We all know that the time between Confirmation and the fall upswing is a slow time as Catholic store owners. Here are some summer marketing tips to help you make the best use of this slow time instead of spending it looking at the calendar waiting for fall.
First off, Christian Retailing Magazine has some tips for doing a summer cleaning for your store. While this isn’t what you may think of as marketing, freshening your store really is because it gives customers new things to look at and gives you the opportunity to highlight portions of your merchandise.
Remake Your Store
They have five suggestions for your cleaning.
- First, empty your store. This may seem like a lot of work but the opportunity to “clean your slate” and redo the layout is a wonderful opportunity.
- Second, as you start to rearrange the store, think about creating focused retail locations based on specific themes or topics. Also remember that people naturally enter a store and turn to the right so position your displays to catch the eye of those who are just coming in but give them some breathing room at the front door so they don’t feel like your products are jumping out at them.As an example, for the Feast of St. Dominic you could put out a display featuring medals and statues of him along with rosaries and rosary cds and pamphlets. For a more permanent display, you could do an apologetics section.
- Third, reuse the displays you have as well as displays that others are getting rid of. Craigs list and closing businesses are a great source for inexpensive fixtures. I don’t recommend buying new from a fixture store unless there is no other option for what you want to display. If you live in a large city there is probably a local used fixture store there. Some of them also carry slat-wall sections that are brand new but far cheaper than ordering in.Apart from the actual display pieces, think about thrift stores for display accents. You could get used sporting equipment to go with a St. Christopher sports medal display or gardening supplies to put with your outdoor statues.
- Fourth, bring in some color. This is something that I am lousy at. I can see something and say it looks great but I can’t even start doing color displays from scratch. What I recommend is hunting on Pinterest for ideas.
- Fifth, tell your story. You (hopefully) have a unique reason for running your store and your customers should be more excited about shopping with you because they know it. Maybe you could hang a chalk board over your register that tells about your store. Maybe you could have displays around the store that focus on your specialty.You could also create bookmarks with information about your store and a coupon on it to bring people back.
“Real” Marketing Tips
Apart from sprucing up your physical store, here are some more summer marketing tips for your “real” marketing.
First, figure out what your marketing is doing for you. I’ve created an ROI advertising spreadsheet you can download to help you with the cost but here are the steps you can use on your own:
- Make a list of all your advertising sources – even ones that are free.
- Write down what it costs you each month to advertise for each of those.
- Write down your total income from each source.
- Calculate the cost of product for each source.
- Do this math: (Total income – cost of product)/cost to advertise x 100.
If your total is over 100 you are making money.
If your total is under 100 you are losing money.
If your total is exactly 100 you are breaking even.
If you weren’t able to put any numbers for total income and cost of goods for any of the sources that cost you money, stop them immediately until you can figure out how to track them. Any advertising that you can’t track is a waste because you will never know if you can improve it.
Next, take a look at each of your ads. If you haven’t changed them for a while, see if there are things you can do to improve the message and the “hook” to get your customers’ attention. Be sure that every ad can be tracked through a coupon code or some other special so customers will tell you why they are shopping with you. Make sure that you are keeping track.
Finally, start thinking about advertising venues that you haven’t tried. Here are a few ideas:
- The religion section of your city paper
- Homeschooling newsletters
- Google local ads
- Your diocesan newspaper
I hope these marketing tips will help you make the most of your summer.
Image courtesy of Master isolated images / FreeDigitalPhotos.net