For downtown Grand Rapids businesses, there’s nothing like the 19 days of ArtPrize in late September and early October. Foot traffic triples with 500k people flooding the streets and entering businesses they’d never normally visit.
Foot traffic ≠ Qualified Leads
As exciting as this is, these guests aren’t what you would call “qualified leads.” They’re not there to shop or learn more about your business. They just want to see cool art.
Most of them will barely notice the venues they enter. Their eyes will just scan for art that interests them and then they’ll retreat to their phones to cast their vote on the ArtPrize app.
On a normal day, most of your traffic is there because they need a product or service that you offer. But that’s not the case during ArtPrize season. If you typically close a sale with 25% of your guests, don’t expect that conversion rate to scale.
3x traffic ≠ 3x revenue
Threefold traffic won’t equal triple the revenue. You might only make a sale with 1% of those who pass through your store. But this is a chance to make important first impressions. The beginning of every loyal customer’s journey starts with awareness.
They need to know you exist so they can remember you the next time they need your product or service. Don’t look at this traffic as wasted if most people leave without buying anything. Remember the potential future revenue that will come if you successfully leave lasting impressions.
This is an unparalleled opportunity. Get excited about the potential but be intentional about getting the most out of ArtPrize traffic. It won’t happen by accident so here are 5 tips to help you create a successful strategy:
1. Cover the basics:
It’s the little things that leave a bad taste in the mouths of guests – sticky floors in a restaurant, dirty tables, long lines, no paper towels in the restroom, a dimly-lit space because of a burnt-out light bulb, or worse yet, an understaffed crew that is even the slightest bit short-tempered.
Don’t give anyone a reason to leave with a negative impression of your establishment. Cover those basics by making sure you’re adequately stocked, staffed and that your staff knows what’s at stake.
2. Express yourself:
A clean and well-staffed facility is a good start but it certainly isn’t enough. You could still come across sterile, cold, and corporate.
This is an opportunity to show your personality – not yours in particular, but your brand’s. Find ways to make it obvious to everyone who passes by that your business is an engaged member of downtown Grand Rapids with its own unique style and flare.
Turn foot traffic into potential customers by letting them feel the soul of your business. Create signage, t-shirts for your staff to wear, and a robust social media campaign that:
- Shows your Grand Rapids and Michigan pride
- Promotes the artist, their story, and their work
- Highlights your genuine interest in community, diversity, and the arts
3. Surprise and delight:
Don’t stop at just cleaning the place up and showing a little personality. Take it a step further and commit to surprising and delighting those who pass through.
Plan one or two key strategies that are so remarkable, people will talk about it. This won’t come to you overnight. It might take a couple months of planning to do something spectacular.
How do you find the right big idea? Start with some brainstorming sessions with your team. Consider networking with other neighboring businesses to see if you could collectively come up with an idea worth collaborating on together for everyone’s benefit.
If nothing surfaces, it might be worth hiring a local marketing agency to help you come up with a powerful strategy that is appropriate for your brand.
This 19-day window could make your next year. It’s worth taking time, energy, and some of your annual marketing budget to make it count.
4. Run specials:
The next step to optimizing ArtPrize traffic is to get visitors to try your product or service. Give free samples if possible or run some radical sales that make it impossible for passersby to resist giving something a try.
This isn’t the time to protect your margins. Do whatever it takes to give guests a taste for what you can do to improve their lives.
As our very own Grand Rapids marketing pioneer from the 1900’s once wrote, “A good article is its own best salesman. It is uphill work to sell goods, in print or in person, without samples.” – Claude C. Hopkins (1866-1932)
Don’t be pushy or aggressive but find appropriate ways to get visitors to experience what you’re your products or services can do for them.
5. Create leads:
Creating a good experience is important but don’t leave it to their memory. Figure out the best way to create leads that you can reach out to occasionally to jog their memory when they are in need of your product or service.
If you can get guests to like your Facebook page, that’s a good start. It’ll give you the opportunity to reach out to them directly with future posts. But since only a small percentage of your followers see your organic posts, that’s not the best way to generate leads.
The best way to control your follow-up strategy is to acquire email addresses and one of the most effective strategies is to offer an incentive like a sweepstakes.
Come up with an impressive prize or a series of prizes that will appeal to ArtPrize participants. Make sure those prizes reinforce the personality of your brand, creates buzz, and is CASL-compliant so you have permission to follow up.
By the way, give some careful thought to your first follow-up email. If they don’t engage with it, they will either unsubscribe or will tune out and ignore future emails. But that’s a topic for another post.
Make ArtPrize count for your business this year. Optimize the experience of everyone who passes through your facility. And have fun with it!
What does all this have to do with Journey Mapping?
Journey Mapping is often discussed in the context of digital customer experiences but the exact same principles apply in storefronts. There are direct parallels between building awareness online and on a street.