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7 Billboards That Tell Tales

Here’s one advertising format that offers jewelry retailers larger-than-life bragging rights.

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IN TODAY’S FAST-PACED digital world, a traditional billboard may seem like an old-fashioned way to advertise. The medium has been around since the early 1800s, after all. But consider these takeaways from the 2016 Nielsen Out-of-Home Advertising Study:

“Roadside billboards are the most noticed ads, and that stands to reason since travelers average 18-plus hours on the road each week and cover over 135 miles. Eighty percent of U.S. residents age 16 or older surveyed have noticed a billboard in the past month and 62 percent have noted a billboard in the past week.”

Nineteen percent of those who view out-of-home ads, in general, have visited a store or other business after seeing a message, according to the study.

Traditional billboards—meaning, non-digital—remain an effective way to engage existing and potential customers. With that in mind, we asked seven storeowners who use the medium successfully to share their experience as well as their best campaigns.


Barker's Jewelry billboard ad

Be Both Playful and Practical
BARKER’S ANTIQUE JEWELRY, BATON ROUGE, LA

Barker’s billboard is the best of both worlds. The split-screen effect combines eye-catching bling and a cute play on words on one side and specific directions on how to track down that bling on the other side.

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Diamonds Direct billboard ad

Go Mobile
DIAMONDS DIRECT FINE JEWELERS, St. Petersburg, FL

Diamonds Direct has put its billboard in motion. Wrapped along the side of a bus, the ad depicts a beach with Diamonds Direct’s jewelry in the sand and a local model seeming to propose to those who enter. The billboard is part of an ad campaign promoting the company’s proprietary diamond cut, called the Sunshine Cut. 

D. Geller billboard ad D. Geller billboard ad

Draw ‘Em a Map
D. GELLER, ATLANTA, GA

When you want to announce to the world you’ve moved, billboards are a perfect medium to convey that message. D. Geller’s signage, whether providing directions or reinforcing its mission as an engagement destination, has a consistent brand look.

Burke's Jewelers billboard ad

Reel in the Customers With Regional Flavor
BURKES FINE JEWELERS, KILMARNOCK, VA

There are two main routes into the town of Kilmarnock on Virginia’s Northern Neck peninsula, and Burkes Fine Jewelers has a billboard along each.

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“Billboards have proven to be a very effective form of advertising for us,” says Whitney Lang, event coordinator and sales specialist for the store. “We’ve found that general advertising of eye-catching jewelry paired with memorable taglines brings us the most business.”

Created in-house, the “Gone Fishing” campaign did exactly that, resulting in increased sales to both residents of and visitors to the coastal community.

Taking a Risk Brings Results
TOODIE’S FINE JEWELRY, QUINCY, MA

Howard G. Jacobs uses regional humor to build awareness of his Boston-area store. The “Wicked Awesome Rings That Spahhrkle,” “The Real Players of Quincy” and “We Have the Rings, Just Give Us the Finger” billboards created buzz and brought in customers.

“The more risk, the more people talk about me,” Jacobs says. “Once they walk in the door, it’s as simple as showing them my products.”

Using the same image of Jacobs and his son Adam in all multiple billboards also allowed Toodie’s Fine Jewelry to tout its status as a family business.

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Invent an Engaging Concept
SMYTH JEWELERS, TIMONIUM, ANNAPOLIS AND ELLICOTT CITY, MD

Smyth Jewelers turned to ad agency TB&C for help reaching millennials. The resulting “New Rules of Engagement” campaign reflects how this generation goes about getting engaged, and it uses a variety of media, from social to old-school billboards. “No. 9 | Get Down on One Knee Because Two Is Begging” was the first rule to run on a billboard, with others from the list of 50 are scheduled to go up in coming months.

Christopher Duquet billboard ad

Stand Out in the Crowd
CHRISTOPHER DUQUET FINE JEWELRY, EVANSTON, IL

The “It’s Good to Have Alternatives” tagline has a double meaning, says Christopher Duquet, who serves as creative director for all of his store’s advertising campaigns. It not only spotlights the alternative design of the ring featured on the billboard, but it also sets his jewelry apart from that of the big-box chains, a common theme in all of his messaging. “We want to feature our most interesting designs and make it clear that we create our own jewelry,” he says.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

Not GOB (Going Out of Business) but TMM (Too Much Merchandise)? It’s Wilkerson To the Rescue!

With a remodeling project looming, the time was right for Steve and Linda Hammalian, owners of Little Treasure Jewelers in Gambrills, MD, to call in the Wilkerson pros. The couple needed to liquidate excess, aging inventory. Steve says he’d totally recommend them. “Wilkerson offered a comprehensive solution in terms of advertising, in terms of on-site presence and for their overall enthusiasm. They’re also really nice people.”

