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November 12, 2020

5 Secrets For Successful Foodservice Operator Lead Gen

Tony Treadway

Foodservice operator lead gen article

Creative Energy asks foodservice operators how they want manufacturers to engage with them. The resounding answer from our bi-annual poll (conducted this year at the height of the COVID outbreak) was telling, “send me an e-mail”. But it’s no ordinary text-centric e-mail that they are talking about.

Example of brand email focused on lead gen conversion

We will have pushed out more than 300 specific HTML-based e-mails to targets by the end of 2020 on behalf of our clients. We’ve perfected the process to a level that puts us in a position as an expert in sharing what will generate an actionable lead in an e-mail. Here are five secrets that we’ll share:

  1. Relevant Content – No other factor is more important to successfully encouraging engagement than offering a solution that an operator will value. The more specific you can be in relating a product benefit to an operator the better. For example, a K-12 foodservice director is likely looking for a different solution than a casual restaurant operator. Whether you develop the video, blog article or infographic yourself or rely on an agency partner to develop the content, remember one thing. The operator expects you to be an expert in recommending a solution and your content should convince them that you have the right one for them, so be relevant to their needs.
  • Have A Very Good List Of Targets – How can you be relevant if those that receive your email if you are sending it to a crummy list? At Creative Energy, we have built an amazing list of foodservice operators into specific categories. Want commercial fast food operators? Want K-12 or Healthcare decision makers? We have it. The more specific you can refine a target list, the more clicks and more actionable leads your relevant content will generate.
  • Give Them More Than One Thing To Review – Give your target multiple things to click and you will have greater engagement, but remember, the one thing that is most important or to be front and center in their mind should be at the top and above the fold (the first thing that they see) in the e-mail. Imagine your e-mail as a vertical waterfall with blocks of relevant content as the scroll down and enticing color images within each block to encourage more clicks.
  • Your Call To Action Is Key – Clicks earn you engagement, but your call to action (CTA) is how you generate actionable leads for your sales team. Offering free samples is the best CTA. Operators will provide additional information for free sample including how many meals they serve daily, their primary distributor and their number of units. These let you define their potential if you close the sale. Our analysis finds that up to 60% of operators that receive a free sample (with follow up by the sales team to close the sale) will become customers. In today’s world of limited travel and trade shows those are great odds.
  • Your Subject Line – In scores of e-mails you receive, what encourages you to open it? Short. Snappy. Irresistible subject lines that are relevant to their needs are a vital component of a successful e-marketing campaign.
Reporting detail provides insights into most valuable content to target leads

Building and activating a successful e-marketing program has multiple moving parts that can overwhelm an internal marketing team. Yet, it offers the best ROI currently available due to COVID. If you need some help in generating leads… send us an e-mail.