Baking for the Home Business Start Up – Case Study: Promotion On A Budget
Baking For the Home helps you when you are starting out creating your baking business; there is the “grass route” method when marketing your business especially if you don’t have a huge advertising budget to work with.
“It would have been far easier if I could broadcast on the radio or set up ads on our local community channel but in my case, that wasn’t possible when I first started.
Since I had such a restricted budget, I paid particular attention to every single method I used to ensure that I didn’t waste resources on the things that weren’t really yielding any new sales.
Here are some of the ways that I advertised my cake decorating business.
Local Newspaper Advertisements
It cost me $40 to run an ad for two months in my local newspaper. I then branched out to cover newspapers in other communities because my ad was so effective that I was then generating revenue from my decorating business to cover the cost of additional ads.
The first step is to create a list of every newspaper in your area (and surrounding areas if you are in a smaller city or town).
Find out if they have a website if possible because if so, it makes the process even easier and faster.
Once you have your list, find out what their ad prices are. Target the ones that are more affordable at first, because even though they may have a smaller readership, you can see how effective your ads are (and if they need tweaking) without spending a lot of money.
When you advertise, choose the longest available campaign that you can to make sure it runs (and it is seen) by as many people as possible.
One ad, one time will not yield nearly as much as if people see your ad multiple times, a proven strategy that Internet marketing gurus have tested throughout the years. In fact, they say it takes the average person four times viewing an ad before they remember it.
My Ads Went Zoom Zoom
I know it might sound tacky, but because I was on a shoestring budget, I decided to try out the car magnet idea. It worked like a charm and didn’t cost me that much at all.
Just make sure that you at least have an email address or a blog website before you try this technique because people will NOT remember your phone number. They are far more likely to remember your email or website address instead.
I first created a Facebook business page. Create a page that is separate from your personal page, this is really important for a professional image. Your customers aren’t really interested in your family and friends. Facebook has good free instructions and can be accessed on their website here. My next online step was an Instagram as it is very popular and easy way to promote. Make sure your profile is set to your local area as you won’t be sending your cakes across the country, just yet anyway.
Turn your business card into a refrigerator magnet.
The magnets can be given to each customer when they pick up their cake (along with other “plain” business cards to give to the guests at their party).
Bridal Gown and Tux Shops
Visit bridal gown and tuxedo shops in your area and request permission to display your business cards on their counter top or bulletin board. Purchase inexpensive, clear cardholders in which to display your cards.
Other Wedding Vendors
Speak to the owners of other shops in your area that cater to the wedding and special events industry.
Ask about placing your business cards in a prominent location in their shops and possibly creating a display with a dummy cake using their items along with a bridal cake. Also ask about collaborative advertising in the newspaper.
Other businesses to consider include hair salons, nail salons, day spas, jewelry stores, etc.
Other Places for Cards and Displays
Below are other businesses and groups that you might consider asking for permission to display business cards:
Children’s party places and hosted events
Beauty Salons (I got a lot of business from these)
Baby stores (baby showers always have cake!)
Lingerie Shops (or anywhere else that brides-to-be go)
Just remember there is no shop that has customers that won’t need your services.
I have said it before, and I will say it again, everyone has a birthday, everyone attends weddings, everyone knows someone who is getting married, everyone knows someone who is having a baby shower, and the list goes on.
I used the Internet for promoting my business just by participating in discussion forums and placing comments on forums and Facebook Groups where people looking for a custom cake would find interesting.
“Higher End” Methods of Marketing
These are typically more expensive ways to market your new cake decorating business if you have the budget to accommodate these techniques.
Food editors in newspapers or websites may be interested in writing an article about easy cake decorating tips, things a bride should know when ordering her wedding cake, or perhaps an article on a home-based business owned by a stay-at-home mom.
After sending the press kit to an editor, follow up seven to ten days later with a telephone call to confirm her receipt of your press kit.
Ask the editor if she sees the possibility in the future of a story about cake decorating. Keep your conversation brief and to the point.
Thank her for her time and tell her that you would appreciate her keeping your information on file. You may hear from her a week later or a year later. If you do not hear from her right away, you may send her a short letter every six months just to keep yourself in the forefront of her mind.
Bridal shows are held in many cities throughout the year, but especially January through March after all those Christmas engagements.
Consider having a booth or a display at an upcoming bridal show in your area. Bridal shows often include a bridal attire fashion show with lots of door prizes, followed by time for attendees to stroll and check out the booths of businesses catering to the wedding industry.
Consider making a sheet cake and serving a small slice to visitors to your booth. (Ask event organizers how many people attended last years show to estimate your cake size.)
Display at least one dummy wedding cake.
Make sure each booth visitor receives your business card and any other sales materials you have brought. You should consider giving these items to everyone, not just potential wedding cake customers.
Run a competition to gather email addresses; you can email potential customers with news and special offers to run from time to time.
Don’t Be Intimated
First of all, let me tell you that it does not matter where you live. You can be in the smallest of towns or the biggest of cities you really can be successful with this business.
If you use creative marketing ideas to promote yourself, you will be able to create a rather lengthy and active customer list quickly. Even if you find the competition stiff, if you introduce your services in an appealing and different way you will stand out.
Do not allow yourself to be intimidated by large bakeries, catering services and the like. If you are professional and consistent, word of mouth will spread like wild-fire (and it’s the best form of marketing at that).
Simply develop a marketing strategy that is affordable, easy to execute and effective. You need to cover as much ground as possible.
For me, it took a lot of discipline, but I knew that if I did not work on marketing constantly (every single week), I would never expand into the areas that I wanted to cover. Every bit of effort will pay off.
I think one of the most important aspects of advertising is the ability to pay close attention to every route you take. What I mean is, find out what is working and what isn’t. Whenever someone calls to place an order, try to find out how they heard about you.
Knowing whether it was the flyer at the grocery store or the more expensive radio ad will help you determine where to spend your advertising dollars more wisely, and eliminate the advertising that isn’t producing results.
Inspired to be your Own Boss and taking the Next Steps to establish a Baking Business or Cake Decorating. It’s a 300 billion dollar industry and there’s room for you.