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Got Ideas How to Wow and Attract a Crowd?

August 26th, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Pretend you have a new small business downtown in a middle class town. It fills a niche, carrying only goods made locally. It's a tiny shop, tucked in a side street location. So far word of mouth is getting you decent foot traffic.

But you want to raise the store's profile and let the residents know about you. What can you think of to make a splash?

The answer must:
1. Be low cost
2. Tie into the local goods branding
3. Be DIFFERENT to set you apart from the usual retailer.

Any marketing wanna bes out there? I realize this is what advertising firms are paid to do, but I think the SA'ers have the low cost point of view that is important here.

Things that are too *been there, done that*
1. Give aways. Customers are soooooo used to getting something for free. Gettng as much as they can for free. Ugh. There is no way this small business is going to make an impression giving away stuff they have that represents them.

2. Food or Wine tasting. Not as common as #1 but still too typical. And a bit expensive to stage anyway.

3. Demos. Book signings. Boring. Unless you are demonstrating magic tricks or have the world's biggest dog or something.

4. Print Ads. Yes, this has been a necessary part of a traditional marketing plan, but truthfully the world is turning digital and you want to go where the people are (on their phones for example).

Something completely different
A couple ideas I had, how would you improve? How would you react, or what would you do different?

1. Hold a photo worthy event. I heard a news report recently that people have their cell phone near them 95% of the day now (and use them in EVERY situation like in the bedroom and the bathroom). What they are doing ALOT is taking pictures and putting on social media. I suggest having a local icon - celebrity? giant avocado? something catchy that represents their local theme - come to the shop and let people take a picture with it. This location has no celebrity readily available, hmph. What to do?

2. Give some sort of reward for FB likes or social media check in. The owner can easily track if the person has 'liked' the shop page or checked in on Twitter or Instagram or similar. What to give as a reward?

In fact, this is not a fictional situation! I am thrilled that my goods are sold through a small wonderful new shop Very-Ventura.

I would love to help them succeed and ask for your ideas!

14 Responses to “Got Ideas How to Wow and Attract a Crowd?”

  1. creditcardfree Says:

    Not exactly unique, but a story in your local paper or television would be very good. Send them a press release of the store's opening...or other event you will be having and get them over there in advance to interview you!

  2. Kiki Says:

    Does your town have a facebook page for itself? Can you like it with your store page? Begin posting things about your store on the FB page.

  3. Kiki Says:

    Find out about local craft fairs/Christmas fairs and have a booth. Have business cards printed with your address on one side and a small map to the store on the other.

  4. Susan Says:

    Could the shop join forces with other small great unique local shops and have a treasure hunt type event-central location to obtain first clue-follow around to each shop-have a passport-type thing where it is stamped/signed at each location-

    In my small town there are many small unique shops-they have an event once ( maybe twice) per year-the shops stay open later ( usually close around 5 or 6)- there is this treasure hunt-mostly to introduce folks to new businesses-i think the passport thing gets stamped and they receive a bead at each location- the shops/restaurants have great specials AND offer a coupon to encourage the customer to come back again..

    Hope this might inspire other ideas..
    Susan

  5. imarunner Says:

    make a bunch of photocopies announcing your business and go from door to door. pay a young adult 10-20+ more bucks to pass them out.

  6. Kiki Says:

    Does your town sponsor a "second Saturday" art walk? Some towns and cities sponsor a particular evening once a month that the art galleries and specialty stores stay open later. You could get on the list, perhaps have one of two pictures from a local artist on display?

    That is how i discovered one of my favorite unique stores in Sacramento.

  7. scfr Says:

    This is a bit "out there" - but dogs always draw people in and get them to open up, especially if there is no hard sell attached. Perhaps the store could invite a rescue group to hold an adoption event on the sidewalk in front of the store? As far as a local goods tie-in, maybe someone in Ventura makes and sells dog gear or gourmet doggie treats that the store could debut on the day of the event, with a portion of the day's sales going to the rescue group?

  8. pretty cheap jewelry Says:

    That 'out there' is right on, there is a Search & Rescue Dog Foundation right here locally (yes, the one who sends dogs to help in earthquakes, floods and disasters). I suggested the shop invite them with an ambassador dog for a photo op day. Thx all!

  9. scfr Says:

    Very cool - Hopefully the store can drum up some extra business AND raise funds for the SAR group at the same time ... Let us know if it happens and how it goes.

  10. PatientSaver Says:

    Does your town have its own Patch online? If so, I know that my town's patch lets just about anyone have their own blog, hosted on Patch, where you could write jewelry industry-related articles all aimed at getting people interested in one of a kind, hand-crafted items. You would have to be careful to make the articles objective and informative, not sales pitches, otherwise Patch would likely nix it. Jewelry is a somewhat narrow topic area, so I might suggest broadening your scope a little to make it easier to write about different things.

    Cost: $0

  11. PatientSaver Says:

    Light refreshments don't have to be expensive at all if you plan a special event.

    Also, I agree with Creditcardfree that getting a reporter from local paper interested in doing a feature on you would be great.

    Around here, the local paper regularly does profiles of local businesses. You can email the reporter and pitch them on the idea after thinking about your unique perspective/knowledge on jewelry-making or small business ownership and what is interesting about it.Think about why you enjoy it, how you got into it, what are the most challenging aspects, how do you come up with your designs, how long does it take you to do a given piece, etc.

  12. PatientSaver Says:

    Any interest in putting on jewelry making classes for small groups? Either a one-time event of a couple hours or a series of 2 or 3 classes on a few consecutive Saturdays. Charge a small fee for supplies. It would get people in the door and you could perhaps make a bit of money on the side.

  13. PatientSaver Says:

    Our local weekly farmer's market also includes a few crafters making homemade soaps and that sort of thing. Maybe you could reserve a spot at your farmer's market if you have one.

  14. PatientSaver Says:

    Take steps to enhance the ambiance in your shop with soft, New Agey or classical music, fragrance/scents, perhaps a small tabletop fountain where you can hear the sound of water. Set out some cookies on a tray with some apple cider or what have you. Doesn't have to cost a lot. Just gives people a reason to linger and enjoy.

    Do you do your jewelry-making work there in the shop during store hours? People like to see the artist at work. Setting up a little workshop in your retail space might be a good idea

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