JTCampbell

Marketing Tips?

20 posts in this topic

Hey everyone,

this is my first post here but I haven't been making Baits long. A little over a year probably. But I have 3 kids at home and I look at this as something fun to do and it helps pay bills and put food on the table. However, the problem I am having is in only making enough money to buy the supplies I need such as plastic, glitter, etc. each month. So I'm only breaking even. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on marketing, and getting the name out there so I can sell more baits. They are quality baits and people who buy are usually repeat customers but I'm not turning a decent profit. Thanks in advance! 

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Youre not selling them for enough profit and/or its taking you too long to make them and/or your not buying product in a large enough quantity to get a good discount. As far as marketing you need to spend $ to spread the word and you need friends to tell friends about your baits. Its a chain that can continue but there are a lot of guys here doing it and it takes $ to make $. Some guys have a few hundred molds and injection machines and buy everything in bulk. Upfront cost is brutal but long term you will do ok if you work it right. Youre not going to get rich I can promise you.  Competitive market though especially if you're selling the same baits as others and everyones trying to cut eachothers throats.  Just enjoy doing it unless you want to spend any free time you have making baits and thousands of dollars for all the molds plastic and equipment. Just my 2 cents.   

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Step one is to decide who you want to be. What's your focus? What value do you bring to soft baits that no one else can bring? How are you different from your competition? Do you make the best crawfish baits in the world? Do you have the widest range of saltwater baits? Are your hand pours so beautiful they should be in the Louvre? Getting your name out there won't be worth much if your customers don't associate it with anything. You have to determine what your core benefit is, then pursue it with relentless focus. Doing so will guide nearly every decision you make, from product mix to pricing to marketing tactics.  

The standard marketing tools for our trade are pretty self-evident; enthusiast sites like this one, trade pubs, shows, events (tournaments, etc), social media. Nail down what makes you unique, then go from there.

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I agree 100%  with Good Fishing.

The key to success is finding a special little niche in the market that sets your business apart from all the others. You will more than likely have to spend hundreds of hours of work and a lot of $ before you ever see a profit.  But as the old saying goes, ( If it was easy, everyone would do it).

Stay focused  on your ultimate business goal and above all else, treat each business downturn as a learning experience and make adjustments to correct the problem.

 Lastly, Listen to your customers, because they are actually the Bosses of your business.

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Staying focused and keeping a good attitude is a very difficult thing to do when business isn't going so well. But most great business successes are born in the lean times. The flip side of the coin is being totally overwhelmed with business. It may seem to be a good problem to have but its every bit, if not more stressful, than the lean times. In the lean times you just worry about yourself, but in the busy times you have to worry about yourself and satisfying the "x" amount of eager customers that are waiting for their orders to be fulfilled.

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Number 1 tip I got, Don't go around bashing your competition, Customers will think a great deal less about you if they hear about it. Take phone calls, and accept returns if a customer is not satisfied with the product. If a shipping company loses your package, you replace it on your dime to keep your customer happy.

A good product and great customer service will market itself for the most part. 

Edited by Baitjunkys
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On ‎5‎/‎25‎/‎2017 at 11:44 AM, squigster said:

Youre not selling them for enough profit and/or its taking you too long to make them and/or your not buying product in a large enough quantity to get a good discount. As far as marketing you need to spend $ to spread the word and you need friends to tell friends about your baits. Its a chain that can continue but there are a lot of guys here doing it and it takes $ to make $. Some guys have a few hundred molds and injection machines and buy everything in bulk. Upfront cost is brutal but long term you will do ok if you work it right. Youre not going to get rich I can promise you.  Competitive market though especially if you're selling the same baits as others and everyones trying to cut eachothers throats.  Just enjoy doing it unless you want to spend any free time you have making baits and thousands of dollars for all the molds plastic and equipment. Just my 2 cents.   

Pretty much sums it up and I'll add:  Don't make the mistake of taking payment upfront for baits.  Once you have someone's money you're obligated and they have the right to expect a decent delivery time.  I've seen at least 10 people over the years use advance ordering as a business model only to get a black eye and fail.  If you have a vision of success and understand what is necessary to achieve it...chances are you're going to orphan your family and lose a lot if not all of your fishing time.  If your customer base is tournament anglers don't count on them to tell or share info about your products, if it works they're going to want to keep their competitive advantage.

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Really appreciative discussions! Business websites are reaching on top juts because of seo consulting agencies hired by business holders. Also their ideas to get likes and shares with quality comments work a lot on positive node. My friend hired one of them couple of months back. Satisfactory results are making her website more and more popular.

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Be patient. I told my partners when you own your own business, you only have to work 1/2 a day. Just pick what 12 hours you want to work. Just dont try to grow to fast, take your time.

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On 6/15/2017 at 7:08 AM, JBuff said:

Pretty much sums it up and I'll add:  Don't make the mistake of taking payment upfront for baits.  Once you have someone's money you're obligated and they have the right to expect a decent delivery time.  I've seen at least 10 people over the years use advance ordering as a business model only to get a black eye and fail.  If you have a vision of success and understand what is necessary to achieve it...chances are you're going to orphan your family and lose a lot if not all of your fishing time.  If your customer base is tournament anglers don't count on them to tell or share info about your products, if it works they're going to want to keep their competitive advantage.

I'm just starting out and I don't have a choice other than "made to order" right now. When you pay, I make your baits and ship them the day after they've been made. Right now I'm waiting on a guy in France to pay his PayPal invoice so I can make his baits. I just don't have the coin to invest in extra plastisol and supplies right now, but I'll get there.

