Ever dreamed of turning your vegan passion into your day job?
With record-breaking signups for Veganuary each year, impressive forecasts like ‘vegan meat to reach $140 billion in sales by 2029‘, and the major investments being put into big vegan businesses like Oatly and Beyond Meat, there is now no denying the significance of the vegan market.
So it is no surprise that many people are now looking to start up their own vegan businesses. As a vegan digital marketing agency, we see first hand the increase in new vegan businesses showing up on the market.
In particular, many of these businesses are now cropping up online, rather than taking the traditional route of starting out with a physical store and/or office space.
Whys that? Well, the pandemic has taught us many things. First off, the majority of us can work remotely. Secondly, more and more people are now buying online rather than going in-store.
The benefits of an online business
Starting an offline business can come at a cost. Consider the cost of rent, staff, office supplies, energy bills, and much more.
Starting your business online however, has much cheaper costs. You will need to factor in your website costs and any digital marketing work you may want to outsource.
Depending on your vegan business idea, you may have minimal costs. But if you are going down the production route, particularly with vegan foods, do consider the extra costs of this (packaging, manufacturing, etc.).
The online vegan market
Just check out Google, and have a quick search for all your favourite vegan products, we bet you’ll find hundreds of vegan stores providing you with exactly what you’re looking for, all online.
Be warned though, that just because the online vegan market is getting bigger and more popular doesn’t mean that your new online vegan business will be an instant success.
There are a few initial factors to consider before getting started:
– How saturated is the marketplace for what you want to offer?
– Or, is there any demand for what you want to offer?
But that’s not just it. In order to make a successful online vegan business you need to build a sustainable plan.
A sustainable vegan business plan
We’ve witnessed the starting up of many online vegan businesses and the majority of them which succeed have a solid plan encompassing the following elements.
It may seem overwhelming right now, but we are going to take you through this step-by-step so you can incorporate these elements into your own planning.
1. A Vegan Business Idea That Fills a Need
Always start with a search.
What are people searching for? What trends are emerging? What problems are people experiencing?
How to find this out
Easy, there are loads of handy tips and tricks that can help you:
- Google it. Just a simple search can tell you a lot.
- Find out what people are searching for using Answer the public
- Discover trends using Google Trends
- Scour forums (think Reddit, Quora, or Happy Cow)
- Check out the search volume of keywords (use Semrush or Ubersuggest)
Is there one common problem that people are looking for a solution for? Have you searched for a vegan product and you aren’t finding the perfect offering? Are there loads of people searching for a particular product/service and you feel like you can bring something new to the table?
Make sure to do your research and then consider gathering a few ideas and asking people yourself. Is this product/service important? Does it fill a gap? Will you buy it?
2. A simple easy-to-navigate website
Just like in the real world, your online business needs a storefront. Somewhere you can show off about what it is that you do and why.
Why not have a chat with our team about our vegan web design service?
We'll design your vegan website!
Avoid buying a cheap website from someone off Fiverr as you’ll probably end up having to get it fixed, or fixing it yourself. Save yourself the time and energy, just follow these simple steps:
How to build your own website
1. Buy the domain name for your vegan website
You’ve decided upon your business so now you need to buy it’s spot on the internet.
We use Google Domains as all of our email accounts run through Google, making it easy to buy and set up straight from their admin panel. You can also use other sites like GoDaddy or 123-reg.
When picking a domain you will want to make sure it is the same as/similar to your brand name so that people recognise it.
For SEO purposes it also helps to have your brand name as your domain because it is then more likely to show up on search engines for any brand-related searches.
Try and stick to common domain endings like .com, .org, or .uk (if you are location bound!).
2. Buy green hosting to bring your vegan website to life
Did you know that hosting your website costs the earth? That’s right, it takes up a lot of energy for a server to host websites.
This is why it is important to have control over what company is hosting your website.
Unfortunately, all-in-one website builders like Shopify & Squarespace do not allow you the freedom to choose. Which is just one of the reasons why we recommend using WordPress (more on that shortly…).
Why not check out our very own green website hosting service, where we 300% energy match all energy used, plus we plant a tree for every new customer!
Now that you have your hosting paid for you will want to update the DNS settings in your domain name provider account. Follow these tips here.
3. Download WordPress to build your vegan website
Within your hosting account, you’ll want to install WordPress. Either ask your hosting provider to help you, or do it yourself.
Once WordPress is set up and you’ve made it into the WordPress admin dashboard head to Appearances > Themes.
We recommend searching for the Hello theme by Elementor as it is quick and easy to customise. When you download the theme choose ‘Elementor’ as your page builder. It is in our opinion the most intuitive and user-friendly option out there!
Whilst building the website, consider using a coming soon page to collect sign-ups whilst you design the website in the background. Find out how to do that with Elementor here.
Make sure to download the following plugins to get started:
Smush (for optimising all your images)
Rankmath (for SEO)
WooCommerce (if you are running an e-commerce business)
Most websites will need at least a minimum of 5 pages (homepage, about page, contact page, services/products, and a blog).
3. Compelling copy
Why should someone buy from your brand?
This is what you will want to display clearly in your copy.
What is your brand’s personality? Is it funny? Serious? Provocative?
Do you want to use the word vegan?
We recommend brainstorming your brand voice and thinking up clever ways of conveying your brand’s message in writing. This will then build the foundations of all your website copy, social copy, and much more!
4. A digital marketing strategy
Your vegan business is going to be online, so it NEEDS a digital marketing strategy.
Make sure to have the following covered:
- Start social media pages for your brand (Instagram, Facebook, Tik Tok?)
- Consider running social media ads and Google Ads to get your brand out there
- Work on the SEO of your website (write blogs & do some outreach)
- Retarget site visitors by capturing their emails and sending welcome emails, abandoned cart emails, and monthly newsletters
Don’t have a clue about digital marketing? Read our ultimate vegan digital marketing guide.
5. Brand authority building
No one will know about your brand if you never speak up about it. Be present on platforms where like-minded individuals hangout, do some networking, chat with fellow vegan business owners.
We love the communities on LinkedIn. We are also really enjoying clubhouse for the vegan & plant-based talks that are happening there.
Also, try getting yourself on some podcasts. There are tonnes of amazing vegans out there promoting vegan businesses through their shows – all for free!
Building up a network of fellow vegan business owners around you will not only help your business to grow but will also help you to discover new ways of doing things.
Vegan business resources
You are not alone in this vegan marketplace. There are tonnes of support groups and resources to guide you along the way.
Here are a few that we recommend:
VEGPRENEUR – to meet other vegan entrepreneurs
Vevolution – to seek vegan investment!
Vegan Business Tribe – for monthly networking