Rebekah Allan from Angel Foods has the best job in the world, talking about cakes! She believes anyone can make great cakes + anyone can make great money from cakes! Helping food lovers with positive support and a little bit of business know-how to help unlock the passion. Through high quality, easy to understand, actionable, fun tutorials, teaching others how to build the sweet business of their dreams. With a free Cake Business Toolkit on how to go from a HOBBY caker to making a KILLING in 3 days flat!
With any new business, getting your name out there and getting inquiries and orders is always the biggest challenge.
There is always so much trial and error to figure out what to do (next) and what marketing strategy works (or doesn’t). While, yes, it does come down to ‘try, test, tweak, repeat’ at the same time, it’s nice to have a helping hand with what has worked for others!
Working in the food industry isn’t easy. I have been doing it for 15 years and it is a lot of hours on your feet and that never ending full sink of dirty dishes (am I right?) But we do this for the sweet love of all things cake and buttercream. The passion is what drives us, but at the same time, the fear that orders are 100% essential to be able to keep the business going.
Follow these 5 tips & get customers. Plus red hot tip at #3 and get customers within 24 hours!
5 Proven Ways to Get More Cake Customers
We all eat with our eyes first. With selling food having a photo (a good photo) is essential to getting more customers.
We have all seen the cakes on dirty kitchen benchtops, with tiles in the background, taken at night time, blurry and severe shadows. Take that same cake and take a good photo…. Well, it will look like a million bucks (and you can charge more for it, too!)
Take photos during the day, with a clean benchtop and add a backdrop for photos. A white piece of timber from the hardware shop or a piece of wallpaper added to a section of a wall is inexpensive. Place near a window or glass door where a lot of natural light comes through and use a white piece of cardboard to reflect light back onto the shadowy side of the cake. See the photos here on how to take better cake photos.
One of the very first questions someone will ask you is, ‘do you have a website?’ And you want to be able to answer ‘yes.’
A website is an online portfolio or gallery of your work and the easiest way for people to see that (instead of carrying around a photo album!) And adding those good photos!
A website is perfect for putting on your business cards. Business cards can be handed out at functions, events, shows or expos. For example, if you are selling at a farmers market and you share that you take celebration cake orders, too. Or if anyone you meet asks what you do, you can say ‘’I’m a cake decorator’’ and hand over a business card.
As an online marketing strategy, a website is how you can be found on Google. Otherwise, your business can not be found online (even if you have a Facebook business page, as the search function is notoriously dodgy on Facebook).
#3 Adding Value
Give incentive to new customers with adding value or ‘bonuses’ to an order, instead of discounting.
We all know discounting is rampant in the cake industry for reasons such as ‘building up a portfolio’ or ‘I'm a hobby-ist’ or ‘I have to discount to get customers’. And discounts honestly doesn’t serve you or your customer as your profit margins are smaller (even non-existent) and it gets your customer into a behavior of that is what your cakes are worth. That will make increasing prices so much harder.
A way to add value is a free upsize of cake from a 9 inch to a 10 inch, for example.
Hot Tip: Another popular option is vouchers with a limited time deal like ‘’Get a box of 6 cupcakes for free (valued at $25) with your next order over $100!’’ There are PDF templates of vouchers here.
Those types of customers who want discounts aren’t your real or true target market. See #4.
#4 Target Market
When I ask people who are their target market, they normally answer ‘’everyone’’. And while I understand the reason for saying this, at the same time this is exactly the reason they can’t find customers.
Someone who wants a $5 supermarket cake isn't your target market. Someone who does their own baking isn't your target market.
When you are selling to everyone you are actually aren't selling to anyone.
Because targeting your marketing gets easier when you get clear on exactly who you are selling to and what their reason or motivation is for buying from you. Meaning: you can easily target your marketing and get better results!
For example is your target market males? Going and handing out flyers at a football match on a Friday night is a potential marketing exercise. Versus is your target market females? Going and handing out vouchers at a children’s sports day to the mums will yield very different results.
Nailing down your target market to their sex doesn’t stop there. Age, marital status, children, location, interests, and hobbies are just some things to consider.
Places your target market are hanging out? Schools, day care centers, Facebook mum groups, local Facebook buy/swap/sell community noticeboards, Pinterest, and the list goes on.
How to nail down your target market and find where they are hanging out is inside Cake Business School.
#5 Email Newsletter
Sending out regular email newsletters is a brilliant marketing strategy for a cake + sweet + baking business.
How? We all regularly update our Facebook business pages and perhaps have that post shown to 5% of our Likers. But send that same post as an email? Well, you are in 100% of inboxes! That is incredibly powerful!
Reminding people you are around, that you are their local cake lady and share your latest creations and giving them the opportunity to hit reply and/or contact you for a cake and convert into a paying customer!
Hot Tip: To send email newsletters, you will need an email service provider so that you don’t end up in their junk or spam folder!
Consistency is key with sending an email newsletter. For example, I suggest sending weekly or fortnightly and I would not suggest any less frequent than that! It can be as simple as copying and pasting a Facebook business page status update or sharing a deal, a new cake flavor, availability, what market you can be found at, what cafe you are stocking and sharing your latest work of art.
What tip above are you going to use? For more marketing ideas check out these free (or virtually) 20 advertising + marketing ideas for getting more customers.