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Page 74

G RASSROO TS MAR KETING

Grassroots Marketing: Where the Grass Is Greener

By Miriam and Mike Risko

In this age of social-media marketing and search-engine optimization, we all get caught up in analytics and digital thinking. That doesn’t mean that good old grassroots marketing should be forgotten, however. Although we have a lot more options nowadays, there’s still something to be said for an ad in your local paper or a poster stuck up in a window. Add a few of the new tricks you’ve learned along the way, and you have the basis of a solid grassroots marketing plan for your brick-and-mortar music school and store that you can partner with all the digital marketing you are doing. Digital marketing is still very important. But, when you have a storefront, you should never stop thinking in terms of your physical presence and how to reach your local community the old-fashioned way. When we started our business 25 years ago, there was no Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. It wasn’t easy to figure out where most of our customers were coming from unless we did a spreadsheet of their ZIP codes. We had a few concepts that we used regularly, however, and we continue to rely on these, but with a few twists. This article will focus on 74

what we call the bulletin-board concept. This method may be old school, but it still retains its potential. We are going to teach you how to use it and help you modernize it with some tips on how to get the most out of it. We used to spend hours on our bulletin board, which sat proudly in our waiting room in the mid ’90s. Each month, we’d give it a new look — for example, by putting a border around it, or by changing the paper on the back of the board to match the colors associated with the monthly holiday. A few years later, we got really fancy by outfitting our board with decorations that popped out and made you read what was being promoted. Everyone who came into our school saw the bulletin board, from students and their parents to people shopping for instruments. There was no avoiding our bulletin board, because you literally had to walk past it when you came in. Everyone stopped to look at it. They would read about what was going on, the monthly goals for students at our school and what events were coming up next. Student recital info was posted, as well as photos from the last recital. Now let’s jump to today. We hold many exciting events at our store, but everything is posted on our website, which we spend a lot of time and effort directing people to. Nevertheless, we haven’t forgotten our bulletin board, and it continues to serve us well. Here’s how to get the most out of yours. • Make sure your bulletin board is prominently displayed. • Change it monthly and update everything on it. You don’t want it to be stale, so give each month a theme and be sure to include all holidays. Just like

Take your bulletin board on the road. No, you don't have to carry it around with you when you leave the store, but you can take a picture of it and post it on your social-media pages.

merchandising your store, do the same for your bulletin board — move things around, change the display and add new things. Remember that you have a lot of regular customers in your school and store, so the board will need to look different for them to notice. Make sure it mirrors the information on your website. • Speaking of websites, think of your bulletin-board design like a website. Break it down into categories and subcategories representing not only what’s going on in your store and school, but also what’s going on in the community. At the top of the bulletin board should be the main event, drawing people’s attention to the biggest thing that’s going on. • Find ways to draw people’s attention to your bulletin board. For example, it can feature a student of the month, offer a practice initiative that students can sign up for or you can even use it to display coupons for your store. When you greet your customers, direct them to the bulletin board for all the latest information and remind them each week to check it out until it becomes a habit. Remind your staff to check it too, so they are not only in the know but can also help promote events. • Take your bulletin board on the road. No, you don’t have to carry it around with you when

you leave the store, but you can take a picture of it and post it on your website and your socialmedia pages. You can even send out an email with your newsletter and make a section about your bulletin board so people know it is there. Digitally promote your in-house bulletin board. • Don’t just focus on your own bulletin board. You can also post copies of flyers for your most important events on other bulletin boards around town. You and your staff are out and about in town anyway, so bring a few flyers with you. So many places use these boards, which makes collaboration natural. You’re apt to find bulletin boards in coffee shops, supermarkets and pharmacies, to name a few, and even businesses that don’t have them often allow other local businesses to post notices on their windows. Be sure to tag the places where you’ve posted so you can keep track. And make sure to make your flyers double-sided if you’re posting on glass. Bring your own tape and thumbtacks with you; you don’t want to have to borrow from the owner of the bulletin board. And always carry business cards with you. If you don’t have a flyer for an event, you can always hang up a business card. • Encourage businesses that have allowed you to put up a flyer to put one of their own up at your business. You can even take (continued on page 85) JANUARY 2020

Profile for Music & Sound Retailer

Music & Sound Retailer January 2020, Vol 37 No 1  

In our NAMM Show Issue, we offer an exclusive interview with Bernie Williams, a look at the reformative powers of music, a special Q&A with...

Music & Sound Retailer January 2020, Vol 37 No 1  

In our NAMM Show Issue, we offer an exclusive interview with Bernie Williams, a look at the reformative powers of music, a special Q&A with...