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Promotion Ideas

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by codys_customs, Oct 13, 2010.

  1. codys_customs

    codys_customs New Member

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    Oct 13, 2010
    My name is Cody Hadsall with Cody's Customs. I opened my doors about 6 months ago and am having a real hard time finding business. I have done a lot of cheap/free advertising but just can't seem to get my name out there at all. I'm sure everyone on here has gone through the same thing in the beginning and I'm just curious if you have any bright ideas for me. We are located in St. Marys, KS, a town of about 2500 with two pretty big cities within 20 miles each way. There IS business, but I just can't seem to find it. Ideas would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    Are you any good?
    Do you have sign experience?
    What does your advertising look like?

    Maybe you suck at signwork or advertising, maybe you are really good at signwork and advertising, but the area is severely depressed.

    Kinda hard to say what's wrong without more info or seeing the goods.
     
  3. codys_customs

    codys_customs New Member

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    Oct 13, 2010
    My parents had ran a sign business for about 10 years in this area. I worked on all kinds of signs, license plates, race cars, etc. As a graphic designer, I'm fluent in Photoshop and Corel, and have used quite a few different sign programs such as SignMate, Ultra-Flex, and SignLab. As far as if I'm good or not, how am I supposed to answer that? I know the trade like the back of my hand, try to stay up to date on the latest tips, tricks, and technologies, and I keep my design ideas "fresh". I just can't seem to reach paying customers, or not many at least.
     
  4. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    If you have nothing extraordinary to offer new clients then they have no reason to abandon their current sign providers. You will have to win them over with superior design skills, excellent customer service, or products that the competition doesn't offer, or worst possible thing, cheaper price. That is not a road you want to go down.

    Just because you know how to cut out stickers and put them on a board or any other substrate for that matter, does not mean you are good at the business. It will take a lot to get established as a new business. Chambers will get you exposed but in my personal experience, have never panned out.

    Is there a lot of competition in your town? What is the caliber of their work? You do realize that the sign business is over saturated with a million other guys doing exactly what you're doing?

    No matter what ideas you come up with, you are about to embark on a hard road. It will take you several years in most cases to get established. Very few make it over night. Make sure you have a lot of cash to carry you over in the beginning. Good luck, don't get discouraged.
     
  5. Rick

    Rick Certified Enneadecagon Designer

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    You are really not supposed to, but without an introduction, it's kinda hard to know where you are coming from...

    I agree with Signmaniac by the way...
     
  6. Sparky

    Sparky Active Member

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    Sep 1, 2007
    Hey neighbor (sort of)!
    My local guess would be the area you are in. You could be a kick-butt artist but a small town with surrounding towns filled with sign-shops, don't really require anyone to travel to a sign shop 20 (more like 30) minutes away.

    I am sure I will get knocked on for saying so, but if you have no business, find a successful business in town that has the worst sign/window signs/graphics/etc. and work up a couple of photos to "redo" the store/shop/etc.. Now go pitch it to the owners/management. If they only bite on a small piece, you got more than you had and you had a chance to sharpen your skills as well. I am not saying to design for free, but if you are sitting doing nothing...

    Check out any local business meetings, city council meetings, etc. and get your card in as many peoples hands as possible making them aware of who you are and what you do.

    Who were your parents clients? Hit them up - let them know that the service they got then is back at it again.

    Is your store front getting attention? (Do you have a store front?) Are you demonstrating your skills to others around through your own shop?

    Some ideas...keep at it and don't lose confidence.
     
  7. Pat Whatley

    Pat Whatley Major Contributor

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    Your parents ran a shop? Why did their shop close?
     
  8. codys_customs

    codys_customs New Member

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    Oct 13, 2010
    They closed their doors when they got a divorce.
     
  9. round man

    round man Active Member

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    Instead of wondering how you can get customers to come to you grab a handful of business cards and go to them,...don't try to make a sale every time you cold call a customer but be polite and ask them to consider your shop the next time they need or want a sign,be sure to leave them your card and or a small brochure of your work and what you sell....I used to do this any day I didn't have anything to do and it kept me fairly busy as long as I had my portfolio neat and presented myself in a professional manner,...If you wait for folks to line up at your door or your phone to ring off the hook,..you had best pack your lunch and a change of clothes its gonna be a long wait,...
     
  10. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

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    Not sure how thick your skin is, the thicker the better, but I'd like to see a few examples of work that you have done. Are you a good designer? or do you pretty much cut out letters in a limited number of fonts? Once I see where your talent level is, I could make some suggestions to where you should be focusing on? You can never become too good of a designer and that is one of the first things you should improve on. That will help set you apart from anyone else.

    Are you strictly cut vinyl or do you offer digital printing? Do you offer sandblasted or carved signs? What all are you capable of producing and selling right now?
     
  11. shakey0818

    shakey0818 Active Member

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    walk down the street and try to find out what kind of sinage could help a store,walk in and introduce yourself and sell it.
     
  12. anotherdog

    anotherdog Very Active Member

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    See the signage thing is the easy part. This is the classic mistake of startup sign shops.

    The ability to go out and sell said signage is the key.

    If you are hungry enough the best and cheapest way is to cold call and burn shoe leather. It is hard (and I'm terrible at it), but it works and you get better at it with time.

    Building the business is simply doing what works over and over. Give great service at a fair price and walk away from anyone who wants you to do the job for next to nothing.
     
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