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Cigar Box Guitar Headquarters - CBG HQ

Let's discuss advertising and marketing your business.  Everything from business cards & flyers to paid advertising.

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Just starting to work on this I have the business card made and hand them out everywhere I go and post on boards in any store that has a place to put up a card. I just finished up a banner to use for a Facebook site and getting a vinyl sign for the truck window. 

Name of my business is Frog Pond Guitars 

I only use business cards and word of mouth... being a one man show at this point plus working full time I'm not sure how busy I want to be right now.

I am currently using Etsy.com and Craigslist.com. Craigslist is free but a pain because you have to deal wi th a lot of phishing from scammers. I have just made my first sale on Etsy.com and it is not complete yet because the CBG the customer ordered was sold locally 2 days before the order was placed. I contacted the customer and I'm custom building another CBG for them. Etsy charges $.20 to list an item and a small fee when the item is sold, but the neat thing to me was that I can accept credit card payments from the customer through Etsy, and in a couple of days after I confirm shipment of the product, Etsy deposits the money into my account. ****Side Note: make sure you know what it cost to ship your items when they're sold. I didn't pre-investigate this part of the process and found it was $20.00 more than I had anticipated. Luckily the customer didn't have a problem with agreeing to pay the additional cost.

I guess I had an "ah-ha moment" a couple of hours ago, when some folks said, in response to a completely different question, that one of the best ways to sell CBGs, particularly the cheaper basic ones with the gentle, short learning curve, is to demonstrate how easy they are to play and how quickly someone who never played anything before can be up and playing something simple. 

I always thought that there was something strange about all the videos I see on these forums and on YouTube with somebody - often one of the same set of somebodies - playing really simple (almost embarrassingly simple) stuff on one-after-another nearly identical basic CBG.  But it finally dawned on me that these YouTube videos may be the best form of advertising, and it's basically free, isn't it?  If you have a YouTube channel, mix up some better/more complicated stuff that draws people in with other songs that show how quickly and easily a complete novice can be playing "Da Bluez", don't overtly make a sales pitch, but have a link to your website ... it seems like that could be a really good way to advertise and market at the same time.  And, if I'm not mistaken, if your channel draws enough viewers, and you allow Google to run ads next to  your videos, and you don't explicitly sell anything, they'll even pay you.  Advertising where they pay YOU to use them to advertise your stuff .. .hard to beat that...

I know this should have been obvious, but I never thought in terms of selling these things before...  I guess that's exactly what a lot of folks are already doing...

Hey the light bulb is shining brightly now... that's what really matters. btw thanks for the great tip :)

Yeah, it just occurred to me that adding in some "how to play" videos to your channel, even some links to some really good players doing stuff on instruments you had nothing to do with making or playing ...  anything that brings eyeballs and helps create the impression that "Hey, this is really cool!", followed by "Hey, I could do that if I had one!", followed by, "Wow, this guy sells them, and they don't even cost all that much!"

I think good advertising shows people how to satisfy a need they already know they have.  Great advertising creates a need that didn't exist before, and then shows people how to scratch that itch...

It's amazing how obvious the obvious becomes when you allow yourself to see it... :D

As i mentioned in the "Generating Press" post reply --  Without a strategy (plan) to follow and implement, your advertising, marketing and sales promotion efforts can be a huge time waste. Creating quality advertising and PR does take up a lot of time because it is a professional speciality few of us have.

But by using the KISS principle you can achieve good results.

My first suggestion is don't bite off more than you can chew! Work within your limitations in terms of time and knowledge. Consider whether a PR Package is right for what you market and can supply. Do you have time to do interviews and such like if asked by radio or press?

Putting together your material is a time related task that you may be able to get done freely by a family member, friend or relative. Spread the load!

Always ask an "outsider" to vet your publicity material (ads, PR, leaflets etc etc) to ensure it makes sense and says what you mean.

Are you big enough to worry about the state or national markets or should you're focus be local? 

You best friend is your business card!!! Use them freely. Leave them everywhere and in letterboxes, in coffee shops, on free billboards, in libraries, everywhere but don't litter or you'll get the wrong result !!!

Here's a couple of tips about maximising those inexpensive Business Cards.

Make them the best quality you can afford on the heaviest stock possible. It is a direct reflection on you and your products. Keep the graphics simple and clean. Have a good designer do the graphics to ensure they are as professional looking as possible. You can get a designer online. A picture is worth a thousand words right? So maybe a nice, deep etched detail shot of a CBG is in order...

What should you have on the card???

Your name, the business name if any, a contact number and what you do on one side. Your street address is not important if you work out of your garage or kitchen. In fact unless you have a retail outlet I don't see any need for one at all.

Use the most directly accessible contact form eg cel, landline or email. If you have a website you MUST put that on the card. It is more important than the email which you could delete from the card 'cos you have it on your site right?

On the reverse side tell a sales story or a have mini article about one of your models. OR make it into a value added offer... eg buy my XZY Model CBG before friday 13th and get a free set of strings! or maybe a coupon with xxx% discount... you know the drill...

Social networking is also important but I believe it requires a massive effort in keeping it up to date, relevant and in publicising your social pages. It can be a volatile medium in that it can drive negative as well as positive responses. But if "something" of interest goes viral, it gets you a lot of publicity really quickly. Be prepared to take advantage of it!!! 

I believe you must have a WEBSITE (I suggest an off the shelf WordPress site for everyone because it's fast to get up & running) and then you push people to it by whatever means you can.

It is your showcase, it is inexpensive, it is a big as you want it to be, it gives you international exposure.

You can also sell your CBG's via PAyPal or credit card from it... there are plug-ins that allow you to set up this capability. Brilliant!

I could go on... & on... I hope this helps everyone get a handle on a way to go!!!

If I have repeated anything anyone else has offered then we obviously right on the mark... 


Spot on Jay... vehicle signage is one I overlooked... a rear window sticker is also useful (avoid the bumper sticker) as it is at eye level to other drivers!

Good luck - bilA

Jay Caughron said:

Just starting to work on this I have the business card made and hand them out everywhere I go and post on boards in any store that has a place to put up a card. I just finished up a banner to use for a Facebook site and getting a vinyl sign for the truck window. 

Name of my business is Frog Pond Guitars 


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