Dealer Spotlight: Planning a Successful Event with Douglas Feed & Pet Supply

November 9, 2016

I have been working with Craig, DeeDee and Kristen for over 5 years now to manage their website, social media and email marketing. So I knew when Craig and Kristen called me to say they were planning on having a Ladies’ Night event in their store – and they wanted it to be high in attendance, I knew we needed to start planning early in order to see results that would really “WOW” them.

Kristen and I worked hand-in-hand to plan this event from coming up with the details, to mapping out an 8-week plan, to approving eblasts, Facebook content and more. The event was a MAJOR success for them, so I wanted to share our strategy as inspiration for your upcoming events!

Step 1
Plan in advance.

Kristen and I sat down (over the phone) and had a calendar up. We picked dates and scheduled everything out in advance. This allowed both of us to prepare and know when things needed to be due by in order to meet our determined dates. We had time to make edits to eblasts, graphics, etc. without anything having to be rushed. Ultimately, this helped us to avoid mistakes and produce great content to generate a lot of buzz. This also helped us to establish a checklist which included:

  • Add content to website – event/banner
  • Create Facebook event
  • Send out weekly eblasts
  • Boost Facebook posts
  • Get RSVPs to event on Facebook

We also determined the budget for the event early on in the planning process. Craig and Kristen both knew they wanted to add more eblasts than the 2 per month in their service plan and boost Facebook posts. We established a budget and worked this into the calendar as well so that we were consistently boosting new, relevant content as it related to the event.

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Step 2
Create incentives.

Kristen wanted to get as much planning for the event done sooner rather than later. Because of that, we created the Facebook event a full 6-7 weeks prior to the actual event date. To capture a lot of RSVPs early on, Kristen came up with a great idea to offer a $5 store credit to anyone who RSVPed by 9/15, a full 3 weeks before the event. Doing this allowed us to do two things, (1) create a lot of buzz about the event because people were tagging their friends/family so that they didn’t miss out on the credit and (2) allowed us to get a lot of RSVPs early to give them an idea of how many attendees they needed to plan for.

This incentive also created good content for our eblasts. We started promoting the event early in emails so there was concern that we might run out of fresh content for eblasts and may see some unsubscribes as a result. Timing this incentive to end early allowed us to focus on the credit incentive for the first 3 eblasts and then focus on finalized event details for the final 4 eblasts leading up to the event.

Step 3

The materials that we created were consistent on eblasts, social media and in the store. This gave us an opportunity to talk to as many customers as possible and make sure that everyone had access to the same information.


Step 4
Follow through.

It was really important for both Kristen and I to continue to see all of this through and continue to create buzz even leading up to the day of the event. We did additional Facebook posts with photos showing them setting up for the event, etc. Although a lot of content we were pushing out had similar messaging, we tried to keep it unique to keep people engaged even if they had just gotten an eblast yesterday.

Once the event was over, we were quick to post a thank you message to everyone who attended as well as share photos of the event on social media and the website.

Doing these combination of things lead to over 430 people in attendance at this event! It was a great success that was able to be pulled off by spending 30 minutes at the start to create a full content calendar and lay out expectations and objectives for both sides.

Thank you to Douglas Feed & Pet for trusting us to help pull off this amazing event!

Click here to see photos from the Ladies’ Night event!

Preparing for the Holiday Season on Social Media

September 30, 2015

This year has just completely flown by! It seems crazy to think the holidays are just about upon us, but ready or not, here they come! As you begin to prep your stores for the holiday season, it’s also important to prepare your social media pages as well.


Social media plays a huge part in the holiday shopping season, in fact in the 2014 holiday shopping season 67% of shoppers purchased a gift they found on social media. When preparing for the holidays on social media, find a theme that matches your store and determine how to create content around that theme. This content may include photos, videos and posts to allow you to interact with customers on social media.

Use social media to showcase new products coming in to the store, upcoming sales and promotions, in-store displays and to show off products (come on, we should all be doing this!).

Here are a few action ideas to kick start the planning process:

  1. Store photos

Easily add a holiday theme to your social media channels by sharing photos of the store decorated for the holidays. This could be as simple as taking photos of holidays lights hung in the store or as creative as building a holiday tree with store items as ornaments.

