Baking it Down with Sugar Cookie Marketing ๐Ÿช

Heather and Corrie Miracle

๐Ÿ‘‹ Hey - Heather and Corrie here with the Baking it Down Podcast with Sugar Cookie Marketing (a group on Facebook full of sugar cookiers turned business owners). ๐Ÿช We're here to help you rise with your reach, flood with new followers, bake up new ideas, and make that all-important dough (while makin' that dough - see the pun there?) ๐Ÿค‘. Whatโ€™s it about? Weโ€™re a Facebook Group turned Podcast, Membership, Book Club, and Baking 101 thatโ€™s dedicated to assisting bakers in effectively marketing online to generate more sales and better manage their businesses. ๐Ÿง  With free Facebook Live classes, hundreds of resources, and thousands of like-minded bakers, thereโ€™s a lot to learn in "SCM" (aka Sugar Cookie Marketing). ๏ธ๐ŸŽง As an extension of our Facebook group, this podcast is here to let you learn by listening. ๐Ÿ“ˆ We'll cover group topics, marketing trends, and more (leaving this wide open in case Corrie wants to start singing). ๐Ÿ’ธ We take the sweet art of selling online to the cottage bakery world with marketing methods that move products (and pastries).๐Ÿ‘‚ So open up those glorious ear canals because we have a podcast! Just when youโ€™ve thought youโ€™ve โ€œheardโ€ it all with those marketing "miracle" twins (that's our last name - not a proclamation), weโ€™ve got something just for you each week! ๐Ÿฅฃ As a baker, you don't always have the luxury of two hands needed to scroll in Sugar Cookie Marketing Group or crack open a book in Sugar Cookie Bookies, but what you can do is listen (unless you're my kid asking โ€œwhatโ€™s for dinnerโ€ for the millionth time). ๐Ÿ‘ Hands full of flour? No problem! ๐Ÿ‘ 18 dozen iced cookies due tomorrow? Letโ€™s do this. The Baking it Down Podcast by Sugar Cookie Marketing is a weekly podcast geared toward helping you grow your bakery business - dropping (almost) every Tuesday. ๐Ÿ“… We choose a topic each week that's either something new and emerging in the world of social media or something that we saw in "The Group" that was a hot topic and we bake it down... I mean, "break" it down for you. ๐Ÿ—ฏ๏ธ What you can expect in the podcast is about an hour of chit-chat with the meat and potatoes right at the beginning of the episode. ๐Ÿฅ” Thatโ€™s when we dive into the marketing topic of the week! ๐Ÿ“ž Oh yeah, folks can call / text / email in with their questions too - a fun way to hear from other bakers out there. Our promises to you: 1๏ธโƒฃ We always make it clean = no cursing. We understand that you are busy and could be around little ones while also trying to get your weekly dose of business growth so we make sure that each episode would make our grandma proud and keep it clean so you can listen while also living your life. 2๏ธโƒฃ We always make it fun. Thereโ€™s a lot of negativity in the world so we try and make the podcast an upbeat and fun learning experience for you. I mean, we try to make the Instagram updates and changes as happy as we can, but come on Instagram! Give it a rest! No more changes! 3๏ธโƒฃ Other than that, we take a positive approach to marketing We are also *not* professional podcasters. I feel like we need to say this because, hey, sometimes we get giggles! We do our best to extend our marketing knowledge to you all free of charge each week at the cost of listening to our higher-than-normal pitched voices and the occasional giggle spree. 4๏ธโƒฃ You can find the podcast on all the major platforms and you can typically expect a new episode each Tuesday afternoon (unless life happens). We invite everyone to listen. Either start from the beginning or work backward! The episodes donโ€™t build off themselves so you wonโ€™t be confused hearing one before the other. You just might miss new Lives we mention but you can always catch the replay in the Sugar Cookie Marketing Group on Facebook! read less

104. Baking it Down - Squeezing the Most from the Meet the Baker Collab
Mar 21 2023
104. Baking it Down - Squeezing the Most from the Meet the Baker Collab
Meet the Baker Collab is this Friday, March 24th, 2023 at 11:00 AM est - 12:00 PM est. And we want you to participate! Here's how to squeeze the most out of the Meet the Baker Cookie Collab.โ–ถ๏ธ Collab: Meet the Bakerโ–ถ๏ธ Date: March 24 @ 11:00 AM ESTโ–ถ๏ธ Engage with posts until 12:00 PM ESTโ–ถ๏ธ Time Zones: https://bit.ly/CookieTimeZonesRHardโ–ถ๏ธ Use Hashtag #SugarCookieMarketingCollabโ–ถ๏ธ Engage with the others using the hashtag for 1 hour!If you're not familiar with cookie collabs, no sweat - we're here to help. Nothin' builds trust (and engagement) like your purdy lil' face in front of a lil' camera (horrifying, I know - my selfies are abysmal).๐Ÿคณ Meet the Baker collabs are as fun as they are simple! You'll just need to snag a photo of yourself (or - skirt the rules if ya hate selfies as much as I do and make a cookie-selfie of yourself - which would be hilarious). All you gotta do to participate is make the post on March 24th at 11:00 am on Instagram and use the #SugarCookieMarketingCollab in your caption!๐Ÿค— Other folks who joined in on the collab will stop by and show your post some love which will give it a sweet boost in the algos. Plus - humans LOVE seeing other humans - it's a really effective form of marketing - your audience will LOVE it. So - if you're in, awesome! Here are 5 tips to squeeze the most juice out of this collab. 1๏ธโƒฃ The Type of Photo to PostOkay - let's start with the star of the show - the photo you're going to post. These are guidelines - not requirements - to get the most out of this collab. The better the quality of the photo - the more people are going to react to it (and since this is an engagement collab, reactions = better results).๐Ÿ‘‰ Use a high-quality camera or Portrait Mode on smartphones ๐Ÿ‘‰ Take the photo from the waist up (closer to your face = more engagement)๐Ÿ‘‰ Make the photo bright and fun! Even if it means going outside to bask in the sun's rays.๐Ÿ‘‰ Use props that scream "I'm a baker!" A fun apron, a whisk or spatula, or even your Kitchen-Aid mixer are all fun props to tie in the face to the concept.2๏ธโƒฃ Keep the Copy CompellingCopy (the text below an image often used to sell products) or caption is going to allow people and collab participants to better connect with you. Making the copy compelling means makin' it worth reading - so be on the lookout for Corrie's copy template in this group later this week! ๐Ÿ‘‰ Make your copy relatable to your target audience.๐Ÿ‘‰ Stay away from a WALL of text - use line breaks and emojis to draw people in.๐Ÿ‘‰ Pro-tip: make a short list - people love skimming lists rather than reading paragraphs. ๐Ÿ‘‰ Don't write "Hi, I'm Heather! I'm a baker!" - it's too short and doesn't give people enough elbow room to write a response.
