How to Sell Cajon Drums
While compiling the "Cajon Drums Made in" country lists I looked at hundreds of videos and websites. Some folks are very good at communicating their product, others could use a little help, so I thought I'd make a short list of suggestions, which turned into a long list. Perhaps better to download it as a pdf. There's a lot here, you'll need to pick and choose which ideas are doable and appropriate for you and your products.
Your Cajon Drums and Business Name
1. Make a great product. Talk to other cajon builders, watch cajon construction videos and check out related websites. Learn more, use what you are comfortable with. Enhance your woodworking skills and equipment whenever possible. You must have a good build with good sound to compete against high quality, low cost, mass marketed cajons.
2. Choose a unique name for your business/cajon which will give reasonable Internet search results. A unique, simple name or a complex unique name, but not a generic word. For example, "LL Drums" is not a great name as LL is found in a lot of words. Turns out there are two MB Percussions in the world, so far, one in Brazil and one in Australia. Which makes it really difficult to get proper information. Any combination of just two letters is not a good idea. Three letters is much better. Yes, there are some famous two letter names but there is a greater chance of getting lost in the melee. Some words are very common in drumming. "World Drums" is perhaps not a great name as there are many many references to 'world drum' on the net. Make it clear if you are XYZ Cajons vs XYZ Percussion vs XYZ Drums and use your name consistently. Test your potential names out by searching the Internet for the name and seeing what comes up. Don't use a name for your brand that already exists or is very similar!
3. Put your manufacturing name or logo somewhere on the front of your cajon, but don't make it so big, bright or so central it distracts from the beauty of your build. Don't make it so stylized it can't be read. Some thoughts about The Front of Your Cajon - Tapa Graphics.
Marketing Your Cajon Drums
You have three major hurdles to address:
- A) Mass marketed cajons are produced in efficient factories at a fraction of the cost you will incur.
- B) Links to the major cajon manufacturers dominate any Internet search results that include the word 'cajon'.
- C) If customers don't hear, see or otherwise know about your cajons, they won't buy them.
Your marketing strategy needs to overcome these. What makes your cajons 'the best cajon' in your region/area? You'll need to truthfully evaluate the recommendations below and use those appropriate for your situation.
4. Whenever possible and true, discuss on your website, videos and brochures, the possibility that your cajons compete well with "the best cajons" that appear in common Internet reviews. "The best cajon" is common search term on the Internet, use it whenever possible on your web presence, along with your city, region or state to help direct the search engines toward your business.
5. Donate some of your cajons to local schools, churches, libraries, retirement homes, community centers, day care centers, coffee shops and small local music venues. Offer to give demonstrations. Make yourself and your products part of your regional community. Make folks aware that you are a local business with ties to the local community.
6. Market your cajons as "locally made" - they contribute to your regional economy. If true, market them as environmentally more desirable than imported cajons: "Why ship a plywood box halfway around the world when you could buy a great sounding cajon made right here." - or a similar phrase may appeal to some buyers. Using locally sourced, sustainable wood or recycled wood can also be good selling points.
7. Play your cajons at local music events and chat with other musicians and the audience. Always have a business card available. Word of mouth has been the bread and butter for some successful regional cajon makers.
8. There is a real market for 'custom instruments'. Custom woodworking with local solid wood may appeal to some local buyers but will require more time and effort than a plywood cajon box.
9. Make cajons for children. They don't have to be concert instruments. There's a lot of good reasons to do this, parents who buy for their kids may want a full sized box for their own, if you're selling at a fair or booth small cajons will attract adults and kids. And of course, kids grow up and will need full sized cajons someday.
10. Consider making some models with artwork covering the front or even the entire box. This can add a lot of expense depending on how you approach it, but it's worth a try and is working for some cajon builders.
11. Craft fairs are a common way to sell local cajons. One new manufacturer is targeting music festivals - a great idea, perhaps the price of the entrance ticket and travel becomes a business write off.
