My Blog

Social Media Marketing 101

If you own a business or work for a business with no social media, I hope this blog post helps you out. Social Media Marketing is a must for businesses. In today’s society, people check their social media accounts at least twice daily. It’s completely free to set up and promote!

 

I recently just developed a social media marketing plan with some group members for a local consignment shop in La Crosse. We started by creating business personas. Those are basically making a fake profile of what we think the target markets life is like. For example, this is what one would look like.

The plan then moved into goals and strategies we had to better Elite Repeats social media platforms. We determined our main goal would be to create brand awareness for Elite Repeat. We thought some strategies for this would be to update and revamp Elite Repeats Facebook page and Website. We would do this by posting more content on there and updating all of her information on both.

Elite Repeats Facebook and Website was inactive until my group came along. Here are some examples of the things we have posted for the business.

We followed our viewer’s likes, comments, shares, and views. Looking at these KPI’s we were able to determine what time of day was the best time to post, what kind of posts were most liked by viewers, and what posts had the most views. We analyzed as weeks went on and determined what was best to post and what time.

I learned a lot from this project. At the beginning of the term, I had no idea what a KPI was and now I know it is one of the most important components of social media marketing. It has helped me for my personal future in the sense that this might be something that I need to do in my future career. I learned how to make captions clever based on the picture and how to post something that viewers want to see.

What’s Your Personal Brand?

Personal Branding is how you build yourself up to look for others. Specifically respected coworkers and employers. It’s creating strong physical content they can see and also building up your self esteem and knowledge to know how to behave in getting a job and having one.

During my Personal Branding class. I developed skills and created a plan for my future. To start off in the course I needed to figure out who I was, what my strongest skills were and what my goal was. You learn about soft skills and learn what yours are and how you can most positively implement them into your career path. I did a SWOT on myself to find out who I really am and what I can use and what I can work on.

Strengths:

  • Motivated
  • Positive
  • Energetic
  • Balancing Life
  • Logical

Weaknesses:

  • Unorganized
  • Decision Making
  • Confidence

Threats:

  • Other graduates going into my career
  • Not getting the job desired out of college

Opportunities:

  • Become more organized and manage my time more efficiently
  • Going through internships that will help me prepare for my future
  • Job openings

I determined my career goal was to be in sports marketing and potentially work for a professional sports team in their marketing department. Next was creating a plan for how I’m going to achieve that goal.  I figured the best way to do this would be for me to gain experience in my field of work. By interning for semi-pro teams and working in any event planning type setting.

I of course can’t just submit a lazy resume and cover letter to anywhere so I need to make myself known and build up the skills to create the best resume and cover letter of them all. I have done a lot of things to build my personal brand since i started college. In my first semester of college, I created a personal website. On it described me and my accomplishments and some samples of work I have done. From there on out I have created a personal business card, different forms of content, a personal logo, created a LinkedIn account so employers can see what I have done and what my goals are, created a resume and learned how to create a strong cover letter.

I feel that all of these little accomplishments were big ones. They all made me who I am today and they all helped me find out what I want to do in life and helped me gain skills I wouldn’t of had before. Some of them took a lot of time to finalize and made me a more hard working, patient person. The skills and content I created during my time here at Western and especially in this Personal Branding class. Make me confident to know that I will succeed in anything I decide to do in my future.

Why You Should Start Building Up Your Resume Today!

Building your resume while in school is so beneficial in many ways. Employers are looking for you to be experienced and involved. If they see you have experience going into that related field you are going to have an advantage over a candidate who doesn’t. Certificates also make you look more qualified for jobs. You could get a google analytics certification, different research certifications online, obtain different licenses based on what you’re going to school for and what your future career will be. Getting an internship is a great way to gain personal hands-on experience doing what you want to in the future.

For my resume builder, I chose to do an internship with the consignment store Elite Repeat. I chose to do this internship to get experience in a self-owned and ran business. I felt the tactics and strategies I learned there would help me in my future. I helped the owner with everyday tasks running a small business.

