Hi all! I've been struggling as of late to round up more customers and I'm almost at a loss as to what to do next.. I feel like I should blow my savings on advertizing but where is the best place to spend my little bit of cash? What will make the most impact? I've been going back and forth about renting a booth at the big bridal show but I don't know if it will be worth the expense... Have you guys had great success at bridal shows? Any tips for drawing in the brides?
Thanks bunches in advanced!
I think a bridal show would be amazing if you can afford it. You have an opportunity to show off your cakes and meet face to face with these brides. You can collect new customer info if you have a drawing for a $50 or $100 coupon off their wedding cake from you. It seems like a lot of people have a lot of success when putting these on.
Just my thoughts though.
Bridal shows are a great way to get business and, in my humble opinon, generally worth the expense.
I, however, do not spend big bucks on advertising. My best form of advertising is the fact that I am on the first page of all three search enginges (Google, Yahoo, and MSN) for the main keyword searches for bakeries/wedding cakes. I spent A LOT of time learning how to optimize my keywords by myself, and for free. About 80% of my first-time customers find me online.
Some decorators swear by them. I have done a few and NEVER yielded the business to warrant the cost of doing them. Depends too on how big it is. If you are in a large metro area, your chances of getting enough biz to offset your expenses and bring a profit are less. If it is a small show that limits how many vendors in each catagory you will do much better. The ones I did were all at the big Bridal shows in Houston. There were so many cake people there it was crazy! And at one of them we weren't allowed to have samples so the only way to 'sell' was on example. I market as a complete package, I want people to taste my cakes, that is what sets them apart from so many others.
Cakesdivine is right, if there are a TON of cakers there, you're chances of recouping the loss can be less.
The last show I did, I decided to offer a 15% discount if they put a deposit down at the show. The booth rental was low enough that one order would cover the cost. Low and behold, I got one signed at the show and three signed the very next weekend!!! Even with the 15% discount, the one booking still covered the booth, the cost of all of the samples and my gas down there!
Since my business is new, I am participating in several shows this year to get a feel for the kind of business that I get from them and will determine if it is worth it again next year.
Once I feel I'm ready for it, the owner of an upscale furniture and glassware store near me has offered to display a few of my dummies and my business card. I, of course, get free advertising, she has an interesting decorative element for her displays and (as yet unknown to her) she'll be getting the occasional free cake. For me it's a cheap way to advertise (still at hobby stage but would like to progress to 1-2 paid cakes a month - other advertising just really doesn't pay at that low volume) and also reach the upscale clientele that would actually be able to afford custom cakes.
I don't know if this would work for you or if you could find a business that would be willing to work with you, but I've heard from others on here that this type of arrangement has proven very successful.
Thanks Jill and cylstrial. I am doing my first bridal show this June and those are both good tips. I never thought of them.
Ditto on what cakesdivine said. I have done a few shows, as a wedding plannner and a baker, and the amount of money spent to get a or clients isnt worth it to me. The lead list helped, if you know how to market from that....but the best is word of mouth, networking...stuff like that
The most valuable contacts you make at a bridal show is with the other vendors. Word of mouth is the #1 method of advertising and if you can get other vendors talking about you, you're halfway there. That's why I set up early at shows and then walk the room, meeting, greeting and getting to know the vendors.
Join a BNI group in your area. I belong to one and I have 26 other people selling my biz for me. I recommend this to anyone looking for effective advertising.
I'm kinda meh . . . on wedding shows. Summer shows are MUCH smaller than winter shows, so don't expect much.
Optimizing your website is $ better spent.
I agree with IndyDeb, it's the other "contacts" you make at the shows the get you the biz. Work the room and make sure the other venders taste your cake. And yes, walk up and introduce yourself to the other cake venders. It's the best way to size them up! Smile!