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How to Do Bakery Marketing
Running a successful bakery is more than just gooey chocolate chip cookies and Instagram-worthy cupcake displays. Here’s how to create an effective bakery marketing plan.
Do you find yourself daydreaming about glass displays showcasing your latest culinary confections? Or, do you have endless ideas for Instagram-worthy cakes to celebrate every occasion? Then, you probably have a dream of opening a bakery. You’ve got the recipes and vision down pat. It’s now time to take action on your dream.
There’s a lot that goes into running a successful bakery. You need to have the necessary skills, motivation, and discipline to be a small business owner. Yet, there’s another important aspect that often gets overlooked - the restaurant marketing strategy for your bakery.
You can have the most Pinterest-perfect cake pops and heavenly brownies, but if nobody knows your bakery exists, then they won’t really sell. This is why it’s critical to have a solid bakery marketing strategy ready to promote your goods.
We’ve created this bakery marketing roadmap so that you can get the word out about your bakery and all your incredible confections.
What is a restaurant or bakery marketing strategy?
A marketing strategy is an overall plan to reach potential customers and convert them into loyal patrons. A restaurant or bakery marketing strategy is typically planned out a year in advance, although it should leave plenty of room for flexibility.
A few key factors that your bakery marketing plan should include are:
Target market: The target market is the group of people whose business you hope to attract. You can narrow down your target market by identifying your brand’s values, vision, mission, and purpose.
Buyer persona: A buyer persona is a model of who you think your target customer is. Oftentimes, bakeries will have more than one buyer persona. Buyer personas may include sex, age, income level, generation, buying behavior, likes, and dislikes.
Industry research: For brick-and-mortar businesses like bakeries, research is everything, especially when it comes to location. Your marketing strategy should include thorough research of the area, the local competitors, gaps in the market, and strategies to fill these voids.
How much should I spend on bakery marketing?
Small businesses like bakeries don’t always need a huge budget for bakery marketing. That’s not to say that marketing isn’t important (it very much is!) It’s more to say that, with the right strategies in place, you can leverage a ton of free resources to get the word out about your business.
When it comes to budgeting, there's no one-size-fits-all approach or crystal ball that can tell you exactly how much you should allot for marketing. Your bakery marketing budget will largely depend on a few things:
How you plan to reach your target market
The resources available to you (staff, capital, and time)
The other costs of opening a bakery you need to consider
What you’re offering to prospective customers
While mapping out your marketing budget, you have to take into account your bakery’s business model. This will help you answer a very important question: what does your bakery need to prioritize most in your marketing strategy?
If you know that your bakery will primarily rely on online ordering, it would be wise to invest in an expert web designer to ensure your site is seamless and user-friendly. Or, if you know that social media will play a significant role in reaching prospective patrons, plan to budget for professional photoshoots that will make your social media posts pop on peoples’ feeds.
Bakery marketing budgets also depend on resources, size, location, and more. The U.S Small Business Administration (SBA) estimates that most businesses spend about 3-5% of sales on their marketing budget when they first open, then 2-3% on an ongoing basis. Take a look at your bakery’s profit margins to make sure you aren’t spending more than you have on marketing. And, the SBA advises that any business making less than $5M annually should invest more heavily in marketing (closer to 7-8% of sales) to grow.
You can learn more about designing your bakery marketing budget here.
Bakery Marketing Ideas and Examples
Opening a new bakery is exciting. You’ve got the skills, the experience, and the drive needed to sell your baked goods. After picking out an awesome bakery name, you’re eager to share your creations with people who appreciate a perfect pastry for the art that it is.
Before your dreams of lines outside your bakery wrapped around the block, go into overdrive, people need to know you exist!
Here are some marketing ideas that can get the word out about your bakery — and don’t break the bank.
1. Plan a soft launch
A soft launch is a fantastic opportunity to gather feedback and insights from consumers. There are a few advantages to a soft launch: One, it’s an additional level of testing where you get to handpick your participants. And two, it allows you to make last-minute improvements before your grand opening to the public.
Besides, who doesn’t love free baked goods?
2. Offer sweet giveaways
Nothing gets the buzz going for a new bakery like a good old-fashioned giveaway. You can run an online giveaway that costs you very little and has the potential to reach each entrant’s friends and followers.
Similar to loyalty programs, giveaways could be as simple as asking online followers to:
Post a picture of themselves at your bakery and tag the location
Tag a friend they want to share a cupcake with on a post (more tags = more entries)
Suggest a new name for your latest creation in the comments
Share your post as an Instagram Story and tag your Instagram account
Make sure the reward is something rave-worthy. You want to get people excited! The more followers that enter the giveaway, the further the word will spread about your bakery.
3. Host local events
Engaging with your local community is a wonderful way to build awareness of your bakery and connect with fellow small business owners. Don’t be shy to introduce yourself and maybe even offer to host a series of local events. Think about contacting local businesses, schools, places of worship, and youth organizations to volunteer your location as a future meeting spot.
Here’s our guide to all of the costs associated with opening a bakery, from equipment to marketing and everything in between.
How to Measure the Effectiveness of Your Bakery Marketing Strategy
Marketing campaigns are great because they drive attention and business to your bakery. However, they also require an investment, whether that’s time, money, or both. It only makes sense that you’ll want to guarantee that your investment is paying off.
The revenue insights you gain from your bakery’s marketing ROI should largely influence how you approach your future marketing plans. If your ROI didn't turn out as you’d hoped, that means you need to analyze your marketing campaign to determine if there’s something that needs to be changed or an idea that needs to be dropped entirely.
If your campaign was successful, it is a green light to run that campaign, or a similar version of it, again when appropriate.
