(This article appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of Pastry Arts Magazine)
By Irenea Aristigueta
Your desserts are impeccable. Your clients are satisfied, but you have difficulty attracting new clients or are not receiving the engagement you hoped for on your website and social media platforms. What are you doing wrong, and how can you change that?
As chefs and business owners, we get caught up in the kitchen and the paperwork – placing orders, developing recipes, pairing the correct flavors, baking and decorating. Because of this, we often overlook other aspects of the business, such as visual marketing. This can affect our sales, which can hurt the company and be discouraging. Consumers are shopping online now more than ever. The truth is that consumers will find you online before they even meet you in person. What do we do when we want to find out about a business? We go online to their website and social media platforms to view pictures, reviews, and get a feel for the company. This is why your online presence is an essential part of your business strategy.
The secret to standing out is to display good imagery on your website and social media to invite customers in. It only takes seven seconds to make an excellent first impression, so make it count. You’ve created an incredible edible work of art, so show it off and let potential customers indulge in the goodness of your dessert by providing them with an enticing visual experience.
You need to put as much effort into your photography as you do with your recipes. This means scheduling time for your photoshoots, presenting good imagery, and having a cohesive aesthetic (the look and feel of your brand). Start by setting aside a date for a photoshoot, and prepare the top three items on your menu. Photograph the desserts yourself or hire a photographer. If you only take custom orders and can’t make them ahead of time, make sure to factor in the time to take the photo before the customer picks up the order. Allow a minimum of one to one and half hours for the photoshoot, especially if you are new to photography. As you practice and get better, it will take less time. The photos need to be inviting, have good lighting, making the dessert the focal point to present the beauty of your edible work of art. I suggest you show different stages of the dessert, such as the dessert as a whole as well as what’s inside, so the consumer can see what the interior of your cake or dessert looks like.
Lastly, you must keep your brand in mind to create that cohesive aesthetic. This can be done by incorporating your brand colors in the photos, or using a backdrop or props that align with your brand. If your brand is bright and airy, your pictures must portray that. If it’s fun and colorful, then it must describe just that mood. You don’t want to confuse the consumer by adding random colors or props that don’t reflect your concept. You don’t ever see Target, whose brand colors are red and white, use yellow in their branding.
To summarize, if you want to expand your business and attract new clients, it is vital to evaluate your visual marketing strategy, which is one of the most impactful and engaging ways to connect with your consumer. Encourage consumers to click that order button the minute they come across your imagery.
Irenea Aristigueta is a chef, food photographer, and founder of the Florida Bakers Club based in Tampa, FL. She educates and shares smartphone photography resources to help improve and showcase bakery brands. www.floridabakersclub.com