A note from Streamline: Today’s post is from Dana Kantalis. Dana is an expert retail strategist with vast experience in wholesale, online, and brick and mortar retail. Having worked for majors like Neiman Marcus, Horchow.com, and Tootsies, she now aptly guides independent retailers to growing their business by managing inventory and improving cash flow. In her work as an inventory planner, her ultimate goal is helping retailers sleep better at night by creating a work environment that is both productive and rewarding.
As a small business owner, you are a multi-tasking master! And if you didn’t realize all the things you are able to accomplish in a short time frame, step back and relish it for a moment. You are amazing! One of the downfalls to this multi-tasking wizardry is getting a little too caught up in the minutia. It happens.
The marketing and promotional events of your store are imperative to keep the momentum going, holding onto hope that word will travel. While it can and does happen, you need more organizational details in order.
A Marketing Calendar
Sit down at the beginning of the year and lay out, loosely, what events will be grandfathered and what marketing worked the year prior that you want to recreate in your store. Is what you did last year not what you want to do moving forward? Now is the time to brainstorm other options.
Once you have penciled in your marketing for the year, step back and focus on the quarter. Markdowns, parties, community events that can be incorporated, neighborhood schools/PTOs – search the community newspapers and calendars and come up with a game plan.
Assess what you need to make each event happen and on your personal calendar, make an appointment with yourself for mid-month in the month prior to set your events in stone.
Try New Marketing Strategies
Be sure to take notes on what worked and what didn’t with your events. And if it isn’t working, let’s re-evaluate.
Try new things, but keep watch on your various marketing techniques to evaluate what is best for your business.
Is Facebook the right place for live videos and paid advertising? Do you need to increase your Instagram selling – or start selling on Instagram, for that matter? Post sale ads in your local paper? Are there local publications that target your audience that might work for your business? Try new things, but keep watch on your various marketing techniques to evaluate what is best for your business.
Is a loyalty program for your customers what you are missing? 20% of the people who walk through your doors are doing 80% of the buying – do they need a loyalty incentive to come back or come back more often? Everyone is more likely to stop by your store if they know they have a discount to use. If loyalty programs are more complicated than what you want at this time, what about a birthday program. Birthday month means 15% off during that month. It will also allow you to know your clients special day to reach out and let them know you care.
The experience your clients receive every time they enter your store is vitally important. Are you making them feel special – whether it is their first trip in the door or their 125th trip. Your knowledgable employees must make your clients feel that they matter when they walk in the door is unique and important. In the words of Dicky Fox from Jerry Maguire “unless you love everybody, you cant sell anybody.”
To be successful in this business, you must experience the perfect storm of merchandise, employees and marketing. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Pay close attention to what has worked for your store and what hasn’t – you are unique, do the right thing for you, with the right people and the right timing.