If you are looking to find ways to market your business for high profit margins, stable cash-flow and high returns on your marketing investment-this is the post for you. In 2018 there were a few large retail organizations who made big snafus that cost them their reputation and for one, up to $4 billion in unsold inventory.
If a marketing mistake can do that much damage for a large retail chain, imagine what it could do for a small retail business. You need to revisit your marketing budget and strategy when:
- your retail business undergoes an expansion
- when you get new inventory
- if your business moves or has a change
If you are trying to “do it all” as a small business owner, you might not be doing enough to increase sales for your retail business by way of marketing tactics. Here are the big things to cover in your marketing strategy:
You wouldn’t try and catch different types of fish with the same lure, so why are you trying to appeal to everyone with the same emails and ads? Audience segmentation is the act of dividing people up into subgroups based upon various criteria like; product usage, demographics, communication behaviors, media use and more. If you are using a marketing company or staff member to deploy email campaigns and advertisements to your potential customers, they should be asking you about your audiences.
This is one of the reasons, as a business owner, you should focus on knowing your customers more than trying to be an owner and marketer. The more you know about your audience, the better your marketing plan can be. If you know that most of your customers are interested in fashion, you can segment your audience based on that interest. When sending out promotional emails, you can change the image to mirror products that the group receiving the email have purchased before. You can tailor your marketing based on consumer behavior as well.
You must ensure your messaging fits the people reading. A very important way to group your customers or email lists is by their position in your sales funnel. Are these people previous customers of yours? Did you get their email from an event? If they have purchased from you before, what did they buy? If a group of customers have purchased jewelry from you before but you send them a sale on shoes- will it be as effective?
A good way to test your messaging and content is to A/B test. Decide who you are going to reach out to (the audience) and what you would like to say. Create two different versions to send out and then evaluate which did better. Again, a marketing company or specialist will be able to do this for you but you should know the results so that you can make any necessary changes to the messaging or style. There are a few questions you can ask your marketing agency to ensure you will get what you expect.
Have you ever heard the adage, “don’t put all your eggs in one basket?” This is a golden rule of marketing. If you are working on in-person marketing efforts, promotions, online campaigns, advertisements or anything else retail marketing related-do not assume it will always work. 18% of Small Businesses admit to not tracking anything they are doing! Data-driven decisions will be your best decisions because you will be able to prove that you are spending your hard-earned dollars in the right places.
Before starting any marketing campaign, decide what success looks like and how you will measure that success. If you are working with a marketing company, ask them how they will be measuring success, what the goals for the campaign are and what their plan is if the approach does not work. What works for your retail business in the spring, might not work in the summer and what works for one group of customers might not work for another. By keeping this in mind and testing different and focused approaches you can ensure high profit from your efforts.
Many retailers make the mistake of thinking a sale is the only way to really sell the inventory left over. However, if you start marketing the inventory before you even get it in the store, you are more likely to avoid having to reduce your profit margins. There are a lot of marketing ideas you can try to boost sales. Try a “teaser” email campaign for your new seasonal products and host an event. Event marketing like a preview event or VIP appreciation event where your best customers can bring a friend for a free styling session can not only reinforce your original customer’s loyalty but also, strengthen your brand. Event marketing can bring in a plethora of new faces and allow you to get to know people that wouldn’t normally come into your store and why. That way you can use this information to be more effective.
By segmenting your audience, using clear messaging, testing, adjusting and using your brick and mortar for multiple uses, you can see high returns on your marketing investment. Retail businesses should be marketing with purpose-especially after a remodel or expansion and the cost to market should be included in any big change for your business. If you need help with any of the cash-flow inconsistencies that happen seasonally to your business or are expanding and didn’t factor in marketing cost- finance your retail marketing.