No matter how bad the economy gets, there’s one thing that can always bring some entrepreneurs a little comfort: people still have to eat. If you’re a small food business owner, there will always be opportunities for you to build a successful brand and grow your business. It won’t be easy, but it can be done. Here are five tips to help you market your business and keep customers walking through your door every day.
Reach Out to Local Press
One of the best ways for a small food business on a budget to get the word out is by utilizing the local press. This can mean sending press releases to local newspapers and magazines, but it should also include public access television, local bloggers and social media influencers.
Utilize Business Review Apps
Apps like Yelp, Foursquare and Eat24 make it easy for people who’ve never even heard of your restaurant to find you. You can post photos and videos, and your customers can post reviews too. Anyone new to your area will likely rely heavily on food apps like these, so make sure you’re listed in all of them and that your location info is accurate and updated regularly. You can even include special offers in some apps to incentivize customers to give your place a try.
Sponsor/Participate in Local Community Events
Most communities have small youth festivals, craft fairs, food truck events and holiday fairs. Get involved in these events and get your name and products out there. School fairs and open house events are another great way to expand your reach.
Build a Strong Social Media Presence
Food trucks, caterers, bakeries, fine restaurants, pubs and fast food joints can get all the business they can handle by being active on social media. The trick is to know who your customers are and where they hang out online. Millennials might spend all day on Snapchat, Twitter and Instagram while their parents stick to Facebook and Google+.
Send Consistent Branding Messages
With all the marketing avenues available today, it’s easy to get caught up in trends and lose your identity while desperately trying to attract new customers. It’s important to create a consistent brand. Customers like consistency. Avoid the trap of trying to be all things to all people. Sure, it’s tempting to think that everyone in your town might like your food, so why not market to everyone? The reality, is that most successful small businesses prospered because they narrowed their niche, focused on what they do best and stuck to their true customer base.
Building a successful small food business isn’t easy, but by using today’s free and low-cost marketing opportunities any small company can strengthen their brand and grow like never before.