I worked at Elite Repeat once a week for about 3-4 hours. This was an unpaid internship while working 2 jobs and going to school full time, it’s really all I could fit into my schedule. When I went in I would help I helped sell clothes, put clothes away, price clothes, how to effectively put out displays and we even brainstormed together on clever captions to put with photos for her Facebook page. I have learned so much through my time here that I will take with me in my future.

I accomplished learning multiple things here such as what to position certain things that are in higher demand and how to market them. I learned how to interact with a different market of people. I’m proud of these accomplishments since I gained more knowledge then I had before and now have a better competitive edge over other applicants for jobs. I did encounter a few challenges during this internship. My boss was very stubborn and close-minded. I was trying to help her reach a new younger target market and the ideas I had, she would just shut them down and not take them into consideration. Although she was very inflexible with my ideas, I learned how to overcome situations working with a boss such as this one.

Right now I’m in a retail management class at Western. I feel that I learn things in both settings that I can apply to either class or work. I use the skills I learn in my retail class to interact with customers at Elite Repeat. In all of my courses really at Western, we discussed the 4 Ps of Marketing. Product, Place, Price, and Promotion. In my internship, I really got the opportunity to bring this topic to life. Getting to experience hands-on knowledge of all of these.  

From this internship I gained a lot of experience in running a small business, different pricing and placement strategies, promotional tools, more customer service experience and the chance to work with some different people. The benefits are that I received so much knowledge that I know will help me in my future career. I learned how to better communicate with a different age range of customers so I think that will really help me in my future connecting with a broad spectrum of people. From working here and having my boss kind of let me take the reins on some things, I think it helped me gain more self-confidence and made me feel that I was appreciated for my work. It really helped a lot to gain this confidence, so now it won’t be so hard to talk to potential employers and other people I need to communicate with.

9 Tips to Successfully Manage Retail Associates

I found an article on motivating your retail employees. It gives great tips on how to keep your employees feeling involved and important. As being an employee in retail I realize how important these tips are. Your employees aren’t going to be as productive or hard-working if they feel underappreciated and uneducated.  

 

#1 Respect they have a brain

You need to respect their decisions and not harp on them right away for their decision. Think about why maybe they made that decision or ask them why they made a certain choice.

 

#2 Complement in public

Give them a compliment in front of their peers so they feel appreciated and recognized. Any employee of a company would like to be recognized for their hard work in front of their peers, it boosts their self-esteem. It also helps your other associates I feel. Once another employee hears that a different employee is doing well they trust that employee and knows they are a hard worker, I feel it also increases their competitive edge to be recognized as well.

 

#3 Train in Private

As mentioned in this article, they say “For training to stick, you have to get past bad behaviors, which requires correction. But no one likes to be corrected in front of others.” It’s embarrassing to be corrected in front of your co-workers and especially customers. So it’s a good idea to do some training that is off the floor. This time gives the employee to fully pay attention without the distraction of customers and they also don’t have to be embarrassed to ask certain questions. Online training is just as good. It lets the employee read the directions for each training and go at their own pace so that they understand to their best ability.

 

#4 Encourage exploring the merchandise

Not knowing the merchandise on the floor is going to cause some hiccups. You may get bad reviews in of your store which makes your company look bad. When you have your employees learn the majority of the merchandise it helps your company in total and also gives your employee a feeling of being needed by the store. When they can help anyone with finding anything, they feel like a valued employee. When a customer comes up to an employee with a question they are going to be highly satisfied when the associate knows exactly what they are talking about.

 

#5 Pay above minimum wage

Paying above minimum wage helps keep valuable employees. As an employee, working hard for a lot of hours for 2 weeks, to just get a very small paycheck makes your employee question why they are still there. They feel they could find a better paying job than just the minimum wage.

