Marketing for Retailers Concerned with Inventory and Margin

Increasing Inventory Turns and Gross Profit Margins with MarketingMost retailers; whether they sell apparel, technology, or sporting goods; usually operate their businesses on small margins that require them to turn their inventory several times during the year. This is most common with apparel retailers because they have seasonal fashions that must rotate every three months.

These retailers are increasingly concerned with sales volume, customer tastes, and the current trends that could affect sales. This only makes sense because if they misjudge their target consumers and can’t sell their merchandise, it will have to be placed on the clearance rack at the end of the season for a fraction of the actual cost.

So what can we do as marketers to actively help these types of businesses? First, we need to look at their goals and the objectives that fit into their business strategy. Since we know that the average retailer doesn’t want to sit on any of its merchandise for longer than 90 days, we need to develop an interesting way to reach out and attract the target market.

Depending on who the retailer is trying to sell merchandise to, we have a variety of different methods for attracting customers. Apparel stores like Pac Sun are focused on males from 13 to 19 years old. We know that this age group tends to use Twitter along with other social media platforms. Starting an interactive group with hash tags can be very effective for reaching this age group in a localized area.

Keep in mind that stores, like this clothing company, want to manage their inventory control ratio formula because this is the only way that they will be able to meet their quarterly demands of moving goods in time for the next season’s arrivals. That being said, marketing strategies need to be focused on both the short term and long term goals of the store. The short-term goals include selling current seasonal merchandise while the long-term goals are more positioned around customer loyalty and making sure that consumers want to visit the store regularly and continue to purchase goods. Obviously selling current inventory doesn’t matter if customer loyalty is declining in future seasons.

Another concern that most retailers have when viewing sales information is the cost of goods sold or more appropriately called the margin on sales. This is basically the amount of profits the company can make from selling its inventory at retail prices. This should be pretty obvious when stores are concerned with this, but we as marketers can help on this business side. I often show my clients how to use a gross margin ratio calculator to compute an estimated amount of profits that can be made from selling certain items on the shelves. This calculation along with the turnover rates can help the owners know that we as marketers understand their business and know how to improve its performance by connecting with a greater target market.

Just like marketing to consumers, we have to market to our clients that we understand their industry and know how to help them improve.

Writing Targeted Emails for Marketing Campaigns

useing proper grammar in emailsSpecific email targeting is one of the beauties of the digital age. You can select specific people in specific areas of the country all with specific interests and customize emails just to them. This allows them to feel a part of a group and not just another cell in someone’s spreadsheet in a random office building. And in many ways they are a part of a special group to you and your organization. If you are taking the time to craft a specific message, tailored to them and just a few others, they obviously are more to you than just a number.

In this post we’re going to go over a few things everyone should keep in mind when crafting email marketing campaigns for your clients or customers.

Messaging is Important

It is important to have a clear, consistent message throughout all of your e-communications with your audience. You need to be upfront with them in what you want and what you are planning to give them/what you expect them to do.

Also, going hand-in-hand with this is, stay on point. No one likes to sift through long emails to get to a punch line that isn’t all that funny or a sales pitch that isn’t all the interesting. Emails should be no longer than 2-3 paragraphs and these paragraphs should only be a few sentences each—maybe 5 at the tops.

Speak Their Language

Quite possibly the most important aspect to a proper email campaign is to speak the language of your customers. Speak in ways they are familiar and in ideas that they know. You wouldn’t send someone with a New York accent into Texas to try and sell a product now would you? Of course not! You want to speak the language of the people on the tail end of your email campaign.

For example, if you are designing an email campaign that is intended for people in government, be sure to know when to use Affect or Effect. If you’re writing members of Congress or state legislators and you can’t even keep the affect vs. effect designation separate, then most of your clients won’t take you seriously.

Offer Something Enticing in the Subject Line

All of this is well and good, but what if they don’t even open the email? Well this is what makes that little subject line so incredibly important. You have to cram as enticing an offer in just one sentence, so better make it good!

