The advancement of the internet and people’s dependency on it is increasing daily. It has become a crucial aspect of everyone’s lives and has rendered every business to have an online presence.
To compete in the fast-moving trends, getting a strong base on digital marketing for the catering business becomes a very wise and strategic move.
The Internet holds much power and potential for the food, restaurant, and catering industry. According to research, 77% of consumers prefer visiting the restaurant’s website before visiting the restaurant, while 94% choose the restaurant based on online reviews.
Catering businesses with a strong digital presence receive the benefits of these statistics. They receive higher online visibility, brand awareness, and potential loyal customers. They can also build relationships, encourage reviews and testimonials that allow them to interest more customers, and drive sales and business growth.
Understanding the Digital Landscape for Catering
The digital marketing landscape for the catering industry is rapidly evolving as caterers understand the importance of online presence. This growth has been boosted since covid-19 when online platforms were the only ways to effective business promotion. The attention digital marketing grabbed in the challenging times allowed caterers to understand its power and importance. Its impacts have been echoed through times and, enabled catering businesses to thrive continuously. It has encouraged more businesses from the catering industry to leverage digital marketing tools to remain relevant and a distinguished competitor.
4 Benefits Of Digital Marketing for Catering Businesses
- Wider audience base: Traditionally, people have chosen catering services through recommendations and word of mouth as it addresses one of their main concerns, reliability. However, through digital marketing catering businesses can promote their services to a diverse audience changing from families and business professionals to organizations and event planners. It widens the opportunities and audience segments, increasing the catering businesses portfolio and increasing recommendations through digital platforms.
- Showcase skills: Customers are continually searching for various food topics on search engines. Food-related content is the most popularly consumed content on various social media platforms. They allow the catering business to show its culinary skill set and authenticity, and build a genuine bond with the customers. Showcasing the businesses’ expertise, honest reviews, and interactions can build a positive brand reputation.
- Networking: The digital market is a vast platform for catering businesses to network and collaborate with professionals from various industries like hospitality, event management, and other vendors. Widening the network can allow the business to expand its clientele and generate more opportunities.
- Loyal customers: Caterers often gain business through recurring events or references. Building a loyal customer base is an essential aspect of the catering business. Digital marketing tools like social media are an effective way to interact with customers personally and gain credibility for the business among them. It can convert them into loyal customers and brand advocates driving more sales and revenue for the business.
Challenges In The Digital Space
- Increasing Competition: As mentioned earlier, a lot of catering businesses have entered the digital space leading to a rise in competition within the catering industry. Entering the digital space has become more accessible, allowing newer businesses to emerge. It is challenging to establish a distinguished catering business online. However, with a unique value proposition, compelling branding and strategies, and an excellent online persona, your catering business can differentiate itself from the competitors and rise above.
- Consistency: Maintaining consistency is essential to remain visible and relevant to the audience. It is also necessary to maintain brand consistency to communicate the brand’s values and motives to gain brand recognition and establish trust, with the customers. Inconsistency can lead to less visibility and recognition and customers’ loss of interest, loyalty, and trust, leading to a negative custom experience.
Defining Your Digital Marketing Goals For Catering Businesses
- Increased Brand Awareness: The catering business is highly competitive and your business needs to achieve brand awareness.
The increase in online presence and visibility can encourage engagement can allow a larger audience to recognize the business. An increase in online mentions and discussions can increase brand awareness across digital channels.
- Increased Audience Base: Your food business can profit better through a wider audience base ranging from individuals like young adults or business personnel to vendors and planners.
Identifying and targeting new audience segments through multiple digital channels can increase the audience base. Offering content that resonates with the audience segment through the preferred digital channel can increase the business’ online presence allowing a wider audience to interact.
- Increased Leads And Bookings: The primary objective of your catering business can be achieved through increased interest, inquiry, and booking.
Generating a specific amount of qualified leads through lead-generation strategies and campaigns can be achieved by optimizing the website, its landing pages, and the call-to-action buttons. Other strategies like email marketing campaigns can also be effective.
Significance of SMART Goals
SMART Goal is a digital strategy used to provide a clear roadmap to goals. It is a technique to define parameters for goals to ensure they are achievable within a certain time frame. It enables you to eliminate generalities and vague ideas allowing you to focus on the set goals. It is also an easier way to keep track of your progress toward the goals. The abbreviation SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
- Define the specific goals you wish to achieve for your catering business.
- Ensure the goals are measurable which will enable you to track it’s progress.
- Reconsider the goals to ensure they are realistically achievable and can be accomplished as a team.
- Reason the relevance of the goal and ensure it provides benefit to the customer as well as the business.
- Using a time parameter allows you and your team to stay on track, understand the time frame and utilize it to work efficiently.
