What to offer?


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Feb 13, 2003
Just purchased a mailing list for my immediate area. I will be mailing my brochure to approximately 100 homes per week. I would like to add an offer to judge the responce rate. Anny suggestions?
Is the list for new people in the neighborhood? If so I have had great success with offering FREE replacement glass (Reg) for items damaged in the move. Once they are in you can always upgrade to UV or NG glass for an additional charge or maybe new mats to match the new house. Plus they learn how to get to your store.

If it is a list of long time residents, you may want to offer a % discount or $ amount of of a set purchase price. Boring, I know but they do work as long as the offer is BIG enough. Don't waste your time or postage on anything less than 20%. You may also try "Free Delivery and Installation" with this coupon.

I would also think about what makes you different than your competition and find some way to play that angle. i.e. faster turnaround, free deliver, better quality materials,etc...

Good Luck. Please let us know what you tried and how it worked as we are all looking for new ways to attract customers.

I'm begining to sound like Bob. Throwing offers around does nothing but decrease profits.

Offers & promotions have to be planed!

If you can buy someting better or at least mark it up higher with out getting out of the realm of reality, these are items you can offer.

We buy length moulding very well. We can take a moulding that cost us a $1.00 put a 12 time mark up on it and sell at half price all day long. The chop cost on that same moulding is $3.36 for a typical retail of $10.00. We retail it for $12.00 (with-in the realm of reality) but run a promo to sell it for $6.00. Our COMS is still under 20%.

It's called taking a buying advantage, creating a marketing advantage to offer a selling advantage.
Make up photo frames from weird stuff and give one for every card returned. Who doesn't like FREE!?
I would absolutely agree that promotions should be thought out and planned and special purchasing should be done if at all possible to support such a promotion. However, if that is not possible, I don't see any harm in investing a little margine to earn new customers. Once you win a new customer you have the rest of your and their life to make your margine. If they never come see you in the first place then what good is margine.

Now, I am not suggesting you give away the farm. At 100 mailers a week, I don't think the risk of exposure is great. Even at a return rate of 5% you are only making that much less on those few jobs. What's that like a $100-150 a week for a few weeks to earn all those new customers. Oh, that's money well spent. I'll take that trade everyday. You could blow that much on a newspaper ad and get squat for it.

Just one man's approach. Time will tell if it actually works. Muy gut says it will and my wife says "it better"

Harry-I agree with your buying a client scenario on occassion. Sometimes you get really lucky on some clients and when figured over the Long Term Value (LTV) it is minimal.

But, I do go back to Dave's comment on planning and buying well to protect margins and build sales.

The worst thing is to have a steady diet of % off sales at product that you bought at regular cost.

But, I especially agree with your NP ad comment.

If you want to convince your wife, plan and buy for a better promo
How big is this list that yo purchased and why are you only sending out 100 at a time?

Lets say that your list has 5000 names on it, it will take almost a year to mail to everyone on it. Many names at the end of the list will have moved by the time you mail. Also how can you buy for a promotion that is going to last for well over a year?

A great response rate for Direct Mail is 1%, can you really wait a year to maybe get 40-50 customers?

What is your goal of the mailing and how are you going to measure the response to see if it is working?

What kind of offers are your competitors giving these same people? How are yo going to be different and get their attention?
I just received a FastFrames postcard for $50.00 off your next job. There were no restrictions like "$50 off your next job over $200.00".

I can't see how this can be a winner unless their starting price is way way high.

Are there any FastFramers on the grumble?
Is this program working for you?

I know this is a corporate add as I have seen the same card in California as well.
Fast Frame comment:
New one just opened here.

Prices are bad.

8 x 10 photo matted to 11 x 14
single Crescent paper mat, regular glass
#5 Nielsen frame reglar foam core
They are pretty new here as well. I have not had a chance to shop them yet.

WOW $175.00 for an 11x14, even after the $50 off thats still double my price.
Now I know why several FastFrames have closed around this area.

There has also been a rash of Deck the Walls closing in NC also. Could it be the same reason?

These two stores never showed up in my local price shopping caparisons and now they are gone. I assumed that they were way high on the retail ladder, most of the local community must have thought likewise.
Now, hold on folks. Don't tell me that pricing resonates with consumers? Where are all those "surveys" and pundits that keep telling us that price is waaay down the list of things that consumers care about?

Price is very important, especially when you distance yourself from any meaningful, market-based norm.

When even other framers think a price is too high, imagine what the typical consumer thinks.

Jerry-How many independent stores have closed in your market recently or is it only franchise stores?

In the Concord area we have lost no independent shops. We have actually gained 3 new 'Art' Galleries, one of them offers framing services.