103. Baking it Down - Good Enough is Good Enough
Mar 7 2023
103. Baking it Down - Good Enough is Good Enough
๐Ÿ‘Good Enough is Good EnoughI made peace with myself a long time ago that I would have to learn everything I wanted to be "pretty okay" at, I wasn't naturally gifted at anything. And I also learned that the likelihood of me being an expert at anything was a pipe dream. And that being good enough is often good enough.And just being good enough? It's often good enough.Most of what you want lies at the end of "being good enough" for long enough that people end up giving you their money over and over again, while, each time - you get just a little better than you were the last time. Very little of the life we want lies at the "perfect" finish line. Perfectionism is a beautiful, delusional lie - but it's such a delicious lie, because "being perfect" sounds noble. But in the same vein, "being perfect" also sounds impossible - and that's because it likely is. Waiting to be perfect is the perfect excuse for not executing right now - right when execution probably matters most. Instead, we kick the proverbial "cookie can" down the road to a future date when we hope everything will be perfect - ready for launch.But that date never comes. Why? We ain't perfect. And we shouldn't pretend that we're trying to be or that we even need to be perfect to accomplish our goals. ๐Ÿ˜ณ "So, you twins are sayin' we should put out a subpar product?!"No - I'm sayin' put out a good enough product. Likely that's all your client wants anyways. It's you who thinks you need to star in three seasons of the Food Network Holiday Cookie Challenge before you can bake mermaid cookies for a 6-year-old's birthday party. The six-year-old? They just wanted mermaids. Not a famous tv star turned baker.But boy - does not havin' to launch 'til it's perfect sound so darn good. You get to sit in the pipe dream phase - the planning phase - the ideas phase. And that's fun - because you don't have any problems if you don't do anything. But you also don't have any business if you don't do anything. This week's podcast is more subjective than objective - but once you realize that no one required perfection - heck, they never did - you set yourself free to be the best at bein' good enough. And good enough is good enough to get you most places.
102. Baking it Down - Whisk-y Business
Feb 28 2023
102. Baking it Down - Whisk-y Business
๐Ÿ˜ณ Whisk-y Business ๐ŸชWho knew baking could be so... whisky. Okay - it's a pun on "risky," and Corrie wanted it to be the topic of today's podcast. Things you may be takin' a risk with - that you also may not realize. ๐Ÿ’ธ And if you do realize it and accept the risk - that's okay! It's your business and your risk awareness. An assessed risk is one you're willing to take on - and willingly face the potential consequences if the worst happens. 1๏ธโƒฃ Copyright can be oh so wrong.We've all been there - a client willing to throw cash money our way if only we could do this one Pooh set. It's tempting - and it's even cuter than it is tempting. And why shouldn't you take it on? Everyone else is violatin' the Big D's copyright (Big D = Disney). ๐Ÿญ Will you get caught? Maybe not. Could you get caught? Maybe. But as long as you're willing to account for the risk involved with copyright infringement (a favorite topic of speculative arguments in the cookie groups btw). Take for instance this seller who didn't heed the Disney law teams' cease and desist on selling the Mickey and Minnie ear-themed headbands. "But everyone else was doin' it!" ๐Ÿš”๐Ÿš“๐Ÿ‘ฎ Yeah - I tried tellin' that line to the last officer who pulled me over - he didn't agree.2๏ธโƒฃ Allergy-Free ain't Risk-Free๐Ÿคง When it comes to allergy-friendly or allergy-free requests, it can be risky business to promise somethin' you're not. And, if you're like me and don't suffer from severe food allergies, I doubt we truly understand how dangerous a food allergen can be to folks who are severely allergic. Which is why you won't find Corrie and I makin' promise we can't deliver when it comes to allergy requests. And who likes telling a customer no? ๐Ÿ“‘ No one - but I'd rather tell a customer no than tell a customer where they can send their lawsuit paperwork. 3๏ธโƒฃ Ensuring You're InsuredIn the world of "whisk management," insurance is the plan. Insurance is the biggest racket, that is until you need it. FLIP insurance is a fan favorite in the bakery groups, and for around $25 bucks a month, you can rest easy with mitigated liability. It can also cover farmer's markets and events with its add-on dashboard. Why take the whisk when you can ensure the whe-ward (okay - the pun falls apart there)4๏ธโƒฃ Put it In Your PoliciesPolicies were written in blood - or well, for us - burned cookies. Most policies come after the fact which is synonymous with "too late." But you don't have to create a policy forged in blood sweat, and many tears because we crowd-sourced one in the Sugar Cookie Marketing Group! Click here to snag it.5๏ธโƒฃ Breaks Breaking Up Your Bottom LineHey, I love a good vacay - heck, I love a good, long vacay. But in the world of business, most customers don't accept "long" being any longer than about 2 weeks. Long breaks put the brakes on your bottom line. I'm not talkin' the weekend off here, or the week off there - I'm talkin' about "burnout breaks" where the baker plays Houdini for months at a time. ๐Ÿš—๐Ÿš•๐Ÿš™ Imagine being a local gas station and taking off like bakers do. โ›ฝ "Hey - no gas today. Actually no gas this month. But next month maybe. I'll let you know. Check on my Facebook page for details on my fuel-filled comeback. I'm not closing - but I'm not sure when I'll turn the pumps back on." 6๏ธโƒฃ Emergency No Fun-DNothing causes more stress like operating with a bare-bones bank account. This often happens when we have more bills left at the end of the month than we have dollar bills.
