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“If something does not go as planned, then the core team of Zomato is always ready to pick it up and go through the same afresh, making the necessary changes.”
– Deepinder Goyal, Co-founder, CEO, Zomato
This quote by Mr. Deepinder Goyal perfectly defines the character of Zomato as an organization. The leading food delivery company began in 2008 as a discovery and reviews platform named Foodiebay. After 13 years since its inception, the global food tech behemoth has a strong presence in 16 countries. Moreover, in 2021, Zomato created history by becoming the first-ever food delivery company to go public.
One of the main reasons behind this tremendous rise in stature has been Zomato’s impeccable digital marketing strategy. Whether riding on the latest social media trends or being the flagbearer by starting some ‘never-seen-before’ and personalized marketing strategies, Zomato has always stuck the right chord with its target audience.
Therefore, to take a ‘leaf out of Zomato’s book,’ we will analyze the online food delivery industry’s giant’s marketing strategy and how the company has gone from strength to strength over the years.
Before becoming India’s first food tech unicorn, Zomato – Food Delivery company had its share of zenith and pitfalls. For example, after 9 months of its beginning, Foodiebay became the largest restaurant and food directory in Delhi NCR (National Capital Region). Then, in 2010, it was rebranded to Zomato, and there has been no looking back for the company since then.
After substantial success in Delhi NCR, the food-tech startup didn’t waste any time and started branching out in Ahmedabad, Pune, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bengaluru. And as the solid Zomato marketing plan reaped in rich dividends, the organization extended its services to Sri Lanka, South Africa, Qatar, UAE, UK and the Philippines.
Moreover, after seven years of a mind-boggling run, the company faced major roadblocks in 2015. The organization was struggling for revenues and had to carry out a massive layoff of employees. But then, as we saw in the quote of Deepinder Goyal, the food-tech startup picked itself up from there and in the first half of FY2020, Zomato recorded a whopping 225% rise in its revenue. In addition, in H1FY20, the food aggregator and delivery startup has almost 119k restaurants on its platform, with the future looking bright and shining.
Now, after getting a brief understanding of the journey, it is time to dive deep and see the digital marketing strategy of Zomato and how it aces it every time.
The rise of Zomato coincided with the rise of digital marketing in India. The internet boom and data were becoming cheaper and accessible inclined the odds in favor of Zomato, and the food tech startup pounced upon the opportunity with both hands.
Zomato has been leading the way to use both traditional and digital marketing strategies. For visual or billboard advertisements, it uses punch lines and catchy phrases that connect with the customers and compel them to order food through their platform. While opting for the traditional route, amazing content has a vital role in Zomato’s branding strategy. .
Moreover, the visual marketing strategy gives a much-needed boost to the organization to approach their ‘not-so-tech-savvy’ target audience and get the best out of their on-demand delivery application.
Despite being a non-permanent marketing strategy, paid advertising is vital and contributes to keeping the engagement up at the platform. In addition, it drives organic footfalls on the mobile app or website drastically and improves the search results.
Zomato concentrates on running the Google ads only to target some specific customers. These ads get displayed along with the organic search results and allow the food tech giant to find a wide range of keywords that they can work on later.
It is a search advertising method that allows online advertisements to be placed on the website, and these ads show results from the search engine queries. Zomato’s digital marketing strategy uses this method to enhance its online presence even more.
Zomato uses this method of graphic advertising as it allows the food tech startup to promote itself in multiple formats such as through images, audio, video, etc.
There are no qualms that Zomato knows a thing or two about nailing the email marketing strategy. It has one of the most compelling and wittiest email marketing strategies. The great subject lines and crisp call-to-action strategies play a pivotal role in maintaining the online food delivery platform’s brand loyalty.
In the subject lines, the food tech startup has created a ‘CV for Biryani’ and has included popular pop culture references from different web series, movies, shows, etc. These subtle inclusion assists in Zomato’s promotion strategies in a seamless way.
Along with email, Zomato has set ‘gold standards’ when it comes to SMS marketing. It presents engaging content according to the buying habits of the customers. This technique also helps in increasing the food tech platform’s retention rate.
As we have seen earlier, most of Zomato’s target audience falls under the age category of ‘18-35 years. Therefore, it becomes essential for the food tech giant to keep its ‘social media marketing campaigns’ up to the mark. The platform puts an extra effort to stay connected with its audience through some unique content on social media by doing engaging posts.
Zomato’s followers on different social media platforms are:
Moreover, as per data, 0.73% of the total traffic, and YouTube and Facebook hold the chunk of this traffic.
Memes are very famous on social media and Zomato, understanding its importance has mastered the art of ‘meme marketing.’ Through this content marketing strategy, the food tech giant generates much organic traffic that eventually helps in boosting its overall revenue as well.
Zomato understands the power of influencer marketing thus has given much emphasis to it in the advertising campaign. Whether a macro influencer or micro-influencer, Zomato doesn’t shy away from going the extra mile and uses its popularity to increase its user base.
We all know the hilarious take Zomato’s tweets have on different situations. Whether it is an ongoing situation or the situation its customers face in our daily lives, Zomato has some content that will bring a smile to their faces. And its humorous content spreads like wildfire and has a great rub-off effect.
Along with approaching the micro-influencers, Zomato has taken the ‘hyper-local marketing’ strategy to a new level by promoting its content in local languages. This helps Zomato in reaching more people, thus boosting their trustworthiness.
Human beings are emotional, and Zomato’s social media marketing strategy always has an element of emotion in it. More often than not, that emotion strikes the right chord with the audience and helps increase the overall engagement rate.
Zomato has always been a front runner in understanding the importance of videos and has been utilizing it to its benefit on the YouTube platform. You often will get to see short, crisp, and non-skippable video advertisements of Zomato on YouTube that have a subtle ‘call-to-action’. Thus, it will be safe enough to say that video advertisements hold an important place in Zomato’s digital marketing strategies.
