Wheres My Customers!!??

Business By sapphirecupcake Updated 3 Dec 2014 , 5:12pm by embersmom

sapphirecupcake Posted 17 Nov 2014 , 12:11pm
post #1 of 30

Hiya :)

 

So.. I started my cake business earlier this year, and while im getting customers, it is hardly a steady flow.

 

I have pages on social networks, and I always update it with new offers, pictures etc.

I have handed out business cards to local businesses too.

 

Saldy I'm nowhere near as busy as i need/would like to be.

 

any advice would be great thanks :)

 

T x

29 replies
remnant3333 Posted 17 Nov 2014 , 12:51pm
post #2 of 30

I know someone who owned a lawn business and they went door to door and handed out business cards especially in the rich neighborhoods one day. They went on a weekend when people were home. They got so much business that they could hardly handle it all just by scouring through the neighborhoods handing out their cards.

 

Many people buy cakes for their kids anyway so if they have your number at their fingertips they would probably call you and try you out. If this worked for a lawn care business, I am sure it would work for cakes too. Good luck and I hope you end up with more business than you can handle. Sometimes when a couple of people in neighborhood buy your cakes, word of mouth within that neighborhood can get around and more business could come your way!! Just a thought. I am sure others here will have more!!! Hang in there, things will get better!!

MimiFix Posted 17 Nov 2014 , 1:34pm
post #3 of 30

Nice suggestion from @remnant3333. But a couple other things to keep in mind. (1) Building a business can take a long time, maybe years until you are happy with the number of customers. (2) Look at the competition. In some areas the cake business is over-saturated, so you have to see what it's like where you live.

cai0311 Posted 17 Nov 2014 , 5:28pm
post #4 of 30

AYou need to have a website - not just social media pages. Professional looking pictures should be the only pictures on the website (and socal media pages). A picture speaks a thousand words - so a crappy picture makes a cake look crappy.

Find out your target customer and go where they go. I target brides because in my area that is where the money is. I have several free listings on websites that target brides (such as wedding wire). I also pay for a listing on The Knot. I get most of my customers from these two sites directing people to my website.

There is a large bridal show in my area I participate in every fall with about 600 brides that come.

And patience. It takes years to build a business. I am starting my 8th year of business. It wasn't until the 6th year of business I started to have to turn away orders because I was already booked.

sapphirecupcake Posted 17 Nov 2014 , 6:05pm
post #5 of 30

Thank you for your help!

In my area, and the next town which I'm moving to, there is probably only one or two really big businesses.

I just find it frustrating that I post offers on facebook etc and get likes only. no comments to order :(

denetteb Posted 17 Nov 2014 , 6:43pm
post #6 of 30

I don't do any kind of business with out looking at the website first.  A facebook page isn't the same.  The website must look good and function well.  The photos are key.  Good pictures, no mixer or other kitchen stuff in the background.  Good grammar and spelling.  Info on flavors and rates and products.  Contact info, etc.  Spend a little time searching cake central and you will find lots of other detailed info and specifics.

cupadeecakes Posted 17 Nov 2014 , 7:33pm
post #7 of 30

Quote:

Originally Posted by cai0311 
... I also pay for a listing on The Knot. I get most of my customers from these two sites directing people to my website. ...

I agree with a lot of what has been said in this thread, but be VERY wary of The Knot.  In my experience I have found that if you don't live in one of their featured areas they don't do you any good.  I got lots of weird e-mail inquiries from The Knot, but never had one turn into an actual order (or even a followup phone call / meeting).  When I decided to leave The Knot, I had to cancel my credit card to get them to stop charging it every month.  And then they still tried to get money from me.

 

I agree with the others - get a good web presence. decide on your target audience and work towards getting your product in front of them.  Good Luck!

cai0311 Posted 17 Nov 2014 , 8:00pm
post #8 of 30

AI am in one of the knot's targeted area. I get a couple inquires a month but when I ask brides how they found me most say the know or wedding wire. So just because you don't get email inquires from the know doesn't mean they aren't directing brides your way.

