How to Market Food Supplements

When marketing your food supplement, if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
When marketing your food supplement, if a claim sounds too good to be true, it probably is. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

When marketing food supplements, it is important to understand the rules and regulations in the industry. Food supplement companies are regulated in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Another government agency, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), regulates the marketing and advertising for food supplements. However, just because the supplement industry has these regulatory agencies in place doesn't mean you can't develop truthful and insightful marketing materials to help sell your products.

Develop a marketing plan. Include an executive summary, which outlines your marketing objectives; a section about your marketing mix, which communicates the price, features and promotional tactics for your product; a competitive analysis, which describes the strengths and weaknesses of your key competitors in the marketplace; and a section about your marketing strategies.

Choose your distribution channels, which is where you want to sell your product. Pick either a wholesale or retail strategy. As a retailer, you can sell your food supplement in your physical store location and online directly through your website. For a wholesale strategy, you will partner with retail locations like grocery stores, specialty food stores and food supplement websites, who distribute and sell your product in exchange for a percentage of the profits.

Create a website for your food supplement. Hire a website designer and copywriter to help you design and write a website for your food supplement. If you are selling your food supplement directly through your website, make sure your website designer has programming experience so they can set up a merchant account on your site. Include information about your products, where they can order them and your contact information. Ensure your copywriter understands how to write SEO-friendly copy. SEO stands for "search engine optimization," and is a strategy to help your pages appear higher in search engines result pages.

Promote your website. There are a variety of ways you can increase traffic to your website. One way is to get "backlinks" to your site. Backlinks is a term used to describe the number of links from other websites to your site. The more backlinks you have, the higher your website will appear in search pages. Purchase ads on, and, a strategy known as "search engine marketing." Here's how it works: you place bids on certain key words, and if you bid higher than your competitors, your ad will appear next to the search results. For example, if you select the key words "fiber food supplement" and bid a high enough amount, a link to your website would appear next to the search results, and you would pay for each customer that clicked on the link for your ad.

Implement the marketing tactics you identified in your marketing plan. One tactic food supplement companies use is direct mail, in which you send printed marketing messages like sales letters, catalogs and postcards to a select group of prospective customers via postal mail. You can also choose to advertise in food and beverage magazines and trade publications, or create a television or radio ad. As a rule of thumb, when developing any marketing materials for your food supplement, review the laws governing your particular supplement and avoid making any substantial claims without direct empirical support.

Network with others in your industry. Attend food supplement trade shows, and offer to speak at food industry conferences. Bring plenty of business cards, and talk to people about your food supplement business. Trying to make as many contacts as possible is a good marketing strategy that can go a long way toward your success.

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