Going After the Buyers

Pinpoint your demographic and go after them! This thought came to me in bed the other night so that’s exactly what I did! The target demographic at my soda shop is mothers with lots of children. So I asked myself, where can I find these mothers? Costco!!! So that’s exactly where I went. We made a flyer that was a fourth of a sheet and it said “Attention Costco Customers: a brand new soda and treats shop has opened just down the road!” It had a coupon for a free drink and some delicious looking pictures of drinks and treats on it. They had every reason to stop in. It’s just down the road, it looks delicious, and they have a FREE coupon. We flyered about 700 windshields at Costco with these flyers. This was a very small cost to me and it brought in tons of new prospects. Decide who you want to market to, find them, and go after them aggressively!

-Eth

Building a “happy” Brand

The brand at my soda shop is focused on a “happy” experience for our customers. Everything we do is designed around this happy experience. The way we interact with customers, our colors and menu, logos, attire, and much more is all based around this experience.

As I strive to make anything and everything with my company encompass this brand, I realized just tonight that in the stressful, long work I have been putting in to achieve this, I forgot to live the brand myself! An experience that I had tonight in shop reminded me of this! A van full of autistic ladies and their care taker came into the shop for a fun night out to grab some drinks. I was overwhelmed by the happiness on each one of their faces when they walked in. The thought of a soda and cookie brought each of them so much joy! I put aside all my other concerns and focused on them and interacting with them while they were in the shop. I had so much fun and it made me so happy! The rest of the night I provided genuinely happy interactions to each one of my customers. In conclusion, when building a brand, you must first remember to live it yourself before you accurately translate it to your customers and team members. Small happy moments are everywhere!

-Eth

Pack It All Up and Do It Again Tomorrow

Just wrapping up a sixteen hour day in shop. Today we did a big marketing push at the local baseball stadium and then stayed open late to honor coupons that we had handed out. In the extra two hours that we stayed open twelve people came. We gave out about 700 coupons advertising our late opening for the night…

On this day, after feeling sorry for myself because I’ve been here since open, I realized that I must keep my head up and stay consistent to see results. The results you want to come from your marketing will not come the day you implement the campaign! It may take days, weeks, months, or years. So pack it all up and do it again tomorrow because results are on their way.

-Eth

Staying Positive

I think business is a bipolar girl. It just never seems to make up its mind as to how it wants to act. It is a constant roller coaster of things running perfectly and sales rolling in to everything hitting the fan and sales plummeting. In order to stay positive, you need to allow yourself small victories. Anything that is a step in the right direction is a win for you. Be it your best day of sales or even just one small successful customer interaction, you  need to celebrate your victories. If you cannot stay positive and motivated in your business ventures, you will be left behind by someone who is. When the bad days come, and you’ve had only a couple sales for the day, it is at that very moment you are defining yourself and your success as a business person. You have to respond to the bad days just as well as you do the good days. Bad day in sales? See this as an opportunity to get your ownership duties done, creatively market, and prep yourself and your shop for the next big rush.

In conclusion, if you have a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad couple of months or year, just take a deep breath and know that you are on a roller coaster. Have faith in your business plan and marketing strategies and be patient.

Customer Interaction

At my shop, we pride ourselves on the experience we provide. A large part of that experience is customer interaction. Customer interaction is something that is only noticed when it is really good or really bad. I believe this is a large part of  what sets businesses apart. Every single customer interaction is the most important one. What I tell my team is that no matter how bad a mood you are in, if everything is not going your way, or you have a line of cars two miles long, your number one priority is providing the most exceptional interaction for that customer. Go above and beyond. Be genuine and aware of the customers needs, letting them know that you care. I experienced first hand why every single customer interaction is so important last weekend. We are closed on Sundays, but I happened to be at the shop working on some stuff. A car rolled up looking at the menu and hoping we were open. Although I had had a long week of making drinks, I stuck to my guns of believing that every single customer interaction is the most important one. I was extremely outgoing and helpful to these customers and made them some drinks and got them some cookies. They were extremely grateful and happy towards my customer service and they went on to Yelp and left us an outstanding review. In conclusion, no matter what the situation or how you are feeling, be sure to remember that your interaction with that particular customer is the most important one of all.

-Eth

Very Few Businesses Will Succeed…Make Sure Yours Is One of Them

Sales have been great the last couple of weeks. I am super excited about it. I am sitting here in shop tonight debating whether I should go forward with creating and implementing a big marketing campaign that I have been planning on doing for next month. The reason I am contemplating whether or not I should go for it is because it sounds like a lot of work and I am not entirely sure if it is going to work. I mean sales are going great. Why do more? Then I stopped myself. The only reason that sales are getting better are because of the aggressive marketing that I worked so hard on the month before. I came to a realization soon after. With the crazy statistic of small business failures (I think it is something like 8 out of 10 small business fail), what sets the ones apart that are successful? The ones that are successful are more determined to succeed. They put in the work to do more aggressive, guerrilla type marketing when their competitors are content with just running their store. Someone will always be working harder, staying up later, and simply doing more! More specifically though, I think it comes down to aggressive marketing. There are two small business mindsets: 1. No one is buying from me and I have no money to market. This really sucks. 2. No one is buying from me and I have no money to market. Looks like I am going to have to get real creative and put in a lot of hours if I am going to drive sales. The latter of the two is the mindset of successful small business owner.

