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Mojo
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« #30 : August 12, 2013, 09:51:51 PM »

Jan:

Could you explain in a little more detail " valuable " so I make sure I understand you correctly ?

Thanks,

Chris
Mike
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« #31 : August 13, 2013, 09:31:37 PM »

chris ive always had the work come in  when needed,and havnt ran an advertisement for 4 years now or ATTENDED shows for that time but you made me think I need to keep my name out there   thanks

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« #32 : August 16, 2013, 07:41:25 PM »

Mike:

If you need any help let me know. I would be willing to come down and work your booth with you as long as it doesn't conflict with my events.

I just purchased a nice Vendor back drop 8 x 10 with lights etc. We could get a few of your pictures of the work you have done and get them blown up into posters and hang them on that along with your banner.

I am always willing to help. Just say the word.

Chris
baileyuph
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« #33 : August 25, 2013, 08:02:42 AM »

Hey Mojo,

Jan asked a question that might have got caught up in the dust.  LOL

She was asking a "how to" marketing question.  That is how does a business person market a service and a product in this "economy".  She was pointing to a service/product that is not one of the essentials of living, namely high quality upholstery work.  She points out that not everyone can afford such work and since it isn't essential in life, it is hard to sell quality furniture repairs/reupholstery.

She contrast this situation with auto service and repairs, where an auto is required to get to work or merely more essential to maintaining life. 

She has a practical question in the sense that there is a lot reality to it. 

So, as a marketing consultant, how does a small upholstery shop doing things to "old school values" promote their service.  Understand this is a small business done in a small community.

That as background, it is an interesting question;  where does one start, there aren't many, if any product conventions and so forth?

Jan also pointed out that the market has changed amount younger buyers because they don't put the same value on older quality furniture, instead probably drawn to the market for the newer cheaper built stuff by lower price.  There is a lot of truth to these observations.

Ok, hopefully the stage is set for Chris, affectionately know by many as MOJO!

Get your tickets folks, seating is limited and the show will start as soon as Mojo/Chris pulls the curtain.  Remember that without a doubt there are a lot of one man shows doing quality furniture work with the same concerns.

How is that Chris, did I market your presentation or literally screw it up!!!
LOL,

Doyle   
gene
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« #34 : August 25, 2013, 09:59:48 AM »

Quote
That said, how would you go about marketing a valuable, but not necessary business?

Jan


Marketing: telling people what product/service you have.

Sales: getting people to buy your product/service.

Two basic ways to market: shotgun and single shot.
Shotgun is where you tell as many people as possible and you hope a few of those folks are interested in what you have to offer.
Single shot is where you determine exactly who would be interested in your product/service, and you tell only those people.

I did the single shot approach when I got started. I got the names and mailing addresses of the people who I thought would be interested in my product/service, and I mailed postcards. This was my first marketing effort. It was very successful.

A successful single shot marketing program takes a lot of work, which is why it tends to be more successful, especially for small businesses. It's a lot easier to do the shotgun approach and then sit back on your butt and hope the phone rings, which is what most small businesses do.

Another problem with the single shot marketing approach is that you may find out that there just aren't enough potential customers in your area to allow you to be successful in your business. Most new small business owners DO NOT want to know this, even if it is true!

gene
« : August 25, 2013, 10:03:04 AM gene »

QUALITY DOES NOT COST, IT PAYS!
Mojo
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« #35 : August 26, 2013, 08:04:19 AM »

Gene: I define marketing as making people realize they need your product......:)

We all need to remember that marketing, for the most part is a psychological game. It is all about getting inside the consumers mind and pushing buttons or triggers. On a large scale as practiced by the Fortune 500 it is done through packaging, catch phrases, music, product highlights, product differences, etc. while at the same time positioning the product or service in a particular market segment based on product demographics.

Marketing is a practice that reaches inside the consumers mind and puts pressure on the " trigger " that will create that impulse to BUY. To be honest, true marketing is a very complex undertaking which is why large corporations spend millions on studies, designs, etc. long before the product reaches the market. Once the product is ready to be rolled out and their market is defined, branding campaigns, positioning and advertising takes place to penetrate these markets.

All of these concepts are used by the billion dollar corporations but the same principals apply to small businesses. They are just done on a smaller scale, with fewer dollars and obviously with limited staff.

There is little difference between promoting a service or a particular product. It is all psychological and is a matter of getting inside the consumers mind and convincing them that what you have is something they need and should buy.

I will use one of my own products as an example. I compete against some very large companies and numerous smaller ones. How I approached my strategy was to first look at what they were selling and how it was made. Secondly I talked to customers to see what they wanted, where their problems were and what motivated them. Thirdly I designed my own product based on consumer input. And the last stage was presenting the product to the market in a way that I could tap into their minds. I also separated myself from the competition and made my product stand out ahead of the rest.

