March is National Craft Month – the time to run classes, crops, makit & takits, and demos in your own store. You can have fun in-store all month long or dedicate your Saturdays to National Craft Month. Whatever you do, do not miss this opportunity to get in on all the national advertising that CHA is running all month. Visit CHA’s website for more ideas, promotion ideas and free templates: http://www.craftandhobby.org
National Craft Month is important for another reason: It builds industry brand awareness. Establishing your own brand is critical to the growth of your business. It’s more than just the name on your store or your product, and it’s much more than what you sell. Marketing comes after you have established who you are, and marketing is a day-to-day job that never ends. Crafts. Discover life’s little pleasures, CHA’s creative industry brand campaign, provides an excellent opportunity to help you market your store through industry involvement, but what you do from there is critical. Here are five surefire ways to help you establish your brand:
1. Combine Your “Store’s Story” and “Story Selling” into One Big Marketing Opportunity:
There are shopping centers out there filled with similar stores, staffed with similar people, selling similar products and providing similar services, charging similar prices. You have to make sure that your customers see how your store is different from all the rest.
Set aside a block of time and write a short story about who you are, and what makes your store unique and dramatically different from every other store selling the same things. List your passions, and tell the reader why you got into this business in the first place. It doesn’t have to be Pulitzer Prize winning quality, you just have to get your story down on paper so that it can be told the way you want it to be told. Your story is the foundation for all of your future marketing. You may also want to ask your store associates to give you a hand by challenging them to write their version of your Store’s Story. Then you can blend them all together.
Now, it’s time to turn your Store’s Story into “Story Selling”
Your advertising and marketing efforts should also reflect your Store’s Story. It has much more impact then just item and price. Wal-Mart’s television advertising campaign is a good example of Story Selling. Viewers relate to, and remember, those 30 to 60 second commercials – stories – because they touch something inside of them. Each one of those mini-epics connects Wal-Mart to its customers. And when you break it down, Wal-Mart’s secret isn’t the big ad dollars they spend, it’s that they use customer testimonials to market their message. You can do that, too.
Customer testimonials are so effective because of the simple fact that customers will believe what other customers have to say about your store before they will believe you, in fact a customer testimonial is 10 – 20 times more believable than what you say about yourself. That “word of mouth” advertising tops the list of reasons new customers come to stores. Make sure that you give customers an opportunity to tell you how good you are, then use their quotes as part of your marketing campaign.
2. Create a 60 Second “Elevator Commercial”
Have you ever been in an elevator, at a networking function, or maybe on an airplane when someone asked you what you do, only to find yourself suddenly speechless? We all have. You won’t miss another marketing opportunity if you turn your Store’s Story into a 60 second synopsis of what you do. Write it down and memorize it. Then make sure that everyone involved in your store memorizes, too. Test them every once in awhile to make sure they really know it, and understand why it’s so important to get it right.
Shoppertainment! That wonderful intersection where shopping and entertainment meet. National Craft Month is a nationally advertised opportunity to increase your visibility and your business. Every time National Craft Month is mentioned in the medias it’s a direct link to your store. Make sure that you have at least one MAJOR and three MINOR in-store event or promotion planned for the month of March.
Some of our favorite easy-to-do events include: Ladies Shopping Night or Pampered Crop, Cash Register Receipt Auction, Kids Store Tours, Themed Open Houses, Photos and/or Videos with the Easter Bunny, Coloring Contests, Scrapbook Page Contests, and Doll or Bear Decorating Contests... Customers LOVE contests and they make great minor events!
There are 100s more ideas and promotions in our e-book, “Champagne Strategies on a Beer Budget!” If you'd like a copy, drop us an e-mail.
4. Become a Self-Promoter: Tell Everyone How Good You Are!
Other than word-of-mouth, the cheapest way to market your store is through a public relations. That’s why you need to send out a press release for everything of interest that that you do. The media wants – needs – your input! Did you know that nearly 80% of the stories that appear in your local medias came from a one- page press release sent by someone like you who had a story to tell? So, for the cost of a single stamp, a 30-second fax, or an quicker than you can hit “send” email, your store could become famous. Click to read our article, “How to Make News”: http://kizerandbender.com/pdf/MakeNews.pdf
If you are too busy to handle the public relations by yourself, then choose one person and promote him or her the exalted position of “Director of Public Relations”. Buy your new director business cards with this important title printed on them. This person will be your media contact. Your Director will collect the names of local editors and reporters, write and distribute your press releases, be your store ambassador at local functions and Chamber of Commerce events, and more.
The goal here is to turn occasional customers into loyal customers. And loyal customers are not created simply because you sell neat stuff or have killer customer service. Nope, a recent retail study showed that 70% of your current customers will go somewhere else if that somewhere else is more fun. You owe it to yourself to get involved with the things that make your store more attractive to customers. And you owe it to yourself to capitalize on the visibility these things can do for you.
Never forget that day-to-day customer loyalty is a result of your day-to-day marketing efforts. There are thousands of marketing ideas and inspirations available to you right at your fingertips. Visit CHA’s consumer website: http://www.craftplace.org/ and their website for teachers: http://www.teacherplace.org/ Both sites are full of ideas for crafting, plus the information on each site will help you connect with both consumers and the teacher market.
The goal of National Craft Month is to position crafting against other leisure activities. It’s an industry-wide goal -- we’re all in this together.
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