Advertising Options

Business By Kaylani Updated 29 Dec 2010 , 3:38am by Loucinda

Kaylani Posted 24 Dec 2010 , 2:57pm
post #1 of 22

Hi All!

We have a b&m cake shop & are completely legal.

We are working on our marketing plan for 2011. There are a ton of options, but not a lot of cake stores/bakery have a history with them so it is hard to judge how effective they might be.

If you advertise your business, have you ever advertised on the radio? If you have I would love to hear your feedback on it.

If you advertised on The Knot.com or Weddingwire etc....did you pick premium or basic packages? How much of your budget did you spend on web based advertising?

Also, if you are willing to share I would love to hear what percentage of your gross sales you spent on advertising/marketing.


Thank you all!!!!

21 replies
costumeczar Posted 24 Dec 2010 , 3:20pm
post #2 of 22

I get the best return out of the wedding guide magazines that they pass out at wedding shows. I never got any business from the Knot, and I really can't think of any online site that I'd pay to advertise on. The best thing that you can do is to work to get your website found by the search engines.

The benefit of advertising in the print magazines are that they brides all get a copy, but you generally also get a link on the magazine's website back to your site.

I'd say that the radio is worthless, the newspaper is worthless, and the yellow pages are worthless these days. Everyone goes online to get information, they don't go to the newspaper, and if they're listening to the radio they're probably driving in the car and won't remember your ad later on.

The best marketing advice I could give you is to get out there and network with other professionals who can refer business to you. See if there's a chamber of commerce networking group or something along those lines. I belong to a few wedding networking groups in my area, and I get a lot of business from referrals from venues etc. because I've met people through them.

Facebook and twitter can also be very effectively used to promote businesses, and they're free.

Loucinda Posted 24 Dec 2010 , 3:51pm
post #3 of 22

IMO, the best thing you can do is have a very nice website. (and then work as CC stated above about getting traffic to it).

Making sure your spelling and grammar are correct is important when you are on FB - it drives me crazy seeing misspelled words and improper grammar on a business site!

I have not spent any money on "advertising". I did spend money on my logo, and my website though - and I don't regret it one bit.

Kaylani Posted 24 Dec 2010 , 4:26pm
post #4 of 22

Thank you all! We have a strong FB campaign, a great website & a great reputation in our community.

We are definitely going to invest part of our budget into advertising to grow our business.

Hearing your experiences with paying for different options really helps us.

Thank you to everyone who is willing to share icon_biggrin.gif Talking about money is never fun so if you dont feel comfortable sharing in the forum please PM me.

pinkpiggie78 Posted 24 Dec 2010 , 4:34pm
post #5 of 22

I would definately do all the "free" listings on all the wedding and party sites. And I know costumeczar may disagree with me icon_smile.gif but I think doing a local bridal show is great advertisement if you aren't very established. You get to meet local brides, but more importantly you get to network with local vendors all in one day.

jason_kraft Posted 24 Dec 2010 , 5:26pm
post #6 of 22

When starting up we spent a few hundred dollars advertising with Google AdWords. Since then we have spent $0 on advertising, everything is word of mouth. Our biggest source of leads now is Yelp.com, we encourage customers to post reviews there.

ccr03 Posted 24 Dec 2010 , 6:46pm
post #7 of 22

It really depends on your target market. What are they reaching for? Expos and print magazines have helped me. My target market relies more on print magazines and word-of-mouth. I have a strong internet presence, but I know to break into my market people like to physically see my brand/product. It's hard, but the good thing is I have very loyal customers.

costumeczar Posted 25 Dec 2010 , 5:40pm
post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by pinkpiggie78

I would definately do all the "free" listings on all the wedding and party sites. And I know costumeczar may disagree with me icon_smile.gif but I think doing a local bridal show is great advertisement if you aren't very established. You get to meet local brides, but more importantly you get to network with local vendors all in one day.




Heh heh heh...I don't do the shows but I did when I was first starting out. They're good for getting your name out if you're new, then meeting people, but at this point they don't get me any more business than just using my website and the other things that I do.

The important thing is to ask EVERY CUSTOMER how they heard about you, no matter what you do for advertising. The only way to figure out what works is to ask where people heard about you, because what works for one market or business might be totally useless for someone else.

indydebi Posted 25 Dec 2010 , 9:07pm
post #9 of 22

agree with everything costumeczar said with the exception of the Knot. It was my biggest return on the dollar I ever spent. Every year, I got back at least 5 times what I spent with the Knot.

I also saw a HUGE leap in biz when I got my website optimized. I started landing lots more commercial accounts (non-wedding caterings), including pretty regular monthly gigs with Macy's Dept Stores. expanding into comm'l biz was part of our marketing goal so this was really fabulous for us.

My advertising expenses were pretty consistent in the 5% of gross sales category.

Best ever advertising is joining a wedding networking group. If there isn't one in your area ... START ONE!

costumeczar Posted 25 Dec 2010 , 10:28pm
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

agree with everything costumeczar said with the exception of the Knot. It was my biggest return on the dollar I ever spent. Every year, I got back at least 5 times what I spent with the Knot.

!




