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The Power of Direct Mail

Framing Goddess

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Jul 18, 2000
Cleveland, Ohio
This will have to be a short post, because I am deep in the weeds.

I decided earlier this year to have a clearance sale this past weekend. I dragged out all the old art, mirrors and open back frames, some absolute junk.

I sent out 400 'teaser' postcards, then followed up with 400 "Musings," my second in a series newsletter in which I rhapsodized about what I was clearing out and emphasizing that it WAS NOT a going out of business sale. (thanks to FrameMaker Dave for that tip...) When I have another moment will post both here. I had a Thursday night sneak preview/early bird/preferred customer ("You!") reception from 6-10pm with lemonade and tomato/basil/mozzarella salad and crunchies. At least one hundred people stopped in. And spent. I ran the sale Friday 10-9, Saturday 10-9 and Sunday 12-5. At Bossy Ellen's suggestion I made EVERYTHING in the sale half price on Sunday, which came to roughly 75% off retail... which made Sunday the biggest day money-wise by far.

I set up two dining canopy tents out on the sidewalk out front. (and got them down before the city noticed...) and hauled out plastic bins full of empty frames. We had a steady crowd Thursday night, Saturday and Sunday. We could have skipped Friday, but still some things sold even then.

We sold literally hundreds of frames and took at least 50-100 framing orders with these bargain frames. These were all frames that we build out of scraps- er, I mean leftover inventory. People brought in literally stacks of things they wanted in frames. To take 10 orders from one customer in the space of 1/2 hour was not uncommon.

I bought no new inventory for this sale, I just sold what I had already paid for. If it was a dog in my length bins, I chopped and built it into a standard-ish size.

I wanted to emphasize that it was many of my fancypants customers who came to pick out bargain framing. They are the ones who tell me that they bring their good stuff to me and take their 'fun' stuff to one of the big boxes during one of their sales. They were very happy for my sale to be able to bring the 'fun' stuff to me.

Don't think your customers don't go to big boxes. They do. They don't need much of a reason to bring everything to you; a bin clearing sale like this gives them all the reason they need.

It was a lot of work and monstrous hours, but do the math and you can see how much business this little sale generated for my shop. BTW, I 'invested' about $600-700 in the mailings for this shindig.

By the way, the framed art and mirrors were real dogs. We'd have been better off taking the frames off and selling them as open backs. Fyi... Unframed art tanked, too.

Bob Carter deserves a special thumbs-up mention for inspiring me to actually follow through on my threat to do this. Thanks, Bob!

edie the lovesbeingcrazybusy goddess
Interesting timing. I was just perusing the new addition to the PPFA web site, [preview.. it goes live Sept 1st] and something they have been kicking around for a while has born fruit.

It's a very exciting partnership with a postcard builder.... you can design your own card, up load your mailing list and off they go.

In about two shakes of a lambs tongue, I whipped up this postcard.

If you're interested in checking it out . . Go here for preview

I'm not <s>nieeve</s> <s>nieave</s> dumb enough to think this is the end-all be-all... but it can be a great tool and arrow in the quiver...
Thanks for the link, Baer. I have been advertising in a local magazine which is published monthly. It has brought a few customers in but not enough to pay for continuous advertising.

In July I sent a standard sized, color postcard to all my customers. It was a simple thank-you for their patience and support during the transition from a partnership to sole ownership. That was the best move I have made in a long time. It did not cost as much as the magazine ad, customers appreciated my caring about them, and it reminded customers to bring in their framing projects.

I am sold on direct marketing!
Two things, Baer - one you need a spell check (until is one "l") and two, I think this is for PPFA members only.

All the more reason to belong.
Hey Edie-I appreciate your kind remarks, but you didn't do anything that you didn't already know. I just helped remind you of that.

For those that do not know, Edie is a very shrewd operator and does a superior job of balancing very good business skills with great framing practices

And, what a lesson for everyone else

There are literally thousands of dollars under counters, stuck in bins of every frame shop in America. Edie simply did the smart thing and turned unproductive inventory (we call them "barking spiders") into two things: some extra cash and satisfied, happy customers.

Some folks would call that just smart business

And, it doesn't surprise me one bit that the Goddess did it so well
another site of interest: www.getmembers.com. Doing a 6 x 10 or 6 x 11 1/2 postcard, full color for .39 printed, mailed and delivered. They do Gold's Gym nationally. SIze of "Bed Bath and Beyond". Really impressive and really stands out.

Check 'em out. Will also do total analysis of your trading area with most advantageous postal routes to mail to, arranged by recipient age, income, children in home, etc.

and you don't have to be a member of anything to buy.