Four Easy Tips to Train Store Associates to Increase Sales

Simply placing everything in order, using visually-appealing décor and offering sales-promoting discounts is not enough for a retail store to be able to thrive in today’s competitive world. They have to focus on enhancing their in-store experiences, which is only way they can achieve their ultimate objective of boosting sale.

But ever wondered what is one critical factor shaping customers’ in-store experience? It’s the behavior of store associates. Store managers and executives and either make or break your store’s reputation. Lack of customer-service and sales skills of sales persons can cause you to lose valuable customers because they wouldn’t get the experience they expected.

As such, retail store owners should make sure you provide them regular training to enhance their customer-service skills and contribute towards increasing sales. If you are wondering how to train your store associates, then you should follow the tips below:

Know the personality of your associates

 Each individual has different skills and traits, which require different refining approaches. Before plunging into training your sales associates, you should try to understand their personality traits. While some associates are very amiable and social, others may be curt and “unfriendly”. Respect each individual’s unique traits and try to embrace the diversity. This will help you know the kind of training each associate would require.

Teach them people skills

 Good people skills are a signature of good sales associates. Unless they have the ability to listen to and communicate with people, they are likely to foul up while interacting with your customers. Your customers may have different queries related to your offers. But your sales associates need to have the patience to address them in an effective manner. You can also consider role-playing for inculcating strong people and inter-personal skills in your sales persons. Only good people skills of sales persons can provide a meaningful and fulfilling experience to customers.

Focus on product training

 Your sales associates should know what exactly is it that they are selling. As stated above, your customers will want prompt responses their product-related queries and issues. Sales persons who lack knowledge of your product would be no less than showpieces in your store because they will not able to handle customers queries. This can be a major reason behind customers’ disappointment, which can push your sales down. As such, you have to train your sales associates on various aspects of your product so that are able to provide better customer service.

Choose a modular training approach 

As a retail store owner, you have to ensure that the training goes smoothly, and people grasp and retain most of the new information. This could be a little tricky, but a modular training approach should be able to help you. This form of training involves flexible and brief training sessions instead of rigid and lengthy ones. This approach enables you to train your employees, either before the store opens or after it closes, and accommodate their training needs of all your sales persons in an effective manner.

The Ultimate Revelation Of In-store Check-ins and Engagements

What’s driving check-ins?

Today’s digital marketing paradigm revolves around SoLoMo, which is broken into “social”, “local” and “mobile”. This paradigm represents three crucial aspects of marketing success: reach, relevance and resource. Here’s how each term can be connected:

  • Social includes social networks that provide brands the “reach” to customers.
  • Local includes the nearby consumers who can be targeted with relevant offers.
  • Mobile includes several hand-held devices that become the channel resource to deliver offers to the target audience.

If you are a social-media-savvy marketers, perhaps you might have seen the check-ins users give on their profiles when they visit a new place. Much of this has been made possible by the various mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets and other handheld devices, which consumers use boundlessly today.

The GPS and beacon technologies backing various mobile devices have given a great impetus to social media check-ins. After all, turning on “location” of a mobile device can make it easier for users to share their location with their family and friends, who in turn, get to know more about the place.

This is how the SoLoMo paradigm is surfacing out these days. As consumers give more and more check-ins at your retail store, restaurant or event, the more popular you become on social media.

The key to popularity on social media is engagement, which consumer check-ins can surprisingly provide. As such, it’s not uncommon for brands these days to leverage the power of consumer check-ins to attain their digital and social media marketing objectives.

Check-ins and social media engagement: What’s the connection?

 According to eMarketer’s study of mobile usage in the United States, an average American adult spends 3 hours and 15 minutes daily on mobile devices. This behavior of mobile users has pushed marketers to create a well-defined mobile strategy, backed by data. But where exactly on the Internet are they spending so much time? It’s social media, which is only seeing it’s users rising each year.

