When you’re a boutique business, your marketing efforts must be boutique as well. Boutique marketing is focused on reaching customers who aren’t price sensitive, customers who want and appreciate all the extra things you do to make their lives better. Your marketing materials need to scream, “You’re the most important part of our day!” Discounters are focused on reaching large numbers of people who are motivated by low prices. The way they market can attract lots of customers. But it doesn’t appeal to people who want the high-touch experiences. As a boutique business, if you try to attract people the way big-boxes and discounters do, you will attract the wrong type of customers. So if your discounting competitors are marketing themselves a certain way, it’s a safe bet that it probably won’t work the same way for your boutique business.
Yet just because your business concept qualifies as a great boutique concept and you may have built a beautiful facility, if you don’t market like a boutique business you aren’t getting all the pieces right to profit the way you need to. Let’s start with how you market your business. Postcards won’t position you as different and won’t get a great response unless they advertise a fantastic price. They are just too easy to ignore and throw away. By sending postcards, you send the wrong message to recipients: even though the images and wording on the postcards may have be perfect, a postcard by nature doesn’t communicate that a business offers high-touch products and services.
An alternative is to put together a marketing campaign that reveals your attention to detail, your commitment to spending time, and your eagerness to build a relationship instead of just making a sale. Consider your marketing pieces as a small sample of what you do, not as a message communicating what you do. We can’t all make cookies to give as samples, but we must try to make a connection that gives people a true taste of our brands and the inspiration behind what we do.
Here’s an example of boutique marketing we share from Worth Every Penny:
Sharon opened her business online. Her concept: home-baked cookies delivered in the mail. She had the perfect website—clean, appealing design with easy-to-order functionality. Sharon didn’t have any customers yet. Sharon sent emails to her friends and family announcing her opening. She made a list of all the local real estate offices. Then she started baking.
Her marketing budget was spent on cookie ingredients and some really cool packaging—a box shaped like a house that had her logo printed on it. The box was fantastically designed to allow a waft of fresh cookie smell to sneak out of the chimney. It was impossible to ignore. Inside the box was an extra baggie of uncooked cookie dough that could be baked at one of the Realtor’s upcoming open houses, since there’s nothing more enticing than the smell of freshly baked cookies.
Sharon also included an engaging marketing piece that explained what she called “Connecting via Home-Baked Cookies”— her philosophy on why passing along something made from scratch can build an instant relationship. On the back of that piece was a short story, telling about how Sharon’s grandfather baked cookies every Thursday afternoon for her when she was a child. He baked them all the way through her high school years. Even though grandpa wasn’t the best communicator, he knew his granddaughter would sit at the kitchen table and connect with him for at least a few minutes while they enjoyed those delicious warm, homemade cookies.
Sharon also made every attempt to get in front of groups to inspire them with her story. She offered to speak everywhere she could—not “selling,” but sharing her story about how cookies resembled something bigger. She spoke to women’s groups, networking groups, at luncheons and seminars. Everywhere Sharon went, she made new friends and added contacts to her list.
Sharon delivered forty-two cookie boxes and spoke at fourteen events. She invested the same amount on her marketing campaign as it would have cost her to send 20,000 postcards to a rented mailing list. Yet Sharon communicated her brand in high-touch, vivid detail that connected with her prospective customers on an emotional level. Her marketing materials were focused on building relationships. And she began growing her database, which is one of the biggest assets in your boutique business.
Though your business may look like boutique businesses from the outside, you need to also be sure to market like a true boutique business, using a high-touch strategy to attract the right clients one at a time. Then you’ll attract the clients who say your business is Worth Every Penny. For more marketing help check out more of our blog posts.