Guest Blog By Michael Plummer
In today’s world, local businesses have more marketing tools at their fingertips than ever before. The explosion of online marketing concepts has made a big impact on the way consumers think about and react to campaigns. In fact, the emergence of social media gives consumers the power to influence and shape the brands they know. This has fundamentally changed the game because marketing is now as much, if not more, about controlling the message than shaping it.
However, there are still “push” marketing tools that can pay big dividends for local businesses, the most powerful of which is new mover direct marketing. Think about it – countless people move in and out of your hometown each year. Naturally, this means small businesses lose a percentage of their loyal customer base each year no matter how well they run their businesses – a potentially crippling problem for a small retail business.
The best way to replace those loyal customers is to reach and influence new movers with a targeted direct marketing program. Companies like Our Town America (www.ourtownamerica.com) specialize in those types of programs and are helping retail businesses around the country market to impressionable new movers who have yet to establish brand loyalties.
OK, yes, I hear you. “Why not daily deal sites?” “Why not direct mail companies that reach a larger group more often?” Here’s why:
- Daily Deal sites are certainly effective at getting people to come to the store, but they rarely spark long-term relationships. Many of the customers these deals attract are serial couponers who always looking for the bigger, better deal. They’re not buying your products or services – they’re buying the deal.
- Creating social media profiles and engaging with customers online is a great way to maintain and build customer relationships, but it takes a long time to make a sustainable impact through those tools. Additionally, executing social media campaigns successfully is a full-time job and a daily grind. It’s not easy and requires a professional to do it well, which can be expensive.
- Broader direct marketing campaigns are less effective than new-mover-specific campaigns as well, because most people who receive the package aren’t new to town. They’ve established their brand preferences and are comfortable with the local brands they already use.
Conversely, new-mover programs – like the welcoming packages delivered by Our Town America – are affordable, targeted and personalized. They allow local businesses to welcome new residents to town right when they’re trying to figure out who to turn to in their new community when they need pizza, groceries, etc.
Timing is everything, even in today’s world. The local retailers who do the best job of reaching new movers at the right time will be the ones who best compensate for the customers they lose each year. Why, you ask? Because, even in today’s world dominated by cell phones and the Internet, people still love to feel welcomed, loved and appreciated. No marketing tool is better suited to evoke those emotions than a warm, hand-delivered package.
Michael Plummer is CEO of Our Town America. For more information, visit www.ourtownamerica.com.
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