How Do I Get Customers Now?

Business By bakermommy4 Updated 5 May 2009 , 5:51pm by FromScratch

bakermommy4 Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 11:32pm
post #1 of 29

I have just started my cake business and boy am I excited. I'm doing business in Las Vegas, I'm originally from Los Angeles though so I don't really know too many people.

Besides my in-laws, and a couple of other people, no one knows about my gorgeous cakes. How do I get the word out that I'm in business? I don't have a money tree in my backyard so I'm on a major budget when it comes to advertising, but I am willing to spend SOME money.

HHHEEELLLPPP!!! Can some of you seasoned cake designers give me some advice on how to get the word out?

28 replies
Jennifer1970 Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 11:41pm
post #2 of 29

I've been using Craigslist. It's free, you can put multiple listings, and upload pictures. Have gotten many inquiries from it. I also set up a web-site, only $5.00 per month. (webspawner.com)

blondeez Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 11:45pm
post #3 of 29

Im not a seasoned cake decorator but a friend gave me an idea to make cakes for a dentist, day care, realtor ect. for when I start my business. This way you get your name out there and they get to see and taste what you make.

bakermommy4 Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 11:46pm
post #4 of 29

Wow!! $5.00 a month for your website?? I just paid Yahoo I believe $35.00 for three months...already going down the wrong path I believe as far as investing in advertising. I'm gonna have to check out webspawner.com. Did they have pre-designed templates for the computer illiterate such as myself?

bakermommy4 Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 11:49pm
post #5 of 29

Maybe I shouldn't have used the word "seasoned" because Lord knows I'd take the advice of a talking turtle if he could get me clients ya know LOL.

Blondeez thats some really good advice, I never thought about that. Do you think someone would give me a strange look like "Why is this lady bringing us this cake?"

blondeez Posted 29 Apr 2009 , 11:59pm
post #6 of 29

I dont think so if you explain it to them. I know that when a hurricane went through my town and everyone was out of power. My bakery was giving decorated cakes away and I took 10 of them and gave them to the Fire Dept, Police Department and neighbors I had only meet once. They never questioned anything. They were just happy they had something yummy to eat. LOL

blondeez Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 12:03am
post #7 of 29

Another idea is to put business cards in party supply stores, kids entertainment companys or even see if there is a company that sets up thoses blow up jumpers. You could see if they could offer the parents a b-day cake for jimmy or susie for a certain price. It may just be a 1/4 cake with a balloon boarder but it gets your name out and you are still getting paid.

bakermommy4 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 12:05am
post #8 of 29

Put like that, it makes tons of sense. I think I'll start on that mission next week. I'll call it OPERATION SPREAD THE WORD...

I'll be sure to let you know how it works out for me!!

Jennifer1970 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 12:09am
post #9 of 29

Yes, the webspawner set-up is very easy.

If you want to check out my website: http://www.webspawner.com/users/ricakelady/

You can change the layout, colors, etc. I've found it very easy to use.

Jennifer1970 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 12:11am
post #10 of 29

Almost forgot, check out Onewed.com. You can post a free ad on their website, you just have to put a link to them on your site in return. You will get an e-mail from them everytime someone links to your website from theirs.

Iloveweddings Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 12:31am
post #11 of 29

Hi. If you are not home licensed kitchen do not advertise on craigslist.

bakermommy4 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 12:34am
post #12 of 29

If I wasn't home licensed I wouldn't advertise ANYWHERE...thanks for the heads up though.

SpringFlour Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 12:41am
post #13 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by bakermommy4

If I wasn't home licensed I wouldn't advertise ANYWHERE...thanks for the heads up though.




icon_biggrin.gif

BakingGirl Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 1:16am
post #14 of 29

I don't do cakes as a business but I get calls all the time about cakes which I unfortunately have to turn down as I am not legal.

So for what it is worth, what I have been doing clearly works as marketing - wether it is intentional or not. I have over time given birthday cakes as my gift to the birthday child (or adult), I have taken cakes to the school where my kid's attend as gifts for teachers. My husband has taken my cakes to work. I have done baby showers for friends etc, etc.

I think word of mouth is very powerful and a very valuable marketing tool.

