Marketing Mondays

Creative Merchandising: It’s New to You

Marketing Mondays - Creative Merchandising: It’s New to You

How do we keep up with creative merchandising when things are moving around so quickly?

Hit Your Sales Goals Out of the Park This Month

Marketing Mondays - Hit Your Sales Goals Out of the Park This Month

Earlier this month, the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, something they hadn’t done in 108 years. Living in Chicago, it was pretty electric to watch this team not only meet their goal, but have fun doing it. Are you ready to meet your 4th quarter goals?

6 Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Instagram Account to Increase Sales

Marketing Mondays - 6 Easy Ways to Strengthen Your Instagram Account to Increase Sales

January’s Marketing Monday articles were all about Instagram: Why Independent Retailers Need to Be on Instagram, Instagram 101, and How One Retailer Uses Instagram to Connect With Customers. Telling stories through Instagram isn’t just a smart marketing tool, it’s necessary if you want grow your customer base using this platform.

3 Ways to Drum Up Sales When No One Is Walking Through the Door

Marketing Mondays - 3 Ways to Drum Up Sales When No One Is Walking Through the Door

There will always be days that are quiet.

Whether it’s due to extreme weather, election day, or some other reason we can't control, sometimes it can be difficult to get people to walk through the door. Even if you must shut your doors because of something like extreme weather, there are ways to generate sales.

Here are a few ideas:

How to Slay Distractions ... Especially on Social Media!

Marketing Mondays - How to Slay Distractions

Last week we discussed planning your work to help increase sales. The number one complaint I get about not being able to plan is that things are too busy to add even one more thing to the mix, so planning gets set aside.

But, is it possible that you’re too busy being … busily distracted?

Plan Your Work to Increase Sales

Marketing Mondays - Plan Your Work to Increase Sales

During a recent webinar, I listened as business owners discussed the value of social media in their respective businesses. Some agreed that blogging has waned but Facebook and Twitter have become very important revenue drivers. Others admitted that blogging is still strong, but they’re using other mechanisms to push customers to their site to read their blog, and inevitably, scan their offerings. Not one lamented at the time it took to do marketing in these ways because they understood that it’s part of doing business.

5 Unusual Events to Host This Holiday Season

Marketing Mondays - 5 Unusual Events to Host This Holiday Season

In one week, we’ll officially be in the all-important fourth-quarter season for retailers. It’s a favorite time of year for many, and retailers can make it even more fun when they organize events their customers want to attend! Events are fun and bring out people. The key to making them a success is to properly market and promote them. Make sure you have an Events page on your website and post the link regularly to remind customers to check out what’s coming up throughout the holiday season!

Stand Up for Something and Get Customers Talking

Marketing Mondays - Stand Up for Something and Get Customers Talking

There’s a saying that goes something like, “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” The idea is to put a stake in the ground and stand for something you strongly believe in. Most people jump to the political bandwagon when it comes to making a stand, but that’s tricky for most businesses, retailers included, since you’re likely to alienate half of your customers. Rather than going political, find a topic or issue you believe in, preferably one that has wide support in your community, and go all in with that issue.

How to Pitch to Holiday Gift-Guide Editors Like a PR Rock Star

Marketing Mondays - How to Pitch to Holiday Gift-Guide Editors Like a PR Rock Star

It’s holiday gift-guide season, and many long-lead magazines are already ramping up their gift-guide coverage. Some local and regional monthly magazines might still be seeking recommendations from independent retailers, but I’d focus on short-lead outlets such as weekly newspapers, television, radio, podcasts, and websites.

How to Write Compelling Email Subject Lines

Marketing Mondays - How to Write Compelling Email Subject Lines

What makes a person want to click open a marketing email? The answer? A compelling subject line! But, with people bombarded by email offers daily, how do you stand out? If you can’t get people to open your emails, they will never click through to your message.

Compelling subject lines grab readers’ attention, pique their curiosity, and insist they find out more. The following five subject-line types and examples are proven best performers. When used correctly, these will increase your open rates and, more importantly, your engagement rates.

