One of the things we hear all the time is how hard it is for the brick and mortar jeweler to compete with the online retailer. After all, an online retailer can serve customers all around the world, while there’s a limit to how far people will travel to shop for engagement rings, wedding bands, and other fine jewelry. But the brick and mortar jeweler does have at least one opportunity to do something their online competitors can’t: hold in-store events.
[Tweet “Events can even perk up traditionally slow sales times, like the summer slump”]
Trunk shows, meet the designer, collection debuts and charity fundraisers are all very popular ways for the brick and mortar retailer to get customers into the store. Around the holiday season, men’s shopping evenings are a very effective way to help the last-minute shopper put Santa Claus to shame. Events can even perk up traditionally slow sales times, such as the middle of the summer slump.
But what happens if you throw a party and nobody comes? To make sure you’ve got eager, excited crowds lining up for your next in-store event, you need a strategic, relentless approach to promotion. People don’t come to parties they’re not invited to. You need to let your customers – and the members of the public most likely to become your customers – know that they’re absolutely welcome to attend your special event.
Here’s what that looks like:
On Your Website
There are three places you absolutely need to mention your upcoming event on your website: on your home page, your events calendar, and your blog. Make sure to use eye-catching graphics and compelling language to let people know how much fun they will have.
You may also want to add a landing page to your website for your special event. A landing page is a special page dedicated to sharing all the details about your trunk show, meet the designer, or other event. Additionally, this page should include a form to invite people to RSVP, capturing their data for later outreach. Use your landing page as the destination link in any advertising you do, including on social media, Google AdWords, and via traditional vehicles like print and radio.
On Social Media
Use social media to announce your event, remind your customers and fans of it as it approaches, encourage RSVPs and more. Depending on the platform you’re using, you may be able to set up special pages or tabs dedicated to your event.
It’s a great idea to create “Tell a Friend” posts that encourage people to share the event details with others. Design these to reinforce the theme of your evening, whether it’s a “Girl’s Night Out” to try on the hottest looks or a charitable event designed to help out the most vulnerable in your community. Plan your posts to appear regularly, right up to when the event actually starts – and after the fact, make sure you share plenty of photos and talk about what a good time was had by all. That way, people who missed this event will make sure they’re there for the next one.
In The Store
Use in-store signage prominently to let your regular customers know about the upcoming event. Great places to post signs include on top of showcases and at the cash wrap. If you also sell apparel, put signs in the fitting room. And don’t forget the bathroom – after all, we all need something to read while we’re taking a little break!
Stress to your team the importance of personally inviting each and every customer to attend the special event. Make sure they know why the event is exciting so they can share these details with their customers. If you’re having customers pre-register to attend, it’s important that every staff member can clearly explain to customers what they need to do to sign up.
In The Press
Reach out to reporters you know on a personal basis, and send press releases to the rest of your local media. Make sure you let them know the event details, including what’s happening, who’s involved, and why local people should care about it. If you’re doing a charitable fundraiser, be sure to stress how the community is going to benefit from the event. Include your contact information and be open to talking to the media before, during, and after your event.
The best time to reach out to the press is 5-7 days before it actually happens. There’s never any guarantee of media coverage in this world – but reporters don’t write about events if they have no idea they’re happening. Tip the odds in your favor by giving the press a heads up.
And Everywhere Else You Can Think Of
Leverage every advertising vehicle you’re currently using to promote your special event. This means if you’re running regular radio ads, switch up the script to invite people to join the fun. Use your newspaper advertising to shine the spotlight on the upcoming event. If you’ve got enough lead time, direct mail Save the Date postcards and old-school invitations are particularly powerful event promotion tools.