Trying to learn how to sell honey online?
There’s not a lot of information about this online and the few resources that do exist focus on all the minutia. In other words, they tell you to worry about your LLC and figure out what jars to use. The problem? None of these things will help you sell more honey.
That’s why in this guide, we’re going to focus on the marketing plan needed to build your own mini honey empire.
Let’s talk about it…
Can I Sell Honey Online?
There are two ways to start a honey business.
The first is to work with a manufacturer. If you work with one, the answer is a simple yes. That’s mostly because manufacturers have to follow all laws to produce and sell their products to other businesses. This makes life easier for you and less stressful, but it is more expensive.
The second is to make your own honey. The answer is also yes. However, you need to familiarize yourself with all of the laws necessary to manufacture and ship your own brand of homemade honey, such as having an accurate nutrition facts label. The best thing to do is to talk to a lawyer so you can start your business with clarity and confidence.
Is The Honey Business Profitable?
The honey business is as profitable as you make it.
First of all, there are plenty of multi million dollar honey brands in both the mass market and artisanal categories. While this doesn’t say whether you’ll be profitable, it does say that there is enough proven demand in the market to become profitable even if you never hit it “big” while trying to sell honey online.
Second, profitability will come down to how you master unit economics. If you make your own honey, you’ll naturally be more profitable, but it’ll be more difficult to scale. If you work with a manufacturer, the profitability will come when you scale. Either way, if you focus on selling your honey at a premium price point, you will be more profitable than if you didn’t.
So overall, yes. All things equal, the honey business is profitable.
It’s also one of the better lifestyle business ideas if you’re already making your own honey.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Honey Business?
It doesn’t matter whether you manufacture your honey or you make it yourself. The economics behind an ecommerce business are all the same.
Cost Per Unit
Cost per unit is the cost per individual honey. The more expensive the origin and process of producing the honey, the more expensive your cost per unit. Minimums are the minimum amount of honey you have to buy to do business with a manufacturer.
If you’re working with a manufacturer, I would budget $5,000-$25,000.
If you’re creating your own honey, I would budget $1,000-$2,500.
In all “craft” and “artisanal” products that you make by yourself, it’s always going to end up being cheaper and more flexible. This makes honey one of the few ecommerce businesses that can be started with a really tight budget. However, if you have to work with a manufacturer, you’ll want to keep searching until you find someone with low minimums.
It’s also overall cheaper if you choose to sell honey online.
Honey Business Plan
If you want to launch a new honey business, I suggest to zig where others zag.
Most ecommerce brands launch recklessly by ordering a bunch of inventory and then throwing the rest of their startup capital into advertising. It’s a much faster and logistically simpler way to start a DTC brand that can work, but if you want to maximize your chances of success…
I suggest starting with a content brand.
This means you should pick a channel such as a blog, Youtube, or TikTok and start producing content around honey. This can be everything from the process of creating honey to recipes that require your honey to make. For example, if you’re making your own honey, there’s nothing more interesting to a honey lover than to see entertaining videos of you launching your brand.
You want to do this for at least 6 months before launching.
Then one month before your official launch date, you’ll want to send people to an opt-in page where you’ll give them notifications of when you launch in exchange for their emails. This will be the most profitable cohort when you launch, so it’s critical.
Once it’s time to launch, you send your entire audience to buy.
The key to making your honey business work though is to launch in a methodical way. For this, I recommend launching in 3 rounds. This means, you’ll launch your 1st batch of honey, collect feedback, improve your product, then launch again. By the 3rd time you do this, you’ll leave your Shopify store permanently open.
This will force you to slow down and look at all data to determine if you should continue.
Unique Honey Marketing Ideas
Building an audience isn’t the only way to market a honey business.
Once you have an owned audience, the very next marketing channel you should look into is paid ads. This will primarily mean Facebook and Instagram ads. Now that you have sales data to work off of, you’ll be much more likely to succeed with advertising. The key with ads is to focus on producing a lot of compelling ad creative so you can find the winner and spend more.
From there, I would suggest looking into more “retail” marketing channels.
Amazon is one form of this. They are the biggest ecommerce-specific search engine in the world. If you can use Amazon SEO to rank your products, you’ll be able to generate revenue at scale. While there are cons to using Amazon, you need all the sales you can get!
Physical retail is another form of this. Once you’re doing well online, you’ll want to use that data to help you land in health stores and then eventually into big stores. Food products do their best when in physical retail, so start thinking about how you plan to get into stores.
Beyond that, the most unique honey marketing idea today is content.
This means you’ll want to continue to grow your owned audience with content. During the launch phase, you’ve built the foundation. But as you grow, you’ll want to invest into doing Youtube shows. For a great example of this, look at what Complex does. They sold over $10MM worth in hot sauce with their interview show, Hot Ones. The same can be done for honey!