101. Baking it Down - Cookie Classes - 101
Feb 21 2023
101. Baking it Down - Cookie Classes - 101
๐Ÿซ Cookie Class 101 ๐ŸชSchool's in sesh - and we ain't gatekeeping anything. Here's how we run a cookie class (note - we're lazy - so understand that whatever we tell ya is preceded by the question ๐Ÿค” "how can we accomplish the most with the least amount of effort and still create a fantastic time for our audience?") 1๏ธโƒฃ Marketing a Cookie ClassApps we use:Eventbrite - to list the cookie classFacebook - to crosspost the class listingFlodesk - to email about the classFeedhive / FB Planner - to schedule posts to social media about the classGmail - to email class attendees So - we use Eventbrite - it has fees. Why do we use it? It does a lot of the heavy lifting for even management for us, and it drives some traffic to our event as well. Could you use your own website? Sure! You'll be able to pocket more money in exchange for the additional management work on your end - a great trade. ๐Ÿค” "But how can you post a picture of your sets so early?" We don't - I just use a placeholder image with the caption, "Class set photos coming soon!" To date, no one - like as in zero humans - has ever cared. Get the classes posted now - optimize them later! We like ending every class with a CTA (call-to-action) to sign up for a Christmas class even six months out. Since those classes sell out due to the nature of the seasonality of cookies at Christmas, our attendees like to feel that they snagged a class ahead of time. 2๏ธโƒฃ Class PrepCorrie comes up with the class set and steps - which is awesome because it means it'll easy enough for beginners (and heeeyo - those steps are included in our new membership - Cookie Class Kits - if you don't wanna do the hard part yaself). The Bake-down:Six Cookies - 3.5 inches4 Icing Colors - 2.5 oz - 3 ozSprinkles - Condiment CupGoin' in with a "too advanced" set is going to get your audience frustrated. You may be an expert cookier, but these folks are likely just looking for a good time and not to enter the next Food Network Cookie Challenge, so go easy on 'em.We bake one to two days before class. We may bring an extra set just incase things go south and a bag bursts or someone drops a cookie - but I like to keep that a hidden secret, and if all goes well, Corrie will package it into a kit a sell it later.Supplies we bring to class:โžก๏ธ Parchment paper (three sizes) - for cleanupโžก๏ธ Baking tins (two sizes) - for designated spacesโžก๏ธ 32'' TV - for the PowerPointโžก๏ธ Laptop with HDMI cable - for the PowerPointโžก๏ธ Sign-in Sheetโžก๏ธ DLSR Camera - professional quality photosโžก๏ธ Scribes (cheap ones from Amazon)โžก๏ธ Piping Practice sheets (laminated at Fedex Kinkos)โžก๏ธ  To-Go Boxes (Amazon has cheap ones)โžก๏ธ  Ziploc Baggies - for them to take icing homeIf you want the exact supplies we use - I link to those in each Cookie Class Kits course - but legit, this stuff is easy to find on Amazon.3๏ธโƒฃ Class ScheduleHere's our schedule on the day of class:10:00 AM - get to the location10:00 AM - 10:30 AM - Setup10:30 AM - 11:00 AM - Take photos / make Reels / post to Stories11:00 AM - Class Starts11:00 AM - 11:15 AM - Introductions11:15 AM - 11:20 AM - Cookie Decorating Basics (ya know - like how to use a scribe)11:20 AM - 11:30 AM - Piping Practice11:30 AM - 12:30 PM - Decorating
100. Baking it Down - Leggo my Ego
Feb 14 2023
100. Baking it Down - Leggo my Ego
๐Ÿง‡ Leggo my EgoYou know what's delicious? ๐Ÿช Your cookies.You know what's even more delicious? ๐Ÿช People tellin' you how amazing you are for those cookies. ๐Ÿ˜Attention is my favorite dessert. It's smooth, it's silky, and it's immediate satisfaction. It's like eating your favorite Talenti (Madagascar Mint btw) and then realizing you had a whole 'nother Talenti in the freezer that you forgot about.๐Ÿคค Yum. YUM. ๐Ÿ˜‹But ego is the enemy of strategic marketing. Why? Because ego-centric marketing is not conversion-centric marketing. In conversion-focused marketing, we work on ways to convert our audience from an eyeball to a paying customer. In ego-centric marketing, we work on turning those eyeballs into likes. ๐Ÿค” "But don't we need likes to increase reach and thus engagement?" Yeah - but why are you wanting those likes? To get people into your funnel? Or to get people to tell you how awesome you are? Only you know what your secret motives are - but in this week's 100th podcast - ๏ธ๐ŸŽฑ we challenge you to call your shots. If you're posting for an ego stroke and not a sale - shout out to the universe, ๐Ÿ—ฃ๏ธ "I WANT ATTENTION" - then post away, knowing full well your goal is to get an ego boost and not a bottom line boost.๐Ÿ˜˜ Ask yourself these questions to determine if you're doin' it for the ego boost or the bills. ๐Ÿค‘๐Ÿ‘‰ 1. Are you posting because you know this is when your target audience is likely to make a purchase or are you just posting as soon as you get a set done because you're excited to show off your work?๐Ÿ‘€ You finish an amazing set - so you hurry off to the 'Grams at 11:30 PM and post a "LOOK AT WHAT I MADE" photo completely disregarding posting strategy or active audience times. ๐Ÿ˜ด The few poor parents whose heads haven't hit the pillow yet give you a double tap before they head off to snooze-ville. Your ego is stroked - but your inbox is void of any sales because normal people who aren't zombie-ing around against their better judgment (or cryin' kiddos) likely aren't pressin' the purchase button at 10-til-midnight. But you spent so long doing such an intricate set. Cool! Go get them likes! You deserve it - but remember, ๐ŸŽฑ call your shot.