Monday, August 27, 2007

50 Marketing Ideas for Retailers - From Shari Waters

This month has been a bit slow for me...and a little discouraging. I have felt like my creative juices have run dry and I was searching for some ideas on what to do next. With school starting my time is so limited because it's my busiest time at work. So, I did a search for "Creative Marketing Ideas" and I came across an article on I thought there were some really great and simple tips for marketing that I wanted to share...just in case you were feeling a little stuck too and needing some ideas to help jumpstart your business or get you out of a rut. I will try 3, 35, 47 and 50 within the next two weeks. Which ones will you try???
  1. Create a calendar for customers with your shop's name and address on it.
  2. Print the products you sell or services offered on the back of your business cards.
  3. Always carry business cards with you. Give them freely and ask permission to leave them in places your target market may visit.
  4. Join a trade association or organization related to your industry.
  5. Have a drawing for a product or a gift certificate. Use the entry forms to collect customers' mailing addresses.
  6. Develop a brochure of services your shop offers.
  7. Conduct monthly clinics about a product or service you offer or schedule semi-annual seminars on related "how-to" information for your industry.
  8. Print a tagline for your business on letterhead, fax cover sheets, e-mails and invoices.
  9. Develop a website to showcase your products, services and location. Use a memorable URL and include it on all marketing materials.
  10. Include customer testimonials in your printed literature.
  11. Promote yourself as an expert by writing articles or tips on topics related to your industry.
  12. Submit to the local newspaper, trade journal or other publications.
  13. Host an after-hours gathering for your employees and their friends/relatives.
  14. Provide free t-shirts with your logo to your staff to wear.
  15. Send newsworthy press releases as often as needed.
  16. Create an annual award and publicize it.
  17. Develop your own TV show on your specialty and present it to your local cable station or public broadcasting station.
  18. Create a press kit and keep its contents current.
  19. Use an answering machine or voice mail system to catch after-hours phone calls. Include basic information in your outgoing messages such as business hours, location, website, etc.
  20. Join a Chamber of Commerce where you can network with area business owners.
  21. Hold an open house. Invite prominent city officials and the press.
  22. Get a memorable local or toll-free phone number.
  23. Place ads in publications your market reads. Be sure to reach the non-English speaking market as well.
  24. Distribute specialty products such as pens, mouse pads, or mugs with your store's logo.
  25. Advertise in creative locations such as park benches, buses, and popular Web sites.
  26. Improve your building signage.
  27. Get a booth at a trade show or expo attended by your target market.
  28. Give a speech or volunteer for a career day at a high school.
  29. Sponsor an Adopt-a-Highway area in your community to keep roads litter-free.
  30. Donate your product or service to a charity event or auction.
  31. Have a Yellow Pages ad listed under your main industry and in related categories.
  32. Volunteer your time to a charity or non-profit organization.
  33. Create a loyalty program to reward existing customers.
  34. Create an opt-in email or print newsletter for your customers. Fill each edition with specials, tips and other timely information.
  35. Send hand-written thank you notes to important customers every chance you get.
  36. Use brightly colored envelopes and unique stationary when sending direct mail pieces.
  37. Show product demos or related videos on a television on the sales floors during store hours.
  38. Book a celebrity guest for an event at your store. Use people in your industry or television news anchors or local authors.
  39. Create window displays in locations away from your shop. Airports, hospitals, and large office buildings occasionally have display areas they rent to local businesses.
  40. Team up with a non-competing business in your area to offer a package promotion.
  41. Pick the slowest day of the week to hold a one-day sale.
  42. Create a warm, welcoming waiting area for your customers.
  43. Provide extra customer service training for your staff.
  44. Sign up for a newsletter or join online discussion groups in your industry.
  45. If possible, loan your facilities to other groups for a meeting place.
  46. Create a unique lapel pin based on the products you sell to wear at meetings.
  47. Choose a regular customer to spotlight as a Customer of the Month. Create a brief write up to submit to the local newspaper about the customer and be sure to give he or she a copy of the article as well as have one framed to hang in the store.
  48. Pair up slow moving items with related products and repackage as a special buy.
  49. Start a blog. Write about your industry or detail in-store happenings.
  50. Offer your customers discounts for each referral they provide.
See Shari's entire article here:

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Quiet Sacrifice...

Tami Longaberger
Chair & CEO of the Longaberger Company

I was surfing the net looking for a conference that I heard about on the radio that John Maxwell was going to be speaking. If you have never heard of John Maxwell, he is an author of numerous books on Leadership. So, I came upon a blog written by Tami Longaberger, Chair & CEO of the Longaberger Company (Longaberger Baskets). Her blog was about "quiet sacrifice" which she described as a concept that all Leaders understand. I guess I understand it but never had a name for it. I started to think that as we build Urban Botanic as the ground floor pioneers, we will find ourselves often making sacrifice. I now see that we can complain as we make the sacrifice or we can make it quietly with the peace of mind that what we do now will make it better in the future for others. "Quiet Sacrifice"...I like it!

To read her blog:

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A HUGE Endeavor...Can I do it?????

I have been attending The Rock Church and World Outreach Center for almost 10 years now. Our church has grown to have a membership of about 10,000 people. On September 28th & 29th we are having our annual Women's Conference which we are expecting 2,000 women to attend.

Thinking about this conference and having all of these women in one place gave me an idea to propose to the Pastor's wife the possibility of having a fragrance designed exclusively for the conference. The conference logo and theme are "Fearless" - "She Is Beautiful but Dangerous" so, I suggested that she create a fragrance and possibly name it "Fearless", "Beautiful but Dangerous" or "Daughters 2007". She loved the idea and wants to do it. The irony is that although the theme is "Fearless", I'm pretty scared.

