7 rules of effective retail advertising

Several of you asked me recently for advertising tips for

And since I don’t write retail copy, I turned to my pal Brian
Croner, who was kind enough to provide these “7 Rules of
Effective Retail Advertising.”

1–Hard sell out-pulls soft sell. An independently owned store
doesn’t have the ad budget of a big chain. So one ad needs to do
the job of 10 or 20. Your ad has to get more attention than your
larger competitors and has to create a sense of urgency and a
fear of loss.

2–Use bargain appeals. Whether your prices are better than your
competition isn’t relevant. Make your customers BELIEVE you have
great deals. This could be something as simple as “60% OFF
RETAIL!” (“Retail” can be any number.)

Or have some loss leaders available so you can make the claim
legally by saying; “Some items SOLD AT OR BELOW COST!” These
bargain appeals work!

3–Always have an event or sale. “I have skeptics ask me all the
time. ‘Won’t you lose credibility if you run a sale all the
time?,'” says Brian. “The answer is: no, you won’t.”

For instance, when someone is in need of a new mattress or piece
of furniture, they LOOK for SALES and EVENTS! Your advertising
has to appeal to the next group of prospects ready to buy your
products NOW.

4–Have a start date for your event; e.g., “STARTS FRIDAY at
10am!” Brian says he uses this hook in over 30 markets and it
works in all of them. It generates excitement and makes people
plan to go to the store.

5– Create a limited time frame for your event. “Almost all the
furniture stores we have worked with were going to close on Black
Friday,” says Brian.

“Our clients run 10 or 12-hour sales on Black Friday. The event
is hyped all week long through Thanksgiving Day on local media.
A recent store who just signed on with us did around $45,000 on
Black Friday in a town of only 13,000 occupants!”

6–Buy media wisely. You’re in the business of purchasing
customers — not space, not time, not “likes.”

And don’t believe for a minute that local radio, local
television, and your local newspaper are “obsolete”. These
mediums still have good circulation and loyal audiences.

If you want to add social media, go into it slowly and measure
the results carefully. Both Brian and I have watched multiple
businesses nosedive when they pulled away from what was working
with “traditional media” and invested most or all of their ad
budgets into new media.

7–Repeat your successes. When elements of an advertisement work,
you keep it, repeat it, and try to improve upon it. If your
“48-Hour Stock Reduction Sale” worked this year, it will most
likely work again next year.

Thanks, Brian!


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