๐Ÿ‘‰ 2. Are you posting sets you truly don't want to do that eat into your profits but puff up your ego? Macrame? More like mac-ra-made-no-money. Corrie fessed up to ego-posting a set she'd "rather die than ever do again." So why post something you don't wanna redecorate to your audience? Ahhh - the never-satiable ego beggin' for that attention. If you want your audience to purchase more easy-breezy-beautiful-to-decorate-in-half-the-time mermaids, p๐Ÿ‘o๐Ÿ‘s๐Ÿ‘t m๐Ÿ‘e๐Ÿ‘r๐Ÿ‘m๐Ÿ‘a๐Ÿ‘i๐Ÿ‘d๐Ÿ‘s. Or - post for likes - macrame-it-up. Cash in on the reactions! But ๐ŸŽฑ call your shot. ๐Ÿ‘‰ 3. Are you doing it to inflate your page numbers with other cookier likes or are you doing it to inflate your bottom line? Cookiers love cookiers cookies. They're the biggest cookie-related fan club. So how do you attract those cookier eyeballs? ๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€๐Ÿ‘€ Cookier hashtags. You know who isn't likely searching cookie industry hashtags? ๐Ÿ•ต๏ธ Your target audience who thinks "flood Friday" has more to do with the weather than with RI. A great indicator of ego-focused posting is using industry hashtags. Sure - hashtags help with the algo, but focusing on industry hashtags rather than your local hashtags? Recipe for an ego stroke. And enjoy it! Enjoy the attention from other cookies - because they're paying ya in heart reacts and "where'd ya get that cutter" comments. Just remember ๐ŸŽฑ call your shot.
99. Baking it Down - Refund Chaos
Feb 7 2023
99. Baking it Down - Refund Chaos
๐Ÿฅค Refund Chaos Twin2 (Corrie) is weirdly obsessed with TikTok drama - and not just any TikTok drama - no, specifically Tumbler TikTok drama - you know, the cups? Yeah - that Tumbler. So imagine my surprise when Business Insider posts an article about the very Tumbler drama she's been popcorning about since last week. ๐Ÿ˜ณIt's regarding all the good stuff - refunds, screenshots, screenshots of screenshots, Etsy reviews, mudsliggin' retorts - you know, the internet drama that gets you under a warm blanket for hours as you play judge-jury-executioner via your pocket computer. So I said - let's make a list of ways we can stay outta Business Insider articles and learn through other's experiences. Now - bless all the parties in this convoluted tail of chalice-themed cheap entertainment - I'm not pickin' sides. But grab a glass and let's work through this. Pictured: Big Debrah (from Business Insider > from TikTok)๐Ÿ“‘ 1. Have it in your policies.Let the policy be the bad guy - it's you and the customer against the big bad small print. Consider everything you'll need to cover your butt (and in this case, your bottle). Refunds, response times, really-close-but-not-perfect color matching? Yeah - that stuff. And that way - when things go left, you can point at the right policy and see if you can work from there. At the beginning of this ๐Ÿฅค Tumbler tumble, it seemed like the policies weren't clear on refunds when the shop made a boo-boo leaving things up to interpretation - ya know, like who pays return shipping, repairing damaged merchandise, etc.๐Ÿฅถ 2. Give it a minute - cool off!To date - no one has died by not receiving an immediate reply to a cookie complaint. It's easy to get emotional when all we see is blood, sweat, and tears of work being complained about - so give yourself a break. In the ๐Ÿฅค #tumblergate drama, the responses were goin' up faster than Corrie could place an Amazon order! No time to think out a response that makes you look good and the other party feel good. C-o-o-l o-f-f.๐Ÿคฌ 3. Keep it private and professional.Stay outta the limelight on handling sticky issues. This isn't the time to get the courage to go Live on Instagram. Keep it private and professional - and a great way to do this is to imagine your response being read in a court of law. If it raises a judge's eyebrow - you probably need to take it back to the drawing board.Things escalated here faster than goin' to the second floor at Tysons Mall when there's a clearance sale at Nordy. Blaming, accusing, and cursin' that would make your Gramma call up your Momma and have a few words herself - that's where this went - and unfortunately, lead to doxxing the buyer's address (revealing identifiable information). Yikes! ๐Ÿ‘ˆ 4. Take accountability.Last I checked, none of us were perfect (except Phoebe-Woebe-Lemon-Squeeze ๐Ÿ˜บ), so don't have shame in accepting your part in a problem. It's okay! Accountability allows the other side to also take some accountability as well. Taking zero accountability leaves the other party fighting 100% accountability. There's a world in which you can be at-fault 40% and that doesn't make you a bad person. It makes you a human. In this version of ๐Ÿฅค Tumbler-terror 5000, the original party points the blame back at the buyer - accusing the buyer of setting up the entire rouse to frame-blame the seller. Well - what else does the buyer have to do other than defend themselves?? Escalation nation! ๐Ÿค— 5. Work towards a mutual resolution.
