You are on the right track, these things take time. Here are some more ideas for you though...
How about advertising to:
- People who like to entertain
How to do this:
- Start a blog with cake recipes since it will help your SEO. It will also give you things to share on social sites like tastespotting
- Start interacting on food blogs with a focus on cake/desserts/baking. Leave insightful comments, tell the bloggers about your pans and offer to send them a sample if possible (may get you press)
- Start interacting on blogs of people who like to entertain (e.g. evite blog, hostess with the mostest blog). Leave comments and participate in the conversation on their comments threads for their posts
- Purchase some banner ads on sites like Mommies With Style or Hostess with the Mostest (Mommies with Style is a parenting blog, you can promote your product as one that is ideal for parents making a cake for their kid`s parties)
- Talk to some of these bloggers and pitch stories to them about your products
- Get genuinely involved in message boards/forums for bakers, do not just go on there to post your products, actually participate with the forums so you establish some familiarity with the userbase.
- Cross-promote with companies that sell products to your audience (e.g. companies that sell aprons or products to people with young children). Trade flyers with them or guest author a post in each other`s blogs (my site is all about cross-promotion and marketing so you may find more cross-promotion ideas there if you`re interested in this)
Hope that helps.
These are all great ideas... a couple to add.
Offer to guest blog on other peoples blogs or offer them an opportunity to write for yours
Don`t go right for the biggest opportunities - look for people who have their own startups in similar fields who need you to help promote them as much as you need them
Talk to teachers about bringing your product into elementary schools and letting the kids design their own cakes.. or maybe in teams to minimize how much youd need to provide. Or even find a relatively small school and see if you can have a contest of some sort where each class designs a cake in a Shape a Cake Competiton. If not at a school theres probably some afterschool program or someplace to do it. It`ll build awareness and trial in your core target and you can use that to generate publicity.
I don`t know much about PR unfortunately, but it seems like too many people make the mistake of issuing press releases that no one cares about. But sponsoring a cake competition (maybe for charity?) will likely get picked up by something somewhere... Maybe a local news channel or newspaper, then maybe it`ll get picked up a larger regional media outlet...
Yes, do not lose hope I think you have a very good idea and product!! Don`t look at marketing as a chore... To me it`s the most fun and creative part of the whole business start up process!
Here are my ideas/suggestions.
I don`t mean to be critical but I think the overall site structure is not very good and I don`t think information is presented efficiently or effectively.
Homepage: I think the main headline "Shape-A-Cake - Making it fun to bake" is good but the sub-headine is too wordy and needs to be refined. I really like the word imagination and would keep that in there but I`m not a fan of the line "That is about to change." To me it`s a bit heavy for the product.
Positioning: I think you`re not clearly expressing some of the more intangible benefits of this product. You show the cakes which is a great literal benefit but what about showing moms and dads having fun with their kids? You have a bunch of pictures of the cakes at the top and you could include a couple in the bottom but I`d show off the "fun" part of it more. A picture of a kid with icing on their nose.. just a picture of a mom and kid smiling/laughing while using your product. You can position this product as more of a fun activity to do with your kids and not just as a straight-forward cake shaper. I don`t think I would include professional chefs or cooking clubs in your target and would take them off the line. I think the vast majority of customers will be moms with kids.
It took me a little clicking around until I finally realized exactly what it is that you`re selling and I think it`s because of the order of your Nav bar across the top. I think it would be more effective to re-order it like this:
Put a clear button/arrow at the bottom of your paragraph that says: "Learn How To Get Started with Shape-A-Cake!" You want to make it simple and take the lead of guiding visitors through your site.
Getting Started with Shape-A-Cake!
Outline the process from A-Z wiuth photos. Start with choosing a stencil, tracing it on parchment paper etc etc.
Clearly educate the customer here about your two different types of clay. I like to think I`m a pretty smart guy but its not very clear. If you are naming your one product "Decorating Clay" I think it could be helpful to name the other "Shape-A-Cake Shaping Clay"
Make the "free stencils" a bigger part of your marketing. Free things are a great motivator for people. Show images of the stencils and what can be made with them. Maybe don`t give it away right on your site but include it with their product on a CD or an exclusive link. "Includes FREE stencil package to get you started right away!"
Products and Stencils (or maybe the word "Designs")
Tips and tricks
FAQ`s: I think this is absolutely necessary for this product. It`s a new type of product (as far as I know) and people will want to know about safety, taste, refunds, shipping etc etc
I also don`t really like the word "clay" but since its on your packaging right now you will need to explain more about what the clay is made of. I mean I would assume a company wouldn`t sell something dangerous but I don`t know your company and a small doubt can become magnified when you`re dealing with a random site on the web.
I think you need to reword how you describe it. Maybe using the words "food grade" or something to convey that its 100% safe to use. I`m assuming the clay is single use? It`s thrown away after?
I also think 3 different levels of shipping pricing is too much. Just structure your shipping policy (and pricing) to offer free shipping above a certain amount.
Tips and Tricks Page: What is the goal of this page. Might be worthwhile to look into providing this as a free add-on as well. "FREE Tips and Tricks Booklet to help you get the most out of Shape-A-Cake!" There`s no real reason to provide these on your site since you just want your customers to have them. Plus people could just bake square cakes and use the stencils to cut out the shape.
I do like the packaging though and think it looks professional and fun.
Ok sorry I work in advertising/marketing as my career so I got a little carried away! Hope you find my info useful though
Best of luck and keep us updated!
So I am about 6 weeks away from launching my company and the idea of failure has been on my mind.
What if this business doesn`t work? What if no one buys my product?
I`ve come to realize that its not the idea of the business failing that`s the most daunting thing... its the fact that I`d be back to working in the cubicle in this 9-7 with no light at the end of the tunnel......
Anyone else been at this point?
This is not a forward or repost.. I noticed this scam on my debit card yesterday.
Wanted to give a heads up on a credit card scam going on with a company called Reservation Rewards. Just noticed the transaction today and saw they have been charging my account $10/mo since October. I called up and the woman quickly reversed the charges.... although it has yet to go back into my account.
The transaction comes up as "Reservation Rewards 800-732-7031"
You get signed up after making a purchase on a normal site (FTD flowers in my case) and as soon as you enter your email for a $10 back coupon - the company then (i.e FTD) automatically transfers your credit card information to Reservaion Rewards (not cool) ... its happened to people with the following mainstream sites..
This outlines the scam: http://www.boston.com/business/articles/2006/09/12/suit_says_online_marketer_ran_scam/http://www.cs.toronto.edu/~jenn/reservationRewards.html#links So yeah just wanted to give everyone a heads up... Matt
P.S. This practice is TECHNICALLY legal but not ethical by any means... therefore I emailed John Stossel at 20/20 to try and get him to cover the story :-P ... It`s bad enough that theres one shady company, but the fact that priceline and expedia are part of it makes it much worse..
If youve been had email John - JohnStossel@abcnews.com
Ok Great, thank you so much Gina! I was worried that I got wrong info and I wouldnt be able to write off the $4k or so of expenses I incurred last year.. You`ve been such a help..
I will keep you in mind when I look to outsource some of my bookkeeping! :)
MattC4/15/2008 10:17 AM