In today’s business world, where everything runs on data and analytics, it becomes impossible to do away with SEO strategies. However, Zomato fully understands that there are no alternative, competent SEO strategies as it drives around 99.44% of organic traffic and the remaining comes from paid advertising.
It is the foolproof SEO strategy of Zomato that increases the organic traffic number from 66% to 99.44%.
Below are the few methods employed by Zomato to scale up its ‘SEO’ game.
The most common SEO strategy is to link the specific URLs to the keywords. Although it seems very basic, if done correctly, it reaps rich benefits, as we have seen in the case of Zomato. The relevant URLs to the keywords enhance Zomato’s digital media presence and take the promotion strategy to a whole new level.
Here the food tech brand targets many keywords that promote the overall brand.
In the marketing plan of Zomato, there are more than 900k keywords that are optimized for SEO purposes. Targeting these many keywords organically gives Zomato an upper hand in SEO that is tough to surpass.
One of the main reasons behind Zomato’s dominant position in the search results is its huge directory of restaurants and food, and it has become a blessing for them. And the directory includes minute details such as the name of the dish, place of the restaurant, its best-selling item, and many more. This data also helps in developing an airtight Zomato promotion strategy.
Zomato has over 54 million pages on its website as it allows restaurants to create and maintain their data. In addition, the high number of pages helps increase the SEO of the website. This is because many website pages play a crucial role in getting high ranks on the search engine.
Getting a high number of backlinks from various websites is crucial in boosting domain authority. For example, Zomato has a high domain authority as it gets backlinks from .edu and .gov websites. The food tech giant’s website currently has more than 13 million domains.
Along with its immaculate services, it is the top-class marketing strategies of Zomato that has helped the company to become a brand. We will see some of its top efforts before getting to the details.
The target audience of Zomato falls in the age range of 18-35 years to a larger extent. These people majorly love to dine out or prefer food delivered to their homes. Therefore, the ‘Zomato digital marketing strategy’ majorly targets the youth who indulge in exploring new restaurants or new foods with their friends and colleagues.
Along with figuring out the target audience, Zomato doesn’t shy away from bringing in experiential events and spreading positive vibes around food during the segmentation process. It does this by participating in entertainment and multi-city food carnivals. Moreover, it launches food both in-home delivery and dines out.
Through its segmentation marketing strategy, Zomato implements a multi-channel approach on the offline marketing channel as well. This helps the food tech organization to expand its user base outside its target audience as well.
Now you might be thinking that in the digital marketing strategy of Zomato, there is nothing that is ‘out of the box. On the contrary, it does the same thing as you would expect from a normal company that has an online presence. Thus, here we will discuss those important aspects that make Zomato’s advertising strategy unique.
One of the greatest USPs of Zomato is that it believes in giving ‘something extra’ to its customers. So along with giving satisfactory food delivery services, it never fails to brainstorm on things that will enhance the overall app experience of its customers.
One such idea was to launch Zomato Gold in 2017. It was a premium service that offered countless discounts to the users against a monthly subscription fee. It turned out to be a ‘masterstroke’ and emerged as one of the leading app monetization strategies.
Then in August 2018, Zomato started Hyper pure. This initiative ensured that the supplies to the restaurant were highly hygienic and of high quality.
Following the model of Domino’s Pizza, Zomato began the ‘On-Time or Free’ campaign in December 2019. And it went a step further than Domino’s as Zomato’s this campaign was applicable on all its food and not just Pizza.
The customers could avail themselves of the ‘On-Time or Free’ by tapping on a button on the Zomato app. And after that, if the food is not delivered on time, they will get their money back. The food delivery service provider used online advertising, TV creatives, and different kinds of social media platforms to promote this campaign.
Since its inception, Zomato has believed in constant innovation. Thus, during its journey, it has followed the ‘constant innovation’ template and acquired different companies such as Uber Eats, Uber Spoon, MapleGraph, Nestable, etc.
Although these acquisitions were not cheap, they helped Zomato give momentum to the brand and innovate it time and again.
India is a cricket-crazy nation and Zomato as a brand understands it to the core. Thus, the food-tech startup introduced the Zomato premier league. It was an amazing attempt at gamification by the brand that became a huge hit among the customers. Through this, the brand listed great deals and discounts that were offered by the participating restaurants. In addition, the customers also stood a chance to win further discounts by predicting the winner of the match.
With a view to enhancing customer loyalty, Zomato introduced the gold membership program. The program is a monthly subscription scheme that renders superlative discounts and complimentary dishes to the customers.
This marketing strategy of Zomato became extremely successful and helped the brand increases its revenues. Until July 2021, Zomato gold membership is available in 41 cities in India and 9 countries worldwide.
Whether for shopping or food or medicinal treatment, etc., the shift to mobile apps has been tremendous, and this m-commerce trend is here to stay. Thus, the future of Zomato and its contemporaries is bright and is bound to get better from here. Moreover, the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has been a fuel that has escalated the speed of Zomato’s expansion. As people are adjusting to the ‘new normal, they have been more inclined to order food online, which has increased the revenue and user base of Zomato. For example, its revenue from operations rose to 140% in the second quarter of FY21 and has reached a whopping number of Rs.1024 crore.
An entrepreneur can learn a plethora of things from Zomato’s digital marketing strategies. The online organization has mastered staying relevant and being a customer-centric company. Moreover, if you as an entrepreneur have a similar idea, always opt to hire a team of dedicated developers for the best results.
In addition, along with developing an app food delivery app like the Zomato– leading online food delivery service provider, there are other trending app ideas that business houses and start-ups should consider before putting everything into practice.
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