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Small business promotion with retail speaker Tom Shay
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Let's give them something to talk about

A different strategy for sale prices

Who would have thought that singer Bonnie Raitt would be the one to give the best idea for advertising and marketing that works. The song, with the same title as this article, explains advertising and marketing that works as well as tells us about advertising and marketing that does not work.

Whether it is newspaper, television, radio, or direct mail advertising; social, cause or viral marketing – it only works when we have given customers something to talk about with their friends and neighbors.

With the forms of advertising listed, they often do not work because the expenditure a business makes is out of balance. As an example, a local store decides to have an anniversary sale in which they use a combination of all the listed forms of advertising.

After the event, the business owner totals the advertising expenditure and finds they have spent over $2000 for advertising. However, when the business owner totals the markdowns they have taken on sale merchandise the total is some $500.

Who is going to talk about this? Surely the customers are not going to talk to others because there was nothing exciting about the event for them. The ‘deals’ they got on merchandise was at best, similar to what could be had at another store. Perhaps the only people talking about this event will be the media sales people when they tell their boss about the big sale they made to the local business.

If this has happened to your business, consider this as an option for your next event. Spend only $500 for the advertising you do in the media, but have tremendous markdowns that total some $2000. These tremendous markdowns will likely mean there will be items the business is selling for cost. Comparably, the total expense to the business is the same in either example. But the customer that has picked up on these tremendous savings is definitely going to tell their friends about what they purchased at the business.

This brings us to the aspect of viral marketing. When customers are telling others about their experiences, and in this case their positive experiences with a business, that customer is in effect an extension of your advertising. However at this point those receiving the message are more likely to believe what they hear from their friend than they are to believe the message you are sending through the advertising.

The same will be true for your cause marketing; make a minimal effort of time and money and few will know of your participation. Go all out for the cause and people (your current and future customers) have something to talk about.

With the advent of social marketing, especially Twitter and Facebook, your customers have an easy opportunity to tell everyone about their experience with your business.

To get the most from these two, you need to post within your business, signs that tell customers your Facebook and Twitter names. As they ‘follow’, ‘friend’ or ‘like’ you, you will want to reciprocate so you can thank them for their messages about you as well as find those that pass the messages on to others.

Advertising and marketing can produce great results. You will definitely increase the possibility of that happening when you give them something to talk about.


Tom Shay is a fourth generation small business owner providing proven management and business building ideas through his Profits Plus Seminars, Profits Plus Solutions coaching, books authored, and articles written. Tom can be reached at 727-464-2182 or through his web site: www.profitsplus.org


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