Four marketing tips to boost your brand and bottom line

Learn 4 marketing strategies to increase your sales and strengthen your brand.

4 Marketing Tips To Boost Your Brand And Bottom Line

Whether your store is having its grand opening or simply in need of ramping up sales, you can’t afford not to have a marketing strategy for your business. Marketing is often confused with advertising or sales, but marketing is really about getting the word out about your brand and what you are selling. Slumps happen throughout the year for every business, but a strong marketing campaign can give you a boost in sales, sometimes when you least expect it. Not sure where to start? Not to worry, here are a few ideas to get you started.

#1 Be customer focused

I can’t stress enough the importance of being customer-centric in today’s marketplace. I know everyone is tired of hearing this, but the web and mobile have radically transformed shopping habits. You always have to assume that your ideal customer can get whatever they want extremely easily only in a few taps on their smartphone; without having to physically shop. For brick and mortar stores to compete against the Amazon.coms of the world, they need to do what Amazon can’t; provide personalized, outstanding human interaction. It’s almost sad that we have to be reminded of this fact, but it’s true; we all love the coffee shop we go to where the barista remembers our name and our favorite drink. We will pay a bit more, and even get off of the couch / treadmill / train, if we know we will get a higher level of service at a great shop.

Luckily, if you have a system for keeping track of your customers, the work is done for you. A smart POS (point-of-sale) system that has a built-in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) can step in here and change the interaction between store employees and customers. With mobile technology, POS systems have come down in price significantly and are tablet-based. It makes them more user-friendly and provide customers with a modern checkout experience… If you record customer’s info, add them to your newsletter, make a note of what they frequently buy, and even offer a loyalty program, then you are so much closer to ensuring that they like your brand and will come back.

#2 Be present

If you don’t have an online, social presence, no one will realize you exist. Sounds harsh? It isn’t; it’s truth. If you run a smaller retail business, it’s easy to get bogged down by the day-to-day stress of running your business, but you can’t keep social media on the back-burner To-Do list. Checking in online has to be incorporated in what you are doing DAILY to drive sales.

You can start a business profile on Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and use them as marketing tools (all for free) and it just takes a few minutes each day. Millennials (well, pretty much everyone, not just millennials) are searching for your products or business through a variety of channels, so your business needs to be ready for that. Word-of-mouth refers to social and online presence nowadays just as much as customers talking about your business in-person.

#3 Be locally relevant

Whether your store is a part of a franchise, chain, or a single-location local shop, it’s important to take location into consideration. And you can even capitalize on location. Companies who brand tote bags, for example, can turn customers into walking billboards for their business. If you can find a way to insert some local pride into your design for your branded merchandise, your bags / stickers / postcards become integrated with customers feeling like they are supporting their local community. Collaborating on events and promotions with other stores in your neighborhood is also a great way to increase traffic.

Volunteering a service or product for a good cause is always great PR for your brand and the participation will help ground you in your community. You can create products and discounts specifically for your local event as a great promotional and brand-loyalty tool. And don’t forget to analyse your sales for each of your promotions and events (hint: this where your store’s technology comes in handy again because you’ll need a reporting tool) so that you can measure the success of the event and inventory sold. Amazon can’t compete with a real-life, local community – they just can’t, so use it to your advantage.

#4 Get your employees to be all of these things

Last, but certainly not least, your staff should be well versed in your vision and products. Training is everything here. Take the time to make sure your staff understands how to manage customer information, utilise that info effectively, and that they especially understand the WHY. Your staff is really your first customer, if you think about it, and when they are invested in what you are trying to achieve, they will be fully committed to that goal as well. Skimping on training, perks, culture or pay is not the right way to go about ensuring that your employees love you, your brand or your store. And, remember that people talk, now, on a variety of channels, which includes personnel.

Since you need to rely on your staff to step in when you can’t, they need to be the #1 marketers for your business. Make sure you have at least one go-to employee who can Tweet, email, or create a newsletter in your absence so that you can share the responsibility and never miss an opportunity to connect with your customers.

The blog post was written by Marylise Tauzia, VP of Marketing at Revel Systems.

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