  1. Gift ideas

This is valuable content that you can share with customers in a fun way! Often times, the hardest part of holiday shopping is just getting started coming up with ideas. This can be especially true when buying gifts for the opposite sex, which may require you to go to stores that you may not be familiar with. Let’s make this as easy for customers as possible!

Work with your Marketing Specialist to develop a blog for the website of a shopping list for “him” or “her”. Put the same products that you mention on the blog post together in the store and take pictures. Easily share this content on social media for an attention grabber and drive traffic back to the website with a link. Providing valuable information like this helps you as a business make your customers’ job easier during this crazy, hectic time.

  1. Get creative

Turn your Facebook page into a countdown to the holiday season. With the 25 days leading up to Christmas Day, you can post funny memes, quotes, exclusive coupons, staff photos, etc.! It’s a fun and easy way to build excitement.

Looking for other ideas? Reach out to your Marketing Specialist – they would be happy to help!

Event Planning for Presidents Day

January 31, 2013

Presidents Day will be here before you know it, which means it’s time to get ready for the first big sales weekend of the year! Take this time to start your year off with a bang and offer your valued customers some great money-saving opportunities.

A great way to drive traffic into your store is by offering something the whole family can enjoy, such as an interactive coloring contest. You can hold a Presidents Day themed coloring contest which would be something for the kids to enjoy and have specials the adults can take advantage of as well. This time of year is well suited for DIY home improvements. Focus on offering specials geared towards the demands in your area; whether it’s home furnishings and replacing those worn out kitchen cabinets, or offering some great buys on major appliances, you’ll be sure to have something for everyone!

It’s also the perfect time to start planning ahead for spring! Big savings on lawn equipment is always a hot buy and it’d be the perfect time for your consumers to purchase a lawn mower that was a bit pricey in the summer months to prepare for spring that’s right around the corner. Discounting winter gear, such as snow blowers and snow shovels would be a hot deal too!

Providing outstanding offers will be sure to start your year off on the right foot; be sure to take advantage of this monumental weekend and make it a memorable one!



November 21, 2012

One thing that we all have in common is that at one point in our lives, we have played a game! Whether it was on the board walk, local fair, restaurant, Grandma’s house or the neighbor’s game night…we all have done it and we probably got some sort of thrill out of it!  Why not bring the games to your business?

Energize your business with a game!  Many of us think of “consumer incentives” as giving back to our loyal customers but now in a generation raised on video games, “gamification” may be more appropriate!  Integrating a game into your business can really win your customers hearts and minds!

Consider Foursquare, a company built entirely on a game-design model.  Users earn badges (awards) for checking in at places they like to frequent.  Over 8 million people have downloaded the Foursquare app, and use it to check in.  What a hit this has become.

So, Foursquare sounds a little elaborate right? Well, games do not have to be complicated or complex at your business.  Create a game that can either run for a day, a week or month if you would like.  The reward to the customer can be a plethora of things.  Perhaps a % off their next purchase, or their choice off a clearance rack, or an entry into a gift card. The possibilities are endless.

How about creating a game week called Flip Chip?  Upon check-out, your counter person can have a chip (or a coin) and they flip it.  Perhaps one side of the chip is blank and the other has a blue dot on it. If they land on the blank side they do not win. If they land on the blue dot side, they WIN! 50-50 chance…I would play for that!

People enjoy positive reinforcement….and, well, play is fun!  Gaming reinforces players through positive feelings generated by achievements, which can be through points, badges, discounts, a free gift or reward—tangible or not. Games generate positive feelings.  Giving customers something positive encourages additional interaction with your brand, service and product.

So the next time you dust off the Monopoly game, Hungry Hippo or Uno, think about bringing a game to your business. “What good feeling game can I bring to my customers?” It can be fun for them, you and your team and will energize your business on so many different levels!

Fighting hunger, One store at a time.

September 21, 2012

Holidays inspire all sorts of feeling in a community, many want to spread cheer and give back, but that is not always an easy task for a store, especially in the midst of one of the busiest consumer times of year. Well here is a traditional idea so easy, kindergartners can not only manage it, but are successful with it… a food drive!

