by Meryl Snow for Catersource magazine
As summer winds down and the busy season comes to an end, you have the chance to catch your breath for a few brief moments—and then jump right back in. That’s right—it’s time to promote your holiday sales!
In order to stand out from the others you need to show that you are different. As business owners we can’t just expect revenue to flow our way; we need to compete for the business and prove that we are the best choice for our clients. Following are some tips that will help you stand out from the crowd.
Update your database
You may have thousands of email and postal addresses, but if they are not current your mail outs will fail. Spend some time adding your new clients to your database and updating corporate contacts that may have moved on. (Another thought is to stay connected to individuals who leave your corporate accounts so you are on their minds when they start at their new positions.)
The newsletter no-no
Your newsletter is not the space to promote your holiday events, offerings, and promotions—these beneficial holiday offers may get lost in your newsletter and also dilute your message. Consider a dedicated brochure or mail out in order grab attention.
Tell a story
Your marketing pieces may get some traction if they tell an engaging story—this works well with postcard mailings and social media campaigns. Each ad you create should tell a story or have a theme. Consider creating characters, as this will this leave the audience wanting to know what happens next. (For my company we produced a flutter of children cooking to promote house parties, along with a tag line.)
If you do a good amount of online business make sure that you take advantage of Cyber Monday. Consider running ‘limited time’ specials, or a promotion in which your clients receive a bonus, gift, or discount if they book within a certain time frame.
Decorate for success
You probably decorate your office for the holidays, and so why not decorate your website? Create landing pages with specials, menus, tips, and recipes and spread these to your social media platforms.
Spread some cheer on social media
Your social media platforms are a great way to spread holiday cheer. Be careful not to bore your followers by pushing your product, repeating terms like ‘book now,’ ‘taking reservations,’ and ‘still have some availability.’ These terms are sure to prevent any possibility for sharing—no one wants to repost a sales-forward link. Instead, post genuinely interesting and valuable information and your followers will reciprocate.
Additionally, paid advertising can be a great way to attract new clients and reach different audiences. Why not use this holiday season as a chance to try a Facebook ad campaign?
It’s not always about price
Don’t worry if your closest competitors are offering lower prices. Studies have shown that clients do not always make their pick based on price; they want the best that they can afford, and are often willing to stretch a budget to get what they want. Become what they want, and show them why you are different.
“Santa in the Clouds” martini from Feastivities Events
This one is my favorite!
Spend this small window of downtime to come up with some creative event additions. It could be as simple as a signature cocktail with a fun seasonal name (Santa in the Clouds; Mistletoe Martini; Claus Cosmopolitan; Grinch Nog—just let your imagination take over), or adding lighting to enhance the drama and transform the space. You can easily add 20 to 30 percent in revenue without taking on any more events. There is nothing to lose—you have already booked the event.
Above all, remember to let your own unique personality and your company’s valuable benefits shine through. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and busy holiday season in the catering industry!