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Free samples :/ advertising advice please

post #1 of 55
Thread Starter 
I have spent the morning calling around to Clinics,Hair shops,Nail shops, everywhere offering free samples and every response is ( no, no no and umm no thanks) give me a brake people what's it take to hand out delicious free samples lol? Most have said because its not packaged well basically it is but I see were their coming from.

Any other ideas on how I can get my product out there? Should I just show up with beautiful cakes and cupcakes? What is your success on giving out free samples, or getting your name out there? Competition is crazy around here we have two cupcake wars winners and a ton of little fancy shops as for me well I rent a kitchen! But my product speaks for itself! I make my own vanilla, use all fresh ingredients I use SMBC with a twist use WASC with a twist the finest chocolates MMF and the list goes on.


I have done my re search on my competition and our product does taste better then some and others we have about the same product! My prices are 3.00-3.50 per serving theirs are 5-7.00 per serving.


I was thinking maybe saying something in the lines of.. " Gourmet cakes and cupcakes for unbeatable prices" advice please.

My target market is middle class America.
post #2 of 55
Thread Starter 
Bump??
post #3 of 55

What are you doing when you call a hair shop to take free samples of cake?

 

You are asking them to do the hard work of advertising your business for free.

 

No wonder that they are saying no politely.

 

When you start offering free samples to the right places, people will say yes.

post #4 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelyCakes4Us View Post

I have done my re search on my competition and our product does taste better then some and others we have about the same product! My prices are 3.00-3.50 per serving theirs are 5-7.00 per serving.

I was thinking maybe saying something in the lines of.. " Gourmet cakes and cupcakes for unbeatable prices" advice please.

If you know that your quality is as good or better than your competition (I assume based on independent blind testing) why are you priced so much lower?

You also need to tighten your target market. "Middle class" is way too broad, and most middle class customers are probably budgeting below $3/serving.

Where else are you currently advertising?
post #5 of 55

When I go to the hair salon/nail shop, I'm trying to relax and don't want to be sold to. Perhaps that's just me.

 

I'm not sure if your target market includes families, but here are some ideas:

 

1) The library runs a summer reading program. For kids that read the specified number of books, they get a coupon booklet. I put a coupon in the booklet.

 

2) Malls have these free concerts for kids, they advertise them months in advance. I haven't done it, but I know a local bakery gives out free samples at these.

 

3) We have a couple of family bloggers in the area, then often do promotions/giveaways on their websites.

 

4) We have an independent book store that often has book signings, if the author agrees you can do giveaways at the book signings. Often times, word of free cupcakes brings more folks out than the author. Win-win!

 

5) Although I don't do consignemt sales, I know a few bakers that have done that. 

 

6)Our community center has family days/events, you can do giveaways for family days at the community centers. 

 

7) Local schools are always looking for bakeries to do a bake sale and give a % of sales to the school. Many schools do this for sporting events as well. 

 

8) Radio giveaways, find a radio station you like and do a giveaway. I've spoke with some that will do an advertising  fee swap for goodies to giveaway. Wasn't a good fit for me, so I didn't choose it. 

 

9) Community festivals, art festivals, home and garden shows are typically looking for exhibitors. Can be pricey depending on the show.

 

10) Private schools fairs or summer camp fairs.

 

11) Visit your local chamber, they often are great at giving ideas and lists of upcoming events. They can introduce you to potential partners too. 

 

 

I should note for most giveaways you need to have insurance. 

post #6 of 55

I have to agree, unless it brings something to the table for them, it isn't worth it.

If I had a totally unrelated business, like an accountant, call me up and ask if they could do people's taxes for free in my shop, I would say no.

Would people like having their taxes done for free? Sure! But I'm trying to sell wedding cakes, they won't come in, file their quarterlies and take home a tiered cake :)

Same as a salon or clinic, people probably won't come in to try your cupcakes and stay for a hair cut. Those also aren't very food friendly places, and the business owners could possibly get in trouble for handing treats out.

I've owned a dog grooming shop, and I would have been shut down in an instant if I had been giving out cookies and bylaws found out, lol.

 

I would try coffee shops, cafes, diners, anywhere that needs foodsafe certification. Even then, chances are you won't get it for free. The old adage you have to pay money to make money is very true.

 

When I first opened I supplied a coffee shop with cupcakes, I sold them at cost to the shop, which sold them at a mark up, for 6 month contract, and they displayed my business cards.

It sucked working for nothing, but after 6 months, I had a pretty faithful following, and we wrote up a new contract that had me making a profit.

People went in specifically for a cupcake and would usually get a drink as well, owners were happy, I was happy.

 

Gosh, sorry for rambling so much!

post #7 of 55

I should also add, don't call around, visit, but be prepared to wait.  Introduce yourself, ask about special events. Try to find something in common about your businesses, if there are no commonalities, it's probably not a place for you to advertise. Think about how you can provide service to them as well, it helps determine if it will be a good fit. 

post #8 of 55

I live in a smaller town, and the downtown businesses like to support each other. I have friends who own a clothing shop, and a photography studio in the same building. When they do their grand opening for their businesses, they would like me to supply refreshments. Yes, I will be supplying free food, but they want me to come with stuff to sell, a portfolio of work, and business cards. Hopefully, if you think about it, you know someone who may need you to supply refreshments?

post #9 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tdovewings View Post

When I go to the hair salon/nail shop, I'm trying to relax and don't want to be sold to. Perhaps that's just me.

