Advertising Options On A Budget?

Business By kellertur Updated 23 Oct 2008 , 4:58pm by kellertur

kellertur Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 2:30am
post #1 of 25

Hello,
What are some reasonable options for advertising when wanting to gain business (on a budget)? I have business cards ready to go, (yes, I'm legal) but am wondering how you all go about this ~ when you wish to reach beyond word of mouth. I do offer services that aren't available anywhere in my area, so I think that would be a draw. ???

Thanks icon_smile.gif

24 replies
indydebi Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 4:56am
post #2 of 25

FInd some networking groups like BNI and Rainmakers (they both have websites where you can find local chapters). Join the local Chamber of Commerce .... great way to get your name out and you can get lots of free advertising via press releases in their newsletter, etc. Take small cookie trays, mini cupcakes, etc., around to your business neighbors (this is a good one!).

maryjsgirl Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 5:08am
post #3 of 25

Start up a myspace page. You can do a search for people in your area. People who are engaged. People who have children. People who make x amount of money. You can also befriend other business sites that may get you more business like photographers, Djs, etc.


You could also try Craigslist, but the Nigerian scammers have pretty much ruined that place. So be careful.


Write up a press release for your newspaper and try to get them to run a story on you.

cakesondemand Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 5:47am
post #4 of 25

list your business on wedding wire and any others that are online my first yr I did that and gained lots of business from that there are lots of free ones out there.

kellertur Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 3:44pm
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Take small cookie trays, mini cupcakes, etc., around to your business neighbors (this is a good one!).




I've thought about doing this, but had a few questions. Do you leave your business card? What is the etiquette for doing this? I just don't want to appear desperate or rude, eventhough I'm offering free cake, etc. (so many, too many questions....) icon_rolleyes.gif


About myspace... I have a myspace for my art school friends for critique, keeing in touch, etc. but it's set to "private". I'm a bit nervous about using myspace for my cakes... how do people in my area even look for me? I don't think I'd be comfortable soliciting engaged couples. How do you handle that? Can local people even find me on myspace if they don't know my business name? What is your process on myspace?

Thanks for helping. icon_smile.gif

MacsMom Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 4:15pm
post #6 of 25

CC member Kivia uses myspace to sell - you can try to PM her.

Here is a link to one of her threads
http://cakecentral.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=606845&postdays=0&postorder=asc&&start=0

I've been lucky enough to get all of my business from word of mouth, and all from ONE little girls birthday party. Perhaps offer to a cake at cost for a friend's child's party? (Or other fairly large event).

Yes, leave business cards. It can be thought of as poor business protocol by many if you don't! It's called networking.

icon_wink.gif

MacsMom Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 4:24pm
post #7 of 25

You can also jot down a few addresses around town of homes that you can tell have children (children = more friends and moms with more adult friends...) and make a professional looking flyer with Word Processor (most computers have this pre-installed). Staple your business card to the flyer, fold it in thirds or go ahead and splurge on envelopes, and pop them in the mail.

Michael's has a pack of 500 colored card stock 4X6 for $5 (you can use your 40% coupon). You can simply turn those into postcards and save more on the cost of stamps.

CakeForte Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 5:56pm
post #8 of 25

What do you mean when you say on a budget? Zero budget is different from an $800 or even $1500 budget.
I only spend 1600 a year which is online w/ theknot.com and the big bridal show once a year. This amounts to appx $140 a month. I have sold way more than that in cakes and I am very very part time. As in, I work 55 hours a week plus go to school full time.

You want to look at advertising options that have the furthest reach for what you are spending so you have a good return on investment (ROI). Anything wth a low ROI is not beneficial and a waste of your money.

Not only that, but there are other ways to attract business without traditional advertising as long as you are willing to put in the time and effort. The free sites mentioned here a lot plus press releases,networking, etc.

indydebi Posted 18 Oct 2008 , 8:23pm
post #9 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Take small cookie trays, mini cupcakes, etc., around to your business neighbors (this is a good one!).



I've thought about doing this, but had a few questions. Do you leave your business card? What is the etiquette for doing this? I just don't want to appear desperate or rude, eventhough I'm offering free cake, etc. (so many, too many questions....) icon_rolleyes.gif




I put together a box of about a dozen cookies ... walk into the front office area ... announce "Hi! I have some free cookies for you!" (nobody ever kicks the free cookie lady out the door!) I go on, "I'm just going around introducing my self to my neighbors ... I'm located right up the street, next door to (restaurant name). We do catering, cakes and cookies. Here's my card ... check out my website and let me know how I can help!"