In Lexington however, 3 shops have met there demise. One of the three was in the area for 27 years. Also Lexington does not have any BBs or franchise framers. All 9 of us are independent with the exception of TI Industries pedaling to the retail public. I mean all 6 of us. If business there doesn't pick up, I'll be closing there as well.

It says a lot about a town when there is no BBs or franchises there. Twelve years ago I thought that it was a great thing. I guess they all knew more than I did. It should have been an omen.

Sorry Folks, I didn't mean to hijack the thread.
Don't missunderstand me. I am in no way advocating running discounts on a regular basis. UH, UH, NO WAY, NO HOW! I worked for a Chain that got themselves in that endless cycle of discounts and now they can't get out.

Just as you mentioned though, it is worth doing to "buy" new customers once in a while and when it makes sense. I am actualy a much bigger fan of finding a different and unique angle to attract people.
Ok.. I have to respond, as we are a FF. Jerry, being part of the system, I don't know where you get the "Now I know why several FastFrames have closed around this area." as to our knowledge, there has not been any (in fact there are 12 in the state of NC alone).

Now, as far as that quote that Steven put up:

Frist, I don’t believe that any FF's use Crescent PAPER mats.. there may be a few, but as a standard, we only use Crescent RAG. Second, I really have to question the quote in detail, because that is a VERY high.. our price for that, using ConClear, Crescent RAG, and a Nielson 5 is less than $90, INCLUDING all mounting and fitting. Maybe you got that quote from a store that is in Beverly Hills /shrug.

And, as far as the $50 off coupons go, to each is own, I have seen discounts in my area that match those, and even higher. That $50 from them just got a customer in the door, and possibly a customer for life. A lot of us will spent quite a bit on advertising that exceeds what is given in discounts, yet that figure is not questioned, and should not be.

I do have to admit.. I come here for a great laugh or two.. the higher than thou attitude exhibited by some of you is to die for. Granted, the majority understand how similar franchised and independents are, but the few that don’t, and consider us the arch enemies are down right funny :D

but hey, this is the GRUMBLE right?
DenKym, I meant no offence.
My Question is are those $50.00 off coupons working?
My guess is that they may bring in customers, but how many of those jobs are done at a loss?
How often are the coupons put out?
My regulars only come in 4-6 times a year.
Are the coupons being used by them on all jobs, if so arn't you buying customers over & over again.

One FF has the offer on there website, If I was a FF customer I would certainly print one out for every job I would have done.

Sales, Coupons & Promotions are all part of retailing, but they must make sence or else there just throwing money away.
They work well, at least in our experience, but each market can be very different. What works here may not work well even in a market 60 miles away. I can only tell you what we have experienced and what we do. We do not send these out every week, nor to 100k households at a time. In our case, 99% of the time the jobs are not a loss (maybe one or two in the past six months). Our coupons say "$xx off your custom framing order", one card per household, offer good on custom framing only, etc...

I guess my thought is what works for you, works. I don't try and dissect what my competition does, how much they may be making, or loosing on a specific marketing campaign, but I do monitor it. I know what my competition sells items for, and what they are offering as far as products, workmanship and for what price and with what discounts. Do I match it? Most of the time, I beat it, IF it makes sense, but if someone is blowing junk out the doors, that’s their business, or lack there of.
Originally posted by DenKym:
I don't try and dissect what my competition does, how much they may be making, or loosing on a specific marketing campaign
I do try to dissect my competitions marketing to try to improve my own.

As I said I can't figure this one out. If you sell that 11x14 for $90.00 (fair price for what you stated) and have a 20% COMS + overhead + labor + franchise fees + hopefully some profit, how can you sell it for $40.00 and still cover your costs?
No reply nessecery, just food for thought.
My personal thought is that I agree with you in the overall pricing of that one item, however one or two of these in the overall scheme of things out of 100-200 customers in a month it is not even worth the thought. Now if I had 50 of these in a month, I would be very concerned with my marketing. I think of it this way.... You will find occasionally items on sale from retailers that offer an item for "free" with mail in rebates ($3.99 - $3.99 mail in). How are these companies making something when they are giving it away? While we don’t give it away for free, we are making low margins on one or two sales, all in the while introducing our store and services to many, many more that have a higher sale than $90.
".. our price for that, using ConClear, Crescent RAG, and a Nielson 5 is less than $90, INCLUDING all mounting and fitting."

Thanks Den:

Now I don't have to send my wife in to shop your prices!

See you soon!!!

Originally posted by Jerry Ervin:
There has also been a rash of Deck the Walls closing in NC also. Could it be the same reason?

Not trying to start something Jery but, As far as I can remember there hasn't been more than 3 DTW's in NC and all have closed in the past 4 years. One because the long time owner decided to get out of the business and change careers, don't know the reasoning of the others.

But to say 3 stores closed in the state over 4 years is a rash of closings?????