Marketing

In this economy we are all taking a hit with respect to sales and everyone is reacting differently with respect to advertising and marketing to our customers. Some have scaled back and others have forged ahead to try and attract more customers or possibly just to keep the name of the business in the customers mind.What have you done?What types of marketing have you incorporated into your businesses?Has it worked?

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  • Monique, I have found direct mail to be one of the best methods to reach customers and I definitely think such a program is a good idea. It is especially good to send out percent off coupons or specials the customer can redeem at the store. Bed Bath and Beyond does this on a continuing basis and I think most of us women particularly respond well to this type of marketing. I find it equally as useful in business for my retail stores.
  • I thought I would share this with everyone. Scott Rundle of PoolMarketing.com has just sent out a message to all the members of his group here on the PGN, but for anyone who hasn't signed up (YET!), here is what he said:

    Pool Retailers: If you are looking to finish strong this summer we can help. We have put together Last Chance direct mail campaign that includes 1000 postcards designed, printed, mailed to your clients, and includes postage, 1 3 foot x 6 foot banner, 3 18 x 24 posters and 20 shelf talkers. All of this for 999.00.

    To see the actual campaign go to poolmarketing.com Click on retailers, then click on Last Chance. Scroll through the campaign.

    Or call me at 951 640 3890. Scott Rundle
  • Merry Wise said:
    Hi, Brian! Yes, I have owned two retail stores for over 35 years, our total business 38, and given some seminars and written articles for Aqua on retailing. I would be glad to talk to you on the phone sometime and give you some tips- I think my website is on my profile and you can find it there. Winter is always hard, but my best advice is to cut expenses to a minimum in winter, keep inventory low, and there are some other tips I could give you better on the phone sometime being able to ask more about your specific situation. Be glad to help. One thing I do in my store all year long is to "sell the small products". Sell the basics, but also sell things they don't come in for- the "small stuff". And don't just display it, SELL it. Teach your employees and do it yourself, to "read" the customer and suggest in a not obnoxious but a helpful way, something you might have that fits a need for that client.

    For example, if they ask questions about their pool care, I answer them and sell them what they need, but I ALSO encourage them to buy my pool care book for an extra sale. If they are a golfer, I might show them our cute Aqua Golf game. Having a pool party? Show them something extra for that. Etc. Treat them like a friend in your home you are eager to share a neat thing with- and they will BECOME a friend. And buy. A long time. Solve their problems, don't just sell them stuff. Have refreshments- gourmet coffee, little muffins, some little treat, especially on Saturday. Make your store a mecca for personal service where they want to come and have fun and learn as well as buy.

    Brian Costelloe said:
    Merry Wise said:
    I have sent press releases for years to the local papers and it is a great way to publicize your business if you are a pool retail, construction or sales operation especially. It is a good suggestion and often cheaper and more effective than paid advertising, which also has its place, but this gives you good PUBLIC RELATIONS- two different things; you need both. I write my own, but if you don't have time or talent fot that particular thing, sometimes you can trade with somebody who buys from you who can do it part-time for you, or a college student. Also it is great to include pictures.
    Merry, Are you in retail? I am new to retail in the San Diego area. I have a service and repair company with 220 accouts, and just took over an existing store that has been here for 40 years. Any tips getting through the slow winter months?
  • Monique, I so agree with you! I've done some seminars to try to address this problem and maybe could develop more. I think teaching the employees in retail how to interact with the customers effectively is a neglected part of our industry. We ought to put our heads together in this forum and figure something out. At trade shows, while they are good and I have seen some good seminars on retailing some, the focus seems to be on service, pool sales and repair issues or tech stuff and the store owners but not the employees are usually there. The sales training for the store retail people isn't really getting translated back to the stores at the local level as I see it. Maybe some of us can address that some way.

    We train our store employees on everything from how to answer the phone properly to the tech stuff, and there is still a lot I want to do. I teach them to greet every customer as they walk in, for example, and I also want to fine- tune selling the products some more, particularly at one of my stores which needs some improvemet . I don't work in the stores anymore and have a manager in each one who are great people, but we can always improve. I'd like to do some more in the area of local seminars for retail.

