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how do you advertise your sign business?

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Post Tue Jul 28, 2009 9:11 am

how do you advertise your sign business?

Hi
This maybe in the wrong section but am wondering how do use other sign makers advertise your business?? I know word of mouth is probably the best but I was thinking of doing a bit of advertising to get my name about?? What are your opinions??
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Post Tue Jul 28, 2009 3:30 pm

Make sure you get your FREE listing in phone book & yellow pages. Also in yell.com. Usually that will only cover people searching in your specific postcode though. For around a tenner a month you can upgrade your listing. to skip queue/wider coverage

I've tried a few different advertising mediums in my other businesses and found nothing works better than getting yourself out chapping (knocking on) doors, making phone calls or driving about with your van/car advert.

(Well maybe a national advertising campaign, lol)
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:36 am

Get a portfolio of work together and join a networking group like BNI (Business Networking International).

I joined in February last year and did nearly 30k of new business in the first year. This year I'm hoping to blow that away.

Cost me about $900 odd for the first year inc joining fees and I have to pay for breakfast every Friday morning. It's a large commitment in time and energy but it's the best marketing I've ever done. Plus you get to meet and form strong relationships with other business owners.

IMO Yellow pages is just for time wasters to call you and check someone else's prices.

Get a decent website and print a bucket load of good quality business cards and always hand out more than one to people.

Do direct mailout offers to generate interest in what you do.

Persevere :-)
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 9:03 am

Advertising

Get your car/van lettered up and make it eye catching.. We have a pack of business cards in each of our vehicles and we go through about 250 every 6 months in each vehicle! always getting asked for them in petrol stations etc.. Drive around and any shops to let etc drop a card through the door

Cheers
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:02 am

I've been getting pestered to join such a group, I didnt realise they were any good? I'll maybe give it a go then.
Yell.com does generate a lot of time-wasting phonecalls but I've had afew decent jobs out of it.
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:07 am

Yeah Chris I was really skeptical about groups like this but I've been really surprised and happy at how well it's worked for me. It is a large commitment of time and energy though to make it work, and you have to be willing to make sure you work it.

I've done at least $3000 in the past two weeks through referrals from my group. It's not always so good, but I look like getting about 50 K this year from it in new business.
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:20 am

Excellent, the one I've been looking at doesn't seem to have any annual fees. I've just sent him an email to check.
But sshhh....dont tell anyone else now it can be our little secret, lol.
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:02 am

I've used Yellow Pages for years. Last year I tried a couple of large ads in the BT book............ waste of money, I got nothing from it.
Yell.com is my first port of call when I'm looking for someone, so that's where I'd put my money. :)
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:42 am

my wife is involved in the local BNI, it is a huge commitment, one of the reasons I don't join but it's working for her so why not.

Yellow pages is a waste of money IMO, Yell.com is OK but I reckon you can't beat leg work (unless you look like me and they won't even let you in the door!! but that's another story!!)

Malk
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:52 am

I have mixed feeling about the BNI.

I have been invited to go along by a number of customers but declined. I have subsequently "lost" those customers to someone else.

With the BNI there is a lot of pressure to provide leads to others in the same "chapter" - subsequently the BNI membership becomes very "incestuous. I prefer to feel free to choose my suppliers and service providers from a wider range than those who would happen to join my local BNI group.

BNI is also a profit making enterprise. It's actually a franchise run for profit (nothing wrong with that of course) but it does have a different agenda than a non profit making organisation as a result.

Why not simply join and become active in your own local chambers of commerce which is also a business networking organisation?
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:02 pm

Totally agree Phill, it's not guaranteed you'll get the referrals and it's a lot of hard work on top of your 'normal' job.
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:14 pm

So does the Chamber of Commerce yield a lot of good leads Phill, I think I would prefer to become part of that than a franchised networker?
Also, is anyone a member of the Federation of Small Businesses?
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:21 pm

Chris Walker wrote:Excellent, the one I've been looking at doesn't seem to have any annual fees. I've just sent him an email to check.
But sshhh....dont tell anyone else now it can be our little secret, lol.


I've received an email back, there was no prior mention of any fees other than the £8 per week breakfast charge, now there turns out to be an initial joining fee of £575, surprise, surprise! (hot)
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:23 pm

Chris Walker wrote:is anyone a member of the Federation of Small Businesses?

Yes.

