Advertising Budget For Home Bakers??

Business By Bonniecakes08 Updated 16 Jan 2009 , 3:05am by cakelady99

Bonniecakes08 Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 5:28pm
post #1 of 38

Hi, What have others done when starting out in business. Do you advertise in Wedding Planners for local newspapers, attend shows, what do you do for marketing? I have been sending cookies and cakes to friends at their work with my cards, have attended a craft show and got tremendous interest and gave out many cards, (no orders yet). Need your suggestions to get some orders in!!

37 replies
Carolynlovescake Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 5:38pm
post #2 of 38

Are you legal? If not then advertising is against the law including handing out business cards. You can hand out a calling card which basically is just your name and phone number. Nothing identifying what you do.

If you are legal then well the sky is the limit depending from person to person with budgets.

costumeczar Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 5:56pm
post #3 of 38

It depends what kinds of cakes you want to do. If you're looking for business for birthday and party cakes, you could advertise on bulletin boards at stores that let people post things. You could also ask if you could put something up at local daycares and preschools.

I only do weddings, but I've noticed that the best advertising is my website. I have it linked to as many other wedding websites for local vendors as I can, and most people find me through web searches or word of mouth. I also advertise in wedding-specific magazines that are given out at bridal shows. I don't do newspaper ads or ads in "special edition" wedding supplements that come along in local newspapers every now and then, because I figure they're here and gone, they don't get enough circulation. The most important thing in putting ads in wedding guides is if they have a link on their websites to your website that goes along with you placing an ad.

My professional organization has a panel of brides every year where we ask recently married women questions about the planning process. Every one of them had searched the internet for information, but NOT ONE had looked at a newspaper for ads. That said a lot to me!

mellormom Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 5:57pm
post #4 of 38

I to have trouble with orders. One thing I have done is put flyers in people doors. (do not put in or on the mail box unless there is a stamp! It's a federal offence) I also have posted at his school and things.
HTH
Jen...

Bonniecakes08 Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 8:40pm
post #5 of 38

Wow, almost instant responses, you guys are great!!! I just put a call in to the local newspaper, but now I've decided not to do it. My website is not yet up and running, so I guess I'll work on that first. Its, true, if I am going to buy something, I always look on the internet first. And by the way, yes, I am legal and my card states that I have a licensed kitchen. Here is another question, regarding a website, how do local people find you on the web? My name does not have the work Cake in it (Dum move!). When I search for local decorators, nothing comes up and I know there are several in the area. Thanks for your input!

tarheelgirl Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 8:59pm
post #6 of 38

I advertise on a local community website. Also hand out my cards to businesses and have a few friends that work at the hospital. Sending sample cakes with friends is a good idea. I have a website and a myspace page. Word gets around and soon you will be swamped. I only had a couple orders in the beginning but now average 7 cakes per week! Also, I have clients who have my cakes at their parties and their guests get my information from them. I am moving into the wedding cake scene slowly. A good friend of ours is a wedding singer! icon_biggrin.gif We refer each other.

Bonnie151 Posted 22 Dec 2008 , 9:20pm
post #7 of 38

1. Finish your website.

2. Register with Google Analytics (free).

3. Do NOT sign up for Google AdWords yet! Once Google realises you've registered with them they may send you a great free trial for AdWords (I got £70 worth of AdWords for £10 which I'm about half way through and it's brought in a nice amount of unexpected wedding business)

4. Go into the Google Local Business Centre and register your business.

5. Research reputable wedding sites which will include a free link to your website.

6. Research reputable general directories (be careful and only use reputable sites or it'll hurt your Google ranking) which will carry a free link to your website.

7. Make sure your website is optimised with key words etc - a Google search will help you work out what to do. There's too much for me to summarise!

All of that will help you with your website and understanding what works and what doesn't work and will help people find you.

On top of the above I also do do leaflets through letterboxes (note US restrictions to this though). I've had an incredible response rate- I last did it Septemberish and I still get phone calls every week from customers who have held onto their leaflet.

I will also have an advert running in a national wedding magazine starting in January.

I was going to do a couple of wedding fayres early next year, but I may skip these as the business coming through my website is far greater than I anticipated at launch.

HTH

Bonniecakes08 Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 4:15am
post #8 of 38

Thank you all! I'm curious, those with websites - did you pay to have one created, or did you do your own? And if you paid, about how much can i expect to shell out?

Kitagrl Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 4:31am
post #9 of 38

I found paying for an ad in a local paper was a huge waste of money.

