For those of you that have been doing this for a long time, how do you advertise? My budget is pretty slim right now, but if I'm going to fork out $$ to bring in more business, I want it to be worthwhile!!
I dont spend much on advertising because I just dont have it to spend.
Your customers are your best advertising. Offer a referral program to them. A leave my cards everywhere I can. Also see if you have a business association in your town. Small town news papers are cheaper,
make some cupcakes and take them to different businesses to have them try your cakes. A lot of my advertising money goes to the Internet.
You can advertise on craigslist and Mamasource for free. www.mamasource.com and www.craigslist.com
I tried advertising in the paper and got no responses. So I just do those two Websites word of Mouth and I bring my cupcakes places. I have also sent postcards out to the party stores and other businesses. But that didn't seem to yield any results. When ever there is a party I make a cake and leave out my cards.
Word of Mouth is the best way. My friend gets more orders than me and she isn't legal. She just is good at talking to people.
Thanks for the ideas! I take cupcakes to the girls at my bank when I have extras. It's just a little difficult where I am, because I haven't lived in this area a long time. I don't have nearly as many contacts as I would if I was in my hometown...
I dont do much advertising either, as most of my stuff is word of mouth. But I do the shows...if you cant afford any of the shows, a lot of the local department stores have bridal shows that are free...I did a couple of those and I got a lot of party cakes out of it, because people just walking by shopping tried some cake and took my card!
Hi Jeannie! ...Do you have a marketing plan in place at all? Advertising is only a small part of that piece of the puzzle.
If you are going to spend the money, do your research and spend wisely.
Who is your target market for your area? I focus my efforts trying to reach those clients that want a wedding cake or a large party cake. If you're opposite and do smaller events, then you want to target those events that will want smaller orders of cakes/cupcakes/cookies, etc. If you do both, then you will want to look at advertising options that reach each area effectively.
My marketing plan consists of non-paid and paid items.
NON PAID ITEMS(relatively):
attending networking events, website, business cards,tasting events or open houses, myspace page, free bridal directories (there was a post on this last week), press releases, submitting my website to search engines...but most of all customer service. This all leads to word-of-mouth.
One of my weddings was featured in a magazine, so I got free publicity from that. The photographer submitted the photos and every vendor that worked on that wedding got their contact info printed as well. What's funny is that his magazine always tries to get me to purchase an ad from them every quarter, but its too much money and not my target.
I tried craigslist and got one decent wedding client from it...but really, people were looking for something cheap. As in $1.00 a slice. I don't think so. For me it was a good thing for portfolio building....but its not something that I personally spend any more of my time on now that I'm established enough to get higher-end sales.
theknot.com/weddingchannel.com, and local bridal shows, which I do once a year. So I only spend $150/month.
My top items that bring me leads are my website, theknot, and other vendors.
I work hard to make sure my website looks top notch. The brides go to theknot in my city because its the top wedding resource, so even if they aren't looking for me, they find me b/c there are not many bakers. From networking with vendors, I meet with them during the wedding set up, and then they usually try my cake after its been cut...and then I try to send leads their way when I can.
I know that was long....but the point is I limit my advertising spending.
If you have a Williams and Sonoma store near you they will put a cake of yours on display and you can do thier wedding day once a month too.