Business and Operations
Concepts for Success: December 2011
By Diane Chiasson
By Diane Chiasson
Ring in the new year by ringing up new sales using these eight ideas to help you start 2012 on a fresh foot
|Work with your team to put together a marketing plan that includes at least one event monthly to mark an important holiday.|
Another year has gone by. Hopefully it was a successful one for your bakery. If so, keep on doing what you’re doing, and build on that success. If not, it’s time to figure out why not and make the necessary improvements.
A good place to start is by making a list of New Year’s resolutions to improve your bakery’s business next year. To get you started, here are eight marketing resolutions to help bring in more profits.
Build a marketing plan
Sit down with your team and put together a solid and viable marketing plan that you can not only afford, but also have the time to execute. Be reasonable with your ideas. You should be able to do everything you want, with success, while staying within your budget.
Create a six-month events calendar
Your marketing plan should include at least one event monthly to mark an important holiday like Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. If you want to do something out of the ordinary, go online and check out some of the more unusual holidays your bakery can celebrate. For example, did you know that Jan. 23 is National Pie Day?
Reach out to your existing customers
Now that you have a plan and half a year’s worth of events to promote, you need to reach out to your existing customers. Creating a database or bolstering your existing database must be a top priority. Collect your customers’ e-mail addresses and other info any way you can and maintain contact with them. By having the ability to send your customers timely messages, news and offers, you can build a closer bond and get them to come back over and over again.
Give your website some TLC
Your website is one of your most important marketing tools for reaching out to new customers. More than 90 per cent of people research online to find information about where they will eat or shop, often basing their decision on a single visit to your website. Your bakery’s website should attract customers with up-to-date and well-shot photos of your products, a menu and price list, contact information, hours and directions, as well as daily, weekly or monthly specials, events and promotions.
Improve SEO rankings
Making your website easy to find with Google and other search engines should be a major part of your bakery’s marketing strategy. Review your keywords, page titles and meta descriptions, and increase reciprocal links to your website. The more often you update your website, the higher you move up in search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. Your SEO ranking could help bring in a lot of extra business. It may be worthwhile to hire an SEO consultant if you don’t have the time or the technological know-how to do it yourself.
Stay on top of online reviews
A scathing review could tarnish your reputation for good, so make sure you stay on top of what the public is saying about your bakery online. More and more people are making their decisions about where to shop based on online reviews, so it’s important to monitor what is being said about your operation. Consider online reviews a free comment-card service. Respond quickly to negative reviews or criticisms and make the necessary improvements to keep your customers happy at all times.
Create a Facebook fan page
Regardless of your personal feelings toward Facebook, it is a phenomenon that is here to stay. Businesses should embrace the tools it offers to help them expand their customer bases. Creating a presence on Facebook makes it easier for people to recommend your bakery. It is also a quick and simple platform for you to engage with your customers.
Register on FourSquare and Google Places
Mobile marketing will continue to grow this year. It will play an even more important role in how people find you. Using location-based services such as FourSquare and Google Places will literally and figuratively put your bakery on the map. Paired with good online reviews, these online services could bring you a lot of extra business.
These tips will help you get your business off to a great start in 2012.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com