Trying an ad on The Knot right now, so far nothing....hopefully I'll get leads soon though as supposedly they promise great results.

Have tried Craigslist a few times with actually good results although its hard to find the right customers there, plus you are competing against other somewhat questionable businesses (not always..but sometimes).

My website has been my best thing so far...I made my own originally, but recently paid a friend to do a nicer one.

I still haven't been getting the results I want out of my advertising but will keep working on it, I have a few other ideas to try after the holidays.

Bonniecakes08 Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 4:47am
post #10 of 38

Good Luck Kitagirl! I was just given a ball park figure of $2000 to build a website for me. I thought it was outrageous and no way can I afford that!!!! I guess I'm going to have to create my own (yikes!) Can anyone suggest someone that does this type of thing?

Kitagrl Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 4:49am
post #11 of 38

You could try the one who did mine: http://4joystech.com/

sugabear Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 6:07am
post #12 of 38

I've also been thinking about the whole advertising thing a lot lately. I'm up on the net, have recently put an ad in the telephone book and sent out really cute postcards for Christmas - with the little responce I received coming from friends. I'm thinking of doing a bridal show this year. But all in all this may be one of those trial and error things. If anyone has any more suggestions I would also love to hear them! Thanks! icon_smile.gif

Bonnie151 Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 7:04am
post #13 of 38

I built my own site using Moonfruit (£50 per year hosting costs). It was fantastically easy but updating/maintaining a website does take an awful lot of time. I spent several months ploughing away at it at night and I still update it weekly.

loriemoms Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 9:34am
post #14 of 38

When I first got started, I had NO budget for advertising, so I built my web site with really good keywords and took advandage of all the robots out there that read web sites. I also found every single web site I could find that wil advertize you for free if you put a link on your web site (I Just googled wedding cakes, birthday cakes, etc and found these web sites very easily) As I started to get orders, word of mouth really was my main source, and even four years later, I do very little paid advertising. My main "advertising dollar" goes into the wedding shows, as I prefer face to face.

I tried the knot for one year and got like three weddings out of it. It didn't work well for me, although I heard some people do well. I guess it depends on your bride. I went to a lecture recently where they stated the knot is where brides go for information and ideas, and not really to find venders.

If you are not a web guru, and you decide to go with one of these build your own web sites, you might want to instead look into a course on doing keyword searches or hire someone to do your web site. Site maps and such are vital on getting you on top of the listings in Google. Also, like someone else stated, go to the business section of Google and put your biz in there. People will start giving you reviews and that helps alot too.

Of course, please make sure you are legal before doing anything!

cfao Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 11:49am
post #15 of 38

Look into Yahoo/Geocities web sites. I pay $12.95 per month and that includes my domain name. I knew NOTHING about setting up a website, but their program is really easy. If you screw up, they actually keep a record of what you had on your site so you can bring everything back if you push the wrong button and delete your site (I know this from experience). I did my site myself and if you go to the bowling tabs on there and push "Christopher's site" you will be brought to my son's web site that is through the same Geocities host. He did his original site 3 years ago at 14 years old. They are both really easy to add changes, upload pics, etc.

loriemoms Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 11:56am
post #16 of 38

I know people will probably jump on me for this, and I have nothing against google web sites and yahoo web sites and such, but to register wtih a hosting system is about the same price, you get your own domain name, and lots and lots of space on thier servers. Many of these systems have templates for building a web site and it just looks a lot more professional to your customers when they send email to a registered domain name, instead of yahoo or gmail.com. You also have more control of your web site, can look at REAL stats and you can get hundreds of email address to help keep organized. (for instance, I have an info email, my own email, my DH has email and we have an email address for the web site management, etc)

myslady Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 2:10pm
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms

I know people will probably jump on me for this, and I have nothing against google web sites and yahoo web sites and such, but to register wtih a hosting system is about the same price, you get your own domain name, and lots and lots of space on thier servers. Many of these systems have templates for building a web site and it just looks a lot more professional to your customers when they send email to a registered domain name, instead of yahoo or gmail.com. You also have more control of your web site, can look at REAL stats and you can get hundreds of email address to help keep organized. (for instance, I have an info email, my own email, my DH has email and we have an email address for the web site management, etc)




I don't know about google, but yahoo does have a hosting system that you pay for and will allow a person to have accounts listed under their business name, e.g. [email protected]

Usually it is the free accounts that do not allow this and you see the sites like [email protected]

Kitagrl Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 2:32pm
post #18 of 38

Lorie....I was upset (in a way) that I actually got a wedding from my free acct with WeddingWire whereas not getting anything from The Knot! I really hope I do...the money I'm paying for The Knot is a big chunk for me, as I'm still quite small. *sigh*

I have such a hard time getting weddings...I need to actively work on that this year. The reason being is most people get their cakes included with their catering...then they call me for a groom's cake or something but that's it.