Today as I was sitting in church, I was looking around at all of the people that were in their seats. I asked my husband how many people the sanctuary held and he thought about 3,800. There were empty seats, so I figured that there were about 2,000 people in attendance. So, I imagined making enough samples for every person and started to hyperventilate! OMG! Can I do it? Stay tuned...I'll let you know what happens!

Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Grand Event - Lessons Learned!

Not long after I became a UB Fragrance Designer I received a referral from Corp for a person in Southern California that was interested in information about Urban Botanic. So, I called her and as we talked she started to describe her idea for her 50th birthday party. She wanted to have 30 friends over and she wanted to purchase a perfume for each guest and to allow them each to design their own fragrance. Perhaps I was just naive, but my mouth and my mind both said " problem". This was in April and her party would not happen until July...I should have it figured out by then! (or so I thought)

As I did parties in May and June, gained some experience and learned more about the business, I started to realize that trying to work with 30 women was going to be a bit CRAZY! I also figured out that 30 perfumes had a RSV of almost $750.00. So I was nervous but excited about the challenge! First thing I did was I asked Tracy who is our FD in Los Angeles to help me on this one...and boy was I glad she was there.

The other issue was that the hostess lives in a city that is about 2 hours from where I live. But because I am really focusing on launching Southern California, I am willing to travel in an effort to spread the word and hopefully seed the business in other places. Not sure if I would recommend it to everyone...especially on a Friday night.

I talked with the hostess several times over the months. I sent her samples and explained the process to her. She asked me if we could do it on the patio at her friend's house and we talked about having two large tables so that they could all do the activity together. I had it pictured in my head...I had the product ordered...I Map Quested my trip and was ready to go! So, we went and did the party and learned a lot. I wanted to blog about some things that I learned...both good and bad about large parties so it may help someone else in the future to learn from my experience. are the top ten things I learned from this party:

1. When I arrived, I was told that there was only 21 people attending...not 30. It was a blessing in disguise, however I did invest in 30 perfumes for this party. Lesson learned? Check, double check and verify RSVPs! I will always use the extra inventory so nothing lost. Shawna suggested that birthday parties should have a "down payment" of 50% with and agreement involving a cancellation policy etc.

2. We were supposed to start the party at 6:30. Guest started to arrive around 6:15 and continue to trickle in. We did not start until 7:30 and did not leave until mid-night. I loved Shawna's blog on being on time. Lesson Learned? Emphasize the importance of starting on time and then start no later than 15 minutes late. Have a on-time incentive.

3. When we went out onto the patio to set up, there were three tables...not two and was a little tight. problem...we would make it work. Since we had two sets of fragrances and three tables, we decided to put two scent families on each table and rotate the fragrances from table to table. This partially worked for the scent smelling, but when the blending started, it became a mess. Truly...I'm not sure how this could have been done successfully. Lesson learned? Shawna suggested that in a party situation with that many people, having a few recipes to choose from may have done the trick.

4. The ladies started drinking wine and martinis upon arrival. It was a birthday party...what do you expect and what can you do? By the time we got around to blending, there was a lot of laughing, some confusion, a bit of chaos and some wasted and spilled oils. Lesson learned? When you know it is a celebration...ask about alcohol. If there will be drinking, talk it out with the hostess ahead of time. Either agree to have selected recipes that will allow them to go through the activity but not have to think too much or see if its OK to have them put off the alcohol until after the workshop is over.

5. Remember...we were outside on the patio. After dark, they put out candles. guessed it...we were out there blending 21 perfumes by candlelight. That is one of the huge reasons we were there until midnight. Lesson learned? Get details. I never thought to ask if there would be light. If you are outside in the evening ask about lighting.

6. As I rotated around checking on guests, one of the guests had a mixing glass that was half filled with oil. She thought a drop was a dropperful. Lesson learned? Check for understanding. Make sure everyone knows what a drop is and what it isn't. The larger the party, the more it needs to be checked.

7. We arrived at the home and it was a beautiful home. We walked in and on a glass coffee table in the living room was a sea of beautiful red glass perfume bottles surrounded by red metallic mylar shred. They were stunning. The hostess purchased fancy perfume bottles for each person to be able to transfer their perfume into. She explained that she wanted them to vote on a name for their fragrance and all of their fragrances would have the same name. The fireplace mantel was lined with gift bags with tags on them that were for the perfume and bottles to go into. They would write the fragrance name on the tags after it was voted on. Everything was classy yet fun! Lesson learned? The idea that a scent can evoke a strong memory is so powerful. This hostess wanted every person to think of her 5oth birthday whenever they wore their perfume. Although they all had individual scents, she also wanted them to be connected with a single fragrance name. Awesome idea!

8. We offered to make samples of each guest's scents for the hostess. We clipped each vial onto a business card with the name of the guest on it card. My hostess loved the idea and really appreciated it. She has expressed the desire to do another party with a smaller group someday soon. Lesson learned? Sometimes a little something extra really goes a long way.

9. When I arrived home and got ready to go and deposit the check, I noticed that the check was made out to Urban Botanic. Lesson learned? Always mention to your guests who the check should be made out to and then check it before you leave the hostess' home.

10. Every experience is a learning experience! I was exhausted and am not sure given the experience to do all over again that I would jump at it. However, the many lessons that I learned are all summed up with this last adventurous...take risks...and don't limit yourself to what is simple and usual. We grow with the extraordinary experiences and to really be successful, I believe we have to think outside the box and do things that are outside the norm.