If you run a retail store, you probably wake up every single morning wondering what you can do to increase sales, even when your sales are top notch, you’re always looking for ways to improve them. You’re running ads, but maybe they haven’t produced the results you were looking for. Or maybe you haven’t had time to really think about your advertising. After all, handling the day-to-day needs of a business is hard work. If that’s the case, then you’ll find these well-tested strategies of interest and you can use them to improve your advertising results to get that cash register ringing even more frequently.
Track Your Campaigns
How successful was your last marketing campaign? How many extra sales did you make because you ran those ads? Did those sales happen because of your newspaper ads? Or because of your online ads? It’s critical that you track all of this in as much detail as possible. This will help you tailor your marketing to the reality of your business, and develop a strategy that is customized to the unique needs of your specific retail store. Relying on “hope marketing,” where you run ads but don’t study the results, robs you of the chance to improve your strategy and accelerate your sales. Make sure to ask your customers how they found your business, and track whether they are buying the product you advertised.
Who says you have to go it alone? Chances are you’re surrounded by dozens of other local businesses that are looking to improve their marketing just as much as you are. There is a wealth of opportunities here to partner with businesses who target the same demographics as you do, but who aren’t competing with you in the same industry. For instance, a book store and a clothing store could offer Back-to-School packages at a discount: get your clothes here, for a discount on books over there. These kinds of marketing strategies are inexpensive, produce enthusiastic customers, and most importantly, create sales!
A lot of small businesses neglect sending off press releases, thinking that there is no chance that they will get any coverage. But a single story in your local newspaper, radio or TV station can produce real leaps in sales. Creating a compelling press release can be time-consuming, but make sure to send one off whenever your business is involved in a local event, having a sale, or supporting a charity. The potential benefits of this far outweigh the cost in time and although you might not be featured every time you send one out, the people who do read your press release will be in the know and every time you are featured you will see a lift in your revenues as a result.
Of course, generating buzz also includes creating an effective social media campaign as well. Keeping your customers engaged through regular updates is now a necessity for all businesses, but where you share is always changing. Most businesses maintain a Facebook page, but how many of them regularly update Instagram? More should, seeing as brands get 3-4 times more engagement on instagram than they do on Facebook, especially in the retail vertical.
Create Reasons for Customers to Come Back
In just about every industry, keeping the customers you have is more important – and more cost-effective – than finding new customers. After all, you’ve already successfully advertised to them once, so it’s much easier to convince them to spend money at your store again. Does your business have a loyalty program? Does it offer discounts to people who make multiple visits, or provide incentives for them to recommend your store to a friend? Each of these interactions shifts your customer’s perception of your business from a faceless company to a reliable and recognizable friend, making them more likely to visit again and again.
Most Importantly, Don’t Give Up!
If you haven’t started seeing massive jumps in sales yet, there is a temptation to reduce your advertising efforts or to assume that it’s just not working. However, marketing and advertising demands patience, and though it may not be converting as quickly as you want it to right out of the gate, with small tweaks tested over time you will be able to improve your conversions a little at a time, incrementally producing an increase in results. Pulling the plug completely, means that there’s no chance of improving it, as the next time you decide to start it up again, you’re starting from ground zero. It is often said that a customer needs to see an ad seven times to remember it and to make the decision to buy from you (This is called the Rule of Seven). How many ads have you run? Is there a chance that a single person has seen the same ad or even your logo or heard your brand name seven times yet? If not, keep going!
Persistence is key to increasing retail sales, but it also requires a reliable, results-based plan that is consistent and flexible. Even if your advertising is producing sustainable results, there are always ways to fine-tune your strategy to create more profit. If you want more advice on how to drive customers into your store, make sure to give us a call at 705-252-4180. We specialize in developing, executing and coordinating marketing and advertising campaigns to produce actual results on your bottom line and would be happy to help you grow.