Increasing sales requires making marketing a high priority on your to-do list. Home Improvement retailers who take a SMART approach to marketing understand the important role it plays in maximizing profits. Developing a structured marketing plan, rather than holding a series of random promotions will enable you to identify measurable results that can help you increase sales and grow your base of loyal customers. The advantage of creating a SMART plan makes it easier for you to establish promotional goals and to know when each of them has been accomplished.
Admittedly, marketing can be challenging—it takes time, money and creativity. But, performing the function is a requirement for every business that wants to compete and win in today’s marketplace.
The SMART marketing plan should be tailored to your business and adhere to certain guidelines since you need to know your return on investment (ROI) for the promotion or campaign. To determine success the plan should be:
- Specific: Define the specific outcome of the promotion/campaign and determine the steps that need to be accomplished.
- Measurable: Determine the results that will be used to measure success.
(sales, traffic, new customers?)
- Action-oriented: Assign the people who are responsible for action to achieve the specific outcomes,
- Realistic: Based on your resources, what results can be realistically achieved?
Do you have the time, money and people to get everything done?
- Timed: Set deadlines and determine how much time is required to complete the campaign/promotion.
Getting Optimum Results
After developing a SMART marketing plan there are several steps you can take to get maximum results from the campaign and better understand your customers.
- Testing: For large scale campaigns, consider creating different versions of your marketing materials to find out which version performs the best. Send each version to a small segment of customers. Based on the final results, send the most popular one to your entire customer list.
- Targeting: Do you know who are your most profitable customers? This information should be included in a customer profile that tells you everything you can find out about your best customers. The customer profile can help you reach certain customers that match specific demographics. Creating multiple profile can let you develop campaigns that speak to each target audience.
- Follow Up with Rewards: Remember to reward loyal customers and new customers with special gifts to encourage them to shop with you in the near future. Money-saving coupons are the perfect way to build relationships and to show you appreciate their business.
- Stay in Touch: Sales are important. But, businesses that are successful have also built great relationships with their customers. Use the softer side of marketing to stay connected with customers without focusing on sales. Let them know you remember their birthday or anniversary by sending an e-mail or postcard for special occasions.
When it comes to marketing your business, don’t be afraid to try new ideas or adjustment your original plan when it gets derailed due to factors beyond your control. Think of it like riding a bike. If you fall down, just get right back up and start pedaling.