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When Planning Your Marketing for 2020, You Really Need to Consider These Factors

It’s not just about a budget; consider your messaging as well.

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RETAILERS SPEND MORE time marketing than ever before. Since the 1970s, the average number of daily ads consumers are exposed to exploded from 500 to 4,000. As a result, you must work much harder to get your customers’ attention. Before 2005, it was recommended that a retailer spend 6-8 percent of revenue on advertising. Today, the benchmark has soared to 12 percent.

Successful marketing strategies all share one common denominator: a plan. You might think you have a plan if you have a marketing budget, but a budget simply tells you how much. A marketing plan provides a set of instructions that articulate what your messages and campaigns will be, where and when you’ll run them, how much money and time you’ll devote to each, and the results you anticipate for your effort. Your marketing plan should include three distinct steps:

1. Topline Budget: The total amount budgeted for marketing and advertising this year.
2. Big Themes: A broad plan to achieve your sales goals.
3. Detailed Plan: A precise set of directions to follow throughout the year.

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Once you set your budget (typically set as a percentage of projected revenue), it’s time to establish your Big Themes. This includes the promotions you plan to run during the year, the problems you want to solve for customers, and the messages and emotions you wish to convey. The most effective way to develop this section is to start with your sales plan.

A spreadsheet with planned monthly sales across the top works well. Below that, indicate the natural promotions that happen each month, like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, graduation season, and holidays. In the next row, list your unique promotions like trunk shows, appreciation events, and sales.

You will see that some months have more activity than others. The purpose of marketing is to support sales, so brainstorm events and campaigns to bolster sales in the lighter months.

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Stay at this high level a bit longer. Are there any messages or themes you can stretch across two or three months? Problems you want to solve? Emotions you wish to evoke? Add these ideas below the associated months or quarters. Global messages and themes improve marketing flow and consistency. Most small businesses approach marketing as a hundred or a thousand disconnected social media posts, blog posts, and ads. But the key to effective marketing is retention — mind share — and to achieve retention, your customers must perceive continuity and consistency in your marketing elements.

Now it’s time to create the detailed plan. List every channel you plan to use this year: print, digital, TV, radio, billboards, email, social media, point-of-purchase materials. Decide how often you will use each channel, and the associated costs. Make sure your global messages, campaigns, and themes cut across all channels, so your customers experience a consistent message. Budget for improvements like website updates, graphic design elements, and marketing tools.

Planning is hard work, but it pays for itself in better marketing, budgeting, and time-management. Get your 2020 plan up-to-speed now, and reap the benefits.

Andrea Hill is owner of Hill Management Group, with three brands serving the jewelry industry. Learn more at hill-management.com.

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Deb Schulman says once she and her husband, Ron, decided to retire, she could feel “the stress start to leave.” The owners of B. Alsohns Jewelers in Palm Desert, California, the Schulmans had heard about Wilkerson over the years and contacted them when the time was right. Wilkerson provided the personalized service, experience and manpower it took to organize their GOB sale. “We are so impressed with the way Wilkerson performed for us,” says Ron Schulman, “I’d send high accolades to anyone who was interested.”

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Sales Truth

Why A Well-Told Proposal Story Could Help Close The Sale

It starts with getting the groom-to-be involved.

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WHY IT IS TRUE: He is in your store to purchase an engagement ring, a totally unfamiliar task for him.

PLAN OF ACTION: Ask him how he plans to propose. If this is something he has not considered, take this opportunity to share several beautiful proposal stories your clients have used. Ask him questions, get him involved, encourage him to share his plan, and help him embellish it in any way you can.

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Shane Decker

You’re Killing Your Own Sales By Talking About the Price

Romance the item and the reason they came in, and you’ll close more sales.

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DURING THE HOLIDAYS, we get into bad sales habits because the sales are so easy and customers are buying price-point items. We sell faster, we sell price and sometimes we don’t even really sell the item. Now that we’re into the new year, it’s time to get back into good selling habits.

The diamond season is about to start. Typically, it runs from April 16 through the end of September (although we sell diamonds all year, which we should). What can keep you from selling as many diamonds as you could? The price.

