Originally Posted by C Rocke
Some things that have worked for us...
Social Media - Facebook Business page and Twitter. Foursquare to a lesser extent. Need to be consistent, and inventive. Drive traffic back to your site to increase your page views.
localcatering.com and decidio.com - Cost per lead, lead generators. Plenty of competitive intelligence and party planners, etc to pursue as resources
Hoovers.com - Subscription site with position and contact information on companies and corporations. Contact meeting planners, HR, and Facility Managers
Host a Party - Host a BBQ party at your home or a venue and invite local bloggers, corporate meeting panners, Yelpers, Party planners, bridal consultants, photographers, wedding dress makers, wedding cake bakers, reception hall staff, etc, etc - Captive audience with immediate impact. See if a local micro brewery or winery will co-op on the alcohol.
We stay away from flyers, mailers, purchased lists, etc - Focus more on the way that our prospective clients search and communicate (Social media, etc)
Another great point. In this day and age, social media is almost always necessary. Facebook, Linkdin, forums (BBQ Brethren?!), etc.
Focusing on areas where prospective clients search is another extremely useful method. We definitely want to make sure that we make ourselves available for clients where THEY look, but we still do not want to neglect other valuable marketing vehicles. Placing focus in one primary sphere will limit your effectiveness. It is important to spread yourself evenly over all chosen methods (some methods do require less maintenance); make sure you're giving 100% to every tool.
Also, Wood Fired:
An important question, "How did you hear about us?" is a great way to quantify the usefulness of each tool. Try to ask this every time you get a chance and keep a record.
Once again, remember not to have the "I don't" mentality.."I don't need to do this" "I don't see the value in this" "I don't have to go this far" etc.. Don't limit yourself..if you limit yourself, you limit your success..This isn't an opinion; it's a bold fact.
Maintain and generate..maintain current clients and generate new ones..(a lot of people tend to maintain and forget about generating)
If you start getting too busy, bring in new help..if you're still busy, take on new employees...If you become overwhelmed again, bring in more people...lather, rinse, repeat...you could end up with an enterprise you never expected... Don't take my word for it--look at some of the most successful organizations in your field...they didn't grow complacent and their success is overflowing...I'm sure SM is probably a great example of this--maybe you could ask for that testimony.