According to Statista, there were 2.46 billion social media users in 2017, which is expected to become 2.77 billion by 2019. The number is actually huge in terms of penetration, covering 71 percent of Internet users. Given this number, brands cannot help but include social media in their digital marketing strategies to stay ahead of their competitors.

Check-ins are a good example of how location-based marketing campaigns are executed to generate positive word-of-mouth and increase brand loyalty. It provides stores the immediate information they need for knowing who their visitors are, what they are doing and what is it that they desire. You can engage these visitors with relevant offers and check-in rewards, and turn them into loyal customers.

Check-ins are a good way for brands to generate awareness among target audiences. As social media users tend to give a check-in wherever they go, restaurants, clubs, concerts, cafes, and retail stores are finding them a good way to increase engagement on social media. They also come with a touch of convenience as they integrate location-based services to make a brand’s reach more effective and relevant.

How to Drive In-Store Foot Traffic Using Social Media?

The retail business is not a picnic. Besides setting up a well-designed, chic and appealing store, there are so many other retailing aspects that you, as a retail store owner, will have to keep in mind. From procurement to logistics, marketing to after sale services, you will have to keep every process in line. Not to forget your competitors, who are always on the lookout to steal your customers. As such, you really have to provide something unique and extraordinary in order to thrive in the retail scenario.

The most challenging part of running a retail store is driving foot traffic. Most retail stores focus on in-store experiences and personalized customer experiences for attractive more people. But did you know that you can use social media to boost in-store foot traffic? If you don’t, then here are a four easy ways you can do so:

Encourage customers to check-in

In-store check-ins on Facebook, Foursquare, GetGlue or Instagram can boost your popularity on social media. The more check-ins from customers you get, greater your reach will be. You can encourage your customers to check-in at your store and give them gift cards or prizes. Check-ins on social media lets people know about your store, and click on your website for more information. This is also a good way to reach people online and draw them to your brick-and-mortar store.

Provide coupons and discounts

You can use social media to provide discounts and coupons to your customers and asking them to visit your store to get the product. You should, however, use this tactic very smartly. For example, you can offer an attractive discount to select Facebook followers or a coupon to followers who can invite their friends to follow your page. You can ask them to claim the offer at your store, which will increase the foot traffic to your store. But make sure your offer is creative and not over-promotional.

Use influencers

Influencer marketing has received a great impetus ever since social media entered the picture. Influencers are people who have a huge fan-following on social media. These are people who can be given a chance to associate with your brand and generate a buzz about your store. Most popular brands have leveraged the power of influencer marketing in brand promotion. You can approach them and ask them to share your content on their page. This is likely to influence your audience positively and drive them to your store.

Share live videos

Facebook and Instagram provide an amazing feature that allows you to share live videos and stories with your audience. You can use Facebook or Instagram Live or Stories to conduct a contest or a giveaway. These platforms also allow you to share live videos of in-store events and increase the popularity of your store. Live videos are more engaging and share-worthy, which makes your audience interested in you. This is a great way to generate positive word-of-mouth and draw more customers towards your store.

How To Be Successful In The Digital Marketing Industry?

Ever since the world came under the clutches of digital transformation, people who sought to build a marketing career found a gamut of opportunities. Marketing over the internet, known as digital or online marketing, came forward as a prime discipline in business schools focused on imparting knowledge on the marketing domain. Social media marketing is yet another domain that’s on the checklist of people pursuing a career in digital marketing.

Digital marketing is a lucrative career option for marketing pursuers because it gives enough scope for critical and analytical thinking, networking and not to forget, creative expression. But it’s also important for them to know that the industry requires a high degree of competitiveness and skills for sustenance. Unless one keeps up with the latest trends and facts, surviving in a competitive digital marketing industry won’t be possible.

If you are one of the many people who wish to build a strong digital marketing career, here are a few success tips you should follow:

Acquire enough knowledge on the digital space

Terms like SEO, KPI, SMM, CTO, and CTR to name a few can seem very complicated if you don’t know the head or tail of them. As a digital marketer, you have to have in-depth knowledge of these concepts. There are a number of tutorials online that can provide a step-by-step guide to master different aspects of digital marketing. It’s only after knowing about the digital space that you can run effective campaigns and deliver results.

