Stories are kind of the secret weapon here, the absolute best way to market your food company. They fulfill a very human need for connection, and connection is part of having people know, like, and trust you. For a business relationship, that’s crucial! 

And let’s face it, specialty food lends itself so well to telling stories – not only do you have the food itself, but the preparation, the ingredients, the customers who eat it – the possibilities are endless! 

Story marketing is kind of a “buzz” phrase right now, but don’t write it off as a gimmick. 

Really, storytelling has always been a mainstay of good marketing. It solves a perennial problem – “What do I do? What do I say?” – for business owners trying to come up with content that engages visitors and encourages them to take action.

So what we’re going to do in this email course is look at 3 basics of marketing to help you get clear on your messaging, talk about 4 basic ways to tell stories, and then 5 ways to make social media work for you. So it’s 3, 4, 5, and you’re off! Sound good?

Some basic marketing principles to start 

Well, let’s step back for just a quick moment to look at some basic marketing principles. I’ve worked as a copywriter for a number of years, and when working with a new client, we always work towards finding answers to these three questions. 

So three basic concepts: The first is who is your target market. The second is figuring out what sets you apart in the marketplace. And the third is defining your key marketing message.

So if you can just kind of think of those three pieces as the building blocks and if you get those into place then you can start there and then expand. 

So, when I work with clients I ask questions like, “Who is your target market, your best and ideal client? What are their key pains? What do you do that fixes problems for them?” because as business owners and as entrepreneurs we’re always solving problems for somebody else. We’re solving challenges. We’re fixing something that someone desperately needs fixed. Our clients and customers are looking for the answers that we have and so it’s our job to get out there and share that with people. 

And just so we’re clear – the correct answer to “who is your target market” is not “everyone”! It may seem counterintuitive because if you’re producing and selling specialty food products, you want as many people to buy as possible, but listen. 

Your target market is simply your ideal customer; by defining the people who “get” what you’re trying to do with food, and are most likely to appreciate and buy what you’re offering, you’re not precluding anyone else from buying, too. But your marketing needs to address your “best” customer, as it were, because your target market, your ideal client, will be your most loyal, and most consistent, customer over the long run.  

So just as I always want to know about the target market, I also want to know about what sets you apart in the marketplace, what makes you different. There’s something that makes you unique in the services that you offer and so being able to specify that is important. Even if you’re making honey, for example, and there are many other honey producers in your region, there’s a way to tell your story in a way that’s unique to you. 

Your key marketing message effectively communicates the target market, the unique selling proposition (what sets you apart in the marketplace), and the key benefits of your product (what is it about your product that solves the challenges/problems of your customers). 

Here’s an example:
Nature’s Nectar Honey is committed to providing [target market] honey connoisseurs and health-conscious individuals with [key benefit/differentiator] pure, sustainably harvested honey that [other benefits to the customer] delights your palate, enhances your culinary creations, and offers numerous health benefits to support your well-being. 

Your key marketing message will be 1-3 sentences. 

Here’s another example: 

We create handcrafted balsamic vinegars designed to cater to the discerning palate of the modern food lover looking for a touch of sophistication and depth in their dishes. Each bottle of our balsamic vinegar is crafted in time-honored traditions from the finest grapes and meticulously aged in wooden barrels. 

Whether you’re a foodie exploring the world of flavors or a professional chef pushing the boundaries of gastronomy, our balsamic vinegars provide you with the essential tool to elevate your creations and delight your guests.

Now, how does this help? Well, let’s take social media for example. Imagine that you have in your mind what your key marketing message is and you’re clear that you’re speaking to your ideal client. When you start to think about, “Okay, now what am I going to post on Facebook today?” or “What am I going to tweet?” 

think about how you’re solving the problems of your clients. Use your marketing to talk directly to them about whatever issues that you’re going to fix for them. 

I think part of what makes it easier is to just remember that you know what challenges your target market has, you know how to solve their problems and you know what it is about your product that sets it apart from others. 

 And then it’s just a matter of getting out there.