Starting a Cake Decorating Business – Advertising and Promotion, Part 3

You’ve baked the cake – it’s delicious. You have practised and developed your decorating skills to the point where even you are impressed by your spectacular creation. Now all you need is to let everyone else know what you are capable of, and that you are available for their weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and any other occasion that needs a professional quality cake as a centrepiece. Here are some more promotional ideas for your cake decorating business.Get to know local cafe and restaurant managers Many of these do catering for special occasions and celebrations – either as in-house functions, or as outside catering arrangements – and are always on the lookout for people to create cakes for them. Show them some good photos, or even samples of your work, and ask them to keep in touch with you regarding opportunities they may have. Become their ‘go to person’ for cakes.Enter competitions Showing your cakes in local agricultural shows or baking competitions is a very good way of getting your name and abilities known, and also gives you a chance to compare your skills and product with others in the field. If you win prizes, this gives added impact when mentioned in your advertising material, and can even get a mention in the local paper. Don’t underestimate this avenue of promotion – there is a lot of opportunity here.Do a few “freebies” It doesn’t hurt to make and decorate the odd cake for free – perhaps family functions, or maybe the anniversary of a society or club you are a member of – this is another good promotional opportunity, especially if you are just starting out. Make sure everyone knows who made the cake – you are likely to be attending these functions as a guest, so don’t be shy of doing a bit of self promotion. If the MC or person cutting the cake thanks you publicly, make sure you are seen so everyone knows who you are. This will lead to conversation and give you further opportunity to promote yourself and hand out your card. Remember that everyone attending these functions has their own networks independently of this, so word of mouth can spread exponentially. (And don’t forget that the cost of freebies are a legitimate tax deduction as a promotional expense!)Use a follow up letter to secure repeat business A few weeks after you have decorated a cake for a client, send them a follow up letter thanking them for their custom and enquiring as to their satisfaction with your service. A brief questionnaire may be useful here. Include a business card and a brochure, and invite them to contact you with any future requirements they may have. Repeat business is the lifeblood of any commercial enterprise, and the cake decorating business is in a unique position to take full advantage of this. Everyone has a birthday each year, every company has people retiring at some stage, and even though weddings are a one off, they generate an anniversary each year that many people like to celebrate formally. The opportunities are endless.Monitor engagement announcements in your local newspaper If you are working in the wedding niche, this is a great source of clients for your cake decorating business. Most people announce their engagement a considerable time before the wedding, so they may not have started their planning yet. Now is the time to strike – find contact details by using the telephone directory and get your name and your business details to them.