Last year you sold 200 calendars and 100 guides for Christian Prayer. Congratulations!
Are those people going to come back this year? Are you doing anything to get people to come back this year?
One of the most important laws in retail is that it is far easier to sell to a returning customer and your sales are likely to be far greater to returning customers than new ones.
It is only six weeks until Advent so it is time to plan NOW for those yearly products. First, have your point of sale system print out a report of all the customers who bought yearly items (calendars, missal guides, Christmas cards, Advent candles, etc.) last year... You do have a computer system that allows you to do this, right? If not, you need to find a point-of-sale system now!
For those that do have a customer list, you need to create email messages for each segment in this report. Here at Aquinas and More, we created the following lists: Christmas Cards, Ordos, 2007 Guides for Christian Prayer, Missals and the yearly St. Joseph Missal, Oplatki, Magnificat Advent Companions and Advent candles.
Now you need to send reminders to your customers that these items are available. If you have email addresses, we recommend using Intellicontact for your mailings. They are inexpensive and have a good set of features for email newsletters. If you just have mailing addresses, send a postcard with a coupon on it that the customer has to bring in. The reason is that you need to track the success of your mailing. If you can't track advertising, don't pay for it. At our company, every ad we place in bulletins or mailings we send out have some way to track the campaign. That way, we can see if the money we put into the campaign was worth the cost.
Once you have sent your messages you are going to want to keep track of your marketing. I suggest a 3-ring binder with pockets that can hold samples of your campaigns along with a sheet that has the following information:
- Name of campaign
- Cost and contact information for suppliers involved in the campaign
- Projected earnings and assumptions
- Actual results
- Lessons learned
This way, you can look back on your campaigns next year to see what can be done to improve. Never assume that the campaign you created is as successful as it can possibly be. Even if you got a 100% response, you can work on increasing order size and reducing costs next time.