PiePie Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:24am
post #15 of 29

I am just getting started too. What I have found that has been working for me is that I am telling people (friends) that if I can try a new technique on their cake then I will do it for them at cost. This gets some of my cakes out there for others to see. (And I do actually try new techniques like transfering pictures, different gum paste decorations...) The cakes are much nicer than you would find at the grocery store due to these "new techniques" and so I have been getting calls left and right and the people who I did the cakes for know that they got a deal and don't expect it next time nor do the people who call me expect to pay grocery store prices. I hope I expained this well enough. The other thing that I have done is watched for business celebrations. The gum paste technique that I used was making a comb and a scissors out of gum paste for a cake that I did for a salon that was having an anniversary. They got a deal and over 50 people got to taste and see my cake as well as grab a business card icon_smile.gif

Ruth0209 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:45am
post #16 of 29

Contact some of the caterers in town that do not do cakes. Take them some samples and your brochures. I did this, and one caterer in particular has sent me a TON of business. Since they don't do cakes, I'm not in competition with them so they're happy to have someone to refer brides and others to when they ask about a cake for their event. I also took some of their cards so I can recommend their business when people come directly to me. It's been a great relationship so far!

cms2 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 12:40pm
post #17 of 29

Word of mouth is the best advertising money can't buy! Every single person in attendance where your cake is served is a future potential customer. It will take some time but you'll slowly build up a base of customers that will be calling you for every occasion for which they need a cake. A fellow cc'er said it took her a full two years before she had steady cake orders every single week. I think the more effort you put into it, the more you'll get out of it. And I am always mindful of the fact that you're only as good as your last cake.

Brand yourself. Put you company name, logo, website and contact info on business cards. Have custom labels made for your cake boxes. Presentation is everything! People want to feel like they're getting something fancy. Also stick a business card and menu under the cake board.

I looked at your website. Getting photos of your work on your website should be priority #1. I know some choose not to, but I think you should have prices on there as well. The overall look of your website does not seem dessert oriented. If I was a customer, I would want to see the cakes and cookies that you offer. I would suggest that you hire a proffesional to design your site. It truly would be money well spent. thumbs_up.gif

Good luck to you!

jenmat Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:09pm
post #18 of 29

I was lucky enough to have a husband work at a hospital. I sent cakes to work with him on a weekly basis for the staff to "taste-test" for feedback. I started getting orders within a day or two of beginning that process. Then I set up sample tastings with other departments, where I sent several cakes with him along with my menu and portfolio. Again, within hours, I had orders. Its all about finding people who know you and can vouch for you, then getting them some free cake. I also made sure to put a menu and business card on each box, which really helped (although I'm sure you do this already!) And do a wedding show- they are more than worth it! Best of luck to you!

cutthecake Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:18pm
post #19 of 29

How about contacting some of those Las Vegas wedding chapels? Wedding chapel=wedding=wedding cake!

Kiddiekakes Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 5:47pm
post #20 of 29

Yup..that's it....reach anyone and everyone.You may have to give out a few cookies /cakes for samples but the business will soon come in.Word of mouth is definetly the best way to get free advertising!!! Contact realtors/medical,dental offices/massage therapy clinics...many like to give out gift baskets to clients at Christmas etc...then they order cakes for Christmas parties and so on....leave cards at schools( if they will let you)..kids activity places...bulletin boards in stores ...Hire someone to walk around and deliver flyers to mailboxes or do it yourself to save money.Have like a Grand Opening Special offer like $5.00 off of cake if they call and order and mention your ad.

bakermommy4 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 6:23pm
post #21 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cms2



I looked at your website. Getting photos of your work on your website should be priority #1.

Good luck to you!




I had a lot of pics on the site. My friend designed the site for me and googled tons of pics that weren't mine because I haven't been taking pics of my cakes....I wasn't feeling too good about it so I had her take all of the pics down. Now, I have to decorate a few dummy cakes and get some of my old pics from my phone and put on the site.

What a wealth of information...thanks everyone. I should have work orders coming out of my you know what with all of this advice.

melodyscakes Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 7:56pm
post #22 of 29

I hate to bead a dead horse guys, but you aren't supposed to hand out business cards or cake samples hoping to get future business with out having a license.
this subject has been talked to death at cc. also, I noticed that you live in Ca. which seems to be the hardest to get legal...and they come after you and fine you if you are il-legally selling cakes.

don't want to rile anyone up....just passing info along.

jennifer7777 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 9:56pm
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by melodyscakes

I hate to bead a dead horse guys, but you aren't supposed to hand out business cards or cake samples hoping to get future business with out having a license.
this subject has been talked to death at cc. also, I noticed that you live in Ca. which seems to be the hardest to get legal...and they come after you and fine you if you are il-legally selling cakes.

don't want to rile anyone up....just passing info along.




