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Brand Portfolio: Siebke Hoyt Jewelers

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BY JOSH WIMMER

Published in the February 2014 issue.

“Once we have a customer, we want to keep that customer as long as possible — for eternity, really,” says Joseph Hoyt IV. “That’s our main goal: We focus on the people that we’ve already gotten. We do try to get as many new people as possible, too. We have a big clientele, but it could always be bigger.”

Hoyt took charge of the family business’s marketing after coming to work at Siebke Hoyt in 2011. His strategy is practical and resultsdriven. He’s dropped most of the store’s advertising in traditional channels such as TV, broadcast radio and newspapers in favor of more targeted media like direct mail, banners and billboards, and Pandora Internet radio.

The result? More business, he says, at about half the previous cost.

Hoyt takes the rationale seriously that it’s cheaper and more effective to engage the customers you already have than to bring in new ones. Direct mail has proven to be a powerful tool in that regard — a typical Siebke Hoyt mailer includes a bar code for a prize or some similar incentive that requires customers to visit the store.

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“Those are exclusively for people who have shopped here before,” he says. “We want to give them a reason to come in, to check it out and see if they won something.” The corresponding good deals advertised in the fliers have helped “train” customers, too. “The people who are local, they wait for these pieces. They know we don’t discount unless there’s a sale, and they know there’s a sale about once a month. They’ve figured that one out.”

Tracking is a “huge” part of Hoyt’s strategy as well. He pores over detailed reports from his direct- mail vendor, Mail America, after each campaign and analyzes the results.

He also runs a quarterly drawing for a $500 store gift card. To enter, shoppers have to share how they heard about Siebke Hoyt.

“We’re literally at 73 percent word of mouth, and that’s free, so I like that,” he says.

BILLBOARDS

“Starting around September, that’s when we do our billboards,” Hoyt says. “We have three static billboards and one digital billboard.” The store co-ops with its designers for all its billboard advertising.

GIVEAWAYS

“We gave away 81 iPads in a three-day weekend,” Hoyt says of Black Friday 2012. In 2013, the prizes were PlayStation 4s and Call of Duty video games. “We want to see how many college kids are interested enough in that to come down.”

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DIRECT MAIL

“We get a 7 to 12 percent return rate on each direct-mail piece, which is pretty high,” Joe Hoyt says. The mailers typically center on an event and give recipients a clear and strong incentive to come into the store, as with this invitation to celebrate the start of football season at the nearby University of Iowa, which included a ticket with a bar code that gave the holder a “mystery discount” when scanned.

DIRECT MAIL

Siebke Hoyt’s mailings are often personalized. Using customer data supplied by the store’s Edge management software and reports from Mail America, Hoyt plays around with campaigns aimed at different types of customers to see where his returns are greatest. “I’ll do different ranges, like ‘customers who’ve spent $300 during 2007 and 2012.’ I’ll make a package of lists like that and see which list works best. I’ve found the $1,000-plus purchasers are often the most willing to come back.”

EVENTS

This Ladies’ Night invitation included a ticket to enter a drawing for a $1,000 shopping spree that doubled as the customer’s wish list to fill out at the event.

BANNERS

After word of mouth, Siebke Hoyt’s next most effective form of advertising are the simple banners they hang on their exterior. “We’re on the corner of the two busiest streets in town,” at Highways 100 and 151, Joe Hoyt says. “We get people both ways coming toward our store.” He estimates 70,000 cars pass the building each day.

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