Everyone retailer knows that getting new customers to walk through the door is one of their most costly customer acquisitions. The Cost to Acquire Customers and determining what the Lifetime Value of a Customer one of the most widely studied segments of retail marketing, but one that most independent retailers never consider. For online sales, these figures are easy to track and straight forward, but in the world of physical retail it can be much harder for small businesses to calculate.
While many boutiques are using Social Media Influencers, many are simply hoping that the pictures, video, and social shares will drive real world traffic. The most under-utilized aspect of local influencer marketing are real world live activations.
Our sister marketing company, Satterfield Group, has been working with Influencer driven live activations for a few years now, but earlier this year we organized our first regional boutique focused Influencer activation with the Growing Up Texas, 1-Year Anniversary Party.
Jennifer, one of our sales and marketing leads and the force behind GrowingUpTexas.com, rolled out a plan to put a select group of local businesses and 50 of the most influential and connected women in the community together. Then hosting the event at one of the hottest boutiques in town.
The event got the right customers through the door and thanks to a special “event only” discount sales were strong and, in our follow up, over 60% of the attendees purchased something that night or within the 30 days following the event, with many returning to shop again. Remember that retaining a customer is five to twenty-five times less expensive than acquiring a new customer, having a plan to collect customer information is critical to the overall success of these kind of live events.
As the boutique owner, here is what your primary focus should be:
- Finding the right influencer in your community who has real, authentic, regional engagement. Tools like Influence.co help you find regional influencers, but don’t limit yourself to just sorting by follower count or online only, your biggest influencer might already one of your customers who is simply well connected in the community.
- Working with your Influencer partner, start looking for likeminded businesses in your community that you can partner with for the event. Look for local restaurants, wineries, breweries, and spas.
- Merchandising your store to best suite the demographic that is coming to the event.
What we learned from our event:
- Hosting the event after hours was the right call and attracted the most attendees.
- Keep the invite list small, 50 or less, this will give you and the influencer time to meet talk to all the attendees and build relationships.
- Staffing is key, the staff must be bought into the concept and be committed to interacting and making it an amazing experience for all the guests.
- Hire a dedicated professional photographer and share the images with the attendees and influencer. Having images of your store busy and full of happy vibrant people is an asset you can use for years to come.
- The swag bags were a hit and generated hundreds of additional social media interactions for the boutique and the partners who were included for weeks to come.
- We should have had representatives from all the brand partners there to be able to share more about what they do and their place within the local community.
- Running a give away to capture contact information was highly effective.
- The event can be branded as an Influencer Meet & Greet, a Milestone Celebration (reaching 10,000 followers), or a Influencer product launch, it isn’t hard to find an excuse to throw an event.
Bringing the Influencer offline and into the real world does have some logistical challenges, but if you are looking to increase your clout within the local community, build a network of other brands you can partner with, and develop a base of brand evangelists that will sing your store’s praises, hosting live events is a cost effective way to do it.