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Archive for the ‘Sales & Marketing Tips’ Category

Landing the Big One! How to Price Your Embroidery Services

Friday, August 24th, 2012

This is an old blog post for 2009 that I thought was worth re-posting!

Landing the Big One!

You know how it is. You sit down to bid that big job, the job that could make your whole month, but you’re concerned that unless you lower your prices, your competitor down the street may land the sale. Should you do it? Should you take a short term cut in profits, or even take a loss, in order to land that big job?

No, probably not. Spend some time setting your prices and then stick to them. If you do change your prices, change them across the board because of changes in the market, or changes in your business strategy. For example, Jim O’Boyle, president of Journalbooks/Timeplanners Calendars, talks in this post about one way to temporarily change your prices. Keep in mind though, Mr. O’Boyle’s idea has to do with a temporary shift in policy due to changes in the market, not simply the desire to land a single job.

Bottom line, stick to your business strategy. If you’re like a lot of small to medium size companies, you’re not trying to be the low cost supplier. Instead, you’re trying to add value for your customers and keep them coming back again and again. You’re looking for customers that are willing to pay a little bit more for your products and services. If this is the case, don’t lower your prices just to get work or compete with other companies that seem to be offering the new lowest price. You need to maintain your prices so that you can cover your costs, make a profit and have cash available for growth.

Check out these ideas that we put together about pricing your services:

  1. Pass your artwork preparation costs through to your customer – It is normal to charge some type of setup fee to cover the costs of digitizing, vectorizing or order processing. You don’t need to absorb these costs since they are part of the cost of doing business.
  2. Mark up your digitizing costs (recommended) – Edigitize prices are wholesale prices, meaning that your customers would normally have to pay more for quality digitizing if they went straight to a digitizer. You deserve to be rewarded for the extra value that you add sending us the order, checking the sewout scan we provide and sewing out a test file from your machine. We suggest that you mark up our digitizing fees to cover your time and effort. With our new flat fees, you know ahead of time what your costs will be, making it easier to mark up your digitizing costs.
  3. Be careful what kind of incentives you offer – You may decide to waive setup fees as a way to get new customers or generate more business from existing customers. You know your business; so perhaps that is the best way for you to offer incentives. However, if you do waive setup fees, make sure that you recover your costs and make a profit in other ways.
  4. Get payment up front – You don’t need to fund your customer’s business. Ask for 30%-50% of each order up front, depending on order size and the supplies involved. If you ask for less money up front as a way to get more business, make sure you have surplus cash available to cover your costs if something goes bad. Our advice: always collect at least 50% of the order amount up front.
  5. Offer incentives for volume and loyalty – Whatever incentives you do offer, consider tying them to a customer’s order volume or degree of loyalty over time. So if you offer free setup, offer it only on orders above a certain piece or dollar volume. Or, offer a discount only to repeat customers.

How To Market Your Business When Times Are Tough

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Marketing During a Recession:

There’s no doubt about it, money is tight these days, and you may feel your fingers wrap tightly around the dollar bills in your pockets. You think twice about spending money on non-necessities, and find ways to cut costs on a daily basis. It’s important to recognize that a majority of the people you do business with are feeling the same way. That’s why it’s more necessary than ever to not just maintain the status quo – but to evaluate how you are obtaining new customers and keeping the ones you have happy. Here are a few suggestions to keep your business thriving, despite a down economy.

Word of Mouth Advertising – free, and it doesn’t get much better than that!
You’ve spent weeks, months, or possibly years building your current customer base, and now is the time to capitalize on their loyalty. You may agree that the best new customer is one who is referred to you by a current, happy customer. So make sure you are encouraging your current customer base to tell their friends and colleagues about the services your business offers. Always offer incentives for referrals, it doesn’t have to be much – but it’s a good idea to reward the kind of customer loyalty that brings you new business.

