Making good dishes and having a great staff is only one side of the business for a catering service. It is not sufficient to get customers because customers have many options ranging from old and established catering businesses to new ones who are active in marketing. To make your catering business ahead of the competition, you need to imbibe powerful catering marketing ideas so that your business always remains occupied with clients. We have therefore listed key catering business advertising ideas that will surely give you big results if you implement them.
1) Full Featured Converting Website
With more customers finding caterers online, having a website is no longer sufficient. Your website must be optimized for converting incoming traffic into customers. The extent to which your catering website can convert the traffic can largely impact the revenue of your business. For this, the following things must be present on your website
A) Must have a direct contact number present and displayed on the home page with a call to action label.
B) Must have testimonials and reviews from users.
C) Must showcase awards, affiliations, accreditation to foster trust-building.
D) Must load with right resolution on mobile devices i.e. mobile-friendly.
E) Must be professionally designed and must be easy to navigate through different sections and pages.
F) Must have a direct custom food selection, ordering and scheduling application ready on the website.
G) Must have videos to boost conversions.
2) Right Placement in Google
If you have a well-designed website that doesn’t show up on the first page of Google when people search for caterers in your location, then it implies that your site is not optimized for search engine ranking and some other catering businesses are getting these customers. Since a lot of factors come into play for determining the placement in Google collectively called Search Engine Optimization or SEO, you have to implement these factors for your website either by learning SEO or by getting any SEO agency to handle the task.
3) Right Placement in Google Local Listings
Google local listing is a feature that benefits many businesses and services worldwide by sending them quality leads provided they rank within the 3 results shown in the local listings. Since a Google My Business page is the starting point for being eligible to be shown in this local pack, you have to make a detailed Google My Business page first. Similar to organic ranking criteria, there is a related but different set of factors that determine whether your business will be shown here or not. Some of the key factors here are reviews, consistency of business name, address and phone number across various platforms, citations, etc. You can either manage it yourself or can go for a digital marketing agency for your catering business.
Ranking your catering business website on Google will take some time but once ranked, will start sending you customers regularly. If you want to open a quick medium for sending leads within the next 2-3 days itself, get started with paid ads. While there are many platforms where you can run paid ads, the best two are Google and Facebook with Google being the better. Both platforms have a different framework for making ads and selecting parameters to show ads. Before jumping right into paid ads marketing, get yourself familiar with making and running ads as wrong targeting can make you lose money more than you can get from it. If you want a professional setup and operation of your ads, use an expert digital marketing agency.
5) Leverage Competitor Business Names
As the owner of a catering business, you must very well know the top caterers in your location. You can leverage their names to your business advantage by bidding on the brand name of your competitors using Google ads. By adopting this method, your catering business ads will show up to every person who types the name of your competitor in Google. By showing up your ads in such instances, you can chunk away some potential customers of your competitors. This is a simple and efficient promotion idea for a catering business.
6) Social Media Marketing
Social media is a huge and free source that can drive many leads to your catering business provided you have the patience to build a following on social media platforms. If you hasten your catering business marketing efforts on social media, you may not get any significant results because unless you take time to provide good and interesting content first, people won’t be interested in engaging with your business page or profile. For the first few months, you have to regularly keep on posting quality information content with minimal marketing. After getting a good audience and followers, you can increase your marketing efforts. You must join as many local groups on Facebook as you can because it will let your business be known by many local people which will help you long-term in getting orders.
7) Press Releases
Turning your catering business into a brand does not require millions of dollars. The process of brand building can be started easily by using high-quality press release platforms that can get your business across many big and authoritative news sites. These press releases will also help to convert those visitors who type the name of your business on Google for seeking more information about your business. They also get you valuable and high-quality backlinks for your website that acts as a key influencer in the ranking of your website in Google.
8) Marketing Through LinkedIn
To get rich commercial clients for catering business from your region, there can be no better platform than LinkedIn. By utilizing LinkedIn, you can know and connect with the main top-level position holders in a company. LinkedIn also provides various paid options for connecting with its members. Unlike most other social networks like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn is a much more professional network due to which it is quality-wise much better for marketing business and service.
