Marketing Mondays

Dialing for Connections

Marketing Mondays - Dialing for Connections

Somewhere between keeping up with your retail or wholesale business, making sure your images are Instagram and Pinterest-worthy, and making sure you’re creating beautifully merchandised displays, we’ve forgotten a powerful marketing tools that isn’t even a marketing tool at all: the telephone.

3 Double-Duty Marketing Pieces to Update Today

Marketing Mondays - 3 Double-Duty Marketing Pieces

New Year's Day is a day many people set aside for making annual goals, but the middle of the year is also a good time to take stock of a lot of things. How did you do the first half of the year? What marketing tactics did you use and how did they perform? Are your marketing materials up-to-date as you head into the crucial fourth quarter?

Build a Marketing Tribe

Marketing Mondays - Build a Marketing Tribe

As business owners, we know our close friends and those in the business are among the best to offer recommendations on everything from new trends to what marketing tactics really work. Informal networks are great, but I've found formal networks not only garner better results but new ideas and some accountability. This is why I'm a fan of creating or joining a network tribe.

So what exactly is a network tribe? It's the cross between a network and a tribe—basically, people who are there to support each other and want to see each other succeed.

Creating Your Own Awards Season

Marketing Mondays - Creating Your Own Awards Season

Do you know someone local who deserves recognition? Or, do you think you’re worthy of an award? Why not create an annual award and encourage submissions while also applying for awards you feel would bring attention to your business?

Selling Using Social Media Sites

Marketing Mondays - Selling Using Social Media Sites

Ever tried to sell directly through a social media channel like Instagram even if you don’t have an e-commerce site? Considering most of us are digitally active daily, it seems remiss to not have a social media marketing plan in place.

A few years ago, a friend suggested a top via Facebook, but strangely, the clothing designer didn’t have a website. She simply posted the top on her Facebook page and her friends began sharing it because it was really cute. When people began asking if they could buy one, she quickly set up a PayPal account, and viola, she started making sales.

What’s Your Point of Differentiation?

Marketing Mondays - What’s Your Point of Differentiation?

Coco Chanel’s camellia flower is practically synonymous with the luxury brand that bears her name. Not only is the flower featured on handbags and jewelry designs, but in some cases, a camellia flower with ribbons graces the nicely wrapped box that the purchase comes in. It’s all part of Chanel’s mystique, and since each camellia is handmade, it makes the customer feel valued. What is your business known for? What unique thing do you do or offer your customers so they remember you?

3 Ways the Power of the Personal Touch Works in Retail

Marketing Mondays - Power of the Personal Touch

Those who work in the luxury market know this concept well: make your customer feel they’re the only one who matters. Personal shoppers and stylists often call or email their customers when something comes in that they think is perfect for them. That personal touch goes a very long way. Even if you’re not the “touchy-feely” kind of retailer or designer, connecting with your customers shows them you appreciate their business. Here are three ways you can show your customers you care:

Investing Your Advertising Dollars

Marketing Mondays - Investing Your Advertising Dollars

While there are many free and low-cost ways to market your business, there comes a time when you have to pay to market and support your business. To be sure, advertising is not inexpensive, but if thoughtfully considered as part of an overall marketing and business plan, it can be very profitable for any business. The challenge, as with any marketing strategy and tactic, is to know where to invest your advertising dollars.

Come In … We’re Open!

Marketing Mondays - Come In … We’re Open!

As gift and home retailers, wholesalers, and designers, most of us work in a particular space, whether it’s a retail store, warehouse, or studio. We’re paying for that real estate 24/7 whether or not we’re using it. Why not invite people into your space to host events, classes, or fundraising nights? Let me be clear—these aren’t events you’d be responsible for planning. You’d simply offering up your space to others who are in need of space and/or want to raise money by partnering with you.

Pin It Like You Mean It

Marketing Mondays - Pin It Like You Mean It

It  always surprised me that gift and home retailers and wholesalers weren’t among the first adopters of Pinterest. The site lends itself to sharing beautiful images, so whether you’re a retailer with great product to show or a designer who makes art, it’s a great place to showcase your work for customers to “pin” on their boards and others to share.

