Content marketing is a great way to connect with catering customers online, and having a blog, podcast, or vlog in addition to social media gives you the perfect channels in which to deliver that content. But simply having fresh content on your site and social media isn’t enough to drive sales. That content must be quality content. But what constitutes quality content and how should you create it?
Creating and delivering quality content to connect with your ideal client begins by determining who your ideal customer is, what they need, and what they want. Then create content directed at them, addressing these needs and wants. Base this content on prior experiences with customers as well as researching online what your ideal customer is interested in and what they are saying about catering and events services.
Determining Your Ideal Customer Avatar
Though it may seem straightforward who your ideal customer is, it’s important to get a full profile to analyze and discover how to best market yourself to them. And by full profile, I truly mean full—including name, age, gender, marital status, and the number of children. Think about the type of people that you would like to attract as well as those that already contact you about event planning. Base your initial demographics on that. Also consider their occupation, annual income, and level of education, then add that to your profile.
Now that the basics are complete, you’ll want to start considering who they are on the inside. First, consider their goals and values. What does your ideal client want? Well, they want to plan an event of course, but go deeper. What type or style of wedding would your ideal customer want to have? What specific services in relation to the planning would this person be seeking? Building on that further, consider what your ICA values. For example, a catering client might value great quality that matches the price, and a wedding client may value an elegant style or a small, more intimate event.
Next, what are your ideal client’s challenges and pain points? Think about what he or she is trying to overcome that would drive them to seek your services. This is where you can truly think about what content you can share. Look at the challenges and ask yourself how you can help the client solve their problem or ease their stress.
Now think about your ideal client’s objections or things that might stand in the way of the proceeding with a sale. Cost is a common deal-breaker for clients, so this might be an important one to focus on as you market for clients who will pay more for wedding planning. Write content that shows you understand their concerns while explaining the quality and worth of your service so you can get fewer sales objections from catering clients.
Lastly, where does your ideal client go to get their information? Do they read magazines or blogs, browse websites, listen to podcasts, or watch videos? Determining where your client goes searching will give you ideas of where to market your content. Even if you have written amazing content, you must be sure it appears where your client will be looking. For a more in-depth look into creating a full profile, check out my Ideal Customer Avatar Guide.
Writing Quality Website Copy
We live in a world where the Internet holds so many answers and many people depend on websites to help them make decisions on whom to do business with. Therefore it is crucial to be sure that the written copy on each page of your website is informative and engaging. It’s natural to want to tell the world how great you are at planning events and showcasing your accomplishments—and these things are indeed important to share—but successful website copy speaks to the client by telling them how you can solve their problem.
Go back to your ICA and review the challenges and pain points you listed there. Then review your current website copy and see how you can reword things so it is more customer-focused and expresses how you can help them overcome these challenges. Wording things in this fashion will create a more inviting website, and coupled with a showcase of your skills and accomplishments you’ll have a better chance of gaining a sale.
Produce Consistent Weekly Content
You’ve decided to dive into content marketing to help grow your business, and you’ve used your ICA to determine the type and topics of content you want to create and share. It’s time to actually create that content and do it consistently. Being consistent has several benefits, including better SEO to rank higher in online searches and to gain and keep the attention of followers.
The different types of content you can choose from require different approaches and amounts of time in which it takes to create it. Blogging is a very common content marketing strategy, and fairly easy. If your ideal client is the type to frequent blogs and looks to them for information, fill yours with everything they would want to know about event planning and how your services can help. But don’t cram a bunch of posts in your blog just to fill it with content as fast as possible; again, you want that consistent weekly posting that will build SEO over time and not overwhelm your readers.
If your ideal client is more of a podcast listener or prefers visuals in video form, this is a fun and exciting form of content marketing that requires more time and effort to prepare. Anything with audio or video will likely require some editing, and it doesn’t have to be fancy, just touchups to make sure the sound quality is good and cut out any mistakes you don’t want clients to see or hear. This type of content is great for engaging your clients with a personal touch, as they can hear your voice or see you as a real person.
If you like the idea of blogging but want to appeal to those who prefer video content, turn your blog into a vlog where you can speak what you would otherwise write and do it in a customer-facing location such as the site of an event you’ve planned or the place you would normally meet with clients to discuss catering menus.
Utilizing Social Media
One of the easiest ways to connect with catering customers online is by sharing your content via social media. By doing this, you can increase your reach as followers who like your content can share it with their friends. When marketing, it’s important to be top-of-mind and getting shares on social media can bring that awareness to those that may otherwise be thinking of going to another business.
But which platform is best? When considering your ICA, one of the things to think about is where they like to be online. Different types of people frequent different types of social media, so it is important to focus on which ones your ICA will be looking at. Younger generations tend to be more drawn toward Twitter and Instagram, whereas others prefer the page-oriented Facebook.
Regardless of which ones you choose, it is important to include a visual other than your headline. People scrolling through their social media feeds may not stop to just read a headline, but an enticing picture has a better chance of getting them to stop and read. A visual platform such as Instagram depends on this, but a platform such as Facebook will automatically create a preview based on the link shared. Make sure the page that holds your content includes a picture that you would like to show on that preview.
Embracing user-generated content, or UGC, is a fun and effective marketing strategy. Your customers do the advertising for you by sharing pictures and talking about their experiences with your business. Many people state that they trust the word of friends or family over regular advertising when it comes to choosing which company to do business with, so making sure you get the positive word out there is critical.
UGC works hand-in-hand with social media as so many people share their thoughts and experiences on those platforms. If you already have a base of followers, you can challenge them to post pictures of the event they planned with you, perhaps with an offer of a discount for future events, so their friends and family can see the result of the services you offer. You can also request testimonials to display on your website or ask for Yelp or Google reviews so people looking for caterers can see right away how great you are.
Following this marketing strategy is also a great way to gather information on your ICA so you can improve that profile and create even better content. Your clients are telling you what they like and what they look for when planning events, therefore taking away some of the guesswork.
Approaching content marketing by creating an ICA and writing specifically for them builds on itself. As your content is shared and new clients come to you, you learn more about your ICA and how you can connect with them on a deeper level. And as you gain more of your ideal clients, your content continues to be shared, you get more wedding clients to your website, and you grow as a business.