Promotion playbook

Get tips and resources to help you promote your personal chef practice. This page is long, so use it as a handy resource.

General tips

Consider these tips for all of your promotional efforts.

  • Personal recommendations, rather than advertising, are far more effective in getting customers.
  • Many give Dinner Elf before they get it for themselves, so promote gifts and group gifts.
  • Trust is important, so use professional images/messaging and ask for reviews
  • Promote early as customers often wait to give or get Dinner Elf.
  • Customers use Dinner Elf at different times (e.g. a new mom), so promote often to stay top of mind.

ARTICLE QUICK LINKS

BASICS
    - Order promotional materials
    - Ask your trial customer
    - Ask 2+ besties
    - Ask your social network
    - Post in 2+ Facebook groups
    - Post on Nextdoor
    - Offer a fundraiser
    - Offer a complimentary appointment
    - Offer a tasting
    - Recommend a group gift

OTHER IDEAS
    - Professional contacts
    - Your church or community group
    - Real estate agents
    - Direct sales consultants
    - Schools
    - Small in-home gatherings
    - Expectant mom groups
    - Leave fliers/cards
    - Facebook ads
    - Food samples to local offices
    - Partnerships
    - Local events
    - Local press
    - Property managers

DINNER ELF SUPPORT
    - Monthly customer emails
    - Weekly customer emails
    - Customer requests
    - Rating requests
    - Referral program
    - Promotion fund
    - Coaching calls

Basics

Start with these easy ways to get your first few customers. 

💡 Tip - Always include your referral code when you promote yourself.

Order promotional materials

Share custom business cards and promo cards whenever possible.

To do - Review the promo materials article, request custom files with your referral code, and order.

💡 Tip - Apply for matching funds (50% savings) from the promotion fund.

Ask your trial customer

Your trial appointment customer has already agreed to help you. Encourage them to help you again.

To do - Thank them for their review that helped you join. Ask them to gift you, book you, or promote you. FYI - They were sent an email when you joined with tips to promote you (reference this).

Ask 2+ besties

Your best friends are also your best leads to help you grow your cooking practice.

To do - Make personal requests (not a big group email) to gift you, book you, or promote you.

Ask your social network

On Facebook, Instagram, etc, announce your new role and repeatedly post to stay top of mind. 

To do - Review the article on social media and use the buttons on your get customers page to promote your chef page.

Post in 2+ Facebook groups

Neighborhood Facebook groups are a great source of leads and reviews.  

To do - Search Facebook for neighborhood groups, introduce yourself with talking points, and stay active. 

Post on Nextdoor

Lots of appointments come from Nextdoor, especially when neighbors recommend you. 

To do - Join Nextdoor with a personal account and set yourself up as a "Neighbor for Hire" (in odd jobs). 

  • Business name: "Chef YOUR FIRST NAME" 
  • Photo: Your Dinner Elf profile photo
  • Greeting message: "I've been a chef for X years, and a resident of YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD for X. You can book me for affordable, in-home meal prep at https://DinnerElf.com. Use REFERRAL CODE for $10 off your first appointment."
  • Street Address: Your home address
  • Phone Number: 512-277-5134
  • Website: Your Dinner Elf chef page 
  • Email: support@dinnerelf.com or your personal email
  • Service categories: Personal Chef

💡  Tip - Ask neighborhood friends to recommend you and/or begin conversations about meal prep (so you can comment). 

Offer a fundraiser

If you know someone at a school, team, or any organization, ask them to fundraise with Dinner Elf to grow your network.

To do - Review the fundraisers article, create your first fundraising code on your get customers page, and contact an organization.

Offer a complimentary appointment

Pick a VIP who could promote your cooking practice. Offer them a complimentary appointment to try your service.

To do - Review the complimentary appointment article and invite your VIP from your get customers page.

Offer a tasting

Pick a direct sales consultant (e.g. Mary Kay), a PTA officer, or anyone who can put you in front of a group of people. Offer a tasting to promote your practice.

To do - Review the tastings article and invite your lead from your get customers page.

Offer a group gift

Who do you know who recently had a baby, illness, or injury? Recommend or start a group gift for them. You'll help a friend and donors will learn about your service.

To do - Review the group gift article and then start one.

 

Other ideas

The following leads often work well when you either (a) have a personal contact or (b) have a personal introduction. For example, if you don't know any real estate agents, ask your friends to make an introduction. A single connection makes a big difference.

Professional contacts

Who do you pay on a regular basis? Think about your hairstylist, dentist, orthodontist, doctor, accountant, or anyone else that sees a lot of clients. 

💡 Tip - Focus on hairstylists.

Your church or community group

Many churches or community groups have a point person on staff to help members in seasons of need (e.g. after a baby, illness, or injury). Recommend group gifts as a tool to complement their meal trains and to help reduce the work of staff and members. See our group gift talking points.

