Owning an ice cream business sound like a child’s dream come true, doesn’t it? People love ice cream, so you might think that it will sell on its own. But like any other business, your ice cream business needs constant marketing to make sure your product is visible to as many people as possible. Here are my top tips on marketing your ice cream business.
People buy from people and social media recommendation goes a long way. Any visual social media (such as Instagram) is perfect for an ice cream business as it will allow you to share daily updates on new flavours, changes in opening hours or any special events you might be planning.
To get your word out there, you will need to build your social media following and engage with your potential customers.
There are plenty of ways to encourage new followers, such as running competitions or giveaways. You can also jump-start your social media channels and buy Instagram likes which is a great way to get ahead of your competition.
Join an ice cream business directory
Make sure you are visible online by joining an ice cream specific online directory. Joining a business-relevant ice cream directory website is much better than signing up to a more general directory and you’ll be able to find support and resources specifically for your ice cream business.
Most ice-cream businesses have a brick and mortar shop, but having a website is still a useful tool to make your business visible online. Even if you don’t offer online ordering, you can still provide a brief background story of your business, list current ice cream flavours and share your location and opening times.
A Website will make your business more visible online and help day visitors and tourists, who often plan their day in advance, to find your ice cream shop when they visit your town.
Starting a blog for your food business is another great way to make your business more visible and to share with your readers (and potential customers) behind the scenes stories, news and recipes. You can submit your blog to many online blog directories, that will instantly make your blog visible and help you to gain traction, especially when you are just starting out. They are also a fab way to connect with other bloggers from your industry and a good opportunity to network online.
Sell directly to other local delis & cafes
Think about how you can package your ice-cream, so that it can be stocked in other cafes, tea rooms and local historic attractions like museums or castles. People always like to try local food when visiting and what could be better than sampling locally made ice-cream?
Start a local delivery
Most traditional ice cream shops rely on people visiting them, but in 2020 we need to start thinking differently. Let people order their ice cream from you directly, by setting up a product page on your website or joining local food delivery apps. Make sure that your numbers stack up and that your profits cover the cost of delivery and extra staff.
Alternate your ice cream flavours
This is the number one reason why people re-visit your shop! They always want to know what’s the new flavour and what you can surprise and tempt them with. Make sure that you have a few staple flavours like vanilla or chocolate and then experiment with new flavours like salted caramel or lemon & cherry sorbet.
Make an ice cream the flavour of the month (or a week)
Base your flavour on what’s currently happening in culture, world or current affairs or the seasons of the year. For example, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Apple Pie for autumn or Rum & Raisin for the festive time. Take some amazing pictures of people enjoying your new flavours and then post them on your social media. You can also think about a suitable hashtag to compliment your campaign and encourage your customers to share their photos using the same hashtag.
Offer Discounts and Loyalty Card
I don’t normally recommend offering discounts too much as it can devalue the brand, but you could offer a loyalty card, where if people buy 5 ice creams they get the 6th free.
Few extra marketing tips
- Make a fun ice cream challenge on social media
- Offer an ice cream making party for children (and/or adults)
- Offer ice cream making classes
- Sponsor complimentary charities
- Work with other complementary business
- Offer ice cream samples at a local and complimentary shop or tourist attraction