One way to entice readers to open your mail is to promise them something. This goes back to the “give, give, ask” principle. You need to give your customers more than they are spending. If you are running an “English Writing” campaign for a local school workshop you could say something like “Don’t embarrass yourself; do you know how to use apart vs. a part?” Then just post a link to your article on the subject, http://writingexplained.com/, just like this! This will entice your readers because they will ask themselves, wait a second, I’m not actually sure of the difference between compliment and complement. I’ll keep on reading.

These are the basics of any targeted email campaign. In our next post, we’ll take a further look at the process.

Business Specific Marketing for Dentists

Business Specific Marketing

implant surgery

So far on this blog we have talked a lot about general marketing strategies: strategies that work on general audiences. But you may be asking yourself, how do I make this relevant to my personal business? If your business is in a specific niche, employing general strategies might not always work for you and you need to find what works with you and your segmented audience. We’ll go over some ways to do this in this post.

Let’s say that you run a small town movie theater that features independent films. Something that you can do is poll your audiences to see what kind of films they would like to see there in the future. Or you could have facebook and twitter raffles to get discounts to see movies. For example, you have a weekend campaign where everyone who shares one of your promotional posts gets 10% off movie prices next week. You could do the same thing on Twitter: anyone who tweets out about a movie or Retweets one of your promotional pieces gets 10% off.

Now what if what you’re doing isn’t as fun as a movie theater. Say you run a Hartford dental implant practice. How are you supposed to get people excited about coming to the dentist? Getting people to rush in for surgery isn’t exactly something jump at the opportunity to do. Well, one thing that you can do in a business like this is development a local institutional name for yourself. This can also work for a Rochester Hills dental implant practice in Michigan

Develop a name for yourself and your business around the community and interact with other local businesses on their social media accounts. By doing this people will start seeing your name and associate you with dental implants or whatever surgery you happen to be doing.

You can also share success stories on your Facebook page and other social media accounts. Provide a short back-story of some of the people’s profiles before they underwent their dental implant surgery and then show your audience what they look like afterwards. This will build trust and legitimacy to your practice because people will see the work that you are doing and the benefit that they can get from it.

Another thing you can do is to promote months like dental hygiene awareness months. Put on local dental demonstrations on proper dental hygiene and you’ll start to become a community leader that way.

All of these methods can increase your engagement levels with your customers and potential customers, even when your business is a small, local niche. Also, it is important to keep in mind that there is no exact science to this. What we have found to work with some audiences may not necessarily fit yours. You may find that something completely different is exactly what your audience wants and needs, and that is great! The key in all of this is developing a relationship with your fans, so your fans may be different from our fans, but so long as your provide them with valuable content, they will continue interacting with you.

Using Social Media to Learn Guitar

Learn Guitar Through Social Media OnlineGuitar is one of the most social modern instruments. Think about it. Guitarists rarely play alone. They are always with a band. It only makes sense that social media can be used to help kids learn the guitar. Here is a short example of a client that we helped take their lesson business from a few students up to over 100 using social media.

At first our client was using facebook primarily to advertise their business sales and fliers. This really didn’t generate much business because the musicians that liked the page weren’t connecting with the content. We took a connection-based approach to their media instead of a directive based approach.

We started opening up conversations with musicians about what types of music they liked and the skill level they were currently at. Surprisingly, most of these teenagers were more than willing to share stories about their guitar playing and even whom they wanted to play like.

Well over a month later, we had well-established relationships with the well-known players in the area and offered them jobs to come and teach at the music store. About half of them agreed. This is key part of the strategy because these musicians already had local followings. By bringing them into the store, we brought their fans into the store.

Here is a little more information on guitars. You can also check out guitar repair bench online guitar lessons.