I could have easily said " High Quality Toppers for sale ". But in most market segments you need to go further and educate the consumer. Remember "Your the expert ", not them. I outlined the differences between my product and all the others. 1.) I am the only company with a 3 year warranty. 2.) I am the only company making toppers with double stitch perimeters 3.) I am the only company using Solarfix thread and Sattler fabric. I then pounded these differences home and thankfully, through careful wording, pictures and other marketing materials I placed my product into an upper scale market. The marketing program I designed worked, thank God. It has hit many consumers " triggers " and right in the middle of the market I was after. I nailed it perfectly.

Am I some marketing guru ? Hell no. But the one thing I have always had the knack for is removing myself completely from my business and stand inside my customers shoes. This means getting inside their minds and taking on their way of thinking. This is what separates good marketing and bad marketing attempts. I have seen it all to often where business owners " think " they know what a consumer wants but in the end they don't. I simply take on the persona of the consumer and then work from there.

Whether marketing services or marketing products...........The game remains the same. It is a matter of getting inside the consumers head and pushing buttons to trigger a sale. You define your product or service, define your market and then define your marketing and advertising to capitalize on all of this to produce sales.

I can remember meeting with a client. They were having a helluva time penetrating their market with their particular product. I reviewed their product, advertising and marketing materials and then sat down with them for a meeting. I asked them one simple question " Why should a consumer buy your product ? ". They immediately got defensive and rattled off 5 solid and valid reasons why. I smiled and said " there ya go ". Your problem is you have never conveyed this to your market. I gave them a new marketing program, a hefty bill and they became successful and all was good.
Sometimes the answers are right in front of our faces. It just takes someone to kick you to get you to look in another direction to see what is obvious and standing behind you.

Just wondering have any of you ever climbed inside the consumers train of thought and looked at why they should buy your product or service ? Ever thought like a customer ?

Remove yourself completely from your job and then put on the shoes of your customer. Walk in your place of business and then approach the sales experience from THEIR standpoint. Think like the consumer, argue like the consumer and ask questions like a consumer. You may find some hidden gems in this exercise that you can use to promote your product or service.

Did any of this help at all ? 

Chris
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« #36 : August 28, 2013, 04:35:06 PM »

Gene, you said something that really clicked with me!  I have skills that can be useful to a lot of people (shotgun) and I enjoy the many facets of my skill set (clothing, interior work, marine/awning, repair).  I've never wanted to be a "one trick pony".  But that's the rut I've fallen into. 

But I have to market myself more effectively, no doubt about that.  My goal is to even out the work lulls so it's not a "feast or famine" thing; too stressful!  With that in mind I've undertaken a guerilla approach to marketing.  I've begun putting my cards on bulletin boards in places that attract the sort of clientele whose business I hope to curry.  I have 3 business cards, each keyed to a specific segment of my skill set, and I put up the card that I think will garner the most attention for a specific bulletin board.  I have to cast the net farther!

My next move is to really get out and do more face to face marketing and networking.  I enjoy people and am gregarious.   I was at a wedding a couple of weeks ago and everyone was interested in my work.  I didn't think it appropriate to hand out business cards in that venue, but I did jot down names and have patiently contacted those who were interested.  Gene's comment about "single shot" really underscored that.

Note to self:  sharpen up the website so people can visit and look at the quality of the work in a neat, concise format!
sofadoc
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« #37 : August 28, 2013, 06:36:10 PM »

Note to self:  sharpen up the website so people can visit and look at the quality of the work in a neat, concise format!
Your website looks pretty good to me. Especially compared to the hodgepodge mess I'm throwin' out on mine.
But since I've always had more work than I can possibly do, I don't put much emphasis on my website. Even in it's crude form, it brings in more business than I need.

Are you getting e-mails from people who have viewed your website?

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
baileyuph
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« #38 : August 28, 2013, 08:51:35 PM »

Yes, I appreciate Gene's business sense too.  I would add also that I apply his strategy and tailor (no pun) it to the work that pays!

Some of our work is just more profitable than other work.  The consumer will only pay us a good price is they can't Walmart their purchase (look for discounters or cheap labor is my point).  There is work in any sector of our work that is more and other work that is less profitable.  Can't blame he consumer for looking for a cheap price nor the shop owner trying to make a living. 

Over time, an established shop and reputation will establish some loyalty, those customers are rewarded at my business.  All eyes are dotted and Tees are crossed. Would you call that single shooting?  Smile

Doyle

« : August 31, 2013, 08:04:02 AM DB »
sofadoc
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« #39 : August 29, 2013, 08:36:29 AM »

Something that I've noticed about "getting the word out"...............at least as far as it applies to furniture re-upholstery:

If you want the WIFE to hear about it........you'd better tell the wife.

