You will find that there are many tried-and-true tactics that have been used by professionals to create budget-smart advertising campaigns. Here are some proven marketing tools that will help rev up sales.
According to LinkedIn author Colin Shaw, it costs six to seven times more to acquire a new customer than to retain an existing one. With that in mind, consider starting a customer reward program that will give customers incentive to come back to your store more frequently. Actively promote a loyalty program that offers rewards on enrollment and then provide on-going incentives using a simple flier handout with every purchase.
Build an email list created from your customer base. Using an email marketing company like Constant Contact or Vertical Response is a low-cost, high-return way to enhance customer relationships and increase sales. Every time a new or existing customer crosses the threshold of your store, offer them an incentive to supply their email address. Then be sure to send out an engaging email every other week about in-store events or promotions. By using an email marketing service you will have all the tools you need, including the ability to let a customer unsubscribe from your emails. It also automatically tracks that information so you don’t send emails once a customer opts out. Sending unwanted emails is a sure way to lose customers.
Google Landing Page
Many consumers do some form of research online prior to making a purchase. They may know what they want to buy but are just looking for the right place to buy it. Google and other search engines offer services for local advertisers. You can have a free Google landing page enriched with detailed information about your store. You can even enhance your free listings on every search engine just by taking the time to do it—and it’s free. This will help drive traffic to your store, even if you don’t have your own website. You will notice that at the beginning of each Google search page there will most likely be a Google link to the business you are trying to find. Take advantage of that free top-of-the-page listing for your store. It is most likely already there; all you need to do is enrich it with detailed information.
A traditional and highly effective way to reach customers is by using a joint mailing service that will reach targeted segments in your local area. So instead of spending a bucket-load of money doing your own direct mailings, consider contacting a provider like Valpak, who will design, print and mail your coupon or ad. In many cases, they can do it for less than the cost of a first class stamp.
Do-it-yourself PR is a low-cost alternative to using a professional PR firm but it requires some effort in building a list of media outlets for either TV or print. Think about what is interesting about your store—maybe exotic animals or an outreach program for school children—and then send a news release or pitch letter to your local media outlets and community associations. Follow up by phone. Once you have some success working with local partners, it will lay the groundwork for ongoing relationships in this field.
If you have a pet store that specializes in dog food and supplies, think about working up a partnership with noncompetitive retailers like the local aquatics store, reptile specialty store, or even a groomer, veterinarian or delivery service. Often, it can pay to partner with another company that targets the same general audience. Advertising in a cooperative effort will cut your costs.
Word of Mouth
Don’t forget the old standby: word-of-mouth marketing. Spend the time to create some buzz on Yelp or other review sites by encouraging satisfied customers to share their positive experiences of your store and employees with the public.
Bottom line: Do more than turn on the lights in the morning. Think innovatively, let the world know just how great your store is and give them a reason to come in