 

#6 Hold accountable

Once they are trained in a certain area such as returns, you need to hold them accountable and assume that they know what to do. When you hold them accountable for things it helps them feel important in the company. Instead of giving all of your responsibilities to your assistant managers or shift leads, give them to the part-timers. Most of the time, they are the people that are going to be interacting with customers the most.

 

#7 Help them find a friend

When they have someone who they can relate with and talk to at work, it makes for an easier shift and a happier employee. You don’t want someone who is mad all the time working with your customers.  If they have someone they feel comfortable asking questions to, you’ll gain a smarter employee as well.

 

#8 Ask their opinion

Employees like to feel like they are a part of the company. By helping make decisions or voicing their opinion they are contributing to the store more than just working their shift. Collaboration is key to having a successful store.

 

#9 Thoughtfully reward them

When your employees achieve certain goals or go above and beyond in any work they do, reward them. It gives them something to work for. Whether it be a free car wash, small gift card, free lunch, etc. They have something to work towards.

I feel that if you incorporate even half of these tips, you will have a more successful store. Your employees are going to feel more needed and acknowledged when you give them the respect and feedback they need.

7 Secrets to Retail Success

I found an article that went over certain tips and tricks to make your store look more appealing to customers.

#1 Make windows shine

Within the article, it tells that the store is more eye-catching if you put up window displays. Using a single color scheme could gain more customers attention. Stores in malls could incorporate this by putting outfits together and having cute decorations that are all the same color coordination. This will attract customers to your store by thinking the products displayed are special.

#2 Make an arresting first impression

Having a display up front that catches their attention is key. Some stores such as Sam’s Club promotes their specials as soon as you walk in. Having specials available to taste or try would be a crucial to gaining a customers interest in a product or the store in general. Walmart and Festival could incorporate this tip into their layout by having samples in the areas of product purchase.

#3 Steer customers to the right

Customers usually prefer to walk counterclockwise around the store. For example: having an appealing attraction to the right as soon as you walk in such as a flower stand would be a great way to draw a customers attention to the right.

#4 Lead them somewhere

Using the end of an aisle to promote what’s in that aisle. It’s drawing them into all the other options you might have. At dicks in the power aisles, they will have things on display where you can find more in-depth products within the aisles. They also have things that are eye-catching. When you walk in the store you can see above the whole store what department is which and when you get closer your attention will be grabbed to what they have on display.

#5 Have an angle

Most stores create there layouts parallel to the exterior walls. This article says to push them at an angle to make almost an arrow towards what you want your customer to really go after such as a back wall display. Within the article they said to only do this display if your store has enough room for customers to easily pass. I personally don’t believe this method would be effective since it might be hard for customers to navigate around.

#6 Create breaks

A break in a long aisle would help gain customers attention to go down another aisle or to take a break from looking at the same thing. Target, for example, could do this by putting different items on clip strips that aren’t in the aisle but closely related to the products within.

 

#7 Offer “hugs”

People are attracted to round or U shaped areas. Putting up a rounded sign or an area that is surrounded partially would invite customers in like a “hug.” Any retail store could really incorporate this into their store. By creating a U shape in a back wall it will be inviting to customers. Make a display of all your different pastries in the bakery department or a U shaped display of fruits or vegetables.

Overall I feel that local retail stores could really benefit from these tips. To be successful you need to have eye-catching products and displays. With this being said I believe that the most beneficial way to achieve more customers would be to add more visuals. Make your window appearance visually appealing then wow them when they walk into the store with another display. Some people just have certain products out on display but I think the most effective one would be to put out samples (ex; food or mannequins with whole outfits.)

Tice, Carol. “7 Layout Secrets of the Big Retail Chains.” Entrepreneur, 17 June 2012, www.entrepreneur.com/article/223808.