The only things I ever got from the Knot were people emailing me from California asking how to make a rose, and a big snotty attitude when I cancelled the ad! That's why you should ask where people found you. An ad in one area might work really well, but in another area it just doesn't do squat. You have to know what's bringing people to you if you want to make your advertising budget be effective for you.

cakegirl1973 Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 4:58am
post #11 of 22

I pay $75/mo to Wedding Wire and have learned that most brides in my area don't use the site. Lesson learned--know your brides in your area and the online tools that they use before you sign a year-long contract!

indydebi Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 5:09am
post #12 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl1973

I pay $75/mo to Wedding Wire and have learned that most brides in my area don't use the site. Lesson learned--know your brides in your area and the online tools that they use before you sign a year-long contract!



You pay $75 a month? My listing there was free and I got quite a few referrals from it. Did they offer upgrades or something?

costumeczar Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 2:11pm
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl1973

I pay $75/mo to Wedding Wire and have learned that most brides in my area don't use the site. Lesson learned--know your brides in your area and the online tools that they use before you sign a year-long contract!


You pay $75 a month? My listing there was free and I got quite a few referrals from it. Did they offer upgrades or something?




They have a new "service" that is a paid listing. It supposedly gets you better results in the lists of professionals, but it mainly takes the lovely feature that they've added to everyone's free listings off. Look on a wedding wire free listing, and on one side of the screen you'll see "You might also want to try" with a listing of other pros in the area. They're basically charging people to take that off of their free listing.

They added the listings for other people a while ago, and I know a few people who have stopped using Wedding Wire completely since it pretty much just advertises other people on your listing unless you pay to not have them do that. I'm not a huge fan of it myself, but at least they're willing to look into fake reviews for you, unlike a lot of the review sites.

cakegirl1973 Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 2:29pm
post #14 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by indydebi

Quote:
Originally Posted by cakegirl1973

I pay $75/mo to Wedding Wire and have learned that most brides in my area don't use the site. Lesson learned--know your brides in your area and the online tools that they use before you sign a year-long contract!


You pay $75 a month? My listing there was free and I got quite a few referrals from it. Did they offer upgrades or something?





Also, I am at the top of the list of other vendors.

Another paid advertising thing that I do is that I am the "preferred provider" for a national bridal shop. Although I have received some referrals from this, and it sounds good, I have lost money on this because I pay $250/mo. Another lesson learned. In my area, a good website and word of mouth are key.

Kaylani Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 5:33pm
post #15 of 22

Great stuff!!!Thank you.

I was wondering about the pref vendor with the large company for a cost. Glad to hear some feedback on it. I was also concerned that it would drive in too much price shopping only without return for the investment.

The major wedding sites all have some cost involved if you want to be on the top of the listings and it is hard to decide without hearing others feedback specific to cake, so thank you!

In our area one table/booth at the major bridal show is $1500. I think we would be better served to split that into different advertising options rather than one shot.

Loucinda Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 6:14pm
post #16 of 22

I have spent ZERO on advertising, and I am as busy as I care to be! I am printing up some brochures because a networking group specifically asked me for some. That will be the first monies I have spent, and that won't be much, I am going to do them myself with Microsoft Publisher.

jason_kraft Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 6:39pm
post #17 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

I have spent ZERO on advertising, and I am as busy as I care to be!



What about when you first started out?

Kaylani Posted 28 Dec 2010 , 7:05pm
post #18 of 22

One more thing, we are a b&m studio and are in growth mode. Word of mouth is the best & we have lots, but we want to go to the next level.

When we worked from home (legally) we were at max capacity.

Thank you again for all the continuing discussion. It is great feedback & helps a lot.

cakegirl1973 Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 2:29am
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaylani


I was wondering about the pref vendor with the large company for a cost. Glad to hear some feedback on it. I was also concerned that it would drive in too much price shopping only without return for the investment. !




Lots of people price shopping with the preferred vendor thing. Ugh!

Loucinda Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 2:52am
post #20 of 22

jasonkraft - NADA, I didn't spend a dime. I started out with a crappy website that I paid $100 for and vistaprint pick a logo stuff on my business cards. Zero went to advertising. Word of mouth was it. As I have grown, I have invested more into those things, website is top notch now, logo is right along with it. (but I paid good money for those) I also make sure to better myself each year. I invest in learning new techniques - which I think is important too.

Weddingwire has been good to me. I don't pay a penny to them, and have gotten several orders from it. They have contacted me mulitple times to "enhance" my listing, but I see no reason to do so.

I may do a Bridal show at one point, but for now, I am as busy as I care to be. I have 25 weddings on the books for 2011, and that isn't bad for not having any paid advertising.

jason_kraft Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 3:29am
post #21 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loucinda

jasonkraft - NADA, I didn't spend a dime. I started out with a crappy website that I paid $100 for and vistaprint pick a logo stuff on my business cards. Zero went to advertising. Word of mouth was it. As I have grown, I have invested more into those things, website is top notch now, logo is right along with it. (but I paid good money for those) I also make sure to better myself each year. I invest in learning new techniques - which I think is important too.



I suppose it depends on how you define advertising spend...I classify web site development expenses, logo design, and business cards as marketing-related overhead (which is pretty much the same thing as advertising in the context of a small business). You also need to take into account the cost of your time and free samples you've given out.

Loucinda Posted 29 Dec 2010 , 3:38am
post #22 of 22

That is why I did mention the website and business cards. That is the only money I have spent - no money has been spent on wedding sites, or google ads, etc.

I have not given out much free cake. I have a couple of charities that I donate too, and that is it. (and I don't really get any orders from them, but I know that going into it)

I do offer free cake tastings for brides, and have a very good booking rate. I guess that is considered free samples?

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