Online promotional tips for bakeries

We don't sell cupcakes or run a bakery, but we often get asked for advice about opening up a bakery. You'd have to speak to an actual bakery owner on that, but over our years of cupcake blogging, we've made some observations. Keep in mind these are just some tips I'm recommending as a cupcake blogger and cupcake buyer. Following these would make my life as a blogger easier, too, but I'm more concerned with what will attract and keep customers, because, as with any website, if someone visits once and doesn't find what they're looking for, it's unlikely they'll be back. All too often, I visit a bakery website and find almost nothing on it - no location, maybe one cupcake photo, no "About Us."

I'm sure our readers have things to add - we'd all love to hear them. Feel free to add them in the comments or via email.


Photo from Houston's The Cookie Jar Bakery via Flickr (they're one of the ones we love on Flickr, so check out all their photos)

Flickr users:

DO make your name on Flickr your bakery name or something related to it. Rather than your Flickr URL being http://www.flickr.com/photos/123456789 make it http://www.flickr.com/photos/mycupcakebakery - it's much more memorable, easier to type, and will stay with people.

DO put a link to your main bakery site and/or your prices and contact info in your Flickr profile. Many people who see our photos here would love to purchase or at least browse your cupcake and possibly order, but can't do so unless you tell us how to contact you.

DO tell us what kinds of cupcakes you made, and any special ingredients or fun facts.

DO give a sense of not just your cupcakes, but your story. Have shots of cupcakes being made? Staff working? Your interior or cool logo? Post them. Help give your bakery an online personality. This also goes for the bakery website section below. We all love cupcakes, but part of what makes a given bakery a place to return to is the atmosphere.

DO add tags to your photos. At minimum, tag them "cupcake" and "cupcakes" as well as your bakery name and any identifying details. You never know who may be searching for just that combination of cupcake.

DO add your photos to our Cupcakes Take the Cake pool.

DO join as many cupcake and baking-related pools as you can. For example, visit this Clever Cupcakes photo and you'll see it's also part of many other pools. The more people that see your photos, the better.

DO befriend other bakers/bakeries on Flickr. There is a thriving cupcake community on Flickr and it behooves you to become part of it.


Albuquerquer bakery Cupcakeology's sign, via Flickr

Remember, your Flickr account can and should complement your website. You can use it to promote your products and direct people to your site for details, as My Sweet and Saucy does.

For bakery websites:

DO make the name of your bakery crystal clear. If your URL is wesellcupcakes.com but your actual bakery name is I Love Cupcakes, that's confusing.

DO put some time and effort into coming up with a memorable name. Ones like Cake Fetish in Albuquerque stand out. At this point, there are so many BabyCakes it's a little ridiculous (NYC, with branch coming soon to LA [the others listed aren't affiliated with each other], Kansas City, Sacramento, Torrance). Creating a name that's memorable and meaningful will only help you in the long run. It gives you a good story to go with your bakery and will stick in people's minds.

DO put your store's address (including city! lots of folks skip that) and hours right up front on your website. Don't make us hunt around for the address, or leave it off entirely. Even if you're delivery only, don't assume that only locals are visiting your site. People may be seeking you out because they're visiting your town, randomly browsing, following a link, or want to order cupcakes for someone who lives in your town. It's the Internet! This is a common mistake I see - not putting all that info on the front of your site, or sometimes, anywhere. Bonus points for giving directions/maps.

DO add a menu and tell us what you offer. Photos are great ways to convey exactly what kinds of cupcakes you have.

DO give website readers as much information as you can. That's the main thing. If you close early on some days, or sometimes run out of a given cupcakes, or they need to call ahead to order more than a dozen cupcakes, post that on your site. Don't disappoint your customers by having them come in hungry for a cupcake and you're closed, repeatedly (that means you, Georgetown Cupcake!).

DO have a newsletter. This is optional, but is a great resource, especially if you do monthly specials, new flavors, and events. Atlanta's Sweet Pockets has a great newsletter. Other bakeries with newsletters (not a comprehensive list):

Babycakes NYC

The Cupcakery (Las Vegas)

Cupcake Craving



Chocolate peanut butter cupcakes from Long Beach, California bakery My Sweet and Saucy via Flickr

Comments

Casa Costello said…
Thanks for this list - Its really useful! Could I also add one...? Don't post too many pics of the same cakes on your Flickr site - people won't spend the time scrolling down - We are such a lazy internet lot!
RockerJewlz said…
A great daily blog about building and running a bakery is from the owner of the Retro bakery in Las Vegas, Nevada.

http://buildingabakery.blogspot.com/.

She's open, honest and funny and writes every day. I love reading it.
gr8chefmrd said…
Thank you for this. I currently am a custom cake decorator but the call for cupcakes is increasing. Its a whole new world

Thanks
Imagicakes Custom bakery in Philadelphia
Instyle said…
Again, great post...Please be sure to check out InStyle Cupcakes at www.instylecupcakes.com or in twitter @instylecupcakes or in facebook @instyle Cupcakes. We are in MIami and would love to have you taste our cupcakes sometime.
Chris said…
Another great way to get people to visit your site or your Flikr photos is to be sure that your image alt tags contain the at least a partial keyword for the page. For example, if you have a page for wedding cakes, the keywords would be "wedding cakes", so your alt tag would also be "wedding cake" or some form of your keywords. Another great thing to do is make the link to your website point to a page that is the same as your keywords. Using the wedding cakes example it would look like this

http://www.cherylscandiesandcakes.com/indianapolis-wedding-cakes/

This will help raise your page rank in the Google listings.
PattiCakes said…
Thanks for the great ideas, everyone! I'm very new to the web design aspects and have only recently opened my own bakery, so I will take all the advice I can get. If anyone has ideas for how I can get more people interested in my cupcakes, please let me know. The website is www.patticakeschicago.com
Thanks!
http://cupcakesheaven.com said…
Thanks for the info
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