The Future Face of Shopping Centers

This article basically explained what the future of shopping centers is going to look like. The article explained how shopping centers are going to expand or change altogether. They believe that shopping centers will be turned into establishments that blend better into the community. These new urban centers will include; apartments, wide variety of restaurants, office spaces, gathering spots and social settings. As well as increasing cultural activities such as art exhibits, band shells for concerts, museum programs, and other cultural activities.

Since shopping centers are dying out, local shopping centers can use these tips to gain more attention to their centers. For example; Valley View Mall can possibly incorporate a movie theater into their scene or a band shell where they can have local small concerts. It would gain more attention to the mall and draw in a wider customer base

The overall benefit of adding more features and more urban spaces into our shopping centers now would be that you would gain a higher customer base and drive a higher revenue.

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/26/why-these-malls-are-thriving-while-others-die.html

Department Store Retail Trends of 2018

I found an article on department store retail trends for 2018. The article briefly went over certain trends that department stores should incorporate into their businesses to improve customer relationships and sales. Those trends were;

1. “Chore” shopping will become easier, but the demand for “cherish” retail will be stronger than ever.

 

 

    1. For this trend, it basically means that e-commerce will still be an inevitable form of profit, but the in-store experience is still just as relevant and should expect to grow.

2. Retailers that enable shoppers to build and customize products will prosper.

  1. Vend suggested that buy getting your customers more involved such as creating their own design or product will improve sales and widen the customer base.

3. Retailers will increasingly rely on robots

  1. Retailers have slowly been relying more heavily on robots to do certain tasks within the store. Whether it be from shipping and assembling to having a computerized system within the store to better interact with customers.
  2. Within this trend, they also say to update/ create forms of chats with customers. Customers really enjoy that they can send the company a message and expect a response, whether it be automated or not.

4. Retailers that step up their social media strategies will thrive.

  1. People are likely to follow your page and watch your companies “stories.” Within these stories, they should include specials and company news.
  2. Provide a link to the website so they can purchase things in a more timely manner or the company should tag the prime cities where they’re products are located.

5. More than ever, data will (and should) drive retail decisions.

  1. Technology is evolving and so should your company.
  2. Analytics provide valuable feedback on your customer’s habits and moods to help you adjust certain things within your business.

6. Brick-and-mortar stores will continue to flourish

  1. According to Sanford Stein, “The internet has had a flattening effect on the industry, and as a result, even the smallest retailer has tremendous opportunity to launch and thrive”

7. Healthy and environment-friendly lifestyles will be a focus for many consumers

  1. More customers are going to purchase the product that is good for their health and for the environment

8. In-home services, delivery, and consultations will pervade the market.

  1. Provide services such as online order, in-home set up. Provide more than great person to person customer service/online customer service. Take it to the next level of superb great customer service.

9. QR codes will make a comeback.

  1. Makes it easier to provide a different form of advertising and provide a call to action within that could lead customers back to your website.

 

10. Retailers that curate assortments will win.

  1. Create specials that include more than one gift.
  2. Within one product sneak a hidden gift or a “ for free” product within.

11. Retail store formats will be much more diverse.

  1. Expect to see and implement one size fits all types of products.
  2. Create smaller stores from bigger ones

 

Retailers in the La Crosse area could benefit greatly from these trends. If they simply generated ideas within their business to become more involved and convenient for their customer base. They could do this by providing a URL on certain websites or apps that lead to their website for an easier purchase. Companies could implement additional products within their sales. If they follow these trends it shouldn’t be too hard to increase sales.

A/B Testing for Newsletters

During my 3rd semester at Western Technical College, I took may classes that helped me significantly prepare me for my future. I took;

Project Principles Management- Developing a project, planning it, and learning the steps to have an effective event.

Marketing Financials- Learning the basics of accounting a business does. Learning about things such as income statements, manufacturing costs, promotional costs, etc.

Product Management- Developing the skills to be able to target the correct market for a product, learn what promotions would be effective for that product, positioning statements, etc.

Software Apps- In this class we learned and reviewed different software programs that marketers use every day.

