Monday, November 26, 2012

12-12-12 Promotion Ideas

So this is a short and sweet blog, but a very fun one!  What a neat once in a life time date-why not celebrate it with neat deals and steals at your business?

These deals will obviously vary based on your business, but be creative!  I have a few ideas via WhizBang Training's Facebook page and have also thought of some of my own:

1) Sell baked goods? Price 12 donuts for $12
2) Have a celebration at 12-noon with cookies or pie
3) Raffle off 12 door prizes at 12 minutes after the hour
4) Have longer hours? Run a great sale from 12-12 for one day only!
5) Have more expensive merchandise?  How about buy one get one for $12?
6) Looking to run a longer campaign?  Kick off your 12 days of Christmas sales on that day.
7) Give the first 12 people in your door that day a gift certificate
8) Sell items on your clearance rack for an extra discount: 4/$12 or 3/$12 or 2/$12
9) Do you run a bar or liquor store? How about a make your own 12-pack for $12!

The possibilities truly are endless though, so get creative!  And once you have your idea, make sure you promote it well.  Include it in your email newsletter, post about it in advance on your social media sites, do mailers with your best customers, and advertise it in your store with posters and fliers.

What are your ideas for 12/12/12 promotions?  Please share below!

Till next time,

"You don't want to invent new ideas, not new rules" ~Dan Heath

Monday, November 19, 2012

How often should I email my customers?

The most asked question when it comes to email marketing is: How often should I email my customers?

Once per week?  Once per month?  Three times per month?  Every day?

Well the answer is......yes.

The trick is finding a good balance of emails sent for you and your business.  Over-mailing your list can be damaging; too many emails is an easy excuse to unsubscribe.  And if you send too many in a short time period it is unlikely that someone would read them before you send the next one.  Under-mailing can also be harmful, however, as you want your customers to think about you often.  It is generally agreed that only once per month is not enough but once a day is too much as this article refers to. 

The way I look at it is you need to analyze what kind of relationship you have with your customer and what kind of business you own.  You need to sit down and say to yourself, "If I subscribed to an email list of a company like this, how often would I want to be emailed their sales pitch and updates?".  

Just this week I unsubscribed from a list because I was getting an email every other day for a product I bought once, use maybe once a month, and do not have a plan to purchase again.  On the other hand, I am on the email list of a few retail stores that email every single day and I do not unsubscribe.  I really enjoy the newsletter style email marketing that is once per month; there is always actual content and I find myself reading it every single month I receive one.  

But this is just me.

You need to discover what your customer wants and what they are comfortable with!  There is no harm in asking your customers what they prefer.  You may not get everyone to respond, but at least you would get a little feedback.  Try a facebook post or an email survey to try to get a response and at least a little feedback so you can keep those customers you try so hard to gain!

Unfortunately the answer to the question 'how often' still remains yes.  There is no right or wrong answer; you just need to find out what you and your customers are comfortable with.

Until next time and Happy Turkey Day!

"There are no magic wands, no hidden tricks, and no secret handshakes that can bring you immediate success, but with time, energy, and determination you can get there"  ~Darren Rowse

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Don't forget about the tourists!

As a local business, you do all you can to get your name out in your community.  Whether it be through an ad in the newspaper, through social media, or through a TV commercial, a local merchant's focus is usually on the people that already live an their prospective areas.  But as a business owner, did you ever stop to think how you can advertise to the tourists and visitors?

Many may think of tourists as a lost cause; they will visit what they want to visit and stop where they want to stop.  This may be true in some cases, but more than likely, they will pick up a visitor's guide, check out a tourism website, or stop to talk to the front desk worker at the hotel they are staying at to get more information about what they can see and do.

Since my current location is Lansing, Michigan, I wanted to gather some stats on the business that tourists bring to the area every year just to put some numbers to my point.  Did you know:

  • Tourists spend around $424 million in Greater Lansing every year
  • Lansing welcomes almost 5 million visitors to the area each year
  • Guests pay the region taxes on various services adding $3.7 million in local taxes and $23 million in state taxes
  • The overall result impact of tourism in the area is over $160 million dollars in revenue each year!
  • **Thanks to the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitors Bureau for the stats!**

Did you learn something?  I know I did when I first saw these numbers.  This just made me realize how important it is to get your name out to tourists can be!  So the first step may be to define a tourist. Well, a tourist (in my opinion) is anyone who visits an area for a specific amount of time for any reason.  In an area like Lansing, visitors have endless reasons to come here: sporting events, parents visiting their sons and daughters at college, conventions, important legislative events, business meetings, interviews, visit family, and go on vacation, just to name a few!

Now the important question-how does a local business owner reach out to a tourist that may be coming from really anywhere in the world?  Personally, I think being in a visitor's guide is essential for hotels, restaurants, shops, public transportation, and so many other types of businesses.  Maybe place fliers around the local hotels if you are allowed.  Work with other businesses to promote at the same time so you can cover more ground.  Put fliers in the airport. Have fliers at your local visitors center or chamber of commerce. Team up with the university to offer student-parent discounts.  If you are really web savvy  make sure you are up on your search engine optimization so when someone searches "things to do in Lansing" they will find you.  Make sure you are on tourism websites like, chamber websites, area tourism websites (like, local newspaper sites (like, and so many more.  Really the options are endless!!

A good way to test how easy you are to find, put yourself in the shoes of a tourist.  Visit a hotel or the airport and check out the fliers there.  Google your business.  Google "tourism in _______ (your location)". Check out facebook sites that promote businesses to tourists.  Check out the tourism websites and see what other businesses like yours are already on your site and take a look at your competition! And then make sure your act on these findings and get your name out to tourists!!

Overall, yes, it is extremely important to advertise to your potential regular customers (locals) as this is where a large chuck of your income will come from.  However, I hope this helps stress the importance of being available to the people who do not live in this area and will be coming to visit!

What is your experience in working with tourists at your business?  What ideas do you have to advertise to them?

Thanks so much everyone, see you next week!


             "The traveler sees what he sees.  The tourist sees what he has come to see".  ~G.K. Chesterton