12. Sell your cajons on small buy-sell websites such as www.etsy.com and www.reverb.com. Many countries have location specific web sellers such as: https://www.gumtree.co.za in South Africa, https://www.gumtree.ie and https://www.donedeal.ie/ in Ireland, https://www.kijiji.ca in Canada, https://www.trademe.co.nz in New Zealand. Others include: https://www.cdiscount.com , www.olx.ro, https://www.okazii.ro , https://www.mercadolivre.com.br/, https://www.mercadolibre.com.ar/. Do a Google search in your language for "buy sell in 'your country'" to find relevant sell sites in your area.
13. Negotiate with local music shops and art galleries and leave some on consignment. Then list the shops with their addresses on your website or FB page.
Advertising Your Cajon Drums: Websites and Facebook
14. You need either a Facebook page (VK page in Russia) or a website that discusses your product. Or both. Websites require time and financial investment to maintain, but a good webpage will be better at directing traffic to your products. Still, many cajon makers who started websites in the early 2010s abandoned them by the late 2010s relying instead on a Facebook product page. Either way make sure it has accurate and friendly information not just about the cajon but about you, where you are, and where your cajons are made. Again, contact information is critical. People buying a custom, artisanal cajon need to feel comfortable dealing with a small business, if you present yourself as a considerate, nice human being with children and pets they are more likely to consider your products.
15. Your website, social media page and videos should be carefully made and look good, they should look very good. They may be the first, and perhaps only information source a potential buyer has. Don't mix irrelevant personal posts with your cajon posts. Make separate business pages and channels and be very careful about what you put up. Name you channels and pages after your business, not your personal name.
16. You want your web pages to show up when people search for cajons, especially if they are in your geographic area. The competition to rise to the top of a web search is fierce. There are full time professionals devoted to 'search engine optimization' (abbreviated as 'SEO'). Here are a few simple SEO tips to help get you started: Use meaningful file names for ALL your images and videos. Include your business name, city name and the word 'cajon' as part of all file names. Separate words in your file names with hyphens, never underscores, and no spaces. Make sure the "Description" and "Alt" info is filled out and meaningful for every photo and video you put up on the web. Don't copy paste the Alt and Description info, make it meaningful, unique and interesting. Consider putting 'the best cajon in XYZ' in the descriptions, alt text and file names where XYZ is your country or state or city depending on your assessment of your status.
17. As your models change, delete or archive old material, especially low quality videos. A visitor is looking for accurate information about what is for sale now, not two years ago. Update your website and Facebook pages occasionally, don't let them sit static for years.
18. List your prices on your FB or website, but not in your videos, which can't be updated. Don't ask people to PM you just to get a price. If you want, you might asterisk the price with 'Local discounts may apply!" so you can give discounts to locals. If possible include shipping in the listed price to any point in your country to sweeten the deal. Just note that international shipping is extra. Pickup at the workshop includes coffee with the owner.
19. Post photos of your cajons, workshop and sales events on Instagram, Pinterest and Reddit. Fill out all available text descriptions and make sure to include your cajon name and a link to your social media or web page with every post.
20. Join cajon forums and participate in a meaningful way by posting real content, not just blatant advertising. The most active forums on Facebook are: Cajon Forum, Play Cajon and Cajon Builders Group, in that order.
21. Add a good photo of your best/most unusual cajon to the Gallery section of: Wikipedia-Cajon
22. Consider adding a link on your website to this site, Cajons of the World. This site promotes local cajon makers. Its shows up in search results. Your links to it help promote it, in effect making your site more visible. Crosslinks and backlinks are the nutrients that feed Internet search results thus helping to direct search engines to relevant regional products, in this case, your cajons.
Advertising Your Cajon Drums: Videos and Audio
Good videos can be a lot of work. I would focus on all the items above before putting much time into videos.
23. Make good videos that focus on your cajons. Include your brand name and model name in the video title. Post the videos on as many social media sites as you can, at least both YouTube and Facebook. Make sure they have good sound. Don't talk to much, or at all, and when you do, make it count. People looking for a cajon via the Internet are there for the sound of the cajon, to see the cajon front and back and to see any unique features. Friendly chit-chat generally wastes time and folks are more likely to move on. If you appear in the video look clean and organized, it reflects on the build of your cajon. There are pro's and con's to complex vs simple backgrounds in your videos. Whatever you choose look at the background carefully and make sure there are no negative or wildly distractive components. I looked at a lot of videos and while the ones with a studio full of instruments or a workshop are visually interesting, the ones with simple backgrounds let you focus on the cajon and sound, but without other distractions, they must be short and to the point.
