging with social networks: 61%

In email marketing, timing is everything. According to this study and other research efforts, email open rates are highest within an hour of delivery at 24%. While over 35% of marketing emails are sent between 6am and noon, the open rate is 7.05% and the click-through rate is 1.53%. Compare that to the combined segments of noon to 6pm and 6pm to midnight, when over 55% of marketing emails are delivered with open rates between 8.33% and 10.61%, and click-through rates between 2.22% and 2.3%.

This and other studies  found that in 2011, email marketing produced a 4,000% ROI. That’s an impressive return, and clearly illustrates that email still works quite well as a vehicle for marketing messages. Food and beverage marketers should definitely consider email when evaluating their media mix for marketing and promotional efforts.

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Are you hanging on to any of these online marketing myths?

It is surprising how many companies, large and small, are still hanging on to these common online marketing myths. Subscribing to any of them can be costly in terms of resources wasted and business opportunities lost. It is time to put these marketing myths to rest:

1. A website is a websitethey’re all pretty much the same, right?  Wrong. All websites are not created equal and that’s where the trouble can begin. Launching a quick turn website without adequate planning, content developed to engage target audiences, site design and functionality that achieves business goals, good coding, stable hosting, and expert optimization can be a huge waste of time and resources. Website development, like most everything else in effective marketing, requires the time and other resources to do the due diligence.

2. We just need a web presencea cheap website can get the job done. There are ads all over the place for crazy inexpensive websites that promise to “get you found”.  The reality is:  they can’t get you found. The reason they are so inexpensive is because they are not well designed, they are “off the shelf”,  not custom and not based on your business strategy, they are thin on content, and coding is poor. All of that adds up to the inability to effectively optimize the site for search.  If your site is not optimized for search, you won’t “get found”.

3. Social is easy...just launch a Facebook page and wait for the “Likes”.  Social is strategically important, there is a high level of engagement, particularly for retail CPG, and the use of mobile devices, where most social activity is occurring, is in high growth mode. However, it is important to understand that social is not passive marketing. It is all about strategy and responsiveness. Here are just a few of the considerations:  which social media platforms will work best for your business, who are your target audiences, how will you reach them, who will be responsible for daily interaction with target audiences, who will develop new content on a frequent  scheduled basis, what are your competitors doing, how will you measure effectiveness of your social campaign, what ROI are you targeting for this effort. Banking a large number of  “Likes” is not like banking a sizable increase in sales.

4. Website traffic is the key to making money...just maximize site visits. Traffic is traffic. It’s the conversion of traffic to action that generates sales leads and purchases. Website traffic raw numbers is not a metric for the effectiveness of the website to increase business. The objective is to provide a website experience that sends visitors into action/purchase mode. If, for example, online shopping/purchasing is a stated objective of the website, is the site designed for easy shopping/purchasing. Why maximize traffic if there is no where for that traffic to go.

5. We’ve invested in our website and online marketingwhy haven’t sales increased? This is a complex question, but the first place to look for an answer is in the business operations. Day-to-day operations, like how the phone is answered, how pleasant, helpful, and informed are staff members, does the business deliver on its product quality and value, is service provided as promised in marketing messages. All of the well intentioned marketing efforts, both online and offline, are wasted if operations don’t deliver on the promises.

With a commitment to due diligence and ongoing effort,  effective, successful online marketing can be achieved, but the myths need to be left behind.

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