Every catering and events business has one question they ask at the start of the new year, "How do we grow?" This goal of growth, especially amid a pandemic, is a top priority for small businesses. Not only do they want to surpass their plans from the previous year, they want to stay ahead of their competition, who also are wishing to grow their businesses. The key to doing both, outshining the competition and growing the company, is having the right marketing tactics and strategies. If you're out of tactics for marketing growth in 2021, there are three top ideas sure to help your small business thrive.
Recognize the power of social media
Social media began as a way for friends and family to keep in touch with one another even if they aren't in the same state or country. What started as a small app of connection quickly grew into an app for businesses, organizations, and companies to advertise and bring awareness to their brands. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., have become places for small businesses, like catering and events businesses, to quickly, creatively, and freely share who they are and what they offer to new and current clients.
Business influencer, Marsha Collier, understands the power of using social media to grow marketing. She says, "Content-based marketing gets repeated in social media and increases word-of-mouth mentions; it's the best way to gather buzz about a product."
Social media has many great qualities, but one of the most underrated ones is its ability to keep your company in clients' sight and minds. Using social media as a marketing tool to stay at the forefront of clients' minds is more than randomly sharing images and captions when convenient.
Felicia Lin, a social media strategist, believes social media is a "buzzword" until actual planning comes in. Adding strategy to social media could look like consistently sharing stunning images, paired with captivating captions, on Facebook and Instagram of the food your catering business offers. Doing this will remind clients what you offer. Even if they don't request your services right away, because you've stayed in their sight, they'll know who to go to when they need a catering service. Clients will go back to the business—regardless of if it's a small catering or events business—who has shown consistency because this relates to reliability.
Give potential clients a great first impression.
Everyone knows the importance of a great first impression. It's what helps people to decide if they want to stick around or make a fast exit. This is the same for clients and their first interaction with your business' website. It's great to have a website, but it's only a space on the internet if it doesn't attract a first-time viewer. This is where revamping your website comes into making a great impression. You may ask, "Why is my website important for marketing my business?"
First and foremost, your website establishes your business' credibility. According to the eCommerce Foundation, most consumers will search online for the product they want before buying it. And guess where they will look first? At your business' website.
If you have an outstanding or a shabby website, this will tell potential clients the kind of business you have within seconds. Aesthetically, if your website features unrecognizable images of a wedding your event business planned, someone inquiring about your services will exit your website and find another events business. Why? Because those poorly taken images can show the lack of care you take in designing and planning. Though you may be an efficient events business, the client may never know because of your website's poor first impression.
A website with an excellent first impression is one with readable content and beautiful branding. Anything less will drive away possible clients and keep your business from growing.
Reviews and testimonies build trust with your business.
When you're looking at a pair of shoes, digital camera, or coffee maker online, what do you do before buying the product? You scroll to the bottom of the page and look at the reviews and testimonials. If they are positive, you add the product to the cart and purchase. If they are negative, you forget about it and search for a better one. Reviews and testimonials are powerful.
If they're powerful enough to advise you if what you want is worth your time and money, aren't they powerful enough to do the same with your catering and events business?
A study has shown that constant testimonials can increase revenue from each client by more than sixty percent. This is due to the trust developed when a potential client reads testimonies from previous clients. They take the information almost as if a friend is personally referring them to your services.
If you recently catered an event for a couple's wedding and then posted on your website and social media about how satisfied the clients were, it may not register with a potential client. More than not, they'll see this as another business trying to reel them in to get their money. But if one of the clients from the wedding left a testimonial on your website or tagged you in a social media post and raved about how professional your business is or how efficient you and your staff were, this will have a lasting effect. The potential client has now seen from an actual user of your services all the great things they can receive when working with your catering company.
The key to having great testimonials and reviews that will bring growth to your business is consistently using them, keeping them short and to the point, and sharing them on all of your platforms. Doing this will introduce your business to one client and the next.
As you take these top ideas, remember effective marketing tactics and strategies are more than picking a new direction and hoping it will cause you to do better than your competition. Michael Porter, one of the world's most influential thinkers on management and competitiveness, explains the importance of having successful strategies. Porter says, "Strategy is about setting yourself apart from the competition. It's not a matter of being better at what you do–it's a matter of being different at what you do." Do what others haven't and make your marketing effective by creating plans, using innovative ideas, and consistently putting them into action.