Creative Marketing With A Local Twist
By Richard Perry
Announcing a sale is always a good way to perk up a little interest in people walking by your store, and it can even get them to go out of their way to get to your store. Discounts and sales, however, aren’t arrangements that you can use to bring people in every day. It costs a lot to knock dollars off the price tag. And there is only so much that discounts can do when there are other stores with discount signs. If you want people to take an interest in what you’re offering at your retail store, you need to think differently.
Make Your Store More Interesting
While you certainly should invest in a great sign outside, there’s a lot to say for a touch of class that flags and banners on the street bring to your store. To begin with, they’re big, shiny and colorful. They also tend to flutter in the wind. According to Event Display Australia, a banner in motion can catch the attention of passersby more effectively than other conventional methods.
Invest In Being Funny
Most people have seen one of those curbside signs outside stores that crack them up: A sign outside a dentist’s office inviting people in for a cavity search. A bar with a sandwich board outside that says “Technically speaking, alcohol is a solution.” Or a sign outside a jewelry shop that says “Girls like it when you throw rocks at them.” Some retail operations make a serious tradition by putting out jokey signs on a regular basis, and by paying standup comics for material. People will soon try to walk by your store just to see what you have to say each day.
Give Stuff Away
People love free stuff, even if it doesn’t cost much. It can simply be a nice gesture to have someone stand out there and hand out a free marshmallow or peanut brittle square to every passerby. You don’t have to worry about seeing all your money go by a crowd of faceless, hungry people. You only have to do it a couple of hours each day to get the word out that you’re nice people to do business with. People will love your store.
Hold Free Classes
When people associate a store with reliable knowledge, they feel respect. That’s as good as love. It doesn’t have to just be big names like Williams Sonoma or Sephora who offer free cooking classes or makeup lessons. Whether you’re a bar or pizza shop, a jewelry store or a clothing store, you do possess expert knowledge that the regular potential customer would give a lot for. You can bring them in with an offer to share your knowledge for free.
Invest In Local Inventory Ads
If people know for certain that you have in stock a product that they’re looking for, they will often come in to buy. Take a look at Google’s new Local Inventory Ads feature. While you should invest in regular Google ads to promote your store, investing in an ad campaign for this new Google feature can work even better.
Sell Online For In-Store Pickup
Putting your store online isn’t just about competing with online only businesses. It’s a great way to bring customers to the store as well. Many people who order online do so not because they don’t want to come in, but because they fear that doing so will waste too much time. If you allow your customers to buy online, but give them the option to pick up their purchases in-person on the way home, you’ll help them get rid of that irrational fear. When they come in, two out of three times, they’ll buy something else as well.
Engage Your Customers Over Social Media
Far too many small business owners are intimidated by Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. They may make half-hearted attempts to get their stores on these platforms but forget about after a while. Taking these networks seriously can pay off however. The younger generation simply likes these networks, and will only stay in touch with businesses that approach them in these ways.
If you’re there and it’s clear that you’re engaging with your customers each day, potential shoppers will talk to you. They may throw questions in your direction or ask for your opinion. It can be a valuable thing to engage your customers in this way. It doesn’t have to be very expensive to try creative ways to bring new customers in. You only need a little curiosity for people engineering and a sense of adventure.
Richard Perry is the Managing Director of Event Display Australia. With 10 years of experience in the promotional industry, he is well versed in all things marketing and has seen every kind of promotional scenario from the high end corporate to the downright wacky.