I'm not sure if your target market includes families, but here are some ideas:

1) The library runs a summer reading program. For kids that read the specified number of books, they get a coupon booklet. I put a coupon in the booklet.

2) Malls have these free concerts for kids, they advertise them months in advance. I haven't done it, but I know a local bakery gives out free samples at these.

3) We have a couple of family bloggers in the area, then often do promotions/giveaways on their websites.

4) We have an independent book store that often has book signings, if the author agrees you can do giveaways at the book signings. Often times, word of free cupcakes brings more folks out than the author. Win-win!

5) Although I don't do consignemt sales, I know a few bakers that have done that. 

6)Our community center has family days/events, you can do giveaways for family days at the community centers. 

7) Local schools are always looking for bakeries to do a bake sale and give a % of sales to the school. Many schools do this for sporting events as well. 

icon_cool.gif Radio giveaways, find a radio station you like and do a giveaway. I've spoke with some that will do an advertising  fee swap for goodies to giveaway. Wasn't a good fit for me, so I didn't choose it. 

9) Community festivals, art festivals, home and garden shows are typically looking for exhibitors. Can be pricey depending on the show.

10) Private schools fairs or summer camp fairs.

11) Visit your local chamber, they often are great at giving ideas and lists of upcoming events. They can introduce you to potential partners too. 


I should note for most giveaways you need to have insurance. 

Thanks for the tips, and the only reason I even approached this type of advertising is because its listed ALL over CC where people have given out free samples so, thought I give it a try. icon_smile.gif I surely have insurance would not advertise with out it!
post #10 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BakingIrene View Post

What are you doing when you call a hair shop to take free samples of cake?

You are asking them to do the hard work of advertising your business for free.

No wonder that they are saying no politely.

When you start offering free samples to the right places, people will say yes.

Like I stated before I only have tried this form of advertising because I have read great success with people on CC doing business this way! Must you always say something rude on ALL of my post smh..
post #11 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by IAmPamCakes View Post

I live in a smaller town, and the downtown businesses like to support each other. I have friends who own a clothing shop, and a photography studio in the same building. When they do their grand opening for their businesses, they would like me to supply refreshments. Yes, I will be supplying free food, but they want me to come with stuff to sell, a portfolio of work, and business cards. Hopefully, if you think about it, you know someone who may need you to supply refreshments?

That's really cool! Love the idea i will give anything a try once when it comes to getting my name out there. icon_smile.gif
post #12 of 55
Thread Starter 
I didn't state this correct when I first posted, I would give the staff free samples that's it.. Lol not to give a bunch of cupcakes for their customers to try and business cards.. Not at all tho that would be nice but not my intentions.
post #13 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by scrumdiddlycakes View Post

I have to agree, unless it brings something to the table for them, it isn't worth it.
If I had a totally unrelated business, like an accountant, call me up and ask if they could do people's taxes for free in my shop, I would say no.
Would people like having their taxes done for free? Sure! But I'm trying to sell wedding cakes, they won't come in, file their quarterlies and take home a tiered cake icon_smile.gif
Same as a salon or clinic, people probably won't come in to try your cupcakes and stay for a hair cut. Those also aren't very food friendly places, and the business owners could possibly get in trouble for handing treats out.
I've owned a dog grooming shop, and I would have been shut down in an instant if I had been giving out cookies and bylaws found out, lol.

I would try coffee shops, cafes, diners, anywhere that needs foodsafe certification. Even then, chances are you won't get it for free. The old adage you have to pay money to make money is very true.

When I first opened I supplied a coffee shop with cupcakes, I sold them at cost to the shop, which sold them at a mark up, for 6 month contract, and they displayed my business cards.
It sucked working for nothing, but after 6 months, I had a pretty faithful following, and we wrote up a new contract that had me making a profit.
People went in specifically for a cupcake and would usually get a drink as well, owners were happy, I was happy.

Gosh, sorry for rambling so much!

No hun I didn't state it clearly, I called to ask if I could leaves samples for the brake for staff only, not for customers to come and try!
post #14 of 55
Quote:
Originally Posted by LovelyCakes4Us View Post

Like I stated before I only have tried this form of advertising because I have read great success with people on CC doing business this way!

I think that may be the problem...committing to a marketing tactic because you have heard a few strangers in other areas report success is probably not going to serve you well as a strategy in the long term. You really need to do your own research and figure out what will work for your target market (once you define one) in your area.
post #15 of 55
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft View Post

If you know that your quality is as good or better than your competition (I assume based on independent blind testing) why are you priced so much lower?

You also need to tighten your target market. "Middle class" is way too broad, and most middle class customers are probably budgeting below $3/serving.

Where else are you currently advertising?

I'm comfortable at 3.00-3.50 a serving, middle class in my state are the ones that come to me after seeing the prices at the other shops, may not be ideal but hay it brings in orders and it works for me. icon_smile.gif
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