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THE FOOD & DRINK OF HEREFORDSHIRE, SHROPSHIRE & GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Google shares 11 great tips for food and drink businesses in The Marches

Google shares 11 great tips for food and drink businesses in The Marches

MISSED THE Herefordshire Means Business Expo but launching a new website for your food or drink business?  Then here are 11 fabulous tips we picked up for you at the Google Digital Garage. Google’s expert told us that 88% of small businesses are not taking advantage of the growth of the web.

There are some wonderful food and drink businesses across the English-Welsh borders, with more appearing online and at local markets every month. If you’re looking for success, or simply want to improve the way you do business online then here’s a brief summary: The best websites are colourful, easy to use, have great content, encourage customers to engage with you and make it easy for people to contact you. And here are the 11 top tips in full – we hope you find them useful for your food and drink business:

Will's Smokehouse has an easy contact form on its website along with easy buying facilities for its great smoked nuts and seeds

You’ll often see Will’s Smokehouse at markets across The Marches but it has an easy contact form on its website along with easy buying facilities for Wil’s great smoked nuts and seeds

1. Create a great looking website
The UK is now the global No1 for buying online with 77% of us buying online at least once a month. Google’s advice if you’re starting a website is to:

  • Build a colourful website and make it shine across all devices
  • Tell your story through content
  • Manage your presence on Google and improve your visibility

2. Give people the functionality to buy from you
Google says small businesses with a strong web presence experience two times more growth than those with minimal or no web presence. So if you’re selling food and drink products or services online then make the shopping experience simple.

Award-winning marmalades at Ludlow Food Centre - its website is colourful and encourages people to sign up to its newsletter for news and offers

Award-winning marmalades at Ludlow Food Centre – its website is colourful and encourages people to sign up to its newsletter for news and offers

3. Make it easy for customers to contact you
Google says 53% of small businesses and charities have a website. However, only 22% out of this figure provide basic information. Embedding a contact form is one of the most important things you can do to improve your website.

4. Google’s tips for building a new website

  • First identify its purpose or goal
  • Keep content simple and easy to digest –
    • use bullet points
    • break up paragraphs
    • use images as they are sometimes better at telling your story
  • Put strong calls to action eg buy now, subscribe here, download this
  • Make sure your site loads quickly
  • Make a mobile-friendly site a priority
  • Encourage visitors to sign up to your newsletter
  • Create downloadable guides as a way to capture emails
Pips Cider has recently made its website mobile-friendly

Pips Cider has made its website mobile-friendly

5. Google gave these tips for a mobile-friendly site

  • Include prominent calls to action
  • Keep menus short
  • Clear navigation links
  • Streamline form fills
  • Don’t make users ‘pinch and zoom’ the screen
  • Don’t put links too close to each other, space them out

6. Expand your shop
If you’re selling online you can also put your products on retailer sites like Amazon, Etsy, Ebay and Notonthehighstreet

7. Define your audience

  • Where are they?
  • What do they do?
  • Who do they follow?

8. Messages to your audiences
You need different messages for different audiences on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – one size doesn’t fit all as they are all age groups. Snapchat, for instance, has a younger audience. And don’t shamelessly sell!

9. Getting followers
If you’re looking to grow your Twitter followers then do keyword searches and look for similar accounts to follow from this list of helpful tools:
Twitter search & lists
Google search
Blog search and list
Recommended subscribers on YouTube
FollowerWonk
TweetReach
Buzzsumo

Ruby's Fudge website is informative, letting customers know where she'll be selling her delicious fudge and fudge sauce, as well as an online shop

The website for Ruby’s Fudge lets customers know where she’ll be selling her delicious fudge sauce and offers purchases via her online shop

10. Tips for great content
* Keep content relevant and talk about your business
* Be clear and consistent
* Show personality – be human, engage with your audience and have fun

11. Video

  • Be a thought leader – videos that are educational offer genuine value to users. There’s no need to sell and tell your audience it’s part of a series to encourage them to watch more
  • Create shareable content to evoke a strong emotional response
  • Identify potential collaborators. Research popular YouTube creators who share your target audience
  • For inspiration research Facebook Live videos

More information about online success

  • Google g.co/creatoracademy – YouTube’s creator academy is an ongoing series of videos.
  • Make sure you fill in Google My Business help your website be found – when people search for you they’ll see a knowledge card for your business on the top right of their Google page with your opening hours, telephone no etc.

Hope you found these tips as useful as we did – good luck!

 

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