98. Baking it Down - 8 Social Media Baker Faux Pas
Jan 31 2023
98. Baking it Down - 8 Social Media Baker Faux Pas
๐Ÿ˜ง 8 Social Media Baker Faux Pas It's easy to get bogged down with orders and forget your social media - but not with twin2 lurkin' behind a phone screen! As she goes to engage weekly with the group hashtag, #sugarcookiemarketing, I asked her to come up with a list of the top 8 offenses she sees bakers makin' on social media that's likely robbin' from their bottom lines. Here goes:๐Ÿ˜’ 1. Not Putting your Location in the Instagram BioCheck out Corrie's Instagram below (and give her a follow here) - see that? You can have your name and your location in your Instagram name - which is searchable (shout out to Kimberly for this tip) - that means not only will your handle be searchable, but any information provided in the name section of the profile as well. In this example, Corrie mentions location twice: once in the name, and again in the bio - in two differentways - her city and then the general area (Northern Virginia) to snag the attention of both her hyperlocal and broader, local audience.๐Ÿ™ 2. Baker's Letting their Pinned Post get DatedIt's easy to set and forget a pinned post - and with Facebook's New Page Experience rolling out (with its fancy featured section), it's all the more important to keep this section updated. Recreate your pinned posts so the date reflects the current year - 2023 - even if it's the same exact content. It'll make your page look up-to-date (which reminds me - I need to do this myself ๐Ÿ™ƒ). ๐Ÿ˜ž 3. Just Posting Photos on TikTok - no video content, no catch, no hookTiktokkers want one thing - video content filmed vertically - and they won't settle for less. Late 2022, TikTok gave us the (unfortunate) option to upload pictures as a slide show instead of video files. It's... well... boring, and not what the platform is intended for. So while - yes, awesome that you're getting content out there - ๐Ÿ‘€ it's a better use of time to get content that gets eyes out there. Remember, time = money!Oh yeah - and don't forget that reach-giving hook. Hooks like, "This is the best thing I've ever heard in my entire life," "I just had the WORST experience," and "Here's something cookiers will never tell you..." are all great ways to get views (just be sure to follow up with content that matches the hype). ๐Ÿ˜” 4. No Email CaptureWhat if Facebook and Instagram disappeared? Where would your business be? If you're thinkin' "up a creek sans paddle," consider creating an email capture. It's easy to do - even if you're not ready to send out emails just yet. Mailchimp allows for free account creation AND a free signup form - so you can start building that list now should Meta ever go the way of the DoDo.๐Ÿ˜– 5. Cross-Posting with HashtagsFacebook just can't seem to make #hashtags work, and we shouldn't try either. With apps like Facebook's free Planner (or Hootsuite, OneUp App, and Planoly), you can create content designed for the platform you are posting to. In two clicks, you can create a unique caption for the same content piece for both Instagram (a hashtag reach treasure trove) and Facebook (hashtag Sahara desert) that'll have your audience feelin' center stage and not like a posting afterthought. ๐Ÿ˜“ 6. Making Shop Links Hard to FindYour audience ain't got the time to play hide and go seek with your website links. Making links hard to find (like putting links in Instagram captions where they're not clickable) means less money in your pocket. Telling people from a comment to go click on your website (rather than just linking to your website in that comment) is another game of "go fetch" you won't likely win.
93. Baking it Down - The Cookie College Breakdown
Dec 27 2022
93. Baking it Down - The Cookie College Breakdown
๐ŸŽ“ The Best Cookie College CoursesNew year, new you? Or new year, same you-who-said-last-year-would-be-different-but-didn't-take-the-steps-to-do-anything-differently? Okay, okay - I'll start playin' hard ball, but I'm still gonna pitch. What if this year was different? What if you took the steps this week to ensure that 2023 will look nothin' like 2022? What if you joined the Cookie College and surrounded yourself with hundreds of other bakers focused on the exact same thing - being better this year than they were last? Obviously, I'm biased - the Cookie College is an amalgamation of 15 years of marketing and sales knowledge bottled into 90 marketing courses, hundreds of freebie photos, and a group of 700 people forming a "hive" marketing mastermind. And I want you to join. But because I hate sales-only emails, I'll feature the best courses in the College, but I'll also give you one freebie tip from each - how does that sound? At the end of this email - if you're sold, there will link to sign up. If you're not sold yet, snag those tips and implement them - I can guarantee they'll make your life easier.๐ŸŽ’ Course #7 - In-Person Cookie ClassesClass is in session and we're learning about PROFIT margins! Cookie classes have been a really fun way to make money with cookies while also removing the stress of customs. We sell tickets for $75 for a 1.5 hour class and include all of that material in The Cookie College (you can preview the course materials here). Heck, we even recorded a live class for y'all.  ๐Ÿ‘€ Freebie Tip - post up your entire yearly schedule of cookie classes. We find that we fill up classes much more efficiently this way - Christmas classes (we did two this year) were booked by October! ๐Ÿ”’ Course #18 - Password ManagementMy favorite topic - password managers. As you grow your business, you'll find yourself makin' more profiles and passwords than a five-year-old playin' a spy game. So what do? What you don't do is use the same password over and over again. You know who you are. ๐Ÿ˜‚ You use a password manager to manage, store, diversify, and protect your passwords. Here's the course work preview for that class.๐Ÿ‘€ Freebie Tip - my favorite password manager is LastPass (although there are others), and it's free for use on one device (I use it on my phone, iPad, and computer - so I pay - but it's well worth the yearly investment). ๐Ÿ“ธ Course #19 - Photography and Cookies Corrie's baby-child of a course, she takes us through e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in this class. From prop shoppin' to lighting to staging to editing (both Lightroom desktop and mobile). This is likely one of the most comprehensive courses in our lineup since it covers just so much of this rather expansive topic - but hey, pictures move product and getting a good foundation on your product photography will pay in dividends! Here's that course breakdown. ๐Ÿ‘€ Freebie Tip - Lightroom Mobile App (by Adobe) has a free version that'll get you 95% of what you want from a photo editing app. Highly recommend it.๐Ÿ“ง Course #29 - Gmail Power User Tips and Tricks I love Gmail - in fact, I use Workspace (Google's professional Gmail platform - I teach a few classes on this too) for all businesses I both run or work with. But Gmail - paid or free - can get out of control fast. If you wince when looking at your email notification bubble as it balloons past 1k, 2k, or even 10k - this course has your name all over it.
