There has to be something better than traditional advertising
Churchill is credited with having said, “Gentlemen, we have run out of money. Now we have to think.”
Whether you think of Churchill as a statesman as a part of the British parliament or as a leader of England during a time of war, you can surely find multiple scenarios where such a comment is appropriate.
As a retailer, this writer finds many situations where the statement is appropriate with regard to how we operate our stores. Today we are going to take these comments and put them into context with regard to how we advertise our business.
Advertising, as an overall picture, is a contest. Sometimes the contest is between your store and other retailers while other times it is a contest between your store and the customer. In either situation, the measure of success comes in having existing and potential customers recognize your name and decide to do business with your store.
Perhaps from a sarcastic viewpoint, you could state your position in advertising as, “trying to climb to the highest mountain; stay up there for the longest period of time and screaming as loud as you can”; all in an effort to that those people notice your store. All of that climbing and screaming costs money; hence your advertising budget.
The problem with this concept is there are always other retailers who have a lot more money than you do. You are not going to win the screaming contest. This is where the first part of Churchill’s quote comes in; “We have run out of money”. Surely we will run out of money before the “big guys” do.
For many, that money is spent for the most part on traditional advertising; television, radio, newspapers and magazines. With each of these, as we spend these dollars we are talking to the public; anyone who is paying attention to that particular media at the same moment your message comes across.
A small percentage of the public will see your message and an even smaller percentage who will have an interest in the products you are selling.
The state of the industry report that was produced in January showed that the industry has changed as the traditional media is no longer the preferred method of advertising. Social media has taken its place. As we all make that shift to more and more of our advertising budget being spent on this form, before too many new habits of spending are developed, let’s reconsider how we spend.
While we all like new customers, consider spending a larger portion of the budget on your existing customers. You already know they like the products and services you offer, so your “batting average” is sure to improve tremendously.
Get on Pinterest to attract more of the female customers. See what is happening on Foursquare about your business and get involved with creating more rewards for customers that play the game.
Claim your business on Google places and communicate with every person that posts about your business; not just respond to those who are complaining about customer service. The same is true for Yelp; engage in the communication of each customer’s experience with your business.
Get a newsletter going. Do not fill it with a constant barrage of item and price advertising, but instead be a source of information for your customers through the experiences of the rest of your customers; share the pictures and stories from your customers.
Research shows that of all the social media, it is the email that produces the best results. The challenge with the email marketing is that the customer has to share their personal information with you. The customer will share this personal information only when they see a value in what you are wanting to send to them.
And for a touch of the old fashion method, call or write your customer. Perhaps you will start this by having a personal contact when a purchase of a sizable dollar amount is made. However, as you see the wonderful results this can deliver, you will likely lower that dollar threshold amount.
Going forward, we do not have to advertise to all of the public in the same way as we have done for decades. Instead with the social media, we can do a much better job of talking to those people we know are interested in the outdoor sports.
And to rephrase Churchill, “Gentlemen, we do not have to spend a lot of money. Starting to think about the customer can go a long way.”