Always have a learning mindset

The digital space is changing by leaps and bounds, and no marketer can afford to lag behind in terms of information. In order to be creative, you need to have an open mind, meaning you need to learning always. You should be passionate about learning new things and coming up with interesting ideas. Follow digital marketing experts on social platforms or go through different websites to know about the latest developments taking place in the industry.

Network

As someone who’s pursuing a career in digital marketing, you need to put your social skills to test. Networking has always been an important aspect of marketing, and professionals have to do so in order to get new business. You should surround yourself with people from your industry and start conversing with them on a regular basis. You should also attend conferences and meetups to foster relationships with other digital marketers.

Take up a personal project

As a digital marketer, you should know what exactly is it that you are learning. The best way to do so is to start a personal project that requires different aspects of digital marketing, whether it’s SEO, social media marketing or content marketing. Doing so will help you gauge your practical knowledge and excel at your job.

Take up a course

Last but not the least, you can consider taking up a certified digital marketing course, which provides a clear understanding of different aspects of the domain. A certified course also adds weight to your resume because it shows you as an expert. This will also help you compete better with other professionals in the industry and succeed in a competitive scenario.

 

5 Skills You Need to Have For Succeeding in Out of Home Marketing

Even though digital technologies are changing the marketing game, out of home marketing is no way close to being dead. It’s still a preferred form of advertising for brands that wish to reach a mass market at a reasonable cost. Out of home advertising formats, be it billboards, banners, or posters, are still used as an adjunct to traditional forms of advertising such a television, radio and print.

But as an out of home marketer, you need to know that you can’t succeed unless you understand the trade properly. Just like any other form of marketing, out of home advertising also demands a clear understanding of the market and specific skill set on the part of marketers. If you wish to succeed in the out of home marketing game, here are a few skills that you should start developing:

Communication skills

Effective communication forms the essence of marketing. As such, you have to master the art of both written and verbal communication in order to create effective out of home advertisements. OOH ad formats rely immensely on the message, which can only be crafted by somebody who has a flair for writing. At the same time, you will have to communicate your ideas verbally to your team members, which requires good speaking skills.

Visualization skills

Visualization is something not everyone does well. But it’s certainly one of the most in-demand skills needed for out of home marketing campaigns. Unless you are able to imagine the various details of the final advertisement will look like, you won’t be able to design it well. Visualization is a form of imaginative thinking that gives a vivid picture of the final product. You should also be able to think out of the box while brainstorming ideas for campaigns.

Designing skills

As a continuation of the previous point, you should also know the basics of designing in order to give your visual ideas a concrete form. Out of home advertisements also rely heavily on imagery and colors, which only an expert designer can play with. You should know which color signifies what and how consumers are likely to react to it. You should certainly know about the various designing software like Photoshop and Illustrator that help in creating well-designed, visually-appealing OOH ad formats.

Analytical skills

Data has always been an important part of marketing because it provides useful insights about consumers and the market. In order to make the best use of marketing data, you should have sharp analytical skills. You should be able to play with numbers and draw meaningful conclusions from data patterns. This is the only way you will be able to reach the right market and provide consumers the right offer.

Negotiation skills

Last but certainly not the least, you need to be able to negotiate with different parties in order to get the best out of your OOH campaign. You might have to constantly negotiate with space vendors, designers, and copywriters about campaign timelines and costs. If you are able to drive a hard bargain with these parties, you are sure to succeed in out of home marketing.

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What I Wish Everyone Knew About Experiential Marketing?

After working as a marketing professional, planning and executing advertising campaigns for years, I have realized one very important thing about our consumers– they look for experiences. Unless a brand is able to create a meaningful experience for consumers, it’s likely to get lost in the clutter like a pin in a stack of hay. This is where experiential marketing comes into play as a powerful way of creating brand experiences.

