How to Attract More Catering & Events Clients


Fifty percent of your leads are qualified, but not ready to select your services. That means, you must have an in-depth understanding of the marketing funnel and why the top of the funnel is critical before nurturing and conversions can occur.


Once you understand what a marketing funnel is, how to create an ideal customer avatar, what your targets are doing at the top of the funnel, and what types of content are used to reach them, answering the question, “how to get more clients for my business,” is straightforward.


In this article, I will discuss how to apply these marketing tips for your catering business so you can get and keep clients. You will not only learn more about the top of the marketing funnel but also how to get more clients for your catering business.


What is a Marketing Funnel?

When your target audience is going on a journey with your business, that's a marketing funnel.


As soon as they learn about your catering and events business, to the selection stage, a marketing funnel is how you're mapping the route to conversions and learning to get and keep clients.


When you carefully analyze your marketing funnel to attract more clients, you can learn precisely what actions your company must take to influence your target audience at specific stages. When you evaluate your marketing funnels, that could lead to an increase in sales, a boost in customer loyalty, and a rise in your brand's awareness.


How Did Marketing Funnels Start?

In 1898, E. St. Elmo was the first to develop a sales funnel, which was for the insurance market, but is still applied to today's marketing funnels. In his model, which refers to as the "AIDA" model, it highlights the following stages of the marketing funnel:

  • Awareness: Your target audience knows their pain points, and potential solutions are available.

  • Interest: Your target audience is showing interest in a group of catering and events businesses.

  • Desire: Your target audience is taking steps toward evaluating a specific brand.

  • Action: Your target audience decides to move forward with selecting services.

Further Defining the Marketing Funnel

You'll notice that since the early 1900s, the definition of marketing funnels has remained constant. However, all companies don't accept the same universal model. Some companies prefer using the "TOFU-MOFU-BOFU" strategy. That means, each funnel has distinct elements, including the top of the funnel, middle of the funnel, and bottom of the funnel.


Creating a Strategy for Each Stage

All stages of the marketing funnel must work together flawlessly for your target audience to experience an ideal and successful journey. You can implement many strategies for reducing friction along the way.


Here are some I love using:

  • Awareness: Each time I use branded content, I know these strategies are appealing to my target audience and making them receptive to future engagement.

  • Consideration: I work toward being a brand advocate when assisting my catering and event targets while they're comparing my company against the competition.

  • Conversion: Here's where I make the purchasing process as streamlined as possible to reduce the risk of my targets buying elsewhere.

  • Loyalty: When you implement a loyalty program featuring email interactions, social media engagement, and regular discounts, these steps will maintain your customer base.

  • Advocacy: You'll find that repeat targets in your loyalty program will support your marketing funnels in the future.


What the Difference Between B2B and B2C Funnels?

It's no mystery that catering and events businesses work with a wide variety of clients. That means knowing which to market to and when. You'll find marketing tips for your events business outlining how to achieve this goal, but you must know how to set up your funnel for your audience first.


Are you marketing for business or social events?


Let’s take a look below to help answer that question:


  • B2B customers: These are your business customers. These target audiences tend to bring together larger groups that are more focused on assisting with the decision-making process. You're working with individuals who need catering for business meetings, presentations, and other corporate functions.

  • B2C customers: You're working with social customers in this group. They might receive advice from friends or family during the decision-making process. These individuals typically need services for weddings or other kinds of family functions. These are where weddings, birthday parties, and baby showers live.


Why Are Marketing Funnels Beneficial?

When you’re researching marketing tips for a catering business, you’ll likely see many pieces of advice regarding the benefits of marketing funnels.


I love marketing funnels because they make it easy for my ideal customer avatar to follow their journey, plus they're easy for catering and events companies to implement. These business solutions map out every stage in their potential client's decision-making process, plus they plan all the steps necessary throughout each.


When I use a marketing funnel, I can apply almost any kind of customer interaction. No matter if I'm looking to generate more traffic to my bookings page or increase my overall engagement, a marketing funnel is an ideal solution. It's a powerful tool for bringing visibility to all stages of connection with your ideal customer avatar.