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I could sale a bunch of baits & had 3 different stores try to get me to make baits for them. I decided real quick that it wasn't worth the coming home from work after 10 hours a day 6 days a week  & then having to stay up late at night & on the only  weekend day when i had off of  to make baits. I absolutley will not make a job out of a hobby that i really enjoy. That's the worst way to get burnt out  & hate something you loved doing before. Been there got the hat. lol

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1 hour ago, Les Young said:

I could sale a bunch of baits & had 3 different stores try to get me to make baits for them. I decided real quick that it wasn't worth the coming home from work after 10 hours a day 6 days a week  & then having to stay up late at night & on the only  weekend day when i had off of  to make baits. I absolutley will not make a job out of a hobby that i really enjoy. That's the worst way to get burnt out  & hate something you loved doing before. Been there got the hat. lol

Great point, and exactly why I quit doing it. Decision time:  do I quit the day job and do this full time?  In the end, too risky for me. 

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Great post. Useful for anyone going down this road.

I am not a plastics guy, but from a customer's point of view; I will buy from the closest/quickest retailer that can supply exactly what I want. Price of the product doesn't come into the equation, I am not going to travel miles to save a few bucks.

With good service, I am loyal, if a new retailer is found closer, I would stick with my regular supplier until they let me down three times, I am currently looking for a new tackle supplier as my regular shop continually is out of stock.

Most retailers including yourself are selling the same standard products perhaps with color variations, and this is good, people want the 'standards', but this makes you easily replaceable. My solution to this dilemma; invent new lures to supplement the standards, this will make your retail business unique and irreplaceable.

Designing a new lure is not that difficult, contrary to popular belief, it has NOT all been done before. There is always room for improvement. Designing only requires fishing experience, observational skills and a good imagination. Study the standards and think about the problems, how could they be improved. Think about combinations of the best features.

Think about what is missing in the lure arsenal, perhaps a food creature that hasn't been covered very well or not at all. Talk to your customers, extract ideas from them, what would they like to see on your shelves.

Ideas are the hard part, actual prototyping and testing is easy. Once you have a new variant, involve your customers for testing and feedback, let them feel involved in the process. Eventually, with half a dozen original products, word will soon spread. If one of your lures becomes a popular seller, only then do you need to consider getting aluminium molds cut, if at all.

Developing new ideas does not take up any of your time, you do it in your sleep, while you are fishing, talking with fishing buddies and so on. The creation of the master is a combination of cut, glue and simple fabrication. There are plenty of posts on mold making here on TU, and experts to bounce ideas from.

Dave

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I like to put what I pour out on social media. I am a member of a few local facebook pages and on twitter and instagram. I have been contacted by a number of people about buying baits off of me. 1st, I don't have the production capacity, most of my molds are single shot. 2nd, I have a full time job teaching and although I have a fair amount of time off throughout the year, I don't want to be held to a deadline. Teaching is not physically demanding but it is very mentally draining and the last thing I want is to be distracted while pouring hot plastic and an emergency room visit is in my future. 3rd, I find this an enjoyable hobby and it's rewarding to catch fish on what you make. I don't want to turn an enjoyable hobby into a second job that I hate.

 

All that being said, if I was younger and still in high school or college, I would have given lure making a shot as a way to make income. I would have had more energy, time, and ambition to throw behind a project like that. Social media is a great way to get the word out about your baits. I would just be careful not to over extend yourself, because social media is a double edged sword. If you fail to deliver on time or it's not the quality of product the customer expects, you can be torn down very quickly. 

Edited by BuckeyeFishing
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Good advice here. I will add/and repeat in some cases:

- set a realistic production/profit goal if its part time and you have a family. In some cases, making less product actually can increase your profit/sales

- find your niche / try to bring something new or better to the market in your area

- do a few things really well - don't spread yourself too thinly (I made this mistake at first)

- small batch custom stuff should be better imo not cheaper so price your baits accordingly 

- make sure you have your stuff dialed in before going to market. Your reputation  is worth more than a few bucks

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On 5/25/2017 at 9:10 AM, JTCampbell said:

Hey everyone,

this is my first post here but I haven't been making Baits long. A little over a year probably. But I have 3 kids at home and I look at this as something fun to do and it helps pay bills and put food on the table. However, the problem I am having is in only making enough money to buy the supplies I need such as plastic, glitter, etc. each month. So I'm only breaking even. I was wondering if anyone had any tips on marketing, and getting the name out there so I can sell more baits. They are quality baits and people who buy are usually repeat customers but I'm not turning a decent profit. Thanks in advance! 

 You dont need marketing

calcualte your per unit cost with labor costs and see if you are really making money. If so farm out your lure to an injector ..

 

now with your extra time since your not making lures 

look at your website traffic -how many people land vs how many buy .. catching more of the surfers today gets up more money. You may need to improve your website but marketing is worthless if your website can't sell anything 

join every social media group on earth that relates to your lure . Be active but only mention your lure every 2 weeks - if you are posting daily ... mention your lure less if you post less 

set up a booth at a local fishing / boating expo .. sell lures at a discount ..

go to every CCA / tournament / meet up / etc that is in your area . Talk to real humans 

if by now you are making some money you can explore bringing production in house and hiring a production employee .. so you can keep focusing on "marketing" 

repeat the above steps

but if you really just want a "marketing strategy" here is one. Give 10,000 lures away for free .. works every time - and If it's true that your customers do come back and also true that you break even .. then it won't cost you anything and is a great way to grow quickly 

 

never ask for free marketing advice on a forum and certainly never pay for marketing advice - that's my advice 

jw Morris 

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