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Like many young UK businesses we've managed to get our ball rolling, secure sales and raise awareness of our products by exhibiting at shows and online promotion. So far we have "avoided" traditional £advertising in any of the Guitar magazines but we wondered if this medium was still worthwhile investing in - we ran a small poll on twitter recently and 50% of those who responded suggested they no longer buy/read magazines; preferring to catch up with the latest news & reviews online. 

Do any forum members running their own business have any experience or thoughts to share?








Oak & Bespoke Guitar Stands & Racks made in Shropshire, England.
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  • EricTheWearyEricTheWeary Frets: 5959
    Without trying to put him on the spot IIRC @FelineGuitars posted about this a while back. 

    Always an odd discussion on a guitar forum as the cross over with people who read guitar mags doesn't seem to be huge - more ex and occasional readers. That still leaves some people you could probably only get to via magazines. Guitarist  distribution is less than about 25000 now, as far as I can see, so the hit on any advert would have to be reasonably good. I have occasionally bought Classic Rock, same publishers but over twice the readership, and noticed ads for higher end guitar stuff in there. Given that Stand Made might be seen as a lifestyle product as much as a guitar one then maybe Classic Rock or golf magazines or the Observer, etc, etc, might be better. 
    I feel the warm, healing, liquid presence of God’s genuine cold-filtered grace. 
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  • Strat54Strat54 Frets: 344
    Started buying guitar mags in 1985, would probably buy several a month right up until around five years ago, then with the amount of info on the net I became selective and cut them down to just three.....G&B, Guitarist and Vintage Guitar from the U.S. Now I just get VG monthly and buy the other two if there is a particular feature of interest. I find when they come out I've pretty much read most of the content already. Issues like this months Guitarist with bloody Hank Marvin on the cover are a total turn off! Personally I rarely read the ads in them. 

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  • TTonyTTony Frets: 11514
    I'd say that your social media presence will be better for raising awareness - as long as you do it properly - and that attendance at shows is great for getting the product into the hands of potential customers and perhaps persuading them to get their wallets out too.

    Mags for reviews are probably still worthwhile (@thorpyfx and @TheGuitarWeasel will know better than I), but you can probably spend your advertising budget more effectively elsewhere.  Maybe even diverting that advertising spend into a business that can help you build your social media presence.

    This place isn't bad either - particularly because anyone Googling for your product will find any threads here are listed quite high up the search results, so getting some positive comment here will help build your credibliity.
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  • FelineGuitarsFelineGuitars Frets: 4122
    Lifestyle magazine advertising is hugely expensive and not necessarily aimed at your target audience.
    Andy - you have a slightly different product to most , so there is a bit of crossover 
    I still feel that a mix of Instagram, facebook and I know you like Twitter (although I don't see it as a good visual medium)

    Maybe a video clip demonstrating how neat the stands are.
    Maybe a comparison pic of how much better a Standmade stand would look in a home than a metal frame one 

    Many guitars have a re-sale value. Some you'll never want to sell.
    Stockist of Earvana nuts, ASL and BKP pickups. Sperzel, Tonepros, Gotoh and Graphtech too!
    Expert guitar repairs and upgrades - fretwork our speciality! www.felineguitars.com

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  • TheGuitarWeaselTheGuitarWeasel Frets: 2781
    I dropped £400 quid on a guitar mag small ad ... you don't get much for your dosh ... might has well have burnt £20 notes ... not one sale!!! Got my Wapping Wharf etc review in Guitar and bass ... and was instantly snowed under with orders.
    Social media works, glossies are a waste of money for paid ads, unless you are one of the big boys and can take full pages monthly, where you win by simply chucking money at the problem.  
    I have a practically zero advertising budget, but seem to do okay with a mix of social media and the odd review :-)
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Oil City Pickups  ... The Guitar Weasel blog

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  • stand_madestand_made Frets: 57
    This is great - really, many thanks everyone!!

    We did secure a back page (free) feature last year in Guitarist "presents Acoustic" and like your review @TheGuitarWeasel the editorial definitely made a noticeable £difference - particularly overseas orders strangely!

    We also know we really need to invest more time on Social Media and, as you say @TTony begin doing it properly - all our customers describe our racks & stands as quality guitar "furniture" and yet I don't think we've really focused enough on this (high quality images & "in the home" videos are definitely on the to do list Jonathan @FelineGuitars)

    Thanks also @EricTheWeary and @Strat54  - much appreciated!

    That's lunchtime over - back to it! 





