Podcast 015: Fabulous Friday: Theming your Days – Email Resend, Mastermind Group, Time on the Floor

Block Scheduling – Theme your Days
Fabulous Friday: Prepare Email Resend, Mastermind Meeting,Time on the Floor

This episode was originally recorded as a LIVE Periscope Episode, #122

We’ve been talking a lot about Theming Your Days here at Remarkable Retailer!
If you’re new to the Remarkable Retailer, today’s episode is the sixth part of a series on Theming Your Work Week and in case you missed either the introduction, or the first 5 episodes, you can easily get caught up by going back through the podcast episodes posted here on Remaarkable Retailer.

Several months ago I implemented a simple technique that has helped me become more efficient, get more done and makes my life a little less hectic. After a conversation with a member of my Mastermind Group, Carol Keplinger, from Timeless Traditions last week, I recorded Episode 117 as an overview of how to block schedule your work, and have decided to focus on this subject on our scopes each day this week.

It’s called theming your days.

Whether you love planning and execution or hate it, theming your days can help you do both without having to hold actual planning sessions and meetings with yourself every day. There’s nothing complicated about it…in fact, this has become a habit in my life that has almost become second nature. Although never perfect, it is a way that even when you are super busy and can be pulled into a million directions, it brings you back into focus, at least once per day.

Today we’re going to focus on Friday’s theme: Prepare Email Resend, EntreLeadership Class & Time on the Floor

In our business, our Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are slower, and business picks up Thursday, Friday & Saturday. This is why in the “Theming Your Days” plan that I use, the first part of the week is used for concentrated, detail work. Financials on Monday, Email & Social Media Marketing on Tuesday & Connection – Building professional relationships & education on Wednesday. Things change later in the week! The last half of the week we are busier with customers in the store, getting ready for weekend events, sometimes we have an outside retail show on the weekend, etc.

So here’s what our Fabulous Friday looks like: What is going on for the weekend (we call the weekend Thursday, Friday & Saturday) in our shop. Many times we have an event going on and that really determines what our day looks like. If possible, I like to be on the floor as much as I can be on Friday’s, but here is what goes on behind the scenes in the office…

Email: 2nd Chance at Success
I love to give our weekly email (created this last Tuesday) a second chance at success! We re-send this email to only the people that DID NOT OPEN it earlier in the week, and we usually get an additional 600 – 900 opens on that email. It takes 5-10 minutes to do this and is well worth it! I have a little step-by-step tutorial on exactly how to do this that I will be happy to email out to you. Just email Vicki@RemarkableRetailer.com with 2nd Chance in the subject line and I will get it right out for you.

Maybe your earlier email just didn’t hit them at the right time of the week…by sending out to only those that didn’t open earlier, you’re not “over-emailing” to the clients that do open your weekly emails! This has been a great method for us and we have consistently done this for over a year now.

There is also catching up that will need to be done in the office, a couple of quick Facebook posts to keep it “real” (remember that most of our Facebook posts were done back on Tuesday for the week), and just making sure that any essential emails are answered, schedules are done, etc.

Today’s ACTION Plan:

Like I’ve pointed out in previous episodes, I want to be in full disclosure here…just in case you think that my week runs in perfectly with the themes I have on each day, it just doesn’t work out like that! My life has it’s fair share of craziness just like yours does. We’re all about keeping it REAL here on Remarkable Retailer!

However, by theming your days, you know right where to get back on to get your most important work done! Another thing to keep in mind is that if you get “off schedule” you just start back with today’s theme! Make up only those tasks that are essential to running your business and move along…you will catch up next week.

Also, I don’t spend all day working only on the “theme” for that day. The change I have made though, is that I am not jumping around from theme to theme as I know that if it is marketing work, it will be done on Tuesday. If it is financial, I will take care of it on Monday, etc. Of course, there are always going to be exceptions and you must personalize this to your business!

Whatever business you are in, I would encourage you to give “Theming” a try! Our goal is to encourage retailers and entrepreneurs to have a successful business and a somewhat
well balanced life.

Also, if you’re interested in the Step by Step Tutorial on giving your weekly emails a second chance at success, just email Vicki@RemarkableRetailer.com with “2nd Chance” in the subject line, and I will get it right out for you! 

I know TIME is your MOST VALUABLE ASSET, and I never want to waste a single minute… THANK YOU so much for joining me today! I love being a part of this group of Remarkable Retailers!

My goal is to bring daily energy, experience and insight along with tips and tactics to help you grow your business!