I'm in and out in 2 minutes. I'm not a pesty salesman ... I'm the free cookie lady! Sometimes I have a flyer ..... last time the flyer was reminding people that it's time to start planning their Christmas parties and end of the year customer appreciation gifts.

I try to do this at least once a quarter. dont' forget attorney's offices (they are BIG on office parties!) and accountants (who put in a lot of late night hours in the first quarter of the year).

MichelleM77 Posted 19 Oct 2008 , 1:16am
post #10 of 25

I've gotten advertising in a local paper by doing a trade. I made cookies for an event they were sponsoring and they gave me advertising for the retail amount of my cookies. I didn't get a ton of business from it, but then again it didn't cost me that much either, so I still consider it a good deal and it got my name out there.

I have plans to deliver free goodie boxes to businesses, but I'm a big chicken and I'm afraid to do it! I need someone like indydebi to do it for me. icon_smile.gif

kellertur Posted 19 Oct 2008 , 3:38am
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleM77

I'm a big chicken and I'm afraid to do it! I need someone like indydebi to do it for me. icon_smile.gif




I can relate. I'm always afraid I'll get:
"Get the hell outta here lady... what do you think this is? Now give us the cookies and BEAT IT!!! " icon_rolleyes.gif ~ (picture me as a deer caught in headlights)


Thanks for kicking me in the butt people ~ icon_wink.gif

indydebi Posted 19 Oct 2008 , 1:12pm
post #12 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

I can relate. I'm always afraid I'll get:
"Get the hell outta here lady... what do you think this is? Now give us the cookies and BEAT IT!!! " icon_rolleyes.gif ~ (picture me as a deer caught in headlights)




icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif I can guarentee you that will NEVER happen! No body ever kicks out the free cookie lady! icon_lol.gificon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

Bethkay Posted 19 Oct 2008 , 2:24pm
post #13 of 25

I have used online advertising for most of my first year, and have had a fair amount of success. Sites offering free or nearly-free advertising that I have used include www.gatheringguide.com, www.decidio.com, and www.merchantcircle.com.

I agree that freebies to offices and networking groups can also be helpful. I have done both, and drummed up some business that way as well.

Last year I took a sample tray of goodies into an office in a building where a friend of mine works. This was not her office, but another one she knew enjoyed goodies. Just a few hours later, they called me and placed an order for 45 trays of cookies (nearly 900 pieces) to be used as corporate gifts! icon_biggrin.gif

Best of luck!

CoutureCake Posted 20 Oct 2008 , 7:13pm
post #14 of 25

O.k. like a PP mentioned "not a large budget" is an open ended question, we all know this from dealing with brides... That can mean anywhere from a Walmart budget to a 100K budget (everyone is on a budget)...

The best money spent is on a good website. Godaddy.com is a good place to get started if you want to DIY the site on a small budget $150... My ROI from my cake website when I was up and running was huge. I booked 80% of all my cakes from the website...

The next things I did was focus on the local market while marketing regionally... Get linked up with reception halls and funeral homes... Sure, funeral cakes are quick orders but if you can make a cake themed on the person that's simple it's great promo... The only print ad I did was in a local newspaper's bridal edition (every bride putting an announcement in the paper got one)... That brought one or two, so it basically paid for itself with a little profit..

Then, I did a small bridal show. Focus on the SMALL ones for the time being... The big ones tend to have an atmosphere of "I paid my $20 to get in and I expect every food vendor to give me $20 in value"... I didn't have that with the local bridal shows that charge $10 entry and $100/table plus $75 in giveaways (the larger show on that circuit was only $400/table plus $50 giveaway)...

kellertur Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 5:26pm
post #15 of 25

By budget I mean one income family (I'm a SAHM) doing this slowly to generate more income (finding that I LOVE it)...
I never spend more than I have (we pay for most things out of pocket, as I HATE debt), so I'd like to keep things "reasonable" within our budget, if that makes sense.