    Monique Nelson said:
    Merry Wise said:
    Hi, Brian! Yes, I have owned two retail stores for over 35 years, our total business 38, and given some seminars and written articles for Aqua on retailing. I would be glad to talk to you on the phone sometime and give you some tips- I think my website is on my profile and you can find it there. Winter is always hard, but my best advice is to cut expenses to a minimum in winter, keep inventory low, and there are some other tips I could give you better on the phone sometime being able to ask more about your specific situation. Be glad to help. One thing I do in my store all year long is to "sell the small products". Sell the basics, but also sell things they don't come in for- the "small stuff". And don't just display it, SELL it. Teach your employees and do it yourself, to "read" the customer and suggest in a not obnoxious but a helpful way, something you might have that fits a need for that client.

    For example, if they ask questions about their pool care, I answer them and sell them what they need, but I ALSO encourage them to buy my pool care book for an extra sale. If they are a golfer, I might show them our cute Aqua Golf game. Having a pool party? Show them something extra for that. Etc. Treat them like a friend in your home you are eager to share a neat thing with- and they will BECOME a friend. And buy. A long time. Solve their problems, don't just sell them stuff. Have refreshments- gourmet coffee, little muffins, some little treat, especially on Saturday. Make your store a mecca for personal service where they want to come and have fun and learn as well as buy.Brian Costelloe said:
    Merry Wise said:
    I have sent press releases for years to the local papers and it is a great way to publicize your business if you are a pool retail, construction or sales operation especially. It is a good suggestion and often cheaper and more effective than paid advertising, which also has its place, but this gives you good PUBLIC RELATIONS- two different things; you need both. I write my own, but if you don't have time or talent fot that particular thing, sometimes you can trade with somebody who buys from you who can do it part-time for you, or a college student. Also it is great to include pictures.
    Merry, Are you in retail? I am new to retail in the San Diego area. I have a service and repair company with 220 accouts, and just took over an existing store that has been here for 40 years. Any tips getting through the slow winter months?

    Merry,
    It is so nice to hear that someone values training their employees like you do! As a manufacturer, one of the most frustrating things we are up against are retail stores that don't teach their employees how to sell their products, or even what some of the products are / do! It seems that in years past actually "selling" products wasn't required, because a good economy means products just fly off the shelves. With the current economy, I think more and more customers are going to be demanding information about the products they are spending their dollars on. "Selling", knowing your products and their benefits, is the most important marketing tool I know of!
  • Merry Wise said:
    Hi, Brian! Yes, I have owned two retail stores for over 35 years, our total business 38, and given some seminars and written articles for Aqua on retailing. I would be glad to talk to you on the phone sometime and give you some tips- I think my website is on my profile and you can find it there. Winter is always hard, but my best advice is to cut expenses to a minimum in winter, keep inventory low, and there are some other tips I could give you better on the phone sometime being able to ask more about your specific situation. Be glad to help. One thing I do in my store all year long is to "sell the small products". Sell the basics, but also sell things they don't come in for- the "small stuff". And don't just display it, SELL it. Teach your employees and do it yourself, to "read" the customer and suggest in a not obnoxious but a helpful way, something you might have that fits a need for that client.

    For example, if they ask questions about their pool care, I answer them and sell them what they need, but I ALSO encourage them to buy my pool care book for an extra sale. If they are a golfer, I might show them our cute Aqua Golf game. Having a pool party? Show them something extra for that. Etc. Treat them like a friend in your home you are eager to share a neat thing with- and they will BECOME a friend. And buy. A long time. Solve their problems, don't just sell them stuff. Have refreshments- gourmet coffee, little muffins, some little treat, especially on Saturday. Make your store a mecca for personal service where they want to come and have fun and learn as well as buy.

    Brian Costelloe said:
    Merry Wise said:
    I have sent press releases for years to the local papers and it is a great way to publicize your business if you are a pool retail, construction or sales operation especially. It is a good suggestion and often cheaper and more effective than paid advertising, which also has its place, but this gives you good PUBLIC RELATIONS- two different things; you need both. I write my own, but if you don't have time or talent fot that particular thing, sometimes you can trade with somebody who buys from you who can do it part-time for you, or a college student. Also it is great to include pictures.
    Merry, Are you in retail? I am new to retail in the San Diego area. I have a service and repair company with 220 accouts, and just took over an existing store that has been here for 40 years. Any tips getting through the slow winter months?

