Most business owners, managers and staff have heard the term #Cross-Promote at one time or another. But many are not quite sure or understand what it really does.
Cross Promoting with other business(es) in your area can extend your (and their) budgets, save you $$$, and generate new customers.
Running contests in your store is a good example. Find a business that doesn’t compete with you (you would not believe how many times I have heard of contests that have actually LOST customers for the contest running merchant!) – ask them about being part of the contest by providing a prize for the winner. A small item AND a Gift Certificate to their store (as well as yours) so winner has to actually go into their store to claim prize. Do not use % Off or BOGO coupons as prizes! Value of prize should be worth enough for people to want to enter and win. At least $25 but of course the higher the value, the more entries you’ll get.
Too many prizes are beautiful items or gift baskets OR even worse, I have heard of owners (and marketing professionals) sending prize to winner. You want them back in your business and the other prize contributor stores. Prize(s) should be worth a trip back for the winner. Contests and prizes are a great way to potentially gain long term customers and create some talk about your business.
Both businesses should hang up signs in the business and on windows facing out explaining the contest, and have both logos, business addresses, web and social media info. You should provide the other business with the signs and flyers – the easier you make it for them, the more likely they will participate in your promotion. I would suggest saying 1 Entry per person per visit. Age requirement. No purchase necessary. There is other fine print you can add to help make contest more successful and run smoothly.
If you want to build or increase an email database, then use forms for people to enter…name, email and/or phone number as well as ZIP CODE. Zip code will give you info on where customers are coming from. Provide the business giving you prizes with the info at end of contest. Learning how to successfully use the info you gather for future sales, promotions, specials will be in a future blog.
Both of you should promote contest in store, in advertising (if doing any) and on social media. Contests can also be run on Facebook, and mobile phones or apps but those are subjects for another blog!
Have an entry box in your business, NOT right at front door – you want people to walk through store and see what you have to offer.
- Contests should not run too long. 1 month is plenty.
- Keep it current – be seasonal or topical.
- Prize should be a good value to winner
- Prizes should be able to be used soon, so not forgotten by winner
- Be HONEST when picking winner!
- Notify winner and give no more than 2 weeks to claim their prize.
Future blogs will touch on more details and some other ideas to create new customers, and excitement about your business.
If you are interested in talking to me about these and other types of creative and cost effective ways to promote your business, check out my website with contact info. BestMarketingNC.com
Sometimes in life we have to learn to take disappointment and turn it around.
A group of us went on an Alaskan cruise hoping to see whales as well as the other beautiful sights to see in Alaska. Blue Ice Bergs. American Eagles. Seals. Waterfalls. Quaint towns. Beautiful scenery. Mountains. Assorted wildlife and so much more…but seeing whales or even one whale was at the top of the list for one person. It was almost the end of the cruise and no whales.
Soooo…someone made it happen, almost – and turned it into a funny situation. The next to the last morning, we all went out onto to the balcony… and saw THIS… (our balconies were opened to each others).
A PICTURE of a Whale from the cruise line’s information magazine was taped onto to the glass of one of the balconies!
Everyone had a good laugh and what was a disappointment became a shared highlight of the cruise. It was much appreciated and a thoughtful thing to do. We can always find a way to make someone feel good about a negative situation if we try. We always say WE SAW A WHALE on our Alaskan cruise – it created a funny and unique memory for us all.
Ever notice that business owners who say advertising (or marketing or promotions) do not work usually advertise their Going Out of Business Sale? Wait, What? Amazing how advertising works when it’s too late. wink..wink!
Anyone ever wonder why supermarkets (and car dealers) still advertise? We all know they exist, we have our favorite stores, and we know pretty much what they sell – but they still advertise, run sales and specials, and do some in store promoting.
In this day and age of social media and Covid lock-downs it is really important to get your business message out to the public. There are less customers and less of their budgets to go around. There are many options – social media is one. Using Social Media Marketing PROPERLY is low cost and a huge asset in consumer decision making.
Hire a marketing consultant. It can help your business survive and even grow in these hard times. You need to get customers in, and get your message to them. We all know budgets are tight, but if a business does nothing, they will wind up spending their money on going out of business sales, advertising to generate some capital and not take too big of a loss.
No one wants to go out of business – but is happening more and more every day, especially to locally owned small businesses. Spending a business budget wisely can keep a business going, and outlast this crazy time. Hiring a professional is a smart and cost-effective way to help your business.