I am interested in a website. Bridal shows? Not sure how that would be... are they intimidating? I'm not much of a "sales person" in terms of "Here's my product. How many can I put you down for?" icon_rolleyes.gif What's the process?

I do have FOUR friends that either own or operate a funeral parlor (same FOUR guys I graduated highschool with that went to college for mortuary sciences.) How do you get linked in with funeral parlors? Is there a protocol? I don't want to seem oportunistic when dealing with the dead...

thanks for the continued input. icon_smile.gif

CoutureCake Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 6:05pm
post #16 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes

By budget I mean one income family (I'm a SAHM) doing this slowly to generate more income (finding that I LOVE it)...
I never spend more than I have (we pay for most things out of pocket, as I HATE debt), so I'd like to keep things "reasonable" within our budget, if that makes sense.

I am interested in a website. Bridal shows? Not sure how that would be... are they intimidating? I'm not much of a "sales person" in terms of "Here's my product. How many can I put you down for?" icon_rolleyes.gif What's the process?

I do have FOUR friends that either own or operate a funeral parlor (same FOUR guys I graduated highschool with that went to college for mortuary sciences.) How do you get linked in with funeral parlors? Is there a protocol? I don't want to seem oportunistic when dealing with the dead...

thanks for the continued input. icon_smile.gif




I'm a SAHM too so completely understand... I'm also getting my new kitchen built debt free as humanly possible (the value of watched pennies is in the thousands at this point)...

O.k. do you get on the funeral directors for being in business because "they're taking advantage of the dead"? NO!!!! They're probably the smartest people in business because they ain't goin' out of business any time soon!!! SO, when you see them out and about or whatever just drop off some cupcakes. Many times they have a "family room" stocked with some basic treats, It's not a lot, but a couple dozen cupcakes adds up over time and your business label goes on them each time (ever notice how treats are so much better when you're emotional???)... Plus, it's a market that is not capitalized on because no one wants to "think about that"... (hey, offer a church lady who has done the math, a simple homemade dessert to not have to do it herself, and you'll have a loyal customer thumbs_up.gificon_twisted.gif)

It's the old saying, "It's not personal, it's business"... One of the key things I focus on is that I'm going to charge the same price for the same amount of work regardless of the event. It gives the perception that you're looking out for them regardless of the event.

Bridal shows aren't that bad. They do take some time to get organized at first. The best thing to do is put together a few "Bridal Show Rubbermaid Bins" with stuff that stays together so it's not so much work (plates/napkins/forks/tablecloth/gloves/paper towels/garbage cans/garbage bags/christmas lights/Dummy risers/etc)... I do mini cupcakes in 3 flavors/icing combos on a stand that sits on a lazy susan (so I can rotate it around to fill and it always looks full)... The thing is, don't let yourself get stuck behind the table or sitting, it's not a crime to dress up and wear crocs (though the chef jacket is the way to go)... People gravitate towards food naturally and you get some face time to connect with people. When in doubt, do "Bling Checks" and focus on THEM.. When it comes to pricing questions, say that you price each cake individually depending on the amount of work involved with a particular design. It gives you a chance to educate brides on things like slice size (sure, the big boxes are cheap with their per slice basis, but if you do geometry they're actually charging more because their $1.50 slice is less than half the size of your $3/slice...

The idea is be creative.

Mike1394 Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 6:20pm
post #17 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by K2cakes



I do have FOUR friends that either own or operate a funeral parlor (same FOUR guys I graduated highschool with that went to college for mortuary sciences.) How do you get linked in with funeral parlors? Is there a protocol? I don't want to seem oportunistic when dealing with the dead...

thanks for the continued input. icon_smile.gif




As long as you don't count on repeat orders from the guest of honor. Sorry I just couldn't help myself LOLOL.

Mike

MichelleM77 Posted 21 Oct 2008 , 7:00pm
post #18 of 25

Mike!!!

kellertur Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 5:03pm
post #19 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike1394


As long as you don't count on repeat orders from the guest of honor. Sorry I just couldn't help myself LOLOL.

Mike





Mike, you are funny! I needed a cathartic laugh today. icon_biggrin.gif

CoutureCake Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 6:27pm
post #20 of 25

While you may not plan on repeat orders from the guest of honor (and yes, I also had a good belly laugh out of that one ;o), sadly, in many families tragedies happen in 3's over the course of a year or two, so 3 family events in the span of a year can add up over time.. We're at two in our family and the third is hang'n on right now with late stage Cancer...