How to Launch Your Fourth Quarter Events Like a Rock Star

Marketing Mondays - How to Launch Your Fourth Quarter Events Like a Rock Star

Earlier this month we covered how to create and market your event before it happens, both of which are really key—you won’t have much of an event if people don’t show up! But, once the day comes, what happens during the event and after your big event can be just as important, because you can finally capitalize on the excitement of the people who showed up. Also, don’t rule out the no-shows.

How to Market Your Fourth Quarter Events Like a Rock Star

Marketing Mondays - How to Market Your Fourth Quarter Events Like a Rock Star

Last week we covered how to get your events finalized and start to generate buzz via social media. This week we’re going to focus on how to best market your events.

Get the word out

As soon as you know what your event is and where and when it will take place, set up an Event Checklist and start promoting your event.

Communicate the following either via email, Facebook, or EventBrite (whatever your method of promoting the event and whatever is relevant to your event):

How to Plan Your Fourth Quarter Events Like a Rock Star

Marketing Monday - How to Plan Your Fourth Quarter Events Like a Rock Star

For many independent retailers, August tends to be a bit quieter in terms of traffic (unless you’re in a heavy tourist location). However, this month is integral to planning successful holiday special events for the all-important fourth quarter, which kicks off in less than a month!

Create Great Content and Save Time? Yes!

Marketing Mondays - Create Great Content and Save Time? Yes!

Plan your work, work your plan. For many independent and small retailers, putting those six words into practice seems impossible, and yet, many successful business owners will tell you how important it is to plan your work. Only then can you see the gaps and make progress in meeting goals. Planning your work also helps when it comes to marketing. We’ve covered the need to schedule everything from special events to email blasts, but did you know you also can schedule things in advance to save yourself time and frustration?

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: I want to revamp our tagline, but I have no clue where to start. What’s the best way to come up with one that truly reflects the unique gifts and shopping experience we offer without being too wordy?

Managing Emails to Save Time

Marketing Mondays - Managing Emails to Save Time

Last week we covered time management and how time expert Laura Vanderkam, author of the best-selling 168 Hours recommends we track our time so we can make more time for ourselves. This month we’re going to cover one of our biggest time suckers: our email inbox.

Make Time for Time

Marketing Mondays - Make Time for Time

Ask any entrepreneur what they feel they need to become more successful, and while money is often cited, it’s actually time.

Six Months Left to Hit Our Business Goals

Marketing Mondays - Six Months Left to Hit Our Business Goals

Today is officially the first day of summer, and it's also nearly mid-year, which makes it the perfect time to review the business goals you set at the beginning of the year, reevaluate your procedures, and see how close you are to meeting those goals, knowing you still have enough time to ramp up efforts if you’re falling behind or increase whatever you’re doing that’s helping increase sales.

Let the Customer Tell You When the Sales is Done

Marketing Mondays - Let the Customer Tell You When the Sales is Done

Are you sabotaging your sales? It seems insane to think you’d leave money on the table—except that may very well be the case when you rush to make the sale.

Let’s make a commitment this month to stop stopping the sale. Let the customer tell YOU when they’re ready to check out. Don't rush the sale by taking the item from your customer and walking to the cash register. It's like telling your customer you’re ready for them to checkout and leave.

How to Hit a Six-Figure Sales Goal

Marketing Mondays - How to Hit a Six-Figure Sales Goal

This month we’re going to stray a bit from our traditional Marketing Monday posts so we can focus on setting and hitting goals that increase your bottom line.

In any business, whether you’re an independent retailer or a tax accountant, there are only two ways to increase revenue: increase your sales or reduce your expenses. Whether you’re trying to make 10 percent more this year or hit six figures in sales, you need to break down your goals into daily goals and work every single day to hit them.

