This is the second part in a two-part discussion about having a dedicated website for your food business. You can read part one here: /blog/why-your-food-business-website-is-more-important-as-ever
In part one of this blog post, we discussed the importance to food businesses of having a dedicated website. By way of review, we’ll reiterate some of the highlights of the previous part.
Food Methods believes that food businesses are well-advised to have a company website and that social media accounts are not worthy substitutes for one. Without an official website for your food business, customers and others will turn elsewhere for information about your products and suppliers may not take you as seriously which can be limiting. Your website presents a wonderful opportunity to inspire consumers and tell your story the way you want it told. It is more important to have a website that conveys authenticity than it is to have one that is perfect. And producing one inexpensively by starting modestly and growing it from there is a great approach.
Whether you’re planning the website for your food business or already have one, it’s a good idea to think about the various types of information you want your site to have and consider how you want to present it.
To focus on a few specifics for your website, here are some things to include on your food company’s website that can provide real value to you and your customers.
The process customers go through when deciding whether or not to purchase foods often goes well beyond flavor and packaging. For many customers knowing something about the company and the people who make the foods they eat is very important. Telling the story of how you came to offer your products can be a deciding factor. Telling your story on your company website is a great way to share your passion and commitment.
Providing customers with the way to contact you is extremely important. Many people are surprised by the number of customers and potential customers who want more information or need to ask questions. The simplest way to accomplish this is to provide an e-mail address. This is not without some disadvantages, however, because an e-mail account can quickly be overrun with spam. A better solution is to provide a form that website visitors can fill out. The form should have a field for the visitors e-mail address or phone number so you can contact them if necessary. But if possible, include a way to filter out Internet robots which have become a big problem in recent years.
The ingredient listing on your website can extend well beyond what is printed on your product label. It can include your reasons for selecting those ingredients as well as the care and high standards you apply when purchasing them. Another possible bit of information about your ingredients could be some selected profiles of your suppliers. Again customers like to know about their food and supplier profiles can further enrich your own story.
Where to buy
This can be as simple as a list of stores that carry your products. Be sure to keep it updated as new retailers come online. We frequently see interactive maps included on the “where to buy” section of websites. These can provide some value but they are not absolutely necessary.
People love recipes. Including recipes that call for your product (and even some that do not call for your product) can be a great way to keep visitors coming back to your website. Recipes that call for your product can be a great way to expand the boundaries of the foods you sell.
A listing or calendar of upcoming appearances and in-store demos is another way to keep visitors returning to your website. Be sure to keep this listing up to date if you include it. Otherwise it will give the appearance that your website is not maintained and can be discouraging to some visitors.
Advances in web development tools have made it easier to include a “buy now” button alongside product descriptions and images. Some e-commerce services focus on this and make it easy and affordable to conduct online sales.
It doesn’t take much to create an online journal to add interest to your website and your overall food operation. The blog can provide your visitors with additional information about your business that they would not know otherwise. It can be a way to create a personal connection with your customers that encourages loyalty.
You may need a web developer to help you implement some of these suggestions. There are also some excellent online website creation tools that can help you bring about a good website without in-depth technical expertise. A pleasing, simple design is all that is required. Your customers and potential customers will be influenced more by the feeling you put into it rather than a flashy, over produced design.