Now is the time to start thinking about how you’ll make the most of this year before it’s over. As a retailer, there are a few big shopping seasons that can make or break your annual revenue, and setting specific marketing goals helps you move toward those revenue targets with intention and focus.
As you think about what you want to accomplish before 2019 is over, keep these end-of-year marketing goals in mind. With your eyes set on the horizon, you’ll move in the direction of success so you can toast to yet another great year as you ring in 2020.
Formalize Your Branding With Brand Guidelines
Your marketing won’t be effective without consistent branding. According to NorthStar Marketing, brand consistency allows you to:
- Manage perceptions of your brand.
- Convey your unique outlook and attitude.
- Eliminate issues around brand confusion.
- Protect your investment. “Without established brand standards, many organizations spend thousands of dollars crafting a logo and building a message, only to have it degraded by inconsistent, sloppy application,” says NorthStar Marketing.
- Build upon previous successes; set a brand standard that consumers can expect time and time again.
All of this leads to a brand that customers know and trust, and therefore shop with on a regular basis. You likely already have some branding elements in place, like your logo. This is a great start, but you need to take it a step further by identifying your brand’s color palette, messaging, fonts, tone and voice as brand guidelines.
Put all of that information into a formal set of brand guidelines, a document that specifies all of these details. This makes it easy for you to maintain consistency and ensures that anyone creating graphics, posting on social media and/or designing promotions are on the same page as you and your brand. Finalize your brand guidelines before the end of the year so your marketing is as impactful as possible.
Test Print Marketing
Don’t rely solely on digital marketing to drive sales any more. If you haven’t given print marketing a try, make it a goal to run a few print marketing campaigns by the end of this year. Print gives you a chance to reach more customers without the ‘noisy’ clutter of social media feeds or overflowing inboxes.
Start by creating your print marketing calendar, which will help you anticipate the budget investment you’ll need for design and print. Knowing what you need and when ensures you’re able to plan ahead, which is critical to print success.
“At MyCreativeShop, our rule of thumb is to start the design and print process four to five weeks in advance; the bigger the holiday, the longer time you need,” says Dustin Hodgson, lead designer and co-owner of MyCreativeShop, in How to Create a Marketing Calendar for Print Advertising.
Hodgson also recommends filling out your calendar as much as possible, so you have a clear picture of what your print marketing needs are. Check out what should be included:
From there, you need to choose the print marketing methods you’ll use. Options range from posters and flyers to postcards, brochures and fun swag, like coasters or bracelets. The materials you choose will depend upon the need (an event versus a store sale) and your segment or niche. Create a plan, nail down the details and start testing before the year is up!
Increase Customer Loyalty
Retailers rely on customer loyalty to compete with similar businesses, and this can be especially challenging for local retailers, who are also competing with online sellers like Amazon, in addition to nationwide chains. This is just one reason why 86 percent of retailers plan to partner with websites and apps that focus on deals, cash back and loyalty programs.
To develop customer loyalty, you have to make the shopper’s life easier, while giving her an incentive to shop with you—providing cash back or other deals and rewards can help you do exactly that. The good news is there are many ways to facilitate an impactful loyalty program, regardless of your budget. Here are a few ideas:
- Rewards based on spending levels: For example, a customer gets $5 off after spending $75, and then $10 off after spending $150. The levels will depend on your average price point and spend per customer.
- Monthly promotions via email: Build your subscriber base by promising exclusive monthly deals for anyone on your email list.
- In-store events, paired with promotions: Think: “Sip Champagne and Shop for Summer” to kickoff the summer season. Use these types of events to not only drive customer loyalty, but brand awareness and revenue too.
Target Online Sales With a New Blog
If you’re selling online, use the rest of this year to shift some of your marketing focus to online sales. One way to do that is to start a blog. “In addition to your tried and true local advertising efforts, take advantage of the e-commerce world’s passion for content. Take the opportunity to educate your customers on the finer points of your industry in a blog,” says Selz, in their online seller guide.
If you take the time to write content, you’ll quickly find the benefits of a blog are many, including:
- Increased SEO: Focusing on search engine optimization by creating keyword-focused content allows you to drive targeted traffic that leads to more sales. If you’re new to keyword research, check out this free keyword guide.
- Increased brand value: Provide your potential customers with value before asking for a sale. Educational content helps them, and in turn, allows you to make a great impression for your brand.
- Increased promotion opportunities: Much of your content may allow for natural promotion of your products. For example, if you sell dresses, and you’re talking about summer fashion trends, you can easily include links to your product pages.
Focus on Your Marketing
Hit these goals by the end of the year to give your marketing the boost it needs. Setting goals holds you accountable to doing what is most important for your business, ensuring you’re as successful as possible. Consider how these ideas fit into your 2019 plan and start working toward achieving them today.
About the writer: Jessica Thiefels is the founder and CEO of Jessica Thiefels Consulting, a content marketing agency. She’s been writing for more than 10 years and has been featured in top publications like Forbes. She also writes for Business Insider, Virgin, Glassdoor and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.
- A Retail Evolution: From Omnipotent to Omnichannel and Onto Omnipresent Blog
- Blurred Lines: Rewriting the Rules of Retail Blog
- Goals for Retailers to Reach Millennials & Gen Z Blog
- Ensuring Your Retail Analytics Platform Has the Punch to Move the Needle for Your Business Blog