1. Smells Are Free!
Perhaps the lowest barrier to entry when marketing your bakery is something that you’re, most likely, already producing – the scent coming from your delicious baked goods! Any smart baker knows that keeping their doors wide open, when weather allows, gives them free advertising to consumers who are in the vicinity. The best part is, as long as you’re already baking, it’s completely free to prop open your doors and entice hungry patrons with your mouth-watering aroma!
2. Tempt Your Customers
When you’re marketing to bakery customers, you always need to be tempting them with something new. For instance, if gluten-free is the craze (and it certainly seems to be, these days!) develop a whole line of gluten-free foods to satisfy that new market sector. When you have something new, your customers are much more likely to be tempted into taste-testing it themselves.
3. Entice People through the Door
As you walk past any boutique shops or neighborhood restaurants, you’ll notice that most of them place a chalkboard outside on their patio. It usually includes a quick, clever message and the store name and some promotional language. This is another affordable yet effective way to entice local foot traffic through your bakery doors.
Try making it fun – you can have a trivia question written out and a discount to any person who gets the answer right. You could also list out today’s specials or the cost of yesterday’s bread. Get creative and put yourself in the shoes of your preferred customer: ask yourself what would entice you to walk through the doors of an unfamiliar bakery.
4. Offer Up Free Samples
People love free stuff, there’s no doubt about that. Give them what they want by placing some free samples out on the order counter. When they have something to try before they buy, they whet their appetite and are much more apt to purchase an extra item to satiate their newly cast craving. Who knows, they may even try something that they just can’t refuse and buy the whole thing!
5. Be Smart on Social Media
Before you go and start posting whatever you want, however, take some time to understand social media marketing. On social media, people don’t want to be sold to constantly – it’s their time to browse photos and videos, catch up with old acquaintances, or find the latest events – so don’t hammer them with overtly promotional materials.
Social media works best when it’s a mix of conversation, content and promotion. The right mix of each aspect will vary depending on your market, business and audience, but it’s safe to assume that no one wants to follow an account that’s posting purely advertising and promotional content.
On social, talk, share and sell to keep your audience engaged, but don’t annoy or alienate people.
6. Strike Up a Convo or Hold a Survey
If you’re unsure what your customers want from your bakery, strike up a conversation or hold a survey. When you have the insight of your best customers, you can create services and products that meet the needs and desires of the people who are loyal patrons of your business. You can incentivize your customers with a free loaf of bread, cup of coffee or discount off their next order for their input. The value you receive from paying attention to what the customers want will help you create more tempting offerings that keep people coming back.
7. Much Ado About Day Old Bread
While day old bread may not be the biggest-ticket item in your bakery, it presents a good learning opportunity about selling baked goods in general. When you have products that aren’t selling, you need to find creative ways to move them off your shelves by either marking them down or bundling them with other offers to make a package.
While not all of your product offerings will be a gigantic hit, you shouldn’t feel the need to get rid of the lower-performers completely. Try mixing and matching them with other baked goods to make a completely unique offering that’s even better than it was previously.
So, while day-old bread may not keep the lights on, there will always be a few takers who prefer the bread at 50 percent off, and will take their business elsewhere if you weren’t offering such a thing.
8. Start a Website with Online Ordering Functionality
Over the past decade, websites have become a necessity for any small business that wants to succeed. As a bakery, you have the added ability to offer an easy-to-use, streamline ordering function on your website so patrons can get their baked goods on the go. Take some time to shop around for a web designer that meets your needs as a business owner. It won’t always be easy, especially since you have a hundred other things to worry about at once, but once your website is setup, you will have a whole new venue to drive revenue through.
And if your business is 100% online, respond promptly to form submission or site queries. Let them know there’s an actual human person on the other side of your digital presence.
10. Sponsor Community Events or Groups
Putting money behind a great cause will help your bakery expand its reach to targeted groups of people. Whatever cause you support, you can find an event or group that’s for it. If you’re looking for a good cause to support, why not start by analyzing your audience? What causes are they supporting and how can you help out? For example, you could sponsor a local school event and hand out fliers to all of the parents.
11. Offer Baker’s Dozen Discounts
Some of the best bakeries around town will throw in something extra when you buy a dozen. These places have perfected their sales technique. Think about this: “$5 for 13” doesn’t sound all that great, but “$5 for a dozen, plus you get an extra one for free” is a much more enticing deal. And it’s the same offer, just worded better.
As a bakery owner, you need to find ways to add perceived value to your products that make the offering even better. What can you give away that doesn’t cost much but adds tremendous value to your current offerings – a coupon, free slice or extra sample?
12. Sell Custom Merchandise
Consumers love to support their favorite local stores, shops and restaurants, so give them a chance to do just that with custom-branded merchandise. As a bakery, there’s a ton of options, such as a wood cutting board, branded oven mitts or even a bag of custom-made mixing ingredients. Of course, you can always offer the standard shirts, hats and aprons as well.
Or, if you really want to take your merch game up a notch, try custom-made stoneware mugs with your logo and tagline across the front. Our Deneen Pottery mugs come in your choice of color, glaze, shape and finish and are an attractive addition to any merchandise stand. Not only do you open up a new line of revenue, but you also get the many marketing benefits that come from using a mug at home or in the office every day.
13. Start an Email Signup Sheet
Get your email game on point by placing a sign-up sheet on your counter. Ask customers to leave their email to stay up-to-date with the latest news and product offerings from your bakery. Start developing email marketing campaigns to send out monthly updates or weekly coupons (remember: don’t overdo it!). Include anything that you think might be newsworthy to your customer base.
Get to know what your email customers are most interested in by segmenting your mailing lists to see what people respond to. Try out MailChimp for an easy way to get started with your first email marketing campaign.
14. Always be Friendly
As a bakery, you need to take on the role of the friendly, neighborhood shop where customers always feel welcome. Your patrons enjoy dining at your establishment because after a few visits, you’ve made a personal connection with them, know their face, their favorite order and possibly even their first name! You’re providing an experience that a big grocery store simply cannot.
Keep the lines of communication open. It goes without saying that you should greet customers with a smile when they come through your door, whether that’s a door with hinges or a virtual door.
Best of Luck with Your Bakery! Now that you know these unique methods to expand your bakery’s reach, you can get out there and start driving more business. If you’re looking for more ideas and resources to market your small business, call us at Deneen Pottery today: 888-646-0238. We provide insights and resources for those who are trying to gain customers and boost revenue for their business in creative ways.