    Merry,
    It is so nice to hear that someone values training their employees like you do! As a manufacturer, one of the most frustrating things we are up against are retail stores that don't teach their employees how to sell their products, or even what some of the products are / do! It seems that in years past actually "selling" products wasn't required, because a good economy means products just fly off the shelves. With the current economy, I think more and more customers are going to be demanding information about the products they are spending their dollars on. "Selling", knowing your products and their benefits, is the most important marketing tool I know of!
  • Hi, Brian! Yes, I have owned two retail stores for over 35 years, our total business 38, and given some seminars and written articles for Aqua on retailing. I would be glad to talk to you on the phone sometime and give you some tips- I think my website is on my profile and you can find it there. Winter is always hard, but my best advice is to cut expenses to a minimum in winter, keep inventory low, and there are some other tips I could give you better on the phone sometime being able to ask more about your specific situation. Be glad to help. One thing I do in my store all year long is to "sell the small products". Sell the basics, but also sell things they don't come in for- the "small stuff". And don't just display it, SELL it. Teach your employees and do it yourself, to "read" the customer and suggest in a not obnoxious but a helpful way, something you might have that fits a need for that client.

    For example, if they ask questions about their pool care, I answer them and sell them what they need, but I ALSO encourage them to buy my pool care book for an extra sale. If they are a golfer, I might show them our cute Aqua Golf game. Having a pool party? Show them something extra for that. Etc. Treat them like a friend in your home you are eager to share a neat thing with- and they will BECOME a friend. And buy. A long time. Solve their problems, don't just sell them stuff. Have refreshments- gourmet coffee, little muffins, some little treat, especially on Saturday. Make your store a mecca for personal service where they want to come and have fun and learn as well as buy.

    Brian Costelloe said:
    Merry Wise said:
    I have sent press releases for years to the local papers and it is a great way to publicize your business if you are a pool retail, construction or sales operation especially. It is a good suggestion and often cheaper and more effective than paid advertising, which also has its place, but this gives you good PUBLIC RELATIONS- two different things; you need both. I write my own, but if you don't have time or talent fot that particular thing, sometimes you can trade with somebody who buys from you who can do it part-time for you, or a college student. Also it is great to include pictures.
    Merry, Are you in retail? I am new to retail in the San Diego area. I have a service and repair company with 220 accouts, and just took over an existing store that has been here for 40 years. Any tips getting through the slow winter months?
  • Merry Wise said:
    I have sent press releases for years to the local papers and it is a great way to publicize your business if you are a pool retail, construction or sales operation especially. It is a good suggestion and often cheaper and more effective than paid advertising, which also has its place, but this gives you good PUBLIC RELATIONS- two different things; you need both. I write my own, but if you don't have time or talent fot that particular thing, sometimes you can trade with somebody who buys from you who can do it part-time for you, or a college student. Also it is great to include pictures.
    Merry, Are you in retail? I am new to retail in the San Diego area. I have a service and repair company with 220 accouts, and just took over an existing store that has been here for 40 years. Any tips getting through the slow winter months?
  • I have sent press releases for years to the local papers and it is a great way to publicize your business if you are a pool retail, construction or sales operation especially. It is a good suggestion and often cheaper and more effective than paid advertising, which also has its place, but this gives you good PUBLIC RELATIONS- two different things; you need both. I write my own, but if you don't have time or talent fot that particular thing, sometimes you can trade with somebody who buys from you who can do it part-time for you, or a college student. Also it is great to include pictures.
  • Greg,

    I hooked up with syndicated columnist who write articles on our product which typically will feature in over 200 major news papers nationwide.

    I write press releases about anything new in the company whether its an product introduction, employee promotion or simply how our product saves massive amounts of energy. I submit them to all industry related media venues and all local news papers.
    I contact and develop relationships with who is in charge concerning reporting on green issues with news stations. It usually takes months for anything to develop but 2 minute news report on prime time is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and its free.

    Of course trade shows, expos and local chamber of commerce shows bring good results but if you are a new or small business you may find the cost prohibitive.

    The realtor sign in the customers front yard with your info on it while you are servicing their pool. Every time you service, install, or construct something into your customers home or back yard you should have a shingle set up in the front yard. Example some of our dealers will have a bright white background with royal blue lettering saying " Solar Heat Your Pool Without Solar Panels Ask Me How" along with a first name and phone. Simple and eye catching make sure there is no graphics keep it simple. Graphics take away from your message and you only have a couple of seconds to reach someone driving through the neighborhood.

    The local flea market its usually under a $100.00 for an entire weekend and its great exposure. I have dealers that do this and always come out ahead.

    I hope this helps these are simply free or inexpensive except for the investment of your time.
    • James,
      Excellent suggestions!
      Who should you attention when sending info to the media outlets to recieve the best results?

      Justin
This reply was deleted.

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