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Better Marketing Strategies for Catering Part 1: How Will You Talk to Your Audience (and keep their attention)?


Once you’ve found the right audience for your catering company, as we talked about in the last Total Party Planner blog, how will you talk to your audience and keep their attention? How will you distinguish yourself—and then get potential clients to remember you AND call you too?

The answer: with distinct messaging that strikes at the heart of your clients’ biggest concerns.

What keeps your clients up at night? Fear that the food won’t be ready on time, and people will be standing around, bored and anxious? Fear of pleasing picky relatives? Fear of looking like a fool at a huge event? Fear that you won’t even show up?

What can you do to allay these fears?

It’s not enough to tell people what you do. You have to show them what you’ll do for them personally. And you do that with strong messaging.

First rule of messaging: Show them, don’t tell them.

Check out this video about how words can make an impact on consumer response. It’s less than two minutes long—but be warned, you may be moved to tears.

(Just in case you can’t watch it right now, we’ll give you a brief synopsis. But knowing what happens doesn’t diminish the video. Make sure to watch it as soon as you get a chance.)

In this video, a blind man has a sign that says, “I’m blind, please help.” He has a cup for collecting loose change. A few people toss coins at him.

Then, a woman comes along and writes something new on the other side of his cardboard. Suddenly, people are giving him money left and right. When the woman returns, the man asks her what she wrote on his sign. She says that she just said the same thing he said.

But that’s not entirely true. She told a better story—a story that struck a nerve of empathy with the passers-by who more willingly shared their change with the blind man.

What did the woman write on his cardboard?

“It’s a beautiful day, and I can’t see it.”

Changes the perspective a lot, doesn’t it?

So, how will you change the perspective in your messaging? How can you strike an emotional chord with your audience?

Practice makes perfect.

Before we sign off, here’s an exercise for you to try.

Think of what it is you want to say about your catering company. Just as an example, maybe you want to say, “We’re the best catering company for weddings and large corporate affairs, with flexible food options for every location and special needs diets.”

Just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Write your own messaging or mission statement at the top of a large piece of paper.

Now, underneath, how many different ways can you say that exact same message? Set a timer for 15 minutes, and see how many taglines you can come up with. Compete with yourself.

When you’re brainstorming, THERE ARE NO BAD IDEAS. Write them all down. Because a bad idea may lead to a brilliant idea. You can go over them later and judge which to keep and which to toss. But for now, don’t hold back.

Consider changing how you tell the story, the perspective of different readers, and even separating the messaging. Perhaps the better strategy is to have a wedding message and a corporate message.

Here are some different combinations from our example to get your creative juices flowing.

For the wedding day you dream of

For food worthy of your important events

The icing on the cake to life’s celebrations

A wedding meal even your choosiest guest will enjoy

Delightful food for your most joyous occasions

Celebrate the joy of food, friends, and family with My Catering Company, LLC

Satisfying food that keeps the focus on you

Satisfying food that keeps the focus on your meeting

For clients and guests, serve them only the best

From comfort food to special diets—we’ve got you covered

From weddings to corporate events—flexible food, impeccable service when you need it

The food you want, the service you need

It’s hard to show brainstorming in a blog. However, hopefully you can see the different focus in each tagline. Some focus on the food. Some focus on the event. Some try to combine ideas. Others focus on one idea. Depending on your niche, these are examples of the different angles you can try until you hit upon what you think will really resonate with your ideal client.

In fact, take a look at the last two taglines. The last one actually evolved from the one above it. However, since we’re running out of space, we’ll have to show you that evolution in another blog.

So, play with your story. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes. What do they really want to hear from you? That’s when you’ll capture the magic of messaging.

Happy brainstorming—and happy storytelling!

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