Published on 12 December 2012
Marketing is not about lies. When put forth with the integrity you show in your business in your marketing you can change the reputation of your store, or at least let everyone in a 50 mile radius know how great your reputation already is. Marketing is as complicated or as simple as you want to make it and I know each and every one of you are already marketing, even if you don’t realize it yet.
You are already marketing if: you have a sign on the front of your building, you have your logo on your shopping bags, you have a Facebook page for your store, you have a mailing list, you do community events in your store, or you say hello to your customers when they walk in. That is marketing; you are bringing your wares (or services) to the market of your community and offering them for sale.
Since you are already marketing, imagine how powerful the message could be and how many people you could reach if you had just a little focus and consistency? Imagine if you were able to communicate our vision and mission with every message you send out to the public? Imagine how many more of the customers you didn’t know that you had, finally found you! That is what marketing is for – now let’s get to a few of the basics. Don’t worry, even in your crazy, busy and “not enough of you to go around” life, you can phone this in and still increase your business.
Marketing plans are very saleable and they always start with the message you want to convey. You already have your message and your vision; it’s in your logo, your tag line, your product mix, your color scheme and what you like to do. Write out that message in 10 words or less. Voila, your company vision.
Once you have vision you now can fantasize as to what you want your world to look like in a year, three years, five year. You are already doing that on a daily basis. Every time you say, “I am looking forward to day when I can…..” You are setting up your goals. Now you get to put a date on that fantasy and think about how much in sales you would need to get there. You mission and your goals are now established and this gives you a focus, something to reach for.
You know where you want to go; now it is time to see if your current customer base can get you there. Pay attention to whom in your store is buying and buying in good quantities; who comes back again and again to support your store with their dollars. That is your ideal customer and you need to find more of them. Ask this customer where else they shop, what else they do, in what communities do they travel; basically you are asking where you can find more like them. Now a full frontal assault will run them off so you need to do this in casual conversation. When you find out where the mother-load of your ideal customers hang out or shop, you can see where you need to target your ads or marketing.
For example, if your customers are all part of the local Yoga community you may want to donate to their next fundraiser to promote your store. Or you may want to invite them all to yoga appreciation day, or even ask the managers of the yoga center if you could put business cards or coupons for your place in their studio. Maybe provide the yoga center with a discount on incense and votives so they burn it during class and send people to you for more!
Look around your store and pay attention to what makes you unique and different from your competition. This unique factor needs to be important and valuable to your customers, so being able to bring your kids to the store may not be the differentiator that sells. Now, if your customers can bring their kids to hang out while they shop, that is another story all together. Any place of business has three unique things about them (limit it to the top three), these unique points are going to be what you talk about in ads, media and what you tell people when you meet them.
Now, what are you doing about it? List out the ways you are communicating to your ideal customers and the community at large. Include your social media and all the time you waste on Facebook. Make sure to add in all the time you spend in the community and at other businesses and social events. Include all the signage and branding you put up inside your store too. Now take a look at this list and see if there are any gaps and add in the things you would like to do and didn’t have money or time for.
You now have the bones of your marketing plan…. See, that was easy and you were already doing it! When you start thinking about all of your efforts in a coordinated way, it is easier to connect the dots and then move forward with the next level of marketing. Which, by the way, is putting it all together in a document and then looking for areas you can improve upon in the future versions of your marketing plan.
There are so many free resources online for creating and executing a marketing plan, there are several great books on how to increase sales and they all start with your marketing plan. So, congratulations you are already 50% of the way there!!!
Jacki Smith; Enchantress