Relationships = Sales
If people know you, they are more likely to buy from you. But, you have so many other things to do to run your business. How do you build relationships without spending all of your time in meetings? There are so many regulations to stay on top of, adjustments to make, and operations to run that fostering genuine connection can seem impossible. Turn to digital relationship building via email marketing to engage your audience with less stress.
Email marketing is the number one tool to use to stay top-of-mind with your potential clientele. An email list provides you a captive audience that is eager to learn more about your business. Now is the perfect time to start building your email list because you can offer specific solutions to how to navigate through the changes caused by the pandemic.
Once you turn strangers into first-time customers, it is time to turn them into second-time customers and advocates. By continuing to build relationships via email post-sale, you will be able to get a surge of cash from existing customers by increasing the number of visits and encouraging them to spread the word to their friends.
To attract strangers to your business, you should create and promote content that identifies their pain points and helps them solve them. For example, potential clients might be wondering how they can safely celebrate their wedding or anniversary. You could answer their burning questions through a PDF guide, quiz, or video series. Then, promote your content via social media ads. The goal is to capture qualified leads’ email addresses and add them automatically to your email list.
Once you’ve attracted people to your business, it is time to build relationships. Write blog posts, create social media content, record podcasts, or produce videos that continue to add value to the lives of your customers. A great blog post title could be “How to Celebrate Your Would-Be Wedding Date During Quarantine.” Make sure to create content regularly and share it with your email list weekly.
Start your email list building journey using this 7-part framework.
Develop your Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA)
You can’t sell to someone you don’t know. An Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA) is a generalized, fictional representation of the client most likely to select your catering and event services. An ICA helps you better understand your customers, determine their pain points, figure out where they hang out, and make stronger connections. Research to gather demographic and psychographic traits to build your ICA.
Create a Lead Magnet
A lead magnet is a downloadable piece of content that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. As mentioned above, a lead magnet could be a guide, quiz, checklist, video series, or infographic. The critical thing to keep in mind is that your lead magnet should seek to define your ICA’s biggest problem and point them in the direction of how to solve it.
An example of a lead magnet could be a guide called “The Ultimate Guide to Pre-Wedding Celebrations” or a quiz named “Uncover Your Wedding Style. You could even use a checklist called “The Top 10 Essentials for COVID Elopement”.
Set Up an Email Service Provider (ESP)
Email marketing doesn’t happen in your standard email account. Use an Email Service Provider (ESP) to collect, tag, and segment the email addresses generated by your lead magnet. I recommend ConvertKit or Flodesk because they tend to have higher deliverability rates. ConvertKit produces more streamlined emails, while Flodesk has options for a more visual aesthetic.
Build a Landing Page for Your Lead Magnet
A landing page is a web page that you create in your ESP that will appear after your ICA clicks on the link to download your lead magnet. A landing page has a form that allows you to capture your ICA’s information in exchange for the lead magnet. While it may be tempting to ask for a lot of information on a landing page, only create fields to collect your prospect’s first name and email address. The fewer the fields, the more likely they will fill out the form.
Write an Email Nurture Sequence
An Email Nurture Sequence is an automated series of emails that someone receives when they download your lead magnet and subscribe to your email lists. Each email sequence should contain about 3-5 emails that are scheduled about a week apart. The last email of the nurture sequence should clearly ask for the sale. Make sure to include at least two links with a call-to-action like “Book a Consultation.”
Create & Send Weekly Content
Create weekly content to increase website visitors, position yourself as a helpful expert, and continue building relationships with your ICA. I recommend you create either a blog, podcast, or YouTube channel. If creating robust weekly content seems overwhelming, just start by dropping a quick tip to your email list. It could be as simple as a 100-word piece of advice about crafting pro tips or how to cook a signature dish. Up the engagement by including a beautiful photo to capture their attention.
Use Ads to Promote Your Lead Magnet
Promote your lead magnet and weekly content to make sure to get the most return on your investment of time and energy. You need to actively spread the word about your lead magnet to build the top of your marketing funnel. One of the best promotional tools is Facebook Ads. They help you reach a targeted audience interested in what you have to offer.
Use email to build quality relationships that lead to more people setting up consultations, engaging on your social media, and booking with you for their 2021 weddings and celebrations. Use the stability you gain to feel empowered and thrive doing what you love.
Aleya Harris, CPCE, an award-winning marketer and former chef and catering company owner, is the Owner of Flourish Marketing, an agency that provides marketing education, strategy, and tools to help wedding, catering, and event professionals get and keep a consistent stream of clients. Aleya is a StoryBrand Certified Guide. She uses that narrative-based framework to develop clear, engaging, and highly converting marketing assets, like websites and social media solutions, for her clients. Aleya is the current Marketing Committee Chair for NACE and a top speaker at conferences and events like Catersource and The Special Event.