How To Promote A Home Baking Business

Published on
19 July 2022
Gareth Busby
Gareth Busby

If you are starting a micro-bakery or home baking business, getting it noticed is going to be one, if not your biggest worry. No doubt that you have the skills to make beautiful baked products, but do you know how to get people to buy them? One thing for sure is you’re not going to have the same budget as a fortune 500 to promote your products! Most home baking businesses start with little money to invest in marketing, but as you put in the time you’ll realise, it doesn’t matter!

I set up a slightly bigger bakery business in 2015. Back then I didn’t know anything about self-promotion or marketing. I was so bad I hired a local radio team to run expensive ads to about 5% of the population! I quickly learned the hard (and expensive) way!

Generating sales in a larger bakery is pretty much the same in a micro-bakery, but this article is designed with a home baking business in mind. If you want a guide for a larger format bakery, see my bakery marketing plan article. The methods listed below have been updated to reflect what you should do to promote your bakery in 2022. It aims to go beyond the age-old “deliver a great service” textbook answers. I’m sure you know that already?! Here are my how to promote a home baking business top six tips:

1) Go to your customer

The most critical thing when promoting a home baking business, or any business, is to know who your ideal customer is. Just like tv shopping channel targets 55-year-old women who don’t have a lot of money, you should be targeting who you want to attract to your bakery, and get in front of them.

When you know who you want and where they spend their time, be it, Instagram, Facebook groups, bars, food festivals, recipe websites… you can be there to help, and to buy from, if, and when they are ready.

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“Marketing doesn’t work” if anyone tells you this, they are right, it doesn’t work, well, all of the time. The issue is not knowing if you are getting returns from your efforts, or just talking to the wall. To remove chances of the latter, focus on spending your time introducing yourself to your ideal customer.

If you don’t know who your ideal customer should be, this building an avatar guide will help!

2) Don’t promote to your friends and family

Segwaying nicely to my next point! You shouldn’t look to your family and friends for approval. They are probably not your ideal customer, so don’t be disappointed when they stop liking your social posts. And don’t take business advice from them either!

You can listen to feedback from your close network, but don’t trust it to always be useful. They don’t have your knowledge of the baking industry, your baking skills, or perhaps your vision, so they aren’t in the best place to advise you. Don’t ignore them completely, but don’t start documenting your life on Instagram because your friends tell you to!

3) Get an online presence

Although you might not “sell” from your website, it’s the one thing that you can own that tells people how to buy. Of course, it’s not always this blunt, but think of it like this:

A customer has found you somehow, be it through social media or word of mouth. Google or any kind of source. Interested in what you do, they check your website. At this point, some viewers will be ready to buy, others, maybe just curious. It’s up to your website to tell them why your bakery meets their interests, and how to buy your products. This could be an enquiry form, directions to your bakery, phone number or an order form.

A website that promotes your business is a fantastic converter of sales. Even if you don’t necessarily see the orders come through your website, you can downright be sure that a potential new customer will check it out! A slow, dated or unresponsive website is going to hold you back. If your design skills or budget are limited, let’s be honest, you want to spend any money you have on bakery equipment for a micro-bakery instead. So opt for a simple design.

How social media and online marketing works

As well as having a website it’s worthwhile creating a Google My Business (GMB) page. This is a free webpage that Google uses to plot you on the map when a user searches for things like “bakery near me”. Customers are able to post reviews and photos. Whereas you can share opening hours, menus, contact details, images and blog posts. Even if you don’t use all the features, it’s free and you can set up the basics in under an hour.

4) Build an email list

Imagine having a list of previous customers and interested people in your products to contact when you have a new product or special offer? Well by building an email list you can do just that, or even just remind them to make a visit! Years ago, this strategy used to work with Facebook. But changes in the algorithm have made Facebook almost irrelevant for communicating messages to your fans.

“How can I get people’s email addresses?” I hear you ask! The most common is if they order from your website, but it doesn’t have to be. Offer an irresistible deal that compels users to give you their email address in exchange. This can be through money off vouchers, recipes, downloadable guides or eBooks. Even something as simple as a monthly newsletter or the opportunity to leave a review can result in a potential customer giving you their email address.