Getting your business referred by real people online is a new way of marketing business and services commonly known as influencer marketing. For influencer marketing, the ideal people are those who have thousands or millions of followers/subscribers on sites like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, etc. Many people with a big follower base on social networks are open for collaboration by businesses. You just have to select and reach the right kind of influencers who have a related audience.
10) Food Expos
You can participate in or can even host food expos to let people know about your catering business. Food expos are a great way to bring in the crowd because of the incentive of free food. Further, you can also host a food expo for special sections like corporate businesses, startups, etc to get their attention and to establish contacts with them. You can also mingle it with other marketing materials like giving out pamphlets to the visitors of food expos or collecting their emails to send them offers, discounts, etc.
11) Getting Clients Through Instagram
Food is something that is more engaging visually. By constantly posting photos of all parties or events served by your business, you stand a fair chance to build your follower base quickly on Instagram which will act as a new channel for sending you catering-related inquiries and offers. You can also add the element of influencer marketing here and can get them to share your catering-related photos so as to get more awareness and clients for your catering business.
12) Increase Sales With Online Order Customization
Many people who are actively looking to do a quick booking of catering services online can be effectively served by integrating order customization applications on your website. Due to this integration, people can directly set and select various kinds of dishes in their required quantities followed by setting the date of event and payment (full or partial). This will increase your conversion rates as people can now easily order recipes, select dates and can make the payment online.
13) Customized Vans
You can market your catering services offline by custom printing on your business vehicles and vans so that every time your vehicle gets on the road, many people will notice your business and it will increase the recall value of your catering business. This can also be done with other individual/business-owned vehicles by paying them certain monthly/yearly fees. The more the number of vehicles carrying your brand identity, the better it will be for your catering business.
14) Marketing through Party and Events
Any party or event will typically witness hundreds of visitors. You can have your employees/staff wear custom printed dresses carrying your business name in such events so that all attendees can notice it. For every event/party, you can use your employee/staff as a marketing medium to let more and more people know that the catering arrangements are handled by your business.
15) Get Leads Through Partners
As a catering business owner, you can start connecting with all such businesses and services that are more probable to refer you because of a similar or related customer base. Some of such partners to consider are wedding planners, event managers, big clubs like golf clubs and sports clubs, exhibition halls, etc. You can either have a cross-promotion relationship with them or can start offering them some incentives (cash or kind) to get clients referred by them to your catering business.
16) Old Customers
You must keep in touch with old customers through text messages, email marketing or by sending them gifts/messages on special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, etc. By doing this, you not only stand much better chances to be considered by them on special occasions but you also stand more chances of being referred by them to their friends and relatives. To get creative, you can also send a sample of some new dish/recipe to them on special occasions.
17) Hosting Open House
You can periodically host open house recipe parties and visits so that more people would interact with your business. You can also use special days like Father’s Day, Mother’s day, labor day, etc to pull in more potential clients for catering. To target things even better, you can host an open house for the entities that are much more likely to use catering services like an open house for startups, people connected with event management, people associated with wedding events, etc.
18) Video Marketing
It is much easier to make people feel and visualize your service by using videos. No matter how much text content you put on your website and other advertising materials, a video will far better engage people than any other form of content. Post videos of all your catering events and dishes on Youtube (with clients’ permission) so that you will start getting calls and inquiries for catering services from your Youtube videos too. You can even better put a portfolio of your Youtube videos on your website so that people can see your past services.
In the age of the internet, reviews possess both pull and push factors. Negative or average reviews of your catering business will push away potential customers while positive reviews will pull customers towards you. It is therefore increasingly becoming a norm for many businesses to actively monitor online reviews and strive towards getting more and more positive reviews. Further, there are also many pieces of research that prove that an increasing number of people nowadays check reviews before taking any product/service.
20) Offline Marketing
Even though businesses are actively moving their budget more towards online marketing, offline marketing still holds importance to reach out to those people who are not that active online or who are not tech-savvy. Billboards, newspaper ads, marketing booths, flyers, etc are some of the traditional means to announce your catering business out in the public domain. Even though a bit expensive and untargeted, they do bring in their own share of clients through the old and tested way.
These marketing ideas for a catering business are a perfect choice for serious entrepreneurs in this sector. For more discussion on this, we welcome your comments and feedback.