"Need input on marketing (regular and on the web.)"
Ok. Everyone tells me I need to be on the web. I have a web site started and I know it is not the greatest at this point. And I need to improve upon it. What I need to know is the best way to do this. And input from fellow retailers as to if putting so uch effort into web site design has increased your bottom line or not. I also need suggestions to take my business to the next level.
I sell unfinished furntirue to customers who can finish it themselves or I can finish it for them. I am also an artist who can custom paint any design on furniture that the customer wants. I also specialize in theme room design and can paint floor cloths, and masonite or canvas murals, as well as formal paintings and tapestry's.
I also carry a full line of log furniture, including bedroom, living room, kitchen and entertainment. As well as pool tables, poker tables, and texas hold em tables.
As well as home accessories. I have over 30 years of experience in finishing furniture, and have over 20 years of office management and bookkeeping. I just need assistance in the best way to market my business to increase knowledge and sales. You can see some of my products on Made In South Dakota .com (listed under furniture) Knot Finished Furniture.
I truly believe in what I do, and want my business to suceed. I just believe it is time to take it to the next level. And find customers outside of Pierre, and South Dakota.
#1. "RE: Need input on marketing (regular and on the web.)" In response to Reply # 0
Dear Knot Finished, After reading your post I wanted to recommend that you visit the Small Business Development Association (http://www.sbda.com/) because here you can obtain free consultant and even gain grants to grow your business. I would also encourage you to think about the extent to which you want to grow your business what other markets are you trying to reach? Understanding the types of markets you are trying to reach will better help you understand what your next form of action should be. the internet is a helpful tool if your clients are individuals who seek furniture over the internet, if they are not you may want to seek an alternate route of distribution.
#2. "RE: Need input on marketing (regular and on the web.)" In response to Reply # 0
Hi Knot Finished,
Have you looked into local home & garden consumer trade shows? Also, look at local opportunities such as county fairs, or other events where there will be a good mix of people. You can show off your wares and get a product sheet to many people this way. They may not be ready to buy that day, but it will provide a great method for store promotion.
#3. "RE: Need input on marketing (regular and on the web.)" In response to Reply # 2
Your business sounds like it is extremely time intensive. In which case I wouldn't spend nearly as much time on a web site as I normally would advise. However I would highly recommend that you get something basic up that people can browse through to see your work and your products.
Additionally, I would suggest you visit the local SBDC office (not to be confused with the site referenced earlier which is not the SBDC). The Small Business Development Centers offer FREE advice to small businesses and to folks wanting to start a new business. They offer classes and seminars and one on one advice from experienced business counselors. They can offer direction to take your business to the next level.
#4. "RE: Need input on marketing (regular and on the web.)" In response to Reply # 0
Simply building the website is no guarantee that they will come.
If you want to grow your business outside of your local area, you will have to go outside of your local area to market. Someone else mentioned trade shows... I would rather suggest retail shows instead (craft shows, and the like). That way you can recoup your travel expenses immediately and not have it eat into your cash flow. Get a list of people from the show, add them to your emailing list and write a regular newsletter (you can always hire someone to run that for you).
#6. "RE: Need input on marketing (regular and on the web.)" In response to Reply # 0
At the State Fair in CA crafters submit pieces to the fair, that get voted on, and more importantly seen by thousands of people browsing through. I always enjoy those exhibits.
I also see local crafters at the Farmers Market, who usually hand out flyers, sometimes with coupons.
You have a nice site, I really like the Light House Dresser.
We have just started paying to advertise on other sites, I am looking forward to see the results.
We have had good luck with our online newsletter. when we sell at shows, we ask people to sign up. we also have a way to subscribe on our site. If you don't have the time for a newsletter, maybe you could advertise in a newsletter of a complimentary business
#7. "RE: Need input on marketing (regular and on the web.)" In response to Reply # 0
A functional website requires a lot of time consuming work. I can appreciate you're wanting to expand your market but I don't think the internet is the right route for you. I'd bet if I ordered a chair or table from you the cost to ship it to me would be nearly as much as the product. The internet isn't right for every product.
Look at several of your products and check into the cost to ship it to Florida or California...I'm sure you'll find the cost to be prohibitive. Take the price of one of your products and determine what 5% of it is. Say a small table sells for $100...how far can you ship it for $5? Shipping costs shouldn't be more than about 4% or they become a distraction...you might be able to get away with 10% if what you have is very unique. You might put up a simple website that covers your products and offers contact information, warranties etc...but I wouldn't spend the money for a shopping cart. Just my opinion... Denny