Ideal Customer Avatar

You'll often hear an ideal customer avatar, also referred to as a marketing persona or a buyer persona. These phrases work interchangeably, describing the generalized, fictional representation of the ideal customer avatar most likely to select your catering and event services.


It's crucial to your marketing, sales, and service delivery that you have an in-depth understanding of your ideal customer avatar. That's why I’ll explain how you can figure out who they are and the best way to set your target.


Here's why I love creating an ideal customer avatar:


  • I can determine which social platforms my ideal customer avatar is spending their time on so I know for sure which my business should be present on and the most active

  • My marketing can be more effective. If you know where to advertise and who to target, you're spending your marketing dollars better.

  • The marketing copies I'm writing is making a connection, which gives me a better understanding of their pain points, goals, and achievements.

  • I can develop and deliver better services because I can anticipate my markets' behaviors, concerns, and needs.




Creating an Ideal Customer Avatar

Once you define your ideal customer avatar, your next step is its creation. You're probably wondering, "How do I do that?" I'm so glad you asked! The good news is that this process doesn't have to be difficult if you know which questions to ask.


Under most circumstances, you'll create avatars following the completion of market research. You also must collect some information from your current customer base. Here are some suggestions I use for developing my avatars:

  • Contact your existing customer base using surveys to capture feedback.

  • Use Facebook's Pixel tool on your website to track and learn more about your visitors.

  • Reach out to your social media followers to learn more about their needs, who they are, and what they’re trying to accomplish.

Should You Create More Than One Avatar?

It isn't uncommon for a catering and events business to need several ideal customer avatars. The main reason I love creating several is to ensure I'm reaching as many targets as possible. The last thing I want is to miss any potential leads. However, the best way to make sure you're reaching your ideal customer avatar is to tackle one at a time. Otherwise, you'll overwhelm the process and miss your mark.


For example, I start with the ideal customer avatar who will bring in the most business.

I think about who needs the most services in my company. This thought process also helps me understand if my thinking is too broad. For example, do I need to tighten up my focus? Am I trying to reach an audience that's too general? Taking these things into consideration will help me position my company better.


Should I Create Negative Customer Avatars?

I know what you're thinking. Why am I talking about "negativity" when I should focus on what's positive for my catering and events business?


When you think about a negative avatar, that could be something beneficial for your catering and events business. Let me explain—this is a customer avatar to whom you would prefer not selling services.


Understanding who this is will give you a general idea of who your ideal customer avatar is and those who aren’t a good fit for your catering and events business.

We'd love to think that we can sell our services to everyone. However, that's not always the case. Sometimes, selling to everyone (or thinking that way) is detrimental to businesses. Your marketing becomes too generalized, and you lose focus.


Plus, if you know who a good fit for your business isn’t—maybe they don't value your pricing, or their characteristics aren't a good match—you can identify those things before interactions occur.


How to Define Your Ideal Customer Avatar

Now that you've completed your market research and know whether to develop several customer avatars, it's time to create one. Here's how I love defining my ideal customer avatar:


  1. Demographic traits: During this initial step, I list all of my ideal customer avatar's demographic characteristics. These could include their education, income, occupation, religion, marital status, and family size.

  2. Psychographic traits: You'll find that this step is a little more challenging and requires a more in-depth understanding of your ideal customer avatar. You're looking at their attitudes, interests, lifestyle, and values. For example, do they want to live a healthier lifestyle? Are they looking for ways to create a DIY project? Answer those questions.

  3. Name your avatar: That's right, each of your ideal customer avatars needs a name. That way, you're humanizing this fictional customer profile.

  4. Put a face to this profile: Besides a name, you'll also need a fictional face. Use stock photos to help you achieve this goal. That way, your profile has a visual representation.

  5. Develop a story: During this step, you're writing your ideal customer avatar's story. Think about it as a journal entry. They're discovering your service. What are they thinking? How do they feel about your service? Why do they think this way? What services do they need? What pain points are they attempting to resolve? How did they find your services? How did they feel once they selected your services?