Ask around – get recommendations – and talk to a few potential independent consultants – they can generally provide services that fit your budget.
Trying to save your business is way better (and smarter) than just doing nothing. Don’t wait til it’s too late. DOING business is better than GOING OUT OF BUSINESS…you have to do one or the other.
Check out my website with some plans that may help your business.
There are many, many different ways to #motivatepeople to work, especially salespeople. Management knows you have to amp them up and get adrenal going to be able to cold call and sell – it applies to any type of work. Unmotivated is Unproductive!
If you’ve ever been in a sales position where you had to go out and cold call, walk in to businesses without an appointment and try to get time to present your product or service, you know how hard that first step can be. There are more reasons NOT to walk in or call, than to just do it.
Here’s a story of how one method went a little too far and was sort of funny in a “you have GOT to be kidding” way.
A memo was on everyone’s desk first thing one morning. It said that “Giant Spiders” had been spotted in the offices and that exterminator was coming, but had strongly suggested people leave the building asap. Oddly it seemed only the spiders were after the salespeople! Management didn’t have to go out?
Someone had the not-so-bright idea that this memo, what they thought was funny, would get the sales team out early and motivated!
2 things happened, and neither was what management was hoping for. A salesperson that was on the phone getting closing a large contract was told to hang up and get out of the building due to the “Giant Spiders.” Having to hang up with no explanation, or the weird explanation, on a potential big buy did not help close the sale at all.
And, although the salespeople all left, they gathered at a local fast food place to complain about the whole issue. So the motivation turned into negative attitudes, a very hostile work environment, and was counterproductive to both the staff and management.
This was a case of not thinking it through and managing to get the exact opposite results than were expected. The giant cans of bug spray some of the salespeople put on their desks the next morning was kind of funny!
Sometimes you have to think ideas through all the steps to the potential outcomes and decided if it is wort i.
Many business people are unsure of, or unclear what PR is; is it advertising, marketing, press releases or what?
PR – #PublicRelations – is just that – what YOUR relationship and the face of your business is to the public, your existing and potential customers.
- “getting caught at doing something good”
- releasing info on awards you have won
- charity or community work putting business in the public eye.
- establishing someone from your company as an “expert” that the media turns to when they need expert opinions or facts on the subject of a story they are doing (print, radio, TV, Social Media, etc).
Having someone handling what info gets put out is generally a good idea, especially for a small business. It is better to have someone other than the owner or manager of a business, a professional at PR, telling what your business and you are doing and how you are giving back to your community. Sometimes an owner (or manager) can put the info out with the incorrect emphasis, where it may be perceived as advertising, rather than a public interest story.
A PR person also knows what is trending, what people are talking about, topics and events that are time sensitive and current, and knows how to showcase and promote your business with the emphasis on the right points. A business owner or a manager (or your marketing person) should be also involved in #localcharities or #communityevents.
Writing and distributing Press Releases in the proper format, using the buzz words and trending topics, and distribution are so important to getting your info “picked up”; showing how a business (and owner & staff) are real people doing real-life things.
Advertising and publicity just about what products or services a business offers is not always enough of a “recommendation” – you need to show the “heart” of your business.
Public relations is the practice of deliberately managing the release and spread of information between an individual or an organization and the public. Public relations and publicity differ in that PR is controlled internally, whereas publicity is not controlled and contributed by external parties. Wikipedia
We all know what NOT to say in front of kids – but we forget they hear the things adults say differently than adults mean sometimes.
Years ago I did training sessions for a group of Tupperware salespeople in my home. Most of the dealers were female and Tupperware Parties were held at night, making it a good way for moms to make some extra money; they were very popular and a way of socializing.
A lot of the training was motivational. We used the pat business and training lingo, and terms of the day. Things like Time Management, the do’s and don’t of Closing a Sale, and some Important Tips to Being a Good Salesperson, KIS (kiss) Keep it Simple, etc.
I touched on personality and relationships with the customers. One of the things we talked about was selling yourself as a salesperson, and not only the product. The most successful were the people that formed good relationships with the customers, who then referred them to other customers.
Kids of course heard a lot of what we were saying, without us adults realizing it. In school, the kids were asked to tell what their parents did…many different answers; fireman, doctor, mom is a shopper, dad drives to work, I Don’t Know was a big one, (not many were too descriptive, because these kids were maybe 8 years old). One answered, My Mom goes out at night and sells herself! You can imagine what the teacher thought, and the note sent home.