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Too many salespeople are afraid of the price, no matter which item they’re selling, which causes problems with closing the sale, among other things. When you try to justify the price or the client feels you are apologizing for the price, they start to believe that you think they can’t afford the item. They will feel pre-judged and leave.

Clients are coming in for you to spend their money for them; they’re paying you as a professional to do this. You do not need to decide how much they can spend. Let the client decide that (unless you’re wowing them with a $10,000 diamond while they’re waiting for a battery).

Instead of price, concentrate on selling with romance and knowledge. These two things build confidence in your product. Quality, technical information, craftsmanship, design, difficulty, brand, rarity, size, color, clarity, cut, and other factors all contribute to the value of the product.

That said, you have to understand when technical selling is appropriate, and how much to do. Some clients are not interested in this at all, so do not volunteer technical information if it’s not needed. You don’t need to impress the client, but if they have concerns or questions about technical aspects of the product, it’s up to you to answer any and all questions with authority.

Remember: The more money the item costs, the easier it is to close because the customer can afford it. The less the item costs, usually the harder it is to close. Money is just a tool the client uses to obtain what he or she wants. Always start high and go down — you limit yourself when you start low and try to work up.

Begin the sale with questions that encourage the client to tell you their story and why they’re in your store. And make it about the importance of the item. When you make it about them and the item and you learn to romance the reason they’re here, the price will become insignificant and the client will upsell themselves.

Don’t talk about yourself, and certainly don’t make the sale about price. They’ll forget how much they spend, but they’ll always remember the event and the item.

Millennials are changing the size of the starter set diamond — diamonds from 1.5-carats to 2 carats are selling like crazy all over the country. All of you should be selling big diamonds. Make 2020 the year of big diamond sales and high closing ratios in your store.

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David Geller

What You Can Learn From Insurance Companies to Make More Money in Your Shop

Charging more to every customer helps pay for damages that your store covers.

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REDOS, STONE LOSS and breakage are the bugaboos of any shop. Stuff happens, but who pays for this?

Do you think Allstate pays for a car repair when you wreck your car? No! All Allstate customers share in that repair, which is built into their premiums. We all pay.

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That’s how stone loss, breakage and redos should be paid in every store: by charging more for all repairs to cover these procedures.

Let’s talk profit-and-loss statements for a moment. As a reminder, here’s the breakdown:

  1. Sales minus cost of goods = your gross profit
  2. Expenses are paid out of your gross profit
  3. After paying your expenses, what you have left over is net profit

Let’s say you size a ring and months later the customer comes back and says, “Hey! You sized my ring I had for 12 years, and 30 days later, my 5-pointer fell out. Now take care of it!”

We’ll assume you will give her a new 5-point diamond at no charge. Your cost probably $30. Where on your P&L does the $30 cost come from? It comes out of your net profit.

The typical American jewelry store has a net profit of 5 percent. So, the “Allstate question” is, “Who’s going to pay and by how much?”

It’s simple really: Just divide the cost of this problem (the lost diamond) by your net profit percentage.

$30.00 divided by 5% (“0.05”) = $600.00

Your store will have to do an extra $600 in sales, above and beyond your goal, to have $30 left over to pay for the lost $30 diamond!

The easiest way to get this extra $600 is by charging customers an additional fee for the jeweler to check all stones, tighten any that are loose and guarantee them for one year against loss.

You charge this same fee if:

  1. All stones are loose when ring comes in.
  2. If just a few of the stones are loose.
  3. Even if none are loose, because we are still guaranteeing after we work on the ring that the stones won’t get loose or fall out in the following year.

Sounds like Allstate, doesn’t it?

Here are our current Geller Blue Book prices to check and tighten stones:

  • Up to 4 stones, no charge.
  • From 5 to 20 stones = $34
  • From 21 to 35 stones = $52
  • From 36 to 50 stones = $70
  • Each additional stone over 50 = $1 per stone

The typical store will take in an additional $18,000 to $40,000 with this extra income, whereas typical store losses in a year are less than $5,000.

Like Allstate, you’d make money on crashes. Imagine that.

Is your store in good hands?

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