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Benchmarks

Stores Create Displays That Are Made To Be Touched

Make some merchandise accessible.

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IN MOST JEWELRY STORES, there’s not much that shoppers can touch without asking. But these jewelers allow customers the freedom to hold and try on pieces to their heart’s content.

Mixed Media

At Balefire Goods in Arvada, CO, owner Jamie Hollier uses blocks of wood atop a glass shelf to create an intriguing textural contrast while providing a simple, organic base for sculptural, artisan-made jewelry. Wood, metal and concrete furniture and fixtures soften an industrial aesthetic, while creating a neutral backdrop where jewelry and art become the focus.

An Heirloom Look

At H1912 in Princeton, NJ, an offspring of Hamilton Jewelers, watch bands are cleverly displayed in a vintage printers tray (discovered at a garage sale) and on bulletin boards. Rustic displays and period furniture reflect the store’s focus on heirloom jewelry and one-of-a-kind finds. “We recently started putting additional accessories up on bulletin boards in our store, but we only feature very few straps on the board because it’s important clients can touch and feel the different materials of the watch straps and be able to hold them against their watches on their wrist,” says store director Lea D’Onofrio.

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A Study in Contrasts

Lindy’s in Fernandina Beach, FL, embraces an eclectic decor in which it seems perfectly natural to hang long, beaded necklaces from deer antlers mounted on an exposed brick wall. The quirky wall display co-exists with elegant elements, including a large mirror propped against a wall and a chandelier. “It’s difficult to display long necklaces (that are so popular right now) in the showcases,” says owner Lindy Kavanaugh. “Our dress forms are another favorite for displaying long necklaces, and we love using the mineral specimens and cool gemstone-related pieces we find in Tucson as it seems to bring it all together with a fancy, but earthy vibe. Kind of like wearing pearls with a sweatshirt!”

Front and Center

At Adornment & Theory in Chicago, an accessories table in the center of the store draws shoppers to try on bracelets and pendants, while staff is prepared to fill them in on the story behind each piece. “People are looking for a personal touch,” says owner Viviana Langhoff. “They want to know if it’s handmade, they want to know about the designer, the story, the fair-trade component, where the stones are coming from. They like knowing the details.”

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Benchmarks

6 Websites Setting a High Bar for Jewelry Retail

Personalize your website to drive more sales.

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TODAY, THE CONSUMER experience starts online. Make your customers feel welcome in your virtual store, and they are likely to show up on your threshold, too.

“Websites are the cornerstone of any small business,” says Shane O’Neill, VP at Fruchtman Marketing. “It must be designed as a sales tool and method of communication.” Showing photos of merchandise with prices is a good start. E-commerce is the next step. And communication can be had in real time with a live-chat feature. Even social media strategies should reflect back to the website.

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What makes a solid website goes beyond the technical bells and whistles to reflect the personality of your store and the customer experience that can be found there. Include attractive photos of the store itself, so that viewers know what to expect – in terms of atmosphere and interior decor, when they do cross your threshold.

Julie Gotz, chief marketing officer for Freshley Digital, works with her team to custom design clients’ websites. While they are all clean, upscale designs that are easily searchable and can accommodate e-commerce, each has its own personality; the team doesn’t use one-size-fits-all templates. Her job, she says, is to do a deep dive into what the client likes and doesn’t like, what their aesthetic is, what their competitors are doing, and then producing a website design that will help them gain market dominance.

If you’re making the leap to e-commerce, remember that the point of much of that effort is to drive those sales into your store, too. “When I think of e-commerce,” says O’Neil, “I think of it as not just online sales; I think of it as sales.” Most retailers are marketing and targeting local shoppers, and so it makes sense that if you’re selling big-ticket items, they will still come to your store after shopping your store online. “Even with items that are $500 or $600, if you’re right down the street, they may still want to come in and look at it. Foot traffic is down, yes, but sales may not suffer if you have a high quality website and a great digital presence.”
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Alchemy
alchemyjeweler.net

Alchemy Jewelers of Portland, OR, introduced its new website with shopify e-commerce features in July 2018. “It’s updated, clean and romantic, and it incorporates the rich colors of the store’s interior, so people coming to the website know they’re in the right spot,” says marketing director Megan Walsh. Photographing fine jewelry and reflective diamonds was a learning experience, she says, but having the right equipment — a professional grade lightbox and a Nikon DSLR camera — helps. Walsh also blogs and updates product offerings and event information.

 

Belle Brooke
bellebrooke.net

Although Santa Fe, NM, gallery owner Belle Brooke Barer believes strongly in the power of brick and mortar commerce, bellebrooke.net still makes a statement about the business by deploying eye-catching model photography to emulate the experience of walking into the distinctive Santa Fe boutique. Jewelry pieces are shown with prices and a selection of the core collection is available for online purchase. Each page displays information emphasizing the artist’s priorities.

