The day was cold - 6 above and windy, a slight coating of snow was on the ground, Thinking no one would be out I decided it was a good day to shop. I cleaned the car and off I went. I arrived at the mall and found the store I was looking for and walked in. The clerk sitting behind the counter reading a book barely acknowledged me with a glance and went back to reading. I wandered the aisles for a few minutes and walked up to the counter as I couldn't find what I was looking for. I stood for a minute and finally the clerk looked up and said "are you looking for something" (no I wanted to reply I just enjoy watching you read a book). I asked for the item I was looking for and was told they didn't carry them. I then asked if they could direct me to a store that may. Her indifferent attitude came wafting across the counter as she stated she had no idea who would carry the product I wanted. What I was looking for was a simple old fashion double edge razor. Now I know probably not huge numbers of people use them but I enjoy the shave time, all the scents you can get in shave cream and the smooth shave that the multiple blade razors can't give me. I wandered the mall for a little while longer checking in to several stores I believed might have what I was looking for, Out of the 3 other stores I stopped in only one had a clerk who told me of a store in another mall and told me I could get what I wanted there the others, when they found out they didn't have what I wanted, couldn't have cared less that I was leaving empty handed and went back to chatting with the other clerks or digging at their phones. The other mall was 45 minutes farther away and I just didn't have the time to go and then drive the hour and a half back home. Later that night I sat down in my comfortable chair and within 10 minutes and a few keystrokes ordered exactly what I wanted. Within 5 minutes I had confirmation of my order and much to my surprise within 5 more minutes I had a very nice email from the proprietor thanking me for my order. Two days later my order showed up and when I opened it not only did I get exactly what I ordered but since I was a first time buyer the "shop" sent me a couple of samples to try also. The following day I was out on the road selling again and was talking to an owner who was lamenting the lack of customers. I have been in this store before and wanted to tell him why - his help is less than helpful - but knowing this gentleman the way I do I knew he would be les than receptive. This is not the first time this has happened.
This brings me to my point brick and mortar stores need to give the customer service. Customers today have lots of choices, malls, big box stores, chain stores and more BUT most of all they have the internet. Usually lower prices, order from the comfort of home, huge selections. I like to shop local stores that make me feel good about going in and buying from them. When a customer walks in the door you should greet them with a heartfelt hello - you don't have to hover over them but let them know that you are there to help. If they ask for help don't make them feel like they are an imposition - if you don't have the product they are looking for don't make them feel like they are the bad guy and if they ask who might carry it help them. Make your customer feel good and they'll keep coming back and tell others about your service/product. But most of all remember THEY HAVE A CHOICE.
In the last couple blogs we have talked about what types of advertising works and what types of ads there are. A call to action ad is pretty self explanatory - you want someone to do something RIGHT THEN. Come to my sale....One Day Only special etc. Advetorials make you the expert. By using a combination of all of these ads you achieve TOMA and people will assume you are the business to turn to first. TOMA or Top Of Mind Awareness is repetition. Ads have the same look (use of logo or jingle) they are placed constantly in different venues and people think of you when they think of that business. Think of these examples.....I am going to get a Coke, I am going to use a Kleenex, I need to Xerox some copies. All of those are brand names...you may be getting a Pepsi or an Orange soda, you are actually using a tissue and you are making a copy but those brands are so well known quite a few people use the name brands vs. the true name.
Every person on this planet remembers things differently. Some people are readers - they read to remember. Some people are more into listening - some like to view it. So a good selection of newspaper, radio and TV are all ways to get your name out there. But what about all the other ways. The ones outside the box. Billboards may not be for you but advertising on place mats, in small, local papers, shoppers, flyers. Partner with your local pizza delivery place and pay them to put a small mailer on top of their pizza boxes as the send them out. Direct mail is getting easier and more affordable if you know your way around the Postal system. Sponsor an event by yourself or a couple of other businesses. Sponsor a local youth sports team or organization. The more places people see your name the better.
Unless you are an long time business It takes people a minimum of 3 times and more to remember your business. Do a series of ads with a common theme to to get folks attention. Use humor - one of my favorite ads I did a long time ago was for a lobster company that delivered anywhere...I threw a hat on a lobster and we called him "Sandy Claus" for their Christmas season push. A good ad will reach out and engage the customer...even if they don't act right then (and if it is a call to action ad you hope they do) they may remember you down the road.
The advetorial is a tricky ad. You want to seem like the expert but you don't want to much copy or copy that is so dry that it makes the reader quit reading. Doctors, chiropractors, mechanics and real estate can benefit from these types of ads. A basic advetorial answers a question that the reader may have/ask. An example....I now, when the home market is so stagnant, a good time to buy a home? By keeping the answer brief, on point and using a comfortable tone you can set yourself apart as "the expert" by having the answers they want. Include a good picture, have information about your company and offer a free 1st time consultation if they call/email to set an appointment.
A well rounded advertising campaign will capture a large percent of readers/listens/viewers and you get to reap the benefits!
What is an Effective Ad?
