Smart retailers know that maximizing profits means smart marketing; however, it can be challenging to devote as much time to marketing as you need to, to market more efficiently. To support that effort, we assembled ten retail marketing ideas to help bring increased sales and more loyal customers.
1. Track every marketing campaign
Do you know what your return on investment (ROI) was for the last marketing campaign you launched? If so, was the campaign a success? Did you set specific and measurable goals? It’s important to set campaign goals and then develop mechanisms to track those goals for every marketing campaign you launch, online or off. What are you trying to accomplish with your campaign? Is it more visits to your website, revenue driven by purchases or online post-purchase reviews?
Whatever your goal, do a post-campaign check-in to measure performance so you can use that information to shape your next campaign. A big piece of strategy is knowing what not to do, and if something doesn’t work, you may choose not to do it again, or make some tweaks and retry it another time.
2. Free marketing opportunities
Do you use the social media sites your customers frequent? Do you place posters and flyers on community bulletin boards, or banners at busy intersections? Have you contacted other local companies who share your target customer base but don’t directly compete with you to develop unique package plans in which all of you market and sell for each other? For example, your retail shop could partner with a restaurant and spa to offer a Mother’s Day package: a gift from your shop, a trip to the spa and dinner for two.
Free marketing ideas such as these abound; and yes, you might have to pay for printing, but distribution can be had for free. You can also send these offers out via an email marketing campaign.
Many retailers send a single direct-mail postcard and are disappointed by the results, never to market with postcards (or other direct-mail tools) again. That’s a mistake because repetition sells. You’ve probably heard of the rule of seven – a customer has to see an offer seven times to buy. Following this principle doesn’t mean you need to send seven different postcards, but two or three won’t hurt, especially when used in conjunction with banners, flyers, ads and digital marketing.
Do you follow up with your customers after they’ve made purchases? Rewarding customers for their loyalty is a great way to build relationships and earn more sales. Send new customers a special gift, such as a ten percent off coupon (which you can track), to encourage them to visit again. Use these four ways to keep customers coming back again and again.
5. Become a resource
Never miss the opportunity to greet your customers and engage them with an open-ended question about how you can help them. You might ask who they’re shopping for and what that person likes so you can make personalized suggestions. Help customers find the perfect gift (for others or themselves) and become a reliable resource for the future. Providing valuable content in the form of help, advice, tips and how-tos can also help your business stay top of mind with customers.
6. Employee training
You probably spend a lot of time training employees to work the register, open and close, and keep items stocked – but how much time do you devote to training employees to sell? Training employees to sell well is crucial to your success. When employees are knowledgeable, capable and efficient, they can help keep your customers happy and loyal.
To maximize your ROI, you should try to test multiple versions of your marketing materials against each other to see which performs best. Pick small segments of your mailing list to test your different versions on, then send the winning version to your entire list. This is also an effective strategy for direct mail, email marketing and landing pages.
Do you know what traits are shared by your three best customers? If not, it will be difficult to target the people most likely to be your most profitable customers. Find out everything you can about your very best customers to develop a customer profile; then, target your mailing lists to reach those who match those demographics. Once you have your best customers down, you can create multiple customer profiles for different types of customers for targeting purposes.
9. Build customer relationships
Personal interaction with customers is a great way to establish relationships and encourage long-term customer loyalty. Your marketing can be a natural extension of this, which means you don’t always have to be selling. Send out thank you and birthday emails, anniversary greetings and other relationship-building communications.
Public relations and marketing might not be identical, but the end-goal is often similar: to make customers aware of your company, products, and services. When you have a new product, sale, hire, event, charitable contribution or another newsworthy announcement, draft a quick press release to send to local newspapers, TV stations, radio stations, websites and bloggers. You won’t always earn coverage, but it only takes a few minutes to write a press release and email it to media members.