QUESTION on How to Market a Cake Decorating Business
I am trying to start a cake decorating and cheesecakes business. I need help in marketing my business. How can a get a lot of customers for my business?
– Shirley (Tampa, Florida)
ANSWER by Isabel Isidro
Congratulations on your new business! Cake decorating is a fun business, and I have listed several marketing ideas that you can consider for your business:
1. Start by creating better cakes.
Be the best cake (or most unique cake decorator) compared to other local bakeries and your competitors in your area. Your cakes should be tastier, yummier and better designed than your local bakery. Having the best products in town is a terrific marketing arsenal for your business, as it will incite more people to talk about your products and recommend your cakes to others.
2. Advertise your cake decorating business.
You can advertise in your local Valpak or other money-saving coupons vehicles offering discounts to buyers. You may want to advertise more aggressively during important seasons of the year, such as the wedding season and graduation in May and June.
3. Seek out partner distributors in your area. Expand your marketplace by finding partners who will sell your cake products for you. Approach local coffee shops, and local bookstores operating coffee shops and check if they would be willing to offer your cakes to their patrons. Don’t be afraid to talk to them; the worst they can say is “No.”
4. Network with local wedding planners
Ensure that you provide the wedding cake requirements of these wedding coordinators (or at least you are one of the vendors they will recommend to their clients). Weddings can provide a steady stream of business for you.
5. Network with event and party planners.
Develop strategic alliances with complementary vendors. Get into their list of vendors: party planners often need cakes for their clients so be their go-to cake decorator for their events. You want your cake to be in every party – from birthdays to corporate festivities — in your locality.
6. Make your business more visible in the community.
Your community is the first market of your business. Get your business noticed by sponsoring local events or church activities, or offering free sample products. Be present in fundraising activities (schools have this, nonprofits, etc) offering your products for free. Exposure in the community can help create buzz for your business, and word of mouth can go along way in helping get the word out about your business.
7. Send out press releases about your new business.
Press releases can be an effective way of reaching the media and getting people to notice your business. Make sure that you specify what makes your business special and different from the rest. The more newsworthy your release (e.g. did you create a unique cake?), the greater your chances of getting picked up by the editors.
8. Tap the Web.
Create a website that showcases your products, then promote it or advertise in local online directories. Think of your website as your online brochure where customers and potential clients can see your expertise in cake decorating and new varieties you offer. Learn about marketing on the Web, including getting listed in local directories (e.g. Google Places, YellowPages.com) and even review sites (e.g. Yelp).
9. Send out direct mail including postcards.
There are several targeted markets that you can tap in your area. One of them is newborn announcements where friends and relatives can celebrate the occasion with a cake. Parents with graduating children can also be an important market for whom you could send out postcards suggesting to reserve their graduation cakes now.
10. Use social media.
Social media has become an important — and inexpensive — way for a small business to get your name out there. Create a Facebook page for your business, and encourage customers to be a fan of your page. Get a Twitter account, and keep your followers abreast of the latest cake designs you’ve created. Use geo-location social networks as well, such as 4Square.com.
Recommended Books on How To Market a Cake Decorating Business
- Frosting Perfection Secrets Revealed – Create Your Home Based Cake Decorating Business (Cooking eBook with Easy Navigation) + Free PDF
- Starting A Cake Business: How To Start A Cake Decorating Business
- Cake Decorating & Design: Tips and Tricks In 19 Fun And Easy To Understand Chapters On How To Turn Your Cake Decorating Hobby Into A Home Business Producing Gorgeous And Professional Looking Cakes
- Professional Cake Decorating
Article originally published October 2005. Updated on January 21, 2012