Wednesday, June 3, 2009

topic du jour: tooting your own horn

Good morning! Thanks to all who have commented on previous days' posts. It is great to hear from all sides of the industry. A couple of retailer comments about how they find new lines made me think about how much thought and efforts promotions take. And I don't mean just promoting a special, I mean getting your name, your line, your store out there and at the forefront of people's minds. Since so much pre-qualifying gets done via the internet these days, it has become more important than ever to make your business stand out from the masses so that a retailer will visit your booth at a trade show like NSS, or a customer will go into your shop to buy what they're looking for.

So today's topic is: tooting your own horn. How do you do it? What works for you? And retailers, how DO you decide which trade show booths to stop by? Do you prefer e-mails containing lots of info, or more general e-mails that direct you elsewhere for info? And is consistency (e.g., 1x per month) more important than timing (hitting a store during their primary buying season)? What about those direct mail pieces? And manufacturers: as consumers, what gets you into a shop?

At hen and barley press we use e-mail marketing (as you all now know!) often. This form of marketing has generated more results--both in sales and traffic at trade shows--than any other form of marketing we've ever done (and we've done them all--postcards, ads, etc.). We find the e-mails that describe a need created by a trend or current buying habit, and then position our products as filling that need, work best. We also try to include lots of photos of finished products in our e-mails and on our website--photos of actual product seem to have more of an impact than a PDF of a design turned into a Jpeg. We've also found our association with A Fresh Bunch and the ISA to be a huge benefit. The "one-stop shopping" that these group sites provide seems to be a help to retailers, and has really helped promote our brand.

As a consumer, I do love getting e-newsletters from our retailers as well as local shops I frequent. Sometimes I've signed up for these, sometimes I haven't, but as someone whose company depends upon staying abreast of the retail indsutry for survival, the more of these I read, the more insight I have. One of our retailers, Papers & Presents in MA, does a DARLING weekly picks e-mail. Short, to the point, and always with a few eye-catching photos, it hits the spot. If I lived in MA, you can bet I'd be there shopping for camp goodies (the subject of this week's pick).

Let's hear it: how do you toot your own horn?

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