What advertising is working for your shop?


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Apr 8, 2004
Hello fellow framers,

My new shop has been open for about three months. I have aggresively advertised in two local papers, multiple school advertising, local flyers and events and as of late just got in to 2 yellow books and internet.

I have not taken in a framing job in over a week. We are in a high income area in a semi new strip mall. The other stores are equally slow.

Any suggestions or complaints from others who worked their way through this?

Anything to help me keep my sanity would be greatly appreciated. Bob.
(FYI.. no billboards exist in town)
Seems like you're trying lots of things - but maybe not the right things.
Here's my take:

Newspaper - unless you can afford (and no jobs in a week - you probably can't. Most of us can't) BIG, well-placed ads, daily newspaper is a waste. Small, weekly papers MIGHT do better - be the big ad on a small sheet.

School advertising - ??? No kids in our market get framing done. Mom and dad don't usually see that stuff. Might feel good to support the school, but I don't see much money coming from that.

Local flyers and events - what kind? Do they attract YOUR potential framing customers? Do they look good? Did they keep the flyer or pitch it?

YP - throw good money after bad - anything bigger than a small ad (yes, I KNOW the rep said they are the best source) is money wasted. Trust me.

Internet - ???? specifics, please.

Billboards - ?????????????

You'll find lots of info here. Some in agreement with what I've said, some in complete disagreement. The point is your shop is new and it will take time to develop the BEST CHEAPEST advertising - positive word-of-mouth.

High income new strip - sounds good, but what's the anchor that drives folks to your center? What's bringing them in? Can you partner with them? What's your signage and store look like? Have you done any direct mail? Referral program for existing customers?

What's your marketing PLAN? WHO are your customers? WHERE do they shop? What can you mirror that they are comfortable with elsewhere?
It boils down to this: Find out who YOUR very best customers are and CLONE THEM. Find out where they shop - what car they drive - what zip code they live i - what magazines they read - if they have a college degree - if they like football - how much $$ they make -- in short, EVRYTHING YOU CAN. Then go find more of those kind of people. You need to "touch" your potential customers AT LEAST 3 times on average befor they remember you.

IT TAKES TIME - be patient.

Good Luck

I agree with every single word that Tony said. He and I have totally different markets and yet the exact same success with different advertising. Gotta be something to that.

My first month open I spent over $2000 in advertising. I later decided that if would have literally set fire to $2000 in the parking lot it would have gotten me infinitely more attention.

The best and cheapest for me is a sandwich board out front. They're ugly and cheap but they work. My landlord said I couldn't put one out there but if he wants his rent......

I opened in April and haven't taken in a single order yet this week. I haven't had one of those for a while. The first 2 weeks in October I was absolutely covered up and have just now gotten caught up. Give it some time!!!!!!!

Carry on!
If people are ready to buy, almost any form of advertising will work. You just need to remind them to buy from YOU instead of the other guy.

If people aren't buying, no amount of advertising will change that.

That is my opinion which, in the area of marketing, is worth almost nothing.
Ron, you are plugging along (understatement). You view your career a success. I wish you would realize that you know more than you will ever give yourself credit for!

If in 20 years I have good kids that are in school (well my oldest will be 27 and I hope he isn't in school) and I am ready to semi-retire to take care of my parents I will share everything I have. I think.

Carry on!
I sent out an invite to my relatively small client base for an open house this weekend. Invited a couple of local artists in to sell some of their stuff. Anyway, my real point is, that even before the event I've taken in over a thousand in orders just by sending the invitation out. Although I like new business, I really hope my return business is my bread and butter.
Bob (Jb - not Carter...) do you have any sort of customer/mailing list? If you have any at all, do a mailing to them and include a postage paid postcard asking for input on your services, quality, or customer satisfaction - or anything that will make them drop it back in the mail to you.

But the most important thing to put on that post card is a place for a couple (not 10 or 15 - just a couple) of referrals. "Do you know a couple of people who might be interested in hearing about our services?" Then build your mailing list from that.

That is the best advertising that I do - marketing to my own list and the people they know...

In working with a counselor from the Small Business Administration, I wrote down all the advertising/marketing efforts I've been making for the last 2 years - there were over 25 items on the list. Most of them are relatively inexpensive... like thank you cards and a $10 coupon for referrals. I spend very little on print ads and yellow page advertising. This year I bought a bulk mail permit and have completed four mailings both to my customer list and a secondary listing of potential customers. I frame all the samples for a local cross stitch store (for free) and she sends me a lot of new customers; and I work in cross marketing with two photographers. For my shop, just one marketing/advertising avenue is not sufficient to get the job done.
I have been getting good results with free listings of openings and events in weekly magazines.

So, have an "open house" or something, and announce it in all the community calendars, arts calendars, and anything else you can think of.

Things have been slow for me too, ($50 last week) but I think business will pick up for all of us (in the States) now that the recent unpleasantness is over.