Combine that with other happier events that happen in the family that are large (Weddings, family reunions, baptisms) of a happier nature and it's just another of life's events to do cakes for...

MichelleM77 Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 6:34pm
post #21 of 25

This is such an interesting thread.

So the funeral home has a standby list of vendors that they contact for an order? I wouldn't think the family would do the ordering, would be a service that the funeral home offers (we'll get your luncheon items ordered, just tell us how many people, and here is the fee for that kind of thing?).

CoutureCake Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 7:00pm
post #22 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichelleM77

This is such an interesting thread.

So the funeral home has a standby list of vendors that they contact for an order? I wouldn't think the family would do the ordering, would be a service that the funeral home offers (we'll get your luncheon items ordered, just tell us how many people, and here is the fee for that kind of thing?).




It's either the funeral home or the Church Ladies depending on the situation. If it's a non-religious funeral or Memorial Service they'll often do a simple snacky-type carb sweet but again, all depends on the location. I know back home they have the grocery store in town that they have provide the items for the meal and the ladies just finish putting things together.. But they also have other desserts and those ladies are getting older and realizing they just can't keep up the pace so they're tending to go towards having people they can call to do up orders on short notice. OTOH, with these situations you need to set ground rules like you have design control and artistic license in exchange for no late fee or delivery fee w/in a certain area (so if you want to do a sheet you can or if you want to do cupcakes, etc.).

Estasrica Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 8:31pm
post #23 of 25

A few suggestions...

Gathering Guide.com is great and FREE. (I've received several orders per week from that sight)

Make appointments with local vendors. What I did was, chosen my favorite-best vendors that would generate a high end clients. Your favorite hair salon, linen/rental company, coordinators/event planners, recpetion sites/venues... Also, hit surrounding areas/towns. I've introduced myself,showed my portofolio, explained my products and services, and had a great response.

Making appointments is so much better than walking-in! Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

indydebi Posted 22 Oct 2008 , 8:44pm
post #24 of 25

(I swear I'm going to shoot myself! This is the 4th time I've tried to post to this thread and somehow I keep hitting a key that sends my screen blank! icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif )

The funeral industry is a VERY viable industry to go after. One ...we baby boomers are getting older and we are starting to die off, so this is pretty much a peak industry right now (I used to work at a casket manufacturer, so a lot of our management meeting discussed the demographics of the baby boomers time line. The year 2010 was mentioned alot as a peak year!).

Yes, many funeral homes/firms are starting to offer catering as part of their service package. They have realized they can get add'l rent for the building if the family returns to their facility for the post-funeral dinner. They have a lot of (pardon the pun) "dead" space that can be utilized.

Others are keeping a list of Preferred Vendors they give to the family, much like wedding facilities are doing.

Funeral homes are renting out their backrooms as community rooms for meetings, showers, etc. One firm here in town has built a separate building in the back for this purpose. It's good positive PR for them, (and the baby shower is not being held in a "death" room).

I talked to one firm who was planning on building add'l space onto their building to move their office functions to .. so they could take the existing office space and turn it into banquet space for the families to use after the funeral.

"Back in my day", the post-funeral meal was held at a relative's home with everyone bringing a covered dish. This evolved into a family member's church taking care of the meal for the family with the church committee handling all the details.

Nowadays, families are scattered across the country (hard to make the family meatloaf recipe in a hotel room!) or are not affiliated with a church. People who ..... after dealing with taking care of aging parents, going thru the medical trauma, the nursing home, the passing of a parent, making funeral arrangements ... just don't want to deal with planning a meal for 50+ people. The service of having the post-funeral meal provided and all taken care of is a very real and very growing business.

So it may sound funny to go after "funeral" business ..... but it's a wide open and very large market!

kellertur Posted 23 Oct 2008 , 4:58pm
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

(I swear I'm going to shoot myself! This is the 4th time I've tried to post to this thread and somehow I keep hitting a key that sends my screen blank! icon_cry.gificon_cry.gif )




Don't do that!!! We need you too much (man, that sounds selfish...) icon_rolleyes.gif

thanks for all the great advice...

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