Boy its slow slow slow!

I'm looking for marketing ideas
Good, bad or indifferent.

I have tried Val-Pak --- expensive
Community newspapers --- no response
Direct mail postcards -- expensive but had decent response

I'm not interested in giving the store away with large discounts or sales.

Is anyone doing a newsletter? what's the response? do you include coupons? can you e-mail samples?
do you e-mail your newsletter to your clients?
What about frequent framer programs?

Has anyone used the framing focus pages from Picture Framing mag?

Is anyone interested in working with me on a generic newsletter that can be customized for each shop? Any ideas?

There's no such thing as a bad idea, just ones that you don't use.

Sponsor Wanted


SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Check out Frequent Framer in the archives. There are some good suggestions there. Suggestion: 0% off first custom frame (not ready made) order, then 5%, 10%, 15%, 20%. Then start over. You might have luck if you mail Frequent Framer cards and letters about the FF program to regular customers.


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
We just sent out about a 1000 flyers to our customer list telling them about our CMC.Using mat scrapes we made up tons of 8 x 10's showing the different designs we can do. Then offered them a free double mat from our selection of "favorite cuts". We tacked on information about our website and offered 20% off preframed art.
I typed the flyer on plain paper, then we copied it onto the decorative papers you can get at Office Max or any of those places. Used computer labels off database.Total cost was about .54 including postage not counting our time.
Response has been good if only to get people in to get their free sample mat. We haven't tracked website hits yet.

Grumbler in Training
Have you considered vying for some corporate work or contract framing jobs? It is a good way to offset any slower trends in the retail market. There are many good ideas and contacts to be found at which may be helpful for you. Best of luck!

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Originally posted by
"Have you considered vying for some corporate work or contract framing jobs? It is a good way to offset any slower trends in the retail market..."

Retail storefronts set up for retail framing find it difficult to compete with the companies that take most of the commercial framing jobs; those with back-alley (cheap) locations, production equipment, and production staffers.

Too often, the hungry retailer ends up trading dollars on commercial jobs. If the 'rookie' retailer-doing-commercial framer makes a mistake, it might erase all profit at best, and create a cash flow disaster at worst. Carrying accounts receivable requires more working capital than pay-me-now retail orders. Retail frame shops, unprepared for that aspect of commercial business, sometimes die when they run out of cash.

Rather than venturing into risky, reduced-profit business, it might be wiser to bite the bullet; lay off marginal employees and stop spending. That is, cut costs to match the profit decline, rather than sacrificing profit just to get revenue. When retail picks up, then we catch up.

Another danger of going after low-profit business in hard times is that, when full-profit retail orders pick up again, the shop could be full of marginally-profitable orders. Then what? We have a pile of overtime, new hires, and more potential problems.

We suffer through those ordeals for profitable business -- that's why we get the big bucks, right? But is it justifiable for unprofitable business?


Thanks Jim,
I couldn't agree more about commercial jobs.
I find the repetition just plain boring.

things are slow, but not desperate. time to take a deep breath and ride the storm out. Luckily we have no debt and a good amount of working capital. That's why I was looking for marketing ideas.

has anyone ever thought of an I.G.A. or Ace Hardware concept so that small framers in the same market could combine advertising budgets to get more bang for there buck. also more buying power from suppliers. ie split boxes of mldg.

even though we are in the same metro area I don't feel that your Pickerington store and my Gahanna store are in competition.

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

There have been successful group advertising campaigns. PPFA chapters have sponsored some, and small groups of independent framers do it, too.

As you suggest, you and I, and two or three other Central Ohio framers in not-too-close proximity could work out a series of ads that apply to all of us, and run them in THE DISPATCH or COLUMBUS MONTHLY -- or both. By splitting the cost, we could gain presence in publications we couldn't (wouldn't) otherwise consider.

The next question is whether it would do us any good. I'mm starting another thread on "Advertising in a Slow-Down".

Group buying is another opportunity to save money. For example, a few of us might buy 5,000 feet of moulding, or a pallet of white rag mats, or a pallet of UV-filtering glass, etc., and split it equally or otherwise.

Jim Miller

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
...And another thing...

We shouldn't forget Framer Select, Jay Goltz's latest endeavor. It may be the ultimate group advertising plan, involving framers from everywhere -- but with local impact.

As I understand it, the program includes professionally-developed advertising in the best national publications, a professionally-developed web site, and other promotional goodies we couldn't possibly afford on our own.

And then there's the management training, problem-solving resources, comparitive financial information, and sourcing opportunities.

For more information on Framer Select, check out the web site, or contact Jeff Grabowski at 773-248-6060; FAX 773-880-8801; email

[This message has been edited by Jim Miller (edited May 19, 2001).]


True Grumbler
We have formed a group of seven stores who brainstorm and advertise in the yellow pages under our common name FRAMESMART,as well as participate in other campaigns together.
After three years of doing this we have had some sucesses and a few failures.
Using our common name in all of our promotions, we have an economical way of promoting our various businesses and having a larger presence in our trade area.
Getting together to decide how to promote ourselves has been very helpful to us all.
Coop buying is only a small part of our goals. We feel that promoting ourselves and driving more traffic to us is the single most important goal.
As for Framer Select, it is a good concept but since almost all of our business is derived locally, one wonders how effective this can be on a national basis.


JackBingham CPF

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I like to send out birthday cards. ( I get them from Posty Cards.)

At the beginning of the month I print up the list for the month ,from Lifesaver software, and hand address them with the date where I'll put the stamp. I then mail them 2 days before the date.
I also like to send out a thank you card, again from Posty Cards, after we receive a new order for framing or art sale.
Great for goodwill.


Jay Goltz

Grumbler in Training
The national advertising that FramerSelect is doing is targeted at EVERYONES local market. The ads are in upscale, targeted publications that go to people with higher incomes and an interest in home decor or art. It is much more targeted than a general newspaper and is a 4- color ad. Each store is only spending less than 1/2% of what the ad actually costs. We are getting a thousands of hits on our website and are adding framers daily.