It’s not always easy for event catering companies to get their name out there - the industry is saturated and the landscape competitive. But, the reality is that every stand-out event needs a fantastic caterer.
To help you get started with promoting your brand and winning catering jobs, we’ve listed some quick considerations for your catering marketing plan. We’ve also compiled a list of catering marketing strategies to help you win over new customers.
If you’re getting started in the industry or simply looking for new marketing ideas, our guide will help you take your business to new heights.
Important Considerations For Your Catering Marketing Plan
Get to Know Your Target Audience
First things first - get to know your target market. This will help you determine the best marketing approach based on strategies your audience will respond to. After all, you need to spend your marketing budget in the most intelligent way.
For example, if your audience mainly consists of young adults hosting casual events, your marketing should reflect that! You’ll need to create a casual and relaxed brand that suits who they are - while still staying true to your values.
Some questions to ask yourself to pinpoint an ideal audience persona include:
- Do you wish to target businesses or individuals?
- Where are they situated?
- Do they typically plan a specific event type?
- Do they have specific catering requirements?
- How often do they host events?
- What services might they inquire about?
- How much will they spend?
If you have an existing catering service, you might already have a lot of this information. In which case, stick it into a CRM or spreadsheet to establish patterns that can help inform your marketing activities.
Decide on a “Call to Action”
A great call to action is a persuasive directive designed to entice your target audience to learn more, buy your products, or use your catering services. When thinking about your call to action, you may ask yourself how to persuade or encourage people to use your catering company instead of the competition.
In digital marketing, you can drive traffic to your website’s landing or sales pages through strategically-placed buttons that read “click here,” “get a quote,” or “request a callback.”
In offline advertising, you might place flyers inviting people to join you at a local fair or pop into your premises for a wine tasting evening.
Whatever your channel, look to use a persuasive CTA in your marketing materials.
9 Winning Catering Marketing Strategies to Expand Your Reach
Many of the points listed below revolve around digital catering marketing ideas, although we’ve included some offline strategies too. We’ve approached it this way as the internet is often the first place people turn to when seeking a new service.
1. Set Up and Optimize Your Website
Whether you build a website or unpack one out of the box, your site is a pivotal asset that can generate sales and encourage people to engage with your business. You can use it to educate new and existing customers about your catering offering and give them some background on who you are.
Think of your catering website as a ‘shop window.’ People can glance in to see what you have to offer. As such, your site should display information such as sample menus, pricing packages, and service areas. Ultimately, it should give customers a better insight into what sets your catering business apart.
Setting up a website is just the start - you also need to keep search engine optimization (SEO) best practices in mind. Then there’s the matter of your site being mobile-friendly to ensure it's fully accessible from any device.
You can take other actions to market on your website (for example, write blog posts). But the final point to mention is to connect social buttons to your site. These link your website to your social media profiles and help people find you online.
2. Create Social Media Platforms
Every catering marketing strategy you implement should aim to put your company’s name out there! Being active on social media is a great way to do this and earn brand exposure. It’s a place for potential customers to reach you, where you can build a community of followers and market your services.
The most popular social media platforms that catering businesses might focus on include TikTok, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Facebook and Instagram are great platforms to showcase your delicious menus, catering spreads, and recent events. They’re informationally and visually orientated, which means you can include handy write-ups along with your images and video clips.
Twitter is best for sharing service updates, company news, and discovering trends in the industry. Up-and-coming TikTok is a space where you can create fun and engaging content for your followers. Ideas could be to give sneak peeks into what happens behind the scenes when preparing for an event, or to share humorous snippets of life in the kitchen.
3. Develop a Social Media Posting Schedule
The secret sauce for catering business owners to market successfully on social media is to keep their followers engaged. The key ingredients are regularly uploading new content and making it a practice to interact with other accounts.
You can read up about how often to post in this article as it differs from one platform to the next. Ideally, you’re looking at multiple times per week, even once daily.
It’s also important to publish social content at peak times. This will ensure that you receive more likes and shares, and gain more followers.
But keeping up with a strict posting schedule can be tricky, especially when you run a busy catering business. If you’re struggling to get the hang of daily posts and content creation, you can use a software tool like Buffer to automate the publishing process.
4. Consider Content to Highlight
Engaging marketing material will get you noticed and encourage potential customers to interact with your catering brand. So, how do you know what to share on your online platforms to drum up excitement for your business?
Some ideas could include:
- Creative menu items (see our post on menu planning ideas if you need inspiration)
- Specialty bar packages or fun new drinks
- Event design
- Events at popular venues
- Collaborations with other local and popular vendors (event planners, florists, popular DJs)
- Staff or owner bios
- Purveyors of your ingredients
5. Work With Content Creators
Hire a content creator, podcaster, or influencer to take off some of the pressure of producing content for sharing. Allow them to take over your social accounts and create content relating to your catering offering.
When they share it with their followers, you expand your reach to an interested audience with professional-looking catering marketing content.
6. Collect Reviews
Positive online reviews can significantly impact your chances of securing business online. People trust what their peers say about a company or service and often look to read reviews before signing up.
As you start to cater events, ask happy clients to leave a review for you on one of your review platforms. If you receive any negative feedback, respond to it politely and use it as a learning opportunity.
7. Have an Offline Marketing Strategy
While it may not be as important as social media marketing, you should never underestimate offline advertising opportunities. Advertising through print or radio can help you to reach a previously untapped market.
For example, if you offer catering services to corporate clients, radio is a great tool for spreading the word about your business! Businessmen and women may listen to the radio on their commute, where they could hear about your business.
8. Host Tastings
When devising your catering marketing strategy, never ignore the importance of connecting with professionals from your community in person. One way to gain exposure and get your catering business in front of potential clients is to host a menu tasting for local venue owners and event planners.
Inviting these complementary businesses to sample your menu means you can gain powerful allies in the event industry. Event planners often collaborate with select catering companies and venue owners when planning their events. So, having a referral from a popular event planner is invaluable to your business!
9. Focus on Local
This applies to both your digital and offline marketing strategies - think local when marketing. Try out local marketing tactics such as creating a Google My Business profile and signing up on community directories.
Also, turn to local businesses, such as schools, sporting venues, or corporates, to drop off flyers and speak to event heads. You’re in a unique position to understand their catering needs and provide personalized service.
Creating a solid catering business marketing strategy can make all the difference in securing sales. Whether you’re a new start-up or want to bring your business into the twenty-first century with your marketing, these tips will help you achieve your goals.
If you plan on working events and need event management software to go with it, check out Perfect Venue. Designed for unique venues, caterers, and breweries, it’s sure to take the busy work off your plate, leaving you free to execute flawless catering gigs.