If you’ve just discovered us here at Remarkable Retailer, let me introduce myself: my name is Vicki Adrian…I have been a small business owner of Adrian’s Boutique in the community of Buhler, Kansas for over 33 years. I love to brainstorm and bring experience and insight to help small business owners thrive in today’s economy. I believe that the BEST way to build a successful business is to create a Rock Solid Client List and then to take care of those customers for life!  

If you would like to work with me to Build Daily Habits and grow your business, You can get in touch with me at Vicki@RemarkableRetailer.com. I would love to set up a time for an appointment to “Talk Shop” with you!

If you would prefer to watch the video of this episode, just click image below.

Podcast 013: Theme Your Work Days – Wednesday – Connect! Educate! Read!

Block Scheduling – Theme your Days – Wednesday – Connect! Educate! Read!

This episode was taken from a LIVE Periscope Training: Episode 120

If you’re just joining us, today’s Scope is the fourth part of a series on Theming Your Work Week and in case you missed either the introduction, or the first 3 episodes, let me give you a very quick synopsis… 

Several months ago I implemented a simple technique that has helped me become more efficient, get more done and makes my life a little less hectic. After a conversation with my friend & colleague, Carol Keplinger from Timeless Traditions last week, I recorded Episode 117 as an overview of how to block schedule your work, and have decided to focus on this subject on our scopes this week.

Screenshot 2016-05-11 13.41.59It’s called theming your days.

Whether you love planning and execution or hate it, theming your days can help you do both without having to hold actual planning sessions and meetings with yourself every day. There’s nothing complicated about it…in fact, this has become a habit in my life that has almost become second nature. Although never perfect, it is a way that even when you are super busy and can be pulled into a million directions, it brings you back into focus, at least once per day.

I do want to insert right hear a big shout out to my rock star friend and fellow retailer, Carol Keplinger, owner of Timeless Traditions in Overland Park, Kansas. She sent me a screenshot of the dashboard on her new MacBook Pro last night with perfect little sticky notes that she Themed her days on… I love it and of course, had to copy it right away! I’ll post a photo over on the Remarkable Retailer Facebook page so you can see how she did it. LOVE that our RR community is not only listening, but TAKING ACTION! Great job miss Carol!

OK, Back to today’s episode!

Today we’re going to focus on Wednesday’s theme: Connect! Educate! Read!

I have been a retailer for 33 years, in a very small town in central Kansas… Just for a little background, I actually grew up in southern California, in the LA area, and married a Buhler, Kansas boy…then found myself in the middle of nowhere for the past 33 years! Many of those first years, I felt very isolated, didn’t know very many other retailers, and built this business on a lot of trial and error, with many mistakes made along the way.

I give you this background to help you understand how much I value connection with other small business owners and retailers. Several years ago, I began to intentionally connect with other retailers. This takes effort and sometimes it can feel like trying to make a new friend in Junior High…but I want to encourage you to hang in there and reach out to others in your profession!

One of my first retail connections was over the phone lines through a mini-mastermind group that Bob Negan of Whiz Bang Training had done. I think there were 4 retailers plus Bob as our facilitator who met once a week on a group phone call. There was another attendee, a lady named Terri King, that I really resonated with… after the program ended we stayed in touch and bounced ideas back and forth, and after months of “phone-dating” planned to meet at the next market that we were both attending.

We have been uber-connected and supported each other in many ways since then. I have gotten to know Terri’s husband, ooh and ahh over her darling little grandson, met several of her staff members, and have learned so much from this lady! Through the years, Terri has introduced me to several of her retail friends, who have become my friends as well…I in turn, have introduced Terri to some rock-star retailers that I had connected with… Terri was one of the first members of our MasterMind Group, and I am so grateful for her!

These relationships don’t just happen. You must be intentional about reaching out and connecting with others. I would go for months at times and realize that I hadn’t really talked to anyone from the group of professionals I had met. There were times that I felt really alone, frustrated and burnt out while trying to do retail alone. Let’s face it, unless they are involved in the business, our family and circle of friends just do not talk in our retail language. They don’t care what your IAT is, how your last coupon or catalog performed, or what exciting new products you have ordered.

I decided to make it a part of my LIFE to reach out and connect with another retailer at least once per week, and in order to make that a HABIT, set Wednesday morning drive time (my drive time is only 8 minutes, by the way) to call another retailer. Usually these phone calls went out to someone east of Kansas because of the time difference, but over the last couple of years, I also call someone west of here in the afternoon.