Why Are Customer Avatars Beneficial?

There's a lot of noise during a customer journey. So, when you create a customer avatar, that will help your marketing efforts separate your business from all of that. It's an excellent tool for experiencing business growth because you can reach your targets on a personal level.


Here are a few specifics I like to keep in mind when creating my ideal customer avatars:

  • I create a negative customer avatar to help understand who is a good match for my catering and events business and who isn’t.

  • Giving my ideal customer avatar a name, face, and personal stories will humanize them. I try to be as specific as I can. The more details I can create, the better I can connect with my perfect customers.

  • When I create these avatars, I base them on customer feedback and market research, instead of my perceptions and opinions.

What Buyers Are Doing at the Top of the Funnel

At the top of the funnel, your target audience is in the "awareness" stage. During this stage, your target realizes they have a pain point or problem for which they need a solution. For example, because you're a catering and events company, your target may realize they need catering for a corporate event happening next month. Your goal is to provide a solution or answer to their problem.


During this stage, you're not focusing on selling to your target audience. Instead, you're educating your targets. Therefore, you must research what kind of information your targets want to see and then create content focusing on those interests.


For example, if I know my target audience wants to know more about how to create beautiful table settings at a venue, then I will create content focusing on those interests. Another example is, if I know my target audience wants to know more about planning the best catering for a corporate presentation, I'll create content focusing on that.


Ultimately, my goal at the top of the funnel is to collect names and email addresses. That way, I can nurture those leads later on in the marketing funnel.


For example, I could include a call to action at the bottom of my content. In that call to action (CTA), I could ask for an email in exchange for a high-quality eBook or checklist. I'll make sure this content isn't available anywhere else. That way, it's valuable and I'm designating myself as a thought leader.


These calls to actions compel my target audience to visit my landing page. In this example, it's their choice to click on my CTA and download my content. During this stage, I may not be trying to sell them anything. Instead, I’m implementing a high-value engagement strategy.


Here’s a list of tasks you can focus on to improve the top of your funnel.

Once these are all in place, you can then move onto the middle and bottom of your marketing funnel, which is where the magic and the money happen.

  • Document who your ideal client is and what service you will provide for them.

  • Create a valuable and high converting lead magnet to entice new subscribers.

  • Set up an account on any email marketing platform so you can stay in touch with your audience.

  • Ensure that you have a strong and consistent visual brand across all platforms (website, social media, email templates, and marketing assets).

  • Document your sales goals. What do you want to sell, and how many sales will you need to hit your financial goals?

Types of Content to Create at the Top of the Funnel

You'll often see "top of funnel" marketing referred to as “ToFu.” While catering and events, businesses are used to that being a vegetarian's "go-to" protein dish, it means something entirely different in this scenario. Here, we're talking about the types of content we’ll feature at the top of the funnel.


Remember, in this stage; you're not creating content that sells to your ideal customer avatar. Instead, you're creating content that will educate them or solve their pain points.


Because "ToFu" content is available in the awareness stage of the marketing funnel, your target audience is determining what their pain points are and trying to get answers to their questions. Your targets are hitting search engines, and your marketing funnel will help capture them.


Use the Best Content Possible to Reach Your Targets

Ultimately, you're using non-branded content at the top of your funnel. That means it's not self-serving. Instead, the content is unbiased, and it might mention your competition. Most of your content, around 70%, should answer questions during the awareness stage. Instead of talking about how great your catering brand is, you should be focusing on the needs of your ideal customer avatar.


With 86% of searches being non-branded, that means your target audience is searching for answers to their questions or ways to solve their problems. They aren't looking for your brand specifically, because they don't know your catering and events business exists yet.


Remember, creating non-branded content doesn't mean you do not involve your brand at all. Instead, it means you're not creating content that's "about" your brand. The content is about solving your audience's pain points.


Think about it this way—your logo is showing front-and-center at the top of your website, you're featuring a call-to-action to attract engagement with your target audience, and you'll potentially achieve conversions.