But merely organizing events or on-ground activation programs is not enough for succeeding in the experiential marketing domain. Although marketers spend huge sums of money on these programs, they fail to reap the best result because they ignore the important success factors. After seeing countless campaigns succeed and fail over the course of my professional tenure, I am sure that experiential marketing is far more than just events and activations. Here’s what I wish every marketer knew about experiential marketing:

Experiential marketing involves both online and offline channels

Contests, product demonstrations, and consumer appreciation events are good examples of experiential marketing in the offline space. But there’s also an online element involved in experiential marketing. Online contests focused on engaging online communities or presenting photos of consumers on social media during an event is a good way to conducting experiential marketing campaigns online.

Experiential marketing is a school of thought

While many of you may think of experiential marketing as a tool, it’s actually a belief or philosophy that can be connected to any brand. The essence of this philosophy is the engagement level of consumers in the process, giving them more control and complete access to the necessary information. Experiential marketing is, thus, dependent on how brands are engaging consumers and meeting their end results.

Experiential marketing involves physical interaction

Events and activations bring both brands and consumers together on one platform. This gives both the parties ample opportunities to interact with each other. Consumers get a chance to experience the brand in the real sense, and brands get to know their consumers better. Face-to-face interaction between brands and consumers compensates for the lack of emotional and physical connection in digital marketing, thus increasing the effectiveness of their marketing efforts.

Experiential marketing uses demographic targeting

The success of experiential marketers depends a lot on how well they know their consumers. Since consumers’ behavior is constantly changing, marketers have to keep pace with such changes in order to remain relevant. In order to do so, marketers have to target consumers based on demographic factors determining their purchase decisions. Demographic targeting is, thus, one of the most crucial aspects of experiential marketing campaigns.

Experiential marketing builds relationships

Last but certainly not the least, experiential marketing help marketers in building genuine relationships with consumers. Experiential marketing lets you create transparent, strong relationships with consumers and engage them at a deeper level. This increases brand loyalty and makes a brand more trustworthy. Consumers are more likely to share your brand’s information with their family, friends, and social circles, thus making your brand all the more popular.

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Is Direct Response Marketing Still Relevant?

Direct response marketing in today’s digital world

No, direct response marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s still an effective form of marketing that’s focused on getting immediate responses from prospects. Direct response marketing encourages prospective consumers to give immediate feedback based on a direct call to action, something that helps marketers to determine the effectiveness of their strategy. Although the basic principles of direct response marketing haven’t changed, today’s digital world has certainly changed the way direct response marketing campaigns are conducted.

Direct response marketing consists of the following elements:

  • An offer or proposal.
  • Enticing information to push customers to consider the offer.
  • A direct call to action.
  • Clear contact options (email, phone number, signup form, and so on.)

If your direct response marketing campaign includes the above elements, you win half the battle. But most marketers are skeptical about using direct response marketing because they fear ineffective results. But in reality, direct response marketing is actually beneficial for businesses and is still relevant in today’s marketing world. Here are the reasons why:

Direct response marketing generates brand awareness 

While traditional forms of marketing focused on the mass market, direct response marketing provides marketers the opportunity to reach out to a specific target audience. In addition to social media, marketers are also leveraging direct response marketing to generate awareness about their brand. People open their mailbox every day, and sending a direct mail to them is likely to catch their attention. Direct mail is, thus, rightly called the brand awareness king in the marketing world.

Direct response marketing can be personalized

Marketers only get eight seconds to grab the attention of consumers. As such, they need to communicate their message as clearly as possible so that you are able to build meaningful relationships with consumers. Direct response marketing allows marketers to personalize their message to appeal to different consumers and encourage them to respond immediately. This is a great way for marketers to push the response rates up for a campaign and foster relationships with consumers.

Direct mail is real

Compared to the current forms of communication such as re-marketing, PPC, and video ads, direct mail seems to have more tangibility. Whenever you send a direct mail to consumers, you are actually placing something palpable into their hands, thus building a rapport that’s very different from what you build through emails and other forms of advertisements. In comparison to email marketing, direct mail is more effective in eliciting responses from consumers.

