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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I opened up a screen printing shop several years ago in my garage. I recently got busy enough to justify signing a lease in a store space downtown. Now that I'm here I'm loving it. The shop is bringing in enough to pay utilities, rent, supplies and a little spending money. Im here late afternoon until around 8pm. I work 55 hours a week at another job to support everything else I've got going on. I would like to get my shop going well enough to full support itself and my bills and hobbies. Does anyone have any tips or ideas how to drive customers through the door?

I offer screen printing, vinyl decals and sublimation products. I am aiming to have competitive prices but crush the competition with turn round time. And also cater to all customers, one shirt or one thousand shirts.

Ive been looking into Facebook advertising and promoting my posts through my business Facebook page. Has anyone done this? What works best? coupons, special offers, etc.?

Also, I've heard advertising in newspapers/billboards is dead and not effective. Anybody have any input on this? Also I'm looking into radio ads.

Im trying to gear up and go full time with it by the middle of this summer.

Thanks!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Do you have any tips for Going into other local businesses? I used to work retail at a bike shop in town here and a shirt place (closed now) would always send in these two young kids to try and get us to order from them and my boss wouldn't give them the time of day. My downfall is, I'm 21 and look 18. Most people don't take me serious. Ive been thinking if i do go hunting, I'm gonna make up a nice flyer and attach a coupon or a special offer. Give that to them along with a sample shirt and maybe mouse pad with my business information sublimated on it. People like free stuff right?
 

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Just wait until you have so much work you can't do it all Then you will use the gun to chase them away

Seriously though all you need is one person to like you and do a bunch of referrals. Once that happens you will be so busy you won't be able to keep up.
 

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Facebook is good for getting likes and that is about it. You need a presence there though. We mainly use it to show case our services. We have boosted some posts but no sales have resulted from it. We are trying out Yelp at the moment. It is much cheaper than a advertising commitment to a local magazine. We are getting calls now. I think it was worth it. Its the new phone book. Facebook is trying to achieve that but haven't really reached that point yet.

Make sure you have a webpage at the very least and an easy way for people to contact you.

Going from door to door to your surrounding businesses is good. And you are right, people are more than likely to accept your flyer with something free attached to it. Get your flyers professionally printed. You are trying to show that you are creative and an artist.

Go to your local SBA and attend their free events. Most of the people there have businesses and everyone of them are a potential client. Wear a shirt that says "I print shirts!" And you will get attention without having to introduce yourself to everyone! At the very least wear a garment that identifies who you are and what you do.

Try to find out who the buyers are for your local and state governments. They need screen printers too and you would be surprised how much they really do buy. Start with your SBA to get direction on how to get set up with meeting these buyers. Most of the time it is a free program to get your business on a vendors list. Know that this is a long term plan and will not happen over night.

Hope that helps! ~ RVS
 

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People like dealing with people they know. How about having a series of open houses at your new shop. Maybe an after work get together with the other businesses in your same neighborhood. Also, a Saturday afternoon for your hobby friends and a different afternoon for your personal friends and family. Show them your equipment and how you do things. Show them some of your work. Ask them who they know that might be interested buying screen printing anytime in the future and if you can use their name when you call. Make sure to keep good notes on who they refer you to and call to follow up with those people. Let everyone know you value their referrals. When you get orders based on a referral from someone, consider sending the person that gave you the referral a thank you note.
 

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I posted a thread on my marketing plan and it has been working great for me, it might not work for everybody but basically you have to go fetch business they will not come to you :)

Read my experience here

I also stopped print advertising since I found it made me lazy and I expected people to come flocking to me ... nobody came :(
 
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