Anyone who reads this should know about my fledgling company, 17th Street Cakes. I've sold a few cakes through here, given out some goods and promoted it a bit to the outside world. As I'd expected, advertising is the hardest part.
I started out with a Facebook page and put a few dollars toward advertising credits. Those few dollars became even more when I noticed how many people were looking at the ads and finding that page. I got a $50 ad credit from Facebook, and put that toward more ads. Before I knew it, my credit ran out and I spent about $50 more on more ads before I pulled the plug.
What I found was disappointing. The ads drove traffic to my page, but nobody was participating. Nobody put in an order with me. They only liked the page and moved on. I decided to run a few promotions, in which the nth person to "Like" would receive a free box of cookies. Again, I got more and more likes but no participation. One winner never managed to see my messages asking her to step up and claim her prize, and because her privacy settings prevented me from messaging her directly, she lost her chance. I'm sure very few actually saw my page, but instead clicked the link on the ad and moved on to play Farmville. (Or is Farmville out of style now?)
Lesson learned: Facebook does not work. It might for established businesses, but not for someone like me. Nobody has the attention span for it.
I'm pursuing another avenue. My job at an insurance agency puts me in touch with a lot of people who have parties. Especially a few of my coworkers. I plan on using these connections to get my name out there. It's going well so far. I made a birthday cake for my boss, based on Butterfinger candy. The restaurant where he went for dinner was so impressed with the end result that they wanted my contact information. I've got a few more orders under my belt from coworkers. And finally, the agency is sponsoring their first-ever kid's fishing tournament, and I will be one of the sponsors. It'll be a small contribution based on what I can afford to donate, but there will be cake pops at the event.
My calendar's filling up slowly but surely with orders. Some pro-bono, some paid. Let's see how this goes.