I have to figure out how to get those brides who do NOT get included cakes with catering. Or the brides who want a big name to do their wedding cake (Recently I did a groom's cake and they got their wedding cake made by a "big name" and she told me my groom's cake tasted better!) Its the weddings that are going to pay me, and that's what I can hardly get! I think I had maybe five this entire past year! Mostly 3D cakes is what I end up getting orders for.

costumeczar Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 2:44pm
post #19 of 38

Just my 2cents on the Knot, it never got me any business at all, and they gave me a lot of attitude about it when I cancelled with them. They said that I had a lot more traffic going to my site than I did, because I could check my own statistics, and what they were claiming didn't add up. Anyway, I know that other people have had good results with advertising there, but I didn't. The girls who are on the local bulletin board for my area on the Knot tend to be bargain-hunters and are only shopping for price, which means that they'll probably end up going to a grocery store for their cakes anyway.

I also use yahoo webhosting for my site, and I consistently get positive comments on it. I know nothing about designing sites, but I know what I like and don't like about other sites that I go to, so I just kept that in mind when I put mine together. I like being able to update it myself instead of paying someone else to do it on their schedule.

Kitagrl Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 2:46pm
post #20 of 38

I wish I could do more bridal shows but the ones in my area are so expensive....I'll have to plan ahead and really be choosy...and NOW I have to wait until my Knot thing is done so I'll have the money.

cfao Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 3:43pm
post #21 of 38

The 2 web sites we have hosted by Yahoo both have their own domain name and they are included in the cost. They have a lot of templates that you just add your own info to. I have cakesforalloccasions.org and my son has jrbowl.com, neither has any indication of who we have the sites through.

loriemoms Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 7:18pm
post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by cfao

The 2 web sites we have hosted by Yahoo both have their own domain name and they are included in the cost. They have a lot of templates that you just add your own info to. I have cakesforalloccasions.org and my son has jrbowl.com, neither has any indication of who we have the sites through.




Yes, that is becuase you are using Yahoo;s hosting system. I am talking about the freebie sites where you dont have your own domain name, like geocities, etc. And some of those geocities web sites have so many side ads on them! I personally won't visit some of them!

Kitagrl Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 7:23pm
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by loriemoms

Quote:
Originally Posted by cfao

The 2 web sites we have hosted by Yahoo both have their own domain name and they are included in the cost. They have a lot of templates that you just add your own info to. I have cakesforalloccasions.org and my son has jrbowl.com, neither has any indication of who we have the sites through.



Yes, that is becuase you are using Yahoo;s hosting system. I am talking about the freebie sites where you dont have your own domain name, like geocities, etc. And some of those geocities web sites have so many side ads on them! I personally won't visit some of them!




Plus they are much harder for people to find....if someone hears your business name and tries typing it in, it will come up tons faster on a "real" website than on a freebie.

SugarBakerz Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 7:37pm
post #24 of 38

I use godaddy.com

I have been with them over a year, paid for a 2 year 10 page site when I started. I can't remember how much but it included hosting. I am no web builder so it was pretty simple using their website tonight feature. I have had great traffic on it. My name is my .com so that helps a lot too, especially with the name recognition... I don't do any other advertising, unless it is a swap...

indydebi Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 7:43pm
post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

The reason being is most people get their cakes included with their catering...then they call me for a groom's cake or something but that's it.



That's uncommon in my area. I am one of the very VERY few caterers who also do wedding cakes. It IS a good selling point for me ... one stop shopping for everything "food" for the reception.

Most caterers, hotels, venues that do catering are here don't do wedding cakes. I can name only one Big Name caterer in town that does wedding cakes and pretty much the bride gets to pick "this one or that one".

If I were in your area, I'd try to tap into those hotels and venues who don't offer wedding cakes and try to become their preferred cake person or at least get on the list of referrals they give to their brides.

On the topic of website domain name, I've read articles that advise folks to "be leary" of the "[email protected]" type of biz websites. The articles imply it's not a "real" company. Even tho' many real businesses use this type of website, they are (unfairly) earning a negative stereotype reputation.

Best money I ever spent was getting my website optimized by a professional company. I spent $1200 to have it done and I've recouped that money many many times over just since last August.

