wjskw@BELLSOUTH.NET on mon 4 oct 04
Every so often, I read posts about shows, and open houses, garage
pottery showings and the like.
I'm going to say it upfront. I don't sell pottery, at least, I
haven't to this point. I have little experience with selling from
my home, the occasional yard sale excepted.
What I DO know is business. I started and have run a very
successful cleaning service business in a truly harsh, cut throat
environment for better than 13 years now. (In this environment,
surviving that long is considered successful.)
All of that success I owe to hard work and successful advertising.
Advertising that (excuse the expression please) "grabs you by the
balls". In other words, gets and holds your attention. I don't
care if you follow the Mayor's 50 mile radius rule, or if your
thrust is worldwide; it's all the same. The squeaky wheel gets the
It also gets replaced, but that's a different subject entirely .
I get about 50 pieces of mail daily, minimum. Bills and purchase
orders go in one pile, work-related catalogs in another,
publications in a third for perusal later (in my spare time... yeah,
right) clay related things in yet another, and general catalogs and
advertising go into the "circular file" (trash), usually without so
much as a second glance. Information overload over the years has
taken its toll. I've had to become very efficient at what I allow
to take my time, or risk being buried in it. Three full recycling
bins of it to the curb every week...get the idea? I sort the mail
while listening to my voice mail, and at the same time grab my
work-related e-mails. Clay mail has to wait until later on.
Multi-tasking has made it possible for me to wear more than one hat,
and is also a part of that success, but I digress...
A couple years ago (?), I got a postcard from a potter. Dressed as
a wizard, holding a pot. Effective. Made me stop, really _stop_,
and take a look for more than a minute. Actually brought a smile to
my face. (You who sent it, you know who you are.) I kept that card,
not only as a reminder of what effective advertising is, but also
how a ten cent piece of mail could actually be used, and get
noticed. It was advertising that worked! And it was out there, in
my hand. Had I been closer to the person's location, I surely would
have gone...and bought, because that advertising tickled me.
We all know how cheap postcards are, how any idiot can run thousands
off on any inkjet printer from any home computer. This one was
different. Professionally printed, clay coated paper. Not one word
misspelled. Even spelled my name right (a plus in my book...I've
had my last name spelled wrong 29 different ways, and that always
earns it a place in the trash). Someone cared enough to do this
mailing right. And it worked!
Again, that's only one way. If people aren't buying, is it because
they don't know you're selling? I read a complaint this morning on
the list about how people won't just come by to buy, they wait for
an open house (once a year, from what I understand). I too am
reticent about going to someone's house to buy. I hate disturbing
folks at home as much as I hate to BE disturbed at home. But maybe
pottery is different. If you're selling from a showroom at your
home, then that's your _business_ location. Send out postcards
during the year. Send them out a week or two before every major
holiday...even holidays like Mexican Independence Day, Yom Kippur,
Ramadan, Samhain. Whatever is going to get (and KEEP) you in the
public's eye. Try to come up with ideas for those holidays that is
going to make people _want_ to come by and buy (from YOU). =20
One of our most successful ad campaigns involved a set price to come
by and clean someone's oven. We advertised it as "freeing Mom from
the drudgery...leaving her free to... blah, blah" and marketed it
about six weeks before Thanksgiving, and again just after (in time
for Christmas / Chanukah). The phone rang off the hook. The ads
cost us IIRC, about $750, and we generated over $3,000 in new
business. That was two years ago, and we STILL get calls about this
time of year asking if we're going to run that special again, how
they want to give their mom an early present, etc. Guilt works, I
The picture with the ad showed the front view of an old wood
cookstove. Sticking out of the oven was a HUGE woman's ,er,
posterior, in a white skirt with two greasy black handprints, um,
"appropriately located". Bucket to one side with a rag hanging out,
a housecat on the other side watching (for balance).
Got your attention even being described, didn't it?
That was a newspaper ad. Easy enough to generate, not too awful
expensive. You could run the same type ad in the local paper when
you send out the postcards.
The point is to get out there, get yourself positioned in people's
faces. MAKE them remember you. If you aren't putting it out there,
it isn't going to be noticed.
Try it, it works.
Cynthia Bracker on tue 5 oct 04
This brings a couple of thoughts to my mind:
1. When you have a mailing list of 7500 people, sending out even
postcards can get expensive. (with regular postcard postage the cost
would be $1725 for 7500 people, plus printing etc.) It also gets
difficult to get EVERY name spelled correct. I do our mailing list and
I try REALLY hard to get everything right as my last name is almost
always spelled wrong too. (My married name is Sturm) but I'm only
human. So here's my request on behalf of anyone who sends out mail to a
list: If you always throw away mail from a particular source,
call/write/e-mail them and ask to be removed from their list. If your
address or name is spelled wrong, call/write/e-mail them to have them
correct it. If you move, inform them. This just benefits everyone, not
to mention the environment. If anyone reading this needs to update
their mailing list information with Bracker's Good Earth Clays, please
e-mail me off-list at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for listening!
>I get about 50 pieces of mail daily, minimum. Bills and purchase
>orders go in one pile, work-related catalogs in another,
>publications in a third for perusal later (in my spare time... yeah,
>right) clay related things in yet another, and general catalogs and
>advertising go into the "circular file" (trash), usually without so
>much as a second glance.
>We all know how cheap postcards are, how any idiot can run thousands
>off on any inkjet printer from any home computer. This one was
>different. Professionally printed, clay coated paper. Not one word
>misspelled. Even spelled my name right (a plus in my book...I've
>had my last name spelled wrong 29 different ways, and that always
>earns it a place in the trash). Someone cared enough to do this
>mailing right. And it worked!