just wondering what is the best methods to advertise and draw more clients from far and near? I have a copmpetitor who has been in the buisness about the same time (around 6 years, although i've been in this area longer)we charge about the same prices. He turned full time about a year ago, and I am still part- time. I have joined a taxidermy association to improve my work and I feel my work is better, but don't like to run down other peoples work. he does have one advantage he lives in a bigger town, wich I comute to for my "real job" so I offer free pick up and delivery there. I feel my signs show that I have good work. I advertise "award winning taxidermist". does any one have any more suggestions, am I paying too much attention to the competition or is this normal. There also seems to be more and more taxidermists "poping out of the woodwork"
wich is another reason to hit the advertising hard because I am on the edge of full to part time.
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Your concern is one of the causes that leads to price cutting: mine's bigger than yours complex. Since you are part time, that should be your sole and only concern. You HAVE NO COMPETITORS. It's your work versus what the customer appreciates. You make YOUR work better and the real customers will find you. After 43 years I made the brilliant discovery that advertising is a waste of money. I stopped advertising several years back and I'm strongly considering taking my decals off my truck. Word of mouth will get you more business than the yellow pages can ever hope for and unless you're planning on opening a shop with several taxidermists, can you really take in more work and keep your quality up? Yours is the normal thought patterns we all live through. If there's one or 1000 taxidermists within a hundred miles, each of us wants to think of them as "competitors". They only compete with you if your work isn't any better than theirs.
EVERYONE is an award winner now. Theres a guy by me who doesnt even go to the shows, his "ribbons" are from the county fair, if you can believe that! You can pay someone for ad space, or do good work that others will pay YOU. THATS your advertising. Good that you dont run the other guy down. Hes doing his thing, just like you are. You have the better position, at least you have full time work with taxidermy another career. Trust me, YOU have it made....
I don't believe in the following forms of advertising:
HUGE Yellow pages ads
putting your work in sport/barber/bait shops
I DO believe in the following:
Doing GOOD work with a decent TURN AROUND:I have been guilty of the YEAR long (or more) turn around in the past. I HAVE corrected that. SOME will use the LAME excuse "quality takes time", to a degree YES, but it doesn't take any longer to do it right than it does to do it wrong. Most guys with LONG turn arounds are what I call fiddlers. They get in the shop and fiddle, they don't get on it. When I worked in a large studio I was expected to get 10 - 12 heads mounted in 40 hrs or less. I have gotten as many as 15 done in that time period (pronghorns). Now I don't work like that in MY studio, but I still work when I am at work. I don't BS with customers. I don't spend and hour stitching a head. I don't talk on the phone. I spend my time WORKING. In fact I spend LESS than 40 hours a week working and STILL get my work done. I have better things to do than stand there over dead animals for 60 - 70 hours a week like some guys. SO when I am at work I WORK. Get your work DONE and WORD OF MOUTH will make you busy. I will say in order to keep turn around decent you may have to have a cut off, I don't but may have to some day. One LAST thing that helps. In the last year I have been giving FINISH DATES for all my customers. I explain DO NOT call me before, as it will NOT be done. Keeps me OFF the phone answering the is it ready yet ?If I get it done sooner, they are ecstatic, if not I MAKE MY DEADLINES. Keeps them comin' back for more. THIS IS THE BEST ADVERTISEMENT YOU CAN HAVE! In fact if you do this you probably can forget the rest. Though the other ideas will help you get your initial customers
Single Line YP ad: I get SO much work from my phone ad, BECAUSE, if I get them on the phone they are mine! It helps that I am first in line (Big Jim's Award Winning Taxidermy! OH BOY!)The ads costs me very little through the year, and I pay for it with ONE customer. PLUS you can deduct them from you taxes!
Business cards:Get thousands (I get 1000 for about $25) and give them to EVERYBODY you meet. Don't be stingy with them! It is AMAZING the number of people who come to me with cards I gave them 5 years ago! If you put 10% off on it they will keep it till they die. I put 10% off on ALL my cards and structure my prices so that I get the price I want. PLUS you can deduct them on your taxes!
