bittersweety Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 7:36pm
post #1 of

hey all!

 

i recently did my first bridal fair and i have several tastings scheduled now for some of the couples i met with (i sent out over 200 emails that i got from an email list and only 5 responded...grrrr) ..ive already had 2 tasting appointments with a couple couples and they seemed so happy with their tastings and i thought for sure it was in the bag, i sent them their qoutes via email down to the last detail like i always have, but now i haven't heard back from them!  it makes me feel like maybe i'm doing something wrong? they already knew my prices before they even scheduled bc it was all on the menu hand outs at the bridal fair... so...any tips on sealing the deal after youve had a tasting appointment? i'm still new to wedding cakes, so i've only had maybe a dozen tastings, but i've ended up making all those cakes...now it seems like all the bridal shower-ers don't want to respond after their tasting....

 

so... any tips?  any special touches that you do to really show off? or do you follow up with them if you haven't heard back after a certian amount of time?

 

thanks!!

23 replies
FromScratchSF Posted 23 Jan 2013 , 8:08pm
post #2 of

Several things go into the decision making process, but the #1 is:  Do they like and trust you.

 

If you are new, you will have a low booking rate.  People will mistrust you going into it, and your inexperience and smaller portfolio will work against you.  That's just how it is for any new business.  You have to have absolute confidence when meeting with people in your work and your abilities, and even if you have a small portfolio you have to appear like you are an absolute expert and completely professional.

 

I always ask at the end of my meetings:

 

1.  How soon are you making your decision?

2.  Are you interviewing other bakers (although sometimes I ask this in the beginning, and lead with asking if they have already done other tastings, and if not, will they be doing more, and if they will be doing more I even ask who they will be interviewing).

2.  I let them know I would like to follow up with them in a few weeks via email, and to please let me know at that time if they've made their decision.  If they verbally tell you that they will let you know, I find that people actually answer your email and let you know.

 

Good luck!

costumeczar Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 12:40am
post #3 of

Bridal shows don't necessarily give you a great return, it depends on the show, how many other bakers were there, how many bakers are in town, all kinds of things.

 

People either shop based on quality or on price, as far as I can tell after doing this for 15 years. The people who are shopping for price are looking for what they can get within their budgets, so no matter what you do if you're not within that range you can't count on booking them. The people who are looking for quality want to know that they're getting a good product and that they think that you can deliver it, so how you "click" with them matters more.

 

There really isn't a foolproof way to book every bride. If you do you're probably WAY underpricing yourself. The problem with doing mostly wedding cakes is that it's a constant search for customers, there isn't a lot of repeat business. When you've done this for a while you start getting clients based on referrals from previous clients, so even though you don't have a ready-made customer base you have their referrals.

 

The best way to get people to trust you is to be knowledgeable, professional, and to have a good website and good online reviews. Don't worry too much about it, just keep track of where your clients are coming from, because sometimes bridal fairs aren't a good way to find clients. Your clients might come from somewhere else, you ahve to keep track of that to decide whether it's worth doing the wedding shows or not.

Stitches Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 1:17am
post #4 of

What do you think about advertising to be a reccomended vendor at theknot (online at their website) .........or similar sites. Do you find you get new brides from them?

costumeczar Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 1:38am
post #5 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stitches View Post

What do you think about advertising to be a reccomended vendor at theknot (online at their website) .........or similar sites. Do you find you get new brides from them?

I'm a believer in keeping it local...I advertise in local bridal guides, and I put money online into my website. The Knot is REALLY hard to search, and Wedding Wire's value comes from the reviews, which you can get with a free account, you don't need to pay for that. I find that the best value is with the magazines that are handed out at bridal shows, or anything that is given out for long periods of time in local bridal shops etc. Newspapers etc are only there for one day so they're not such a great value. Radio and tv, not so much either. The website and free online listings are good options, other than that keep print ads local and you'll be better off.

Stitches Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 2:48am
post #6 of

Thanks your your valued advise Costumeczar. On keeping it local...........theknot listing only shows up when someone clicks on my geographical area. It's a yearly contract online.