Whether it’s Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanza, winter holidays just are not holidays without a good meal. A few cans of food may not seem much to everyone, but it is a great way to spread the holiday cheer and give back to those in your community. As a store owner, manager, or employee, there isn’t much up-keep to this kind of project, as it mostly includes a sign of some sort, and a container to collect the food in! Although you may want two containers, one for canned goods and one for boxed goods.  A local charity should not only provide you with a location to drop off the food, but also provide you with a list of needed items to post for your customers.

For those of you that may want to be a bit more proactive and involved, there are several options to tie into this idea. Many organizations dedicated to fighting hunger offer several different donation avenues, you may be able to collect a certain amount to sponsor a family for the holidays, for example: Donate $35 to feed a family of 4 for four days, etc.

You could make it promotional within your store, for instance; make a $40 purchase and the store will donate a can of food. If you wanted to get creative you could post somewhere in the store all of the families that have donated!

A great way to drive traffic for your food drive is using your social media. Start conversations, post reminders, and let your customers know what you need the most of. Document your progress with pictures, post ones of customers bringing in food, or dropping boxes off to your local charity. This certainly makes promotion easier, and this is the perfect event to get your customers talking.

Of course, there really are numerous ways to hold a food drive, how you gather is a matter of personal preference and the amount of time available to devote. However the gift of food is a no small feat, and is always appreciated by those in need.  Let the holidays begin!

Carving Your Way To Sales

August 21, 2012

As summer draws to an end and fades into fall, cool breezes and falling leaves should not be the only thing on your mind. Now is the perfect time to start planning fun, in-store events to boost sales and generate business while also getting the community involved in your store. The iconic symbol of Halloween is the pumpkin. October provides the perfect opportunity to combine a weekend sale with the creativity and excitement of a pumpkin carving contest. Here are a few simple ideas.

A pumpkin carving contest is a great way to get people into your store and can take place over a few days. If you choose to do a weekend you can have pumpkins dropped off by contestants on Thursday, Friday and/or Saturday with the judging held at a time on the last day you so choose. You can have numerous categories for pumpkin carvings ranging from best overall, scariest, funniest, most creative, most original and more!  The judges should be your employees with the winners of each category receiving a gift card to the store.

Though the point of the pumpkin carving contest is to have fun and to draw customers to the store, give them a reason to stay once they show up to drop off their pumpkins. Offer some snacks and beverages appropriate for the fall season. This may include some complimentary apple cider and cookies. The main attraction, however, should be a BIG FALL SALE. Choose this weekend to correlate with the pumpkin carving contest because many people will be in and out of your store while dropping off their pumpkins and viewing the other contestants work. This is the perfect time to have some great sales throughout your store.

With a couple of months to prepare for your fall blowout sale, you will be able to select the items you wish to have on sale based on need for the time of year and advertise the sale for a few weeks! This will gain notoriety not only for the pumpkin carving contest, but for the sale itself. Take the time to have some fun, enjoy the fall season and make some money while you are at it!


It’s a “Fair” Season to get Emails!

July 19, 2012

Fair season is upon us, and in some locations, in full swing. While many of us are planning on enjoying what the Fair has to offer, the smart business promoter is trying to work it to their advantage. Since e-mail is an efficient way to advertise, this would be a great opportunity to build to your email list!

Of course, you could just get a booth and wave people over, hope that your business is intriguing enough to entice those walking  by, or you could offer them a juicy deal! Contests are a time and time again proven opportunity to get a consumer’s attention. It costs nothing but a few scribbled characters for someone to give you their email address, and everyone that signs up is a potential sale, several potential sales in fact, so why not compensate that effort just a little?

The advantage of a good e-mail list is often priceless, since this is not only a way to spread news, share the joys and events that happen or pass through  the store, but entices your customers with deals, promotions, and new products, what is a small free gift in comparison?  Not to mention, in comparison to printing and circulating flyers (which is still the tried and true method of advertising) e-mails are nowhere near as costly, and can often generate very similar results to your print advertising.

