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Blog entry by eastside posted 10-26-2009 02:26 PM 1194 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

For those of you that make a living at woodworking how do you bring customers in? That is what is your method of advertising. If you are using the internet for advertising please explain if it is just your web site or have you found something else out their like Craig’s list etc. If you are just using your web site and its working for you I invite you to post it here so we can learn what works for web design.

-- Mike, Westport MA.



12 comments so far

View Moron's profile

Moron

4666 posts in 2531 days


#1 posted 10-26-2009 02:38 PM

my web site has brought me “ZERO” customers.

100% come from referrals

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8775 posts in 2737 days


#2 posted 10-26-2009 02:55 PM

My work comes from the reputation that I have built over 12 years of being a remodeling contractor. I enjoyed working on early 1900’s homes and this created a need for me to do repairs or duplications of historic trim and built-ins. This has slowly changed to include other projects that are not historic in nature.

Almost all of my work is word of mouth. My website has brought me a little work but it is mostly an online portfolio and that is all it was intended to be.

Here is one of the big secrets: Time. You have to do whatever you can to get your name spread around, but it takes time to build a solid reputation.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View NickTobis's profile

NickTobis

25 posts in 2033 days


#3 posted 10-26-2009 02:57 PM

Yellow Pages has been a tremendous waste for us. Its expensive, and hasn’t even brought enough work in to cover the advertising cost. We don’t really have a web site other than 1stdibs.com. A few projects came from their but 90% comes from referrals.

-- T&G, West Palm Beach

View eddy's profile

eddy

926 posts in 2002 days


#4 posted 10-26-2009 03:03 PM

most of the things i make are small i have had good luck with farmers markets/craft fairs and the like
it cost anywhere from $25 to 45 dollars so it is a gamble each time i pass out a lot of business cards
and get a lot of referral work it depends on what you are doing/making. with web sites like esty and such
there is a lot of competition on the web. a web site is good if you have a customer base to start with
but a site alone is like a needle in a haystack

-- self proclaimed copycat

View cstrang's profile

cstrang

1769 posts in 1806 days


#5 posted 10-26-2009 03:22 PM

The best thing that will get your name out there is word of mouth, make as many customers happy as possible because for some reason bad news seems to spread faster than good news. I have put up some signs here and there but the thing that gets me the most business is former satisfied customers.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View rustfever's profile

rustfever

621 posts in 1948 days


#6 posted 10-26-2009 06:07 PM

I find my ‘soon to be’ new customers spend time on my web site, then call past customers. Only after I past ‘muster’, do they call me directly. I really cannot say I get customers from the web site. However, my website lend credibility to my business.

-- Rustfever, Central California

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112030 posts in 2214 days


#7 posted 10-26-2009 06:21 PM

Mostly Referrals and past and present remodeling clients

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View huff's profile

huff

2804 posts in 1922 days


#8 posted 10-27-2009 02:59 AM

Mike, Great question and I was looking for answers myself. Most of my work comes from referrals. Before I moved my business to Myrte Beach SC, I was in the Raleigh, NC area for almost 20 years. The most effective marketing I did over the years was doing the Southern Ideal Home Show in Raleigh. If there is some sort of Home Show or Remodeler’s show, it may be worth checking into. Since I do all custom work and I’m not a production cabinet shop, I usually found I was about the only one there displaying custom furniture and cabinetery. Unfortunatly, the home show sucks here, so I’m looking for another way to put myself in front of the public. I’m not sure what type of woodworking you want to promote, but feel free to take a look at my web-site to see what kind of projects I do. My web-site is more of a portfolio, but I do get about 4,000 visitors a month to the site ( unfortunately that’s everywhere from here to China). LOL.
I’ve done some other things over the years with limited success, but I won’t bore everyone with those, so if you’re interested, just pm me and I’ll go over some ideas with you. I would be interested in knowing what type woodworking you’re wanting to market. Good luck.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

