I am officially licensed, moved in and open for business. Now I have to worry about how to make it work and be profitable. So I need ideas BADLY, keep in mind I have little to no $$ for this. I need effective and cheap without looking cheap. LOL!! Oh and I am toying around with offering lunch to help spread the word and bring in more $$$. Of course I will have awesome desserts and some cake displays around to boot. But I don't want to get in over my head. If anyone does anythign like this please post or PM me your experience. Thanks for any and all input, suggestions, and ideas!
The best thing I have done to market myself is to find out about a funtion and decorate a sheet cake to "donate" to the function. I slip in a business card and there you have it. It has cost me less then $50 of course some time is involved and I have "donated" cakes to quite a few places. The business I have drummed up though is enough to keep me busy for some time. I have caught the attention of nursing homes that try to direct family to someone to make birthday cakes for their loved ones residing there by making a cake for the staff. Hope this gives you ideas--word of mouth for my by far has been the best "advertising"
I've been running a business card sized ad in the local freebie paper that comes in the mail once a week. It has been working so well! I'm getting lots of calls.
One inexpensive way to advertise would be to photocopy a bunch of fliers, walk door to door and hand them out. Include a coupon in the flyer for 10% off or something. Or a free cookie with a purchase over $10, or whatever. You don't need to give away the moon, just get them in the door. Make sure your coupon has an expiration date too!! Is your focus primarily wedding cakes or all occasions? If it's all occasions, you need to make your advertising talk to a MOM. 90% of the time, we are the cake buyers for the family (and frequently the office too).
Next step, join your local chamber of commerce. Attend a few meetings armed with TONS of business cards. This is networking Heaven!
Maybe instead of hosting a lunch, you could have a tea party? Then you wouldn't need to serve as much food, and could focus on what you do best- DESSERT. And tea is pretty cheap!
Hope this helps! I just love brainstorming ideas for marketing!
(edited to fix a spelling typo.)
Thanks! I did join the chamber and will attend the first event in a couple weeks. I did one charity event this week and have another soon. A tea room is an awesome idea. Maybe that wouldn't be so crazy as lunch. I am trying to get ideas together to approach businesses. Is it a good idea to have a "grand opening" open house? I am also thinking of taking cakes to the school teacher lounges too. Thanks for the input! Keep it coming!
What about a "grand opening" tasting? You could do a couple different flavors, decorated with party theme, wedding, shower, etc. That way, not only do you get to do a grand opening (hopefully with chamber doing ribbon cutting) but people also get to taste, see what you are all about.
If paying someone to design a web site is too expensive, you could create an online photo album. Yahoo has one for free. That way you could put the web address on your business cards and people could check out cake pics. Good luck!
I'm "just" a hobby baker with an eye open for becoming licenesed in the future. I came up with the GREATEST advertising method!!
Last week I baked a cake (the radio cake in my pics) for my husband to take to work (one of his guys was leaving the shop for another job). Well, his guys (being guys!) dug into the cake and devoured the top layer in under 5 minutes. One of the ladies in the shop doesn't come in to work until later in the morning so she didn't get to see the cake before the guys ate it. So I told my husband this week's cake would be for her (I've been baking them at least one a week for practice for about 2 months now. They're beyond spoiled!).
Well, she got that cake this morning and went wild! (it's the stringwork cake in my pics). She's refusing to cut into it " 'cuz it's too pretty!" and is carrying it all around the plant showing it off.....what better advertising is there!
One thing I plan on doing as soon as I would be legal is to take a sample platter to local mom and pop resturants. They rairly make their own desserts (Sam's club) They can get more out of a cake by the slice than you can as a whole, so you both make a profit, and you have a steady income.
Okay. I have no experience marketing my cakes as I'm still in hobby mode but here are a couple of ideas for what they're worth.
What about an inexpensive car magnet? We have them on our cars to advertise the equestrian stable that we're opening and have received calls just from seeing the magnet around town. You could design a cool cake pic. to go on it along with your business name, number, and website. A lot of people will check out the web address which will lead them to your gallery of pictures.
Another idea . . . I belong to a mom's group through a local church (called MOPS -- it's a large, nationwide group but I know there are other church affiliated mom's groups). My group has about 50 or so moms, and there are three different groups at this church that meet on different days. If you can find out who coordinates the mom's group in your area, you could bake a cake for one of their meetings (we're all about celebrating moms and the hard work that we do and it's easy to bake a cake around that!) That way, you can get exposure from a whole lot of moms who will be needing birthday cakes, etc . . . and if you have a stack of business cards to pass out, too, you should absolutely get some business (you could include a 10% off coupon or something with your business card). Maybe, instead of making a cake, you could make cupcakes or individual cookies. Either way, advertising to a bunch of moms could get great lip service.
Thank you all for the fab ideas! I appreciate it. I will make a list and decide what to tackle first. If you have any other ideas please feel free.
this is just any idea so no one shoot me i use to work for a skating rink and we ordered our cakes Thur Costco but i was thinking to myself bowling ales, skating rinks and fun centers that who knows maybe you could work out a deal with them??? that's just me thinking out loud!!
So far here's what I've done, on a small scale...
I left cards on a bulletin board at our huge gymnastics club, which is always full of moms, and they're always disappearing. I ran an ad in our local nickel ad paper with my web link in it, and, because weddings are my favorite, I took my autumn wedding cake as a display cake to set up at a local bridal shop just as they moved to a new location, with some cards and an album, and she's doing a grand opening with the chamber soon, etc., and wants to have me there to serve/display cake! Hopefully this will be my start...
I am a teacher so I think this would help: Make a donation cake/cookies as well as flyers offering a discount for teachers and drop them off at a local school. You might even make a note that the cake is not to be cut until lunch-time (teachers frequent the lounge looking for free food). Good luck!
Cakes are still a hobby for me but I own a Candy Bouquet franchise. If you have a local radio station this works wonders. Figure out when your favorite station isn't very busy but still getting lots of listeners. (I like Saturday mornings for this.) Then make up an impressive cake (it doesn't have to be big...just eye catching...and it helps to decorate it as a fan of the DJ). Then drop it off at the station addressed to the on air DJ, your business card and a note that says something to the effect that you listen to HIS (or HER) station all the time when you are decorating cakes AT YOUR BRAND NEW BUSINESS and you really appreciate their style (or wantever you can comfortably compliment). 4 times out of 5, my company is mentioned REPETIVELY on the radio with lots of bragging by the DJ. It can't hurt and it MIGHT get your free radio air time.
Just a thought
OOHHHH Lorri aren't you the sly one! Great idea! I mean if your gonna be giving cakes away make them count!!!