The Retail Reach of YouTube

Marketing Mondays - The Retail Reach of YouTube

Before you dismiss YouTube as too hard, consider this: you can upload a video straight from your smartphone in one minute or less!

What I absolutely love is that YouTube is so easy and the search engine optimization is so rich. Even if you don’t have video footage, you can upload a video of great photos of your retail store or studio space. The goal is to give viewers a glimpse into your retail or wholesale business so they want to learn more about you and your business.

Two Valuable (But Often Overlooked) Marketing Partners

Marketing Mondays - Work With Tourism Boards and Event Planners

Did you know every state has an active tourism board or convention bureau? Depending on how big or tourist-driven your city is, it might have one as well. The job of these organizations is to sell your city or state to various stakeholders, including businesses, trade show producers, and—you guessed it—tourists. Your job is to connect with them to let them know you’re tourist friendly.

LinkedIn Love for Indie Retailers and Wholesalers

Marketing Mondays - LinkedIn Love

Last week I shared the need to be present on social media if it’s part of your marketing strategy and to be responsive to customers and others who are trying to engage with your business. LinkedIn is one of those places that’s great to have a presence on, and you don’t need to manage it daily as you do Facebook, Twitter, or other social sites.

When Social Media Doesn’t Work

Marketing Mondays - When Social Media Doesn’t Work

In an effort to be all things to all people, businesses set up accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Google Plus, and … well, you get the picture. They feel it’s better to have a presence and not manage their accounts than not have a presence at all. That logic is faulty and can cost you business.

Want Inventory Feedback? Host an Advisory Board Event!

Marketing Mondays - Host an Advisory Board Event

The best retailers and wholesalers know running a business isn’t a solo affair. Inviting feedback from friends, colleagues and customers is a great way to learn what might do well and what to invest in (or not). Ready for input? Invite some of your customers to be part of an advisory board event to share their thoughts on products you’re considering. It engages them in a way that helps them feel ownership, be supportive, and feel more committed to your success.

Finding 10 New Customers In the Most Obvious Places

Marketing Mondays - Finding 10 New Customers

Earlier this month our Marketing Monday focus was on saying thank you to those who help you grow your business in one way or another. This week’s marketing focus is on finding 10 new customers in the most obvious places.

Line Up Your Ambassadors!

Marketing Mondays - Line Up Your Ambassadors!

Big brands and designers know the power of celebrity endorsements. You don’t need to have a big budget or live in Hollywood to get that same type visibility. What you need are ambassadors.

Rally your troops

Every town, big and small, has their annual galas and balls. Who attends those events regularly or seems to always get into the society section of the local newspaper? Seek those people and ask them if they’d like to be one of your ambassadors.

The Priceless Thank You

Marketing Mondays - The Priceless Thank You

It never ceases to amaze me how two simple words can have such a profound impact on our businesses, and yet we seem to forget their magic.

There is a retailer I shop somewhat regularly for gifts because I love their selection and range of price points. It’s not a huge shop but it’s big enough for me, and without fail, every time I go in the lone person who works there will say “hi” to me. One day she asked if I wouldn’t mind providing my mailing address in the spiral notebook next to the cash wrap as I was paying for my merchandise. I did.

Getting Media Coverage in Trade Magazines

Marketing Mondays - Getting Media Coverage in Trade Magazines

Earlier this month, we covered how to secure media coverage in various media outlets during our weekly Marketing Mondays articles. Yet, an often overlooked media outlet for many retail and wholesale businesses is the one you’re reading right now: trade magazines.

Many retailers and manufacturers alike don’t bother to promote their stories to trade industry websites and print publications for two reasons:

Into the Blogosphere

Marketing Mondays - Into the Blogosphere

Most print magazines, local newspapers, and television and radio news outlets have an online division where they share articles and news segments digitally, in addition to having many more stories available behind paywalls.

However, another important and equally influential form of media coverage that should be on your radar is blogs.

