I am growing a bit weary of trying to figure out what marketing to do. I have tried a bit of everything and business has not picked up the way that I need.
I have been reading the guerilla marketing books and the info is interesting. I was wondering if any of you have read them and if so how you have applied the tips to your business. Even if you haven't read them what are your best tips for marketing without spending hundreds of dollars a pop?
Thanks for sharing!
It depends who you're trying to reach...What is your target client? Do you do all kinds of cakes, or just weddings?
Thank you for taking the time to reply Costumeczar.
I do all types of cakes, even dessert types and cheesecakes when requested. I also do cookies. Truthfully, I am at a place where I enjoy cupcakes and decorated cookies best.
My goal is to reach brides and moms primarily.
If you're targeting brides you have to go to a target rich environment - Wedding Shows. And Wedding Magazines.
Having your own website works too - most of my wedding business comes from web searches. You can also get your website linked onto other businesses websites (reciprocal) for free if you link theirs on yours.
This might not be practical in your area, but if you're only doing cupcakes and cookies, you could also look around to other bakers who don't do those. It depends if you can find any near you, I guess. I personally don't do cupcakes because they're a pain in my butt, and as I get older I don't want to do anything that's a pain in my butt. I'm always looking for people who I can refer brides to if they ask me for cupcakes.
I guess I'm also saying that wedding networking groups would be good to join. Word of mouth and referrals from other vendors are always good ways to get clients. You could check to see if there are any groups in your area.
And the website advice is really important. Brides do everything online now. I'd say that 99% of my clients have seen my website before they call me.
Costumeczar, now that you mention it, I did join a networking group for my first year of business - it wasn't a wedding networking group (they just don't exist around here), but I learned a lot about networking and running a business in that first year - I also got a lot of good leads. I didn't stay with it after the first year because they were morning breakfast meetings once a week (7am start), and it didn't fit into the schedule with young kids - plus, I was getting too busy with orders!
When I deliver my wedding cakes, I chat with the venue managers and owners - they often ask for my business cards, and have given referrals to brides because they know my work.
Thanks to all of you!
This is what gets me and I am worn out from trying to figure out what works marketing wise.
I have a website, it's pretty nice and I get a lot of compliments. I have joined the chamber of commerce and 2 networking groups- not much from either one.
I do more than cupcakes and cookies so that's not an issue.
I have done bridal shows and got nothing, I thought it was me but a recent discussion with other vendors helped me see that most of them aren't getting bookings from it. There is a lot of "look, see, what can I get for free" but not brides looking for people to do business with.
I have volunteered, donated... I am at a loss. I even took out an ad in the new wedding mag and people say they saw it, it was beautiful, but no orders.
My pricing is comparable, I keep checking around to see if I am too high. My cakes look just as nice and taste better than most here. I was wondering if I need a specialty like 3D cakes or something else to set me apart.
I book almost all of the brides that walk in the door. I can count on my hands the number that didn't book over the past 2 years.
Do any of you ask for customer feedback? Is that a professional thing to do? If I am doing something wrong I want to know so I can correct it.
I don't mean to sound like a whiner, I am not feeling sorry for myself I am just trying to figure it out and I can't keep spending hundreds of dollars with no results.
Maybe it's a matter of consistency... ?? Instead on doing multiple things do one and stick with it?
Sorry for the rambling but I am at a loss. I keep hearing these success stories and I want to find what works for me.
I don't ask for feedback, but I do send out a thankyou letter after the wedding. It also mentions in it that I will give a gift certificate to them for every booked referral that I get from them - basically if they refer a friend, and the friend books with me, I'll send a "thankyou GC" to the first bride for referring me. You could try sending out a letter to previous brides and offering a referral GC with every booking they send you...say it's a limited time offer to get them jumping!
What works for me may not work for you - it's all in the area. I think that you have to stick with a plan for a little while to see if it blossoms. And, if you try too many things at once, you won't know what is working for you - my advice is to keep it simple. Target where you want to spend your marketing dollars, and stay the course. Good luck!