Running a shared commercial kitchen is stressful enough day-to-day. Hopefully, The Food Corridor’s tools and resources have helped you build a successful operation that runs as smoothly as possible. But there’s always that nagging feeling that you could be doing more to spread the word about your space and get more business through the door.
Perhaps you have a kitchen full of wonderful clients, but you’re thinking about opening up a new revenue stream, like renting your space out for private events for example.
If you’re in the position where you want to grow your business, but you’re not sure where to best place your money and resources to get the most from your efforts, we’re here to help.
How Essential is Commercial Kitchen Marketing?
When it comes to building your brand, creating awareness about your business, and ultimately getting new customers into your shared kitchen or commissary, a small investment of time and effort can pay off massively.
If you’re not actively marketing your shared commercial kitchen, you are undoubtedly missing out on business that could help your business grow and thrive. It may seem like a daunting prospect, but one big push to get the basics in place can set you up for success.
There are many approaches to marketing online. We’re going to cover the best methods for shared kitchens specifically. These tips should provide you with the biggest returns for the minimum investment of time and capital.
Marketing Jargon Explained
Before we get into the good stuff, let’s quickly define a few terms that we’ll be using throughout this article. They might sound like incomprehensible marketing speak, but they are useful shorthand when you’re getting into the details.
A lead is a potential customer that you are targeting. A cold lead is someone you are targeting without prior contact or interest. A warm lead is someone who has already shown some interest in your product or service. A hot lead is someone who knows all about your kitchen and is ready to sign up.
Keywords are words or phrases that people search for. You want to target keywords that people are searching for that relate to your business so that your business appears in the results.
For example, if you run a shared kitchen in Ohio, you might want to rank well in searches for “shared kitchen Ohio” and “What is the best shared kitchen in Ohio”.
By making sure you have the phrase “shared kitchen Ohio” all over your website, you are more likely to appear higher up the page in search results.
ROI – Return on investment
Marketers call the difference between the amount of money you spend on marketing and the amount of business it generates for you, the return on investment, or ROI. This is a key measure as it tells you whether your efforts are worth it, and where they are succeeding or failing. Giving you the insight to decide where your marketing dollars are best spent.
6 Ways to Market Your Shared Kitchen to Boost Client Numbers
The first thing to do is to figure out your positioning, branding, storytelling, and your values. But assuming you have this largely in place, this post will tackle practical tips and methods to help you market your shared kitchen successfully.
The Basics – Own Your Online Presence
Your website is your home online and you should make sure it is properly designed and carefully written. This is your opportunity to tell your story and show your brand’s unique character.
You want this to be the only place potential customers need to go to find out what they need to about your business – so make sure you include the most important info.
If you have nothing else on your website, here are the essential pages and features to include:
When someone clicks on your search result this is where they will arrive. It should grab their attention and tell them enough to make them want to find out more.
Your chance to tell your story and sell your unique qualities. Try to make it more about the benefits you provide for customers than just about how great your business is.
Rather than just telling potential new customers your best features, show them with a quote from one of your satisfied customers. Include a headshot to bring the testimonial to life.
Contact page/booking form
Everything on your website is eventually leading to the action of getting in contact or making a direct booking. Bare that in mind and make it easy to find your contact details.
Your Google My Business page is also important as it is often the first thing to appear in Google search results – even above your own site. It’s free to claim your Google Business Profile which you can then add extra information to and direct traffic from there to your website. Make sure your opening hours and other key information are correct and keep these details updated regularly.
Content marketing encompasses videos, blog posts, case studies, industry guides, and more – anything that your customers might find useful.
The idea with content marketing isn’t to go in with the hard sell right away. The goal is to give your ideal prospects the information they’re already looking for and therefore position yourself as an industry authority. Then later on when they are ready, you can introduce them to your products that are relevant to the topic.
Regular blog posts to attract leads and build authority. And also help your website rank better in search results for relevant keywords.
Add case studies to show how your shared kitchen helps small business owners. These are powerful marketing tools that demonstrate the benefits of your service using hard numbers.
Consider a white paper to show your knowledge and status in the industry. This is a longer guide that usually relies on an industry study or survey – a deep dive into a particular topic that can be used as a lead magnet. A piece of gated content that users can only access by giving their email address.
Use your content marketing to attract leads and get their email addresses so that you can hit them with email marketing. Our Shared Kitchen Industry Report is an example of a piece of content so valuable to our members that they will actually pay for it!
Email marketing is an incredibly useful channel for bringing in and welcoming new customers, as well as nurturing existing customers and building loyalty. It’s so impactful in fact, that a Campaign Monitor survey found that 64% of small businesses use email marketing.
It can take many forms, but one of the most common and relevant for shared kitchens is a regular newsletter. This is an email, often including images and graphics, that you send out to all your tenants or subscribers regularly to update them on any news, inform them of special offers or discounts, and share any updates or articles.
Social Media Marketing
Social media isn’t just a place to put up some pretty pictures of your space. It is a powerful tool for communicating directly with your customers.
Think about your ideal clients and where they would be hanging out on social media. Business owners who rent space is shared kitchens are probably more likely to be on LinkedIn than TikTok, but use your knowledge of your customer personas to make that decision.
Facebook has billions of users worldwide and hundreds of millions of active users in the US. It might not be the shiniest, newest toy in the box anymore, but most businesses use a Facebook page to share updates with customers and post content.
Facebook is great for sharing photos and updates about what’s going on in your kitchen. It allows you to share longer posts, so consider using it to tell an interesting customer story with images to go with it.
Instagram doesn’t have quite the numbers Facebook has, but it’s a key tool for creating the right image for your brand. Sharing attractive pictures of your space, your staff, and your tenant’s food and products can be a great way to give the first impression to new customers and keep existing users up to date.
Twitter is a useful tool for building an audience and nurturing relationships with your customers. You can share content from your website and other channels, network with the right audience, and build rapport with potential new customers. Then you can funnel traffic to your other social platforms and your website.
LinkedIn is another great tool for connecting with new prospects and it’s especially good for finding new leads. It has a strong user base of engaged individuals that you can search through by company, job title, and location among many other filters.
Online Review Management
Encourage your best customers to give you a glowing review on whichever platforms you can. Positive reviews on sites like Yelp, Tripadvisor, and Google can help show off your strengths build confidence in new customers, and drive traffic to your own website.
Keep an eye on your online reviews and make sure you respond to as many as you can. It’s especially important to engage with negative reviews to try and put right any issues.
If you want quick results and you’re ready to invest hard cash to drive new business to your site, you might consider online advertising.
Google Ads, formerly Google Adwords, allows you to appear at the top of searches for your chosen keywords. You pay every time someone clicks through on your ad, so make sure you are targeting the right keywords and attracting the right prospects to get a solid ROI on your ad spend.
Facebook and Instagram also offer paid advertising which you can target to specific audiences. You can create an audience of business owners of a certain age in your state, for example, and target the ads specifically to them.
Be sure to test your ads and adjust the audience, wording, and design constantly to ensure you’re getting the most from your investment.
Open The Kitchen Door to Online Marketing Success
The right marketing strategy for your shared commercial kitchen or commissary will depend on your location, target audience, and brand values. By implementing some of the marketing approaches above and then seeing what works best for you, you can hone your marketing into a well-oiled lead-generating machine.
In the meantime, one of the easiest ways to massively increase your chances of being found by the right people is to get yourself onto The Kitchen Door, the go-to directory for food businesses looking for space to rent in a commercial kitchen. Your free listing will be searchable for those looking for exactly what you provide in their area.