Hats:Get GOOD, Embroidered hats. Give them to all your customers. THEY WEAR THEM! Especially if they have a WT or Fish on them. You would think you gave them a MILLION dollars. They think they are getting a GREAT gift and you get FREE advertising as they wear them to WORK, HUNTING, and HUNT/FISH clubs. I can get a GOOD hat made for about $6 if I buy at least a dozen. Figure it into the cost of a mount and it costs you NOTHING>>>>>>PLUS>>>>You can deduct them off your taxes!
Ball Teams:I sponser a local Little League Team EVERY year. It costs me about $175. It is a little costly BUT the goodwill generated comes back to me twofold. Plus those little guys/gals wear those hats all the time OR give them to their dads who do. PLUS you can deduct it off your taxes!
Just keep doing good work, AND on time, it may take a little while but you will succeed!
and a decent sign!
Gus,check your other post regarding surveys.
Otherwise,I have to agree that business cards,newspaper ads in the local outdoor paper ,and I am also one who gets good embroidered hats made for a free advertising on my customers heads.Word of mouth is still best because you have a testimonial working for you.
Having been in the taxidermy industry for 20+ years and in advertising for 4- I have a pretty good insight into what works and doesn't work as far as taxidermy advertising goes. Good business cards, a nice sign on your business, brochures and great work will suffice. Large yellow page ads are a waste of money- in most businesses- not just taxidermy. People are going to call and shop around anyway. Newspaper readership continues to drop and TV is expensive. When you place an ad in the newspaper- the best you can hope for is 2% of the people who are reading are shopping for your product and that figure is sure to be lower for taxidermy, given the present climate as far as hunting is concerned. The best advertising you can have is word of mouth. Put out a good product and your business will build to the extent that you will be months behind within a couple, three years. When I worked in the shop and advertising reps would come in I would say we really didn't need to advertise and they would look at me like I was crazy, but I sent them on their way. Now that I am an advertising rep- my thoughts have not changed at all and when I call on labor intense businesses, like taxidermy, and am told they are as busy as they can be, I truly understand. The only other thing I can offer is to suggest you get a boothe at a few gun shows in your area, show your work and visit one on one with the people- what is the saying- 'build it and they will come'. Good luck- you better watch what you wish for!
Yellow page ads are for reference, not advertising. They know who you are, but need your phone number. I STILL maintain that doing better work is your single most BEST ad there is...and THEY pay YOU for it. Long turn around times are for idlers, yes, Im guilty of that to an extent. But, the long time is due to workload, too. Cant do em all first...its a waiting list.
It is not price gouging to charge for quality work. Do your best work on each piece, continue to improve charge what it is truly worth. Dont worry about being full-time just yet, it will come with time. When you are getting paid for your work and getting it back to the customers on time in short time, you will find you can get even a few dollars more a little later. then suddenly you will be full-time and earning what you need to support your family.
Remember to let your taxidermy work pay for additional schooling!
Now that this "internet thing" is catching on (lol), which rung on the "bang for buck" ladder (as far as advertisement goes) do you folks think a good website would rank?
Web Advertising- a very interesting question. A good way to judge a good web site is what % of penetration of the DMA is the site attracting. In the way of a local TV web site- this would mean how many people that can get your signal will actually go to your web site- a good, successful number would be 7%- 10% is incredible! Web advertising in taxidermy? If you are looking for clients from all over the nation or world- web would be good- but only if your work was good. It wouldn't take very long for word to get around that you did bad work. If you're looking for area/local work- reference the above posts- and maybe get a web site to drive people to to look at your work. But then remember- if you don't spend advertising dollars to let people know you HAVE a site- it is worthless. And the circle goes on--
are excellent to refer a potential customer to so they can see some examples of your work and to get an idea of who you are.
Advertising is a strange creature. You can do the best mount in the world, but if no one knows it you can't sell it. I am not a taxidermist but I know advertising.
By far your best advertising is word of mouth but you have to do good work so customers will tell their friends. Business cards are inexpensive you should leave one every place you visit a resturant leave one on the table, the waitress may trash it but she may not and a potential customer may pick it up. I think refrigerator magnets are the best they last year after year. Yellow pages are too expensive a simple BOLD letter in the white pages cost little espically if your studio is Taxidermy by (your name), that puts you under the "T" in the phone book. If you do do a yellow pages ad you need to be the first on the listing such as A-1 Taxidermy. People searching usually call the first name under that catagory. Be The First One. Again Business cards and word of mouth are the bestand least expensive, but you have to back it up with quick turn around and good work.