I would like to think when I do an order for 200-300 servings that I would get at least 2 or 3 leads from that. I know sometimes it's a long term wait but still. I hardly ever get anyone calling saying, "you did so and so's order" I do on average 3-6 weddings a month.
My work is good and cake taste great. Always get rave reviews... but how can I increase the return on it?
Get the bride's email address. Create an email newsletter. Develop a mailing list. Eventually you will start getting extra biz. I'm finding that people think of me as only a wedding cake baker, and for me that's OK, because it is what i do most of the time and I have enough wedding cake business to keep me busy.
But guests at the wedding will not know where the cake came from.
1 out of every 30 brides might yield another referral wedding cake order. I do a lot of destination weddings as I live in a resort area, but believe it or not a couple of brides have had me do cakes for them everytime they visit the area. I have one bride (the bride whose cake is my avatar) order a grooms and birthday cake on her wedding day, order two more cakes on their wedding anniversary this year, and ordered a friends bridal shower and another friends baby shower cakes from me and drove all the way from Houston to pick them up for parties that are being held in Houston...that is a 400 mile round trip
My accountant figured I get 7 cakes off the 1 cake I make. I spend very little on advertising so referrals are so important.
Years ago I gave referral money out to past brides ,but I found that I didn't have to do that and people were still referring people. I think my brides just know I really care about them.
I do extra special things for them and there families (cakes and such). I always seem to catch the first woman of a pack of friends to be married so it's a no brainer that the next bride has already eaten my cake and wants to use me. I have one special girl that I made her cake 4 years ago and she has given me 13 new brides since her wedding.
Last week I got a referral from a woman I have never met but she has had my cake at three different weddings and she loves my cakes. I really was shocked and tickled. I smiled all night.
Maybe start with referal money and see if it works. $25.00 for every bride you bring me and they use my services.
Also make sure you are connecting with those places that you are delivering your cakes to. They will get the bride before you do, so you want to make sure they think of you instantly when it comes to cakes. They also know your product and reputation. Make sure you stay in touch throughout the year as well. "Keep a finger on the pulse" as my friends tell me.
If possible, I leave my business cards with the DJ at the wedding. They are usually closest to the cake table, so they can hand them out when people ask. Also, they make great referral contacts.
This is also one reason that I offer a free tier on the first anniversary. It gets them back in my store (many times they have already discussed startign a family and a baby shower cake is not out of the question). It also gives me an opportunity to ask them how they've been, which usually brings up a friend or family member with a birthday, baby shower, bridal shower or another wedding.
I also make it a point of asking people how they've heard about us. Many times, they won't mention it, but if I ask I find out that its from another cake we did.
Only time it worked when I did cake for event planner's daughter. I did 6 other cakes for her brides that year.
If possible, I leave my business cards with the DJ at the wedding. They are usually closest to the cake table,
ya might wanna rethink this one. DJ's close to a cake table can end in a fallen cake if the speaker vibrations get to it. We've had a few stories on here about that happening. I always caution brides .... in writing .... about the DJ being TOO close to the cake table at all.
I'm the opposite, I did party cakes and 3D cakes for so long that I keep getting leads from those and its slow work getting wedding orders. I do get a few more each year than I did the year before, but still my orders are primarily 3D (grooms cakes alot more than weddings) and party cakes. Granted, often tiered party cakes and sculpted ones, but still.... trying to get those 100-200 serving cakes that seem so elusive for me!