In order to obtain email addresses, you’ll want to have a lead generation gateway. Software such as ActiveCampaign is great for this as it provides a simple drag-and-drop form builder, integrates with all social channels, delivers the freebie they may have signed up for and allows you to send out emails without sharing anyone else’s details. It actually does a lot more, but this isn’t supposed to be a sales pitch for it, there are other tools, but this is the one I use. You can check out ActiveCampaign for yourself here.

To get your customers to sign up you’ll need to get them to your sign up page. This can come from your website, with Facebook’s free lead generation tool or using “link in bio” for Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Twitter.

What to write in the emails? It’s best to stick to a particular theme when writing to your fans. This could be a quick update on how your business is doing, baking tips, explanations on how your products are so good, or even recipes. You can, of course, slip in your latest product range or any promotions you are running. But your audience may start avoiding the email in future if you are only asking for something without giving anything in return. A full-on aggressive sales-led nature does work in some cultures though, you decide!

5) Gain a social media tribe

To get a business off the ground that makes visually pleasing products, sharing images and videos on social media is almost always the cheapest and most rewarding way to build a tribe of followers quickly.

Trying to grow every social channel can be a little stressful, especially when starting them all from nothing. It’s best to focus on one or two, to begin with. To determine the choice of platform that you should concentrate on, ask yourself again, “where does your target audience hang out?”

Then, look at how to get in front of people who you think would like your product. This can be through sharing posts in local, baking Facebook groups, or using the correct hashtags on Instagram.

When it comes to #hashtags, you should be using them in your Instagram posts. Use ones that other people are using that are relatable to your home town, or in the baking niche. Hopefully a few will cross over too. For example, if your bakery is in Oxford, you might be looking at similar hashtags to #oxford, #oxfordfoodie, #oxfordbakers, #bakedfromscratch, #bakingbread

You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post. You shouldn’t be using the same ones for each image so you’ll want at least 100 to call upon. A hashtag research tool such as Flick will help you get traction, especially in the early days.

Aside from hashtags, you’ll need good content too. This means you’ll need to take photography seriously. If this is a new and scary subject, try watching a few photography videos on YouTube or even take a class. A good camera to get started is this DSLR from Canon. Your social channels will be your first impression to potential customers. Make it a good one -or it could be the last.

6) Get involved in your local area

Aside from working online, you can and should be doing things in the real world in order to gain attention. In the modern era, we all know it’s easy to focus on socials and website design. But in reality, the best way to gain avid fans in a local-based business is to be remembered by your audience. And the ultimate way to do this is to speak to them.

Just like the car bought because the salesman has nice, or the builder hired because he seemed most excited about the project or “got you”. Selling bread can work in much the same way. If potential customers know who you are, how you will greet them and how easy it is to get a great quality product from you they are more likely to purchase. And, come to think about it… aren’t these similar reasons why big brands like Starbucks and Mcdonald’s are so successful?

Once you can see the importance of building real alliances in your community, how do you go about it? Well, before I continue with ideas let me just warn you that in most cases it will take a little while for this strategy to bring you orders. There is also no way of measuring your local presence. Because of this, it is often the case that you’ll be more well known than you realise!

There is a two-pronged strategy to use here. Remember your target customer? Well, the first strategy is to repeat what you would do online, go where they hang out.

For a bakery business, this could be farmers/flea markets, food festivals or doing activities with local food businesses. You might also find joy speaking to the owners of local delis. Offer them some samples and get talking to them. They might not buy, but they might get a request from someone interested in your products to pass on. Getting some nice business cards or flyers printed will help here!

And this leads to the second prong of attack! This is to speak to people that know people. It sounds a little dated, but mingling in groups with other business owners, councillors, local celebrities, suppliers and even the police (my bakery backed onto their smoking area!) can lead to sales.

Although not often in the short term, the bigger you build your network up, offer a smile and display your passion for your craft, the more people will talk about you. Word of mouth is the best way to promote a home baking business, and it costs nothing!

Ending thoughts on how to promote a bakery business

We’ve just covered a lot of ideas to promote your bakery business, but there is one underlying message that runs throughout this article. That’s to be humble, be great to work with and actively work to get your bakery products noticed.

Promoting your bakery business is just, if not more important than producing the products. I hope that you’ve found some of these tips handy and use them to grow your bakery business. If I’ve missed anything that could help others, let me know in the comments below so you can make this article the ultimate guide to promoting a bakery or micro-bakery business!

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