With years of experience helping consumer packaged goods launch into grocery stores and digital marketing spaces, I have watched the CPG marketing landscape change as the internet has grown. Traditional marketing is no longer the best strategy for CPG products, and large CPG brands and understanding more and more how essential the digital space is to the future of their brand.
I have broken down some of the most important strategies I use when I start working with a CPG brand that is new to their industry niche. With natural and whole foods becoming more popular in grocery store markets; it’s important that you understand exactly where you fit into the industry.
1. Understand Your Competition
All CPG brands I have worked with have a general understanding of their major competitors and who they are up against in their niche. Knowing who your competitors are and keeping tabs on their progress is essential for beating them out as they begin making moves to take over your spaces in the market. To do this work, you will need a deep understanding of your niche.
Find & Establish Your Niche
As you work to create your own space in your industry, you must know who is your target audience and what they will need to start paying attention to you. You will be in one of two realms of thought:
- Your target audience currently pays for a competitor and you will be working to direct their traffic to your brand
- Your target audience is not currently serviced by a brand and you will be the first to target those individuals with your brand
Depending on which side of the fence you are on, you should build your niche accordingly.
If you relate to the first group of brands who are working to take traffic from competitors, you should analyze your competitors to understand how you could provide more value to the target audience than they are. This will put strategies into place that will work to grow your brand above where your competitors currently are.
If you relate to the second group of brands who are trying to build their own niche, look at competitors who are effectively generating new audiences. This can be through SEO, social media, or website strategy. You will use what you learn from those competitors to build tactics that are parallel to theirs and achieve a similar level of growth.
How To Look for Competitor Strategies
When analyzing your competitors across, it’s good to use the same process to breakdown how they are being successful and what may not be working at the same time. When I analyze a competitor, I use this general checklist:
- Overall look & feel
- Speed & user experience
- Ways to add customer value (blog content, food content)
- Social Media
- Follower to following ratios
- Individual post likes & engagement
- How the brand interacts w/ users
- Organic Keyword breakdown
- Analysis of ads that are running
- Strategy analysis (how do they generate new keywords)
After going through this checklist, I have a good understanding of how my competitors are using the digital space to connect with current users and potential new users. When it comes to areas like unique content creation, it can take some time and research to really understand what is happening behind the scenes. As you write down what they are doing for each of these platforms, you can start twisting their current work into new ideas for your own brand!
Understand Keyword Pockets
As I lightly touched on in the last section, SEO is an essential part of understanding how your competitor’s website and social perform. One of the only ways to see how well a website is performing is the look at the organic keywords it’s currently ranking for. Using tools like Moz.com or SEMRush can give you a competitive insight into where you should be aiming.
I use the term “keyword pockets” to describe specific niches inside of industry keywords. You will have keywords that relate directly to your niche such as, “craft”, “organic”, or “keto”. These keywords will work to help you find high-intent users that understand the value inside of your products. This is how you will create a keyword pocket for your brand. With extensive experience in search engine optimization for consumer product goods brands, I can help you build the perfect keyword pocket for your brand.
2. Create Recipe Content
Many CPG brands that are just starting out don’t realize how essential recipe content is for growing your website organically. Looking at work we have done for Dickey’s Barbecue, we helped build their At Home website from the ground up using organic SEO strategies. Our first and primary strategy was using high-quality recipe content and optimizing it for rich snippets.
How Recipe SEO for CPG Works
Google uses Recipe Rich Snippets to display recipe results directly to high intent users. This means that recipe snippets have a generally better click through rate, and also provide users custom information like cook time, ingredients required as well as reviews. This creates a better user experience for people who are looking for specific recipes.
Google will automatically do it’s best to understand your recipes pages and the information that is displayed there, but there are ways to give them that information directly so they can display it across search. In the paragraph below, we will talk about recipe schema.
How To Optimize Recipes for Organic SEO
Once you have recipes on your website, you will need to start implementing code that can rank your recipes better. This case study about implementing recipe schema directly to recipe pages on WordPress explains how custom schema can greatly increase your website’s organic reach. Recipe schema is incredibly powerful, but it may require some custom development depending on which CMS platform you use.
Looking at the work I did with Dickey’s, we increased their organic reach by almost 30% just using recipe schema. By giving Google detailed information about our recipes, we are able to pull high intent users directly to our website who have an affinity for our brand and products.
Watch Competitor Progress
As you work to build your own catalog of recipes and website content, your competitors will be doing the same. It is essential to always be watching your direct competitors for how they are creating content in the same spaces as you. Perhaps they are coming with new ideas that you could work to implement yourself! Or maybe they are taking your ideas and doing a better job. Either way, keep a close eye on your competitors and how they are moving in the same areas on content creation.
3. Monitor Your Keyword Progress
I have touched on several ways to grow your presence through organic search as a CPG brand, but this is one of the most essential pieces that will bring it all together. Monitoring your keyword pockets and the progress you made will show you how the work you put into organic, is paying off.
Many CPG brands I work with do not see the true value inside of organic SEO, and they end up leaving it to the side for their competitors to eat up their space. I try to explain the value of organic in a way where it is defined as a legacy, and true legacies have upkeep.
A great example of this not happening is with a website called Bunn.com. Bunn is one of the largest distributors for coffee machines and supplies in the country, and they have recently built a new website. That’s awesome! New websites are always a great feeling, but they can distract you from what is happening behind the scenes. A friend of mine asked me to take a look at Bunn’s website status organically, and here’s what I found:
In March of 2019, Bunn started the work on migrating to their new website. You can see in the screenshot that around that time they were ranking for about 14,000 keywords organically. Those keywords were spread between both consumer-focused market and a business-focused market.
Looking deeper into 2019 for the Bunn.com website, they decided to split their consumer face and business face to two seperate subdomains. This is totally fine for SEO! But it’s important that you are constantly monitoring your keywords as your website goes through a transition like this. Take a look at this screenshot from September.
You can see in September they were ranking for approximately 7,000 keywords. This is about 50% decline in organic keywords as their website migration took place. By constantly monitoring your website’s organic keywords, you can watch for trends where your traction is declining and your competitors are taking the space.
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