I've been licensed for a year now, and I'm finally at the point where I would like to begin doing some advertising outside my comfort zone (word of mouth thru church). I really want to start doing weddings, but I don't have much of a tiered cake portfolio yet.
What are some inexpensive ways to get my name out there? I'm thinking of starting with some wedding coordinators in the area.
I network with other vendors, but for weddings, you need a good website.
See if my website designer is available... www.OCakes.com (so you can see his work & also his info/link is at the bottom. Adam Bragg @ SpireCreative)....... and you should check-out WeddingWire.com (if you do, let me know & I'd be happy to exchange Vendor references - or whatever they call it!)... they allow for a basic listing which is free, and you can list your pictures & business info. I received 2 wedding cake leads in the first 2 weeks (they say my leads are "free within the base period... I dont' know what they will charge for leads later)....... definitely work checking out - they are linked with MarthaStewart.com as well!.... ALSO, I have added my business information free free/basic listings to places like yellowpages.com; local.com - and if you perform Google searches for items like bake/cake/wedding (for me it would be "California Wedding Cake"), then informational sites will come up. I never pay for advertisement as I feel word-of-mouth is the best & it always has been for me (I have paid before & only broke-even, with newspaper). Good luck in your qwest! =)
I use for free: gathering guide.com
I use for pay: The Knot
I will be doing a show in the fall I think.
check out your local free magazines (like parent ones)
If there are moms club around you , advertise in those. usually fairly cheap.
Donate to local events ( I did local breast cancer fashioon show)
Send letter, small treat with link to your website to venue people. MAke sure to have good pictures.
I suggest you purchase some cake dummies and expand your portfolio.
And jsut a suggestion about your website. Probably just personal preference but, on the slide show...take off the slow screen changes. I mean the thing that makes you only see pic after the cutsey slide show effect is done. i say this because you have very little time to capture people's attention on a website. My tracker tracks people's time on my site and the majority are less than 3 mins. Now that just might be my stuff, but I know I have read you need people to be able to access what they want quickly.
I am curious about this too. It is certainly something I struggle with, trying to remain visible to clients without a storefront. I think we have to work twice as hard.
So far I have participated in a couple of bridal shows-one was decent one was not. We'll see this year.
I have not done the "big one" yet.
I have done donations to charitable events- no help so far. People recognize my name but as yet has not led directly to any orders.
I partnered with a local radio station -waste of time and money
I did meet the local wedding planners and visit different venues, I think that helped as well a a local rental company.
A good website is key! That's where most of my biz comes from.
I just started picking up on some of the online listing things like gathering guide etc. I would like to get on The Knot but can't really afford it.
That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Orders are starting to pick up, I think the economy is hurting my business though. I would like to be busier definitely would like orders to be more consistent.
Can't wait to hear what has been effective for others!
You should attend shows, or ask other vendors which shows are best. I spent $600 to attend a show (which also cost $600 in supplies as I hadn't mass-produced business cards yet, etc...), and I only received orders for $1500... so, good experience & it paid for itself... however the other vendors were saying things like "I can't wait for the next show - the best one of the season!"... so, I plan to check that out this year & MAYBE attend next year; however I also keep pretty busy by word-of-mouth referrals & don't feel I need to pay to advertise anymore. I do agree that you should check-out your local mothers' clubs (& don't forget "mothers of multiples", which is new for me!) - the local Mother's Group is the one who put me on the MAP! They have over 400 members, and I have at least 60 at all times... and they refer to their friends, and then when their kids are too old to attend, I keep those customers & obtain new ones. I really love doing their cakes too because they have such fun themes & I get a lot of 1st birthday's which are always fun. Good luck with this!
I am right there with you. Home based, open one year.
Search for all the free web spots you can get. Decidio is good.
I like your web site but the page changes need to be faster.
Look for local events that you can put up a booth. Fall festival and craft shows are good for that.
Local florist adn photographers are a good source. I often hear them saying they do not know WHO to send brides to. Even hotels that host receptions are good. Ask for event coordinators and see if they have a prefered vendor list you can be added to.
Keep in mind that the economy may be tough for some right now but there are still others out there that have the money and are willing to pay.
FYI - VistaPrint.com - you can obtain "free" business cards for the cost of shipping (about $5-6 for 250 cards), and I have had a LOT of my items created through them: fridge magnets are cheap-quality, but fun to have; business stamps; car magnets - MUCH cheaper than decals & I am receiving orders from them... it costs about $5 to upload a picture of your choice (such as your logo), and then you can use it forever. They even have T-Shirts, so I had one made with my logo for when my husband helps deliver a cake =)
www.MonogramMarketplace.com - Dena embroidered aprons for me. She's local, so I went to see her, however she has a website & you can e-mail her. I had to pay once to have my logo "digitized" by another company & now she can embroider anything with my logo... just another idea! (she's doing some nice collared shirts for me soon, instead of the T-shirt I had done!) - or maybe you can find a local person in your area.
So, those aren't as much for "where" to advertise (except your car), but just some other ideas how "how" too... have fun! I l ove uploading my information to those free sites!
You might try goodie baskets. My son is autistic and attends an MRDD school. At the end of the year I made up a small basket with cupcakes and cookies and gave it to the staff with plenty of business cards. We got a lot of business from that. Also, try your local schools and preschools. They are always looking for fun things to do with the kids. We visited one, talked about what we did, gave the kids fondant to play with, and a cake to eat. We also sent each of them home with a cookie with our logo on it and a note and a business card saying who we were and what we tought the kids. Most of the parents came to us for birthdays.
On the same note you could look for the middle and high schools for Career days adn offer to do a demo for them. It's fun and the kids will think you are the coolest thing ever!!!
I've done it for 3 years now and get quite a bit of response from it.