 

I didn't find it hard to navigate their site..........I wonder if it's changed since you recall it?

costumeczar Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 11:41am
post #7 of

AWe were just talking about this the other day with a bunch of wedding people and one girl who's a bride. Everyone agreed that the knot's search sucks, and that wedding wire is much easier to navigate. I did advertise with the knot at one point and got absolutely nothing from it other than people emailing me to ask how to make this or that cake. When i told them I wasn't renewing they got really snotty and tried to tell me that they sent me all kinds of traffic and were quoting all kinds of statistics that I knew weren't right, since I can see my own web statistics. When I asked them where they were getting those numbers they stopped responding to my emails. S for me it wasn't worth it.Knot brides tend to be looking for bargains anyway. If you go on their local message boards most of the questions are about where the cheapest this or that can be found.

bittersweety Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 2:05pm
post #8 of

thanks for all the help! i kind of figured that keeping it local was the way to go and i agree that newspaper ads and the knot may not be the best investment. i personally think my webiste looks very nice and i keep my facebook page up to date.  i guess i'll just have to be patient!

cupadeecakes Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 2:07pm
post #9 of

I have to agree about staying away from The Knot.  The only way I would ever recommend it ws if you were in one of their "markets".  My closest market was Atlanta GA which is 2 hour drive from me!  I got very little traffic from them (Google Analytics is a life saver!) but The Knot always showed WAY more traffic.  In the 2-3 years I was with them I can't honestly remember one sale I got from them.  And cancelling your account is almost as hard as getting a proper referral from them.  In finally had to cancel my credit card and they still kept my listing up and hounded me for another 3 months!

 

Stay local as much as possible and get a free Wedding Wire listing.
 

costumeczar Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 2:46pm

I'd also start looking into networking groups for wedding vendors in your area. The best way to get wedding business is owrd of mouth, and brides tend to take the opinions of businesses who they trust more seriously than online ads. You should get to know the venues near you that you deliver to, and make sure that you talk to the events coordinator there to introduce yourself. I'd say that 95% of my business that I book comes from referrals form businesses or brides, not from cold calls from people who found me online. If someone finds you online and likes you, then their friend tells them that you stink, they're going to believe their friend. If they're on the fence about you and their friends and other businesses keep saying your name, that will make trust you more.

FromScratchSF Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 4:50pm

I'm a perfect example of using the Knot and Wedding Wire - I'm in a very hot market and live in a major tourist destination city for weddings.  I've read lots of people on here that have gotten no return from either sources but in chatting with a fellow cake maker in wine county (next county over) he says he gets a ton of business from the Knot.  So - this week I just forked out a chunk of dough to advertise on both, even though the Knot has made me really mad at some of the stuff they post about cheap and discount cakes.  

 

Here's the main thing that sold me - I need the SEO.  Despite all my best efforts of making my website beautiful, I've worked countless hours on it to have all the proper keywords and formats and content to he.help with SEO. The Bay Area is such a large geographical area that I get buried by other cake makers in organic searches online because there are so many of us and even though none of them are anywhere near SF, they want SF business.  Now that I'll have the inbound links from over 20 major online sources I should hopefully see my website start hitting the 1st page in a search for "San Francisco wedding cake" in the next month (fingers crossed!).  If that actually happens, it will be worth the money to me.

 

If not, I'll be here complaining in 6 months like everyone else!  LOL

AZCouture Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 4:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF View Post

I'm a perfect example of using the Knot and Wedding Wire - I'm in a very hot market and live in a major tourist destination city for weddings.  I've read lots of people on here that have gotten no return from either sources but in chatting with a fellow cake maker in wine county (next county over) he says he gets a ton of business from the Knot.  So - this week I just forked out a chunk of dough to advertise on both, even though the Knot has made me really mad at some of the stuff they post about cheap and discount cakes.  

 

Here's the main thing that sold me - I need the SEO.  Despite all my best efforts of making my website beautiful, I've worked countless hours on it to have all the proper keywords and formats and content to he.help with SEO. The Bay Area is such a large geographical area that I get buried by other cake makers in organic searches online because there are so many of us and even though none of them are anywhere near SF, they want SF business.  Now that I'll have the inbound links from over 20 major online sources I should hopefully see my website start hitting the 1st page in a search for "San Francisco wedding cake" in the next month (fingers crossed!).  If that actually happens, it will be worth the money to me.