Of course, once explained that the kid had overheard a motivational sales talk, it was funny – but not when teacher first heard it. Luckily, most of the kids did not get what was so shocking or funny.
I used this in later years to also illustrate to salespeople in any product or service line, that WHAT we say is not always HEARD the same way we mean it. So Watch How You Say Things…applies to life and business alike. Life is funny!
So as salespeople and almost everyone in business has heard at least once – something you presented, proposed, planned got the reaction “It Didn’t Work” from your client.
Well, 99% of the time #ItDidn’tWork BECAUSE they did not follow it exactly or fully. When, as a business owner, you try to save $$, sometimes it winds up costing more or being a waste of the $$ spent.
Marketing, Advertising, Promotional and PR plans are called plans because they are not a ONE STEP ANSWER to increasing business. When a business owner doesn’t follow or implement ALL of the steps in a plan, it is NOT the plan that didn’t work – it’s the partial or incorrect execution of it that doesn’t give the results expected.
So, as a salesperson or consultant make sure you stress the importance of following your plan or program fully. IF the owner is not willing to do it right, then it is better for you to advise them NOT to do it in a partial, or pick and choose method. Because when it doesn’t work, you will get the blame.
And as an owner, if you are not open fully to the ideas, or do not have confidence in the plan or person….then don’t do it. There is no point asking for advice and then not following it or not following it fully. On the flip side, do not follow blindly, make sure the salesperson or consultant has a proven track record, has references and has a really good working knowledge of YOUR particular business and industry, not just their own product or plan.
Not following all the steps is like planning and preparing to serve a great dinner, then using the wrong ingredients or spices, or not cooking it at all and expecting it to be great.
It Doesn’t Work!
Owning and operating a business is hard, and sometimes it’s hard to spend money on a marketing and advertising plan or program that has no guarantees. Let’s face it though, there are NO GUARANTEES.
But, again if you do it right you can expect results. And if you do not do anything, most likely nothing will happen or change. Many businesses throughout the years have said “It didn’t work” – generally, they are no longer in business.
It’s like raising prices and wondering why your business isn’t making more money. 10-15% of existing customers are lost when prices go up, especially in the restaurant industry. If you cannot afford to lose them, or cannot generate enough new customers to replace and surpass that number, think about what effect raising prices will have.
There are better ways to increase sales and profits. Watch for next blog with some ideas and stories about small changes than can bring big results!
We have probably all heard of Secret Shoppers and thought they were used mostly in big retail businesses. We have all heard of corporate spies! With face masks now common, everyone looks like a secret shopper.
They can be a valuable asset to a small business almost more than to the big corporations.
#SecretShoppers come in to your business, ask questions, try or buy your products or services, and report back to you, the business owner. Just sending someone in and saying let me know what you think is not the way to do it – there are a series of questions a Secret Shopper should answer, so you, the owner, get the right info and feedback. (I have a form with a great set of questions). The way you compensate and treat the Secret Shopper is also very important.
You want the info to actually help you if changes are needed – you want to see and experience what a customer does. If you don’t use the info gathered properly, it was a waste of time and money to even use a Secret Shopper approach.
Secret Shoppers accomplish a few things, one of which is creating a new customer (the Secret Shopper) and a spokesperson. If they enjoy their experience, after you give the OK, they will then tell other people firsthand about your business, and how they helped.
But – you do have to be prepared for potentially bad feedback. When an owner or manager is on-site, staff – and their interactions with customers – are usually pretty different than when no one is watching over them.
Many owners say the info they got back was not helpful — because it was not what they wanted to hear, or it different from what they saw when they were on-site. They then do not make any adjustments and, of course, say secret shoppers are waste of time.
What you do with the info is also extremely important – if you ignore what you do not like or want to hear, and do nothing, it will accomplish nothing. Getting info to help fix small problems before they become BIG problems is so important to a small business, which typically does not have the luxury of waiting for things like the virus shut-downs and decrease in customers to get better, and go back to normal. Face it, normal will NOT be the normal we used to have, it will be a #NewNormal – and businesses that adapt and get creative will survive it.
Secret Shoppers are just one of the creative and inexpensive ways to help increase your share of the limited budgets people now have to spend. Don’t wait until it’s too late to help your business. You invested too much time, effort and money not to keep it going.
More ways to help keep your business afloat coming. Check out BestMarketingNC.com for info on our services.