During the holidays, you may feel as if you don’t have time to market your business. Many catering companies get so busy in this peak season that they forget what a great opportunity it is to gain more customers—not only immediately, but also for when the holiday festivities die down.
You may feel that you have plenty of business during the holiday months and that you’ll worry about after the holiday season after the holiday season. But there are some fun and easy techniques you can use to leverage this busy time for even more revenue, both now and in the future. And the best news? They won’t cost a lot of time or money. Here are some ideas:
Offer a holiday dinner (or regular dinner) package
You know as well as anyone how busy the holidays are. People don’t have time to cook. Plus, in many parts of the country, the weather is cold and snowy, making it harder to get to a supermarket at the last minute. Additionally, it’s a popular season for people to host guests in their homes. As a result, they have a lot more mouths to prepare for than usual.
Fortunately for your future customers, you can offer something to make their lives much easier: a freshly prepared meal!
Offer dinner packages that you can deliver to your customers’ doors or have them pick up on their way home from work. You can offer two different kinds: a standard family dinner for four or five people, and a holiday dinner, complete with ham or roasted chicken, veggies, salad, fresh rolls, and pies for dessert. By offering a limited number of options, you can keep these items in stock at your facility and simply put them together for every new order.
Don’t feel as if you have to accommodate every order. You can set all the guidelines, including a limit on the number of orders you accept, no delivery on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day, and a limited number of menu offerings. If you can only prepare the roasted chicken or homemade pies, go for it. Providing these options can still help a lot of people, put your business at the front of their minds, and return some extra revenue in the process.
Host a holiday kick-off party
Host a party to ring in the holidays and promote your business. You don’t have to go overboard; the best parties simply have good themes and happy people. Make sure no one leaves without your holiday promotions flier. You can even partner with another business nearby to give away door prizes. This is a particularly good strategy for earning the email addresses of your attendees.
Here are some holiday kick-off party ideas:
• Christmas tree lighting
• “12 Days of Christmas” party
• Visit from Santa
• Ugly sweater party
Be creative and have fun! You never know what you and your team might come up with.
Create your own “Black Friday” sale
Just because you don’t sell electronics doesn’t mean that you can’t offer an incredible deal for Black Friday. Black Friday is a great time to offer a bargain your customers can’t refuse because they’re already in the mood to buy. All year, they have saved up money to spend on great values during the holiday sales.
You might think that you can’t afford to give great deals for catering during the holiday season. It’s a busy time when everyone needs your service, so is it the best time to slash your prices?
Guess what? You don’t have to make your promotion valid during the holiday period at all. Make the offer valid to be redeemed only from January through April or other times that are typically less busy for your catering business.
Create an offer and get the word out by using social media, email marketing, and your personal network.
Host a holiday photo contest on your website
This is an easy way to get customers on your website during the holiday season and remind them of how your business can help them. It may sound complicated, but it’s really easy!
Here’s what you do:
Choose a unique theme that would get your community excited. Depending on your business’s specialty, this could be:
• Business or department group Christmas photos
• An “ugly sweater” photo contest
• A gingerbread house contest
• A Thanksgiving table-setting contest
Have a team member or web developer set up a webpage on your site with the contest details and the ability for people to upload their photo submissions. Don’t forget to set a deadline!
Promote your contest via social media, your email list, your in-person contacts, your employees, and your personal network of family and friends.
Pick a winner! Offer them a prize, such as a gift card to your catering company or a “Christmas Party in a Box.” Be sure to share the winner on social media and with your email list.
Hand out branded calendars for the upcoming year
It’s the end of the year and everyone is in need of a new calendar. Have a bunch of calendars made at your local print shop with photos from your previous events. Hand them out to anyone who comes into your catering location or even at networking events. Using this strategy, you can ensure that your business is top of mind for hundreds of people throughout the year. Now that’s the gift that keeps on giving!
Don’t feel overwhelmed. You don’t need to do all these things. Choose one or two that make sense for your business’s schedule and needs, and whatever you choose, have fun! Get your employees involved and always stay positive. By exciting your team, you’ll see a lot more participation and get optimum results. During this holiday season, focus on making the holidays merrier for everyone and you can’t lose.
Anna Wickham is author of the book How to Get More Catering Customers with Content Marketing and owner of Charm House, a marketing company that helps businesses grow by sharing their passion with the world. Gether free interactive PDF guide to marketing your catering or events business here: http://charmhouse.io/catering.