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Why "Hammock Day" is a marketing opportunity for small retailers

Posted by Jason Keith  May 9, 2012 10:56 AM

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Mothers Day is upon us, which means if you haven't already gotten something for your wife or mother, you need to act fast.

Chances are you've seen at least one marketing campaign or advertisment for a Mother's Day gift, offer, discount or product that you absolutely have to take advantage of. So if really have forgotten, shame on you! All of the major retailers take advantage of "holidays" in order to sell products and services. And when that holiday involves the mom or wife, wow, that could mean a windfall in terms of revenue.

In fact, according to a recent survey done by FedEx focused on consumer behavior in relation to small retailers on Mother's Day, nearly two thirds of Americans (60%) intend to buy their gifts from a boutique or small/local retail store – showing that Mother’s Day will provide a hefty boost to revenues for small businesses this year. Another 84% of Americans will shop at a small business because they believe the gift will feel more unique and personal than those available from large retailers/department stores.

What this means for small retailers is that every holiday is an opportunity to effectively market and generate revenue. In truth it doesn't matter what the event is, you can creatively take advantage of it. For example, did you know that April 25 was National Administrative Professional's Day, or that May 6 was National Teacher's Day? If you didn't, that may have been a missed opportunity to connect with customers.

"Events" like this present unique opportunities for local retailers, for a number of reasons. Most people forget these types of "holidays" and have to rush out at the last minute to get something. That means they have to shop local. Florists, gift shops, stationary stores, restaurants and beauty parlors can all reap the benefits of something like National Admin Day.

The trick for small business owners is two fold: identifying which of these days they can truly take advantage of, and planning for the appropriate marketing push when they arrive. It can actually make marketing much more fun and a lot easier, if you map what your business could do for specific events and then plan subsequent marketing pushes. Not sure what the holidays are or where you can see them? This calendar provides a good reference of national holidays and will give you a good road map to potentially follow for the year.

Here are a few tips when considering which "holidays" to market around:

Don't go crazy: Just because there are a lot of holidays and national days of recognition, it doesn't mean you have to try to hit your customer base with of all of them. Hone in on the ones where you think you can provide real value in terms of products or services and really stand out. Personalized gifts are becoming more and more trendy, so tailoring your message to a certain demographic will go a long way. At first, pick a few days that make sense and test the waters, if the response is good, add a few more onto your marketing plan for the following year.

Sell, but also be helpful: As I mentioned before, a lot of these events are simply forgotten. If you think about something like National Admin Day, or Mother's Day, it's very possible that the person on the receiving end of the marketing message could need to visit you at the last minute. Big retailers routinely remind customers that certain events are coming up and what promotions they have running, but as a local retailer you have the advantage of being close by. Play up the fact that it's easy to shop with you and if you think that you could get last minute shoppers, include that in your messaging while sending a few days prior, rather than weeks before. As with any marketing campaign, suggesting gift ideas is always effective.

Sometimes being quirky works: You've probably never thought about running a marketing campaign around Hammock Day (July 22), but sometimes it's the quirky things that grab the most attention. Everyone expects to be marketed to during Mother's Day, but how many people even know about Hammock Day? Chances are they'd be more likely to open an email or look at a direct mail piece if that was the subject line. And by being creative in your offering in conjunction with the day, customers will appreciate being educated and given something different. Including a "did you know" about Hammock Day might get you attention you never thought possible. Being small means being agile, you can take a risk on something like this, where big retailers can't.

Have you ever tried to use a specific holiday or event to market your business? What were the results? Can you see yourself leveraging one of the quirky national days to help sell your business in 2012?

 

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About this blog

Jason Keith has been working for and with small businesses in the New England area for more than 10 years, specifically small, micro businesses. Born and raised in Massachusetts and a former journalist, he provides a unique perspective on the issues facing small businesses locally and nationally.To reach him directly email jasonpkeith@gmail.com.

This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are the author's alone.

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