Then we repeated the process. We began building relationships with the teachers’ fans and eventually they became customers and students. See the importance of relationship-based marketing through social media?

Another strategy that we used to get students into the store for lessons was to promote ads in their feeds. We would create ads about their favorite guitarists and show how they can learn to as good as their idols one day.

Our click-through-rate on the ads was not only very high it was also higher targeted. We doubled the music store’s students by using this strategy alone. We also had tons of kids come in with questions about their instruments.

For example vintage instruments, especially guitars, are viewed as the holy grail of tone. All collectors, students, and musicians in general look for older, vintage Fenders. The only true way to date a Fender guitar is to look up the fender serial Number. We were able to answer these questions and turn the customers into students.

Those are a few basic ways we used social media to help a local music store go from a lesson program of a few students to teaching more than 100 kids how to play the guitar. Social media is a powerful tool that you can use to help grow your business. Take advantage of it.

Or let us help you increase sales and connect with customers with our great online strategies.

Maximizing Social Engagement for Your Business

Maximizing Social Engagement for Your Business

Engage your customers with Alder Social Media

Now that we have the basics of the ask to give ratio down, let’s focus on how we can engage our audience so that they will be active members of our online community. In this post I want to give a number of tips for generating the best posts on social media, posts that will most likely lead to customer interactions and then hopefully conversions.

Headlines!

It is important to take the time after writing an article or submitting a post to think, “Would this headline make me want to read on?” Or you could ask yourself, “ Would this headline make me want to share this post?” If they answer is no then you clearly need to rewrite your headline to make it more appealing. Here are some tips on writing catchy headlines.

Use numbers. There is a reason why you see so many “numbered” or “list” posts out there on social media these days; it’s because people like them. After all, Buzzfeed built an entire platform just of this strategy. People like list posts because they give the reader an expectation for what he will get out of the content. He’s not surprised or disappointed when he visits the page because he knows that to expect.

Ask questions. Another way to generate engagement in your content is to ask for it. Imagine that! When you ask people to be engaged, they are more likely to engage. Ask your fans for their opinion, such as this,

  • Congress can’t pass a budget; What is your solution?

This encourages people to leave a comment telling you what they think, and, deep down, this is what everyone wants, to be heard. People like it when you listen to their opinions and what they have to say.

Use interesting adjectives. Don’t use such bland language that people lose your posts in the mix with the rest of them. For example, avoid using words like “cool,” “great,” “neat.” These words are overused online and in everyday language. Use interesting words like “essential,” “absolute,” and “incredible.” For example what is better?

  • Four essential recipes for an incredible Thanksgiving dinner.

Or

  • Four neat recipes for a great Thanksgiving dinner.

Now, which one of these would you be more likely to click on and read? The first one of course, because it uses interesting adjectives.

Invite readers to participate. This is another thing you can do to spur online engagement: invite your readers to participate with you online. You can create a poll or survey. For example,

  • How many people are interested in the latest Robert Downey Jr. movie?

Or you can ask them to take a brief survey based on what the content they have read on your website.

Last but not least, don’t be the one who ends the conversation. Always ask your readers something, tell them to give you their feedback, to take a poll, etc. Never just throw a bunch of content at them and then expect them to be engaged and friendly.

Using Social Media to Engage Your Customers

Using Social Media to Engage Your Customers

Using Social Media to Market to Customers with Adler Marketing

Social media can be a great platform for you to engage with your customers and market to potential customers. It allows you to reach new audiences on a worldwide scale, target specific groups of people with particular interests, promote social events, and explore new opportunities for your business. But while social media can be a tool for great benefit, it can also tune customers out and end up being a waste of money. In this post, I want to go over some ways to maximize your social media time and expenditures, so that you can get the best reward for your online efforts.