Generally I think it's a good thing, helping to get the voice of small business to those wooden headed pillocks that run this country.

On a more specific level, you need to look at the benefits of membership, see which ones are of value to you, and if the result is positive then join; if not, don't.

For instance, the FSB insurance thing is no good to us because their supplier can't provide the cover we need, therefore it has no value to us. On the other hand there are other benefits that we can take advantage of, which more than cover the cost of membership. Then there are the intangibles; things that you might not need, but would be awfully handy if you do. Stuff like the legal helpline, assistance in the event of tax investigations etc etc.
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:24 pm

I have done a BNI and a FSB "breakfast" networking club, I found the FSB (in my area anyway) a waste of time unless you are prepared to become best friends with all the "old timers" who were at mine :roll: :-? Every time I went up to a small gathered group to introduce myself they were friendly but then just carried on talking about social stuff and they all seemed to know each other well and spoke about their families etc. I found the FSB to be more of a social breakfast gathering of friends than anything else.

The BNI group I actually found very good, it was also an invitation breakfast for them to try recruit members but found their way of conducting it was much more professional and business orientated, I actually got 3 jobs from just being there that day. I didn't join up as I could not afford it at that time with the joining fee and then £40/month for a breakfast every Friday morning and also having to be there at the crack of dawn :roll: :lol1:

I am considering getting my wife to join up with them as she is going to start selling for me part time and she is good with people so might be able to make it work.

JMHO

cheers

Warren
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:26 pm

Just to clear up I am only referring to the networking breakfasts, I have found them very helpful with other thing and they helped my wife a lot with legal advice when her business went under.

Warren
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:57 pm

Just to clear up any confusion, the FSB is not a networking organisation, it is a lobbying organisation, however, that said, many local branches do run networking events from time to time.

The FSB is there to support small businesses and work hard on our behalf. I can say this with experience, having just had a 4 hour meeting in my office with the National Officers of the organisation, where we have reviewed the plans that are in place for issues such as the floods of 2 years ago.

The FSB were the first organisation to offer interest free loans to members effected by the floods to help get business back up and running.

This of course is in addition to the many benefits already offered to members.

Well worth joining in my opinion.
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:14 pm

im just going to add that we are review/implement changes to the way we advertise... but we have cut our costs on phone book advertising this year as our building and vans are good promoters of the business.
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 5:30 pm

Nearly all Paper based publications are now split around 30 / 70 in usage.

With the 70% being their online business.

Most are still selling the web as an add on.

Give it a year and all the major players Yellow Pages , BT Phone Book etc etc will be throwing the Book (Paper based products) advertising in as a package or deal.

One thing I would say If you want to do any of these is don't accept the first price they give you, some I know ( for fact ) can discount upto 75%.

Not sure on Yell as then may have to sell only at rate card.....although they are skint........lol
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:05 pm

i was a member of BNI for about a year with my previous cleaning business, all i will say is be very careful also as previous comments i spent i lot to get not a lot!! if you get what i mean.
traceyX
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 6:40 pm

mm interesting thread this as I am being actively harassed to join my local BNI - already in the chamber which gets my name about but not a lot of direct work.

What did groucho marks say "I wouldnt join a club that would have me as a member" which is what im thinking.

Love to hear from others on the BNI thing

To stick to the thread im out of the yell book now just in yell.com but I think thats on the slide so im building a new web site with a view to upping my google ranking as the way forward.

And yes im really pi$$ed off with the calls from people offering to put me on first page of google.

John :D
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Post Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:58 pm

If you take into account the overall yearly cost of joining and your time Roughly just over £500.00 PLUS VAT monthly cost of £40.00 plus 3 hours of your time per week, don't forget time is money plus added on events and costs of those also travel to and from weekly.

Also you have to think if there are say 15 20 people in your group
(the same people every week!!) also how much time you have to canvas for the group again your time (calls and letters).

how much you a realistically going to get out of it God i could have had a couple of gucci bags and sunglasses??????
(not sure what men buy sorry!)
so please don't just leap seriously think overall cost.
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Post Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:49 am

I find nothing better than our branded fleet, I must get 2-3 calls per day saying they've seen the leopard-print vans around and how much to get that done. I'd wrap my mums car if she let me!

Then its just word of mouth and repeat business, I don't rate golden pages or advertsing in mags, I've had some return on e-mailers and flyer drops but nothing to jump up and down about.

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