Future Proof Your Business with an Email List


Your catering or event business may serve the best petit fours and canapes. How are your prospective clients going to know about these culinary creations or how well you plan an event? Because weddings need planning and events need catering, your business must take advantage of future-proofing with an email list. I’m going to show you strategies for how to get more customers quickly to ensure you have no slow periods.


Facebook and Google Ads are excellent tools for growing your events business. Just like setting up targeted and segmented email lists, you can do the same with Facebook and Google Ads. That way, you can attract more customers. I suggest experimenting with several different ads to ensure you’re reaching your audiences adequately.


If you woke up tomorrow and didn't have any new clients on the horizon, what would you do? Would you have to get a second job that pulled you away from your passion and craft just to make ends meet?


What would it feel like to have a steady stream of clients who are ready to purchase from you? What fears, anxieties, and worries would you be able to let go of if you knew that your business was stable for the foreseeable future?


How to attract your ideal client to your email list so that you can engage, deepen the relationship, and market to them at any time. Gain a powerful and growing asset that generates revenue on demand right at your fingertips.


Bag stuffers, flyers, and in-business signage have always been staples in promoting catering offers. However, these offers are limited to guests visiting your service areas. What about the rest of your potential clients? Email marketing and using Facebook and Google ads are excellent digital marketing strategies for reaching your target. I suggest matching your messaging with your audience. That way, your food business's call to action is more effective.


Marketing Funnel Explained

The marketing funnel for catering and event businesses starts with the awareness phase. Then, it moves to the consideration, conversion, loyalty, and advocacy phases. The conversion phase is where current and prospective clients are taking action.


A successful marketing funnel contains the following four strategies to help you attract more customers:


Advertising

Placing ads involves understanding how to structure them. That means knowing how your prospects are discovering your brand, what offers you can pair with your prospect's journey, how long it's taking your prospective client to travel through the funnel, and determining if there are any leaks in your funnel.


For example, if you're setting up Facebook or Google ads, you can create campaigns for various stages of your funnel. That way, you're creating offers for several different audiences.

I also suggest using ads to:

  • Increase your ranking using SEO.

  • Track your analytics.

  • Have a local SEO ad listing.

  • Get listed with Google My Business


Landing Page

Your food business will get more customers quickly when you develop a landing page featuring a high-quality resource or offer. The landing page is a single page where your potential clients find this offer. These pages are designed to encourage prospective clients to take action.


One of the most beneficial things regarding a landing page is it can help you during every stage of the marketing funnel. You can build them using Facebook Ad builder, Google Ads, your website's page builder, and so on.


Make sure your landing page is optimized. I suggest:

  • Using high-quality, colorful imagery that illustrates the food your company is providing.

  • Clear and simple text.

  • Trust signals that include reviews from previous clients.

  • Links to your social media profiles.

  • A prominent and clear call to action.


Lead Magnet

Turning a prospective client in your marketing funnel happens with a lead magnet. Think of lead magnets as irresistible offers. You're creating free resources and other materials few can refuse.


However, for your prospective clients to receive these valuable resources, they must give you something in return. That's their email address. Lead magnets include:

  • ebooks

  • newsletters

  • resource checklists

  • demonstration videos

  • webinars

  • and more.


Email List

Before 2022, email is set to grow to 4.3 billion users—accounting for half the world's population. Therefore, it's a marketing opportunity catering, and event businesses shouldn't be missing.


In this stage of the marketing funnel, potential clients will receive a series of emails to help your business achieve specific goals.

  • Nurture relationships with your subscribers.

  • Educate potential clients regarding your products or services.

  • Encourage potential clients to take action.

As a side note, I suggest using Facebook and Google Ads helps you find new audiences. That translates to new clients. The main reason is that these ads target people who are similar to those in your existing email contact list.


List Building Overview

Building email lists chock full of engaged catering clients, or those interested in booking events may prove challenging. Your email campaign is as successful as the list of subscribers who receives it--so, that's where list building comes into play.


Because email is your potential client's preferred communication tool, my suggestion is embracing this cost-effective method for reaching them.


