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Marketing Your Retail Business

Marketing your retail business.. How is it done? More importantly, how is it done when you’re already overworked, overwhelmed, and over trying to figure everything out on your own?! Wishing you had someone or something to help you figure out how to do it effectively (and without breaking the bank)? 

Your wish is our command! 😉

Here are 4 things to jumpstart a successful plan for marketing your retail business:

FIRST: Get laser-focused on your brand and positioning

Branding expert, Adam Hanft, defines positioning and branding below: 

Positioning – a way to create a market space and a mind space for your product that is so attractive and so sharply defined that it accelerates decision-making and de-positions the competition (if there is any).

Branding – an operating system that tells you how to think about yourself and your place in the world. The right brand defines what not to do with the same unblinking clarity that it explains what to do.

Branding tells you HOW you fit in the market, and positioning is the layer below that which tells you WHERE you fit.

Why is this important for marketing your retail business? Because your customers come to you to help them solve a problem, and the branding and positioning you have will tell your customer how you can help them solve that problem. 

Most people can explain what they sell. It’s a bit more difficult to define what makes your business unique. However, before you can figure out your marketing plan, you need to make sure you have clearly defined who you are as a business and how your customers perceive you.

Need a boost? Start by asking these three questions:

  1. Why does your business exist?
  2. How does your business fulfill that core belief?
  3. What does your business do to fulfill that core belief?

The answers to these questions will evolve over time, but your path to success becomes more clear the more you can hone in on your story and what’s important to include. With this shift, your marketing message goes from being “sales-y”, abstract, and overwhelming to think about, to crystal clear, as it reflects your “why”, easily flows through every process in your business, and excites your customers. Know who you are and how you’ll communicate your brand, and watch as your decisions as a business become an authentic expression of what you offer to the world.

SECOND: Get super clear on who your customer is

We’ve said it time and time again: no one cares about your business more than you. Most likely, your customers are walking through your doors with their views and needs and walking out of your doors with product that THEY wanted to buy.

They’re looking at your website to see what you can do for them. They’re opening their emails when they feel like reading them will be a good use of their time.

Why is this important for marketing for your retail business? Because your marketing message has to be about THEM.

You have to be speaking to your customers’ fears and pains.

You have to speaking to their wants and needs.

To do so, you have to KNOW them. 

So, take 20 minutes and write down literally everything you know about your ideal client.

  • How old are they?
  • Where do they live?
  • How much do they spend and in what pattern do they spend it?
  • What are their interests outside of shopping at your store?
  • What stage of life are they in?
  • Etc.

Pro Tip: if you’re stuck, use analytics from your POS system, email marketing software, or social media channels to help you figure out the unknowns!

The more you know about your ideal client, the more you can tailor your messaging to resonate with them. How do the benefits of your brand connect with what your ideal client is looking for? What pain or frustration are you helping your ideal client avoid by shopping with you?

Get super clear on who you want to serve and how your marketing connects their story to yours.

THIRD: Make sure it’s measurable

Can you measure the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts? 

Whatever your marketing investment is, you absolutely must be able to tie it back to one of your business objectives. 

So, answer these questions:

  • What is my business trying to accomplish with marketing?
  • What are the steps I’m taking to get there?
  • What key performance indicators (KPI) can I use to measure my results against the plan?
  • What people, resources, and the amount of money will I need to put this plan into action?

Every business has different objectives.. You may be looking to increase your sales, promote your new VIP program, grow brand loyalty, build your email list, expand into a new market, etc. 

The list of possibilities is endless! Once you’ve brainstormed your list of objectives, I want you to sit down and make sure that they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely). 

Next, you’ll need to assign numbers, dates, etc. to each of your SMART objectives. How will you measure those and keep track? 

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, use these 3 categories to guide you:

  • Financial (ROI, budget, etc.)
  • Customer numbers (how many you add, how long they stay, how they engage on social media, etc.)
  • Product numbers (sell-through rate, stock turn, etc.)

Pro Tip: Once you’ve figured out which numbers you need to track, delegate this next step to a team member: create a marketing dashboard in Excel or Google Sheets with each category and update this sheet on a monthly basis. 

Start simple and build from there!

FOURTH: Be consistent

Now that you can clearly define WHY people resonate with your brand, WHO those people are, and HOW you’ll track your efforts to ensure that you’re on the right track, your plan is ready to take form.

When you begin to design a sales and marketing plan for your specific situation, you must remember that the ultimate goal is to generate leads and convert those leads. While there are many different ways to do so, a few things are important to include in any marketing route you go: 

  • A brand experience to match your brand voice
  • Style, colors, messaging, etc. that works together cohesively
  • Communication that is published consistently, educates the customer, and builds trust and loyalty

TCB uses a marketing calendar to help us keep track of the daily activities that work together to make our master plan. Print it out and delegate the task of filling out daily marketing efforts to a team member!

How you turn leads into paying customers is up to you, but these are a few we focus on to help us reach our quarterly and yearly marketing goals:

  • Daily social media
  • Creating awesome content + educating our customers via this content
  • Email marketing (at the very least, once per month)

Pro Tip: Need content ideas? Start writing down questions that your customers are asking you and start posting or emailing  the answers + helpful tips and tricks pertaining to your products and how to use or style them!

The reason why we plan, is so that we can stay consistent. Over time, clear and consistent messaging will build trust, generate more leads, and help you sell more. WOO!  

In Conclusion

As you can see, marketing your retail business begins at the very core level of your brand and business objectives. The more clarity you get, the easier it is to build the path to success.

As you begin to map things out, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are my marketing and advertising efforts aligned with my brand, mission, and values?
  • Am I choosing advertising and marketing platforms that align with where my customer base is at?
  • What are the topics that resonate with my customers and how am I going to present those in a consistent, authentic, trust-building manner?
  • What stage of the buying journey is my audience at and how am I creating content and asking for sales with that in mind? 
  • Am I making sure that my brand is present and reachable to those we want to connect with?
  • Do I have the resources and team to help me accomplish my goals?

Take your time, ask for help when needed, tackle this in manageable chunks, and don’t forget to celebrate the wins along the way!

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