92. Baking it Down - Year End Closeout
Dec 20 2022
92. Baking it Down - Year End Closeout
๐Ÿ‘‹ Buh-Bye, 2022.Towards the last few weeks of the year (ahem - btw, what the heck happened to 2022 and where did it go!?), I like to come up with a list of closeout tasks to set me up on the right foot come the first of the year. These aren't resolutions, but rather that proverbial closing of the book when you reach that last chapter, gather your thoughts, snag your bookmark, and find a great place to tuck the novel away. You clear the path for the future growth that the new year may bring. And here's my list (note - your list is unique to you, but heck - maybe you can snag some inspo from mine). ๐Ÿ“ฌ Get all inboxes to Inbox Zero status.If you've ever felt overwhelmed by just how many emails are in your inbox likely never to be open or read, consider inbox zero. Now - I keep on top of this most of the year, but towards the end, a few escape my filters and deletes, and I'm likely subscribed to all too many newsletters I'm no longer interested in. For this task, I like to audit my subscriptions, unsub from just about everything, and file / delete / respond to any outstanding emails. It's a great way to start the year off on a clean slate. ๐Ÿ’ป Transfer computer data to an external hard drive. I love my computer (a Dell XPS tower if you're curious), and I want to make sure my computer is runnin' in tip-top content-generatin' shape come January 1. To do that, we need to clear off files - delete old files you'll likely never use, file away docs in cloud storage where you can, and - my personal goal - get everything onto an external hard drive.๐Ÿ“‘ Get all paper files scanned, uploaded, and shredded.Now - a CPA may be cursin' the ground on which I walk to my paper shredder, but I don't like paper clutter - it takes up space, it's prone to destruction (water or file loss damage), and it's impossible to search through. But do you know what is searchable? Cloud storage. In fact, I use the free cloud storage included with Gmail (if you're worried about hackers - Google stores Drive files with encryption. The key to curin' the paper clutter bug? "Only touch it once." ๐Ÿ–จ Print all of Sam's Cookie University Cookie Cutters.Heck - I'd be lyin' if I didn't admit to signing up for stuff and not capitalizing on the included resources - and Sam's Cookie University wasn't an exception - but for "year-end closeout tasks," printing all of the cutters she includes in her paid membership (I think she's opening the doors again in spring 2023) was deffo on my list.๐Ÿค‘ Complete the company financial audit and send it to the accountant.Hard to know what you're makin' if you don't know where you're spending. And such was what the accountant relayed in the last meeting (more like gettin' sent to the corner - but like, as an adult, but also with tears). YNAB has been my favorite tool for keeping track of my personal expenses, income, and financial goals.Okay - I'll stop makin' your eyes water with closeout boredom, but the podcast features the rest of my list (6 more tasks) along with some closeout tasks for cookiers which include:File your cutter collection in a searchable app (Corrie uses Cutterly)Run a packaging purge - if you only have a few left, may be time to donate, swap, sell, or trash.Clean the clutter - finding free space is the goal here. Clean it out, clean it up, or clean out someone's wallet when you sell it (donating is always a guilt-free way to make your would-be trash someone else's treasure).Cutter Declutter - like your clothes, some cutters you just ain't gonna use - may be a good time to box 'em up and put them on your local buy-nothing group.
91. Baking it Down - Word of the Year
Dec 13 2022
91. Baking it Down - Word of the Year
๐Ÿ“š Your Word of the YearAt the end of each year, Heather likes to (annoyingly) force both family members and extended family (and heck - even strangers) what their "Word of the Year" is. The Word of the Year is pretty simple - one word that you plan to interlace into your life for the next 365 days. ๐Ÿ“’ What are the rules about the word of the year?No rules, really. It just has to be a word that you plan to keep top-of-mind throughout 2023. It's not a "set it and forget it" type deal like most new year's resolutions, but rather your theme summed up in a single word - one that you will use to guide your direction in the next calendar year.๐Ÿ“• Can you give me some examples?Well, lucky you - we put our family in the spotlight on Sunday, and here's what some of the "Words of the Year" were:Light - my little sister said she's felt pretty "heavy" this year with major life changes and big decisions. In 2023, she wants to "lighten" up her focus.Less - Grandma said she felt like she had a lot of baggage - and she wanted to spend 2023 dealing with it. She wanted "less" baggage and she would make that her theme throughout the next 365 days. Stresslessness - Corrie has been really focusing on stress management and mitigation following her "kidneys ain't playin' no mo" stint in the emergency room caused by an overly stressed immune system. She's carrying her 2022 word into 2023 as she continues to breakup with cortisol. Slow - Heather, mid-magnesium-glycinate-pill-poppin', had the epiphany that life in the slow lane (and not at the county court house fighting speeding tickets) was the move for 2023. Focusing on doing things, well - slowly. The quote, "If you don't have time to do it once, what makes you think you'll have time to do it again?" ringing in her eardrums as she picked supplements off the floor. Joy - Gams (she was on the podcast once talkin' about cherries and bowls) chose "joy" as her word. In her mind, joy = strength, and the more joy she can find in things, the stronger her faith will be this year (also she wanted to worry less and appreciate more).๐Ÿ“—Do I have to make a to-do list with my word?No - it's your word. You can get it as a tramp stamp tattoo, make a to-do list (which may include tattoo-gettin' - we're not judging), think of the word during mindfulness practice, or make a to-do list about ways you plan to implement your word throughout your life and work. The goal of the Word of Your Year is to let it be your "return to center" word where you refocus on your yearly theme. So for me, "slow" will mean I schedule fewer tasks each day, I spend more time on walks and less time working, and maybe I'll trade in my lead feet for Ugg boots (the jury's still out on that). ๐Ÿ“˜ Okay - I have a few words chosen - can I have more than one?I'd challenge you to pair it down to just one - just like "new year's resolutions," when too many tasks clog up our goals list, we tend to get worn out. Focusing on the biggest word will make your decision pathway much clearer. Per Brian Tracy's Eat That Frog mentality, which word would have the biggest impact on you right now? It's likely that whatever word you thought of first will likely be the front-runner for your Word of the Year.๐Ÿ“™ Okay! I've got my word. Can I tell you what it is?Yes! I'd love to know what your Word is! Comment on Facebook (I'll post this on the SCM Facebook Page and in the SCM Group (check the pinned post). I'd love to know your word and the reasoning behind choosing it! Heck - you might even inspire someone else's Word of the Year.
