There are two schools of thought when it comes to selling crankbaits (and any fishing product for that matter). The first one says, “If you build it to catch fish, it will eventually catch fishermen.” The second one has the opposite view and says, “If you build it to catch fishermen, it will eventually catch fish.” Companies who subscribe to the first opinion take longer to attract customers, but typically stay in business longer once their lures gain popularity (i.e. Heddon, Rapala, etc.). Companies who subscribe to the second opinion tend to make more money in the short term, but run out of steam quickly (i.e. “The Walking Worm”). My personal opinion is that all lures should be designed to catch BOTH the angler and the fish. If you neglect either of these aspects, your lure won’t get very far beyond your immediate circle of customers. Assuming you’ve designed a lure that catches fish, here are a few tips to help you catch the fishermen.
Finish First! – Fish don’t buy lures…fishermen do! And the main thing that fishermen look for in a bait is the finish. It’s got to have a flawless and unique paint job that rivals the Mona Lisa. The most popular crankbait colors are, in order of popularity: yellow chartreuse, green chartreuse, blaze orange, black, hot pink, flame red, white pearl, bright green, hot yellow, red, purple, brown, and blue. This doesn’t mean that all of your lures should be yellow chartreuse. Instead, you should combine these colors to produce a natural or unique color pattern on your lure. Color fades, scale patterns, tiger stripes, gills, eyes, light bellies, and belly spots also increase sales.
Shape Up or Ship Out! – Almost equally as important as finish is body design. Anglers like to have a full arsenal of lure shapes to choose from when they’re out on the water. True tackle addicts will evaluate all of the aspects of a lure before making a purchase decision, but most anglers just purchased lures because “they look cool”. If your lure looks interesting, they’ll buy it. Always remember to include instructions with your lure if you have a unique body design. Angler’s will usually NOT purchase unique body designs that do not include instructions.
Packaging – When packaging your crankbaits, be sure to include information on diving depths and target species. Some anglers rely on this information to make their purchases.
Price – Unfortunately, there is not a lot of price elasticity in crankbaits, meaning you’ll have a hard time selling them if you price yours out of the sweet spot. Quality crankbaits pricing varies significantly, but you typically find them in the $3.50 – $8.99 range. Anything beyond that needs to have an incredibly unique design, reputation, or paint job to sell. And anything under that range will likely be overlooked at “cheep”. If you price your lures in that $5.00 – $7.00 range, you should be able to sell them all day long!