The OP used to live in CA. Now she's in Las Vegas.

To OP...a great resource that I myself have purchased is www.sellcakeslikecrazy.com
This cake couple has provided many different ways to generate business that is specifically geared towards cakes. I learned many valuable ideas.

bakermommy4 Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 11:19pm
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennifer7777

Quote:
Originally Posted by melodyscakes

I hate to bead a dead horse guys, but you aren't supposed to hand out business cards or cake samples hoping to get future business with out having a license.
this subject has been talked to death at cc. also, I noticed that you live in Ca. which seems to be the hardest to get legal...and they come after you and fine you if you are il-legally selling cakes.

don't want to rile anyone up....just passing info along.



The OP used to live in CA. Now she's in Las Vegas.

To OP...a great resource that I myself have purchased is www.sellcakeslikecrazy.com
This cake couple has provided many different ways to generate business that is specifically geared towards cakes. I learned many valuable ideas.




I live in Las Vegas now, and I wouldn't be handing out anything if I wasn't licensed. There's no way I'd take the risk of getting myself in any kind of mess because of no licensing. You are able to be licensed as a home baker depending on whether your in city limits or county limits in Las Vegas...
Thanks for the info melodyscakes...I saw that info before but didn't know if it was worth the investment. Always kinda weary about just buying stuff online, I might have to look into that.

melhoneybee Posted 30 Apr 2009 , 11:31pm
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by cms2

Word of mouth is the best advertising money can't buy! Every single person in attendance where your cake is served is a future potential customer. It will take some time but you'll slowly build up a base of customers that will be calling you for every occasion for which they need a cake. A fellow cc'er said it took her a full two years before she had steady cake orders every single week. I think the more effort you put into it, the more you'll get out of it. And I am always mindful of the fact that you're only as good as your last cake.




This is SO true!! I have gotten a ton of repeat business off of people who were at a party where my cake was served.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cms2

Brand yourself. Put you company name, logo, website and contact info on business cards. Have custom labels made for your cake boxes. Presentation is everything! People want to feel like they're getting something fancy. Also stick a business card and menu under the cake board.




YES! This is KEY advice! It is so important to keep your image in their mind, and make sure it is around for those invited party guests to see too!!

Besides WOM (which is HUGE for my business), what has really, really sent my business soaring was believe it or not, google.com! LOL I advertise EVERYWHERE I can for free, but Google is the one that gets me most of my orders. Funny how that works! Just spread your info everywhere you can think of, and when people go searching, they will be sure to find you! HTH!

sugarspice Posted 3 May 2009 , 3:12am
post #26 of 29

I have not read it, but have heard great things about the book titled..Guerrilla Marketing. Check it out at Amazon-it is geared to marketing small business!!

cylstrial Posted 3 May 2009 , 7:13pm
post #27 of 29

You should go to David's Bridal and other wedding related shops (flowers etc). Find one who will partner with you. They will refer you to their clients and you will refer your clients to them. Obviously, you don't want to be referring them to 5 flower shops...so use your discretion but contacts and networking are important. =o)

littlecake Posted 4 May 2009 , 4:42am
post #28 of 29

i have a storefront, and have posted this several times, when i first opened i made up 1/2 sheets and took them to every school in town at lunchtime along with a price list.

just took them on back to the teachers lounge...i drew the school mascot on them, so they could see i could decorate.

teachers know a lot of people.

anyhoo...thats all i did....7 years later still going strong, the phone started ringing right away.

i understand vegas is the place to be if you're a cake decorator.

you'll do great.

FromScratch Posted 5 May 2009 , 5:51pm
post #29 of 29

Not for nothing, but check and see if you are allowed to offer potentially hazarous foods as a residential bakery. In my state, unless you have a full commercial kitchen on your property, you can't offer cream fillings and citrus curds and things like that and if you get caught doing so it's at least a $500.00 fine. Just food for thought... no pun intended. icon_lol.gif

But yes... word of mouth is the best advertising ever. Giving out product is a great way to get that word of mouth ball rolling. Anywhere where you'll have a bunch of women who will talk. The bank... the dr's office... the dentist (even they have sweet teeth)... the schools is a great idea too. Have cards with you and pass them out. See someone picking up a cake at the grocery store? Give them a card and tell them it's a thought for the next party. Taking to mom's at the park? Pass out cards and tell them to check out what you offer. Sitting in the Dr's office? Strike up a conversation and pass out some cards. It feels wierd at first, but you get over it... well you do it you want business... icon_wink.gif

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