90. Baking it Down - Santa's Top 20 List of Gifts for Bakers
Dec 6 2022
90. Baking it Down - Santa's Top 20 List of Gifts for Bakers
๐ŸŽ… Santa's Top 20 Gifts for Bakers๐ŸŽ…๐Ÿคถ Call the twin Mr. and Mrs. Clause cause here's our hot take on the hottest gifts for the hottest oven-lovin' baker in your life (and if you are the baker in your life, forward this email to your Santa - I'll include links to make shoppin' and shippin' a breeze).1๏ธโƒฃ $70 - $180 - An Airbrush MachineFirst up - an airbrush machine. ๐Ÿ’จ There are many options, but the ones that twin2 is digging are the Sweet Pink Olive airbrush ($160), the Cookie Countess Airbrushes - the original model ($125), and the newer model - the Royale Max ($179.95).2๏ธโƒฃ $800 - $900 - iPad + Apple Pencil + ProcreateNot for the faint of budget - an iPad with Procreate and an Apple Pencil makes for the ultimate gift for the sketch-artist-turned-baker. If you want Heather's rec - shoot for the iPad Pro model 11'' (there are some variants and refurbed options that should trim the price down a bit) ๐Ÿ–‹ and the Apple Pencil second gen ($129) (not to be confused with the Pencil first gen) + a Procreate app purchase ($10 - one time).3๏ธโƒฃ $124 - $173 - Americolor Corp's Gel Paste KitsCorrie swears by these - and I, frankly, love the name. The Americolor gels are a fan favorite - and their kits allow a baker to create just about every color under the sun (or oven light??). ๏ธ๐ŸŽจ Their Heavenly 70 ($173) or their Nifty 50 ($124) are going to make any baker squeal like a kid on Christmas morn, and if you're on a budget - the 12 Color Student Kit doesn't break the bank at just $28.4๏ธโƒฃ $100 - $200 - 3D Printer - Ender3 Pro V2Takin' cutter production in-house is a great way to save time, money, and open a world of possibilities to the creative process for the cookier in your life. ๐Ÿ–จ I'm going to recommend the cheaper Ender 3Pro ($189) but the Prusa Mini ($429) is self-leveling (and will likely pay for itself with the money you save not buying Advil).5๏ธโƒฃ $20 - $25 - Cutter of the Month Club SubscriptionFor the baker you just don't know what to buy for - let the cutter shops do the pickin' and choosin' with a Cutter of the Month Club. ๐Ÿ“ฆ These subscriptions send the baker in your kitchen a set of cookie cutters every month for as long as the subscription is active - and they're already preppin' for Valentine's Day! Two Corrie is diggin' is the SheyB Designs ($25) and JH Cookie Co. ($25) subscription boxes.6๏ธโƒฃ $99/yr - YNAB - You Need a BudgetBoring, I know. But listen - there's actually two ways to make money - ๐Ÿค‘ either sell more or spend less - and with YNAB's budgeting app ($99/yr or $14.99/mo), you can know when and where your money's going - perfect for the baker who is looking to streamline costs in 2023. This is Heather's pick for the financial fanatic this holiday season (bonus - new family plans are included in that price! the whole fam can saaave). 7๏ธโƒฃ $112 - $172 - Canvas LampsOkay - if you're thinkin' about jumpin' into the wild world of Reels in 2023, come prepared and in style with one of the prettiest desktop lamp / phone stands this side of... well, the North Pole. ๐Ÿ’ก Canvas's Lamps ($112 - $172) are beautiful desktop light rings with a built-in phone holder (some say it can even hold a projector - but we've not yet tested that). Two thumbs and one tripod up for this one.8๏ธโƒฃ $119 - Canva Pro Membership Uh - yikes. Totally misquoted this price on the podcast - but the Canva graphic design software's Pro plan is still worth the steeper-than-quoted price point ($119/year paid annually). ๐Ÿ–ผ This software packs a punch when it comes to all things graphics - social media, presentations, printables, and more.
