Part 9 – Find Your Niche & Spread the Word!Posted 20/05/2014 by CakeBaker
Finding Your Niche
Your sugar roses could be immaculate – but will people want to buy them? Market research can help you to assess the chances of success. It all starts with a bit of brainstorming.
From Lorraine Pascale’s Cupcake Bakehouse to Mich Turner’s Little Venice Cake Company, celebrity bakers are setting the trend for glamorous, surprising and dazzling cakes. But doing something totally different could be your secret. The Meringue Girls’ signature meringue kisses sent their baking business into the stratosphere. So what is your niche? Do you love the challenge of a bespoke birthday cake, or prefer pastries? Do you know how to make cakes that are gluten-free or vegan? Do you want to be totally organic? These are the type of questions you should start to ask yourself in order to find out what your secret cake baking weapon is going to be.
Investigate the local and national competition. Think about how you’ll be different to everyone else. What special benefits do you have to offer – why did you want to get into the business, and why will customers choose you?
Now see if you’ve got a market. Research can help you to answer questions like:
- Who is your potential customer (mums, brides, coffee shops, sandwich bars, etc…), and how often will they buy cake? – Where do they currently buy cake?
- Do they prefer classic or new flavours?
- How much will they be prepared to spend?
- Who is your competition, and what is their weakness?
Ask questions using social media like Facebook and Twitter (we have a great facebook page for this type of thing). If you get the opportunity, take a tray of samples to a community event, get people to vote on their favourites, and ask them about their cake buying habits!
Spread the Word!
Your friends and family make excellent guinea pigs. Gather feedback on your cakes and see how you can improve – how is the presentation, taste, and packaging? Encourage them to spread the word at work and school and you could soon be baking to order. Most cake bakers get their first orders from people they know!
Baking trays of samples for community events and parties can be a good way to get your name known. Take photographs and give out business cards as you go.
Social Media – Your New Best Friend
Don’t forget the power of social media; it’s going to be your new best friend! Social media is going to give you loads of free exposure, attract new customers, act as a reference for you, and it’s going to help you connect with your customers anytime anywhere! So open up your laptop. Social media (the term for sites including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram) is a fabulous place to promote your cakes. It’s free and it’s easy – once you get started.
- Create a Facebook page (home> pages> create a page). Perfect for posting pictures of cakes-in-progress and event updates.
- Set up a Pinterest board (home> sign up> Are you a business> create your profile, including your logo and a business description) to display your portfolio snaps.
- Create an Instagram account (use your smart phone to access it via Google Play or App Store) to take pictures of cakes and decorating techniques.
- Create a Twitter account (get the app through App Store or Google Play). Great for connecting with other bakers and offering instant advice on cupcake dilemmas!
Twitter has its own etiquette, and the best way to learn is to observe. So create an account, follow some cake bakers, and see how they do it. Using hash tags (#) means your tweets will be found by people searching for the same thing. (Your company name probably won’t be a great hashtag, but #chocolatecake would be.) Searching for your own Twitter name (@cakebaker) will show you any comments that have been made at or about you!
Read on… Part 10 Find your Identity & Create your Brand