According to eMarketer the current state of the economy is causing many Americans to stay home and cook, rather than going out for meals. Recipe websites have seen a 10% increase in traffic as consumers hit the Internet looking for ideas for dinner. What makes this increase even more surprising is what users are doing while they are on the recipe sites. Allrecipes.com reported an increase in users searching for lower priced ingredients, as well as searching by ingredient rather than by recipe. This shows that consumers are looking to stay in rather than go out for meals, as well as reduce their weekly grocery bill. The rise in popularity of these recipe websites has created a number of opportunities for online businesses in the food and beverage industry. Whether you are using the popularity of recipe websites to market your online store, or you are looking to make changes in line with this new trend, your business can benefit!
I. Using the Popularity of Recipe Websites
- Customize your PPC Campaign
With content network advertising for your Pay Per Click campaigns you can choose to have the ads you are already running appear on recipe/cooking websites (where available). This is a good way to use the popularity of recipe websites to your advantage. Google AdWords even gives you the option of putting placement targeted ads either on all sites in a given category or by individual site.
- Advertise Directly
Some websites are not set up to accept ads from third party ad placement companies (like Google, MSN, etc.) but you can advertise with them directly. The popular Allrecipes.com, for instance, sells their own ad space.
- Link Building/Link Swapping
Some recipe websites will let you pay to have a link to your online store on their site. Depending on the cost this can be a good idea because it is fairly targeted- you are getting exposure to consumers as they are looking for recipes and learning how to use different ingredients. Other sites (such as recipeland.com) will let you post a link to your online store for free as long as you link back to them.
- Recipe Submission
One great way to promote your product is to let other cooks know how it is best used. Some websites (like cooks.com) will let you submit your recipes for viewers to search and download. What better way to sell products like BBQ sauces or spices, than to showcase your signature recipe that uses them?
II. Ideas for Mimicking Recipe Website Success
- Include Recipes
This sounds pretty obvious, but it is important even if what you sell is not necessarily an “ingredient-type” product. It is easy for a spice company to post recipes on how best to use their spices to season popular dishes, but other companies can do this as well. Companies selling desserts, coffees or wines, for example, can include recipes for items that compliment their products. Chances are, if your consumer enjoys fine food they also enjoy cooking.
- Include Photos
Do not just include photos of the products themselves (ex. the BBQ sauce); include photos of people cooking with or enjoying your products. Using the BBQ sauce example, show ribs basted with your BBQ sauce, people barbecuing in their backyard or at a game day tailgate, etc. Sell the experience, not just the product.
If you can afford to devote the time to it, a blog is great for showing your customers that you are a serious business. A blog lets you spread information that is relevant and interesting to potential customers. It can gain you a loyal fan base, and it is a way to advertise your products without being too obvious. (Think about how much friendlier and less sales-y it sounds to say “You should check out our blog sometime” versus “Visit our store.”) People tend to be more likely to stop by a blog to check it out if they hear about it, rather than just going directly to the store.
Recipe websites are hot right now, and they are only getting hotter! Let the popularity of recipe websites springboard your food or beverage website to success, or modify your existing site to mimic the appeal of a recipe website.
Ready to partner your food/beverage ecommerce store with Volusion? Try it free today!
-Kate Pierce eCommerce Specialist