While search marketing is hugely popular in a number of industries, many CPG companies have neglected this crucial arrow in their quiver. The conventional wisdom holds a number of preconceptions about why groceries are ill-suited to this form of customer acquisition, but, as is often the case, the conventional wisdom is wrong. Let’s take a look at some common misconceptions about why search marketing won’t succeed in CPG, before delving into the strategies that can get it working for your brand.
The first thing you’ll hear is “it’s too expensive!” But it’s important to remember that just throwing money at Google isn’t the only approach out there. Rather than choosing one specific, product-related word, you need to be thinking of ways to approach customers from a different angle, such as shoppable recipes (more on this later). Customers won’t always be searching “cheese”, they’ll want recipes for a variety of dishes, wine pairings, or maybe they’ll search a cheese they don’t know the name of by its colour or texture. Focus on finding keywords and approaches that might be regularly searched by consumers but are less obvious than, say, “cheddar.”
Detractors of search marketing might then move on to the idea of rankings. Many brands tend to buy into the logical fallacy of “if you’re not first, you’re last” even though you’d never apply this type of reasoning to your actual sales numbers. Carving out your niche is fundamentally important to every business, and from Tesco down to the smallest family-owned, artisanal pickle maker, search marketing can offer something for everyone.
The final misconception is the biggest of them all: “But nobody searches for grocery products.” The number of people making food-related searches is exponentially higher than those googling the pop-culture phenomenons you’d assume would lead the rankings. And Google is getting 3.5 billion queries per day, with that number rising by about 10% year after year! We’d bet that you didn’t know that the most searched food item in the US last year was “unicorn cakes”, or that 5 of the top 10 searches included the word “keto.” Other key trends to note are that food-related searches including the word “best” are increasing by 2-3x per year and that the recipes which command the most traffic include words like “quick”, “fast”, “easy”, and “no-bake.”
Examining the misconceptions, and the data relating to them gives us a blueprint for putting search marketing to work. One way to work around the giants in your product category is to offer shoppable recipes and to align your search strategy to consumers looking to solve the problem of today’s dinner or dessert. Remember that searches might not always be for a product, but for a solution: “15-minute meals”, “best cheesecake cream cheese”, or “low-carb substitute for tortilla?” By finding soft spots and refining your keyword strategies, you can unearth success, whether your brand is a minnow or a whale.
Studies have shown that an online customer will be worth 4x as much to your company as their offline counterparts. The average online shopper repurchases the items they buy 13x per year in the CPG industry, a rate which makes them far “stickier” than the average shopper. And if you take into account that the eCommerce grocery market is booming and that 50% of the average basket is comprised of items that are “favourited”, you are forced to conclude that the time to invest in search marketing is NOW.
When establishing your strategy, it’s time to visualize the online sales funnel. It begins with a problem, which you should envision as the customer’s food-related need. The customer is looking for information at this stage, but you should also ensure that your content makes impulse purchases a breeze, even at this early stage. Make sure you use granular data so your brand pops up in searches for easy recipes, substitutions, and which ingredients make the best version of a dish. Follow up with brand and sales content to steer the potential customer towards purchase, and ensure that the purchase process goes smoothly by offering frictionless, shoppable opportunities to buy through every step of the process. Ensuring that all of the steps go smoothly is essential to being added to a shopper’s favourites list, the Holy Grail of modern eCommerce.
1)Find Your Demand: what are your potential customers searching for?
2) Segment Keywords: choose the right battles, find search terms you can own.
3) Map Your Content: make sure it’s relevant, centered on your brand, and that you can keep it going across multiple channels.
4) Launch Paid Search: while we prefer organic search (it’s like investing in a house whose value will appreciate instead of paying a fee for rent each month), you can get results and feedback quickly through paid search, allowing you to test whether your strategies and keywords are paying dividends.
5) Measure Performance: ensure that you are getting all of the sales data you need, including click-thru rates, and statistics on engagement, conversion, average basket value, how many products are purchased in each basket (this one will allow you to invest more in keywords that yield a higher volume per basket).
6) Apply To Organic Search: Take this data and put it to work for you in long term strategies for organic search optimization.
7) Take A Deep Breath And Repeat: Go find another keyword that reels shoppers in!
As we discussed in a recent webinar, with more and more grocery purchases migrating online, search marketing is going to drive success and failure in CPG in the coming decade. Don’t throw up your hands and use misconceptions and logical fallacies as an excuse to avoid investing in your future. Let Adimo guide you through this process, as we have for brands like Arla and Carnation, and ensure that your products pop up on screens and get tossed in baskets for years to come.