Additional Digital Marketing Goals Tailored For Catering Businesses
- Increasing Website Traffic: Increased website traffic can be achieved through SEO, PPC, and various other channels. Quality traffic can be driven to the web pages expanding the visibility and interest amount of potential customers.
- Boost Social Media Engagement: Active engagement with followers and audience can foster relationships with them, as well as source traffic to the website. It can increase your catering business’s credibility and authority within the industry.
- Increased Customer Loyalty: Loyal and repeat customers are necessary for the catering business and it can be achieved through loyalty programs, email marketing, offers, and testimonials.
Improved conversion rate, local marketing, quality content, and other goals can also be considered for catering businesses based on their priorities and objectives for the business in the long term. These goals can also be optimized and adjusted based on the market performance and landscape.
- Website: The website is the face of your business. 81% of people search online for websites of the business. Failing to appear on the search engine result pages SERPs can hamper your catering business sales and growth.
- SEO: Optimising the website can improve its appearance on the SERPs. Using relevant keywords with rich content, tags, quality backlinks, and other SEO practices can improve the website’s authority and rankings.
- Content: Featuring high-quality visual content, that represents enticing dishes served by your catering business can hold the audience’s attention and showcase your expertise to them. Incorporating video content invites more visitors.
- User experience: A seamless user experience plays a crucial role in SEO and rankings. The use of friendly navigation, mobile-friendly optimization, and speed-responsive design are all part of a positive user experience that needs to be optimized regularly.
Leveraging Social Media Platforms
- Choosing the right channels: Understanding your target audience can help you select the right social media platforms. The audience and competitors’ preferences can provide more insights into social media platforms that are most effective for catering businesses. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook can benefit more than Twitter due to their visual aids.
- Strategies: Defining your goals for the business can help determine the most suitable strategies. Based on the goals, the content can be tailored to highlight your catering businesses’ USP and other engaging food-related content to maintain the audiences’ engagement.
- Content: Showcasing your catering service’s food, menu, behind-the-scenes, and other captivating content can interest the audience. It also human eyes the business allowing it to create genuine connections with the audience.
- Paid Ads : Social media platforms can be used to advertise and reach an audience beyond organic strategies. The paid ads are highly targeted and reach the audience based on their demographics.
Online Reviews and Reputation Management
The audience’s reliance on online information is increasing daily. The audience firmly trusts the reviews and feedback offered by previous customers of the catering business. Their purchasing decisions are strongly backed by the reviews they read.
Encouraging customers to leave their honest reviews can provide you with a better understanding of the customer experience your catering business offers.
However, this can invite positive as well as negative reviews.
While positive reviews can be highly beneficial negative reviews can impact the business based on how they are dealt with. Negative reviews are often ignored, which creates an unfavourable impression of the catering business.
Acknowledging and reasoning with these reviews can showcase your willingness towards improvement of customer experience. A strategic management online review can effectively transform your catering business brand reputation.
Harnessing the Power of Influencer Marketing
According to research, 61% of consumers trust influencers. The audience is more likely to believe influencers as a trusted source and often make purchasing decisions based on influencer reviews.
Harnessing this power of influencer marketing can enable a catering business to reach the influencer’s large following on social media platforms. The influencer’s audience is more likely to engage with your business on these platforms.
Collaboration with the influencer can add more authenticity and genuineness to your business, inviting the audience’s trust.
While there is a large population of influencers, it is necessary to identify the right one for your campaigns.
Utilising social listening tools, hashtag research, and search alerts can allow you to find the correct influencers. Building relationships with the shortlisted potential influencers can be mutually beneficial.
Engage with them on their content and personalise efforts while reaching out to them and showcasing how your business can provide value to them as well. Aligned interests can aid the collaboration better.
Staying Up-to-Date with Digital Marketing Trends
- Chat Bots: Since the introduction of AI, chatbots have become the latest trend for websites. They are convenient for the audience to receive immediate responses to their queries and an effective strategy for lead generation.
- Instagram Reels: According to research, 43% of the Instagram audience is interested in food content, and reels receive a 22% more engagement rate than other content. As a catering business, you can leverage these statistics and platforms to create original and engaging content.
- Loyalty programs: Customer loyalty programs can be achieved through email marketing and retargeting. Providing them with value and quality along with rewards, coupons, or free products in emails has proven effective.
Why are they important
The catering industry landscape is constantly evolving in the digital space. Continuous learning and staying up-to-date with the latest advancements and industry trends can provide insights into customer preferences. Leveraging these practices and implementing robust strategies can allow your catering business to remain relevant in the competitive landscape.
In the current era, the growth of the catering businesses essentially relies on a robust online presence, since the internet is the largest market. The food and catering industry in India is growing at a fast pace, and leveraging digital marketing is an essential and excellent tool.
However, it is necessary to use correct and effective strategies for your catering business to thrive, achieve the desired business goals and establish a distinguished catering business identity in the crowding industry.