The reviews brides leave me on these sites is probably the main reason people contact me. Getting reviews is huge!

denetteb Posted 17 Nov 2014 , 11:20pm
post #9 of 30

My earlier comments about the quality of website, grammar, spelling, good photos also apply to your facebook page.  And it should be a business facebook page, not part of your personal page.  If you want critique and feedback on your page you can post it and we can give you feedback. 

sapphirecupcake Posted 18 Nov 2014 , 6:20pm
post #10 of 30

A

Original message sent by denetteb

My earlier comments about the quality of website, grammar, spelling, good photos also apply to your facebook page.  And it should be a business facebook page, not part of your personal page.  If you want critique and feedback on your page you can post it and we can give you feedback. 

www.facebook.com/sugarrushfife

denetteb Posted 19 Nov 2014 , 4:43am
post #11 of 30

Your facebook site looks pretty good at first glance.  The pictures could be a little better but not bad either.  Some of them you still show the edge of the table and some of the background.   Do some research on photographing cakes, there have been some threads on that.  Your location could be more prominent.  I noticed on one of the posts that someone wanted 6 cupcakes...is it worth your time to make just 6 cupcakes?  I don't sell so can't give you much help on your original question but there have been threads on a somewhat regular basis on how to get your name out that would be helpful to you.  I find using google to help me find things on cake central.  For example put in              cake photography cake central             or            increasing business cake central            Good luck!

catkoko Posted 19 Nov 2014 , 6:21am
post #12 of 30

I hear you and I'm in the same boat.  In the other thread, I was asking if I should join an online company and upload my cake photos and sell my cakes through that site.  In the hope that these people know how to marketing online way better than I do.  I too hope someone can point me to the right direction.

mcaulir Posted 19 Nov 2014 , 6:31am
post #13 of 30

Are all the photos yours? There seems to be a huge difference in the professionalism of some of the photos as opposed to others.

 

Facebook doesn't share business posts with everyone who has liked their page, so your posts mightn't be even getting to everyone. A website is an absolute must from a customer point of view.

pastrypet Posted 19 Nov 2014 , 11:27pm
post #14 of 30

I think that the name of your business "Sugar Rush Cupcakes, Cupcake Shop" is limiting you. If I wanted a cake and I saw the name of your business, I would assume you do not make cakes and I would look no further.

LNW Posted 24 Nov 2014 , 7:22pm
post #15 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by denetteb 
 

I don't do any kind of business with out looking at the website first.  A facebook page isn't the same.  The website must look good and function well.  The photos are key.  Good pictures, no mixer or other kitchen stuff in the background.  Good grammar and spelling.  Info on flavors and rates and products.  Contact info, etc.  Spend a little time searching cake central and you will find lots of other detailed info and specifics.



And

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by pastrypet 
 

I think that the name of your business "Sugar Rush Cupcakes, Cupcake Shop" is limiting you. If I wanted a cake and I saw the name of your business, I would assume you do not make cakes and I would look no further.



I "like" businesses that have a FB page if I actually am a customer and really do like them.  That way I can stay connected to what special offers they might have going on etc.  But if I've never been a customer the first thing I look for is their website.  I scour it and then decide if:

 

A) I can afford to be their customer

B) do they have things I'd like there

C) How far away from me are they and will it be worth the drive (I live in the middle of nowhere so driving to the city has be worth my time)

 

If you don't have an actual website I would certainly work on getting one up.  It annoys me, as a customer, to no end to try and find a bakery or restaurants menu and pricing list so I can decide if I even want to go there and all they have is a FB page with almost no info.  I don't really want to look at a bazillion pictures of your cupcakes, desserts etc.  I want to see your menu, what you have to offer me and how much it's going to cost.  FB really doesn't offer that to customers.  Your FB is very pretty but I don't see a menu or price list etc. 