 

Jack Lewis Jewelers
jacklewisjewelers.com

Jack Lewis Jewelers of Bloomington, IN, does an excellent job of personalizing the online shopping experience by featuring quality photos of each staff member, and, in particular, introducing their “superstar” custom jeweler, Jim Leeds, who can create the ring of the client’s dreams. Rather than announcing, “We do custom design,” this innovative introduction begins to create a relationship between the customer and the jeweler.
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Croghan’s Jewel Box
croghansjewelbox.com

The elegant look of this Charleston, SC store is reflected in its easy-to-navigate website. You can instantly buy (or gape at) a 1950s sapphire, diamond and gold bracelet for $14,950, or pick up a $65 pair of gold-plated “goldbug” earrings designed to look like Palmetto bugs. About half of customers live out of town. Standard shipping is free when shoppers spend $100 or more.

 

Walters and Hogsett
waltersandhogsett.com

Walters and Hogsett’s website raises the bar in function by cross-marketing relevant content on other pages. For example, the jewelry and watch repair page refer back to the new watches page and also to the custom jewelry design page. So if a customer is considering repairing a piece of jewelry, they might instead consider repurposing it into something new. Doing this throughout a site keeps people engaged and on the site longer, says Shane O’Neill of Fruchtman Marketing. The business also provides clear opt-ins for their email newsletter, and uses sitewide banners for trunk shows or other events. They link to Instagram shopping options and have a loose diamond search tool.

 

Williams Jewelers of Englewood
Williamsdiamonds.com

Freshley Digital custom designed the website for Williams Jewelers of Englewood, CO, integrating Edge POS with the website and making it fully e-commerce enabled. “Every market is different; every client is completely different,” says Julie Gotz of Freshley Digital. Freshley Digital simplified the user experience while retaining the brand history of the store, one of the priorities of the Williams family. “It’s all about having a very clean, very upscale design that reflects the store. We only have a few minutes to grab their attention and lead them to the next step,” Gotz says.

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Benchmarks

These Jeweler Direct Mail Samples Shine Bright for the Holidays

Use these direct mail pieces as inspiration to create your own attention-getting holiday promotions.

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DIRECT MAIL is a great holiday marketing tool, as it lets you reach out specifically to your biggest and best customers, hitting them with invitations to swanky Christmas parties, wish lists to be filled out and returned, and discounts or gift cards for that perfect present. (You can also track it more easily than other advertising media, by instructing recipients to bring in the mailing to receive whatever the special offer is.) At the same time, we’re on the verge of the postal service’s busiest season of the year, so whatever you send needs to get noticed. And the examples we’ve collected here are harder to miss than Rudolph’s nose or, say, a bright star shining over a manger.


So Fresh, So Clean Shetler Wade Jewelers, San Antonio, TX

This snappy postcard alerts customers to a neat idea: a post-holiday “3-Day Detox Customer Appreciation Sale,” scheduled for the end of January, when things have settled down and it’s time to go through your inventory and get rid of some dogs. The layout is appropriately clean, signaling a new start to the year and nice deals for shoppers.

No Frills, No Nonsense Schmitt Jewelers, Phoenix, AZ

As Schmitt Jewelers reminds us, your holiday invite doesn’t have to shout “HOLIDAYS!” — it just has to snag the attention of your would-be customer. The strong, solid colors of the invitations for the store’s December “Shop Like a Man” promotion promised beer, food, and a straightforward gift-buying experience for red-blooded American guys.

Three Times the FunGUNDERSON’S JEWELERS, IA, NE AND SD

This Christmas party invitation is strikingly gorgeous, stands out by not relying on a typical holiday palette, showcases some beautiful jewelry, and serves as three invites in one, for soirees at Gunderson’s locations in three different states. Plus, it conveys a ton of information, including the designers who will be present at the events, in a markedly clear fashion.


Two Eyes Not Made Out of Coal Wixon Jewelers, Bloomington,

With its strong, contrasting colors and clever mix of snowman imagery and jewelry, this postcard from Wixon is tough to ignore and easy to smile at. The reverse has simple messages pertinent to holiday shoppers: Extended hours, front-door parking (important during the Minnesota winter) and gift-wrapping.

A Good BetBrinker’s Jewelers, Evansville, IN

Brinker’s is no stranger to the Benchmarks page, and for good reason. Their marketing materials consistently set a stylish, sophisticated, but approachable tone. This men’s night invitation promises a good time for the recipient. The invites each came enclosed with a guest pass, and the aesthetic here and alluring casino vibe suggest an event most gentlemen would be proud to bring a friend to.

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