A Retail Marketing Strategy That Drives Massive Engagement
A lot of retail marketing pros wake up with a recurring bad dream. Maybe you have this nightmare as well.
You launched an expensive campaign yesterday, and the store is empty. Soft rock music echoes off the tiled floors with no shoppers to hear it. You're staring at the front door. It hasn't moved in two hours. Then it does move. It's the store owner. She's expecting to see people elbow-to-elbow and a line at the register. Then she looks at you, and you can tell she wants an explanation. That's when you wake up.
So how do you keep that bad dream from becoming a reality? How do you make sure you're sending the right message to the right people at the right time so that you'll get a massive response?
The way to gain confidence with your next retail marketing strategy is to take it step-by-step. We've worked with thousands of retail marketers to move mountains of merchandise, and we'll show you the steps below so that you can succeed and sleep well at night.
Build a Killer Retail Marketing Strategy in 6 Straight-Forward Steps
No matter what campaign or strategy you develop, following some established planning steps will ensure that you're thinking through the factors that lead to success. These are straight-forward steps, but marketers sometimes overlook them in their haste to produce a retail marketing strategy quickly.
1. Define Company Objectives
All retail marketing strategies should align to business goals. Make sure to work with the leadership team to confirm the direction that the company needs to go in. For instance, company leaders may want to grow market share in a certain geographic region or a particular demographic. They may want to build anticipation for a new product line or store opening. Or they may want to play the long game by increasing brand awareness rather than getting quick sales.
Confirming company objectives ensures that everyone is pulling in the same direction to increase the impact in every phase of the business.
2. Identify Your Target Market
If you don't understand who will use your products, you won't know how you can make their lives better. Unless you're Walmart or Amazon, you can't just say everybody wants your stuff. If you've never done it before or if it's been a couple of years, revisit your target persona profile.
- Who are they? Estimate demographic info.
- What are their expressed and unexpressed needs and desires? These are often psychological or emotional.
- Where do they hang out? This could be in-person or online.
- How will your products help them? Think in terms of before and after states.
3. Pick the Best Marketing Channels
Once you've identified your target market, think through how they like to communicate. Keep in mind that consumer habits change over time. And that change is happening more quickly than ever. So, don't assume that the channels you used two years ago are still effective today.
- Are they constantly on their phones?
- Do they use text messaging a lot?
- Do they attend conferences you could sponsor?
- Which social channels do they engage on?
- Do they attend local meetups or eat at a particular restaurant?
It's often best not to think in terms of one channel only. Most great retail marketing strategies employ multiple marketing channels to reach their customers. Think through which combination of channels will be most effective and pick primary and supporting channels.
One statistic that often surprises retail marketers is that text messages are opened and read almost five times more than email (98% to 20%). And 90% of all text messages are read within the first three minutes. Because of the incredible read rates and the immediacy of the channel, text messaging has come on strong among retail marketers. You can be assured that your contacts will read your message exactly when you want them to.
Here are a few reviews from retailers about how our text marketing service has helped them grow their business.
"The texting list becomes its own community and those customers feel like they are getting special service because they are! We offer lots of discounts and sales to those people who are on our texting list. People respond well to feeling like they are in on a special offer!" - G2Crowd Review
"I’ve been using easy texting to bring the traffic into the store for a new product that has marketing restrictions." - G2Crowd Review
"I needed a way to reach my customers quickly for last minute events or specials and EZ Texting makes it simple ." - G2Crowd Review
4. Brainstorm Campaigns
Now it's time to brainstorm campaigns. Think about your target market. What are their psychological or emotional needs?
- Do they fear missing out on a great deal?
- Do they need social validation?
- Do they feel better when they've shared an offer with a friend?
- Do they need to feel like a part of an exclusive group?
- Do they respond better to Thank You's rather than a monetary reward?
- Are they optimistic or pessimistic?
- Are they eager to learn new skills?
By identifying the psychological factors which affect their thinking, you can begin to strategize campaigns that will cause them to take action. One great resource for understanding the motivations that alter behaviors is Coglode. You'll find simple and powerful insights like anchor bias, choice paradox, and temptation coupling.
Now you're in a position to decide what offers or specials to run and what language to use. You could offer a loyalty program for consumers who want to feel like part of an exclusive group and fear they'll miss out on a great deal. Check out this case study to learn how one local company built a powerful VIP list. You may want to offer an in-personal educational training course which relates to your products. See how Viking Range Corporation successfully leverages cooking classes to sell products in this case study.
5. List Needed Marketing Assets
Next, plan out what you'll need to make the campaigns exceptional. Put as much detail into a spreadsheet as you can to ensure that you don't miss anything and budget well. Consider how long the assets will take to complete as you begin planning launch and completion dates.
- Do you need new photography or video?
- Do you need to print new posters or in-store signage?
- Do you need to get an account with a text messaging service provider?
- Do you need a graphic designer to help make the imagery great?
6. Launch, Analyze Results, and Iterate
After you've launched your campaign, it's important to see what works and what doesn't for future campaigns. To get the most value out of your campaigns, make sure that the marketing channels you use have clear and easy-to-understand reporting capabilities.
Go ahead and make some guesses ahead of time on how much response you think you can get. Think of every retail marketing strategy you develop as a scientific test to learn more about how your customers think.
Write out a document with your assumptions and hypotheses about the response. Use your marketing channel reports to measure the campaigns so that you can be more effective with the next campaign.
Explore the Most Effective Retail Marketing Channel
Following these six steps will put you in a position to get fantastic results and propel your retail business forward. With proper planning, you can have confidence that your retail marketing strategy will get a massive response and that those bad dreams won't come true.
In Step 3, we covered the topic of marketing channels briefly. As we mentioned, text messaging is the surest way to get your contacts to read your messages at the right time. We've worked with over 160,000 organizations to accomplish their marketing and business goals over the last decade. And we've seen it work for a lot of retailers.
We've collected the most effective text message marketing campaigns in a free resource you can access instantly. In The EZ Texting Playbook for Retail Text Marketing, we show how other retailers are capturing the magic of text message marketing, and reaping the benefits. You can swipe all the plays in this playbook and use them to drive amazing results for your business.
Photo: Getty Images/Milkos