i am having a small commercial kitchen being built that is almost complete. however, now i know the time is drawing near to start advertising for my business.
i am confident in my cake making skills, but am worried about the advertsing part. i would like to cater mostly to wedding cakes. however, i am also wanting to provide wholesale pastries as well (coffee shops ect).
i just would like to hear some advice from people who have done this before. i have a list of wedding venues, and was planning on meeting with the owners/managers about becoming a preferred vendor.
it seems that every form of advertising costs money, which makes sense....you have to spend money to make money.
however, i do not have a huge budget here. what are the most effective, yet affordable, forms of advertisement? wedding wire, facebook ads, google, magazines, being a preferred vendor, bridal shows...?
any advice is most appreciated!!! sorry for the long post :)
AWhat is your monthly advertising budget? Who is your target market, and what are the best places to reach them? Do you have a professional web site, and have you done SEO for it?
If I were you I would decide whether you want to focus on wedding cakes (and where in the wedding cake market you want to be) or wholesale pastries. They are two very different businesses...you can do both eventually, but it's easier if you have an already thriving line of products to provide cash flow for growing an additional line.
If you choose wedding cakes, partnering with venues is a great way to get started, but you should make sure you are on their preferred vendors list because they are impressed by your products, not because you pay them a kickback.
I have a very small advertising budget too and every year I am trying different combinations of advertising to get the biggest bang for my buck. My focus is Wedding Cakes, so thay is where I put ALL my advertising $$. I take advantage of free listings online for both weddings and parties, I am listed on every free listing site I could find, weddingwire, eventective, online yellow pages etc, since most brides start thier search online there is a greather chance they will find you. It takes a little time to do this, but its FREE. I also use evey social network site for my bussiness. Also it goes without saying its worth the money to invest upfront in a good website with search optimization as well. I have brochures and business cards in other wedding busineses, do bridal shows and rent a small display space in a Wedding Studio. I have also had a listing in a local bridal publication, but I cut that out this year since I was cutting back on business I take on. So my advice is to figure out your budget and your focus and channel every $$ you spend in the direction of your focus. You do have to spend some upfront $$ to make $$, I get more business from my paid advertising than free advertising. Bridal Shows have been very successful for me.
To give you an idea here is an approimate breakdown of my actual cost advetising. However, I am a small 1 woman home shop so the breakdown may be different for you. I set aside about 10% of my estimated sales for advertising. My advertising budget is around $1800 this year, this is where my $$ is going:
$200 printed items (brochure & businees cards)- LOVE Vistaprint. Great prices
$650 Bridal Show (I do 1 show a year)
$100 Networking lunches (We have a great Association of Bridal Professionals group out here)
$900 Rental Space at Wedding Showcase storefront.
Good Luck to you!