September has a strange place on my yearly calendar. I view it as a month that tries to maintain a death grip on the hot days of summer while also revealing the temperatures and colors of the fall. I remember how it was to dread the beginning of the school year, and now, even though I'm not a parent myself, I can appreciate how parents feel now to have their children occupied all day again.
As a consultant serving the jewelry industry, I now look at September as the gateway between planning and launch of holiday events and promotions. This is the action month where you need to put the final touches on planning your merchandise, events, and marketing plan.
Before you get too far into the process of planning your marketing, I'd like you to evaluate which of your ads worked last year, and which didn't. This information is hidden in your sales receipts and your Google Analytics from last year. Pull out copies of all your ads from the 2014 holiday season and cross reference every sale with all your ads.
You're looking for correlations between the items you sold and the specific ads you ran. Were the ads directly or indirectly responsible for the merchandise sold, or did the ads just get people in the door? You should also cross reference which employees made sales and if the items they sold were related to those ads.
Even though what I'm suggesting isn't an easy task, and usually one suited for a business coach or marketing analyst, your data should reveal the obvious clues; clues that will lead you to better marketing tactics this year.
Traditional media ads are more difficult to track so leave that to a paid expert to figure out. Instead, look for direct correlations between online ads and social media posts. Even if you don't have e-commerce, you should be able to easily correlate social posts to in-store sales.
When you find something that worked, don't just assume that it was the marketing material (as in the image you posted socially) itself that produced a sales. No, it's much more than that. Look at the time of day you posted it, how many people looked at it, and if you engaged your customers because of it. You'll need to reproduce all those factors again this year and hope they work again.
I'll assume you use Facebook as part of your marketing strategy now. Do yourself a favor and set up a custom audience and boost every one of your posts with at least $1. Facebook has made it impossible to play unless you pay, so give them $1 for every one of your posts from now on.
If you haven't yet set up a Pinterest account, then you are 4 years behind the times. Get it done. While Pinterest might not seem like the most engaging social network, the lifespan of the pins you add to your account is far greater than any other social network.
When I mentioned Instagram in 2014, most jewelers had no idea what I was talking about, but its popularity has grown a lot in the last year. If you don't yet have an account you should ask one of your employees if they'd be interested in creating and managing an account daily.
Strategies for using these social networks change every few months which is why the exact tactics you used last year might not work this year, but reviewing them at least gives you a start.
This year, I'd also like you to consider the new social network called Periscope. It's a video streaming app available on your Android or iPhone that allows you to broadcast live video to your followers. Twitter purchased Periscope in March 2015 and launched it to the public just days before the JCK Las Vegas show this year. I was first exposed to it during the social networking seminar at JCK.
Since then Periscope has caught on pretty quickly with many jewelry designers and jewelry trade professionals using it to connect directly with their existing online followers. I find it very fascinating to see a glimpse of new jewelry trends and ideas being shared by people who are discovering those trends and ideas for the first times themselves.
There's a big potential for retail jewelers to use this network as part of their holiday marketing. Imagine doing a 3 minute, unedited, and completely natural video of setting up your showcases, or unwrapping new merchandise for the first time right after it is delivered. How about a quick video of your bench jeweler doing a simple repair?
It's easy to set up an account after downloading the app from iTunes or Google Play, so give it a try.
For those of you who are camera shy, don't worry about it. Most of the Periscope broadcasts I've seen only show the jewelry and the person's hands. Just treat the camera as if it were a customer and talk about your jewelry just the same. During those broadcasts you can also introduce other complementing jewelry as well as current trends that might interest your customers.
In closing, I'd like to repeat that you should review your marketing tactics and their yielded results from last year before planning your marketing this year, however, don't be afraid to try new things, even if they are a little outside of your normal comfort zone.