The Benefits of List Building

First, I’m going to show you the statistics. If you spend $1 on email marketing, your ROI will be $42. Besides that powerful number, there are many other strong reasons your food business should be building a list.


  • You're giving your potential and current clients an easy way to send messages.

  • Visitors will be more likely to return.

  • Thanks to segmentation, messages have more personalization.

  • You'll have ownership of your email list.

  • There are opportunities to make more money.

  • Your email list builds trust with your current and potential clients.


Simple List Building Step-By-Step

Your catering and event email will benefit from learning the intricacies that make your email subscribers unique. I have some step-by-step tips for list building:


Segmenting and Personalization

You'll improve the open rates with email list segmenting and personalization. Using this tactic allows you to write content that's more targeted that your potential clients will want to read. Then, I suggest carrying this segmentation a step further into your Facebook and Google ads. Here are my suggestions:


  • Segmenting potential clients by event type: Your audience will have particular needs and interests. Group your corporate clients, weekly lunch deliveries, wedding clients, etc. segmented accordingly to keep content relevant.

  • Segment potential clients according to event frequency: Send out scrumptious offers according to how they appeal to your audiences. For example, to ensure you have no slow periods, send lunch delivery clients pitches for holiday parties.


Simplify Communications

Your current and prospective clients have specific needs, preferences, and schedules. Therefore, I suggest keeping communications simple and help clients reach you accordingly.

Include multiple channels in every email for prospects to contact your food business. For example, include:

  • Link to your contact form

  • Email address

  • Phone number

  • Social media buttons


Keep Content Timely

Sending timely emails means more than a message reading, "Happy Holidays." That's too generic and doesn't reach your audience on a targeted level. Use the knowledge you have about your audience to reach them at a deeper level. Here are my suggestions:

  • Use automation to your advantage: Send out first anniversary messages to your brides. I suggest accomplishing this goal by setting up an automated campaign. Offer to remake their wedding meal during a catered anniversary party.

  • Create special promotions: Here's another automation campaign opportunity. If you have prospective clients who haven't taken action in six months, offer them a promotion.

  • Follow-up with Corporate Clients: If you catered an event for a corporation that occurs annually, send them a follow-up suggesting you'll help them plan another for the following year.


Showcase Your Best Assets

It's no mystery that prospective and current clients eat with their eyes first. Tantalize your subscribers' taste buds by featuring beautifully styled imagery of your events and the food that you served. Show close-ups of these dishes. Remember, less is more. Let these thumb-nail images speak for themselves.

  • Don't forget to include information regarding your:

  • Pricing options

  • Menu offerings

  • Service areas


List Building Pro-Tips to Consistently Build Your List

Once you have the content of your email list squared away, and you know how to reach your target audience, building your list has to remain consistent. Your food business can achieve this goal using Facebook and Google Ads. Your lead magnet is the best strategy during this phase. The main reason is that you'll be generating ads using a lead magnet that speaks directly to your target. Ask yourself:

  • Do you know what services they need?

  • Are they looking for more information about your business?

  • What are their pain points? Do you know how to meet them?

I suggest developing your lead magnet, so it addresses at least one of these needs or more. That way, the ad you're generating calls out that need and adequately explains how and why your business can provide the solution.


Then, all your potential client has to do is provide their email address. Later, the solution will arrive in their inbox. Create several low-budget campaigns to determine which works best. Use a "welcome email" when potential clients enter your email funnel. Then, as they move through, you can encourage them to act.


Ultimately, every catering event business has the same goals—to attract more customers and experience no slow periods. Using the strategies I’ve outlined here to future proof your business with an email list, you can achieve both of those goals.


If you need any help building and developing your email list at any point throughout your journey, I suggest signing up for our Success Recipes weekly email. I’ll send you the tools and strategies you’ll need to take your catering and event business to the next level.



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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aleya Harris is the owner of The Social Media Pantry and Growth.

She is a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef who also happens to be an award-winning, data-driven marketing strategist, change leader, brand manager and creator, content developer, and storyteller. She has a background as a marketing professional on the leadership teams of large foodservice organizations and has also been a private chef and catering company owner.