Here are six out-of-the-box marketing ideas to help your bakery attract new customers
As a bakery, your most effective marketing tool is your product. The smell of freshly baked cookies or bread is already a great temptation and a surefire way to get customers to walk into your operation and make a purchase. Your bakery should be using scent marketing to attract customers walking by, and your storefront window should be properly merchandised, and filled with your breads, pastries, cookies, cakes and other treats to visually tempt customers.
However, it’s always a good idea to try out some new and original marketing ideas to help grow your business. Here are some fun and unique ideas to attract customers who have never been inside your store.
Host an open house
Use social media and/or distribute flyers around your neighbourhood to invite people to your bakery for an open house. At the event, offer free samples of your products, coffee and tea; and stack piles of your menu, business card, recipe cards and brochure for guests to take home. Give each attendee a $2 or $5 gift certificate to use on their return visit.
Send a gift basket to local offices
Most businesses hold weekly or monthly breakfast or lunch meetings with their staff or clients. Consider delivering a free basket of freshly baked goods to the office buildings and businesses in your area with a copy of your menu, brochure and business card suggesting that they call your bakery the next time they have a meeting. If possible, include a magnetic business card so your bakery’s name and number is always displayed in a visible place.
Offer baked goods to school bake sales
Schools are always holding bake sales and other fundraisers. Consider donating your baked goods to their bake sales, or offer to be a sponsor at their spring fair. Make sure that your brand, address, website and phone number are displayed prominently. Schools are usually very open to hanging up your banner or displaying information about your business in return for your generous donation. This is a great way to get exposure to families in your neighbourhood.
Hold a pie-eating contest
There is something nostalgic about a pie-eating contest, and it’s a great way to bring the community together with a fun event. Work with your local business association to hold the contest on a date when there are other events to bring the community together like a local fair, or a sidewalk sale, etc. Either host the contest at your bakery, or supply the pies and hold the contest in your town square or wherever you will get the most exposure. Invite the mayor, or other local celebrities to participate in the contest, and be sure to host a separate contest for kids.
Sell PRODUCTS at your local farmers market
Your local farmers market is a great place to get exposure for your bakery, as it gives you the opportunity to talk face to face with the people in your community. Offer your top-selling products, and be sure to provide lots of free samples. Ensure that your packaging includes your brand, website, address and phone number so customers know where to find your bakery during the week.
Self-publish a recipe book with great photos
Take tantalizing photos of your top products and create a recipe book using online book publishing software like blurb.ca or lulu.com. Sell the book at your bakery, but also distribute copies of your book to businesses around your area like the doctor’s office, dentist office, hair salon, nail salon, etc. This will help give your bakery and your products exposure to new customers. It’s also likely that most home cooks do not have the time or the talent to recreate your baked goods at home, but they will see the photos of your products and think to visit your bakery.
Try out one of these fun and successful ideas for promoting your bakery next time you’re looking for a way to bring new people through the door.
Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 30 years. Contact her by e-mail at
, or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com .
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