Obviously the bigger the bait, the more fish will appear, so determine how much you want to spend in order to reach a certain goal. A gift card can work for any type of business, and is not a real loss because it is a guaranteed re-investment into the business.  However, you may be surprised to find what the results of offering a $5 gift card might generate!

Keep in mind, the fair is a perfect place to get this kind of involvement, most visitors are there to take a chance, be it a game, or a ride, or a show, so keep the ball rolling!

Lighting up the year!

June 15, 2012

The Fourth of July is the one day of the year we remember what our country was founded on.  In an effort to honor our nation’s independence, show customers you care by trying these easy Fourth of July promotions that will light up the whole year.

Raffle off a Fourth of July basket…

Make a patriotic basket that contains in-store coupons and popular items from your store.  Display the basket near the entrance and sell the raffle tickets at the counter.  Announce the winner the week of July fourth.

Host a Fourth of July Facebook photo contest…

While hosting a contest on Facebook is prohibited, using a third party ap is a great way to connect with your customers online and bring traffic to your page.  The contest guidelines can be customized to fit your store.  Costume contests, for example, can be customized to fit any retail setting.  Post the photos to your page so users can like their favorites.  The photo with the most likes wins.  Award the winner by featuring their photo in your next catalog or advertisement.*

Support your local military

Find a local organization that supports military families.  Ask customers to make a donation at the register.  Display the names of customers who have donated throughout the store.   This encourages your customers and the community to honor a soldier that fought for our freedom.

Kick off America’s Birthday by taking advantage of these easy promotions that will be remembered all year long!

*NMR offers information and assistance when hosting a contest or promotion using Facebook.

A family that plays together, shops together!

May 17, 2012

As Father’s Day is fast approaching, it would be silly to pass up the opportunity to get more traffic in your store. Any occasion to show your customers that you have a reason to celebrate a holiday with them, keeps them coming back for more.

Get Creative!

Creating workshops that are father and child based can be a great way to get customers in the store. Parents want to get their kids involved, and no matter what your business is, there are plenty of easy ways to occupy a child’s imagination. Even a pre-Father’s Day workshop, where mom and the kids come in to make a present for Dad!

Bring on the savings…

As always, Sales Events are a big hit, who doesn’t love to save money? Don’t forget to offer gift ideas within your store, suggesting what Dad might like to get this year! The power of suggestion goes a long way, and has proved successful time and time again.

Let them know that you’re listening…

Host a promotion of “Why I love my Dad”. When kids submit their written reason for loving dad, give them an opportunity to win a prize of some kind, and then display the winning entry in your store. Better yet, get a picture, some background information, and a blog can be posted on your website, making the whole experience come full circle.

With a little bit of imagination, any holiday can be made into an advantageous situation. It can also be a fun way to get in touch with your customers, creating an experience that makes them return to your store above any other.

Who Needs an Excuse to Party?!

April 23, 2012

As a company, we are always looking for ways to show our customers that we appreciate their business.  However it’s not always easy to come up with ideas! Well, here are some excuses to get your ‘party’ on!

The tried and true.

Customer appreciation BBQ’s are always a hit. Who can pass up on free burgers and hot dogs? Open up a cooler, add ice, and some soda, and you can’t go wrong! It’s a great way to enjoy the sunshine, and get a little extra traffic in the mean time. Adding a couple specials might also entice those stopping by for a burger to take a look inside, and leave a satisfied (and full) customer!

We all love Holidays!

Want to be a little more festive? Memorial Day is on Monday, May 28, and what a perfect way to kick off the summer then tie in the BBQ and a couple American Flags! Whether people are visiting your area or out rummaging through garage sales, they are always on the lookout for a good deal! Prowling is a hungry activity, and even if a BBQ is a little too time intensive, grab a few pizza pies, or throw an ice cream social to cool your customers off while preparing for the holiday.

Give back.

Now is the time for Relay for Life promotions, and any of these events could help you raise money.  While showing your customers that you appreciate them, this a great way to show them that you also care about the community.  Throw a garage sale yourself, or a bottle drive, or even a 50/50 raffle!  There is really no end to ways you can bring people in, and raise money!

No matter what you choose to do, don’t forget to plan, promote, and have fun.

If it’s too soon for you to party, check back next month for more to celebrate!

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