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How to Promote your Food and Restaurant Business Online – Shopify Marketing Strategies for Food Businesses

Marketing is a part and parcel of any business and its success. For food businesses that have recently moved online, figuring out how to promote your brand for customer acquisition and retention may be a little daunting. This is why we’re helping you set up high-converting Shopify marketing strategies for food businesses.

We’ve listed top marketing strategies you can implement, including best practices tailored to your food brand, to increase Shopify sales.

Not sure how to start an online food delivery business? Read our complete guide to setting up your food and restaurant business.

Also read: Must-Have Features of an Online Food Business and Why You Need Them

Customer Acquisition Marketing Strategies for Food Businesses

Searching for 'how to promote food business online'? We have all the answers for you right here so that you can create a marketing plan for online food business and succeed this year! 

1. Run brand awareness ads

Brand awareness ads are the best way to acquire new customers fast. By running such ads, you can introduce your brand and your products to shoppers who are sure to be interested in what you offer.

37% of online shoppers say they use social media for “purchase inspiration.”

Run brand awareness ads around your food products on Facebook and Instagram to capture your target audience as customers.  When running ads around your food and restaurant business, keep these best practices in mind:

  • Describe the flavor of your product.
  • Focus on the benefits of your product or highlight why other customers shop it.
  • What is your USP? Whether this is price or convenience, position this offering in your ad.
  • Show your product in your ad (and not just its packaging). 
  • If you want new audiences to view a variety of products, you can set up a product catalog ad to allow shoppers to swipe through the different products you offer.

Here’s an example of an ad run by Snackible, an Indian healthy snacks brand. As you can see, the brand has been able to list why it’s the best alternative to traditional snacks, showing how the products look as well. 

example of an ad run by Snackible

How to advertise your food business?

  • Identify your key channels based on target audience 
  • Set aside an advertising budget 
  • Take note of your value proposition and offer 
  • Set up your ads to run for a minimum of 5-7 days 
  • Set up retargeting ads to lower your CAC 

Now let's look at other tactics to promote your food business that can organically drive attention to your Shopify store. 

2. Share your content through Pinterest

Many brands have been able to gain traction through organic Pinterest activities. Many food businesses share their products so that shoppers with relevant interests can easily find them on the platform, follow them, and even shop their products. 83% of weekly Pinners have made a purchase based on content they saw from brands on Pinterest.

You can get started with Pinterest as one of your Shopify marketing strategies with these tips:

  • Install the Pinterest app from the Shopify App Store. You can easily plug your product catalog to Pinterest with this.
  • Share pictures of customers using your products. This social proof is a powerful influencer for new audiences who are considering your products.
  • Share lifestyle-based content. For instance, if you are a healthy-first brand, you can share health tips. Or, if your brand is known for its price, you can share budget-friendly meal ideas.
  • Share recipes that audiences can make using your products. This double benefit is sure to make shoppers eager to try your products.

If you’re new to Pinterest, you can check out this extensive guide.

Once Upon a Farm has added their shopping feed on their Pinterest so that shoppers can easily browse through their products through this platform. They also share lifestyle pictures of kids having their products and linking the relevant product featured in the image.

Share your content through Pinterest

3. Tap into audiences on Instagram

Instagram is one of the best platforms to market on. In fact, 83% of Instagram users discover new products and services on the platform. With the right organic growth strategy, you can grow your food business on Instagram too!

Here are some first steps you can take to start promoting your food business on Instagram:

  • Install the Facebook app on the Shopify App Store to plug your product catalog on your business Instagram.
  • Don’t just post product pictures! Show how your products are eaten like through videos showing recipes.
  • Share user-generated content and encourage your customers to share their products with a unique hashtag.
  • Add hashtags to your posts that are in line with what you promote. You can plan your hashtags better by looking at what your target audience is following.
  • Mix up your formats and post videos, Reels, and stories. 
  • Engage with your audience by replying to comments, hosting live events, and even setting up challenges.

Betty Crocker has been able to master its Instagram strategy! From sharing UGC to sharing recipe videos, the brand knows how to provide value to its target audience.

Tap into audiences on Instagram

Finding the right Shopify apps for your food business is easy! Check out this list of Shopify apps you need for your food and restaurant business. 

Must read: Complete guide to Instagram marketing and advertising for ecommerce businesses 

4. Set up referral programs 

One of the easiest ways to capture new customers is by turning your existing customers into advocates. Referral marketing, when done right, helps you capture new customers while retaining existing ones. 

Setting up a referral marketing plan is easy:

  • First, set up a referral marketing app to make it easier to nudge existing customers to refer. Apps like Flits and ReferralCandy allow you to set up referral codes automatically.
  • Define your rewards. For instance, brands that sell snack boxes allow customers to get one free snack box for every customer referred to. Other brands give store credits as rewards which can be redeemed on an order.
  • Ensure that your referral page is well-designed and provides a full explanation of how customers can earn these rewards.
  • Next, promote your referral program to your customers through a well-crafted email. You can explain the benefits through this email and nudge them to share their link.
  • You can also promote your referral program through other channels like social, SMS, or web push.

Graze is a snack brand in the UK. Their referral marketing program is a hit! The brand has created a dedicated page that registered customers can view. Customers can copy their referral link through this page and even share it via social media or directly through email. 

Set up referral programs

5. Create content by blogging

57% of marketers say they’ve gained customers specifically through blogging. By creating content, you can show new audiences that you prioritize giving value over just selling your products. For food businesses, especially, creating content through blogs and videos can help you establish yourself as an authority in your niche, whether it’s healthy snacks or keto diets.