 

If not, I'll be here complaining in 6 months like everyone else!  LOL

Oh yes, you HAVE to do this in an area like that. Good luck J, I think it will start showing some return soon!

costumeczar Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 5:28pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF View Post

I'm a perfect example of using the Knot and Wedding Wire - I'm in a very hot market and live in a major tourist destination city for weddings.  I've read lots of people on here that have gotten no return from either sources but in chatting with a fellow cake maker in wine county (next county over) he says he gets a ton of business from the Knot.  So - this week I just forked out a chunk of dough to advertise on both, even though the Knot has made me really mad at some of the stuff they post about cheap and discount cakes.  

 

Here's the main thing that sold me - I need the SEO.  Despite all my best efforts of making my website beautiful, I've worked countless hours on it to have all the proper keywords and formats and content to he.help with SEO. The Bay Area is such a large geographical area that I get buried by other cake makers in organic searches online because there are so many of us and even though none of them are anywhere near SF, they want SF business.  Now that I'll have the inbound links from over 20 major online sources I should hopefully see my website start hitting the 1st page in a search for "San Francisco wedding cake" in the next month (fingers crossed!).  If that actually happens, it will be worth the money to me.

 

If not, I'll be here complaining in 6 months like everyone else!  LOL

the longer that you have your domain name the better your search results will be, so time is your friend. Google changed their search last year, and you could probably get somebetter results if you tweaked the text on your website some. Do you do your own website or do you have to have someone change things for you?

FromScratchSF Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 5:29pm

Man I hope so - I confessed to my husband how much it cost last night.  I got a very blank stare and a vein in his forehead pop out - the one that only pops up when he's about to freak out.  He then gave me stink eye and said, "I hope you know what you are doing!".

 

Uh, be too, babe.  Me too.

-K8memphis Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 5:42pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF View Post

Man I hope so - I confessed to my husband how much it cost last night.  I got a very blank stare and a vein in his forehead pop out - the one that only pops up when he's about to freak out.  He then gave me stink eye and said, "I hope you know what you are doing!".

 

Uh, be too, babe.  Me too.

 

i was already wondering how much your overhead is anyway in sf -- ouch

 

my son's out there in san jose area & previously in st helena

 

sky high out there!!!

FromScratchSF Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 5:45pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post

the longer that you have your domain name the better your search results will be, so time is your friend. Google changed their search last year, and you could probably get somebetter results if you tweaked the text on your website some. Do you do your own website or do you have to have someone change things for you?

 

 

Yes I do - I have done everything I can on my end and have had this domain for several years now.  I've tweaked like crazy and I'm still buried by those that have been advertising with the Knot and Wedding Wire.  Google tells you that you need inbound links as the last piece of SEO that you can do for your website, so getting linked on blogs, having other vendors put your website link on their page, and advertising on major websites all help.  The last ditch thing I can do is Google adwords, which pretty much guarantees you 1st page placement, but I do not have the money for that!

FromScratchSF Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 6:16pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by -K8memphis View Post

 

i was already wondering how much your overhead is anyway in sf -- ouch

 

my son's out there in san jose area & previously in st helena

 

sky high out there!!!

 

LOL I feel like I've hijacked the OPs thread, so sorry OP!

 

Yes overhead for everything is obscene and getting worse every day.  I regularly get asked when I'm opening a storefront - I always respond "as soon as someone gives me $500,000".  That's NOT an exaggeration.  Any brick and mortar that has any chance of making it more then a year here in the city needs to have at least that much in the bank.  

 

I recently looked at a kiosk opportunity - they wanted $800 a month for (literally) a portable 15x10 greenhouse they bought at Home Depot and attached it to a commercial building.  It has no water, sink, bathroom, counters, light fixture, heat - nothing.  It was basically a glass walk-in closet.  It had one plug for electricity.  Not one outlet, one plug.  The door was a sliding glass door and it has no security for an entirely glass structure that sits right at the edge of the Tenderloin.  A neighborhood that is exactly as it sounds.  So yeah.  Don't even get me started on finding a decent flat.

costumeczar Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 6:40pm

A

Original message sent by FromScratchSF

Yes I do - I have done everything I can on my end and have had this domain for several years now.  I've tweaked like crazy and I'm still buried by those that have been advertising with the Knot and Wedding Wire.  Google tells you that you need inbound links as the last piece of SEO that you can do for your website, so getting linked on blogs, having other vendors put your website link on their page, and advertising on major websites all help.  The last ditch thing I can do is Google adwords, which pretty much guarantees you 1st page placement, but I do not have the money for that!