Ready to add some bakery marketing campaigns to the calendar? Keep reading for marketing ideas that will boost brand recognition and drive more foot traffic to your shop.
What are the most common bakery marketing strategies?
Like other restaurant marketing strategies, bakery marketing plans can be divided into two types: organic and paid.
Organic Marketing for Bakeries
Organic marketing is a strategy that attracts prospective customers naturally over time and doesn’t use advertising or paid promotions. What’s important to remember about organic marketing is that it’s a long-term play. You’re not approaching consumers directly; instead, you’re using tactics that build brand awareness for your bakery and establish a connection with your audience. Organic marketing methods enable customers to find you — it just takes a little time.
Organic marketing includes strategies like:
Posting on social media (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, TikTok, LinkedIn)
Publishing blog posts and articles that are relevant to your audience
Online press releases
The beauty of organic posting is that it doesn’t cost anything – you can post photos, videos, and messages on your social media channels and website without putting any money behind it. What’s great is that organic marketing goes hand-in-hand with paid marketing. You can boost posts and put money towards promoting the organic content you’ve already created.
Paid Marketing for Bakeries
Paid marketing is exactly what it sounds like: using paid methods to target, engage, and (hopefully) convert your audience into new customers.
Unlike organic marketing, which seeks to increase brand awareness over time, paid marketing is associated with a specific marketing campaign, like a holiday promotion or a new customer offer.
Paid marketing strategies include:
Paid search ads
Paid social media ads
To decide if paid posting is right for your bakery, you’ll want to consider your audience size and reach, the frequency of posting and promotion, and the quality of your content.
What are effective marketing strategies for new bakeries?
A marketing strategy for a new bakery should be flexible and open to new ideas. Using creativity, research, and customer feedback, you can craft tailored strategies that work for you and spread the word about your bakery.
Here are a few bakery marketing ideas to jumpstart your strategy:
1. Meticulously maintain your Google My Business profile
Google My Business is an amazing resource that will help drive customers to your business. Nevertheless, you must maintain an accurate and up-to-date profile, otherwise, you’ll lose consumer interest and trust.
You can update your Google My Business profile with posts, offerings, questions and answers, and direct messaging. It also lists your hours of operation, alerts customers to closures due to holidays or other events, and even gives you insights into what keywords people use to find you.
2. Promote user-generated content
When loyal customers share beautiful pictures of your baked goods on their social media channels, you gain instant advertising. 64% of consumers agree that they’re more likely to post content about a company when that brand shares customer content. User-generated content (UGC) is a type of organic marketing that leverages word-of-mouth recommendations — possibly one of the most valuable types of advertising out there.
To promote UGC, consider running some sort of social media contest for your bakery. You can ask customers to share a photo or video of their favorite baked goods and tag you so you can reshare it on your own channels. You can also add unique interior or exterior design elements to your bakery that promote guests to take photos and share them, such as a bold neon sign or gorgeous plant wall.
3. Focus on mobile-friendly designs
It’s one thing to have a beautifully-designed website. It’s another to have a beautifully-designed website that’s easy to navigate.
When potential customers search for your bakery, they expect to find a user-friendly site that allows them to seamlessly search for and find what they’re looking for. If they find a website that’s not optimized for a small screen, there’s a good chance that they’ll bounce before the page can even finish loading. 1.8M people search for “bakery near me” every month according to Ahrefs, so an up-to-date website could be your ticket to lots of new customers.
A mobile-friendly website is especially key if your bakery offers online ordering. If customers are satisfied with their experience ordering through your website, they’ll likely return as loyal bakery customers.
Check out a fantastic example of a mobile-friendly website from our friends at Sunmerry Bakery Cafe.
What are effective marketing strategies to increase revenue from existing customers?
The best way to increase your bakery sales is to focus on existing customers and turn them into loyal repeat patrons. However, the bakery industry is extremely competitive. When it comes to picking the right place for a birthday cake or a sweet treat and a coffee, customers have no shortage of choices after a quick search on Google.
Here are a few bakery marketing strategies to get customers to return to your shop time and again.
1. Turn existing customers into influencers
Your best customers are those that know your bakery well and would recommend it to their friends and family. Treat these customers like gold. One way you can do this is by turning them into your influencers. You don’t have to roll out a full-scale influencer marketing program for this. All you need to do is occasionally provide them with a free treat or recognition on your social media channel, especially when they come back with new customers.
An easy way to increase bakery sales is upselling. Upselling is the act of convincing customers to upgrade their current purchase or to buy additional products. You can do this by giving out free samples of new goods or training your staff to upsell certain menu items. For example, if a customer buys a muffin, the cashier could casually ask, “Would you like to add a coffee to that?” Chances are - the customer will say ‘sure!’ That’s an additional sale without you having to spend a dollar.
3. Offer a loyalty program
If you’re considering a loyalty program for your bakery, you’re on the right path.
Loyalty programs are an excellent way to keep consumers engaged and can have significant returns for your business. In fact, around 8 in 10 consumers feel that loyalty programs encourage them to shop with a brand again.
The best part is that loyalty programs can be incredibly simple. Whether it’s a punch card (buy 9 donuts, get the 10th free) or a point system (get 1 point per $1 spent for regards), you can tailor your loyalty program to what works best for your bakery. It can be free cupcakes, coffee, or cake pops - all that matters is that the rewards incentivize customers to keep coming back for more.
Rising to the Bakery Marketing Occasion
Bakery marketing is the yeast that helps the dough (your business!) rise to new heights. It’s the icing on the cake of business operations and helps to better showcase the treats that you’ve worked hard to perfect. Enough of the baking puns - get your mixers turning and your marketing plan in place, and your bakery will be on the map in no time.