There are a number of steps you should go through, even if you think you already know what you’re doing, to ensure success each and every time. In doing so, you may be surprised by what you will learn about your business, the people you’ve hired to work for you, and your role and perception in the community.
- Determine objective. Is your goal to stimulate trial purchases by new customers or to stimulate more frequent purchases by current customers? Are you aiming to increase your average transaction, enhance your image, boost employee productivity or morale, stimulate community awareness, or a combination of these? These are all important goals, but you need to determine which ones you want to achieve first, second, and so on, and which are most easily and effectively executed.
- Be specific. If your objective is to get new customers to try you out, what is a reasonable goal –an increase in new customers of 5 percent, 10 percent, or 15 percent? Would it be reasonable to shoot for an increase in customer frequency from three purchases a month to four? If your objective is to increase your average sale, what is a reasonable increase based on your current pricing? If your objective is employee morale, how much can you reduce employee turnover by running this promotion?
- Be realistic in your goals. Success is rarely achieved in one fell swoop. Remember, this is a way of life, Each incremental improvement builds on the last. If you get too ambitious, you and your staff will quickly become frustrated and disappointed and you will be less enthusiastic next time. Set your goals high enough to make a difference and low enough to have the best chance of success.
- Set your strategy. Once you’ve established your objectives and selected some tactics, you must decide how to make those tactics successful. What can you afford, and how can you maximize your results?
- Consider various aspects. Consider such aspects as timing; frequency; capitalizing on local events; seasonal population variations; competitive challenges that call for extra effort; variable costs of materials, labor, and real estate; and other factors that are unique to your situation.
- Create a plan. Create a carefully thought –out plan for each promotion, and make sure that each promotion is slotted into its proper place in your long-term objectives.
- Zero in on your target. What type of customer does your business attract – upscale, blue-collar, families, singles, ethnic groups? Ideally, the group or groups that are predominant in your neighborhood (within a 10-minute drive of your front door ) should be most attracted to your concept. Once you’ve zeroed in on your target audience, review your tactical options and pick those that would most appeal to that audience and would be the most appropriate.
- Calculate your payout. Almost every promotional tactic that is intended to increase sales have measurable results and produce a profit. You should know many new customers you need in order to cover the costs of your promotion. How many of those new customers must you convert to regular customers to consider the promotion a success? If you do your homework ahead of time, you’ll be able to tell how realistic your objectives are and what, if any, adjustments are necessary for next time.
- Improving employee morale or improving the image of your business is more difficult, but not impossible, to measure. Ask yourself, or your bookkeeper or accountant, “ What does it cost us to hire and train a new employee? “or “ How much traffic will an improved image generate ?” In most cases, you can find a way to track the results of a promotion.
- Remember, if you can measure it, you can manage it. Or, as Yogi Berra once said, “ If you don’t know where you’re going, you might end up someplace else !”
Check the calendar. You shouldn’t be mailing announcements today for a promotion that starts tomorrow.