How much does adwords cost compared to the knot? You might be better off doing that to see if it helps before buying knot advertising.

Have you poked around in your competitions' keywords? Have you signed up for google places? Time for a quiz, but this could help the OP too. :smile:

FromScratchSF Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 7:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by costumeczar View Post


How much does adwords cost compared to the knot? You might be better off doing that to see if it helps before buying knot advertising.

Have you poked around in your competitions' keywords? Have you signed up for google places? Time for a quiz, but this could help the OP too. icon_smile.gif

 

Adwords in my area is too much and I'd rather not pay for clicks by other cake makers wanting to see my work or find my recipes.  

 

Yes I've dug on everyone's site for keywords.  But keywords don't mean as much anymore because of keyword stuffing and having the same keywords across multiple pages or across competition's pages.

 

I can't sign up for Google places because I don't have a physical address (unless I want to list my home).  I can't list the address of my kitchen because it doesn't have an address, it's on the decommissioned Navy base that can't get mail.  They have a PO box in Oakland.  It's also in a part of the city nobody ever goes (Hunter's Point) and a part of the city I do not want my business associated with.  Sadly Hunter's Point has a very, very bad reputation as a poverty stricken area, full of gangs and crime, and considered very dangerous.  Neighborhood association is everything here - if I put my neighborhood as HP I'd never get orders because of my price range, or I'd be getting a ton of inquiries from people that can't afford my cake (or a big jump in inquiries).

 

Anyway my situation is completely unique.  I wish I could do Google places.  That would help a bit.

costumeczar Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 9:12pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF View Post

 

 

Anyway my situation is completely unique.  I wish I could do Google places.  That would help a bit.

that really stinks...Places is one way to get listed pretty high because they like having everything done through google. I have my home listed as my business address, though. It does cause some confusion when people don't bother to read the address to my office when I have appointments, but you could still list it and put "by appointment only."

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 9:34pm

A

Original message sent by FromScratchSF

Adwords in my area is too much and I'd rather not pay for clicks by other cake makers wanting to see my work or find my recipes.  

Yes I've dug on everyone's site for keywords.  But keywords don't mean as much anymore because of keyword stuffing and having the same keywords across multiple pages or across competition's pages.

I can't sign up for Google places because I don't have a physical address (unless I want to list my home).  I can't list the address of my kitchen because it doesn't have an address, it's on the decommissioned Navy base that can't get mail.  They have a PO box in Oakland.  It's also in a part of the city nobody ever goes (Hunter's Point) and a part of the city I do not want my business associated with.  Sadly Hunter's Point has a very, very bad reputation as a poverty stricken area, full of gangs and crime, and considered very dangerous.  Neighborhood association is everything here - if I put my neighborhood as HP I'd never get orders because of my price range, or I'd be getting a ton of inquiries from people that can't afford my cake (or a big jump in inquiries).

Anyway my situation is completely unique.  I wish I could do Google places.  That would help a bit.

Oooh ooooh! Can you get a new p.o. Box in a good area?

FromScratchSF Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 9:40pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by Annabakescakes View Post


Oooh ooooh! Can you get a new p.o. Box in a good area?

 

 

icon_eek.gif

 

YOU ARE A FREAKIN GENIUS.  Why didn't I think of that???????  OK, looking into that next week.

Annabakescakes Posted 24 Jan 2013 , 9:58pm

ASometimes all it takes is an outside look ;-) I hope you can find one! I will be starting a thread about search engine optimization I would appreciate help in, as you have already hijacked this one within an inch of it's life ;-) lmbo!!

I need help!

cai0311 Posted 25 Jan 2013 , 1:35am

FromScratchSF,

I have had a listing on the knot for a couple years now and it has served me very well.  I am sure it does help that because of my location I am on 2 of their demographic areas.  Be sure to have brides review your knot profile.  Reviews help so much.

 

Also, I only get a couple leads directly through the knot but when I ask a bride where she found me (I always ask this at the consultation) about 1/3 tell me the knot.  And that is usually followed with "I was so impressed with your reviews".  At that time I tell them to remember that and whoever they pick as wedding vendors to please take the time after their wedding to leave reviews - if it meant something to them it will mean something to the next bride.  Some remember, some don't but I like to put the plug out there anyway.

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