View eastside's profile

eastside

94 posts in 1899 days


#9 posted 10-27-2009 02:42 PM

Thanks guys it looks like the most effective way is still word of mouth. Let me tell you a little bit about me. I started back nearly 20 years ago doing work on homes and finish carpentry. One of my first jobs was building new cabinetry for an orthodontist. I needed enough work done on my house that it would cost nearly a years pay for someone else to do it so I decided to do it my self. People soon started to ask me to work for them so the paying jobs came first and my home second. Yup I was that house on the street the neighbors wished would get finished. Up to that time I worked for others doing high end boat carpentry and I short stint in a cabinet shop. For the next 10 or so years my work was split between some sort of shop carpentry and working on homes decks, doors siding etc. No additions nothing big. Then word of mouth started to taper off and I started to use a local weekly paper. That helped a little. My shop was my very very small basement. OK now its 2005 we buy land, 2006 I tell everyone that calls for work that I’ll be building my home and was taking the year off. 2007 we move in and the recession is in full swing and I’m sucking wind but I do have my new shop 30 X 60 with 10 foot tall ceilings and no columns :). I worked maybe 50% for the past few years. It seems like I’m the new kid on the block. Now that I’m older and have the new shop I want to focus more on cabinetry than on home repairs. For you guys that relies on just word of mouth spend some advertising dollars when the money is coming in just to keep your name out their I wish I did.

-- Mike, Westport MA.

View RexMcKinnon's profile

RexMcKinnon

2593 posts in 1833 days


#10 posted 11-01-2009 04:06 AM

I don’t build for money therefore don’t advertise but I do have an idea. If you build small items like boxes and desk orginizers. Make some and give them away to people. Ask them to keep them at their work. People will ask where it came from and vola you have a referral.

-- If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail!

View Zelbar's profile

Zelbar

68 posts in 2178 days


#11 posted 11-03-2009 05:48 PM

It really depends on what type of woodworking you do. I do smaller items so Farmer’s Markets and Craft Fairs work good for me. I try to make sure everyone who comes to my table walks away with my information. We sell a fair bit at the shows, get follow up calls, calls for special orders and repeat calls from people who have bought before. I find that just using a website, yellow pages or small ads in papers does not really grab people they need to see and touch it in person. Wood is such a tactile thing, just about everybody who comes by my table can’t help but reach out and touch it, once they start looking don’t be afraid to ask for the sale.

I will also do a draw at my booth to collect peoples information. I don’t want to spam them so I sent them the first e-mail brochure asking if they want to continue getting information about my products when something new or exciting is happening. Most people say yes. This is great for getting yourself back in front of them. I send out a letter about once a month. Too much and people will cancel. My wife was getting e-mails from a jewerly store and they were sending 3-4 a week, she canceled because she was tired of seeing them. Make sure in your e-mails that you have some real news to share with them (a new products, a show you will be attending, etc.). I am also adding a sign up for the e-mail list to my webpage right now too. A good looking webpage is a must too. If they see your stuff and later go to your webpage and it does not look good you may loose them right there. If you can’t do the webpage design yourself you can either pay for it or I found a company that I gave some product to in exchange for the webpage design and we both walked away happy.

-- With more power you can make toothpicks faster

View DavidE's profile

DavidE

15 posts in 1735 days


#12 posted 12-02-2009 08:29 AM

I’m spinning around the drain.. for yrs i relied on word of mouth and for yrs it was enough because the last 18yrs were pretty good.. i really never grew past me and a few guys as a business.. but that seemed enough. Now hard times have hit… everyone is cutting each others throats for cheap pay… I was always good at doing the work… selling jobs wasn’t to hard because they knew my work and my skills. But now the phone isn’t ringing. My website has generated one e-mail that basically was someone looking for work. And i looked into advertizing on the radio and in the news paper and.. OMG.. i would have to take out a mortgage to afford to pay for it. I use to go looking for work in the past.. that doesn’t work today… I need to get the potential customers looking for me… Question is how? With out going bankrupt on a thin to nothing budget.. how do i get people to take notice or get them to connect with me as a possible source for their needs?

I’m not the business man i thought i was… maybe i got to comfortable thinking.. there’s always gonna be a need for tradesmen.. people need their houses fixed and bookshelves.. painting and carpentry.. figured i would have work forever… never suspected those i worked for.. couldn’t afford to have me do the work…

Now that I’m breaking into a lateral field of woodworking cabinets and furniture in hopes to get out from under the vail of a burnt out industry… I don’t have a customer base…. most people i worked for i did decks, painting, repairs, and starting over again at 46 is a real challenge. I’ve read the suggestions above and i will try and incorporate them and see what happens.. Hopefully something takes a good turn.. and any other suggestions would be welcomed greatly…

-- David, New Bedford, ma. www.davidsedgerly.com

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