Optimize Your Press Relations

Marketing Mondays - Optimize Your Press Relations

In last week’s Marketing Mondays post, we focused on what stories reporters are looking for and different ways to deliver that information to them. Now comes the harder part: finding out who to send your information to and convincing that person to respond to your story idea. Honestly, though, this isn’t as hard as it sounds. In reality, it’s like any other kind of relationship: You have something you’re excited about, and you want to share it with others because you think it will benefit them, too.

Meet the Press

Marketing Mondays - Meet the Press

Getting stories placed in local, regional, or national news media can introduce your business to a much wider audience, which can mean increased sales. Yet, many independent retailers shy away from pitching the media or sending out press releases because they’re intimidated by the process or feel it’s not worth the effort. Not only is it relatively easy to approach the media with your stories (and it only gets easier the more you do it), getting covered brings in new customers and shows existing customers you have something to say—and others think so, too.

Marketing Comeback Kids

Marketing Mondays - Marketing Comeback Kids

Remember when we were told email marketing would mean the death of direct mail? And Facebook posts would replace email marketing? Surprise! Both direct mail and email newsletters are very much alive and well. Actually, it’s not that surprising considering we all consume information in different ways.

If you’ve abandoned your direct mail or email newsletter, you may want to reconsider. If you still use either or both, this year’s goal is to ramp it up.

The Power of the Hashtag

The Power of the Hashtag

I’m introduced to a new business—or reminded of one I already like—every day, simply because of my friends’ activity on social media: liking a business on Facebook, following a brand’s Twitter feed, checking in at a store on Foursquare's Swarm app, and hashtagging photos of merchandise they bought on Instagram.

4 Ways to Create Your Own Buzz

Marketing Mondays - Free Press

How many of us check our smartphones for the news of the day, scroll through Facebook and Twitter for updates on world affairs, or use Yelp to find a restaurant recommendation?

Jumpstart Your Business Blog

Marketing Mondays - Blogging

Blogging for your business is a great way to let your customers learn more about you, create dialogue with them, share your knowledge, establish yourself as an expert, and increase your SEO ranking. So why aren’t more business owners blogging, especially when free and easy-to-use programs such as WordPress and Blogger exist? Because it takes time to come up with great content for a blog. But, you don’t need to dread posting because you feel you don’t have anything to say and you can minimize your blogging time investment … if you plan ahead.

What’s Your Merchandise Point of View?

What’s Your Merchandise Point of View?

No one walking into Walmart would mistake it for Target. You may be looking for a brand of paper towel or hair color found in either store, but you know which store you’re in the second the sliding doors open. You may think this is the result of layout and lighting (and to a point, it is), but mostly it’s due to their unique Merchandise Point of View.

Fountain of Youth

Fountain of Youth

One thing is well known in retail: Acquiring a new customer costs at least three times as much as selling to an existing customer base. At Journeys of Life in Pittsburgh, we believe our customers of tomorrow are already shopping in our stores today. We just may not see them that way ... yet.

Marketing to Millennials

Marketing to Millennials

My 21-year-old son is part of the Millennial generation, those born between 1981 and 2000. As a Baby Boomer, I don’t always understand the likes and dislikes of my son’s generation. But, with his birthday coming up soon and hoping to find a gift he would like, I did a little research (writers like research!) and discovered a lot about how Millennials think and why they make the purchases they do. You might not have Millennials in your family, but they do visit your store, and what I learned could help you market to this influential segment of young consumers.

Spread the Good Word

Spread the Good Word

Let’s face it: Marketing is usually all about you. Well, at least about your business and enticing more customers to shop with you. But, marketing doesn’t have to be just about that; you can do good for your community while also spreading the good word about your business. How? It’s called cause marketing: the combined efforts of a for-profit business and a charitable cause—a nonprofit organization—for their mutual benefit. It can also be called social responsibility marketing.

What's Your Story?

What's Your Story?

“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar. This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, “I—I hardly know, sir, just at present—at least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then.” —Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

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