Blogging for food businesses looks a little different. Here’s a little guidance to help you figure out your content marketing strategy:

  • Plan your blog topics by looking at what your shoppers’ interests are. For instance, if you are a healthy brand, your shoppers may be interested in healthy food recipes or they may be more inclined to reading about lifestyle changes or workouts. 
  • You can conduct customer interviews or surveys to understand what they would prefer. You can also just create different types of content and analyze their performance after.
  • Don’t just stick to written content. You can also create videos and upload them on Youtube. Since Google indexes videos, ranking for relevant keywords is easy.

Bulletproof is a coffee brand known for its bulletproof coffee, a type of coffee known for its health benefits. They share recipes that use this coffee as well as learning material on the product’s health benefits.

Create content by blogging

6. Google My Business

For restaurants especially, local presence is a crucial part of running your business. Before a customer orders from your business, they are likely to search your business online and do a quick check on how your business is viewed by others. This includes reviews from other customers, details about whether you allow takeaways, what your open hours are, etc.

You can manage your business on Google by claiming it through Google Maps. Maps automatically asks you for details like your open hours, your website, phone number, etc. As the business owner, you can even answer questions that patrons ask about your business.

This helps your business rank when customers search for your business, simplifying customer acquisition.

Here’s a look at Olive Garden’s business listing. Due to their constant updates, they’ve been able to keep their customers and new patrons informed, despite COVID restrictions.

Google My Business

Customer Retention Shopify Marketing Strategies for Food Businesses

Apart from focusing on customer acquisition alone, ensure you keep the audience and customers you attract, engaged, in a meaningful way. Here are a few things you should include in the marketing for food business: 

7. Email Marketing

If you haven’t already set up an email for your Shopify marketing, it’s high time you do! With email, you can build a relationship with your customers. Many brands use email to send their brand story, the inspiration behind their products, etc. Many even share snippets of their blog to get their customers back to their Shopify store.

While you can pick up email best practices online and get ideas for different types of customer retention emails, we compiled a few best practices specific to the food and restaurant business:

  • Ensure that your emails are adding value to your audience. You can transform your blogs to fit your email or even add recipes that include your products.
  • Show how your product is made, through step-by-step interactive designs or even with a video. Videos are perfect for emails, despite it being unpopular among many email marketers. In fact, video can increase open rates by 19% and click rates by 65% while reducing unsubscribe rates by 26%.

White Horse Wine creates themed emails nudging their customers to try their recipes while using their products in them. For instance, as you can see, the brand sent an email around ‘Taco Tuesdays’, showing their customers how easy it is to make tacos at home.

Email Marketing

8. SMS Marketing

If you are running sales or want to inform your customers about their orders, SMS is the best channel to use. With its instant delivery and high engagement rates, SMS ensures that your subscribers receive and read your messages, even when they are offline. 

You can easily get started with SMS for your food business! Install a Shopify SMS marketing app like TxtCart to start sending SMS. The channel is perfect for your time-sensitive sales and discounts. 

Besides time-sensitive deals, you can use SMS promotions to upsell to your customers, suggesting products they are sure to buy, based on previous purchase trends.

Here’s an SMS sent by Outer Aisle, a gourmet, healthy brand that encourages gluten-free diets. They shared a message nudging their subscribers to check out their recipe, smartly sending the message during breakfast time. Customers would find the brand more helpful, responding to their needs rather than just sending promotions for the sake of it.

SMS Marketing

9. Loyalty program

On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10x as much as their first purchase. But how can you effectively nudge your customers to continue interacting with you? One Shopify marketing strategy that is proven to work is loyalty programs.

Many food brands set up loyalty programs on their Shopify store to incentivize shoppers to take action so they can earn rewards. This instant gratification makes shoppers eager to continue engaging with the brand so they can earn more rewards.

Getting started with a loyalty program is easy.

  • Set up a loyalty program with apps like Flits. The Shopify app lets you set up your rewards program within your customer account page.
  • Once set up, you can customize how your loyalty program looks, include different tiers, and even different activities that will earn them rewards.
  • You can even customize your rewards page to ensure it matches the rest of your Shopify store design.

Graze’s rewards program is simple, allowing you to claim rewards for different activities. The brand ensures they don’t confuse their shoppers with too many activities to choose from.

Loyalty program

Also read: How to create an omnichannel marketing strategy for your online business  

Must-explore: See how TikTok has the potential for marketing your business

Set up better Shopify marketing strategies for your food business

We hope this guide on how to promote your food business online helps you set up high-converting marketing strategies for your Shopify restaurant and food business.

How your marketing strategies perform depends on how easy it is to shop from your Shopify store. A badly designed Shopify store impacts your store revenue. Shoppers who were sure to convert after seeing your marketing messages may end up leaving your Shopify store due to negative shopping experiences.

Also read: Shopify Store Design Breakdown: Buon Giorno Coffee Sells Coffee Online Through its Branded Storefront

This is why you need to prioritize your Shopify store design. Our team of Shopify design teams are well-versed in the latest design trends and industry benchmarks to help you set up a Shopify store design that is sure to convert more shoppers. We’ve worked with merchants across the world to help them set up a store that looks and feels like their brand personality.

Whether you’re selling food online in Canada, Australia or in any part of the world, our team will help you set up the most important part of your brand. 

Reach out to us on if you are searching for how to start an online food business and need set up a Shopify store for it. 

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