Direct response marketing complements digital strategy

As digital media is driving today’s marketing world, it’s not surprising for marketers to integrate direct response marketing with their digital strategies. Multimedia marketing can give impressive results because it’s capable of reaching out to a diverse group of people. At the same time, it also becomes possible for them to reach out to offline users who don’t like to be approached online. Integrating direct response marketing with digital strategies will allow marketers to be more creative and track the performance of their campaigns using data.

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5 Skills That You can Learn to be in the Digital Marketing Industry

Marketing is no longer what it used to be a decade ago. Practices, strategies, and tactics that worked before have become obsolete to some extent after the advent of digital media channels. As such, people pursuing a marketing career has to have in-depth knowledge of the digital space in order to survive in the emerging and highly-competitive digital marketing industry.

Whether it’s a sole proprietorship or a partnership, an established business or a startup, you need to know digital marketing today. The good part is that the industry also offers innumerable jobs where people can use their creativity and tech-savviness in marketing brands in the digital space. But in order to thrive in this industry, one has to possess a few digital marketing skills, which are as follows:

Search engine optimization (SEO)

While most people may think SEO is dead, it isn’t actually. In fact, it continues to form the essence of digital marketing because it drives website traffic and generates leads by improving a website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). But algorithms that underlie the ranking process are evolving constantly. As such, you need to update and refine your SEO skills if you want to become an expert digital marketing professional.

Analytics and reporting

Analytics and reporting skills are important skills that every digital marketing professional should have. They should be able to play with numbers and find meaningful insights. Google Analytics is something every digital marketer should know because it gives web traffic data and allows marketers to measure performance. Digital marketers should, therefore, know about different performance metrics, analyze performance against standards, and make data-backed marketing decisions.

Client relationship management

If you wish to become a digital marketing professional, it’s a good idea to join a digital agency. But such companies require effective account or client relationship management skills. Digital marketers have to cater to varied campaign needs of clients. They are required to be creative, alert, and highly knowledgeable. From briefing to strategy planning, budgeting, and execution, digital marketers should have the skill to multitask and cater to the needs of clients.

Presentation skills

Working in a digital agency requires professionals to present their ideas to the client on a regular basis. Unless a well-laid-out and neat presentation reach the client’s mailbox, it’s less likely for their ideas to get approved. Every digital marketing professional should learn the art of saying the right thing in fewer words through their presentations. They should be able to present their ideas eloquently and honestly so that they are able to “sell” their business better.

Coding and design skills

Besides all the above skills, a digital marketing professional should also have a basic knowledge of designing and HTML/CSS coding. Writing blogs and sales pitches are good, but knowing the basics of design and programming will help marketers in getting content uploaded on the site as quickly as possible. Knowledge of Photoshop or any other photo-editing software helps in coming up with appealing banners and ads. These skills are, therefore, important to becoming an expert digital marketing professional.

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How to Create a Fantastic Cross-Platform Targeting Strategy with Minimal Spending?

Gone are the days when consumers relied on television or radio to know what products were available on the market. Now is the era of digital media channels, which range from mini PCs to smartphones, iPads and tablets to wearables. Mobile traffic has certainly exceeded desktop traffic as more and more number of people make a shift to these platforms.

The growing number of mobile users has certainly pushed brands to adopt cross-platform targeting strategies, which allow them to serve ads to users across different devices and platforms. Cross-platform targeting allows marketers to engage with customers on different devices and push up their campaign’s reach.

But an in-depth knowledge of consumers is crucial to devising an effective cross-platform targeting strategy. Budget is also an important factor to consider because marketers seek to get the maximum return from every penny they spend on advertising. Here are a few tips for creating a cross-platform targeting strategy without pushing up your advertising budget:

Define your objectives clearly

First and foremost, you need to define what exactly do you want to achieve by adopting a cross-platform targeting strategy- whether you want to increase brand awareness or reach more consumers or simply improve your ROI. Make sure you define your objectives clearly before plunging into cross-platform targeting so that your efforts are better coordinated and your campaign runs within the budget.

