Top 50 Hot Marketing Tips

If I could wave a magic wand, and you could have anything you wanted to help you build a successful personal chef business, what would it be?

I bet many of you would say that you’d love to learn the secret to marketing your services well so you can attract all the ideal clients you desire whenever needed.

For many personal chefs the day-to-day tasks of planning and preparing food are not the hardest part of what they do for their business. It’s the marketing piece that is often the challenge and the frustration.

So to help you take the guesswork out of what you should do to market your business in a powerful way, let me share with you my top 50 marketing tips below…

Tip 1:   Identify your ideal clients, know where to find them, and create ways to be in front of them

Tip 2:  It’s more important to get business cards than to hand them out – you want to be the one in charge of follow up

Tip 3:  Build relationships with spheres of influence – people who are connected to your ideal clients – so they can refer you

Tip 4:  Ask for referrals / Ask for the business

Tip 5:  Stay in touch with past clients

Tip 6:  Remember that a “no” may not be a “no” forever so stay in touch with anyone who has expressed interest in your services at some point but didn’t hire you

Tip 7:   When communicating about what you do, focus on the value you offer and the benefits of your services NOT the features of your services

Tip 8:   Don’t rely just on your website to get business

Tip 9:   Don’t rely just on social media to get business

Tip 10:  Write a blog and/or send out a regular newsletter

Tip 11:  Offer a free gift on your website to encourage visitors to give you their name and email address so you can easily stay in touch

Tip 12:  Write a column for a local newspaper

Tip 13:  Only spend time on the social media sites where your ideal clients hang out and if they don’t hang out on social media don’t spend the time marketing yourself there

Tip 14:  Get really good at using one social media site (in other words you know how to get business by using your social media site of choice) before using another one

Tip 15:  Give cooking classes and demos

Tip 16:  Always invite people to take a next step with you so you have the opportunity of deepening the relationship

Tip 17:  Offer a free Discovery Session by phone to learn more about your prospects’ needs, share how your services can help, and turn prospects into clients

Tip 18:  Attend networking events where your ideal clients (or your ideal clients’ spheres of influence) hang out weekly – go early and leave late

Tip 19:  Create a client-attracting elevator chat and practice it

Tip 20:  Get comfortable talking about pricing

Tip 21:  Attend health fairs if you are trying to attract clients who care about healthy eating

Tip 22:  Give a talk on a topic related to health, food, cooking, or throwing a fabulous upscale dinner party

Tip 23:  Write an article for a newsletter that gets distributed to your ideal clients

Tip 24:  Start a radio show or get interviewed by a radio host

Tip 25:  Do a cooking demo on TV

Tip 26:  Put your contact information and website link in your email signature

Tip 27:  List your website on all the online directories you can find

Tip 28:  Explore personal chef placement services like Thumbtack (but be sure you don’t lower prices just to get the business)

Tip 29:  Write a cook book

Tip 30:  Create cooking videos

Tip 31:  Wear your chef’s hat and coat when you are out and about

Tip 32:  Put a sign about your business on your car

Tip 33:  Throw a client appreciation party and ask everyone to bring a friend

Tip 34:  Get involved in organizations and associations where your ideal clients hang out

Tip 35:  Increase word-of-mouth by cooking fabulous food and giving phenomenal customer service

Tip 36:  Have a step-by-step plan to lead prospects from being interested in your services to hiring you

Tip 37:  Offer a low-cost, low-risk way for prospects to try out your services

Tip 38:  Become known for something that you do really well

Tip 39:  Find ways to creatively package your services

Tip 40:  Brand yourself and your business

Tip 41:  Don’t spend your money on traditional paid advertising – there are more effective and lower cost ways to get the word out about your services

Tip 42:  Speak to prospects live either by phone or in person instead of relying solely on email

Tip 43:  Be sure everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) you know is clear about what you do, how your services help, and who your ideal clients are

Tip 44:  Create a marketing plan for the year and stick to it

Tip 45:  Start a meet-up group that relates to your business and attracts your ideal clients

Tip 46:  Be helpful – lead a monthly Q&A session via a teleclass to answer questions people have about food, nutrition, cooking and entertaining

Tip 47:  Send thank you, special occasion and “just thinking of you” cards in the mail to your customers and prospects throughout the year

Tip 48:  On your website focus your content on your prospects, their struggles, what they want instead and how your services can help – DON’T focus first on who you are, your credentials, and how your services work

Tip 49:  Use lots of high quality photos of your food on your website and throughout your marketing materials

Tip 50:  Gather testimonials with full names and photos and use throughout your marketing

Which of the above marketing tips are you using or planning on using to market your business?  Are you doing something that is not on the list? Please share!

How to Sell Yourself without Feeling Pushy

One of the biggest barriers to success for personal chefs or anyone else who is responsible for growing a business for that matter is the fear that they will come across pushy and obnoxious when selling themselves and their products and services.

Common concerns that I hear about selling in my coaching business follow…

  • I hate when someone is aggressively selling something to me, and I don’t want to become one of those people
  • I don’t want to turn people off or annoy them!
  • I feel like a sleazy salesperson when I try to sell my products and services

And because of this fear, many personal chefs tend to shy away from talking about themselves, their businesses and what they are selling.

