How to Increase Your Catering Company’s Email Database to Grow Your Business
January 27th, 2017
Email is far from being dead and an email database remains a compelling, powerful tool for reaching customers and growing your business. Used in the right way, your email database can propel your catering business forward and increase your return on investment (ROI). Get started today with a commitment to building your catering operation’s email database and leverage it to grow both your sales and customer base.
The power of having an email database
Research has shown that email is the most effective yet easiest marketing tool for businesses around the world. There are many advantages of maintaining and using an email database, such as:
- ROI: Unlike expensive advertising campaigns, email databases cost little to maintain and provide you with an outstanding ROI.
- Ease of use: Email-based marketing content is easy to master and there is no special platform required to send an email to your database, whether it comprises two dozen people or two thousand.
- High delivery rate and easy access: While organic reach on certain social media platforms can be difficult due to continuous algorithm updates, email offers you a strong edge in this area by giving you a close-to-100% delivery rate. Recipients can easily come back to email, while it’s harder to return to a Facebook post.
- Advertising friendly: Recipients tend to be more accepting of advertising and offers in emails than for social media advertising.
- Personalisation: Since it’s delivered to the inbox, email provides a personal touch as you can personalise email content by customer segments.
- Permission marketing and targeting: Email is a simple way to conduct permission marketing. You have to obtain sign-up approval from recipients before you send out the email, so already you’re qualifying leads with the basic step of their sign-up. As you learn more about customers, you can segment them into groups and send out targeted offers and content.
- Private conversations: Recipients are free to respond in private to ask questions. They might be less likely to do so on a social media thread as it’s more public.
Tips for growing your email database
The chances are that you’ll lose around 20% of your subscribers per year, so maintaining an email database is about asking people to sign up and then to make signing up worth their while on a consistent basis.
Here are 14 tips for growing and maintaining your email database:
1. Deliver great content and offers
Probably one of the most important things to do is to deliver valuable content and offers through email. Really make it worth their while to stay on your list. Use subscriber testimonials to encourage more sign-ups.
2. Require opt-in for premium resources
Put in a lot of effort for your opt-in incentives. It’s common for businesses now to offer a free eBook, whitepaper, or some other premium content to incentivise sign-ups.
3. Encourage sharing
Encourage your current email subscribers to share and forward your emails. You can do this by include social sharing buttons and email to a friend buttons in your emails. Include a subscribe link at the bottom of your emails so those receiving the shared content can easily opt in.
4. Use an email marketing service
Aweber or MailChimp are very popular email marketing service providers. These offer tools such as professional-looking forms for sign-ups and managing segmented email lists. With these tools, you’ll be able to send out professional emails to multiple lists with ease. The FoodStorm Catering System also integrates with MailChimp.
5. Segment and target
As your email database grows, segment your list and send out targeted content and offers. For example, you’ll probably have corporate and private catering clients, and these two groups will tend to purchase different catering services. Targeting your content will allow you to make more appropriate offers to each segment. Catering systems like FoodStorm can also automatically segment your email database based on specific filter criteria.
6. Include opt-in messages in signatures
A simple way to get more subscribers is to have every staff member in your organisation include a short and succinct opt-in message in their email signature.
7. Promote your email list everywhere
Never pass up an opportunity to ask people to sign up for your email list. Promote it everywhere: your website, in a high-visibility space or page, your social media pages, your YouTube channel, and your offline and online content. Add an opt-in invitation to your receipts and invoices, and any other point of contact with customers and leads.
8. Collect emails through traditional channels
Traditional marketing and advertising channels are opportunities to grow your email database. Whether you’re attending a trade show, appearing at a conference, giving a speech at an event, paying for a print ad, or sending out direct mail, add an opt-in call to action.
9. Be clear about what subscribers are getting
Sell your email newsletter as a valuable, informative service, but make sure you’re transparent about what subscribers are getting. Be clear about the frequency of emails and what kind of content they can expect.
10. Hold contests
Hold a contest with attractive prizes or discounts and require people to sign up for your newsletter before they can enter the draw.
11. Post sign-up callouts to social media
Add a call to action and a link in your social media accounts, but in addition, regularly post opt-in messages on your social media to make sure you’re reaching as many potential subscribers as possible.
12. Run email courses
Offer a free email course and require recipients to sign up for the email newsletter before they can access the course.
13. Cross promote with partners
Work with complementary businesses to cross promote your respective email database lists. For example, if you often work with venue hire or equipment hire business, have them include your opt-in messaging in their newsletters and customer communications. In return, you can include a link or blog post about their email newsletter on your website.
Growing your email database and reaching more subscribers isn’t difficult, but it does require consistent effort. With a little dedication and time, you can reach more leads to grow your sales by generating more awareness of your catering products and services.
Email marketing can be extremely beneficial for catering businesses, especially when it comes to remarketing efforts around special occasions such as Christmas, when older customers may be on the lookout for a catering service again. Never underestimate the power of email for reminding customers that you exist; an email is a great refresher for a customer who has used your services previously. Email is also a simple way to guarantee that customers on your database will have your business in mind when they require catering services.