 

So if I were shopping around for someone to make a birthday cake for one of my children I wouldn't even know you existed most likely because I won't find your website when I google for bakeries in my area.  I might find your FB page but all I really see are cupcakes and I want a birthday cake, not cupcakes.  So I would assume that's all you do and skip you altogether.  Maybe I want cupcakes though and I see you do them.  But I don't want the hassle of having to message you for a complete list of flavors you offer, what kind of decorating you can give me and how much it's all going to cost - which isn't on your FB.  So again I would skip you.  Just speaking as a customer here.  Also I have TONS of friends who don't even have FB accounts.  Which is really odd to me but they avoid FB like the plague.  So you are missing those folks as well. 

sapphirecupcake Posted 1 Dec 2014 , 1:48pm
post #16 of 30

A

Original message sent by mcaulir

Are all the photos yours? There seems to be a huge difference in the professionalism of some of the photos as opposed to others.

Facebook doesn't share business posts with everyone who has liked their page, so your posts mightn't be even getting to everyone. A website is an absolute must from a customer point of view.

Of course they are all mine.!

sapphirecupcake Posted 1 Dec 2014 , 1:51pm
post #17 of 30

A

Original message sent by LNW

And

 

I "like" businesses that have a FB page if I actually am a customer and really do like them.  That way I can stay connected to what special offers they might have going on etc.  But if I've never been a customer the first thing I look for is their website.  I scour it and then decide if:

A) I can afford to be their customer B) do they have things I'd like there C) How far away from me are they and will it be worth the drive (I live in the middle of nowhere so driving to the city has be worth my time)

If you don't have an actual website I would certainly work on getting one up.  It annoys me, as a customer, to no end to try and find a bakery or r[COLOR=000000]estaurants menu and pricing list so I can decide if I even want to go there and all they have is a FB page with almost no info.  I don't really want to look at a bazillion pictures of your cupcakes, desserts etc.  I want to see your menu, what you have to offer me and how much it's going to cost.  FB really doesn't offer that to customers.  Your FB is very pretty but I don't see a menu or price list etc. [/COLOR]

[COLOR=000000]So if I were shopping around for someone to make a birthday cake for one of my children I wouldn't even know you existed most likely because I won't find your website when I google for bakeries in my area.  I might find your FB page but all I really see are cupcakes and I want a birthday cake, not cupcakes.  So I would assume that's all you do and skip you altogether.  Maybe I want cupcakes though and I see you do them.  But I don't want the hassle of having to message you for a complete list of flavors you offer, what kind of decorating you can give me and how much it's all going to cost - which isn't on your FB.  So again I would skip you.  Just speaking as a customer here.  Also I have TONS of friends who don't even have FB accounts.  Which is really odd to me but they avoid FB like the plague.  So you are missing those folks as well. [/COLOR]

In the about section of my page is a full menu

thecakewitch Posted 1 Dec 2014 , 2:48pm
post #18 of 30

A

Original message sent by sapphirecupcake

[quote name="mcaulir" url="/t/780732/wheres-my-customers#post_7562164"]Are all the photos yours? There seems to be a huge difference in the professionalism of some of the photos as opposed to others.

Facebook doesn't share business posts with everyone who has liked their page, so your posts mightn't be even getting to everyone. A website is an absolute must from a customer point of view.

Of course they are all mine.![/quote]

The photo of green and white Christmas cupcakes I found here: http://www.whoa.in/gallery/christmas-tree-shaped-cupcake-fb-cover

FrostedMoon Posted 1 Dec 2014 , 6:34pm
post #19 of 30

...and the santa hat cupcake is from  http://thecupcakeblog.com/strawberry-santa-hat-christmas-cupcakes/

 

 

You will not get customers by posting other people's pictures and being dishonest about it.  In fact, that would pretty much make up my mind to never order from you. Give your customers some credit.  They know how to google too.

sapphirecupcake Posted 1 Dec 2014 , 11:59pm
post #20 of 30

AThose are examples from magazines, and the first post clearly states that. Apart from them, (apologies for missing them) they are ALL my photos. I think my reviews speak for themselves! Anyway. I'm not here to create an argument, Sadly it appears there are a few here willing to do so! So I bid you well and goodbye.

costumeczar Posted 2 Dec 2014 , 12:28am
post #21 of 30

Never put someone else's photos on anything connected to your business unless it has their personal watermark slapped right across it so there's no question that it's not yours. People don't read, and technically posting someone's photos without permission is copyright infringement. It's unlikely that sharing something from facebook will result in someone accusing you of violating a copyright, but taking photos from magazines could.

