Developing a strong catering marketing plan is one of the first, and most important, steps in starting a catering business.
Your marketing plan determines how you’ll attract customers and stand apart in a competitive landscape. Without a clear marketing plan in place, your catering business could easily become invisible to your potential customers.
Let’s explore the most important steps and strategies you can follow to develop an impactful catering marketing plan.
How To Develop A Strong Catering Marketing Plan
Understand Your Target Audience
One of the most important steps in building out your catering marketing strategy is understanding your target audience. These are your potential customers who will be interested in your business.
Your target audience should influence what marketing channels you use, what kind of messaging you generate, what content you create, and so on.
The purpose of understanding your target market is to understand their interests, pain points, and behaviors. This information will guide your marketing efforts and help you reach the right people more efficiently.
When researching your audience, it’s always a good idea to create buyer personas. This will help you understand your potential customers more deeply, which is essential for guiding your catering marketing plan.
Set Marketing Goals
When developing a marketing plan for your catering business, start with the end in mind. What do you want your catering marketing plan to achieve?
Setting actionable goals will help you develop marketing strategies that add real value to your catering business.
Without this, you won’t know how your catering marketing strategy is adding value to your business.
Use the SMART framework to establish your marketing goals. When doing this, it’d important to set KPIs that you can monitor to track the progress of these goals.
Establish Your Competitive Advantage
Understand what sets you apart from other catering businesses. Establishing your unique selling point (USP) is essential when developing a catering marketing plan, as this is what helps you attract customers.
After doing thorough market and competitive research, you should have an idea of what differentiates your catering business from the competition. This could be in your pricing, your services offered, or any other unique elements of your offering.
Once you understand your competitive advantage, you can use this at the core of your catering business marketing plan to help you stand apart from other catering businesses.
Build Your Business Brand
Building out your catering company brand is essential for creating the foundation of your catering marketing plan. Your catering business brand should appeal to your target customers and reveal your competitive advantage.
Establishing your catering brand is essential for developing your catering website, creating a social media presence, and building out any other marketing channels.
Make sure your catering brand represents your USP and stands out from the competition. Establishing a mission statement is always helpful during your branding process.
Choose the Right Marketing Channels
There are endless marketing channels your catering business could use to attract and engage customers. This doesn't mean you should be using them all.
While it’s important to establish a robust digital presence, focusing on too many marketing channels could spread your marketing efforts too thin. Instead, establish which marketing channels are most used by, and most relevant for, your target customers and marketing goals.
Start by building a strong presence on your most important marketing channels. You can always expand on these channels over time.
When establishing your catering marketing plan and channels, you’ll want to take a localized approach. This is because you’re trying to attract customers within a specific geographic area - the area your business serves.
Instead of trying to reach as many people as possible, you should aim to reach the right people. Some of the best local marketing tactics your catering business can use are:
- Developing a local SEO strategy
- Building a strong presence in local business directories
- Running localized ads
- Working with local media
- Collaborating and partnering with other local businesses
By focusing on a specific area, you should see more success in the quality of leads and customers your business attracts.
Create a Marketing Budget
You’ll need a budget for marketing your catering services. Your budget doesn't have to be big, but it’s important to understand what resources you have available before rolling out your catering marketing plan.
A marketing budget will be required for:
- Running paid advertising
- Investing in marketing tools
- Making any marketing team hires or outsourcing marketing tasks
- Investing in marketing content
By establishing a clear and realistic budget, you’ll know what your restrictions are and what type of marketing strategies you can focus on. This is key for rolling out your catering marketing plan efficiently.
Catering Marketing Ideas You Can Use
There are loads of different marketing tactics you can use to promote your catering services. While every business will focus on different tactics, here are some of the most effective catering marketing ideas:
- Join professional catering associations: Professional catering associations often offer valuable networking opportunities and marketing workshops.
- Use the right social media platforms: Developing a strong social media presence is essential for catering businesses.
- Invest in email marketing: Email marketing is a great way to keep new and existing customers engaged.
- Focus on SEO: To improve your business visibility and attract more interested customers.
- Promote online reviews: Positive reviews and testimonials are incredibly valuable for any catering business.
- Partner with other businesses: Like event organizers and local venues, helping you secure more clients.
- Join many online directories: This improves your SEO, develops trust around your business, and opens the doors to a wider audience.
The steps and tactics above will help any kind of catering business develop an effective marketing plan. This is your roadmap to how your business will attract customers and generate new revenue, so getting it right is crucial for your catering business's success.
If your catering venue runs events, then you’ll also want to invest in the right event management software. Perfect Venue is the ideal solution, offering all the tools you ended for smarter event management. Try Perfect Venue for free to see how it can help you grow your business more efficiently.