So yes, I am going to continue to work on and implement this campaign tonight. If I do not, there is a good chance my business will be left behind, and I will not allow that to happen.

-Eth

Operational Marketing

As a young entrepreneur, I have seen first hand the benefits of networking and therefore I seek out any successful business person and try to grab a quick lunch or have a conversation with them, telling them about my current venture and seek any advice or experience possible. I once tracked down the CEO of Cafe Rio, got his cell phone number, and then continued to call and text him nonstop for a month before he eventually came down to my soda shop to see what I had been working on. A lot of good advice was given during this meeting, but the number one thing I took away and have continued to apply ever since was what he said about marketing. As I was asking about the most cheap, aggressive and useful marketing tactics for startups, he shut all of my ideas down. He said that the number one form of marketing comes from operations. Because the strongest form of marketing is word of mouth, you have the give the mouth a word to spread. Providing an exceptional experience for customers is the number one form of marketing because that customer then becomes a loyal, returning customer that will tell their friends, who will tell their friends, and so on. This piece of advice made me take a step back and really think about my approach to small business marketing. Before you go and design the most elaborate campaign in the world, be sure that your operations are flawless and you are marketing yourself simply through the experience you provide!

-Eth

The Worst Part of My Job

image1 (6).JPGAfter what I calculated to be my 73rd hour in shop for the week today, I was excited that I had scheduled two of my team to close on their own so I could go home for the weekend. Naturally, thirty minutes after one of my team members was scheduled to be there, they hadn’t shown up. Team member discipline is BY FAR the worst part of my job. Why? Because they have all become my close friends! When it comes to team member discipline, I have concluded that the most professional and comfortable way to deal with it is consistency. Set a precedent and hold to it! In this case, this had been the second weekend in a row that this particular team member “forgot” they were scheduled when they were. The first weekend, because I wanted to avoid the uncomfortable write up, I let it go and did not do anything. Now this weekend comes around and it bites me in the butt. Now I am forced to address the situation that looks as though is becoming a habit. I went ahead and gave them two write ups and apologized for not giving them one the first time. I said that it was nothing personal, but rather a matter of procedure and protocol. If you set a precedent and hold to it, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE THE BAD GUY! All you are doing is sticking to procedure, and nothing is personal.

-Eth

Social Media Campaigns

If you’re gonna run a promotion, run one that you would actually participate in yourself. Why would you expect anyone else to participate in something that you wouldn’t participate in yourself? I learned this the hard way yesterday when I tried to run a promotion on instagram. I said “Get a free size upgrade when you comment and tag two friends!”. Sounds like an okay idea? What I have realized is that a free size upgrade is something that no one cares about… Then I started thinking about it, and I was thinking that if I saw that there is no way I would comment. No one is going to go out of their way to comment and tag friends for a lame size upgrade. People will only interact and participate if it is worth it to them. Or at least it sounds like it is worth it to them. For instance, had I said “comment and tag friends and then receive a free cookie!” I would have gotten great engagement and participation in the campaign. The problem is that I can only do that so often or I will be giving away too much free product. I think the key to running a successful promotion such as this is to make your consumer feel like it is worth it to them to participate, while still being worth it to you (as the business owner) for them to participate. Don’t bother running a campaign that no one cares about, it will just look bad when no one is participating in it. In recap, this instagram campaign was a failure. I will do more research next time. Pick and choose your promotions carefullly. Make it worth it to you, and your customers.

-Ethimage1 (3).PNG

Blunt Marketing

My soda shop is located literally one block away from a minor league ballpark that draws thousands of people for their games every few days. I’m always bummed that I can’t get all this traffic to come by my store before or after the game. In an effort to simply get these people in my shop, I came up with a blunt marketing idea. I designed a windshield flyer (I designed it on word, not even a design software…) to put on the hundreds of cars parked around the stadium and in the stadium parking lots. This is not just any advertising flyer though, because I feel like when you see a flyer the business is always just beating around the bush. SAY WHAT YOU ARE TRYING TO SAY! It is for this reason that I came up with the theory of blunt marketing. When I say blunt marketing I am just saying that if you are trying to market your product or business, literally just say what you want the consumer to know. In my case, I want these baseball fans to know that my shop is literally right next to where they are and I want to give them a reason to try us out. So I made a flyer that literally says “ATTENTION BASEBALL FANS: A brand-new soda and treats shop has opened less than a block away from you!”. I included a free drink coupon on there as well. I put a map on there showing where they are at the stadium and where we are, within walking distance of them. I included some intriguing product photos and that’s about it. I plan to get these printed at the cheapest shop possible (there are also four per page), cut them up, and on each baseball night have one of my team members in shop while I go flyer the hell out of every car that is out there. Hopefully my blunt, straight forward, and to the point techniques with this flyer, as well as a free coupon, they will literally have no reason as to why they wouldn’t stop by. They’re within walking distance and it is completely free to them. I am going to try it next game, I’ll let you know how it goes.

-Eth

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