Beechworth Bakery’s Tom O’Toole discusses marketing the Easter experience.
Easter: it’s our busiest time of the year. But even though it’s our busiest time, we still do lots of promotion. Most are low-cost promotions that work great for us.
First, a few weeks before Easter we invite local schools to visit us and make some hot cross buns. They love it. We help them and they get to take home some great product. We let the local newspaper know and they come along and do a story.
We also use our front window to make a really eye-catching display of Easter product. If we make it interesting enough, it attracts enough local interest to be newsworthy. And we make sure to keep our display counter full and always have lots of product in sight.
The bakery does heaps of Easter bunny biscuits, Easter-themed meringues, etc.
We promote the fact that we bake our hot cross buns fresh every day, throughout the day. We make sure we have plenty of bun spice around the bakery. We put the spice in the oven throughout the day, which gives a terrific aroma.
The cheapest and best promotion is word-of-mouth, so we do lots of free sampling in the shop. We also do sampling at the local farmers market. Any chance we get, we sample. We give a dozen hot cross bun vouchers to local schools to use as prizes. We also give gift vouchers to the Rotary and Probus Clubs and other local organisations. We drop off hot cross buns to the local radio station and they often comment on our product on the air.
In Beechworth we have an Easter festival, so we get the chance to do an Easter float in a parade. It’s a big commitment at our busiest time of year, but we have found parades are a great way to get exposure. It’s all about a complete experience for the customer, in and outside the shop.