 

Just because people point out something that you've done doesn't mean they're trying to start an argument. If you ask people for advice they're going to give it, and just because you don't like what you hear doesn't mean it isn't a valid point.

mcaulir Posted 2 Dec 2014 , 2:05am
post #22 of 30

Quote:

Originally Posted by sapphirecupcake 

Those are examples from magazines, and the first post clearly states that. Apart from them, (apologies for missing them) they are ALL my photos. I think my reviews speak for themselves!
Anyway. I'm not here to create an argument,
Sadly it appears there are a few here willing to do so! So I bid you well and goodbye.


First post where? I can't see that stated either in this thread, or on the FB page.

Gingerlocks Posted 2 Dec 2014 , 4:14am
post #23 of 30

Quote:

Originally Posted by sapphirecupcake 

Those are examples from magazines, and the first post clearly states that. Apart from them, (apologies for missing them) they are ALL my photos. I think my reviews speak for themselves!
Anyway. I'm not here to create an argument,
Sadly it appears there are a few here willing to do so! So I bid you well and goodbye.

That's pretty unfair, you asked for advice...and you got it: it looks bad when you use others photos, it leaves a bad impression with not only customers, but also other cakes. And then you throw a fit when you don't hear all positive things. 

shannycakers Posted 2 Dec 2014 , 6:15pm
post #24 of 30

8-), posting other peoples photos is a huge no no. It is also a hinderance for your business because if you dont replicate that cupcake exactly as shown, you are decieving the customer..and alot of times its hard. I just think you need some photography work and change your photos. good luck!

Norasmom Posted 3 Dec 2014 , 5:38am
post #25 of 30

I don't think she is reading anymore, but copycats are super annoying.  Cake designs are not proprietary but pictures of cakes certainly should be!

 

 

Everyone reading please take this with a grain of salt, or sugar, or flour, or whatever…or disregard if it upsets you.  

 

I do not wish to judge, and I am sensitive to those arriving in the US needing to learn English and struggle with our language.  However, surviving in a business where you will be dealing with clients requires some basic grammatical skills. It is not necessary to be an English major, but as she appears to be trying to cater to "upscale" clients, an English course might be helpful.  Baking and decorating cakes does not require writing or speaking at all, but dealing with people does. and first impressions are lasting impressions.

 

I hope to read "Where Are My Customers?" next time.

 

Yes, former teacher turned baker….:D 

smysha Posted 3 Dec 2014 , 10:04am
post #26 of 30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norasmom 
 

I don't think she is reading anymore, but copycats are super annoying.  Cake designs are not proprietary but pictures of cakes certainly should be!

 

 

Everyone reading please take this with a grain of salt, or sugar, or flour, or whatever…or disregard if it upsets you.  

 

I do not wish to judge, and I am sensitive to those arriving in the US needing to learn English and struggle with our language.  However, surviving in a business where you will be dealing with clients requires some basic grammatical skills. It is not necessary to be an English major, but as she appears to be trying to cater to "upscale" clients, an English course might be helpful.  Baking and decorating cakes does not require writing or speaking at all, but dealing with people does. and first impressions are lasting impressions.

 

I hope to read "Where Are My Customers?" next time.

 

Yes, former teacher turned baker….:D 

I'm pretty sure she's Scottish...

costumeczar Posted 3 Dec 2014 , 11:28am
post #27 of 30

A

Original message sent by Norasmom

I don't think she is reading anymore, but copycats are super annoying.  Cake designs are not proprietary but pictures of cakes certainly should be!

Everyone reading please take this with a grain of salt, or sugar, or flour, or whatever…or disregard if it upsets you.  