And I'm one that LUVS The Knot. In 2007, I spent $1500 in advertising with them and booked over $7000 in business thru them. The first year with them, I booked enough business that paid for my ads with them for at least 5 years.

Kitagrl Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 7:48pm
post #26 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

The reason being is most people get their cakes included with their catering...then they call me for a groom's cake or something but that's it.


That's uncommon in my area. I am one of the very VERY few caterers who also do wedding cakes. It IS a good selling point for me ... one stop shopping for everything "food" for the reception.

Most caterers, hotels, venues that do catering are here don't do wedding cakes. I can name only one Big Name caterer in town that does wedding cakes and pretty much the bride gets to pick "this one or that one".

If I were in your area, I'd try to tap into those hotels and venues who don't offer wedding cakes and try to become their preferred cake person or at least get on the list of referrals they give to their brides.

On the topic of website domain name, I've read articles that advise folks to "be leary" of the "[email protected]" type of biz websites. The articles imply it's not a "real" company. Even tho' many real businesses use this type of website, they are (unfairly) earning a negative stereotype reputation.

Best money I ever spent was getting my website optimized by a professional company. I spent $1200 to have it done and I've recouped that money many many times over just since last August.

And I'm one that LUVS The Knot. In 2007, I spent $1500 in advertising with them and booked over $7000 in business thru them. The first year with them, I booked enough business that paid for my ads with them for at least 5 years.




If you check out The Knot in Philadelphia you will see a relatively few amount of bakeries listed there. Many of them are "big name" bakeries (not mine LOL) that people want because of their name. They are who the prominent wedding planners use. Otherwise, most venues/caterers provide cakes. I have had several brides tell me they were getting their cake in the "package" but wanted a nice groom's cake additionally...from me.

I actually had one of the top wedding planners in Philadelphia order a 3D cake from me after he tasted one of my cakes at a bridal show/competition last year....I gave him some cards and suggested maybe some future referrals but he says he doesn't give out cards and that he *may* send me some "groom's cakes" orders. I guess only the elite get to do wedding cakes. haha.

I feel like there is some kind of "elitist wedding cake club" around here I have to figure out how to get into.

indydebi Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 7:51pm
post #27 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

..... but he says he doesn't give out cards and that he *may* send me some "groom's cakes" orders.



Well whatta snot HE is! Wonder how he'd react if you told him that you don't hand out cards for wedding planners, but you might send him a kids' birthday party or something! icon_lol.gif

aligotmatt Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 8:24pm
post #28 of 38

Every market is so different, it's so interesting to see what works for some and not for others...

My main source here is a big venue that does about 200 weddings a year. Being linked on their site is good.

I think its important to look at the chain that a bride goes through. Like photographers, videographers, cake decorators - we all get met with around the same time in planning, so as nice as it is to know photog's, you won't get many recommendations from them. Typically a venue is booked, soon thereafter the caterer and florist. Depending on who they use and what they provide, the party rental store (for tables, chairs, linens...). And then the cake decorator, photog, videog... So, go to the places above you in the line.

In my area, full blown event planners that do everything a-z are not very popular. But if they are in your area, you'd want to get in with one and try to get them to use you exclusively.

indydebi Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 8:40pm
post #29 of 38

Can't remember where I read this, but the general order of things is that a bride will book her church, her reception hall, then the 3rd thing is a tie with either the photographer or the caterer. So I definitely like to be in good with the venues and the photographers.

I always ask my brides what other wedding vendors they are looking for (I keep a big collection of wedding vendors' biz cards on hand for referrals). About 70% of them have already booked their photographer.

Do you have any small wedding chapels in your area? I get a lot of referrals from a couple of small ones close to me. These kind of places rarely have their own in-house catering or cake baking.

Kitagrl Posted 24 Dec 2008 , 8:46pm
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kitagrl

..... but he says he doesn't give out cards and that he *may* send me some "groom's cakes" orders.


Well whatta snot HE is! Wonder how he'd react if you told him that you don't hand out cards for wedding planners, but you might send him a kids' birthday party or something! icon_lol.gif




LOL well he is very prominent, been featured in mainstream Bridal magazines and a reality bridal show and everything. So I guess he can afford not to send his brides to the little home baker in the suburbs. LOL.

Wedding planning is huge around here...catering is huge...actually the entire place is so huge I am at a loss as to where to start. I know of some good networking places but again those cost additional money and time and I haven't been able to organize that into my schedule yet. I have been able to get in good with a photographer and an event planner but both of them are also smaller scale businesses so far. My husband just found out about an acquaintence who owns a bridal shop and I may be able so set something up there.

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