One of the phrases I have heard from my customers about ads they have run in the past is "they never worked" or "people didn't seem to respond like I thought they would'. In my world an ad is supposed to "punch you in the forehead" in other words catch your attention right then and make you act or when you see it think oh yea, next time I am near them I need to stop as they have the best - price/service/value/selection - you fill in the blank. So I always asked for a copy and in most cases could see why right off the bat.
1) The offer in the ad was so small that unless you needed it right then there was no incentive to run to the establishment immediately. By that I mean $3.00 off a $30.00 purchase or 10% off any purchase off $100 or more. While a food restaurant may get away with the first offer since the consumer was probably going to eat there anyway a store that is 10 miles away is a different story. As people become smarter consumers and prices keep rising that $3.00 may not be worth the price of gas. As an example I shop my local groceryette if I need 3 or less items. Price there are $1 to $3 more than the grocery store 8 miles from my home. The savings in gas is worth it if I need more than 3 items. Grocery stores have what they call Leader Items - products they are selling at a great price to entice you in and while you are there they are hoping you but the rest of your groceries there too. If you can have a great Leader Item when the customer comes in you have the opportunity to sell them on additional items.
2) They had so much print or information in the ad that no one would read or listen to it. White space is essential - the simpler the ad the more effective. If you are a full service furniture store do you really have to say you have beds, dining rooms or easy chairs/sofa sets. NO! People expect that, I mean you are a furniture store. What makes your brands better. Are they solid wood? Do the have a lifetime warranty? What sets your store apart is what I am driving at here and that is what your ad needs to reflect. Having lots of information in a small ad may put older consumers off (and remember we are an aging population) as the font must be smaller to fit it all in or the offer is hidden in a myrid of superfluous wording.
3) Have a slogan or jingle that people can't forget. Two all beef patties, special sauce, ..............How many of you finished that without really thinking about it? The first run of commercials ran only a year and a half, going off the air in 1976. It was brought back for a short run in 2003 in a rapped version as background for their commercial. That is staying power and that is a catchy slogan/jingle. Again repetition is key...if your business puts the same message in marketing piece/ad people will soon tie the two together.
Next - Part two of effective ads
If you would like a free consultation, feel free to call me at 603.568.0428 or email at email@example.com
What is the Best Ad for You?
Some people would say "any ad that gets your name out there" and while that is somewhat true you need to examine what you are actually wanting to accomplish with your ad. Are you having a sale or do you want Your Name to be "The One" that people think of when looking for your business? Now you need to set a budget. A one day sale ad run one time can cost as much as a series of ads depending on size,length or addition of color. Talking to a marketing consultant can give you insight as to what you will expect to spend.
Advertisements fall into three catagories:
1) Call to Action: This ad is for sales or special events. You want the customer to do something NOW. To get the customer's imediate action give them a reason to do so. Offering something Free is the best - even if it something small people love free. A great example of this is Sam's/Costco etc. If you have ever visited on a weekend you have seen the lines waiting for those free samples. Ten people qued up for a three cent sample BUT hey it's free; Next would be dollars off followed by a percentage. I say dollars of because lots of people relate to $25 is a half tank of gas or my morning coffee for a week vs. 25% off $100 being the same thing.
2) Advetorial: This is where you write a column on different aspects of your business. For instance a mechanic could pen a column on why it is important to keep your tires properly inflated or your car well tuned. A doctor could do an "Ask The Doctor" question and answer column,q anything to make you the expert in your field.
3) TOMA - Top Of Mind Awareness: Repetition of ads. Ads with the same look, sound or message. Keep your name out there so people automatically think of you when they need your product.
So now you know your demographics, have set a budget along with knowing what kind of ad you need.
Next time we will cover effective ads and customer needs.
For a free consultation call 603.568.0426 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In the 35 years or so I have been in sales, be it my magazine or paper or selling for the large dailies or small weeklies I have learned that most small business owners do not really understand how to market themselves. They know and understand their product or service and most work long hours trying to keep the business running. Marketing is something they know they need but is secondary to making sure the customer is satisfied. In the next few posts I am going to try to help the business owner understand how marketing works and what I know works.
First off what you need to do is figure out what kind of advertiser you are. There are 2 types of advertisers: Shotgun and Targeted. Shotgun advertisers have somewhat of a plan but do not really believe that advertising works. They spray one ad here and another there. Like a shotgun their ads have reach and do the job but have a short reach and dilute quickly. A Targeted advertiser researches their demographics, knows where their customers come from, knows their needs and sends a direct message to them. A shotgun advertiser usually does not have a set budget and more than likely does not track their results. The targeted advertiser sets aside a set amount of dollars and knows where he is going to spend it. Along with that they know they need a method of tracking it be it a coupon, an offer that is only in one place or they continously ask "how did you hear about us". Taking some time to figure out what kind of advertiser you are can help your bottom line.
Next: What kind of ad is right for you.
For a free marketing consultation please call me at 603.568.0428 or email email@example.com to set an appointment.
A Penacook resident. All thoughts and writings are his opinions and his alone.