Instead, many prefer to take a passive approach to getting business. They wait and hope for the phone to ring. They wait and hope for someone to find their website and reach out to them. They wait and hope that someone will see their flier and call. They wait and hope for the business cards they handed out to bring business their way. They wait and hope for referrals and other opportunities to arise.

Taking a passive approach to growing your business is the kiss of death. You might as well close up shop and do something else with your time.

So what you need to do is find a way to sell without feeling like that aggressive salesperson. And here’s how you do just that…

  • Focus on being the solution to the problem your ideal clients are trying to resolve because people want to hear about solutions to their problems. If you can help, they’ll listen, and they won’t feel as if you are being pushy. Instead, they will feel as if you are being of service.
  • Recognize that your products or services aren’t necessarily right for everyone so don’t try to sell your products or services to people who aren’t your ideal clients. If you do, they will feel as if you are that obnoxious salesperson because they don’t want what you have to offer.
  • Know who your ideal clients are, what they struggle with and what they want instead. Listen to the words they use to describe their situation and then use those exact same words when you talk about your products and services. When you talk their language, they will feel as if you get them, and if they think you get them, they’ll not feel put upon.
  • Ask questions first before selling anything. You want to be curious about the other person. Learn something about them. Be an active listener. You want to find out first if they are someone who would have an interest in what you offer. Don’t lead a conversation by talking about yourself and your business. Care about the person in front of you first.
  • Get permission to talk about what you are selling. Once you sense that the person you are talking to could benefit from what you offer, ask if she would be interested in learning more. When you ask for permission you are being respectful, and you won’t come across as if you are pushing your products or services down your prospect’s throat.

Which of these tips resonate with you? Do you have any other tips to share to help make the sales process a better one for people who are uncomfortable selling but who need to sell?

Would you like private support to help you attract more clients so you can keep your calendar fully booked?  Find out more by scheduling a Client Attraction Phone Consult with me here.

How to Make Money From a Food Blog

Do you have a food blog? If you do, is your goal simply to share information or do you want to turn your food blog into something that helps you generate money? If you want to generate money from your food blog, pay close attention to the following hot tips…

Money Generating Tip #1: Understand that your food blog alone is not what makes the money – your products and services do

Your food blog is not your business. It’s a tool to increase awareness and to build your credibility. It can also work very well as a lead generator.  All things that are essential if you want to grow your business and make more money.

Do not rely on your food blog to make you rich from the advertising dollars you may receive. That is not a sure-fire way to success.

Instead, build a business around solving a critical problem that a specific group of people want resolved, and use your blog to attract your ideal clients and bring them into your world.

Money Generating Tip #2: Write about what your audience wants you to write about

This may seem obvious, but bloggers sometimes write about what they are interested in or what they think their audience needs to hear instead of writing about what their audience wants to hear. This happens when you are writing from your perspective instead of your audience’s perspective.

Instead, you need to know who your ideal clients are so you you can write about the kinds of things they have interest in.  Next you want to write using the language they use to talk about their area of interest.  If you do this well, you will be able to build a loyal, active following of people who become your raving fans and who will be much more open to purchasing the products and services you offer.

Money Generating Tip #3: Get your blog followers to sign up for your email list

Use your food blog to grow your email list of ideal prospects by driving the people who read your blog to sign up for a free resource that you know they will love to have. In exchange for the free resource you ask them for their names and email addresses. Make sure that your free resource lets people know the next steps they can take with your business.

Once your blog followers are on your list, be sure to send them a link to your blog via email every time you post. In addition to sharing a link to your blog posts as they are published, invite your followers to any events you are hosting and promote relevant products and services to your list on occasion.

Money Generating Tip #4: Post regularly and have patience

So many people who set up a blog don’t keep it regular or they keep it regular for a while and then stop. You’ll never experience success by blogging if you do this. For blogging to work, you must post relevant information regularly, and you must do it for a while. If you do, all your work will pay off.

There are different schools of thought regarding how regular you need to post, and it can differ depending upon the group you are servicing, your goals and the type of information you share. I have found that I get good results by posting every other week. Experiment and see what works best for you.

Blogging is a fantastic and low-cost way to get the word out about you and your food business, and if you implement the tips shared in this blog post, you will be well on your way to generating income from your blogging efforts as well.

Do any of you have a food blog? How often do you publish? What do you do to drive business your way from your blog? Can you share any other tips?

For more ways to attract your ideal clients and grow your personal chef business sign up for my free audio e-course series 5 Secrets to Keep Your Calendar Fully BookedAs an added bonus you will also receive how-to articles and information about other client attraction resources as they become available.

Why You Aren’t Getting Clients

There are many reasons why you may be finding it hard to get clients as a personal chef, but here below are some of the top and most common reasons that get in the way of your client attraction success.

You don’t know where to find your IDEAL clients

Finding your ideal clients is obviously critical as you have heard me say many times before, but too often personal chefs are stumped when it comes to finding them, so here’s what you can do…

Your first step is to identify WHO your ideal clients are. Write down absolutely everything you know about them.

