April 13, 2012
It’s not just PR exposure that retailers care about, but your overall ability to build brand awareness and create demand for your product. And PR is just one lever to use to create demand for your brand.
You can propose the following to retailers to supplement your PR efforts, especially if you’re on a limited budget.
If you’re unable to drive customers to those retailers through PR, leverage other free (or almost free) levers such as:
- Use that customer list you have built over time. Offer to drop a direct-mail postcard or email announcing the launch of your product to your customers in your retailer’s geographic area.
- Leverage social media. Tell retailers you will create programs that direct people following you on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook to their stores. Combine it with a promotional offer or sweepstakes to sweeten the deal and get people running to those stores.
- Sampling. Cobble together your own "street team" to sample product at events or venues that are near stores in which you are sold. It is a great way to get consumers excited about your brand and make a memorable impression. Make sure to tell consumers where they can buy product and if you can, motivate them with a coupon.
- Digital Ads. Facebook advertising is cost-effective and works well to target consumers. Just make sure your "call to action" is clear.
- Strike strategic partnership deals with complementary manufacturers who have the PR muscle for co-branding or cross-purchasing (e.g., coupons) initiatives.
- Focus on driving impulse purchases among shoppers already in the store. You can do this by making sure your packaging gives you a noticeable presence and clearly communicates what you’re selling. Work with the retailer on giving you prominent merchandising space like endcaps (may be hard if you can’t sweeten the deal with additional funds). Or use your limited budget to create distinct POP displays or shelf signage. Or create a promotional offer (that you fund, not the retailer) such as “Buy 3 for $5.00” or “Buy One Get One 25% Off”.
When all else fails, remember you can always quell retailers' fears by doing the following:
- Show your sales history. If you can show these potential retailers that you have been achieving strong sales in your current stores, this may encourage them to give your product a try. Nothing speaks louder than a proven sales record.
- Get creative with solutions. If these retailers are reluctant to take a gamble on you, offer solutions that mitigate some of their risk and shows your confidence in your product. For example, you can offer consignment deals or a limited time store test.