I'm standing here in my recently opened store, but there is not a whole lot going on. Granted, there was a hurricane and most people are still in recovery mode, but I thought that the "down time" would give me an opportunity to try to come up with a plan to generate business. I would love to hear what the wonderful minds of COTH can come up with that are low cost but large exposure.
So far I have:
-Donated GC's to local events
-Bought an ad for in a local performing arts schools program book
-Have gotten involved in community functions
-Have a Facebook
-Have had a friends and family event
-Have a website
-Have plans to meet with someone who specializes in search engine optimization to improve where my site lands in google searches
I am a small lingerie boutique bridging fashion and function. I have unique designers that are not mass distributed, European brands, and some every day favorites. I would say that fittings are my favorite (and passion) and currently have from a 28A-40G in stock, with plans to expand that to a larger size range.
One other thing that I have on the radar is trying to organize "girls night out" events for local womens groups. I network the heck out of everyone in town (the event planner, the high end mens store, the bridal shops, the florists), and have gotten some great leads and exposure that way. I am also thinking that I might have an open house for local merchants before the holiday rush starts...
Every day I have someone in here trying to sell me print/online ads, but I am not convinced that is the way to go. What would you guys do?
I'm not a professional at this, so take my thoughts with a grain of salt...
If I were in your shoes:
1) Identify your target market.
2) Once your target market is identified, think about where those women go day to day, what they do, what other products they might be buying. Also about the kinds of men who might be buying these types of products.
3) Put your resources towards those ladies/men/locations.
I haven't done ANY research on the target market, but for the purposes of discussion, let's assume that your target market is probably a woman with access to disposable income or men with disposable income. Let's assume that most of the women then might be late 20's to early 40's, fit, either working higher level jobs or are ladies who lunch. Let's say that the men who would be purchasing are most likely later 40's to late 50's.
If those assumptions are true about your target market, then my thoughts would be:
1) For men, advertise with the local country club (better in summer with golf than in winter)
2) For women, maybe try partnering up with a local higher end spa for a package that includes a massage or facial plus a free fitting at your store.
3) Consider putting together a bridal party package of fittings with some sort of discount for the bride.
4) Consider pairing up with a local higher end wedding dress boutique for a free fitting and a discount.
5) Also consider getting in with your local chamber of commerce for more networking options.
6) Think about talking to higher end gyms about their marketing options. A lot of people wanting to wear lingerie are probably going to be staying fit.
I'm in this imaginary target market and a FB page isn't going to help much. I don't use FB to figure out where to shop. A good website WOULD be wise--complete with spending the $$ to get you showing up better on search engines. Since different search engines use different logs to generate their results, I'd focus on google and possibly bing.
I don't think I'd do the gift certificate thing unless you're donating to a higher end fundraising silent auction. That's just money out of your pocket unless you can get a repeat customer out of the deal.
that's what I can come up with off the top of my head. Best wishes on your endeavor!
A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.
Thanks, there are some great ideas there. I have been talking to the bridal shops, and both have referred clients. Ironically, the discounted bridal shop has resulted in a fair amount of sales, but the high end place hasn't. I have gotten an AWESOME plug from the local event planner, which means that my store might at least be mentioned in The Knot. They called me last week after they interviewed her, as they were asking her about new vendors that she liked.
The GC I donated was to a fundraiser 5k that benefited the local YMCA. Several board members have shopped since then, so that was more than covered, and they want me to do a "Love is in the air" event for their members before Vday. I love the suggestion of getting more gyms involved. My own gym is very large and said I can put a flyer up in the locker room, but I don't really know what to do to make it stand out.
I'm wondering if I should try to do something to work my horse network as well. I have a great selection of serious sports bras.
could you work with a business which already has a head of steam? say a shoe shop has ladies nights with coupons, you could share the cost of the coupon and have yours on the flip side for instance.
print can be good--i like flyers under windshield wipers if they are for something i'm interested in.
iow put them on cars at beauty parlors, not in front of auto parts store so much.
I like the idea of a girls night out at your store. It is very premature, but I'm in the midst of starting an alcohol brand aimed at women, and our marketing plan calls for partnering with stores like yours to hold "Girls (Ladies) Nights Out" where we supply to booze and you the actual event.
I would not spend much money on advertising, I don't think it pays off. I would be generous with the gift certificates etc -- the best merchants in my town give, but then get back from the public.
Can you hold promotions? For example, I found a candle-maker that does high end candles with your label on them. Can you offer a gift with every $100 purchase (or whatever amount makes sense)?
I'd think you'd want to get people into the store first, once there they'll buy.
What about working with women with breast cancer? What other groups need excellent fitting? What about doing something with a local show to get riders in? Or with a particular barn? Have a special night for women who ride at a barn, or who are in some group like that so it is fun for them to go to your store.
Sorry for being a bit rambling, I'm just doing some free association! (And I'm glad you posted -- I was wondering how the store was doing!).