Eye on ROI – Return on Investment, keep it in check.
You may be spending money on internet advertising, local newspaper classified ads, radio or TV commercials, etc. Wherever your marketing dollars are being spent, make sure you have an effective way to track the return on your investment. If you are spending $500 a month on advertising and marketing, but only getting one customer who will spend an average of $50 a month on your products/services – it’s probably time to reevaluate things. Find what is most profitable for you and stick with it. Don’t be above making cold calls or stopping in to visit the Athletic Director at the local high school to see if they need shirts or caps. Now is the time to be creative about your marketing efforts, and being able to effectively track where those dollars are going will help save you money in the long run.

Keep Them Happy – Maintain close relationships with current customers, regardless of their order volume.
You have probably noticed that some of the customers who used to keep you running in circles have slowed down in their need for your services, but that doesn’t mean you should let them fall off your radar. During these tough times you should focus on maintaining a close relationship with all your customers, despite the revenue they may or may not be bringing into your business. Times are tough for everyone, but they will turn around. When that happens you want them to still feel loyal to you and the products/services you offer. Continuing to show interest in them now will result in some pretty serious customer loyalty – keeping a current customer happy is much cheaper than trying to obtain a new one.

Customer Feedback – Keeping the lines of communication open.
Don’t ever underestimate the feedback of your customers. Make sure you get their feedback if you are thinking of raising prices, discontinuing products/services, or cutting back business hours. Get feedback on any change you may anticipate in your business that could affect the way they do business with you. For example, you may think that closing your shops up a few hours early everyday will help save you money, but a majority of your customers use your company because you stay open late or work on Saturdays. So, if you were to make that decision without getting some feedback from your customers, you may end up losing business. Keeping customers in the loop will continue to build loyalty, and help them feel as if their opinions really matter – and they should.

Navigating through the rough waters of an economic recession can be a bit tricky at times – but it doesn’t have to be impossible. If you have any questions about how to increase your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you! Also, if you have any suggestions or examples of how you’re dealing with this economic downturn, we’d love to hear from you too.

How to Grow Your Business in a Down Economy

Friday, April 27th, 2012

A struggling economy. We hear about it all the time, and as business people, we experience its effects on a regular basis. And the general consensus is that those who play it safe, survive. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?

Well, maybe not. We here at Edigitize want to challenge that way of thinking. We’d like to submit to you that growing a business – in any economy – takes effort and a little risk. Simply accepting business growth defeat in a down economy inevitably creates what is known as a self-fulfilling prophesy. In other words, if you accept defeat, that’s what you’ll get. And if you never try, you won’t succeed.

So, what’s the upside to this down economy?

That it IS possible to grow and do well as a business, regardless of how the economy is doing!

Here’s some simple steps to take to defeat a down economy:

1. Realize that there ARE customers out there who are in need of your services. Just because the economy is down, doesn’t mean that customers no longer need apparel decorating or other promotional products.

2. Realize that quality trumps price. While everyone else out there who has given in to defeat in a down economy is slashing their prices, your focus on quality will help you stand out among all the rest. Ultimately, those who go cheap are not only losing profit, but also losing quality because the cost has to be cut somewhere. And those out there interested in a quality product are going to notice and will be willing to pay a little extra to receive the quality you provide.

3. Make the effort to find clients who are in the market to do business! While customers may not roll in as easily in a down economy, rest assured THEY ARE OUT THERE! Find those who are in need of your business, and then let them know how you can meet their needs – again, with an emphasis on quality products and services.

4. In connection with finding clients, it is important to continue strong networking when attempting to thrive in a down economy. Sometimes our best future clients are in the places we least expect them. Think outside the box on this one. Where can you find people in need of your product or service, or who do you know who may have those connections? And this doesn’t just include your business contact list. Friends and family know people too, so don’t count them out!

5. Don’t be afraid to change things up a bit. Remember that everyone is different, including customers. One approach may work better with one client, while another approach works better with another. Also, a fresh approach just might be what is needed to really grab someone’s attention. It’s like the old saying goes: If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.

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