With all the preliminary steps you have taken to get your new business off the ground, let’s not forget to get your advertising and marketing off to a great start as well. If you are offering services in a retail center, your plan will differ from a salon boutique or booth rental. In this post, we will focus on the steps that you need to take in order to get your business off to a great start in a retail center.
First, let’s get a banner in your window. There are many sign shops that can help you with this if your skills in this area are lacking. You can also design a banner on your computer, put it on a thumb drive and take it to a professional printing shop. However, getting the design pixels to translate into the correct banner dimensions can be tricky, so working alongside a print shop or graphic designer to put together your banner is recommended.
You should include the name of your business and the services you are offering on your banner. You should also include the tentative opening date, hours of operation and any retail products you will carry. By getting a head start on your advertising, you will create buzz in your community. I don’t know about you, but I am a little nosy and am always curious about any new business that is going to open in my neighborhood. When I have done this in the past, I have seen potential clients drive up, get out of their vehicle and read the banner in the window.
It’s always wise to print up some flyers and put them in a clear plastic box outside your front door. This gives your potential client all of the information that they need to know about your business. If putting a covered box on the outside of your door (like real estate agents do) isn’t possible, you can ask your neighbor tenants to place your flyers in their business for their customers to take with them. Your potential clients will ask your neighbors who will be occupying the space you are going into. Trust me, people are curious. They will ask. By having printed materials available, you can get your info out in the community a lot sooner.
Small Details Make a Big Difference
Make sure you include your salon phone number, website, Instagram and Facebook page information on your promotional materials.
It is important to have a place for potential clients to have access to your business information, photos of your work and the work of any employees you will be bringing onboard. To learn more about the importance of having a website and how to make the most of one, check out this post. Listing your business in a business directory such as GladGirl’s Artist Directory is an excellent way to increase your digital exposure, and it’s 100% FREE!
As a side note, if you still are hiring, make sure that you include that information on your banner and website. You would be surprised at who will be looking at this. You just may score a new hire.
Another important tip is to have your business phone number listed and have a recorded message with details such as your business name, hours of operation, services you will offer, and a reference to your website and other social media outlets you are active on. Encourage your potential clients to check out your work prior to your opening.
Putting a contact form on your website for potential clients to fill out and share their questions is a very good idea. This gives your potential clients an opportunity to get questions answered before you open your doors.
In the past I would include any opening promotions I would be offering on social media. A percentage-off or a two-for-one discount are just a few ideas to get you started. Once, I had one of my vendors offer freebies for my opening and we posted a raffle for the first 30 people at the door. The grand prize was a beach bike. This was donated by a very generous vendor. Please don’t forget to ask your vendors for giveaway goodies, you never know what you might receive until you ask! This creates a buzz in the community, which helps you get more people through your doors.
Work with your city, village or community Chamber of Commerce to help get your name out in the community as well. It is their job to foster goodwill between your business, the city and the community. You don’t have to go it alone, just reach out and ask. They will help you coordinate your grand opening and will promote you in the news and on the community website. It doesn’t hurt to have these folks on your side as you grow in your community. There is nothing nicer that being recognized in your community with a ribbon cutting ceremony!
There are other options that you can take advantage of. Local bridal shops, photographers and wedding planners are a great source of referral marketing. Offer your salon to them to use as a back drop for a photo shoot, or offer to host a bridal fashion show, and cross promote the event with wedding planners. These are non-traditional ways of marketing your business, but can create long term professional relationships. Be creative, and don’t be afraid to use your imagination. You only get one shot at making a first impression!
Marketing Strategy Roundup
Lets recap the strategies you should be taking advantage of to get the buzz rolling months before you actually turn the key to your new business:
- Get a banner in the window of your new business at least 60 days prior to your opening.
- Get your website tweaked and ready for viewers.
- Get listed in a business directory.
- Make sure your social media pages are fresh and up to date with your work. For tips on marketing your business through social media, check out this post.
- Get your vendors involved, work with your city’s Chamber of Commerce, and build a referral relationship with bridal shops, wedding planners and photographers.
I wish you all the best in a successful launch!