I am just starting my business out so I am very slow right now but slowly building...but I really want to try and focus on getting wedding cake clients! Other than phone book listing, website and bridal shows and word of mouth, is there anything else you have tried or done that has helped bring in brides?
also...are bridal shows only in the spring or multiple times throughout the year?
I am interested in hearing the repsonses to this as well.
I would suggest that you purchase some cake dummies and make sample wedding cakes for your website.
I have done a search of all the online wedding cake sites in my area. I submitted my name and website to the free ones. i am evaluating the for charge ones.
they do have bridal shows in the summer and winter, but obviously the ones in Jan/Feb/Mar are the most popular and where you'll prolly see the most brides.
joining the knot has been THE MOST successful thing i could have done for my business. i have 73 weddings booked for 2008 (my goal was 75, yay almost there!) for a total value of about $38,000. $30,000 of that is from bookings I got from the knot (it only cost me about $1000 to be on their website for a year). most of the rest is word of mouth, a few from web searches, and other places. i'm not in the phone book, and would consider it a waste. who uses the phone book any more? today's brides aren't.
and i haven't looked at your website, but it does need to be spot on. nearly all of my brides tell me that they pass right over people who don't have good websites. i for one (and i'm 23, right in the bride age range) always look at a businesses website before doing business with them. thats where i want to find all the important details before i even think of calling and talking to someone.
after looking at the cakes in your gallery i would suggest buying some dummies and making more wedding cakes. i would make a few that are a bit fun and crazy, and then some that are very trendy adn marketable (ya know, ribbon and flowers).
what beccakelly said, big time!!
The Knot has paid for itself for the next few years. Respond.com has paid for itself so many times over that I can't even calculate it anymore. Decidio is a free listing site, but you pay for each lead....it's been very good for me and I only got on it a few weeks ago.
There are lots of wedding websites where you can get a free listing. Piggy back onto other wedding vendors websites .... I give credit to " phto by XYZ Photography". When someone searches for XYZ Photography, it's very likely your site will come up also. One bride found me because she looked up a venue and since I had a photo labled "Wedding at ABC Venue", my site came up in her search. Cross references work.
Do link exchanges with other wedding vendors.
I give a referral credit. This turns every one of my brides into salesmen for me. They earn a credit against their own bill when a friend buys their cake/catering from me.
Contact venues and wedding vendors and leave your card. Do a card exchange. Brides tend to book their wedding chapel, reception site and photographer first, so if you can get in with these folks, you can catch those brides who are still looking for cakes.
When you're first starting out, it's a lot of pavement pounding.
thank you for your help! I am going to be making four dummies here within a month! Also, I have another wedding cake coming up in June!
About the knot...wow $1000...i will definitely have to save up for that! i guess I am just scared that I will pay that crazy amount and only get a few a year from it...how often do you get brides that buy your cake from the knot?
Question: When you use The Knot do you have to subscribe for a year or can you do it for shorter terms for less money? Wish I had $1000
As a bride-to-be, I can tell you that the theknot.com is my OTHER addiction besides CC. I'm on there ALL the time looking at dresses, flowers, cakes, and checking for local vendors. They provide information and a link to your site, so I don't see how it wouldn't be helpful. 2-3 cakes would cover the costs to join. Oh and figure out how you can get to be a "Knot Pick" because I ALWAYS check out the knot picks! It's like a stamp of approval that you're a reputable business.
Another good wedding site is weddingchannel.com.
when i signed up for the knot it had to be for a year, but i pay by the month ($84.00). that was a summer special they were running, i think regular price is about $100.00 per month.
during Nov-Feb i booked about 10-20 brides each month from the knot. bookings are starting to slow down a bit now that wedding season is approaching. In March i had 11 bookings, 6 of which were from the knot.
and really, $1000 is nothing for a whole year. you could easily pay $1000-1500 for ONE bridal show. i paid $2000 (broken down monthly) for one year in a local bridal planning book, and i have booked a grand total of four brides so far, for a value of $1200.00. I'll be lucky to make my money back on that one.
Oh and figure out how you can get to be a "Knot Pick" because I ALWAYS check out the knot picks! It's like a stamp of approval that you're a reputable business.
i asked my rep, lol! the "knot picks" are strictly chosen by brides voting on who are their favs. so i have to hope that as i get my name out there and as my reputation grows brides will vote for me!
and teh knot doesn't want brides knowing this, but they own weddingchannel.com too. my monthly fee includes a listing on that website as well, though i don't get nearly as many hits to my site from there as i do the knot. and i lump my bookings from both sites together, since its paid by the same advertising fee.
i track the hits to my website, and i get 15-20 hits everyday from theknot.com. i'll get 3-5 a week from weddingchannel.com and several other hits from various sources.
This is great information! Thanks for posting!
ok..you have convinced me. I think I will use my birthday money to get started with the knot...as a bride three years ago...i was addicted to that site also!
question...how do you track you comes and goes on your site? I would like to do that!
I signed up for decidio and purchased a couple leads...hope that helps!
question...how do you track you comes and goes on your site? I would like to d
its free! i check several times a day. it shows me where the computer they're using is located (based on their IP, for example when my husband checks my site from his work, it shows up as Iola Wisconsin, even though he's down the street from me in Cincinnati. it has something to do with his company's IP address being located in Iola) where they were referred from adn if they are a returning visitor or if this is their first time.
thanks so much beccakelley!
In 2008 bookings, I have over $6000 in business from the knot. I have one bride who is working hard to get her cake for free ... she's sent me two other brides from the knot. I've got a print out in which she gives me rave reviews (and I haven't even done her wedding yet) and tells them to "...be sure to tell debi I sent you so I can get my credit for you!"
The Knot .... Referral Credit ... working great!!!
Get some cake samples and take them to local wedding photographers and DJs. These tend to be some of the first vendors that my brides book, so having them know who you are could get you recommendations. Taking samples to venues that don't do their own cakes could be good, too.