If you want the HUSBAND to hear about it (so he can tell the wife)........you'd STILL better tell the wife.

Men don't give a rat's rosy red rectum about the household furniture. As long as the couch keeps them from hitting the floor, they see no reason to replace it. You could tie a man up, and force him at gunpoint to watch a 3 hour infomercial for furniture upholstery. As soon as he's freed from bondage, the infomercial is immediately purged from his memory banks.

"Shotgun".......or "Single-shot"?  For me, it would definitely be single-shot (aimed at women).

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
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« #40 : August 29, 2013, 11:20:51 AM »

No, Sofa., I'm not getting e-mails from site views.  Most of what I'm doing now is word of mouth, which is good, but I need more of it.  The guerilla marketing is a first step in that direction. 

I plan to send out postcards/notes to interior designers whose work I have admired.  There are several quite local to my shop.  I would like to have them visit my shop, too.  And I'm going to put more effort into "in person" networking, as well.  There is a morning networking get together every week in a neighboring town.  A designer has suggested I drop in a few times.  I have also been encouraged to try out the directory on Houzz; but have hesitated because I am not thrilled with my website just yet. 

So, website "tailoring" is in order. 
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« #41 : August 29, 2013, 04:41:23 PM »

Bobbin

What's your website? 

I'd like to see it

Mojo
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« #42 : August 29, 2013, 04:48:24 PM »

Bobbin:

I built my business by networking with end users. I conducted seminars at rallys, had vendor booths at shows, visited forums and answered questions and the business grew from there. It took about a year and half to two years till things really took off. Now I am carefully controlling my growth and participation with owner associations as I am about tapped out on production. The only way I could service more associations is if I build the new shop and bring on a part time stitcher. Something I will probably do in the end. or I could do what some of my competitors do which is contract the sewing out. With my OCD that will never happen. :)

My suggestion is to go out into the world and go after the business by showing your glowing, smiling face at events, get together's and such. Stuff business cards into peoples hands, hand out brochures, lend advice and basically network. Visit some of the forums of your end users and make yourself known. I also suggest that if there are any trade shows near you that you hit them. Consider having a booth where you can greet numerous potential customers. It is a great way to build name recognition.

In today's business world the ones who grow and survive are the ones who aggressively market themselves. The days of build it and they will come are long gone. You can build it but it will probably be lonely as you sit by yourself wondering where everyone is at. :)

As resources I suggest you check into using Vista Print for printed marketing materials. I get my business cards, rack cards, brochures and warranty cards through them. I like their service because I can go online, design what I want, hit the order button and the materials arrive at my door a week or two later. They do a professional job and are cheap. I would use local services but they are two to three times the cost and I go through alot of materials doing shows and events.

In regards to your website I would be more then happy to review it for you and make suggestions.
I am always willing to confidentially review any of your marketing materials ( off the forum ) and lend advice and make suggestions. Simply drop me an e-mail. I have helped several forum members here in the past and enjoy doing so. In case your wondering I never charge anyone. None of us on this site have any money anyways. :)

Feel free to PM me if you have questions or need me to look something over. Marketing to most people is frustrating and I understand this. I find sewing frustrating..:)

Chris
baileyuph
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« #43 : August 31, 2013, 08:07:31 AM »

Just a comment, web sites can work for you, but they are not needed always, particularly when the busienss is established, reputable, and has plenty of customers locally.  If the market is beyond local, my judgement says they can be an asset and essential.

Doyle
sofadoc
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« #44 : August 31, 2013, 08:54:25 AM »

Just a comment, web sites can work for you, but they are not needed always, particularly when the busienss is established, reputable, and has plenty of customers locally.  If the market is beyond local, my judgement says they can be an asset and essential.
I tend to agree. Unless you have a product that can be shipped out, a website should be targeted locally. My website could be a lot more professionally designed than it is. But that would involve a much greater $$$ investment. And I just don't think that I would see a return on that investment.

For local businesses, a website can take the place of a full-page ad in the Yellow Pages at a fraction of the cost. For small shops that only cater to local customers, I think a website is nice to have. I just wouldn't go overboard with one. Just show your product and services, along with whatever basic info you want the customer to see.

But like Doyle says, if you already have a well-established business with a high-visibility location, and you aren't looking to expand regionally, I'm don't think that a website will make a significant difference in your life.

But as in Bobbin's case, trying to get the word out to her surrounding region. And possibly offering products that could be shipped to all parts. And she has a few "niche" products and services. I think the website is the way to go.

When I first started mine, I did nothing to inform the public that it even existed. I was really surprised to see how many people found it on their own. 

"Perfection is the greatest enemy of profitability" - Mark Cuban
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