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Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Argument for Retail Social Networking

I love it when I connect with someone who is passionate about helping retailers. Today  Karen Climans contributes an article on why retailers need to do more of the freebie kind of promoting that I espouse. The books at the left are books that help retailers do exactly that!

THE ARGUMENT FOR RETAIL SOCIAL NETWORKING


By Karyn Climans

All businesses need to market! But the cost of advertising is usually prohibitive for most small businesses. So what can you do to spread the word about your great products without bankrupting yourself in the process? Read on…

Businesses used to rely primarily on traditional media (TV, radio, magazines, billboards, and newspapers). Fortunately, today there are numerous less expensive methods for promoting your product. Here’s a list of the most effective means I’ve found of expanding sales of my product, Tail Wags Helmet Covers, http://www.tail-wags.com.

The social media network is changing the marketing landscape. This is certainly true for my business. For example, one month after starting a Facebook site, http://www.facebook.com/tailwagshelmetcovers, I saw a 200% increase in hits to my web site, http://www.tail-wags.com. Today, I’ve expanded my social marketing efforts to include Twitter, http://www.twitter.com/tailwagshelmet , and a blog site, http://www.karynclimans.com/  . What does blogging have to do with my business? Blogging is one more way for people to learn about my product and me. It’s important to keep in mind that people are more likely to buy a product from a person they “know” rather than a complete stranger.
You’re probably wondering how you’re supposed to add managing your social media sites to your responsibilities of running your store, keeping your inventories up-to-date, as well as the endless bookkeeping tasks. There’s no question it’s a difficult juggle but if you keep in mind that Facebook and twitter are simply a way of maintaining an ongoing dialogue with your customers, then all of a sudden, this facet of your business becomes a priority. You might even consider hiring an extra staff person to work in the store with all of the money you’re going to save on traditional advertising in order to free up some of your time for the social media obligations.

Breakfast Television, City TV, Donny Deutsch’s Big Idea, and The Mom Show. These are all television shows that have featured Tail Wags. So am I contradicting myself after stating I haven’t relied on traditional media sources? The difference is that I didn’t pay for any of the above exposure. I pitched my product to the editors of these shows and they decided to include a segment about Tail Wags because they recognized my helmet covers as a great way to encourage the use of safety helmets (currently a “hot” topic). I’ve positioned myself as an expert in helmet safety. If you build a reputation as an expert in your field, the media will flock to you for your advice. For example, if you own a baby supply store, the media might be interested in speaking to you about the large number of recalls on baby strollers, cribs and car seats this year. Parents are desperately trying to sort out which products are safe and the media is interested in finding someone who can make sense out of this confusing and conflicting information. Are you qualified to speak on this topic?
Marketplace events are a great way to find new customers outside of the geographic reach of your store. By setting up a booth and selling your wares, you will broaden your customer base. For example, if you sell products in your store that are considered environmentally friendly, a good marketplace event would be a “Green Products” show. Our local hardware store always participates in the “Outdoor Show” every spring and they sell more BBQ’s during that week than they do all year long. Make sure you have plenty of business cards to hand out during the event so that customers can order from you in the future even if they’re not ready to buy now.

Another way to showcase your store is to participate in a local community event. Donate some products or provide a staff person to help run the event. You’ll create lots of goodwill and the event organizers will promote your business on fliers and/or their own social media sites. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.
I am confident that if you apply all of the above marketing methods to your business, you will also experience tremendous success. I’d love to hear back from you if you’ve got any further words of wisdom. Sharing ideas and strategies is a great way for all of us to succeed!

Author: Karyn Climans
Tail Wags Helmet Covers Inc., owner

Guest Blogger Information:

Karyn Climans is the entrepreneurial spirit behind Tail Wags Helmet Covers, a company devoted to encouraging children and adults to wear their safety helmets. Karyn suffered a serious ski accident but fortunately she was wearing her ski helmet. The helmet saved her life! One goal of her company is to help prevent unnecessary injuries and it is her passion for safety awareness along with her imaginative flair that the key ingredients for Tail Wags’ success.

Tail Wags Helmet Covers Inc.
235 Joicey Boulevard
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5M 2V6
P: 416 482 3625
F: 416 483 8213
info@tail-wags.com
http://www.tail-wags.com/
www.facebook.com/tailwagshelmetcovers
 www.twitter.com/tailwagshelmet
http://www.karynclimans.com/

PS: This article is an example of one way that retailers can get the word out about their products through online blogs. It's all about sharing your expertise with others.

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Carolyn Howard-Johnson's FRUGAL book for retailers is A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques launched at the National Stationery Show at Javits Center. Because she is the author of the multi award-winning how-to books for writers,The Frugal Book Promoter: How To Do What Your Publisher Won't and The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success, retailers will also find essentials of writing for blogs, Web sites, and newsletters on this blog. She is the author of an award-winning novel, This Is the Place; and other fiction and poetry. She blogs on better writing at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor blog. Find her tweeting for retailers at @frugalretailing . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use this little green widget to let them know about it:

2 comments:

  1. Interesting post and thanks for sharing. Some things in here I have not thought about before.
    Regards,
    Brand Consultant
    Neeti Biz

    ReplyDelete
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