Even been in this scenario? You spend 30 minutes agonising over a quote, name a price, hit REPLY and cross your fingers whilst holding your breath and then….*crickets*. Do you ever wonder how it was possible that a different business in your town or city (that makes similar types of cakes to yours) somehow manages to secure bookings at a much higher price tag?
The truth is, pricing UP your cakes is both an art and a science, and one that does take a series of progressive steps (with a dash of trial and error) to finally arrive at.
When I started my cake business in 2013, I began by selling novelty cakes complete with completely handmade figurine toppers for $50. Over the subsequent few years however, I squirrelled away and fine-tuned many aspects of my cakes and business to be able to command over $2000+ for my premium designer wedding cakes.
People always scratch their heads and wonder how it is that some businesses are just able to command a higher rate than others… Is it luck? Is it having a brick and mortar storefront? A large team? What is the differentiating factor? Though factors like that can play a small part, I’ve observed that working on the following key areas are some of the main things that enable a Cake Business to charge more for their baked creations (and have clients willingly pay for them).
Your Overall Brand Identity
There’s a reason why people prefer to buy shoes and clothes from certain stores and not others. Whilst it may be a result of design or quality, a lot of it has to do with brand association. There is a reason why I somehow fork out $9 to pay for a smoothie in a fancy green cup instead of easily replicating it at home.. It’s cause the business that I bought from has strategically branded itself as a premium product. Desirable. Healthy. Trendy. All the things I fancy being associated with. This “brand identity” has somehow compelled me to WANT to exchange my hard earned cashola for a cup of pulverised pulp.
Accident? I think not… This was all part of the plan.
The truth is, the way you present your business and products can immensely influence the price clients are willing to fork out for them.
Case in point: Imagine walking into a fine-dining restaurant.. You likely expect and are ready to pay top-dollar for your dinner because of the “grass-fed-this-and-that” that you ordered, the crystal wineglasses, the immaculate surfaces, the slick décor and the sharp front-of-house staff. However, you wouldn’t expect to pay anything more than $20 for a similar steak dinner from the dusty pub down the street, with its dull windows and dated signage.
How your brand is presented to the public at EVERY touchpoint contributes to the perceived value of your product, which in turn influences buyer behavior. So consider this…your product images, your brand colours, logo, messaging, social media presence, print material, website, emails… are all in reality communicating to the customer the perceived value of your product. So what should we do here?
Be mindful to evaluate, assess and take steps to ELEVATE every customer touchpoint from time to time. Potential buyers who have positively encountered your “brand” from various aspects would be more willing to pay for what you have to offer because they would have already been ‘won over’ by your brand voice.
The Quality and Finesse of your Work
There is no nice way of saying this, and I don’t mean to make anyone feel bad. But let’s get real honest here… Sunken fondant, messy buttercream, dry cake and shrivelled flowers simply have no way of attracting high paying clients. If you want to start charging more for your cakes, friend…you gotta work hard, be willing to upskill, study and PRACTICE as this is what’s gonna make your cakes look more expensive. There are no shortcuts and no one can do this for you. You gotta do the work.
Many home bakers attempt to raise their prices early on in their baking career, only to face knock-backs and rejections without clearly knowing the reasons why. This then causes many to retreat into a safer “cheap cake” zone which they end up (begrudgingly) remaining in for years.
But friend, it doesn’t have to stay that way.
What we need to know is that higher prices have to be EARNED. Charging more for your baked goods is in essence, a self-granted promotion. And as we know from observing the mainstream workforce, all promotions are usually earned through: high performance, further education, increase in responsibilities and meeting Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).
As cake makers, that means: Investing time, effort, finances and attention into making our work the best it can possibly be. When I first started making cakes as a local home baker, my ultimate goal was to make the best, most intricate and skilfully crafted cakes in my entire city. So I did everything I could to get myself closer to my goals. I flew interstate and overseas to attend cake classes, I enrolled in Online Courses in the evenings, pored over books in my free time and said yes to a variety of projects that enabled me to practice my craft.
It may sound like a lot to some, but really, this is the type of dedication that is required if you want to garner the attention, recognition and authority in any field of work.
If you’re keen and ready to take your cakes to the next level and turn your passion into a thriving career or vocation, doors to my exclusive all-access cake membership, the ‘Cake Insider Academy’ will be opening soon. Click here to find out more and join the waitlist.
Social Media Marketing
A lot can be said about social media these days, but I will say is that if you want to reach out to clients who are ready and willing to spend big on items like bespoke cakes, dessert boxes, treats and other baked goods, apps like Instagram and Facebook are certainly places we need to be present on. According to US stats for Instagram, approximately 80% of users follow at least 1 business and 70% are likely to buy via mobile.
A majority of our clients are actively using apps just like these and so social media (as many of us already know) is a fantastic place to connect with clients who potentially fit out “dream client” description.
However, there are a few key things to remember when marketing our work on social media. The first is, to be intentional and active on the app. Merely having an account and flicking up images when you find the spare time to do so, isn’t going to cut it. Social media is part of the cake JOB and we need to view it less as entertainment, and more as a TOOL that can help connect us with potential clients. So what does that look like? It looks like spending more time writing interesting captions and taking quality photos/videos and less time scrolling through everyone else’s feeds. It looks like scheduling in specific days to post in order to ensure consistency in your online presence. It looks like putting aside shyness and showing up with your face on camera to connect with your followers. We want to move away from just being “consumers” of the app, and more “producers” who release interesting, relevant, helpful and pleasing content to our audience.
It also requires us to spend more time and effort to capture quality images on our work. So instead of snapping a couple of quick pictures just before the client picks up their cake, what about scheduling in a solid 30 minutes when the cake is completed so you’re doing your cake work justice by capturing it in the best way possible?
And on this note, there’s no need for whoppingly expensive equipment. A decent smartphone, camera, soft daytime lighting and a pleasing and uncluttered background can all help create an image of your work that looks more expensive. And that is the goal here.
Clients make most purchasing decisions with their eyes. The same cake can either look like a “budget” or “premium” prodcut depending on how it was photographed. So be more intentional in the photo-taking process and equally so, in the post editing process. Brightening, cropping and boosting colours on your cake photo with a few simple taps and clicks in post-editing can do wonders in producing a beautiful cake photo, which will in turn have the ability to attract a higher paying client.
*Relevant: Editing Tips for Gorgeous Cake Photos
Customer Experience (and Reviews)
In the biz world this is termed as “social proof” and is one of the most powerful ways to persuade customers of the validity of your product or service offering. Including reviews across your marketing platforms can be highly effective in influencing others of the value of what it is you are offering, and could make new customers more willing to shell out bigger bucks for what you sell.
So how do you practically do this? Every time you sell something, have a process in place to collect feedback from clients. It can be something as simple as an email template that you send out a few days after an event following up with your client on whether they enjoyed their purchase, or a personal message to your client.
You can then collate these reviews into a folder and have them sprinkled throughout your website, social media posts and print material. Asking for reviews is a win-win situation as positive reviews will help push forward your product in customer’s minds, and negative reviews will provide a reality check of the actual customer experience with your product (which is essential in refining your product into something that people will pay big bucks for).
So there you have it, four key areas to focus on in order to improve the value and perceived Value of your product in a way that enables you to successfully charge higher prices for your cakes AND actually get those orders in the bag.
If you got something helpful out of this post, why not share it with someone who might find it beneficial and leave a comment below sharing what you learned. I love hearing back from all of you dear readers xx