Specifying the target audience

The next step is to define your target audience as specifically as possible. You should try to understand your customers thoroughly and know what they are looking for. Specify your target audience based on their demographics, mobile-usage behavior, preferred devices and platforms, location, and interests so that you reach out only to a relevant market. This will help you use your ad budget effectively.

Choosing platforms smartly

Just because your consumers are using social media channels on their mobile devices doesn’t mean you run the campaign everywhere. You need to choose your platforms very smartly because it would determine the reach and effectiveness of your campaign. At the same time, it’s also important to optimize for each platform but maintain consistency in communication across all of them. Not only will this improve reach but also help you allocate advertising budget to the most relevant and effective platforms.

Consider re-marketing

Owing to the short attention span of consumers, you might have to use re-marketing or re-targeting in order to push consumers back to your website. Re-marketing acts as a reminder for consumers to revisit your website and make a purchase. It allows you to show the same ad to the customer, followed by a notification that reminds them of the offer. Re-marketing, thus makes cross-platform targeting high cost-effective for brands, especially when they want to drive website traffic.

Use creative and new formats

Last but certainly not the least, you can make use of creative promotional formats in order to get the best out of your cross-platform targeting efforts. You can use AdWords PPC Ad Extensions, direct mail featuring URLs, and television hashtags to intensify your cross-platform campaign. Not only does it drive website traffic but also increases engagement on different platforms. It’s a great way to improve a campaign’s effectiveness without spending whopping sums of money.

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4 Things You Should Know Before Getting Into The Out Of Home Marketing Industry In 2018

If you are someone who wants to start a business in the out of home marketing domain, you should read on. 2017 will be a year to remember for the industry because it unraveled exciting developments. But what about 2018? Should you start or not?

Well, the out of home marketing industry is likely to go a step further in creativity, innovation and accessibility in the coming year. Ad spend continued to increase in 2017, and it is expected to increase by an average of 4% in 2018. As such, you also need to up your game if you are wishing to enter the industry.

Here are a few things you should know in order to prepare yourself better:

 Small businesses will have more OOH advertising space

So there’s a good news for you. The Internet is a storehouse of new solutions that provide marketers new ways of planning, booking, and tracking out of home advertising space. The new-age “click-to-purchase” out of home advertising space gives marketers the much-needed accessibility to the market. Marketers can target their desired locations and purchase the space for as long as they need. In 2018, this is expected to make out of marketing a much more budget-friendlier, thus paving small businesses to use the medium.

The creative message will be backed by digital capabilities

This year has been exciting for the industry because it explored new ways of backing OOH campaigns with data. Digital interconnectivity proved a boon to OOH marketers because it allowed them to perfect their targeting with the help of precise demographic data. 2018 is expected to leverage digital capabilities and data feeds to communicate the creative message. Out of marketing now making a significant transition from two-dimensional poster ads to multi-channel, multi-faceted brand experience. All thanks to present day’s digital opportunities.

There will be greater measurability

Ever since mobile and out of home marketing integrated, marketers found new opportunities to leverage data. OOH advertisements triggered more online activity per ad spend as compared to offline media. Not only this, outdoor advertisements integrated with mobile technologies and social media have driven brand awareness and sales to a great extent. Leveraging mobile location data will allow marketers to measure the viewability of the OOH campaign. If you are able to leverage the power of data and integrate OOH and mobile, you will be able to connect with your audience better.

Immersive brand experiences will have more value

Tech giants like Google, Apple, and Facebook to name a few are investing whopping sums into immersive experiences. Display technology changed ever since virtual reality and augmented reality came into the picture. These technologies are likely to gain more prominence and value in 2018, owing to their fast adoption rate. The digital out of home domain will thus have plenty of opportunities to use VR to shape consumer experiences. By creating immersive experiences, you will be able to attract and retain a huge pool of consumers.

Make sure you do your research on different aspects of OOH marketing thoroughly before venturing out into the industry.

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