Here are some easy ideas and tips on how you can take your delicious creations and put them to work for you...now that's a great idea!
Word of Mouth Marketing:
Bakeries thrive on this and what better source of trusted clients to have in and out of your bakery. Eating and eating something good will make people talk…I do it all the time. Think about how inexpensive this type of marketing can be. Say you make a really great batch of breakfast cookies and out of 12 people, 10 of them really like them. Now those 10 people tell 4 of their friends, and those friends try these cookies, like them and tell their friends. Next thing you know, these original 12 people have successfully marketed your product to hundreds and possibly thousands of potential customers. Best thing is they are paying you!
But the question is, how do you get those original 12 people to your bakery? Sorry to say, but you will have to spend time and money on marketing your business. Even if you have the best baked goods in the world, no one will know until you get the people walking through the door and to your cash register…unless you’re some famous Pastry Chef with dedicated followers already.
Start a marketing plan. What’s a marketing plan? A marketing plan is basically a document that details the necessary steps to achieve your marketing objective. Part of this plan should talk about such items as – competition, social media, press releases, advertisements, direct mail-outs, joining local and regional organizations, building a website, creating your logo, business card and look (you may have already done this)…and so on. Keep in mind that this plan can cover a time span of 5 years. It is up to you to decide where your efforts and funds would be best focused.
It’s not as hard as it seems and the cost will vary from item to item. Talk with other business owners to see what they did. As well, check out the internet…there is a ton of free information available within a few clicks. Write all of your ideas down, then organize them so that you can systematically complete task after task.After you’ve assembled the plan and your friends and family have given you their opinions…and believe me, there will be plenty, you are now ready to put the plan into action.
Step Two - Write a Press Release:
This is where it really counts. Every day on the internet, press releases are sent out by the thousands, so you can imagine, unless your headline or opening statement has the “wow” factor, chances are it will be tossed. Why not start off with the local paper. It’s free and you will get the support of your community. Be sure to share an interesting story to keep readers reading. Like how you became a baker and what made you want to open your own bakery. Offer some transparency to your business. You could even toss in a few bloopers and challenges you faced while trying to get your bakery open. You can even have a friend interview you and then submit the press release using portions of the interview if you find that is a better way to share your story.
Groupon and Facebook have taken a simple but affective idea and made it new again...now why didn't we think of that.
This truly is a simple, old school way, but for your business this may prove to be a great way to get those new customers walking through your door. How about a dozen donuts for the price of 10 or a free Artisan loaf of bread with purchase over ?? Coupons could be delivered through coupon companies or by your local paper. Hey, why not even post them on your website, Facebook page or send them to your followers on Twitter.
Invite the Press for a Tasting:
Everyone wants free food...especially when it's delicious baked goods. Let the local paper know and invite them down for a free media tasting. Make sure they bring a reporter or two and have camera's.
You could also send over a nice basket of baked good to some local community organizations. This is known as “feel good” marketing. This type of marketing is always a great way to get your name circulating locally very fast.
The internet is an invaluable tool to create that buzz you are looking for. There are plenty of website template companies that offer you an easy way to put your images and text into a pre-determined format. This will usually cost you a monthly fee to use this service and will take somoe effort to keep it fresh and new.You could also hire a designer which will give you a more branded look. Unless you are a huge bakery with many outlets, you can start off quite small. A home page, products page, about us and contact…maybe a specials page. Figure on about $200.00 per page for set-up.
Why not Become a Premium Member on The Bakery Network (hint, hint). Cost is very, very inexpensive, you can load all your contact info, images, video, logo and company profile. It's like your own webpage that you can easily edit anytime, anywhere. And that's not all...we even give you one free, yes free, monthly classified ad. Now that's cool!
Create a Twitter account and a facebook account and let people know what you’re doing. Send out a few “tweets” everyday with some kind of special message attached to it. “First 25 people to come to our counter and whisper mmm…icing, to Sally” gets a free cupcake”. Follow us on Twitter | Follow us on Facebook
Seems boring and calculated but a few ads in the local papers will also help with your presence. Make sure to carefully plan on where and when you want this ad to appear. Maybe think of seasonal or celebration times to promote your business. “Bring Mother in for a free Mother’s Day Treat” or how about graduation time. Place the ad where it will be visible. People almost always read in a “Z” formation. From the top left of the page, over to the right top, then across and down to the left bottom corner, then finishing over to the bottom right corner.
How about advertising on The Bakery Network. Yes, you guessed it, it's very inexpensive and you are assured to get baking industry people looking at your ad...not many visitors looking for running shoes on The Bakery Network. Enquire on Pricing...you will be shocked!
A final thought:
With all of these opportunities at your command, be sure to have a strong consistent brand and message. I cannot stress this enough. If you are incredible at making the most flavorful, beautiful cupcakes, then promote that through your message, logo and colors. If you are known for the largest portions or healthy organic choices, promote it!
It's nice to think you can offer the world everything, but the world we live in today is expecting to be WOWed, not lightly impressed.