So, my sisters and I finally had enough funding to open the pastry shop that we all had been dreaming of ever since we were little. Jo, our eldest, secured a small establishment in a strategic location downtown, which meant that it had the potential to be frequented by walk-in customers. Sally looked for retailers of baking equipment that we needed to create our tasty products. As the youngest, my job was to ensure that the shop would look as cozy as possible.
Precisely three weeks before our target launch date, we realized one problem: we did not have a budget left for marketing purposes. Most of the money went to the ingredients, tools, packaging, and rent. We decided not to hire people and take care of the business’s front and back ends on our own to reduce our expenses, too. But it was clear how essential it was to promote our pastry shop, especially when our long-term goal was to become everyone’s go-to place for baked goods.
After much deliberation, we tried the following to market our family business:
Opening an account on Facebook, Instagram, and other social media channels is free unless you choose to pay for advertisements that will make your brand visible in the newsfeed of thousands of people. It may not be necessary, though, if you have many personal friends there who can share posts regularly. This way, their subscribers can find you and ideally help you level up the business in the future.
When we promoted the pastry shop online, my sisters and I baked everything we wanted to sell and took pictures of them. Then, I set up a business page on Facebook, where we posted some of those images every other day, complete with quotes or invitations to our launch. Our efforts paid off when many individuals liked and shared them.
Create A Blog
If you are not aware of the entrepreneurial trends, businesses always create a website and have a section for blogs. The topics revolve around the company’s success, why their products are the best, and other stuff that may be relevant to their target market. The said articles silently answer the question, “Why should I buy anything from this brand?”
A blog is an excellent platform to introduce your products, specifically how it can improve your consumers’ lives. Once our website was up, Jo and Sally took turns writing about every baked good on the menu, which we genuinely learned from our Mom and Gran. I posted web links to our social media pages, and even folks we didn’t know messaged us about how the blogs entertained or inspired them.
Make A Moving Billboard
Considering you do not have a budget to pay bus companies to cover their vehicles with your logo, you can still create a moving ad by wrapping your car with it and driving all over the town. The flashier, the better.
In case it does not seem enough for you, feel free to form attention-grabbing designs that you (and possibly your friends) can hold or wear on the streets. Flyers and small banners are excellent examples of that; printed T-shirts would be ideal, too.
Either idea results in a makeshift billboard that passersby will want to pay attention to with or without a traffic jam.
Go To Events
Many shows and trade fairs take place throughout the year. It will be fantastic if you get invited to speak to these occasions, but assuming that you are a budding entrepreneur, you can set up a booth at such events to meet probable clients. The atmosphere rarely goes bad there since everyone maintains an open mind about new merchandise. Prepare your business card beforehand if you have time, too, just in case individuals want to see more of your goods after the show.
Considering you cannot get a slot in such events, you may try promoting the business at any social gathering you go to. For instance, during a family reunion, we brought a table full of our products. We did not sell them at that time, but we made sure to add our logo on every item so that it would be visible when cousins take a selfie with the pastries.
Send Out Freebies
Whenever someone avails your products or services, it may be better to give them a small gift with every purchase. This giveaway will have a double purpose, of course. It acts as your token of appreciation and a way to entice them to buy the bigger version of the sample.
Once a customer’s bill exceeds $25, they could get a free cookie or brownie. We did not have money to customize pens, spoons, or anything else, so we stuck to our guns. Luckily, everyone loved the free goodies and told their friends—potential customers—about our pastry shop.
Marketing was more challenging for us than baking, even though the latter could mean hours of kneading and mixing and waiting for the dough to be perfect. Still, we did not let our shortcomings prevent us from making our dreams come true.
If we could market our family business without a massive budget, you could do that, too. Good luck!