Business and Operations
Concepts for Success: Seven summertime marketing tips
By Diane Chiasson
This summer commit the time to plan and take action on activities that will help drive your business forward for the year ahead.
By Diane Chiasson
Bakeries cannot only rely on the great smell of freshly baked goods alone to tempt their customers’ taste buds. They must also develop promotional plans that attract and retain customers in the businesses and communities they serve and beyond. Following are seven tips to help promote your business this summer.
1. Have dedicated staff working on promotion
It is important not to carry out promotional actions half-heartedly. Even though there may be lots of great ideas you can think of to promote your bakery, you must remember to put time and energy into actually carrying out these actions. It will be hard to do this properly if you do not have dedicated time or staff assigned. The other points of this article illustrate just how much “sweat” is actually involved in building the relationships that will drive your business, so make sure you have staff or put time aside to really pursue the promotional actions that work for you.
2. Be personal with local businesses and the community
Connecting with people is the key to your success, and finding ways to impress people is vitally important. Networking with local community associations, businesses, exhibition centres and sports clubs, to name but a few, should probably be an essential component of your business. This means you have to visit businesses, introduce yourself and tell them what you have to offer. Ask to leave your cards or menus in their shops; offer to give a discount to their clients if they refer you.
3. Let them taste what you have to offer
Use your food to get into the minds and stomachs of the local community and businesses by allowing them to taste what you have to offer. People are far more likely to remember you, especially if your baked goods are delicious. Setting up a tasting station outside your storefront is one commonly used approach, but you should also consider reaching out to the corporate community with tasting events.
4. Target key areas of expansion
Remember, many businesses serve baked goods at a wide range of corporate events, meetings and parties. Establishing a great rapport with key people involved in arranging meetings in local offices could be a great way to boost your sales. Determine where your best opportunities lie and set about systematically visiting these potential clients in your area and handing out lists of your offerings, as well as a coupon for free introductory specials if they order baked goods from you for meetings and office parties. Try and get your offerings in front of the person that will decide where the office orders their baked goods from. Ask around the office to find out who that person is.
5. Sponsor a local event
Local community and professional events give businesses several opportunities to contribute to a cause while connecting to members of the community through sponsorships. If the event aligns with your bakery’s business culture, goals and values, then decide if you want to sponsor through financial contribution or with an in-kind donation. Your best approach would be to provide dessert for the event. If you do, ask if it’s possible to be the exclusive dessert sponsor, which ensures no other bakeries’ goods are served during the event. Display your signage and be present at the events you sponsor, along with your uniform-wearing staff, to meet and greet attendees.
6. Create a baked goods contest
Allow local customers to enter monthly contests to win baked goods for their offices. You can ask a monthly trivia question related to baking, your goods and services, the community where your business is located, or pop culture. Alternatively, you can just have customers add their business cards to a bowl or box located on the counter of your bakery. Draw a monthly winner and announce this in your bakery, as well as through local news, your website, social media and blog sites that cover topics on food and restaurants. Deliver a supply of baked goods to the winning office, along with a bundle of business cards, brochures and perhaps even a framed certificate celebrating the winning office.
7. Internet and social media
You should be emailing all customers in your database about new flavours, new products and store events, along with posting these on your website and social media pages. But remember, one thing that is key to successful social media marketing is to create content, rather than to market directly. Engage potential customers with stories about your bakery and why you are creating new flavours or baked goods. Then go one step further and add your content to online communities that align with your customers’ profiles. Alternatively, you might think of creating an Instagram account as an easy and fun way to reach more customers. If you are doing something your customers might be interested in, then don’t worry about professional photos, just take a picture with your smartphone and create impromptu marketing material!
There is a lot you can do to promote your bakery. The important thing is to put the time in, develop a promotion and marketing plan and actually do some of the things that you identify as important for the expansion of your bakery in order to really create the success you want.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 30 years. She is recognized as the industry leader in providing 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.