    Oak & Bespoke Guitar Stands & Racks made in Shropshire, England.
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  • FelineGuitarsFelineGuitars Frets: 4122
    Get customers to post their stands and racks in use at home or in their studios and share those images . 
    Maybe offer a prize draw for those who post and tag you in their pics as an incentive to get people sharing.
    Really your smaller stands mae great present ideas from family/partners who risk getting frustrated buying for guitarists who buy all the toys they'd like otherwise

    Many guitars have a re-sale value. Some you'll never want to sell.
    Stockist of Earvana nuts, ASL and BKP pickups. Sperzel, Tonepros, Gotoh and Graphtech too!
    Expert guitar repairs and upgrades - fretwork our speciality! www.felineguitars.com

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  • martmart Frets: 2105
    I dropped £400 quid on a guitar mag small ad ... you don't get much for your dosh ... might has well have burnt £20 notes ... not one sale!!! Got my Wapping Wharf etc review in Guitar and bass ... and was instantly snowed under with orders.
    ....
    That exactly reflects how influenced I am by what I see in print magazines. Adverts are almost always ignored, but reviews are very likely to get me digging out my credit card.
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  • StrangefanStrangefan Frets: 1891
    Social media is really important these days, have a search for Richards guitars on here and take some notes, he knows how to do it properly. 
    www.deadhappyband.com
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  • stand_madestand_made Frets: 57
    Get customers to post their stands and racks in use at home or in their studios and share those images . 
    Maybe offer a prize draw for those who post and tag you in their pics as an incentive to get people sharing.
    Really your smaller stands mae great present ideas from family/partners who risk getting frustrated buying for guitarists who buy all the toys they'd like otherwise
    Thanks again Jonathan - some customers really do enjoy sending us pictures when they receive their Stands/Racks which WE often tweet/share but I'm sure we could incentivise some of our old customers to do some retrospective tagging & sharing - we achieved our 500th sale only last week!

    The small stands go really well at Xmas and the engraving secures many sales for birthdays, anniversaries etc.
    Oak & Bespoke Guitar Stands & Racks made in Shropshire, England.
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  • stand_madestand_made Frets: 57
    mart said:
    I dropped £400 quid on a guitar mag small ad ... you don't get much for your dosh ... might has well have burnt £20 notes ... not one sale!!! Got my Wapping Wharf etc review in Guitar and bass ... and was instantly snowed under with orders.
    ....
    That exactly reflects how influenced I am by what I see in print magazines. Adverts are almost always ignored, but reviews are very likely to get me digging out my credit card.
    Thanks @mart ;
    Oak & Bespoke Guitar Stands & Racks made in Shropshire, England.
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  • stand_madestand_made Frets: 57
    Social media is really important these days, have a search for Richards guitars on here and take some notes, he knows how to do it properly. 
    Thanks @Strangefan ;
    Oak & Bespoke Guitar Stands & Racks made in Shropshire, England.
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  • ThorpyFXThorpyFX Frets: 3393
    I do a mix of both. We get most sales spikes from forums and social media presence than anything else. However when we advertise, it's usually targeted at a specific deal offered to us by the mag and with a specific goal for us, such as a pedal launch.

    Advertising shouldn't be seen as a silver bullet, it's one facet of a constant and diverse pressure to increase brand awareness. I.e advertise, do it smartly, and ensure you monitor the yield from the effort. 
    Adrian Thorpe MBE | Owner of ThorpyFx Ltd | Email: thorpy@thorpyfx.com | Twitter: @ThorpyFx | Facebook: ThorpyFx Ltd | Website: www.thorpyfx.com
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  • stand_madestand_made Frets: 57
    ThorpyFX said:
    I do a mix of both. We get most sales spikes from forums and social media presence than anything else. However when we advertise, it's usually targeted at a specific deal offered to us by the mag and with a specific goal for us, such as a pedal launch.

    Advertising shouldn't be seen as a silver bullet, it's one facet of a constant and diverse pressure to increase brand awareness. I.e advertise, do it smartly, and ensure you monitor the yield from the effort. 
    Hey Adrian! Just taken a fresh look at your website. With all those dealers on board now, when do you guys ever sleep?!?

    Basically, we want to start promoting the workshop Showroom and reaffirming that, like our production methods, we are a genuinely traditional and not a high-tech or mass producing business. However, when every penny still counts and the effectiveness of traditional advertising is still to be tested, it feels a very daunting decision!   

    Oak & Bespoke Guitar Stands & Racks made in Shropshire, England.
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  • AlegreeAlegree Frets: 230
    edited May 19
    Newsletters to my subscribers is by far and away my best earner.

