Effectively marketing a bakery business is more than putting some ads in the newspaper or hand out fliers. To market well you need to develop a plan on targeting your market in the most effective and least cost possible. Your marketing plan should include a calendar looking a year out to preplan for holidays and special events. This way you are planning in advance and not by the whims of an advertising sales rep. Be sure document what you did and the results so you can continually improve your marketing and increase sales.
A few things to include in your marketing plan:
- Do a SWOT analysis – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.. This will be the foundation for your marketing plan and finding untapped markets.
- Who is my target market? Don’t say everyone. How to do advertise to everyone and still make a profit? Find a group or groups (age, interests, gender, income, etc) that are most likely to use your products and services.
- What do they read, listen to, watch, etc. Get quotes, don’t guess the price. Can you reach them in a cost effective manner.
- What is your geographical market? How far will people come to buy from you?
- Where is the competition?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of the competition?
- What can you offer to encourage them to try your bakery? (Free samples, vouchers, referral discounts?) While there will be many people who will be curious and want to try the new business in town, there are also people who have bought their bakery items for a while from someone else. Give them a reason to try you.
Get some free help from your local college’s marketing class to help you write one. Not only will you get good ideas but they are looking for products to give them practical experience.
A few ideas on marketing a bakery
Word of mouth – Great strategy to build a business. It’s free and is the most effective. However as a new bakery you have little to no word of mouth so focus on these other strategies.
Marketing your bakery online is probably the most cost effective way to promote your business. As more and more people are using Google to look for products and services, this is a trend that will continue. Keep your website clean and professional. Don’t put in unnecessary pictures or text and don’t use colors that are obnoxious. Your website will be a direct reflection on how the customer perceives the quality of your business.
Keep adding new content to your website, which will leads readers to your site, which establishes you as an expert. You could offer recipes to get people thinking more about consuming baked goods and they know who the go to bakery is to get the “good stuff”
A domain and hosting account will run you at most $100 a year. A couple of hosts I use and like are:
Optimally have your domain name be related to baking and your geographical area. www.chicagobakery.com for example (not a real site but you get the idea). When someone is searching for a bakery in your local area they will probably type something like “Chicago bakery” and your domain and related text will put you at the top of the list. There is a lot more to search engine optimization than I want to touch on here so do a search for SEO or search engine optimization to learn how to get your bakerybusiness to the top of the page.
Photos are a must for your website and to have a portfolio to have on-site. Photos give the customer some idea of your quality and your baking skills which can lead to additional orders the customer did not know they wanted until they saw it. Quality photos also are a boost for the new bakery as you don’t have your name out in the public. Be sure to have good quality photos and set up a simple photo booth to eliminate clutter around your product. Simply use a white sheet, foam board or poster board to keep the focus on your product.
Free online traffic can be found by listing your business with Google Places for Business and Bing Busines Portal . These directories put you in a special search on the front page for business listings in your area. The listings take only takes a few minutes and are at no cost, but work best when you can link back to your website.
Your pricing depends on a number of factors, but you need to make a profit in order to stay in business, so it is important to first know your costs. You will also have to take into account your competition, uniqueness & quality of products, and the market’s ability/willingness to pay. be determined by the quality of your produce. Pricing can also denote the perception of quality too. You may have the best product but if it is cheaper than what the customer thinks it’s worth, they may question what’s wrong with it.
Consider having fliers professionally designed and printed as it isn’t much more expensive than doing yourself and copying when you factor in your time (unless you are good at it) and will give a better image of your bakery.
Having professional signage both inside and out can provide an image on the quality of your product. Have you been to a business with dingy and sloppy signs? What were your expectations on the quality you were going to receive. The cost is minimal but the outcome is huge.
Customers are what pay the bills and to keep people coming back be sure to have a warm and friendly atmosphere. Your success or failure will have less to do with your quality (it is important though) but more so on your business and people skills.
Differentiate your Products
You can’t expect to sell the same things as the supermarket and expect to survive. Your cost structure is too high to do that so find ways that add value to your products. The idea is to make bakery products different so people come to your store for that particular item. In addition to the low-carb, gluten free, sugar free and all natural products you can look to your specialty recipes to draw traffic. A popular item that people came to us for was pastries made from local fruits. We did cross promotions with the farms and marketed them in the store with all of the feel good things about buying local and they were a huge hit in the community.
Marketing your bakery is one of the most important things that will determine whether your business is successful or not. Marketing means a lot of things from the quality of your product, image of the business (website, signage, photos, etc), atmosphere, friendliness of staff and more. Remember the customer pays the bills so make sure you provide a great experience for them and they will keep coming back.