This year we advertised in the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility annual coupon book. This book is for sale for $10 and it contains over $2,300 in savings at participating stores. The booklet looks great and it’s been distributed throughout Vermont and actively marketed as a great present for socially responsible shoppers who value shopping local, as it’s paired with Local First Vermont. Think stocking stuffer with a heart.
This book, printed on heavyweight recycled paper, looks and feels great. One on the nicest things about it is all the participants have the same size ad, and every page is visually appealing with just one store listed. The coupon book hit stores in the last two weeks and I’ve never seen such a great response to our coupon. Every day, at least two coupons get redeemed. And more often than not, these are new customers to our store. Sometimes coupons can look bad, or shoddy.
People who use this booklet are the same people who make a point of shopping local, even if it means driving past a chain store to do so. Indies need this kind of person to keep us alive and thriving. These folks will tell their friends about your store if they’ve had a good experience. Reaching your target market so efficiently is a boon to any business. I don’t have to sell these customers about the importance of shopping local. They save money on their purchase and I make a new customer who might not have heard of my store before.
But not every customer comes in already knowing about the power of shopping local. For those customers I recommend posting any of the myriad of promotional signage available about the reasons why shopping local is important. This time of year is the best time to reach new customers who are coming to your store because of the holidays. They might not be a regular, yet. So part of a bookseller’s job is selling the bookstore as well as the books. And, part of selling any indie is customer education about what independent stores mean to the community and state.
During the busy holiday season, lots more people are waiting in line and it’s smart to give them sometime interesting and informative to read. The American Bookselling Association has great promo material that supports Indiebound. One of my favorites is the 3/50 Project. Their printable pdf is clear and looks great and really catches people’s eye. Its message is so clear: Pick 3. Spend 50. Save Your Local Economy. Almost all states have a shop local campaign and it’s worth finding out more about yours. Professional-looking signage from these organizations can be the catalyst to good, educating conversations with customers who want to know more. And this can be the path to securing customers.