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Tip of the Week Archives

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Marketing and Promotion

If you are getting new stock often, do a weekly *What's New!* announcement to put in each bag, at the register. Don't lose this opportunity to promote current or upcoming events. 

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Freebie Strategies

OK, you're home from Charlotte (whew!) with lots of Freebies. What do you do with them?
Freebies are one of the most under utilized marketing tools we have. We'll be discussing ways to combine the Freebies with other Marketing Strategies, both long term and short term.

Even if a Freebie says no kitting allowed, you can certainly place all of the materials (fabric, threads and embellishments) nearby. 
Make it easy for your customers to find and purchase the goodies needed to stitch that particular design.

*Freebies and Marketing*
Planning a Marketing Strategy incorporating Freebies: 

I am a planner, I admit it. I find that taking the time for long term planning saves me time in the long run. Planning for the next 12 months, from Charlotte to Charlotte, makes a logical marketing year, so now is the time to do it.

A quick analysis of the benefits of freebies reveals 2 major advantages:
1) they act as a draw for customers
2) they sell additional product.

We are exploring the first idea on the list as part of this ongoing series...so lets take the time to look more closely at #2.

Freebies sell the additional products that they incorporate. The 2 major income producing categories are fabric and embellishments. Most shops have a variety of fabrics on hand, and would benefit from moving fabric sales in an organized fashion. This goal can easily be facilitated thru the use of freebies.

Step 1 - Start by organizing the freebie charts that you have into categories based on the fabrics they feature.

Step 2 - Planning for the next 12 months, choose a different fabric to showcase each month.

*Use your freebies to help plan the timing of different fabrics. (If you have a couple of great Spring designs using the same fabric, consider it for your March Fabric of the Month)
*Maximize the variety of fabrics that you offer.
*Feature by fabric type one month (32 Ct. Linen) and by color (Blue) another month

Step 3- Choose a different Freebie for each week using the Fabric you are featuring that month. Consider making each Freebie available ONLY during that week (you can always recycle them next year, as well) 

The benefits are numerous
* Entice the stitcher into visiting weekly by offering changing incentives that will not be available at any other time.
* Make it easy for the stitcher to pick up the items needed for a Freebie by carefully grouping products.
* Make it easy for the stitcher to experiment with different fabrics thruout the year while stitching small, free projects.
* Showcase the depth of fabric selection you have and keep the stock moving.

When organizing Freebies, you will probably benefit from using several different criteria, in order to maximize their potential as a sale/marketing tool.

Previously we discussed organizing Freebies by fabric and showcasing a fabric of the month. Threads used in designs are another good way sort your Freebies.

If you are seeing a number of Freebies using a particular Thread, such as Weeks Dye Works, you could use this as your focus...possibly showcasing that thread over a period of time and offering a different Freebie using that thread each week.

Remember that different designers have different requests regarding their Freebies. Some say no kitting, others may not mind having it packaged with the supplies. Do honor any requests the designer has made.

Also, remember that a freebie is a freebie and you should NOT be selling it, even if you have made *adjustments* such as thread conversions. It still belongs to the original copyright holder. This also goes for Freebies from the Internet.

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Trade Show Survival Tips

Getting Around
Wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Dress for hot weather and take a sweater in case the air conditioning is being particularly effective. That way you'll be comfortable, no matter what.

Consider a Micro-recorder to *talk* note as you go.

A wheeled cart with plastic crates allows you to file as you go and/or just gives you a place to put stuff.

Trade Show Strategies
Take the time to review the Show Guide ahead of time. Note the new exhibitors and any Designers you haven't seen for a while. Always make time to check out the addendum to the Show Guide. Many new exhibitors register for the Shows after the Show Guide deadline.

Use the first day to do a quick look-see and to gather information. Take lots of notes, because you won't even remember you own name at the end of the day. ;-)
That night, review what you saw and plan to see what you missed. Plan your purchasing strategies at the same time. 
Use the second day to start placing orders and see what you missed.
Use the third day to finish up and place orders you may have reconsidered.

Most people start at the right and follow in order. Consider starting in the middle or to the left and then proceed in an organized manner. You'll still see everything, but you'll miss the crowds.

Take lots of business cards and distribute them freely. Exhibitors spend lots of $$ to attend the shows, not just to make sales, but also to build their contact lists 

If you have special orders to place, go to those booths first and get them done, then you know how much $$ you have left and can plan accordingly.

Do go to the show with a budget, and plan to stick to it ;-) but be sure to allocate some $$ for unexpected new products and/or new designers.

Take pre-printed address labels with your shop address and give them out, to save time when writing orders. 

Trade Show Tips :

Take Credit References and Tax ID info to give to your new vendors. 

Keep your Show Guide in your hand and mark each booth number as you pass. Make more comprehensive notes, if you are interested in their product. Try to take a peek in each booth to make sure that the Show Guide is accurate and that you are not missing something. 
(For example, at my first Trade Show, I was listed only for Needlepoint but had an entire line of Counted Cross Stitch. I know I was missed by a lot of Shops who were following the Show Guide without double checking.)

Carefully review past and current issues of Needlework Retailer. If there is a new vendor or product you'd like to check out, see whether that company will be exhibiting at the upcoming trade shows. If the info in NW Retailer doesn't say so, contact the company directly. Then include these vendors when you plan your path thru the market, using the Show Guide.

If you'd like to spread out your shipments of new merchandise, many vendors are willing to ship at specified times. Be sure that you tell the vendor you want to do this at the time the order is written, and doublecheck that the shipping date is clearly written on the order form. 
This can be an excellent strategy to keep the excitement of Market going for a long time. Combine it with a *New this Week* campaign and a *Coming Soon* approach and watch the excitement build.

Take plenty of Business Cards and give them out liberally. To have them readily available, tuck them into your badge holder.
BTW, don't wear your badge holder outside of the Convention Hall, you don't want to advertise that you are an out-of-towner.

General Business Tips:

Are You Accessible?
I was collating a list of NW Shops by fax numbers and discovered a very interesting thing. The Shops who did not have Fax Numbers, were also not listed in the Needlecrafters' Travel Companion. This was an unscientific study ;-), but it was a large list of 450+ shops. You need to figure that if I, as a Designer, am having a hard time contacting you, most stitchers will also, and they are probably LESS motivated than I am! LOL
If you don't want to buy a fax machine and install a separate phone line, consider using one of the online fax services.

Service, Service, Service
Twice this week I've been contacted by stitchers who tried to get my designs from their LNSs and were given various reasons why this was not possible. Since I am dedicated to supporting the LNS and do not sell my NW designs retail, I named 2 shops who I know would be willing to place orders. Certainly I don't know the whys and wherefore of the Shops who refused to order. What I do know is that none of us can expect to stay in business if we don't try to please our customers. Certainly, a willingness to place Special Orders is a small way to provide *Service, service, service*.


Any comments or suggestions regarding my site would be welcomed/greatly appreciated.

My email address is:

 Tink Boord-Dill Needlework
 PO Box 1046
 Richmond, KY 40476-1046
 Fax (859)623-5566
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 All Designs and Graphics 1998 - 2012
 by Tink Boord-Dill

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