Sunday, March 19, 2006

8 Essential Tips For Retail Advertising

Today's recession isn't helping the many retailers who keep dropping like flies. And in many cases, inexperienced advertisers do themselves them in.
Either they don't advertise enough, try to do it themselves or advertise in the wrong places.

There is alot to think about when operating a retail shop - but one thing invariably gets saved for last. Advertising.

I suppose that those who rely solely on the ever-perfect "location-location-location", have forgotten that "promotion-promotion-promotion" and "timing-timing-timing" are overlooked in the process.

Like all new light bulbs, there is no denying that eventually, a new store's visibility begins to fade. What to do?

Advertise!

In many cases, however, the poor retailer has waited too long, runs a poor campaign, can't recover and goes belly-up. The media join other creditors who line up "waiting - waiting - waiting" for nothing.

To avoid becoming another retail statistic, here are simple rules to follow:

1. Have a marketing plan. It is integral to your success.

2. Don't rely solely on the marketing 101 skills you acquired too many years ago. Get some guidance. Print reps, radio reps, tv reps can give you some necessary pointers. Learn what you can but remember, they are selling you their product. One of your best bets is to ask your sales reps who they would recommend you advertise with as a complimentary ingredient in your advertising media mix.
Good reps are always ready to make recommendations.

3. Read up on the different benefits of available media. For example, check out the RAB (Radio Advertising Bureau). Download their Marketing Guide and Fact Book.
Dig into the valuable info available at the Newspaper Association of America - Download the 2001 detailed Study Report.

4. If there is something extremely original about your business that is newsworthy, make a point to write up a press release and fire it off to the media.

5. Your best bet, is always to hire a small or mid-size agency that specializes in retail advertising. Nothing beats having a team of pros who can assess your needs and steer your business in the right direction. Look for fair rates and understand that the time you'll save (as well as the headaches you'll be spared) is absolutely worth it. Remember that micro-managing is not the solution if you want your business to grow.

6. Typically, retailers have a reputation for being tight-fisted and worse, penny-wise and pound-foolish.
The best scenario is to establish a budget and stick with it. Spend only what you can afford. Depending on the nature of your business, 2-5% of your sales is a typical expenditure for advertising. If you're not sure, speak to your accountant.
Once your budget is set up, you can plan a campaign that makes sense.

7. AND DO INVEST IN YOUR WEBSITE! Once optimized, it is the single most effective way to advertise for FREE, develop a client list and gain the consumer trust that comes with a first page ranking in the search engine results pages!


8. ADBIZTIP: The best clients in the world are the ones you already have. Use letter campaigns, mailers, email and phone calls to invite them to VIP offerings from your company. Do that often enough and your clients end up feeling left out if they don't hear from you. Now that's a good position to be in.

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