3 Ways to Get Your Products in the Hands of a Celebrity

Marketing Mondays - 3 Ways You Can Get Your Products in the Hands of a Celebrity

There isn’t a day that goes by that we’re not bombarded with celebrity news. Those celebrities are often decked out in glittering jewels, beautiful clothing, or holding their children decked out in darling outfits. How do you get your products in their hands and what does that mean for business? Do people really care what celebrities are wearing?

8 Ways To Promote Your Website to Increase Sales Today

Marketing Mondays - 8 Ways To Promote Your Website to Increase Sales Today

Websites are beasts that need to be fed regularly to have an impact. Google algorithms reward websites that are easy to navigate and provide customers the information they seek. Even if you have a consistent customer base, you need to continually remind them of your existence because there is always another website vying for your customer’s attention. Having a successful website presence does take time, but you’ll be rewarded as more customers find you and keep returning. More customers visiting your website means more sales!

Laughter Is the Best Marketing

Marketing Mondays - Laughter Is the Best Marketing

It’s common marketing knowledge that repetition helps customers remember your brand. Make the impact of your marketing efforts even stronger with humor.

Even if your business isn’t known for being funny, find ways to show off your funny side. Customers will find you more relatable and memorable, further cementing their loyalty. Ours is a business that rewards creativity, and the good news about the latest marketing and media strategies is they are becoming more creative as customers become increasingly less interested in being “sold.”

Forget About Press Releases. Opt For Pitches!

Marketing Mondays - Forget About Press Releases. Opt For Pitches!

Last year we discussed sending out press releases and tip sheets to reporters as a way to drum up media interest for your independent retail store. The advantage is you can send the same info to many reporters at the same time; the disadvantage is you send the same info to many reporters at the same time. So, how can you secure editorial coverage for your specialty shop? You learn the art of pitching a reporter or producer.

When On-Trend Is a Different Trend

Marketing Mondays - When On-Trend Is a Different Trend

Some retailers like to consider themselves “on trend” by offering the hottest colors or latest designs, but there is another type of trend you might be missing: lifestyle choices.

Tiny homes, minimalist designs, and even international sensation Marie Kondo and her KonMari style of organizing have become part of our everyday vernacular. Kondo’s approach to getting rid of things that don’t bring you joy has even become an adverb: “I’m KonMaring my socks today.” You think I’m joking? Look it up. There is a right and wrong way to organize one’s socks in their sock draw, apparently.

Monthly Challenge: 3 New People Who Will Help Grow Your Business

Marketing Mondays - 3 New People Who Will Help Grow Your Business

We all get bogged down by the minutiae of running a business. Finding new products, managing employees, meeting with reps, and creating new displays leave precious little time for networking. But, this month’s challenge is just that: Identify three new people who can help you grow your business this year. Consider them your business coaches.

How One Woman Uses Pinterest To Connect with Customers

Marketing Mondays - How One Woman Uses Pinterest To Connect with Customers

Paula Coop McCrory is a Toronto-based visual artist, tastemaker, and consultant. Companies hire her to help them develop their visual language since so much of our visceral reactions stem from what we see. Pinterest is such an important part of her business strategy. She currently has more than four million followers, and her Pinterest page commands a space on her homepage as a focus (along with her Instagram profile and her blog).

10 Ways To Grow Your Pinterest Account in 30 Days

Marketing Mondays - 10 Ways To Grow Your Pinterest Account in 30 Days

Last week we discussed why Pinterest can be a good platform to grow your independent retail business. This week we’ll cover 10 ways to grow your Pinterest account and next week we’ll share an interview with a Pinterest queen.

How Pinterest Can Propel Independent Retailers

Marketing Mondays - How Pinterest Can Propel Independent Retailers

Pinterest, the popular social media platform that lets "pinners" organize, collect, and share things they find interesting, is also a key marketing platform for independent retailers—one you should be using on a daily basis. How exactly does Pinterest translate into sales? According to Shopify, 93% of Pinterest users use the platform to plan for purchases and the average order is $50, higher than any other major social media platform.

