How To Cater To Different Demographics Online

The most successful caterers know their exact target market. It’s one of the first basic rules of marketing – identify a consumer with a specific need, and shape your product around it.

Establishing and maintaining a catering business is no easy task. There are many factors that come into play, and when not well monitored a business can quickly suffer. In fact, the success rate of caterers and restaurants is much lower when compared with other industries; a risk which turns many people off fulfilling their dream of one day owning one.

What is demographic targeting?

Demographics are used to segment an audience into more specific groups. Commonly used demographics include gender, age, location, language, annual income, married status, family size, occupation and interests, but the list of useable information is endless.

The use of demographic targeting can help you reach the right audience. This does not mean you are excluding people that do not fit your criteria, but rather it allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on those most likely to use your service. This is a much more affordable, efficient and effective way to reach potential patrons and generate business.

Now, there’s a difference between finding a “target market” and demographic targeting. Defining a target market aims to identify the potential market which could guarantee better results and maximum profits. This is done by taking into account market size, growth potential, number of competitors and company strength. On the other hand, demographic targeting aims to segment the audience based on shared traits, and then target them with a campaign designed specifically for them.

If you want to run a successful catering business, attracting customers is, without a doubt, one of the most important elements to take into consideration. But as every customer is different, trying to appeal to everyone can be a costly mistake.

How to find your target audience

Finding your target audience is all about asking questions and keeping track of important demographics that will be attracted to your catering business. Questions to ask include:

Who is most likely to enjoy my catering menu?

Look at the type of food you are serving. Look at the presentation of your dishes. Understand who all this will connect with. If, for example, your company is serving dishes such as Coquilles Saint-Jacques and Pan-Seared Foie Gras, your target audience is generally going to be part of a more affluent demographic. If your dishes include Bangers & Mash and Chicken Schnitzel, a middle-class demographic is who you’re going to want to reach.

Try to marry your own demographic preferences and tastes with your company’s.

What to do once you’ve found your audience

Marketers have long relied on demographic information to determine where to spend their advertising dollars, but these same demographics can now be used to cater to your online presence. Social media is one of the most important marketing tools a catering business has these days, so learning how to control your social media habits to marry in with different demographics will make the difference between a company that thrives, and a caterer that struggles to turn a profit.

Smart marketers constantly tinker with their segmentation strategy, working tediously to ensure the right message is reaching the right people, at the right time. With the rise of so many platforms across the vast social media landscape, this has never been more important – or more challenging. The opportunity is ripe for reaching new audiences, but to do so you will need to understand the different platforms and where your demographic audiences are clustering.

Let’s look at Facebook. Facebook attracts 1.44 billion active users each month and is the market leader for social networking sites. Key demographics according to Sprout Social show that Facebook is more popular with women and that 87% of 18-29 year-olds use the social networking platform.

Now let’s consider Twitter. With Twitter, we know that more men use it than women and that it’s more popular with those in urban areas than those living in rural areas. We also know that the more money you earn and more educated you are, the more likely you are to use the social network.

Cross to Instagram, and you’ll discover a community of over 300 million users sharing over 60 million photos every day. A rising star of social media, it’s largely made up of 18-29-year-olds (women especially), predominantly those with some college experience.

As you can see, each platform attracts vastly different demographics. Therefore, it’s important to customise your marketing to best suit these figures. Each platform, be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Pinterest, Snapchat, Yelp, TripAdvisor or Urbanspoon, should be looked at closely in order for you to understand who is using them and how best to put that to your advantage.

Go beyond simple logic like price and quality of service. Push yourself to really visualise the exact person you are targeting, and keep track of that customer. The world around you is continually changing, and so too is your ideal customer.

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