    Someone who already knows your trustworthy and have great wares is far more valuable than the generally sceptical view of someone who doesn't. Not to mention when you're small time, trying to shift a customer's immense inertia (in this market particularly) from a large name when you're not a known name is a massive hurdle. 

    If I've learnt anything in the year I've been in business, it's that the customer loyalty in this market cannot ever be underestimated.
    Alegree pickups & guitar supplies - www.alegree.co.uk
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  • Jez6345789Jez6345789 Frets: 696
    Not from guitar industry but similar hobby/leisure business.

    We never spend on print anymore unless they are including it in what's new and or a review. We make them chase us.

    more effective is.

    An active social media approach
    what we have learnt for us is give 3 information posts on related subject to one get our new product.post. Golden rule give to get.

    post at the same time on a regular basis so people get to know when you have content.

    video is king a simple two iPhone video on a glue product got us our highest likes and engagement. Way more than just images.

    for us paid Facebook boosted posts to a good profile of users can see a solid spike in sales in the ensuing 30 days..

    build a mailing list to send regular newsletters. Is a solid reliable method but make content educational and not just here are a list of products and prices. Also exclusive mail list offers work to build brand loyalty and income.

    i could write 10 pages but that is the core and ultimately print has a much lower roi than FB and social.






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  • stand_madestand_made Frets: 57
    Alegree said:
    Newsletters to my subscribers is by far and away my best earner.

    Someone who already knows your trustworthy and have great wares is far more valuable than the generally sceptical view of someone who doesn't. Not to mention when you're small time, trying to shift a customer's immense inertia (in this market particularly) from a large name when you're not a known name is a massive hurdle. 

    If I've learnt anything in the year I've been in business, it's that the customer loyalty in this market cannot ever be underestimated.
    Many thanks @Alegree !
    Oak & Bespoke Guitar Stands & Racks made in Shropshire, England.
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  • stand_madestand_made Frets: 57
    Not from guitar industry but similar hobby/leisure business.

    We never spend on print anymore unless they are including it in what's new and or a review. We make them chase us.

    more effective is.

    An active social media approach
    what we have learnt for us is give 3 information posts on related subject to one get our new product.post. Golden rule give to get.

    post at the same time on a regular basis so people get to know when you have content.

    video is king a simple two iPhone video on a glue product got us our highest likes and engagement. Way more than just images.

    for us paid Facebook boosted posts to a good profile of users can see a solid spike in sales in the ensuing 30 days..

    build a mailing list to send regular newsletters. Is a solid reliable method but make content educational and not just here are a list of products and prices. Also exclusive mail list offers work to build brand loyalty and income.

    i could write 10 pages but that is the core and ultimately print has a much lower roi than FB and social.






    Thank you for generously sharing this @Jez6345789 - your 3:1 "give to get" rule especially!

    What I have undoubtedly realized through this discussion is that we might have a new, improved website about to launch and a workshop Showroom about to open, but we still need to begin really INTERACTING with the people already visiting/discovering us; making their experience a much more interesting, positive one BEFORE investing in trying to increase our audience figures through print advertising.

    I am really pleased with how the business has steadily grown over the last 4 years and the hundreds of emailed testimonials we've so far received praising us for the quality of our products, skills and service, but the next crucial step is much clearer now.

    I'll keep sharing our personal marketing plans & experiences along the way - hoping they might help others too.

    Thanks again everyone.

    Andy
    Oak & Bespoke Guitar Stands & Racks made in Shropshire, England.
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  • wackojackowackojacko Frets: 58
    Not from guitar industry but similar hobby/leisure business.

    We never spend on print anymore unless they are including it in what's new and or a review. We make them chase us.

    more effective is.

    An active social media approach
    what we have learnt for us is give 3 information posts on related subject to one get our new product.post. Golden rule give to get.

    post at the same time on a regular basis so people get to know when you have content.

    video is king a simple two iPhone video on a glue product got us our highest likes and engagement. Way more than just images.

    for us paid Facebook boosted posts to a good profile of users can see a solid spike in sales in the ensuing 30 days..

    build a mailing list to send regular newsletters. Is a solid reliable method but make content educational and not just here are a list of products and prices. Also exclusive mail list offers work to build brand loyalty and income.

    i could write 10 pages but that is the core and ultimately print has a much lower roi than FB and social.






    Thank you for generously sharing this @Jez6345789 - your 3:1 "give to get" rule especially!

    What I have undoubtedly realized through this discussion is that we might have a new, improved website about to launch and a workshop Showroom about to open, but we still need to begin really INTERACTING with the people already visiting/discovering us; making their experience a much more interesting, positive one BEFORE investing in trying to increase our audience figures through print advertising.

