“If everyone is thinking alike, then somebody isn't thinking.”
~George S. Patton
Sometimes all it takes to create a powerful marketing program is to think up new ways to deliver benefits to your customers. In the event that you don’t have enough time to think this week, I’m offering you 5 new marketing ideas you can implement with just a bit of time, some basic communication efforts and no out-of-pocket spending. Sure, you may need to offer a discount here and there, but if you learn something from doing any of these 5 ideas, it will be worth it.
My objectives with these ideas are that they help increase foot traffic, increase loyalty, increase word-of-mouth, or some combination of any of the above. With each idea, I’ll tell you why it will be beneficial to your retail store, give you an example (or two) of how others have done something similar, and a mention few things you need to think about to implement without significant problems springing up.
Why? It will help your search engine performance. Increasing your online reviews is being increasingly recognized by Google and other search engines as important content that searchers value. If some information has value to the searcher, then you can bet your bottom dollar that Google will find a way to capture that relevance in its search results.
Example: I helped one of my clients get established on Google Places, yelp, tripadvisor and other relevant directories. Now it plans to hand out a variation of this card to customers after completing their transactions. Easy peasy!
Why? Increasing your average transaction amount is a great way to increase your overall revenue. Yes, you will reduce your margin a bit, but if you combine the products into a solution that makes sense for your customer, you will start to train them to spend more in your store each visit. Then your register will sound sweeter when it goes Ka-Ching!
Example: The classic example is of a Happy Meal, or any other fast food combo. When I worked for Clorox, we’d sometimes bundle two different scents of Pine-Sol into a combo pack. If you have a café, you could create a breakfast special that includes a large coffee and a pastry. Or if you have a deli, sandwich + chips + a beverage. If you have a women’s boutique, maybe it’s a handbag and hat ensemble. Get creative!
Why? It allows your proudest customers to showcase their talents, and if you pick your theme right, your products. It will also most likely result in you having lots of pictures of happy customers to share and reuse on your website, in marketing materials, or just displayed in your store. After all, a picture tells a thousand words.
Example: Pizza Orgasmica, a chain in San Francisco, hangs framed photos of customers and has a gallery on its website of customers who share pictures of them wearing branded t-shirts from around the world. George’s Music in Berwyn Pennsylvania is running a photo contest though its Facebook page and asking fans and customers to “Post a pic of you and your instrument to our Wall.”
Why? Your Facebook fans will see the offer, but they will probably have to round up non-Facebook fans to bring in a group to your store. New customers introduced by current customers is a win-win for everybody.
Example: Tropisueno, a Mexican restaurant in San Francisco, has a standing group offer of free drinks for the person who brings in 5 additional friends. If you own or manage a restaurant, my recommendation is to announce a specific day and specific time frame when this offer can be redeemed (such as Happy Hour) so you can fill seats that normally are unoccupied.
Tweet a secret word that customers have to share in order to get a discount or t-shirt (with purchase of course)
Why? It keeps your customers engaged in your twitter feed, gets them more deeply involved in what you have to say through gaming mechanisms, and if you announce a secret word on random days, does not become a predictable way to get regular freebies (after all, people who only buy for free don’t help you make money).
Example: Cold Fusion Gelato Store in Newport, RI
What downsides or challenges do you see about implementing any of these ideas?