One of the most important things to consider when using social media for your business is to think: what can I provide my customers in this? You want to give your customers, users and fans reasons to interact with you on social media. Perhaps you could set up a promotional giveaway, where people fill out a short survey about their experience with your company or subscribe to your email list in order to enter a drawing for some free gift. If you are a service-based company, you could offer a free trial subscription to your service. The possibilities are endless, but the principle idea is that you need to offer your fans and followers something. You need to give them a reason to interact with you.

This isn’t that complicated right? After all, isn’t this common sense? How many of us know a guy who is always trying to get something from us and the only time he comes around is when he needs something? This is a basic marketing principle that cannot be overstated: you need to give more than you ask. There’s no exact science or formula for this, but you should always be giving your fans much more than you ask of them.

For example, only ask your customers to do something, whether it be to visit your website, check out a new product, or buy an existing one every three or four posts. The ones in between these should be filled with interesting content related to your niche. If you run an art studio, you could feature photos of art that is on display, or plug an artist that will be speaking. Or if you run a music retail distributor, share articles about the music industry or cool pictures of musicians using products that you sell.

Bottom line is you don’t want to turn into the online version of the guy who is always asking for stuff. Would you want to interact with a page, whose wall was populated by,

“Go buy my product.”

“Go buy my product.”

“Go buy my product.”

“Go buy my product.”

Of course not! That is a surefire way to lose out on a lot of social interaction that could be bringing you customers! And this doesn’t even account for the fact that branding yourself as the Internet always asking for stuff guy will probably cause you to lose customers.

Stay tuned for our next post on how to maximize online engagement.

Utilizing Social Media at Your Next Event

Utilizing Social Media at Your Next Event

Using Social Media With Adler Marketing

Social media can work wonders for an event, but it can also wreak havoc on it, so when you’re planning your next big event or conference, you need to have an effective social media strategy that is outlined for you and your staff.

Preparation

It is vitally important to have a full social media rollout campaign ready to go well before the date of your event. You should start by promoting social media involvement to both your staff and the conference attendees. This can happen a couple of different ways. For instance, at the next all staff meeting, encourage staff members who are active on social media to post on the account during the conference and to interact with other attendees. Do the same for registered attendees.

When you send your registration emails to your confirmed attendees, be sure to include a social element to them. Ask them to follow you on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date conference information. You can also encourage them to use the official conference hashtag. Or if you want to be extra generous, you can offer retweets for anyone who mentions the conference on his or her Twitter. People love getting retweets because it exposes them to a larger audience.

Another avenue you can pursue to generate buzz around your event is to ask your followers what they are expecting to see when they attend. This goes hand in had with our headlines post that focuses on asking interactive questions rather than just making statements. Asking your audience questions ahead of time can head to create a stir before your event.

Selecting a Hashtag

Hashtags are popular ways to group similarly themed topics on the Internet. They are most common on Twitter, but Google + has them and Facebook recently introduced them as well. The key to picking out a good hashtag is to pick something short, catchy, and easy to remember that is somehow related to your event. Acronyms and other initialisms make for great hashtags.

If it were my 40th birthday, a good hashtag to use might be #Adler40. You get the idea.

Respond to Attendees

Remember when we said you could offer retweets for anyone mentioning the conference? Well, don’t just retweet them, engage them! Thank them for coming, ask them what their favorite part of the show was, say that you hope they stop by the main booth. No matter what you say, show social engagement and interaction. That is what people love to see and that is what makes successful events.

Be Quick to Respond to Attacks

A lot of times the Internet brings out the worst in people, so every now and then, you will see “Internet haters” attack you and your conference. Now, it is important to accurate gauge the level of negative mentions you are getting in social media, so you will want to be tracking this real-time. The reason being is that the narrative behind your conference can quickly be pulled out from under you if there is a small group of loud people causing a commotion. The best thing to do is respond to their attack (if it merits a response) quickly and be done. Get back to the conference and show people how great of a time it is.

Take Pictures

Be sure to take lots of pictures and post them too, so those people who weren’t able to make it can still feel like they are there live in the action!