I cannot even describe how valuable this has been to our business! First of all, those retailers you call are usually feeling just as lonely as you did and they love to hear from you. If you’re thinking, “I don’t even know anyone to call…how did she meet these people?” I exchange business cards with people I meet at market, or vendors, or sales reps. Many times I will make a little note on the card so I can remember what they looked like. Other times, I ask to take a photo with them, so I can remember. If you don’t know anyone, you can always give me a call…I love to talk retail!

OK, back to Wednesday and theming your week. So, although at this point, there’s really never a day that I’m not talking or texting with another retailer, I still set aside time on Wednesday to be INTENTIONAL about it. Last week I had a great conversation with Tami Anderson, owner of Tapestry Boutique in Winnemucca, Nevada. Yesterday, I reached out to Kristen Holbrook from the Mole Hole in Michigan…I had never met her, but follow her store through emails and social media. She does a great job!

The other part that makes Wednesday so valuable is that this is also the day that I try to watch tutorials, videos, take an online class, read blog posts, etc. I have always been a firm believer in educating yourself, and could make an entire year’s worth of Periscopes on that subject because the world is changing so rapidly, you must take time out of your week to FOCUS on EDUCATION!

Today’s ACTION Plan:

I want to be in full disclosure here…just in case you think that my week runs in perfect accord with what themes I have on each day, it just doesn’t work out like that! My life has it’s fair share of craziness just like yours does. Things go wrong. Ice Storms Hit. A staff member gets sick. You have a week of market and get off schedule…that’s real life.

However, by theming your days, you know right where to get back on to get your most important work done! Also, I don’t spend all day working only on the “theme” for that day. The change I have made though, is that I am not jumping around from theme to theme as I know that if it is marketing work, it will be done on Tuesday. If it is financial, I will take care of it on Monday, etc. Of course, there are always exceptions!

 

Do the work! Get out a calendar and pencil in some major themes of work that you must get done on a weekly basis. Most everything you do will fall under 5 or 6 “umbrella themes.”

To quickly recap…Wednesday’s theme is Connect! Educate! Read!
(Leaders are Readers!)

Get specific! Instead of me just saying “On Wednesday I’m going to call someone”, I might say “On Wednesday I’m going to call Genia Vineyard & Connie Gauntt. I will also watch Michael Hyatt’s latest video, and will read 3 chapters in my current book, The Power of Habit.” This way I can check it off of my list and know I am accomplishing my goals.

Also, keep a folder on your computer or in a file with the names and contact information of other business owners that you meet, and make a note of when you talked to them last. Don’t put this off! Start to connect with someone in your profession TODAY! I cannot even stress enough how important this is to the long term success of your business.

If you would like to work with me to Build Daily Habits and grow your business, just go to the Remarkable Retailer Website and click on the “Work With Vicki” tab at the top. I would love to set up an appointment to “Talk Shop” with you!

My goal is to bring daily energy, experience and insight along with tips and tactics to help you grow your business!

If you’ve just discovered Remarkable Retailer, let me introduce myself: my name is Vicki Adrian…I have been a small business owner of Adrian’s Boutique in the community of Buhler, Kansas for over 33 years. I love to brainstorm and bring experience and insight to help small business owners thrive in today’s economy. I believe that the BEST way to build a successful business is to create a Rock Solid Client List and then to take care of those customers for life!

Prefer to watch this episode on video? Just click image below!

Incentives to Shop?

Set your business apart with “Extras!”

INTERVIEW-79

 

 

 

 

 

Click HERE for today’s Video:
Incentives to Shop? Set your Business Apart with “Extras!” from Vicki Adrian on Vimeo.

Small gestures can go a long way toward giving a customer a positive shopping experience that can turn into repeat business. In our retail store, we offer incentives year ’round to reward our shoppers for doing business with us. Many of these things can be done “on the fly” and with social media, you can quickly get your message out to your clients.

Here are a few examples…

Screenshot 2016-02-10 16.24.42Last Valentine’s Day, we had received a large order of stuffed white bears late in the game for Valentine’s Day, so had quite a few leftover. Over the past couple of days, we offered our customers one of these cute bears for $5 (original price $17.99) with any purchase of $25 or more. This was a win-win as we moved that older product out the door to clear up storage space, and it made our customers happy!

We also offer complimentary gift wrap on every purchase. I know a lot of our Periscope listeners have Hallmark stores, and that you sell a lot of gift wrap, so this might not be an area that you want to introduce… however, for us, we shop really hard to find inexpensive ways that we can wrap, so that we can offer this as a free service. We use both plain and printed cellophane bags that cost just pennies, along with colored tissue and curling ribbon. We have larger gift bags for items that need something larger, but we are happy to offer this to our clients.