87. Baking it Down - Like Know Trust Sell
Nov 15 2022
87. Baking it Down - Like Know Trust Sell
There's a recipe that helps increase sales without decreasing dollars - but it may require some deconstruction of self-made roadblocks. ๐Ÿค” "Heather - are you gonna make me get in front of a camera?" You know me so well. But yes - yes, I'm going to encourage you to step your adorable little buns in front of an iPhone, smile, and let the world know just how likable you really are.First Up - ๐Ÿ˜ LikabilityThe first step in this three-part sales funnel - being likable. But how, you ask? It requires being relatable - and a cheat code for being relatable is letting people see you - ๐Ÿคณ yep, stepping into the limelight. Your cookies are awesome - but I don't know a cookie - however, I can know you - I can know that you're local, that you have kiddos, that you struggle with finding entertainment for said kiddos, that you're military or that you're workin' a side hustle! Listen - humans love to see other humans. Check out this heatmap on a Dolce and Gabbana ad - the eyes tracked Scarlett's face, not the product. ๐Ÿ“ธ Along with steppin' in front of the paparazzi (even if the paparazzi happens to be your iPhone on a tripod), try these methods of becoming the most likable baker in your area:Meet the Baker Post - try posting this once a quarter - even if it feels repetitive, most people don't see your posts due to the algo. Try a "Five things you didn't know about me - don't judge me for number 4!" to pull your audience in.Bakery Photoshoot - say CHEESE! These types of photoshoots are "likable" content gold mines! Reels with Your Face - do a dry run! Practicing in front of a mirror or in a private Live will make this feel more natural.Next Up - ๐Ÿง   KnowOkay - we like you. We love your face, your brand, your brand photoshoot, and your relatable posts - now we need to know about what you sell, how you sell it, and how I can get ahold of it (we retooled this one a bit). Answer the questions Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. ๐Ÿค” What's for sale?๐Ÿค” How do I buy it from you? ๐Ÿค” Where are you located? ๐Ÿค” Are you taking orders right now?๐Ÿค” How can I give you my money?You can be the most likable person in the world, but if you make it too hard to give you my money, I'm going to be lookin' for another less relatable but easier-to-pay baker. Pairing likability with spend-ability makes a match made in moolah heaven. Keep the funnel short here and you'll see a much larger bank account. Last up - โค๏ธ Trust Ah - trust. It'll make or break you and you won't even see it coming. When your customer makes a purchase, they wanna know that if things go south, you won't gho-st. Or that you're on their side vs on the opposite side of the boxing ring. Maintaining a trust-first brand above all else will make clients feel safer when parting with their hard-earned cash. How to present a trustworthy brand? Here are a few tips of the trust trade:Have your refund policies visible and favorable for the client. The average return per year in SCM? .5 orders - yes, ONE HALF of an order per year.Offer a 100% money-back guarantee. I know, I know - the "refund twins" strike again - but consider the peace of mind your audience will have knowing that if they're not happy - they'll still be happy. I'd happily throw cash money your way.Have an extensive FAQ section. Trust = communication. Having questions answered and repeatedly accessible lets people know that they're in safe, sugary hands.
86. Baking it Down - Compare Aware
Nov 8 2022
86. Baking it Down - Compare Aware
๐Ÿง  Comparison Awareness 101 ๐Ÿ‘€It's that tiiime of yeeeear... where we feel like we're fallin' behind. And it is EASY to fall into comparison fatigue! ๐Ÿ˜ž "They sold out, but I have wide-open weekends."  ๐Ÿ˜”  "They filled 3 classes, and I haven't even listed one."๐Ÿ˜–  "They got the BRP snowman belly bags, and I missed them before they sold out."๐Ÿ˜“ "They're doing 4 Christmas markets, and I only sold a few customs this week."๐Ÿ˜ญ "They're doing something and I'm not and now I feel bad, sad, depressed, burnt out, resentful, and all around - bum humbuggy." Heyo - you're not alone - but you don't have to feel stranded on the island of negative thoughts. We've come up with a list on this week's podcast to keep you sane and smiling this holiday season by being aware of the dangers of comparison and to help you stay in your unique lane - happy and hopeful. 1๏ธโƒฃ 1. When someone says they sold out, it doesn't mean you didn't - everyone has a different number. If I wanted to sell 10 of something, and Corrie only sold 2 of something, she'll have a likelihood of selling out 5x's faster than me. But all I hear is the "I'm sold out 'til the end of the year!" What a defeating Debby downer when I'm sitting here with eight more left to sell! โš ๏ธ Compare Aware Alert โš ๏ธ - Her "sold out" and my "sold out" are unique to each of our unique situations. I can be happy for Corrie, but understand that her goals and mine are worlds apart - and that's okay. I'll compare myself to myself last year (more on that later).2๏ธโƒฃ 2. Squirrel brain - focus on 1 thing. The great group ideas will be here when you get back. ๐ŸฟIn a group like SCM where there are genius ideas whizzing back and forth all day long, it's easy to get distracted and fall into the dark pit of analysis paralysis where the thought of doing this thing comes at the opportunity cost of now not being able to do that thing. โš ๏ธ Compare Aware Alert โš ๏ธ -  Doing anything is better than doing nothing. Find one thing - commit to it, and execute on it. Do that one thing the best you can. The ideas will still be here when you're finished with that one thing. And if you don't get around to them all? No sweat - you did something - and that's worth everything. 3๏ธโƒฃ 3. Set up an unmoveable goal that fits your lifestyle."'I'll sell 10 custom orders this December." Great goal - stick to it. Don't get jealous of someone teaching 5 classes or of something attending 4 holiday markets. โš ๏ธ Compare Aware Alert โš ๏ธ - Find your goal that fits your lifestyle. It won't look like anyone else's because your life isn't anyone else's. Find a goal - set it - and forget about changing it. Don't get sucked into the (easy to fall into - ask me how I know) holiday greed at the expense of your happiness. 4๏ธโƒฃ 4. Likes don't equal sales. It's easy to think that the cookie page that has 1,432,671 likes probably sold 1,432,671 cookies - but that's a false reality. โš ๏ธ Compare Aware Alert โš ๏ธ -  The cookie classes page we post to? 2 likes on my last post. The classes? Booked with a waiting list. Two likes from your target audience are worth 2000 likes from an audience who can't give you their money. Stay in your happy lane and keep marketing, niching, and targeting like your happiness depends on it.5๏ธโƒฃ 5. Budget buffer time - assign "OFF DAYS" as a task - and make a conscious effort to not work. Working = bad on these days. It's easy to fall into the hustle trap of thinking "I'm just sitting here watching Hallmark city boys lose to the local small-town hunks when I could be baking cookies, making sales, and taking that bread."