By Guest Contributor, Bob Negen, Retail Expert, and Co-founder of WhizBang! Retail Training. 

As an independent retail store owner you have to wear LOTS of hats – including Chief Marketing Officer. Check to see if you might be making one of these common Retail Marketing Mistakes…

1. Your Marketing is “All About Me”

If I had to pick the most common (and most deadly) retail marketing mistake, this would be it. Everyone thinks that their products, their services, and their promotions, are far more fascinating than they really are. It’s only natural. To you, the most important thing in the world is – you!

The trick for you as a retailer is to stop thinking about what you offer and start focusing on what your customer wants. It’s the only way to build the kind of customer relationships that engender real trust, strong loyalty, and repeat business.

If most of your outbound communication (emails, Facebook posts, postcards, etc.) is about your products, your services, your promotions, or your store and not about what’s interesting, helpful, useful, beneficial, or entertaining for your customer, then you are making this marketing mistake.

 2. You Don’t Track Your Results

If you don’t track the results of your marketing efforts it’s impossible to tell if they are successful, or to what degree they are successful. Of course, tracking your results takes forethought and planning. (See Retail Marketing Mistake #7!)

You have to be very clear about what your primary goals are for each of your marketing efforts. Do you want to generate sales, attract new customers, re-activate inactive customers, or build relationships? What you hope to achieve affects the way you track your results and how you judge your success. With marketing (as with almost every area of business), if you can measure it, you can manage it.

3. You’re a “One and Done” Marketer

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a great conversation with a retailer who’s super excited about their major marketing success. Most of them honestly hadn’t considered repeating their successful event!

One and done doesn’t cut it. You spend too much time and effort tweaking and perfecting marketing efforts to only do something one single time. If it is successful keep on doing it again, and again, and again.

4. You’re Unhappy If It’s Not a “Home Run”

Who doesn’t like to hit a home run?! It’s fun. The problem is that if you expect all your marketing efforts to be a home run, you’re bound to be disappointed – and you might stop swinging the bat.

Most of your marketing efforts will be “singles.” Not every email will get an 80% open rate. Not every in-store event will create a stampede of customers.

Celebrate your singles! It’s the accumulation of lots of singles that will, in the end, cause you to win the entire season. Any good sports fan will tell you it’s not the team with the most home runs that gets to the World Series.

5. You Don’t Adapt Good Ideas

There is no shortage of good – even great – ideas for attracting new customers, driving traffic, creating loyalty, increasing sales. But you may suffer from a lack of marketing imagination.

If you see an idea that’s working for your colleagues in another industry, imagine all the possible ways you could apply it for YOUR business. Don’t just watch other retailers. Watch your local realtors, chiropractors, builders, manufacturers, car dealers, dentists, etc. You may find some marketing gold if you try to adapt ideas from other kinds of businesses.

While you’re at it, don’t forget to adapt and modify your OWN good ideas! If the ’12 Days of Christmas’ promotion worked well for you, adapt and do a Spring Fling Deal of the Day during the week of spring break. Be creative!

 6. You Don’t Pay Close Attention to the Details

It’s the execution of the small details that will often make or break your marketing efforts. Paying attention to the details is certainly what will take your retail marketing to the next level and is where you’ll really maximize your efforts.

Here’s a perfect example. A store owner I know sent an awesome email newsletter. It had a great subject line, really compelling content, and a strong call to action asking readers to pass it along to their friends. I had someone I thought would find it interesting so I forwarded it, and that’s when I noticed that there was no place in the email where they could click to subscribe to their newsletter.

So while the email accomplished the goal of strengthening existing relationships by delivering good content, the store owner really missed a golden opportunity to build their list by not paying close attention to the details.

7. Your Marketing is Scattershot, Not Strategic

You know who you are. You do a little bit of this, a little bit of that, in hopes that some of your stuff will work. Your marketing efforts spring from a need for cash flow, rather than from a thoughtful, well-designed strategic plan.

The good news here is if you try enough stuff, some of it will work. And if you repeat the stuff that does work (see Retail Marketing Mistake #3), you’ll start to get some traction. Activity and effort is way better than doing nothing at all. But strategic activity and effort is so much more effective.

When your marketing is based on a strategic plan, all of your tactics work together to enhance each other and achieve your overall goals. Each effort builds upon the next and the sum becomes greater than the parts.

Are you making any of these Retail Marketing Mistakes? If you are, don’t get down on yourself. Almost everyone makes these mistakes from time to time. And I’m excited to help you get your marketing in tiptop shape before the holiday season starts!

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Join retail experts Bob & Susan Negen on September 13, for 8 awesome hours of holiday-focused ideas for boosting your sales and lowering your stress this season.

Learn new ideas, get motivated, and ask Bob and Susan your questions live. Plus, you could win one of over $12,000 in prizes… but you must be watching to enter and win!

Register Now For Free 

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