Once you know who they are, start writing down where they hang out. What do they do for a living? Where do they work? How do they recreate? What organizations and associations do they belong to? What do they read? Where do they spend time on social media?

If you find yourself still struggling to figure out where to find your ideal clients, it may be that the ideal client group you’ve chosen is not a viable one, and you need to choose a different and perhaps more specific “who”.

You aren’t communicating your value effectively

Maybe you know who your ideal clients are and where to find them, but they aren’t hiring you. How you communicate your services to others may be the issue.

Many personal chefs communicate first and foremost what the features of their services are instead of the benefits. This is a sure-fire way to limit the number of clients you get.

People buy services that help them solve critical problems, and when you share the benefits of your service, you are addressing the problems that your service resolves. People couldn’t care less about the features – at least not until they are convinced you can help them with their most pressing problems.

Here’s the difference between features and benefits.

Features include things like…

  • Having an initial consultation
  • Planning the menu
  • Shopping for groceries
  • Cooking the meals
  • Cleaning up
  • Pricing
  • How you handle payment
  • How your clients can schedule cook days

Benefits include things like…

  • Freeing up time to pursue a passion, spend time with family, get a business off the ground
  • Reducing stress
  • Losing weight, improving digestion, clearing up allergies
  • Getting picky eater children to eat
  • Bringing the family together at meal time so children get the family time they need to prosper
  • Getting peace of mind because elderly parents are getting the nutrition they need
  • Taking the overwhelm away for clients who need a special diet for a serious illness

Which do you talk about first when talking to your ideal clients?  Features or benefits?

You aren’t visible

Instead of sitting at home behind your computer waiting for the phone to ring or an email to come your way, get yourself out in front of your ideal clients. Mix and mingle and do it daily. Too many personal chefs sit at home and hope clients come their way or they mix and mingle but not frequently or regularly enough.

In addition, build relationships with people who are connected to your ideal clients. Over time they can become an advocate who will refer their connections to you and who will promote your events and services to their list.

It is also a good idea to increase your visibility online by making sure your website is keyword rich. Doing this will improve your SEO. Another way to improve SEO is by blogging on a regular basis; driving people to your website when networking; and posting links to your website in online directories, on social media and on other people’s websites.

Don’t pay for expensive advertising to increase your exposure but instead write an article for a local publication or a newsletter that is distributed to your ideal clients. You’ll get way more traction by doing this especially if you have a regular column.

Be sure you have multiple ways people can contact you too. Include your phone number, email address, and social media links on your website, and make sure they aren’t hidden or difficult to find. Different people prefer reaching out in different ways, and if they can’t figure out how to reach out to you quickly and easily, they will move on in a heartbeat. You’ll also want to have an email signature that has all your contact information and a website link included.

Now I’d like to hear from you.  Why do you think some personal chefs struggle to get clients?  Please comment below!

3 Top Ways to Retain Clients for More than a Cook Day or Two

I bet you think your personal chef business would be just fine if you could only get more clients, but that’s just a piece of the picture.  You also need to get clients who stay with you for a while.

If you aren’t able to do this, you are going to be working a lot harder at marketing than other personal chefs who are good at retaining business.

In addition, it is extremely upsetting to have a new client simply disappear without a word after just a short while, especially if she said she liked the food and was interested in a long-term relationship.

So what can you do to get clients to stay so you aren’t having to fill open cook days constantly and stressing about where your next pay check will be coming from?

Client Retention Method 1: Find Out Why They Aren’t Re-Scheduling

Give them a call and talk to them. Ask questions to draw them out so you can uncover what is really going on. And if you don’t reach them the first time you call, follow up again.

If that doesn’t work, consider surveying your clients via email using a survey company like Survey Monkey at http://www.surveymonkey.com or Survey Gizmo at http://www.surveygizmo.com. These services cost little if anything, and they are easy to use.

Once you uncover the reasons you aren’t retaining your customers over time, figure out if there is a way to change what you are doing and implement it.

Client Retention Method 2: Package Your Services

I love this way of getting clients to stick. By packaging your services or encouraging clients to sign up for more than one cook day at a time, you are more likely to get them to stay with you longer especially if they pay for and schedule their cook days in advance.  You are helping your clients to commit.

To give your clients incentive to pay in advance for an agreed upon number of cook days, offer them savings off of your regular pricing. In other words, if they sign up for 12 cook days at a time, you give them a savings of x dollars.

Client Retention Method 3: Solve a Problem that Requires Your Service Over a Period of Time

You could offer a 3-month get-your-body-ready-for-summer service to help your clients stick to their weight loss goals. Another idea might be to offer a series of cooking classes to teach people how to go gluten free.

What you want to do is think about a service or program that can help people get from where they are now to where they want to be. You then price your service or program based on the results people can expect instead of charging for the number of hours you work.

By solving a problem that requires your service or help over a period of time, you are in essence finding a creative way of packaging what you do while giving people a reason to sign up for your support for more than a short stint.

Do any of you have client retention ideas that I haven’t mentioned? What are they?