100 million strong

As of September 2015, Pinterest crossed the threshold of 100 million users, according to Fortune.

How To Grow Sales of Indoor Merchandise

Marketing Mondays - How To Grow Sales of Indoor Merchandise

For many of us, winter is not over. Yet, the days are getting longer and the bitter cold days are fewer and far between. Spring is around the corner, and there is no better time for independent retailers to think about how your indoor products can do double duty as outdoor décor through merchandising and subtle suggestions.

Cross-Marketing With Ancillary Businesses

Marketing Mondays - Cross-Marketing With Ancillary Businesses

Taxes may be due April 15, but accountants are busy right now helping many of your customers.

Do you have a neighborhood accountant who you meet with regularly and/or annually to do your shop’s taxes? If so, have you ever asked your accountant to let you leave your shop’s postcards at his or her desk and/or include your business in their e-newsletters? Offer to do the same for them—allow them to leave their business cards near your cash register or on your shop’s community bulletin board, and mention them in your e-newsletter.

Make Your Store a Community Resource

Make Your Store a Community Resource

A lot of lip service is played these days to “being part of the community,” yet many independent retailers often don’t go beyond making a product donation to their little league’s fundraiser or participating in a group ad with neighboring businesses. Both of these actions are fine, but why not step it up and start presenting your business as the “go to” source for everything from unique gift ideas to what’s happening in your neighborhood?

Put Your Service to the Test

Marketing Mondays - Put Your Service to the Test

We've all have heard that great customer service is the key to success. This is true in any type of business, especially our niche of small, specialty retail stores. We know we can’t compete with the “big guys” on price. Our edge is in offering the best possible shopping experience, in which customers are valued and assisted by intelligent, knowledgeable staff. But, how do we create an extraordinary shopping experience so customers feel great, recommend us to their friends, and want to visit our store again and again?

How One Retailer Uses Instagram to Connect With Customers

Marketing Mondays - How One Retailer Uses Instagram to Connect With Customers

For the last two weeks, we've explored why independent retailers should be using Instagram as part of a winning social media marketing strategy and looked at how to get started on Instagram. This week, we're going to get some insider insight from an Instagram pro!

Instagram 101

Marketing Mondays - Instagram 101

Last week I talked about "Why Independent Retailers Need to Be on Instagram." Now that you’ve created your Instagram account, you’ll want to get familiar with some terminology so you can better understand how to engage with followers.

Why Independent Retailers Need to Be on Instagram

Marketing Mondays - Why Independent Retailers Need to Be on Instagram

Instagram launched on October 2010 and is quickly rising the statistics ranks among social media platforms. Today, more than 400 million people are active on Instagram, and 80 million photos are shared a day. While it’s still not as popular as Facebook, attracting only 28 percent of the adult Internet population compared to Facebook’s 72 percent, Instagram is narrowing the gap.

Not-So-Subtle Suggestions

Marketing Mondays - Not-So-Subtle Suggestions

Some customers have already celebrated their holiday, while others are counting the days. Some customers don’t celebrate any holiday, but they still want to send a thank-you gift to their clients or customers. Others are anxiously awaiting 2016 and need a gift for the host of the New Year party. Whatever the occasion your customers are shopping for right now, this is the time for not-so-subtle suggestions.

Go Big or Go Home

Marketing Mondays - Go Big or Go Home

I’m a big proponent of offering something very large (physically) or very expensive in your gift and home shop at all times, but especially during the holiday season. Why? Because there are always customers looking for something very special, unique, and one-of-a-kind, even in shops that are focused on one-of-a-kind gifts.

At this late stage in the holiday season, though, how do you offer something big if you don’t already have it in stock?

Monitoring What Works

Marketing Mondays - Monitoring What Works

As independent gift and home accent shop owners, it’s hard to put any new marketing initiatives into practice this month because much of your time will be focused on helping customers with their holiday shopping. That’s not to say we can’t learn marketing techniques that could be put to use in the future, which is why it’s important to stay vigilant and record what’s working and what’s not working this month. This is the month of monitoring and recording so our marketing plan can be stronger in 2016.