On a day like today, (the day before Valentine’s Day), even if you don’t offer FREE gift wrap, offer to wrap the item using the bag that you just sold those men so they don’t have to do it! It truly takes just a minute to do this! You will make them look like Valentine Hero’s!

Our friend, Terri King from My Secret Garden in Bay City, Michigan uses a punch card that, when completely punched, get’s customers $20 in free merchandise. She also promotes a 5th Saturday event (usually there are 4 or 5 5th Saturday’s in a year) where her customer’s EARN a nice shopping bag when they redeem their punched card. They can then bring that bag back on a 5th Saturday and save 20% on their entire purchase. Several members of our Mastermind Group have adapted this for our own businesses.

Screenshot 2016-02-02 16.32.11Choose one category or line in your store to feature and discount each week. In our business, and in many of the businesses I work with, we have something on special each and every week. This past week, we have had all of our FASHION jewelry…necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc. on a Buy One, Get One FREE special. Make it a good special with a definite beginning and end date.

We have also done things like 25% off all Tops or 30% off all home decor. You can also choose one of your main vendors to put on special for a week… We have done this with candle lines, clothing lines, categories like games etc. This gives you something to promote and talk about in your emails, on social media, etc. Take a calendar and pencil in a promotion each week for the next 6 weeks. This gives you a place to start…you can always change it!

 

A VIP Club is another way to add value and incentive to your customers to shop with YOU! We consider our VIP’s to be any customer who is in our Email List. We send out weekly emails, and many times pop in a “Reader Reward” at the bottom. This can be a Gift Certificate with no strings attached…(take a deep breath)…or a FREE Gift with purchase of $35 or $50 or whatever. We want to make it fun and EASY for our customers shop with us.

Now if you’ve been in business a long time like we have, you will remember back to the days that “Specialty Stores & Boutiques” never discount. Well, those days are over! If you’re not offering incentives to your customers, you can be sure that your competitor, whether they’re down the street or an online business, as handy as your customer’s phone… certainly is! Be a smart shopper and look for items that you can use as specials for your customers. Today’s retailer will only survive by being a very savvy buyer! The profit is made in how you BUY as much as in how you SELL.

Action Item for TODAY…

What item could you move out the door today as a $5 with purchase of $25 or more? You can take a photo of that item, post it to Facebook and be off to the races. If you run out of that item, take a photo of another one, and post that to Facebook! Maybe you have some scarves, or a jewelry item, or a candle in the back room that you need to move out…

TODAY IS THE DAY! You will have BUYERS, not just SHOPPERS coming in the door today! Make it a memorable shopping experience for them. Be absolutely SURE that you are capturing their contact information including email address, so that you can start to build a relationship with them.

Next week, send out Thank You cards on Monday to your shoppers to let them know that you APPRECIATE their business, followed by an email on Wednesday to let them know what incentives you have for them to stop back by next weekend!

~Vicki Adrian

Catch Vicki on the Remarkable Retailer Periscope LIVE most mornings about 8:15 central time for tips, tools and inspiration for retailers, and savvy entrepreneurs.  It is “boots on the ground” – “in the trenches” training! Vicki Adrian is a 33 year veteran retailer who is hands-on in her retail business, Adrians Boutique in Buhler, Kansas. If you’re NEW to the Periscope App, click HERE to quickly set up your account.

View Episode 133 Here:

Incentives to Shop? Set your Business Apart with “Extras!” from Vicki Adrian on Vimeo.

 

 

 

 

Email Marketing: Second Chance at Success! (Part Two of Two)

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

~Chinese Proverb


“The botanical basis of this proverb is clear enough. Because it takes a long time to grow a tree, to have a nice-sized tree today, one should have planted it 20 years ago. But the second part of the proverb makes it clear that there is no sense in putting off planting a tree into the future because they take so long to grow. In fact, because they take so long to grow, the sooner they are planted the better, and planting a tree today is preferable to planting one next week.” David Mermin

Second Chance Email Marketing

So what does all of this talk about planting trees have to do with running a small business?

In talking with retailers and small business owners from around the country, I hear a very common theme when it comes to Email Marketing…they know that they should do it, they just don’t get it done! Despite all of the statistics and research that proves that email is an extremely effective tool to communicate with their clients, most retailers are not getting a regular, weekly email out to their customers. We need to find a way to simplify the process and maximize the time investment!

In Part One of this series, we provided you with a FREE E-Book on Email Marketing. Today we’re going to give you an easy method that I accidentally stumbled upon to get up to 50% more opens from the emails that you do create. It’s worth clicking the link and reading the rest of this post!