Word of Mouth Marketing” is a term I love to use, and use it more often than the marketers around me would like. For myself, word of mouth marketing is anytime a person/company is spreading their marketing message by words, typing, reviews or voices instead of using advertising. Some may look at it also as grassroots marketing, or gorilla tactics.

Bike shops, like many small businesses, have been slower on the take of grassroots marketing they realize they need to do it but how do you justify the time or cost of time that it takes to spread a message. Below are some elementary ways a bike shop can spread their own message without paying an arm and a leg for an agency or specialized professional to do so. Granted, if they paid a bit upfront for setup and guidance from these said professionals they will get a better product to run with on their own. It is also hard for a bike shop to justify the cost of having someone with marketing skills, especially when you can’t draw a straight line to a dollar figure on their evening sales report.

Email Newsletter

Emails and e-newsletters are an old hat. Small businesses have been using them for 10 years, some put more thought in what is within those email walls before hitting the “send button.”

Here’s some best of class ways of doing things:

Consistent. This doesn’t mean you have to email out every Thursday, but figure a timing that works for you and do your best to make it. This could be bi-monthly, or monthly, or quarterly.

Understandable subject line. Don’t get too creative, people need to remember why they subscribed to you and why they should open

Cross interest. Try to touch on various interest in your “generic email” newsletters. IF you have your email lists categorized by interest, then great – send triathlete emails to triathletes. I still suggest to write a “generic email” to all your customers that highlight all interest. Just because I bought a triathlon bike from you does not mean I’m not interested in the kids bike specials for the holidays.

Social Community

Everything is tagged with the word social these days. Social media, social hype. I separate social media hype in a few ways, social community and social outlets. Facebook Pages, Twitter, and Google+ are community driven. Flickr, YouTube, and Vimeo are examples of social outlets. They all have social aspects, some more outlets and some more community building.

Learn how to build a community and tribe.

Customer Data Mining

Are your customers on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn? Do you know your top customers buying habits? Do you know your top customers by bike type, or by apparel, labor and numbers? Do you know the women that buy because there is a sale or a coupon shows up in their inbox?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you are missing connections and sales.

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