There is no point in spending time and money in developing your cake decorating skills to a professional standard if nobody knows about it. You are creating spectacular or charming cakes that will be very popular, but not if you are the only person who knows about it. In part 2 of this series, we look at some more ideas for promoting your cake decorating business and building your reputation.Deliver a top quality product every time This is perhaps a bit obvious – it applies to all businesses, not just a cake decorating business – but there are few businesses where first impressions are more important than a cake decorating business. The chief appeal of a well decorated cake is visual, and it is how the cake looked that will be remembered for the longest time, especially now due to the enormous proliferation of digital photography and the easy ability of anyone to transmit photographs instantly to anywhere in the world. In a visual medium like this, the cake is by far its own best advertising.Use all your networks Everyone you know knows a lot of other people that have various celebrations coming up. Weddings, birthdays, anniversaries – the list is endless. Make it known in all circles in which you move that you are a professional cake decorator and available for business. Keep a supply of business cards with you at all times, give handfuls of them to people you know that have a lot of contacts, and never miss an opportunity to mention in conversation what you do for a living (people usually ask anyway). You’ll be surprised how often someone will say “Oh, that’s handy. My mother/sister/husband/friend/colleague etc is having a birthday/anniversary/graduation. Would you be interested in making a cake for that?” Of course you will immediately say yes and give them your card, but you must also get their contact details. People often forget what they said at parties, or don’t bother following up on things, but if you have their details you can call them yourself and secure the business.Get a website This is great for promotion of your cake decorating business, excellent for showing your portfolio of photographs, really easy to do, and can be done completely free on sites like Squidoo and many others.Look for co-promotional opportunities within your niche Most niche markets – weddings are a good example – are supplied by a variety of businesses that focus on one aspect of the occasion. Wedding dress makers, for example, or wedding planners. And don’t forget – every wedding has a photographer, and these can be a good source not only of high quality photographs of your cakes for your portfolio, but also of informal co-promotional arrangements. You recommend him to your clients, he recommends you to his – you are both in different niches of the same industry, so you are not competing against each other – and in fact recommending other quality professionals to a client can only add value to the service you are providing.
Creating advertisements, flyers and mail outs can be powerful ways to generate leads and business. There are of course specific criteria that can make an advertisement more effective than others. At a minimum you should consider the following three things when creating advertisements:
An attention Grabbing Headline
An Irresistible Offer
A Call to ActionFailure to build all three factors into your next flyer or magazine advertisement will result in a poor return on investment. The best way to keep your costs down on any advertising exercise is to firstly develop more than one set of the above three factors.Create a short run of the different ads (say flyers) and split test or rotate them. You will see that one may stand out as delivering the best response. Once you find this one use it as a “control” version and continue to create different versions by changing one of the three factors at a time – not all three at once.Attention Grabbing HeadlineIt has been shown that 80% of the effectiveness of your advertisement depends on whether the headline is read by your target market. The only way to ensure this happens is to know your ideal “suspect” well enough to be able to craft a compelling headline. The headline should match and reflect a frustration,issue or problem your target reader can identify with.Irresistible OfferOkay, you have their attention now. What are you going to offer them? It had better be something that they really want and something you can deliver. Make the offer a solution to a problem they have right now. Build the offer with add ons and bonuses if they make a quick decision. Create more than one offer and test your offers to see which one gets the best response.Call To ActionNow don’t forget this component or all your hard work will be wasted! Tell them what to do next. Believe it or not people do like to be given direction when it comes to making decisions. If you omit the call to action they will quickly lose their excitement over your offer and it will drift from memory. So tell them to call your toll free number, send an email, go to your website or fax that coupon right now. Make sure you make contacting you easy. If an email they send to you bounces, don’t expect them try again.