#1 Get Active on Pinterest
Pinterest is one of the most powerful social media platforms in the U.S. so if you have a visually-based business like a bakery, I highly recommend being on there. Pinterest is the place where shoppers go to gather information and ideas about party planning and weddings, so it’s the ideal place for a cake artist to generate business.
One of Pinterest’s most unique qualities is that you can catalog photos of your own work alongside photos of other bakers’ work to create a virtual Rolodex of ideas for yourself and your customers to peruse. To sample Pinterest, you can check out the Wicked Goodies Pinterest page here.
Note: When it comes to social media, make sure to pin and post at times of the day when users are most likely to be online: Saturday night is not a good time time post your newest cake photos. Save them for Sunday!
#2 Maintain Your Own Website
Web designers are not cheap and they tend to use custom code, which forces you to need to hire them back for every update, which can add up cost-wise. The truth is that there are some excellent template-based website platforms out there that are free. My site is powered by WordPress, which gives me plenty of control on the back end. Be warned that template-based platforms like WordPress and Blogger do not offer customer support (they are free, after all) but they do have user-generated discussion forums with lots of helpful info where you can find the answers to most questions.
#3 Seek Reviews
Ask for reviews from satisfied customers! Sometimes it’s as easy as asking. On the flip side, try not to get bent out of shape over negative reviews. If you do receive one, see #10.
#4 Cultivate Your Online Portfolio
Always take photos of your work, the good, the bad and the ugly, because you never know when you might need to reference that experience again. However, when it comes to the portfolio, only include your best work. Choose photos that demonstrate your range of skills: some square cakes, some round cakes, some stacked cakes, some wedding cakes, some 3D sculpted cakes, some with fondant, some with buttercream, etc. As it grows, prune your portfolio, get rid of the less attractive cakes and if you’ve done the same or similar cake twice, only chose to include the best one.
Check out my Sculpted Cake Photo Portfolio
Designate a photo station that has a clean, neutral background. Use good lighting and avoid the flash as it has a tendency to wash out details. Don’t take photos with the sink, washing machine, or balled up dirty paper towers in the background. Crop unnecessary blank space out of all cake photos. These small steps go a long way in terms of presentation.
Always watermark cake photos with before publishing them on the internet so that people can trace the work back to its origin. PicMonkey.com is a free photo editing site that allows you to position text on a photo just like a watermark. Also make sure that the photo’s metadata (file name and info) is descriptive and accurate with your business name included.
#5 Use Relevant Key Words
Make sure that you’re using correctly spelled key words on your website such as ‘cake’ and ‘bakery’ along with plenty of references to your town, city, state, and surrounding regions. Listing your location prominently is a critical step in ensuring that local search traffic can find your site. Puns or clever spellings like “kake” are not recommended. In the modern age of the internet, it’s important to use clear, proper language and relevant search terms.
Think about it like this: What are your potential customers typing into Google when they go looking for a product like yours in your area? Those are the word combinations that you should be using the most on your website.
#6 Make a Call-to-Action Button
Encourage your customers to place an order by Including a ‘call to action’ button in the sidebar of your cake website that says HOW TO ORDER or ORDER A CAKE NOW.
Make sure the button is available on every page of your site. Feel free to grab any of these buttons above to use on your site if you’d like.
If possible, route your call-to-action button to an inquiry form on your site that asks everything you need to know up front in order to quote a price:
- Customer name
- Phone #
- Email address
- Date of the event
- Nature of the event (wedding, birthday, etc.)
- Party theme, if any
- Approximate number of servings needed
The more streamlined the quote process is, the more time you’ll have left to work on your cakes.
#7 Implement SEO
The world wide web is an enormous database where being found by your target market is a matter of how much work you put into SEO (search engine optimization), which is basically the act of embedding descriptive data on your site to help search engines find and index your material. It also involves networking with similar websites in order to create link backs (if you are interested in linking your business with mine, go here).
Google is the most-used search engine so it’s very important to be plugged into it if you have a business. List your business on Google, get Google Analytics so that you can track your traffic flow, and follow Google’s SEO Guide. Second to Google, at least here in the U.S., is Yahoo, which is often used for local business searches, so make sure to get listed there too. Climbing search engine rankings takes time and effort but will happen if you implement SEO.
#8 Give Something Away for Free
Make sure you’ve covered it somehow in your costs of course…but offering something for FREE in capital letters is a great way to attract customers. Why? Because people love free stuff! For new bakeries that are trying to sell wedding cakes, throwing in ‘free delivery’ is a great way to clinch a sale. Again, just make sure it’s covered in the costs.
#9 Maintain a Blog
A blog is a lot of work but it’s a great way to drive people to your website, keep content fresh, and engage visitors. Pink Cake Box maintains a wonderful blog that shows photos of recent cakes along with the stories behind the orders, a good example of how a busy bakery can maintain a blog by writing about what they’ve been working on every week.
#10 Filter Emotions
When selling cakes to the general public, you encounter all kinds of stresses. Other bakers will copy your work, Bridezillas will drive you nuts, and there’s always at least one creep out there who’s scamming for a refund by planting a hair or a thumbtack in the food. Such is the nature of the food business…of business in general. So it’s work, after all. Nobody said it would always be fun or easy. Venting publicly on social media is not a productive solution.
A better solution is to focus on doing something positive for your business! Like this: Join the Bakery Linkathon!
New to Wicked Goodies? Start *HERE*
You might also enjoy
5 Things You Can Do Today For Your Bakery Business