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Email Marketing for Caterers

The Basics of Successful Email Marketing for Caterers

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Email marketing and catering may not seem as if they belong together when you first think about it, but this inexpensive tool can help you do three things—generate repeat business, generate new business and set you apart from the competition. Starting a catering email campaign is simple. Fishbowl makes marketing for restaurants easy. Fishbowl is the leading provider of email and social media marketing software for the restaurant industry. Learn more.

Generating Repeat Business

There’s an old saying in marketing that 80 percent of your business comes from 20 percent of your customers. This golden rule of restaurant marketing can apply to catering as well. Many customers know to pick up the phone and call you because you provide them efficient catering service at a great price. They call you repeatedly because you are always reliable. Well, email marketing is a great way to expand on that. Here are a few tips on what to communicate with your existing customers via email:
  • Open Dates – If you specialize in catering events, putting open dates on your calendar in front of a past customer keeps you top of their mind. This is especially effective when you communicate cancellations and last-minute changes. Customers appreciate the fact that you are letting them know you are available.
  • New Product Offerings – Maybe you’ve brought on a chef who specializes in vegetarian cuisine or you’ve added some new recipes to your list. Let your existing customers know about it. Also, share recipes they can try at home. Yet again, the goal is to keep you top of mind.
  • Final Order Dates – If you specialize in catering for big holidays, you can communicate final order dates via email. Put together packages and give your email list a special price or offer something free. Promote early-bird order specials or last-minute deals. If someone hasn’t gotten around to ordering Thanksgiving dinner, and your email is timed to hit with a last-minute deal, who do you think they’ll call? You!

Generating New Business

Once you capture a prospect’s email address, what can you offer them via email that’s of value? It's important that you communicate the right message to the right prospect, or your email will be deleted, or worse, they could unsubscribe and be off your list in one click. Here’s a quick list of ideas.
  • Package deals – Take the thought process out of planning an event. Tell secretaries about your “lunch for 8” or your “quick boxed lunch” for last-minute meetings. Tell brides-to-be about “stain-free cuisine.” Tell busy moms about your birthday dinner package or cake specials. Just be sure to target the message to the right person.
  • Event planning tips – Any information you can offer to help make someone’s life easier scores you points in the “I’m going to call them when I need this” category. Just keep it quick, simple and valuable!
  • Events – You can communicate successful event photos and recaps as a marketing message, but here’s a novel idea. Host a tasting party. Let the consumer come and try you out before they buy. That’s a powerful offer.

Three Ways to Stand Out from the Competition

  1. The fact that you are using email marketing gives you a competitive advantage. Your competition may be doing this, but probably not.
  2. Targeting the right people with the right message makes this medium an effective marketing mechanism. Sign up for any competitor’s email list and see what types of offers they are sending. You’d be surprised how many businesses just mass email and don’t target.
  3. Communicate often, but don’t go overboard. Email prospects and customers when you have valuable information to share. Keep everything focused on how you can help them.

    Catering email marketing is the best way to stay in contact with your most important audience—your customers. MustHaveMenus offers email marketing solutions, powered by Fishbowl.

    Written by: Amanda Brandon