MARKETING - GROWING YOUR BAKING BUSINESS LOCALLY
I hope everyone enjoyed last weeks round up of online marketing for your home baking business and has started to implement some of the lessons to be learned. This week I’m going to focus on way you could be marketing your business locally. Let’s jump right in….
The objective is to get you and your business in front of as many eyes as possible and there are many ways you can do this.
Almost everywhere has some kind of locally printed newspaper, no matter how big or small your area is. If it’s not a newspaper there will be a local newsletter or magazine that will be circulated to your potential customers.
One option is to take out an advert in one of these publications. This could be a bit expensive though and I wouldn’t really recommend it, unless you’re happy to part with some cash. When I was starting up in business I reached out to the three local publications in Inverness to ask if they would be interested in me writing a recipe column or article for them. For me this was going to have two benefits, it would raise my profile locally and share my business name and the services I provide with the papers readers and it would also direct readers to my recipe blog which I also ran at the time. By making contact I was making all these newspapers aware that I existing - a local girl setting up her own business from her own kitchen - which is exactly the kind of stories that get featured in local press. I didn’t assume that all three would take me up on the article offer but at least they knew who I was so if they needed to fill some column inches they would think of me. It turned out well and I got a monthly recipe column in the Highland News and was featured in an article in another newspaper. The third also contacted me but as I was already writing for the first paper they didn’t want competing articles, fair enough, but it was great ot get a response from all three.
If you don’t want to take on the commitment of writing a regular column you could also write up a feature about yourself and your business and submit it to the local newspaper asking if they would be interested in featuring you. It might sound a bit forward but as I mentioned, this is the kind of piece they like to feature and if most of the work is already done they will definitely considering featuring you. Of if you’re not confident in your writing, email them telling them about who you are, any interesting quirks to your story and attach some of your best pictures, so they will have the bones of the article before they start. I urge you to go for this one, it’s great way to get yourself seen.
STALLS AND FAIRS
This depends on what you sell but it can be an excellent way to get people familiar with you and your product, or even to lock in some future orders.
I never focussed exclusively on weddings when in business but it can be a lucrative market, especially if you have a specific niche to focus on, such as macarons, cupcake towers, rustic cakes. Taking display cakes, taster samples, business cards and an album of beautiful photographs is essential if you plan to make the most of your stall at a wedding fair. Some wedding fairs can be expensive so do your research and look for slightly more affordable stalls to begin which will allow you to find feet before hitting the top end fairs.
Whilst you are not normally permitted to sell at a wedding fair, it will be the name of the game at a farmers market. Again, be sure to have a stash of marketing materials showing off your best work and contact details for people to take away. Sample hunters are rife at markets but unfortunately you do have to play along with them a bit. Try to engage with people though, ask them what flavours they like and talk up your samples, by this point they will feel obliged to buy something from you! Having a printed up sign can help to give your stall a professional look (as long as it is done well and has been designed by a professional) but it isn’t essential. Making your stall look at eye catching and beautiful as possible is important though. Inkeeping with your businesses brand, try to find unusual crockery to display your cakes at their best. Table cloths, doilies, cake stands will all help to dress up your table. Adding height is also a great way to make the most of your display space and grab the attention of passers by.
Pricing is important at fairs, and there will be a blog post in the future dedicated exclusively to the farmers market stall, but be sure to check out others selling similar products to you. The aim is definitely not to undercut them but you don’t want to be miles above them either.
These are usually free, or require a small donation, and you will not be able to charge premium prices for your cakes but that’s not the point. You’ll be here to help raise money for the school or church or charity but you can still get some great advertising done. Simplifiy your bakes do your financial outlay isn’t as high but ensure everything tastes delicious. Have pictures of kids birthday cake orders you have done in the past as there will be lots of interested mums and dads about!
Simple but effective. Make sure they are beautifully designed, show off your best work and include all of your contact details. An old fashioned letter drop can be done but you know yourself that you usually throw anything like that straight into the bin. Think about places to leave them or pin them where your potential customers will be, wedding dress shops, with photographers to pass along, schools, etc.
Working with other people who serve your typical customer is a good way for both parties to reach new audiences. Customers generally prefer recommendations from someone they trust, so if their wedding photographer is recommending your cakes (and even has some beautiful photographs to show off) then that will go a long way in convincing them to order from you. This will work both ways too as you can recommend the photographer to your customers if they are looking for one. Wedding dress and kilt hire shops are also good options if you’re in the wedding market of if it’s celebration cakes then kids entertainers or caterers.
There’s a lot of options there so if you’re new to the game focus on one for a couple of months and gauge how successful it has been, then add another method. Pick and chose until you build up a marketing plan that keeps your books full for months in advance.
I’ve summarised everything from today’s post and last weeks post in to a handy downloadable checklist for you to print and pin up in your work space for inspiration. If you have any questions please get in touch using the links below.