Here are some marketing tips for your cake bakery business including how to effectively network and promote your dessert products in the wedding industry, plus suggestions on what NOT to do.
10 Wedding Cake Marketing Tips
1. Produce Outstanding Cakes
Above all, the best word of mouth comes from making great cakes at large events where lots of people get to see and taste your best work. When your product gets ooohs and aaaahs, that spreads the word better than any kind of paid advertisement.
2. Capture Professional Quality Cake Photos
Your portfolio of past work is another pivotal marketing tool. Since cakes are impermanent, your photo portfolio is the only remaining proof of your talent and skill. You should always take photos of your own cakes yourself but the person who’s most likely to capture professional-quality photos is the wedding photographer. Wedding photographers can often be found before the wedding event getting shots of the set-up process. It’s not uncommon to encounter the photographer as he shoots you while you assemble the cake. That is the time to exchange business cards with him or her. Then you will have the means to contact that person and procure not only excellent photos of your cake but also action shots from the cutting ceremony. I recommend using these photos on your website and social media, ideally linking back to the photographer’s website or Facebook page to acknowledge their work.
3. Befriend Your Bakery Competition
Fellow bakeries in your area are a great source of business referrals and help. If another bakery is overbooked or doesn’t handle the type of order that the customer wants, you want them to send that business your way. You can earn this type of referral by being friendly and courteous whenever you have a chance to interact with the competition. Furthermore, you never know when you might need a competing bakery to help out in case of an emergency or vice versa. Sign up and scroll through this list of independent bakers to network with fellow bakers in your area.
4. Network with Fellow Wedding Vendors
Fellow vendors in the wedding industry have the best referral power when it comes to recommending bakeries. You will meet these vendors at the wedding when you drop of the cake so be sure to introduce yourself to caterers, party planners, and venue managers.
Venue managers also have the power to establish your bakery as a preferred vendor, an honor that may be earned if you produce consistently outstanding work. Becoming a preferred vendor at a wedding venue takes years of establishing trust and rapport with a venue but the rewards are great: it will earn your establishment a constant stream of business.
5. Attend Wedding Vendor Events
An additional way to meet fellow vendors in your area is to attend vendor events. Local wedding venues sometimes host parties that are specifically designed for wedding industry networking. They usually ask bakeries to contribute free samples and/or a display cake, so it’s not a free service, but it’s a great way to forge connections.
Depending on where you live, you also may be able to join a vendor network for free via Meetup. Follow this link then type in your zip code to find a wedding vendor Meetup near you.
6. Attend a Bridal Event
Consider renting a booth at a bridal bazaar, wedding conference or trade show, not just to meet potential new clients but also to network with other vendors. Check out my tutorial on how to run a booth at a wedding event.
7. Watermark Your Cake Photos
I recommend always watermarking photos of your work that you share on the internet. A good watermark is large enough to read but small enough not to distract from the image. It overlaps with the edge of the cake so that it’s hard to airbrush or crop out but it’s not in the center of the photo. You can add watermarks to your wedding cake photos for free using PicMonkey.
8. Get Listed on Wedding Planning Websites
List your bakery business on wedding planning websites that offer free listings for cake bakeries. Here are some suggestions.
- Wedding Wire
- One Wed
- The Veil
- Wedding Lovely
- My Wedding
- Little Wedding Guide
- Wed Center
- Perfect Wedding Guide
- Wedding Museum
9. Get Listed on Search Engines
Add your business listing to Yelp, Google, Yahoo, and/or other search engines that are relevant in your geographic area. Use all the components of the business features like adding wedding cake photos to maximize the effectiveness of your listing. Make sure to add relevant keywords to your descriptions. Ask your customers to please leave reviews on these sites.
10. Carry Business Cards
Never drop off a wedding cake without leaving some business cards behind. Pack them in advance so there’s no way you’ll forget them. Wherever your cakes go on display, especially when large events are involved, leave a pile of business cards on the table. Alternatively, hand a few cards directly to the host.
5 Ways NOT to Market Wedding Cakes
1. Don’t Lie About Your Baking Experience
“Fake it till you make it” is not a good tactic for selling wedding cakes. In the bakery industry, beginners work under the close supervision of an experienced chef before they are allowed to work independently. There are so many things that can go wrong with a wedding cake yet only one chance to get it right. Bakers in business should familiarize themselves with the method of making and delivering stacked cakes that remain on display before venturing into the wedding cake industry.
2. Don’t Fudge Your Cake Portfolio
It is NEVER okay to steal or borrow photos of cakes or logos made by other bakers for use in your own photo portfolio. That is a major no-no in the cake industry not to mention a copyright violation.
3. Don’t Floodmark Your Photos
Don’t create a watermark that is so big, it swallows up the cake. A small watermark is better.
4. Don’t Make Unsolicited Apologies
As artists, we are our own worst critics. Part of it comes from being so up-close to the product as it gets decorated that you can see all the marks and imperfections. Conversely, no one at the party is likely to notice or care if there’s a spatula mark on the frosting or elephant skin on the fondant. Guests frankly don’t want to hear how the cake didn’t come out looking exactly how you planned it in your head. When you point out all the flaws in your work, you ruin the customer experience. Only when the customer lodges a legitimate complaint should you get into a conversation about what might have gone wrong with the cake.
5. Don’t Always Give Cake Tastings
I think it’s a mistake to provide wedding cake tastings for every customer who asks for one. Fact: everyone wants free cake. You can burn yourself out by wasting your time and resources on non-serious shoppers. Screen all customers over the phone before scheduling a cake tasting. Don’t give tastings when the party serves less than 50 people. Discuss potential design and price with all customers in order to weed out the people who want a style that’s not your specialty or who cannot afford your products. Make sure they are committed shoppers before you take the time to meet with them. You can learn more strategies about performing cake tastings and client consultations in the ebook that is included in the following kit.
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