If you’re looking to add new catering clients to your existing client list or are expanding into this client vertical, chew on this marketing food for thought. You can find new clients with little to no budget, as well as expand your brand’s reach to this audience using these tried-and-true techniques.
Google Alerts lets you set up free alerts for phrases you’re interested in. In this case, set up a Google Alert for “new caterer in [city / state name]”. Or, if you know the catering clients you want to attract, set up an Alert on each company’s name. Each time the caterer’s name is mentioned in the news or online, you can review what’s being said and send them an email, congratulatory social media post, or tip about something related to their business. That effort alone may make you look better than their current CPA or accounting firm.
Real Estate Agents
Consider working closely with commercial real estate agents who have their finger on the pulse of new catering facilities and kitchen tenants coming to your area. Create a pitch deck or promotional item to include in a Welcome Packet promoting your services and offering a free consultation.
Up the Ante
Do you have a website form that captures leads? If so, consider adding an industry field with drop-down list including caterer. That way when you receive the form, you’ll know immediately and be able to identify their business and accounting pain points for a phone conversation.
Did you know there are hundreds of catering groups on Facebook and LinkedIn? Simply login to the social media platform of choice and search for “caterer groups.” You may need to click on a “Group” navigation button or advanced search button to be presented with the groups. Follow the group’s posting guidelines and get involved by asking a question, such as “What about your catering business keeps you up at night?” Develop a series of open-ended questions like this to engage the audience. Remember, no hard-selling on these platforms, but rather, a conversational exchange.
Your next catering client might already be within arm’s reach via email. There are a few tactics you can take, including:
- Ask your email subscribers for referrals and combine it with a promotion, e.g., 10% off next month’s service.
- Use a banner or graphic in your email to promote services to the catering industry. Tip: Use a food photo image.
- Host an event or webinar for caterers and ask clients to attend with a plus-one catering friend.
For Those With a Budget
If you have a budget for additional efforts, consider search, display, and/or social media advertising. For as little as a dollar per day, you can reach leads on social media as long as your efforts are targeted. If you choose search efforts, I recommend using display advertising too so ads appear in supplemental areas, such as in email and social media platforms.
According to Acquisio, “Google’s display ad network reaches 90 percent of global internet users.”
Remarketing is also very effective for capturing leads because display ads are based on a user’s behavior. It combines headlines, copy, images, and links you provide to display an ad based on search, engagement, or actions taken by the user.
One thing to keep in mind is, none of this will work effectively if the click goes to one of your generic webpages, e.g., Services. Tailoring content, lead-generation pages, and forms to the niche industry is key. Let the visitor see that you know their industry; that you get their pain points; and that you have solutions for them. Sending them to a generic page just doesn’t cut it.
Now that you have these tips to chew on, how will you reach out to your next potential catering client?
Becky Livingston is the president and CEO of Penheel Marketing, a marketing firm specializing in social media and digital marketing for CPAs, and has more than 25 years’ experience in marketing and technology in financial services and engineering firms.
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