24. Make a separate video for each of your cajon models. This gives you more exposure than a single, long video and is easier to digest. Make them short. Folks just don't have the patience to sit through a lot of detail. I'd recommend videos no longer than two minutes. I've seen many effective demos that are less than a minute. Do not put a lengthy intro splash screen in the beginning, it just wastes peoples time and after sitting through a couple identical splash screens my inclination is to just move on. Instead of a splash screen your logo or name could appear in small opaque letters throughout the video, off to the side or in a corner. The video should start with the sound of the cajon the video is about, not some generic splash sound. Listing the qualities of the cajon to the side of the video can be a good way to demo the sound AND present build information efficiently.
25. Make sure you have good sound in your videos. Check out the page on Recording Your Cajon (not finished yet!) for technical help. I can't emphasis enough the need for a good recording of the cajon with at least two mic's (small diaphragm on the tapa and a bass mic on the sound hole) in a quiet, acoustically neutral room. And a good vocal recording if there are vocals. There are many struggling audio engineers out there, get a little help on a few recordings and it will make a huge difference. However, don't let the audio engineer "fix" or enhance the raw recorded sound. You need to say in your description that the sound is 'as recorded'. Balance your mics, but leave out the eq, integrity sells. List the mic's used in the recording and their placement at the end of the video or in the videos text description. Attention to details will be appreciated by potential buyers and hopefully extrapolated to the cajon's build.
26. Make sure you have a very good cajon player playing your cajons in your videos. The temptation is to play them yourself, but I viewed many nice looking cajons played by mediocre players who did not do the cajon justice, or even did it injustice. Make sure you and the player have decided on what they are going to play before the video people arrive. Otherwise valuable time will be lost. I think it is best to not start the video with a simple, one note sound checks of the rim and bass. I've seen a few videos like that and they are boring, I've abandoned some. Better to have the player incorporate a series of slow, single rim slaps and bass hits at the end. Don't let the player play so fast the notes blend together. Include a foot slide and side slaps.
27. Use YouTube's written video Description text to help the viewer connect with your product. There's room there for a LOT of information, it's basically a free way to advertise your product, take advantage of it. Include: Contact information, a complete description of the cajon, where you are located and where the cajon is manufactured. Include links to your Facebook page or website. The advantage of using the Description is that it can be updated anytime, unlike the content of the video.
28. In the video description text always list the basics of your cajons: 1. plywood vs timber wood, 2. Snare or no snare 3. Snare is on-off or always on 4. Snare type: a) guitar strings, full length b) guitar strings in upper corners c) drum snare wires high d) drum snare wires low. e) mechanism to change the snare on-off and tension f) the cajon dimensions! g) availability of custom size. Again, your attention to detail will help build a trusting, friendly relationship with potential buyers.
29. Make at least one video about your shop, you, and your employees. It should have enough information for people to connect with you as a person and help demonstrate that your cajons are truly locally made, start to finish. A good shop video can help convince prospective buyers that the cajons are made by nice people who they will enjoy doing business with.
30. Make videos that discuss the qualities of good cajons, using yours to demonstrate variation in tone and volume. I've seen one artisanal cajon builder with several videos that directly compare commonly available commercial cajons with his. Playing them side by side to discuss their pros and cons. Turns out his are always better!
31. If you've already put up mediocre videos of your products, delete them when you have good videos. They make you look un-professional and don't help sell your product.
32. Good videos take time and effort. Check out this page for Cajon Video Help
33. There are a lot of other ways to market your products, please send me your success stories and I’ll add them to the list.
If you are still wondering if you should be selling cajon drums, check out is blog. Should I Make and Sell Cajon Drums?
Please review my version of The Best Cajon and send me suggestions to help improve it and make it more relevant to attracting buyers to your cajon business.
Updated 2018 Dec 14