How to help your future customers find you

By Rich Lindblom, AVB Marketing

Raise your hand if this has ever happened to you: A customer walks into your store and asks how long you’ve been here. When you tell them 20 years, they say“I’ve lived here my whole life and never noticed your store before.”  

If you’ve never experienced that yourself, consider yourself fortunate, because it used to drive me nuts —especially since my store had been in the same exact place for almost two decades.

Or how about this one: A new neighbor moves in three doors down from your house, and a week later you see a delivery truck from your biggest competitor pull up in front of their home. If only they’d told you they were looking to buy a houseful of appliances! It’s enough to drive you bananas. 

Well, I’ve got news for you — the problem isn’t your new neighbor, it’s you. It’s not their job to ask whether you sell appliances, it’s your job to make them aware of it. 

Look, unless you have an unlimited marketing budget, you will constantly be fighting the customer awareness battle.  And unless you continually keep your name in front of potential customers, they simply are not going to remember you. For all intents and purposes, your store will be invisible to them.  

You have to get yourself out there in front of people any way you can. I know it can be uncomfortable at times, but it’s a necessary evil in the world of retail. You need to take every opportunity to put your name in front of as many people as possible, because every single person you come in contact with is a potential customer … if they only knew about your company.

So how do you fix that? By getting bold and get creative. As an adjunct to digital marketing, here are a few low- or no-cost ideas to get you started:

  • Join Local Networking Groups. Go to the meetings, introduce yourself, hand out your card, and for goodness’ sake, talk to people. As I said, I know it can be uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as not having enough deliveries to keep your truck full every day.
  • Introduce Yourself. Make sure your neighbors both new and old know what you do for a living.
  • Your Place of Worship. Let your fellow parishioners know what you do. Maybe take out a small ad with your photo in the church bulletin so people recognize you.
  • Social Groups. If you belong to any, these are great places to network and let people know who you are and what you do.
  • Youth Sports. If you coach any teams, make sure your parents know what you do for a living; maybe even offer them a discount. And if you don’t coach a team, maybe sponsor one, or host an end-of-season team party at your store.
  • Scouting Organizations. Boy, Girl, Cub or Brownie, the age and gender is irrelevent. If one of your children participates, it’s a great way to get your name out there by volunteering and/or sponsoring.

The moral of this story? Just because you can’t match the box stores’ marketing budgets doesn’t mean you can’t get your name out there and keep it there. There are ways. So get creative, get bold and keep growing your business.

Rich Lindblom is a past principal of BrandSource member Advanced Maytag Home Appliance Center and now brings his 40-plus years of hard-won retail experience to bear for the group as a YSN columnist and product manager of AVB’s new SYNC point-of-sale system. You can reach Rich at

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