Marketing Communications- Lastly, I learned in this class so many valuable tools that I will use in my future. We learned how to create; an effective logo, brochure, infographic, PSA and what I’m going to be talking about on this blog, Newsletters.

In my marketing communications class, we learned how to create a newsletter. My group and I did ours on “The Top 10 Best Places To Eat At In La Crosse.” The purpose of this newsletter was to inform the tourists of La Crosse or new students coming into the area, the best places to eat in La Crosse. We gave a list of what we thought would be the top 10 places to eat at in La Crosse. We based our ranking on quality of food, service, and price. We gave a short description of the restaurant and at the bottom of the section, we gave a link to each of the restaurant’s websites.

We chose to use the software MailChimp. Mail Chimp provides templates for you to create a newsletter and sends out an email to all of the selected subscribers. MailChimp is a really easy software to use. Here is the link to the website to learn more about MailChimp. https://mailchimp.com

https://mailchimp.com

Mail Chimp also makes it really easy to use A/B Testing. A/B testing is basically where you send out two campaigns. You just change things within the campaign. For example; my group and I changed who it came from, the subject line, and the content seen in the email. It worked out perfect because we liked two different subject lines and didn’t know which one would be more effective.

In the first newsletter, we emailed to students our subject line was, “Delicious Food, To Fit Your Lifestyle,” with the content line “Check out the top 10 places to eat in La Crosse!” Coming from “Western Marketing.”

In the second newsletter we emailed out, our subject line was, “Need new places to try for a night out?” With the content line “Check out this list of The Top 10 Places to try in La Crosse!” Coming from “Western Technical College”

After we sent out the A/B tests we determined from our data that the second newsletter we sent out was the most effective. We sent it to 40 people both times. On the first send out we had an open rate of 25%. 10 people that we sent our newsletter to opened it. With a click rate of 2.5%. On our second send out we had an open rate of 37.5%. That would mean 15 people opened our newsletter. We had a click rate of 7.5% with 3 clicks. So clearly we were more successful with our second newsletter. We decided with the atmosphere La Crosse has, the subject line changing was what determined our percentage in opens rising.

You can check out our newsletter in my ‘Samples of Work’ page. Or at this link!

https://us17.admin.mailchimp.com/templates/edit?id=18739

Don’t forget about the others!

We already told you guys about the top 10 places to eat in La Crosse, but what about the 79 other restaurants we left out?

I’m going to tell you about some of my favorites.

  • Flipside- Flipside offers a sit-down restaurant as well as a bar scene. It is perfectly priced and has reasonable hours. The food is excellent and fits any taste bud you have! Family environment or a great place to grab some drinks with the guys.
  • La Crosse Family Restaurant- Nothing too elegant, which is perfect! Want a cheap meal with some friends? Great place to go! Super cheap and awesome food! I waitressed here for about 6 months and the staff is so friendly and helpful. As a customer, you are always the first priority.
  • North Country Steak Buffet- This place is a sit-down buffet, and it has everything. Starting your meal off with your choice of steak, shift down the line to get some salad, (pasta or leafy) then go down to your greasy food like chicken, french fries, mini corn dogs, etc. Keep going and there’s a taco station! Of course, we can’t forget about dessert. They offer ice cream, brownies, cheesecake, cookies, etc. The restaurant is filled with great food and great service.
  • Grizzly’s- Their location is technically in Onalaska, but not that far of a drive! They have fresh rotisserie chicken roasted right in front of you! Food is served to perfection. And service is always amazing. Very attentive.
  • Great Wall- The best Chinese in the area hands down. I love coming here when I get that Chinese food craving. I always get my favorite chicken lo mein and crab rangoon. Good tasting crab rangoon is hard to find in the area. Great Wall nails it!
  • HuHot- This restaurant is Mongolian grill. Pick out everything you want in your stir-fry dish and they grill it right in front of you! Very cheap and service is great!

Not a lot more options but are definitely worth trying!