Real estate agents

Most agents give closing gifts to home buyers. Recommend that they give Dinner Elf as a "wow" gift (you'll cook right in a customer's new kitchen). All-inclusive gift packages are $85 so their client has no costs. Read more.

💡 Tip - You may be asked to sponsor a "lunch and learn" in a realtor's office where you provide food in return for a short presentation. Elves have not found these to be helpful.

Direct sales consultants

Many products (e.g. Mary Kay, Avon, and many more) are sold directly in the home. These consultants need parties to sell their products, but asking friends to host can be a burden because of the time and cost of preparing food for guests. Provide a solution: offer to cook free food in hostesses' homes just before the party in return for a personal pitch of your chef services. 

  • See the tastings article.
  • Coordinate dates/times with the consultant offline (don't use your online schedule).
  • Present at the beginning of the party with talking points, pass around a sheet for emails, and follow-up with a discount code.

💡 Tip - If you find a busy consultant, you may find good results. Expect one new Dinner Elf customer (who books 5+ appointments) per party. 

Schools

Most elementary schools have sunshine committees to help teachers and parents in seasons of need (e.g. after a baby, illness, or injury). Recommend group gifts to complement meal trains and to reduce the work of cooking and delivering by committee members.

💡 Tip - You may get asked for donations to silent auctions. Send requestors to this article for donation options. 

Small in-home gatherings

Recommend the party bites menu to anyone you know who hosts a book club, bible study, or any small gathering in their home. Customers can book a regular appointment (they pick a full menu and you get paid) or offer them free tastings  offline (by text, email, etc) in return for a short pitch. 

💡 TipPersonally pitch your chef services in the gathering to get new customers (don't just leave your business cards on a table).

Expectant mom groups

Dinner Elf is a popular gift for new moms. Contact new mom groups, lactation classes, maternity classes, doulas, and other places expectant moms gather. Recommend they ask for a Dinner Elf group gift from friends and family when baby comes home.

💡 Tip - Give promo cards to birthing professional to share with their members. Follow up every few months (important). Offer to include a blurb in their next e-newsletter.

Leave fliers/cards

Passively leaving business cards or fliers on a coffee shop corkboard, doctor's office waiting room, car window, front door, etc. usually DOES NOT result in new business (boy, Elves have tried lots of places 😄). You may have more success with a super-personal spot (e.g. your own apartment building).

Facebook ads

Promote your Dinner Elf practice to friends of friends (your ad shows likes from their friends). 

💡 Tip - You may get more success from Facebook ads when they include personal recommendations (e.g. in comments) from friends. See the social media article for more tips.

Food samples for local offices

Elves have delivered lots of food samples to attorneys, realtors, stylists, and various professionals, but recipients often have a hard time understanding that you cook in homes rather than meal delivery.

Partnerships

Dinner Elf has had wonderful partnerships with cancer resource centers, the Ronald McDonald House, and other amazing organizations, but their promotion of Dinner Elf to their members usually gets lost in the noise of life. 

Local events

Many cities offer food festivals, new mom conferences, nutritional workshops, and more. Elves have set up tables/booths and have seen hit-or-miss success. 

Local press

Dinner Elf has received glowing reviews from local press and mom bloggers, but these posts rarely make as much impact as customer recommendations. However, getting a local press article about you provides nice, long-lasting credibility (and it looks great on your chef page). Start here for a press release template.

Property managers

Elves have visited high-end condo and apartment complexes with treats and business cards for their property manager or activities director. Many ask for free catering of a resident happy hour, which Elves have not seen translate into bookings by residents. However, if you (or a close friend) live in the building, you may see more success.

 

Dinner Elf support

Once you get a few customers, Dinner Elf supplies lots of tools, marketing, and support to supercharge your marketing efforts.

Monthly customer emails

Anyone who has signed for the email newsletter, booked an appointment, purchased a gift, or donated to a group gift receives "Your Dinner Fix," a monthly email with specials, announcements, and more.

Weekly customer emails

Past customers without upcoming appointments receive "Your Weekly Dinner Fix" that shows availability in their zip code, personalized dinner recommendations, and reviews for their local chefs.

Customer requests

When customers book online, they can request more availability. 

You'll get notified by text and email for requests in zip codes (a) you service and (b) local zip codes you don't serve. After you add more availability, the customer receives a notification to book you. 👍

💡  These requests help Elves to learn about unexpected demand in neighboring zip codes. 

Rating requests

After every appointment, notifications are sent to your customers to leave online reviews. If no review is left, second requests are made a few days later. Reviews can be be made entirely by text.

Referral program

In post-appointment email and texts, customers are encouraged to share Dinner Elf and earn rewards.

Promotion fund

Have a promotion plan or a new idea? Apply for up to $100 from the promotion fund for a 50/50 match. 

Coaching calls

Real humans are here to support you. If you have marketing questions, ideas, or any feedback, schedule a coaching call with us. We'd love to chat. 

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