Growing your catering business online requires that you leverage all of the available online catering marketing channels and strategies currently available. When this is done correctly your catering business will receive the maximum number of organic impressions, helping you generate leads that convert into customers.
One of the most important components of your catering marketing strategy needs to be attracting a constant influx of online reviews — specifically Google reviews on your Google My Business profile.
Google reviews satisfy both potential customers and Google, the number one search engine and top source of organic website visitors.
Consumers trust online reviews — in fact, they trust an online review left by a complete stranger the same way they trust a personal recommendations from a friend.
When a potential customer in your market is looking to hire a catering company he or she is going to naturally be drawn to the local business with not only a higher average star-rating, but also the business with more reviews, quantity-wise.
Google reviews also play a key role in your organic positioning within Google Maps. Creating a system to constantly acquire fresh reviews needs to be a major focus of your catering marketing effort. It has a significant impact on your local SEO results.
There are things you can do to streamline the process, helping you build up the number of Google reviews your catering company has on its Google My Business profile, as well as ways to leverage those reviews to attract more leads and catering customers.
Below is a three-part success formula you can implement, helping you to attract more Google reviews for your catering business and then utilizing those reviews in your catering marketing effort.
Part One: Google My Business Profile Optimization
Having a Google My Business profile set up and optimized to its fullest potential is important for your catering SEO. The results displayed on Google Maps — the top real estate in local search results — is pulled directly from Google My Business profiles.
Make sure that your NAP (name, address and phone number) are accurate and consistent across all of your additional business directory listings online. Discrepancies can raise a red flag, causing search engines to question whether or not the contact information is accurate.
Remember, Google’s local organic listings (Google Maps) are designed to provide their users with the most accurate information — if the algorithm isn’t 100% confident in your listing’s data you will not receive maximum organic exposure and impressions.
Part Two: Attract Google Reviews via Simple Outreach
Google reviews are important — they help your organic search visibility in Google’s local search results and more customers will choose your catering company if they see and read recent positive reviews.
One of the easiest ways to attract catering Google reviews is to ask, and when you mix in a little creativity you will see your Google review numbers increase on a consistent basis. Here are four simple ways you can start attracting more Google reviews for your catering company.
Immediately following an event is one of the best times to ask the customer to leave a review. They are satisfied and will be more than happy to honor your request — all you have to do is ask.
When you are wrapping up the conversation, end with this: “I’m so glad you are happy with the event. I would be extremely grateful if you could take two seconds to leave us a review online. It really helps us out a lot. Would you mind if I sent you an email with a link to make it easy for you?”
Then, as soon as you are back in your office send them the email, again thanking them for their business and asking them to leave a review. Give them simple to follow instructions and a link to your Google My Business profile.
Use Social Media to Ask
While a catering business might not have tens of thousands of followers, a large percentage of those you do have are likely previous customers. Asking for reviews through social media posts is an easy way to keep them flowing in.
Consider posting simple direct messages, like: “We love feedback from our customers. Let us know how your experience with our catering company was: [link to your Google My Business profile]”
Even if you only attract a handful of reviews a year doing this it’s going to eventually contribute to generating more catering leads for your business. Little things like this all add up and will help you attract more catering Google reviews.
Create an Attractive Incentive
If you want to make sure you convert a higher percent of your “asks” the first time, offer an incentive. It doesn’t have to be high in terms of monetary value either. It’s more about the thought and how you present the offer.
Send a hand-written ‘Thank You’ card to every customer within days of the catering event. Thank them, let them know you value their business and ask them to leave a review, and offer them a little incentive to do so. A hand-written note like this converts very high:
“We know you are busy, but it would mean the world to us if you took a couple of minutes and left us a Google review. If you do, make sure to let us know via email so we can send you something special.”
The mystery element alone will drive your conversion rates through the roof. Send them a gift card to a local coffee spot. The $5 gift card is a small price to pay for a glowing five-star review.
Newsletter & Email Signature Links
Think of how many emails you send out on a daily basis. Every email you send is a chance to get your “ask” out there. You more than likely already have an email signature, so add a little blurb at the end:
“We love to hear from our past customers. Leave us a review today: (link to your Google My Business profile)”
This requires no effort moving forward, and if you only attract a few additional Google reviews a year doing this it’s a win.
Part Three: How to Leverage Your Google Reviews to Close More Catering Customers
We are going to highlight five easy-to-implement ways to leverage your reviews. Doing this will help you attract more leads, and the more catering leads you generate, the more you will convert into catering customers.
1. Engage with All Your Google Reviews
There is one mistake many business owners make when it comes to Google reviews, and that is failing to engage with them. If you receive a catering business review make sure you reply to it as quickly as possible.
If a customer leaves a great review, make sure to thank them. It helps to strengthen that relationship, which can lead to repeat business and referrals, but it also shows potential customers that you care about your customers.
Even if a Google review is posted that is less-than-stellar, make sure to address it and offer to make the customer fully satisfied. Ignoring a bad review is the worst thing you can do. Be proactive with your review-engagement. The faster you can reply to a review, the better.
2. Use Testimonials from Google Reviews in Your Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to convert new catering customers as well as repeat customers, and including recent reviews in your email marketing template can help increase those conversion rates.
Catering reviews help build consumer trust, and not every potential customer is going to revisit your Google My Business profile to read your new reviews every month. So, what you can do is create a section within your email marketing template titled, “What our latest customers have to say about us…” and update this every 30 to 60 days with your newest (and most favorable) Google catering reviews.
This can help you convert those potential customers that need multiple interactions with a brand before making a purchase decision. When they continue to see new positive reviews about your catering business it’s your company that will come to mind when the time comes to make a hiring decision.
3. Create Social Media Content Using Google Reviews
Your catering Google reviews can be turned into social media content, providing you with another way to build trust while marketing to both past and future catering customers. You can easily create templates for each social media network and simply replace the review text each time to create a new piece of content.
Mixing these in with your other social media content will help to not only fill your pipeline with new posts, but also help you convert more catering leads. Potential customers are highly likely to look at your social media profiles, so having your Google catering reviews available on these platforms as well is a great strategy.
4. Post Google Reviews Next to CTAs on Your Website
By including your Google reviews on your website, specifically near your calls-to-action — like a contact form, quote request, newsletter, etc. — you are going to convert a higher percentage of your visitors.
A potential customer is going to feel more confident that your catering company is the right choice, or at least worth contacting, because of the social proof you place next to your CTAs (calls-to-action).
Catering reviews help convert more leads because the average consumer trusts third-party reviews the same way they would trust a recommendation from a friend. They are very powerful — knowing how and where to leverage them can make a noticeable impact on your conversion rates.
5. Recruit Referral Partners from Your Google Reviews
There are many different ways to be creative with your catering advertising campaigns, but there is one strategy that converts higher than anything else, and that is referrals.
Every single person that leaves a positive review is a potential referral partner. They have done business with you and were satisfied — that is the most powerful aspect right there — anyone they refer to you has already removed the barrier of trust. Your catering business is already being highly recommended. This type of lead closes at a higher rate than any other lead source.
Come up with a referral partner compensation plan that makes sense for your business and invite every reviewer to join. It could be a simple gift card for each referral or something more complex like a percentage of revenue.
You will notice that happy customers are more than willing to refer your business, and then if you dangle an incentive in front of them, like a $50 Amazon gift card, for example, you will see them put in extra effort to constantly talk about your business.
Long-term, this can grow into one of your most lucrative catering marketing strategies.See More Helpful Tips