By Lauren Rowert, AVB Marketing

All retailers want to make their businesses as successful as possible. But while some report amazing results from their marketing efforts, your mileage may vary. Afterall, you’re not a marketer and you don’t have unlimited budget. So how do you get the most value out of your marketing agency, whether or not it’s AVB Marketing? Here are seven top tips to consider (plus three bonus tips for BrandSource members):

1. Share Your Goals and Wins

Your marketing account contact is there to help you! The most successful retailers have regular calls with their team, and they’re keeping them in the loop on what’s working with their marketing and what’s not. They’re sharing which promotions they’re planning, they’re asking about the performance of their ads, and they’re disclosing how their business is doing.

At AVB Marketing, some of our most successful BrandSource members share a weekly P&L, track and share weekly door swings and sales, and indicate which ZIP Codes are generating sales. These pieces of information are so useful in helping us optimize your digital marketing and to serve you better. Our marketing professionals are subject-matter experts on appliances, mattresses, furniture and electronics, but not experts in your hyper-local area. Share what makes your market different, who your local competition is, which demographics are opportunities for you, and what makes your business stand out from the competition. The more you share the more we can help craft a more effective digital marketing strategy or help support your promotions on your website.

2. Try Over-The-Top (OTT)

If you’re running TV or OTT ads you’re probably paying too much, and not getting the greatest share of voice and brand awareness you could be. AVB Marketing has experts in OTT, ready to help you get more awareness with the right audiences and make the most of your budget.

Research shows that cable and broadcast TV viewership is declining. If you are still buying OTT through your TV provider, get a quote from multiple vendors on OTT. You will definitely save money, reach a more qualified audience, and help build brand awareness. The worst that can happen is you have a great negotiation figure to go to your regular TV vendor with.

3. Start Merchandising Like a Pro

You’ve already heard it said from the big stage at the August Convention, but treating your site like your most important store is your biggest opportunity as a business owner. But you are busy, and your team has lots to do. Although AVB’s LINQ website merchandising tool is easy to use, our most successful members are leveraging our LINQ4U team to regularly merchandise their sites to showcase promotions. They’re setting up special catalogs, their putting flags on products, and they’re making custom product packages that take advantage of their overstock and vendor deals. They are leveraging the full power of LINQ and seeing results in e-commerce. Talk to your account executive about how AVB Marketing can help, for a fraction of the cost of hiring an online marketing whiz kid.

4. Try Something New

The best way to learn is to test. Retailers are often nervous about trying a different approach from what they’ve done in the past. Try a new social unit. Try YouTube marketing. Run a small budget test of a new opportunity target market. Try Local Ads. Try a new type of promotion or giveaway. You’ll never know what works unless you try, and your marketing team can help you measure the results and see if you should adjust your marketing mix.

5. Talk to Fellow Buying Group Members Regularly

So you attended an event and as a result you have a stack of business cards. Though everyone’s busy, the most successful retailers have met peers at these events whom they can use as a sounding board to share ideas and results. Yes, this takes some trust, but fellow members want what’s best for each other, and can help you make decisions like how to commission salespeople, how to handle delivery and returns, how they’re utilizing their marketing agency, and what’s working well for them. Some BrandSource members hold monthly group calls to learn from one another.

6. Share Your Ideas with Leadership

At BrandSource there is a team of leaders who are here to help the membership not only stay in business but to thrive. Do you have an idea that would benefit everyone? Share it with the Leadership Team. Many of AVB’s best innovations started with an email from a savvy member. Don’t like something that’s happening? It’s likely already on a roadmap, but the more feedback we get the higher the chance of the Technology Committee voting to prioritize that new feature, service offering, or to change to the way we do things.

7. Get on Chat

You may have heard other retailers talking about how their business is growing due to an online chat tool, but you might be worried about how you’ll man it. Yes, our most successful retailers have a dedicated person or persons assigned to live chat, and online conversations are getting results.

The evidence is clear: according to website optimization resource Crazy Egg, 38 percent of consumers are more likely to buy from a company if it offers live chat support. Plus, chat is a great way to bring visitors back to your website. According to market research firm eMarketer, 63 percent of customers were more likely to return to a website that offers live chat. If you’re not doing some kind of chat, talk to your marketing team about options! They’re not all expensive, and retailers who have started chat have described it as transformative to their business and online conversions. (Some are even using it to promote their own instant rebates and are using promotional banners advising users to “Chat now for even more savings.”)

Members Only: Bonus Tips for BrandSource and AVB Marketing Dealers

8. Leverage the Full Power of BrandSource Rebates and Free In-Store Signage

Some BrandSource dealers are not aware of all of the resources available in the Backroom. Each BrandSource member has access to the Backroom and many use it to craft the best, most effective promotions by combining promotional pricing periods and BrandSource rebates to beat even the big-box stores on price. Successful members are also taking advantage of the free in-store signage design files available to them, to make sure their store highlights all the savings BrandSource membership offers.

They’re also promoting rebates both online and in stores, and many report that they’re a great closing tool. And speaking of BrandSource, make sure you take advantage of the promotions that get you free marketing dollars from vendors. These programs help you stretch your dollars further.

9. Go Beyond the SBP Programs; Work with Us on Custom Ads and Landing Pages, and Make Promotions Clear

You don’t have to be an online marketing expert to grow your business. That’s what AVB Marketing is here for. If you have a sale going on would customers know it if they visited your site? Are you highlighting what makes your business different? Are you planning promotions that are really persuasive? The best way to make sure the user has the best experience on your site is to build custom landing pages, and you can get these for free if you run custom digital marketing with AVB. We make thousands of banners for members for every promotion under the sun, and we have ideas to brand and advertise your sale.

10. Attend BrandSource Regional Meetings, Marketing Weeks, Conventions, Summits and Seminars

Most BrandSource members are very busy, and some have said they have trouble justifying the travel costs for their teams to attend events. However, all of our members report that the time spent with their peers sharing ideas and best practices, their approaches to service or delivery, and tips for being effective on social are some of the most valuable elements of membership. We hold learning seminars that can help you stay current on new ad units and new service offerings, and to take full advantage of every part of AVB. We’ve always been all about the members, but at these events you really feel it. The next opportunity: Summit 2020 in Las Vegas, sign up now!

And one extra benefit: These events also provide time to get together with your strategist and account executive face to face, which is the best way to share your goals and to get the most value out of your digital marketing.

Lauren Rowert is a Digital Marketing Strategist for AVB Marketing, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc.