Bakery entrepreneurs must compete for customers’ dough. There are about 6,500 retail bakeries operating across the country, according to Dun & Bradstreet.

In such a competitive market, a solid marketing strategy should be among the must-have tools of a bakery, along with spatulas, mixers, food processors, and measuring cups and spoons.

Here are five ingredients that experts say are essential to successfully marketing a bakery.

 


(Photo: Samuel Zeller | Unsplash)

1. Generate Buzz

Your bakery should set aside 3 to 5% of its sales revenue to pay for local advertising through such outlets as cable TV or newspapers, says Robert Barrows, president of Burlingame, California-based R.M. Barrows Inc. Advertising & Public Relations.

“You might also take a look at some local radio stations where you can supply some of your bakery items for snacks to their deejays throughout the day,” in exchange for on-air promotion of your bakery, Barrows says.

Rafe Gomez, co-owner of Montclair, New Jersey-based VC Inc. Marketing, offers another buzz-creating method: Donate a portion of your bakery’s one-day sales to a local charity. Gomez says this is a “creative and socially responsible way” to garner free media coverage.

Such an event can be promoted via local media outlets, social media channels and email lists, Gomez says.

“This idea not only delivers a new stream of revenue for the partner organization,” Gomez says, “but it also positions the bakery as a valuable and contributing member of the community, builds awareness of the bakery in the marketplace, ramps up the search ranking for the bakery, boosts the bakery’s incoming foot traffic and delivers an edge over the bakery’s competitors.”

 


(Photo: Bernard Hermant | Unsplash)

2. Offer Free Wi-Fi

Free Wi-Fi is a “no-brainer” for your bakery, says Tommy Valmeyer, CEO of OpenKit.io, a digital marketing agency based in the San Francisco Bay Area.

In a 2014 survey commissioned by San Francisco-based Devicescape, a provider of wireless software, 62% of the more than 400 U.S. small businesses questioned said customers spent more time at their businesses as a result of installing Wi-Fi. In addition, 50% said Wi-Fi led to an increase in customer spending. Some bakeries offer a complimentary cup of coffee which can lead to more time spent in your bakery and an increase in revenue when a baked good is purchased.

Some Wi-Fi services enable businesses to create custom splash or landing pages to attract customers and share in-bakery offers. Furthermore, the name of your Wi-Fi network can become a branding tool, such as “Kathy’s Cakes and Cookies Free Wi-Fi.”

 


(Photo: Chase Clark | Unsplash)

3. Improve Your Online Visibility

A bakery in a midsize-to-large market should strive to boost its search engine optimization (SEO), Valmeyer says. However, a bakery in a smaller market might not need to focus on SEO, as market competition likely is less intense there than in a midsize or large market.

A good SEO strategy helps a business to get better results in search engines like Google and Bing. For instance, a bakery in New Orleans might seek to rank highly in online searches for the phrase “Best Bakery in New Orleans.” Ultimately, the goal of stepped-up SEO is to attract more customers.

A 2018 survey by found that 55% of small businesses invest in SEO. That means a lot of other businesses are potentially missing an opportunity to draw more customers.

If your bakery lacks an SEO strategy, you might hire an SEO consultant or agency. Or, if your bakery doesn’t have enough money to tap outside experience, develop an SEO plan by leaning on in-house talent. In a 2017 survey by Memphis, Tennessee-based digital marketing agency HigherVisibility, just 46% of small businesses indicated they had a budget for SEO services.

“While small business marketers seem to understand that SEO is something they need to use, many still fail to implement the correct strategies that will help improve their search rankings,” HigherVisibility concludes.

 


(Photo: Cory Bouthillette | Unsplash)

4. Offer A Rewards Program

A rewards program can be rewarding both for your bakery and your customers.

A 2016 global survey by New York City-based The Nielsen Corp., a market research and analysis company, demonstrates the importance of rewards programs, also known as “loyalty programs.” The survey of more than 30,000 consumers found that, all other things being equal, 72% would buy from a retailer with a loyalty program over a retailer without one.

“Done well, loyalty programs can help drive more frequent visits and heavier purchasing,” Nielsen says.

According to Chicago-based Belly Inc., a provider of digital loyalty programs for brick-and-mortar businesses, the top three goals of a loyalty program are:

  • Getting customers to visit a business more frequently.
  • Keeping customers satisfied.
  • Encouraging first-time customers to return to the business.

 


Christina Tosi’s Milk Bar became a viral hit thanks to famous products like their “cereal milk” and “crack pie”.
(Photo: Milkbarstore.com)

5. Become Known For One Outstanding Product

One baked good could make your bakery a star, according to Valmeyer. For instance, your bakery might produce and promote “the best cinnamon roll in town,” he says.

Of course, if you make a name for your bakery by selling more than one standout product, that’s even better.

“The quality of your services and merchandise is one way to help you get consumers to appreciate and believe in what you have to offer,” Business.com says.

 

Could your bakery benefit from a POS system that tracks inventory and can integrate into your loyalty program? Contact Talus Pay for a quote.

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Scott Paape

Scott Paape is the SVP of Sales and Operations at Talus. Scott brings a unique look to the payments space from his deep experience holding multiple executive roles at both PepsiCo and Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

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