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Advertising, best bang for the buck

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by cwphoto, Sep 29, 2016.

  1. cwphoto

    cwphoto CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    Hello folks:

    I've been in photofinishing for the past 24 yrs, and in the last 10 I added fine art reproduction (Giclee's). Photofinishing is pretty much dead, and Giclee's don't seem to be too far behind. I have my loyal customers, but not a huge market there anymore. About three years ago I added custom picture framing to try to increase sales. I really didn't do much advertising other than my web site, and most people who came in for prints I could talk into framing, assuming they were considering framing to begin with. I broke even within 2 yrs, but started with used equipment to began with.

    Now, I'm relying a lot heavier on sales from framing to support myself, and no question I need to advertise to increase sales. The big $64 million question is where? television, radio, newspaper? Obviously things like the newspaper are some of the cheaper routes, but not sure about demographics or circulation for that matter.

    I know my competition has used television with good success. Whether it be television or radio, both are extremely expensive, and I don't suspect I'm even going to break even, but no advertising and I'm not sure how long I'm going to last either. Sales are not great right now.

    I've cut profit margins to the bare-bones, and can pretty much match or beat anyone's prices in town. I even offer a price match guarantee. So far everyone seems to be very happy with the work (zero complains) and everyone seems to say they will would recommend me or they will be back. So all good for the future, but really need to boost sales now.

    I'm also uncertain as to what services to push. Most of my customers just want plain Jane (cheap) frames, and very little request for things like fabric mats or embellishments in general. Either I'm framing canvas prints, or do double mats with a simple frame. Generally people just want good economy, so I give em what they want.

    At heart, I'm really a technician. I've been lucky enough over the past 24 years I've really had to do a little advertising, and have always managed to make a decent living. Now, I need to get busy and do some advertising, so appreciate any advice. This is a tough business to make a buck at, that's for sure, although I see great potential.


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  2. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Too bad you're not near New England, this is one of our topics at our upcoming Chapter event.

    First, before talking a bit about advertising, you need to implement a Package Price system. IT makes it easy to sell to the "plain Jane" customers and ease them into some nicer options at the same time that you are increasing your margins.

    As to advertising ... It it super dependent on your location and what's available to you. I've had luck with both radio and print, but it took years of trial and error and refinement to figure out what worked in what venue. For example, there is a weekly free newspaper with a large circulation. When I put ads in showing all the cool stuff we did and how much we know etc, NOTHING; when I put my Package Prices in print in the ad, people came in carrying the ad. In the fancy, high quality monthly magazine I found more people mention the ad when I put in about our awards and my MCPF. Different readers, both potential customers.

    I could go on and on, but the key thing is to use the right bait in whatever pond your fishing. AND, if you have a restricted offering, make sure you're fishing in the pond with the fish that want what you have.

    P.S. If you haven't already, take care of your website. It is a much better return for your money.
    FramerInTraining likes this.
  3. bruce papier

    bruce papier MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    We've never had a lot of success with advertising to the larger, general public. I think the latest stat is 8% of them will ever do any custom picture framing. We have focused more on the target rich environments of art guilds, art film venues, museum organizations, that type of thing. They very frequently have some type of publication you can run an ad in fairly cheaply.
  4. ali

    ali CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    We have been in business for over 25 years and have completely gave up on advertising.

    While it may have worked wonder in the 90's marketing as an industry has totally changed and everything is online based today.

    I have spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying different marketing techniques in the last 5 years which i saw little to no return.

    All in all like stated above "Location, Location, Location"

    You should be in a location where your store front can advertise for you. either on a corner road or major road where people can drive by you. i find alot of galleries hidden in plazas die out way to soon.

    We dont even bother with advertising other than the occasional social media post and boost.

    But then again word of mouth after 25 years is usually enough to keep you in business so i really have no advice to give someone who is opening a new business in todays day and age.
  5. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I'm going to try to say this a little differently ... I believe ALL mediums can work for anyone.
    If an ad or promotion didn't work, then it was likely the wrong ad or promotion for that medium and the audience reached.
    It's NOT easy, but you have to have the right enticement for the audience you are "talking" to.

    Today's consumer is a lot less likely to respond to "branding ads" unless you are running them continuously over a Loooonnnngggg time.
    Most studies show that an ad (print, audio, or video) needs to be seen a minimum of three times in a relatively short period to be effective.
    That usually means you should commit to at least a run every other week for a minimum of 6 months before you could hope to see results.

    And, again, online is clearly a better potential return, but other mediums can work.
  6. IFGL

    IFGL SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    What is this bang and buck you speak of? It sounds like some sort of rodeo ride, or a rabbit shoot?
  7. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    If you're looking for Return On Investment that's also low risk and inexpensive to try, consider this:

    The scrolling ad, known as a crawl, which appears at the bottom of the Weather Channel when it displays your local forecast. Dollar-for-dollar, it's one of the best forms of advertising IMO. However, it is especially valuable during, and prior to, major weather events, such as hurricanes and noreasters. It's also great in tourist areas. However, I would not recommend it very strongly in areas such as SoCal, where the weather doesn't tend to change quite as much. The more unpredictable the forecast, the better.

    One of the best things about the Weather Channel crawl is that offers frequency; and it does it at a very cheap rate. There's no production cost either - just write your ad and it gets inserted within a day or two. I found that repeating a short message (you only get about 150 characters, so think in Twitter terms) is much more effective than writing an essay.

  8. Dirk

    Dirk CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    It's an advertising slogan from the firearms industry?
  9. Carmichael

    Carmichael Grumbler

    I've found that networking on a one to one basis at chamber meetings, speaking to camera clubs, even speaking at networking clubs seem to be a much better than newspaper or radio advertising for me personally.
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