    I am really pleased with how the business has steadily grown over the last 4 years and the hundreds of emailed testimonials we've so far received praising us for the quality of our products, skills and service, but the next crucial step is much clearer now.

    I'll keep sharing our personal marketing plans & experiences along the way - hoping they might help others too.

    Thanks again everyone.

    Andy
    Andy, Stand made are a perfect candidate for instagram - people will knock it but its a great source of interest/enquiries/orders, especially as a manufacturer such as yourself. 

    Post photos of the manufacturing process (within reason, don't give your secrets away) mixed in amongst product photos an and you will generate a lot of interest. People are as much interested in photos of the daily ins and outs of your business as much as they are with product photos. Just ask Marc @Mojopickups how instagram has helped him. He has a massive following. Plus - instagram is the fastest growing platform since 2012. Its free promotion.
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  • TheGuitarWeaselTheGuitarWeasel Frets: 2781
    edited May 22
    The only issue I find with Instagram, and for that matter Facebook is the amount of time they soak up to make work properly. If you are a larger company and can afford to make social media a responsibility of one staff member then great. I have found that for small companies like mine the time investment can be a heavy burden. If you can find an unpaid friend, family member etc to handle the donkey work, great, otherwise you may find you spend more time on social media than making stands.
    Professional pickup winder, horse-testpilot and recovering Chocolate Hobnob addict.
    Oil City Pickups  ... The Guitar Weasel blog

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  • stand_madestand_made Frets: 57
    Not from guitar industry but similar hobby/leisure business.

    We never spend on print anymore unless they are including it in what's new and or a review. We make them chase us.

    more effective is.

    An active social media approach
    what we have learnt for us is give 3 information posts on related subject to one get our new product.post. Golden rule give to get.

    post at the same time on a regular basis so people get to know when you have content.

    video is king a simple two iPhone video on a glue product got us our highest likes and engagement. Way more than just images.

    for us paid Facebook boosted posts to a good profile of users can see a solid spike in sales in the ensuing 30 days..

    build a mailing list to send regular newsletters. Is a solid reliable method but make content educational and not just here are a list of products and prices. Also exclusive mail list offers work to build brand loyalty and income.

    i could write 10 pages but that is the core and ultimately print has a much lower roi than FB and social.






    Thank you for generously sharing this @Jez6345789 - your 3:1 "give to get" rule especially!

    What I have undoubtedly realized through this discussion is that we might have a new, improved website about to launch and a workshop Showroom about to open, but we still need to begin really INTERACTING with the people already visiting/discovering us; making their experience a much more interesting, positive one BEFORE investing in trying to increase our audience figures through print advertising.

    I am really pleased with how the business has steadily grown over the last 4 years and the hundreds of emailed testimonials we've so far received praising us for the quality of our products, skills and service, but the next crucial step is much clearer now.

    I'll keep sharing our personal marketing plans & experiences along the way - hoping they might help others too.

    Thanks again everyone.

    Andy
    Andy, Stand made are a perfect candidate for instagram - people will knock it but its a great source of interest/enquiries/orders, especially as a manufacturer such as yourself. 

    Post photos of the manufacturing process (within reason, don't give your secrets away) mixed in amongst product photos an and you will generate a lot of interest. People are as much interested in photos of the daily ins and outs of your business as much as they are with product photos. Just ask Marc @Mojopickups how instagram has helped him. He has a massive following. Plus - instagram is the fastest growing platform since 2012. Its free promotion.
    Thank you @wackojacko - Twitter has proven to be really good for us; securing valuable sales, support and contact with some amazing people but, having considered everyone's feedback so far, I'm now a lot more comfortable, making a decision to invest in our other social channels  (Instagram, Facebook and Youtube) which, to date, have been far less "interactive".

    I very much appreciate it is a real skill and creating a profile that ensures the business comes across both professional & personable, clearly requires planning and careful thought before getting the cameras out (I recognize it's no longer a marketing novelty) but you're absolutely right @TheGuitarWeasel, it can seem overwhelming trying to keep up with those around you who appear to be on top of it all. That said, just knowing there are far more 1-2 man operations burning the midnight oil right alongside you, keeps the motivation going.

    We're also at the stage where we need to consider how we £upscale many other aspects of our operation to cope with a significant increase in sales but that's prompting a whole new conversation!!

    Many thanks again.

    Andy 
    Oak & Bespoke Guitar Stands & Racks made in Shropshire, England.
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