The best way I achieve that goal is by developing content topics that capture my target audience's attention and lead them to my website. I worry about what will happen later on in the marketing funnel after I attract them with high-quality content.


How to Become an Idea Machine

I love coming up with ideas for content when I want to get more clients for my catering business. Sometimes it's a challenge, though. So, I love to implement the following strategies when I want to learn how to get more clients for my business:


Incorporate Staff Surveys

Your staff is an incredible resource because they're working the front-line with your existing customer base. Ask them, "What questions are our customers asking you most?"


You'll find that, no matter how many staff members you have, you'll receive repetitive questions. From that, you can develop between fifty to one hundred content ideas. This number is, of course, dependent on how many questions you receive.


Your goal is to pare down the duplicate ideas and questions you've already answered in your existing content. Then, you'll see you have a list of fantastic content ideas that root to real pain points and issues your ideal customer avatar have.

Input those content ideas into your editorial calendar for researching, writing, and implementing. This strategy works when you speak to your staff regularly about what issues your customers have, and if your business needs to address additional pain points it might be missing.


Content Addressing Common Issues

Your ideal customer avatar wants a solution to a problem that already exists. Therefore, you can help them with this content on your website.


For example, a B2B company might look for a solution to how to plan monthly meeting lunches. Or, a B2C client might be looking for solutions for the best flowers to use at a venue. Your content can address these pain points.


Ideally, the content you're writing at the top of the funnel is to cast a wide net and attract targets who want answers.


Content that Addresses Costs

Your first thought might be, "I'm running a catering and events business, so my costs depend on a variety of factors. So, how can I throw down a blanket price?"

The beauty of this top of funnel content suggestion is that you're addressing the cost. You're not locking-in a specific price.


For example, when your target is searching for the costs for catering or events services, your content can appear with an answer. In your blog post, detail the typical prices for these services and give your target audience an idea of what they can expect.


Content containing information regarding costs and pricing is a popular search term. So, don't neglect this type of top of funnel content.


Create Resource Pages

Your target audience wants to find as many resources as possible. They want these resources available in as little time as possible. Delight your target audience by becoming the "go-to" resource for all the information they want.


Creating a resource page consolidates all the information a target audience typically searches for and combines it on a single page. Once you create these pages, they're easy to keep up-to-date and refresh.


Types of Content That Work Best

Now that I’ve shown you know what kinds of content your target audience wants, it's time to create those pieces. I love creating a wide variety of pieces of material at the top of the funnel to get and keep clients. When I want to attract more clients, I focus on:


Articles and Blog Posts

At the awareness stage, these are the most common pieces of content. Not only are they informative, but you can create them without being too pushy. This content is also straightforward for your target audience to find using a Google search.


Videos

Incorporating video content at the top of your funnel is critical. When you read marketing tips for events business, the first thing you'll see is the incorporation of videos and for a good reason! You can create:

  • How-to and educational videos

  • Brand films (that don't include a sales pitch)

  • Documentaries (showing your team in action)

Lead Magnets

I love lead magnets because they're high-quality pieces of content you're sharing in exchange for your target audience's email address. The material I use most often includes:

  • Guides

  • eBooks

  • Videos

  • Reports

  • Checklists

Infographics

Here's an incredible opportunity to show your target audience information visually during the awareness stage. If your target audience has a short attention span, this kind of content will prove beneficial. Not only is it engaging but it also presents a significant amount of information visually.


Social Media

I love using social media because it gives my business many opportunities to reach my target audiences on an authentic level. Not only can I "humanize" my catering and events company, but I can also engage with my targets regularly.




Now that you know about the top of the funnel, I’m looking forward to how you use these marketing tips for events business to take your company to the next level.


If you need help throughout your journey, I suggest signing up for our Success Recipes weekly email. In it, you’ll receive my strategic know-how and insights for helping you achieve business growth and success.


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If you can set aside 2-3 hours per month to learn and implement these high converting strategies into your business, you will get and keep more clients.

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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.