I do not wish to judge, and I am sensitive to those arriving in the US needing to learn English and struggle with our language.  However, surviving in a business where you will be dealing with clients requires some basic grammatical skills. It is not necessary to be an English major, but as she appears to be trying to cater to "upscale" clients, an English course might be helpful.  Baking and decorating cakes does not require writing or speaking at all, but dealing with people does. and first impressions are lasting impressions.

I hope to read "Where Are My Customers?" next time.

Yes, former teacher turned baker….:D  

Hahaha! Unfortunately, I've seen papers written by current college students, and being born and educated here doesn't guarantee that you can write in coherent English. My son is a college freshman and he was pulled out of his English class and told that he "writes too well." I thought they were accusing him of plagiarism, but he said that they just meant that he can actually write a sentence with the words spelled correctly and the verbs in the right places, so they told him he didn't need to take the class. He said that the kids in the class really couldn't write to save their lives, so unfortunately the standards are low these days.

As far as the copyright issue goes, cake designs aren't copyrightable, but a photo of a cake is. So if you're using photos of other people's cakes you're violating their copyrights unless they've given you permission to use that specific photo. On the other hand, this also means that if someone takes their own photo of your cake, the photo is theirs to use as they wish, unless you've told them they can't use it for commercial purposes. They can't say they made the cake, but they can use the photo. You don't have to register a copyright to make it enforceable, either, unless you want to got to court with it. The moment that a photo is published anywhere (including online) you own the copyright if it's your photo. I've had people's websites taken down because they wouldn't remove text and photos that they'd stolen from my website, so I have some fun experience with this topic.

smysha Posted 3 Dec 2014 , 1:00pm
post #28 of 30

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 


Hahaha! Unfortunately, I've seen papers written by current college students, and being born and educated here doesn't guarantee that you can write in coherent English. My son is a college freshman and he was pulled out of his English class and told that he "writes too well." I thought they were accusing him of plagiarism, but he said that they just meant that he can actually write a sentence with the words spelled correctly and the verbs in the right places, so they told him he didn't need to take the class. He said that the kids in the class really couldn't write to save their lives, so unfortunately the standards are low these days.
 

Oh dear God. *facepalm*

Norasmom Posted 3 Dec 2014 , 3:54pm
post #29 of 30

Perhaps I am getting old and the new generation will no longer consider grammar necessary.  Except the C-level hiring managers are my age right now, so maybe it matters a little.

 

I tested out of English in college as well, thank God, because I can't write essays about books to save my life!  I can write angry letters and sales proposals, but an analysis of Shakespeare on my part would have been awful.

 

At some point I am going to volunteer to teach ESL.  I want the future of our country to look "bright."  :D 

embersmom Posted 3 Dec 2014 , 5:12pm
post #30 of 30

Quote:

Originally Posted by Norasmom 
 

I don't think she is reading anymore, but copycats are super annoying.  Cake designs are not proprietary but pictures of cakes certainly should be!

 

 

Everyone reading please take this with a grain of salt, or sugar, or flour, or whatever…or disregard if it upsets you.  

 

I do not wish to judge, and I am sensitive to those arriving in the US needing to learn English and struggle with our language.  However, surviving in a business where you will be dealing with clients requires some basic grammatical skills. It is not necessary to be an English major, but as she appears to be trying to cater to "upscale" clients, an English course might be helpful.  Baking and decorating cakes does not require writing or speaking at all, but dealing with people does. and first impressions are lasting impressions.

 

I hope to read "Where Are My Customers?" next time.

 

Yes, former teacher turned baker….:D 


LOL, I am, too, Norasmom :D  I was going to say something but decided to lurk instead.

 

Copyrights aside, I get why the OP would put up photos like that.  When you're just starting out you may not have a portfolio, so it's tempting to nab a photo from a Google search and say "I can do something like this" to a potential client.   The danger is your reach exceeding your grasp and not being able to deliver THAT particular design to a customer even though you sincerely believe you can.

 

I've seen the OP's Facebook cover photo before. It's from one of those sites which have free Facebook wallpaper.  I've used similar myself with a "not my work" disclaimer, but after being asked why I'd put up such a photo rather than something I actually did, I stopped doing it.

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