Running a successful bakery takes time, hard work, and the right marketing plan and promotion ideas. This guide is here to help you with bakery-specific marketing tips and promotion ideas.
Ideally, your bakery marketing plan (not to be confused with advertising) should be a section of your detailed business plan, but in case you haven’t developed a business plan or need revamp your marketing plan, it’s never too late to get it done. After following the tips below, you’ll have a marketing plan that will guide you through tough times in your business, or better yet, prevent them.
What to consider when developing a marketing plan for your bakery
Your marketing plan will almost look like a blueprint, albeit very detailed, that you can refer to when your baking business needs a little help. Let’s take a look at the most important factors to consider when developing your marketing plan.
1. Your audience
Defining your audience is the first step when developing any marketing plan, and your bakery plan is no exception. There are a few useful ways to understand this. First, pay attention to who enters your bakery daily. Next, write down who your social media followers are. Finally, carefully consider the nature and location of your business.
If you have regulars who come every day, every Saturday, or something similar, then you know that part of your audience is locals who consider you their go-to place for a cup of coffee and a pastry. .
Check your analytics on Instagram and Facebook to see who interacts with your bakery the most on those platforms, because that can be a whole different audience base, and that’s okay. If you’re based in a vacation spot, a good portion of your customers, at least for part of the year, will be foreigners looking for the local vibe.
All of these people combined create your audience or audience groups, even though they all appear to be separate customers.
2. How your audience interacts with your business
If you find that most of your traction comes from eye-catching photos online, then you know what you’re doing on these marketing channels is working. You’ll want to include what you’re currently doing online in your marketing plan, but then add other platforms or areas that aren’t getting as much traction to increase engagement.
The bakery where I was a pastry chef and ran social media didn’t have a marketing plan per se, but I knew what worked on our social media and what didn’t. This helped to personalize the product we offer, which can also be part of your marketing plan. If you offer a certain pastry or loaf of bread online, you will probably need to increase the production of that item.
3. Your budget
For a small business, especially a small food business like a bakery, your marketing budget doesn’t have to be huge. You just need to understand which aspects are most important to you.
If you want to focus more on a social media presence, maybe include some professional photo shoots in your budget. If online ordering is something you offer, invest in a good web designer to really showcase what you offer and make ordering seamless for your customers. For your small business, email marketing may be the best approach.
You don’t have to do everything from the start, because your marketing plan can evolve as your bakery business grows.
4. Who does your marketing
If you are looking to outsource parts of your marketing, this will also need to be built into your plan and budget. If another employee is doing this, their salary is already rolled into your overall company budget, but sit down with them and see if there’s anything they’re looking to implement.
If feasible, this can also be incorporated into the budget and marketing plan. This employee might have some helpful ideas to really boost your business, especially if they’re in a very hands-on position.
8 effective marketing ideas to promote your bakery business
Now that you have a better idea of how to create your marketing plan, it’s time to brainstorm bakery-specific promotion ideas that will help increase your business’s visibility and sustain customer acquisition.
1. Pastry of the day
Choose a pastry each day to present and make it the pastry of the day. Anyone who walks in and orders who will receive, say, 10% off the regular price. It would be great to try on items that don’t usually sell. This will attract regular customers who might have purchased that item anyway, and new ones who wanted to try your bakery, and a discount is what ultimately convinces them to come.
2. Package of coffee and pastries
Who doesn’t love a cup of coffee with their morning pastry? Or an afternoon pick me up? This marketing tactic is gold for you and the customer. The customer receives two items at a reduced price and you have the opportunity to earn more money. Plus, having the customer only have to go to one place to get what they need is a huge plus.
3. Buy a dozen baked goods, get the 13th free
You can call this idea The Baker’s Dozen and give away voucher number 13 for free with the purchase of a dozen assorted items or a dozen of a single item. This part is up to you. This is perfect for the customer who picks up treats for their child’s office or school, but also deserves a treat for themselves for putting in the effort.
4. Buy 10 X, get the next one free
This bakery marketing idea works similar to a loyalty card, but it’s actually a punch card. You can decide what the item is, and you can even have different ones for different items. You can make him buy 10 coffees, get the 11th free, buy 10 savory pastries, get the 11th free… you get the idea. It’s a great way to ensure customer loyalty because people will keep coming back until they get that freebie and then the process starts all over again.
5. Photo Contest
If social media is a big part of your marketing plan, this idea will be a hit. Ask your customers to take pictures of your baked goods, whether it’s a selfie with a donut or a picture of a baguette on their table. Then choose a few of your favorites and ask your followers to vote for the one they think is the best.
The winner will receive a prize of your choice and their photo will be hung on your wall of fame. Not only will people come to buy what was in that picture, but the winner can’t help but have people come over to show them their picture on the wall.
6. Pay term rebates
Pay it forward has become a huge trend, where the person ordering their coffee or pastry will pay for the person behind them. This usually starts a huge chain for the rest of the line. Why not make it even more interesting for your customers?
If they choose to pay for the person behind them, offer them 10% off the entire order. This will not only encourage the generous behavior to continue, but you will become known as a company that supports and rewards the selfless act.
7. Seasonal/holiday gifts
Giving treats during the holidays is a no-brainer. It’s a hit on social media and it underlines the festive feeling people already have. You have the choice of what you give and how you give it.
One idea might be to make a special cookie, and with every purchase a customer gets a cookie on the house. Another idea might be to invite your customers to show off their favorite ugly sweater or other fancy holiday item when they walk in, and they give them something for free. The possibilities are limitless.
8. One Day Deals
Bakeries usually don’t sell their day-old baked goods because they try to reuse them for other items or just throw them away. (Day-old croissants or cinnamon rolls make amazing bread pudding!) But you wouldn’t believe the appeal of selling these items the next day at a discount.
Day-old bakes aren’t shoddy and can most of the time be brought back to life with a little spin in the microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel. Yes, I’ve done that several times while working as a baker to stop myself from eating all the fresh produce for customers.
Owning a bakery is one of the hardest businesses to get into. You need advanced skills in baking, but also a certain business know-how. And on top of all that, you have to worry about marketing? It might seem overwhelming, especially tackling both bakery marketing and advertising ideas, but with this guide and promotion ideas, your bakery is sure to be the talk of the town.