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Top 5 Marketing Ideas

Delegating marketing tasks should be a top priority for retailers
 
Build it and they will come, right? Wrong. We wish building a gorgeous 3,000-square-foot store in a prominent area meant the masses would be on their way, but marketing is hard work.

We’ve all read “marketing infomercials” or one-page “marketing wonders” that promise to make the difference between a store that succeeds and a store that doesn’t. The truth is, marketing itself it a full-time job.

Who’s running Facebook? Who’s delivering bouquets to banquet halls? Who’s fielding the phone calls at the store? Who’s pounding on doors to get new business? Who’s doing the in-store marketing promotions. Who’s doing chamber events?

If the answer is you — the owner — there’s a problem.

You are one person who is already tugged in a hundred different directions. Delegating marking to a person who is capable of focusing only on marketing could be the best investment in your store. A newspaper ad is a few hundred dollars a week, and we have never gotten a lead from a newspaper. Putting those newspaper dollars into the payroll to have a $20/hour marketing person could be the best investment that you put into your business.
 

Below are the top five marketing ideas that we’ve had success with at our store.
1. Clearly write out and develop your plan. Include every single referral source and every single possible referral source. This is tedious work. Break it into sections so that every single resource gets regular visits — even if it is only four times a year, that’s better than nothing. Be sure to revolve marketing efforts around seasonal holidays.

2. Monthly we write newspaper press releases, in-store promotions and Facebook promotions — consider a contest once a week where they have to comment, “like” or share with a friend. Write out your text marketing program, if applicable, determine what you will be bringing to chamber events and plan out your e-mail blasts and chamber of commerce blasts. We recommend using check boxes. Since we’re so busy, this keeps us on track and keeps us focused. Best of all? All of these efforts are of no cost to you.

3. Use balloon bouquets as marketing materials. With each balloon order, attach a handwritten note thanking your customer for the order. This goes a long way. Include a couple of business cards in case somebody asks where the balloons came from and a coupon for $5 off the next order. It is cheaper to keep an existing customer than it is to get a new customer, and big picture, what’s $5?

4. Encourage interaction on Facebook by adding new pictures regularly and encouraging customers to “like” your store while at the store for a free gift. Somebody needs to train all staff members on how to do this, as customers slipping through the cracks are like dollar bills slipping through the cracks towards your profit.

5. E-Mail blasts and texts are effective if they are done regularly and in a timely manner to correlate with a season. In these blasts, include new products. We did a recent blast with our new Mickey Mouse Beanie Balls and they were sold out in no time. If you are someone’s favorite party store, they will want to hear what’s new and they will want to be the first to learn about anything related to your store.
 
Marketing is not a random series of events done now and then with the hopes of achieving results. It is a conscious, thorough, regular and well-planned series of activities with the goal of branding the company, having friends share with friends and overall helping the bottom line. If you can’t find someone to spend 20 hours a week doing marketing activities, you could be losing an opportunity to increase your bottom line.
 
Amy Veltman-Cullen is The Chief Creative Officer at It’s My Party in Dyer, Ind. and a member of the Party & Paper Retailer Editorial Advisory Board. Her video, “The Realities of Retail: Getting Your Projects Out The Door,” can be purchased at www.itsmypartyballoons.com.

Originally posted Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013

Tags: amy veltman, it's my party, marketing