6 Quick Holiday Marketing Tips

Marketing Mondays - 6 Quick Holiday Marketing Tips

The holidays are officially upon us, and whether you do it up big in your store or you take a more understated approach, people are on the hunt for the perfect gifts for their friends, family, co-workers, and pets. Are you ready to make this your best 4th quarter?

We’ve gathered a few holiday marketing tips to get the snow globe rolling, and for even more tips, check out "Making Spirits Bright."

Put on Your Happy Face

Marketing Mondays - Put on Your Happy Face

You’ve waited all year for this: When your business goes from being in the red to being in the black. When your shop turns a profit. When you see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t blow it by not being present.

It’s All About the Reminders

Marketing Mondays - It’s All About the Reminders

This month and next are going to be about being on the floor and selling, but the trick to keeping those sales coming is to reach those who aren’t coming through your doors. In this case, it’s all about the reminders.

3 Ways to Makes Sales THIS WEEK!

Marketing Mondays - 3 Ways to Makes Sales THIS WEEK!

November is crunch time for small gift retailers and wholesalers. With Black Friday and Small Business Saturday on our heels, we won’t have much time to implement any major marketing tactics this month or next, so we’re going to focus on short-term actions designed to help make sales now. Here are three things to do this week to help drive traffic to your store—either in person or online.

3 Ways to Conquer the “Just Looking” Dragon

Marketing Mondays - 3 Ways to Conquer the “Just Looking” Dragon

We’re now in our critical fourth quarter, moving from long-term marketing strategies to practical sales techniques to maximize our time on the floor. Today’s Marketing Monday exercise looks at how to engage the customers who are “just looking.”

2 Unexpected Ways to Build Community

Marketing Mondays - 2 Unexpected Ways to Build Community

What do a big city library and a real estate agent have in common with an indie retailer? Each provides a service, for one, but also, each helps build a community. How we build community helps build our brand and sets us apart in our customers’ eyes as not just another gift shop but “my local indie gift shop.”

This past month, two things caught my eye that I thought could work well in any retail setting, not only as a marketing approach but as a way to help build community. Could either of these work for you?

3 Ways to Implement Lessons From The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in Your Gift Shop

Marketing Mondays - Decluttering

I recently bought Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing because, with two full-time professionals working all day and two young children and a dog, our house is rarely ever “clean.”

5 Easy Ways to Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

Marketing Mondays - 5 Easy Ways to Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan

The crucial fourth quarter is upon us, and as any savvy retailer knows, it’s going to get very busy very fast. If you’ve been following our Marketing Mondays posts this year, you know I’m an advocate of having a plan. Whether you’ve been following the one you created earlier this year or not, the goal is to stay consistent … and that will become harder in the coming months. Fear not, have a plan, and it will happen. Here’s how.

5 Ways to Appeal to All 5 Senses

Marketing Mondays - 5 Ways to Appeal to All 5 Senses

As independent gift and home retailers and wholesalers, we’re accustomed to focusing on our products and displays as much as the customer experience we offer—or at least that’s what we tell ourselves. More often than not, searching for those perfect products and displaying them takes up more of our time than making the customer experience one they won’t soon forget.

Here are five quick ways to make sure you’re appealing to each of their five senses—all of which remind your customers that you appreciate them.

Become a Destination ... for Something Else

Marketing Mondays - Become a Destination

Most independent retail shops and wholesalers don’t have a lot of extra space, but is there a way to be creative with the space you do have and create another reason for your business to become a destination?

Buying Into a Buying Group

Marketing Mondays - Buying Into a Buying Group

Most of our Marketing Mondays tactics revolve around building a customer base and increasing revenue, but there is another side to this equation that doesn’t often get mentioned: reducing your costs and using those opportunities to build a customer base. Buying into a buying group can make more than common sense; it can make financial and marketing sense.

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