Or maybe this post's title should be HOW KROGER HELPED MY MARKETING PLAN?
I woke up this morning wondering what I would write about today and for some reason my grocery shopping trip this past weekend popped into my head. I don't know if you have a Kroger where you live, but it is one of the largest grocery store chains in my town. Over the years I've shopped at different stores depending on my mood and what sales were running. I'm not one of your "brand" shoppers. Or at least I didn't think I was until it dawned on me this morning how subtle Kroger's marketing plan has been to win me over and yet so "in my face"...
1. OFFER SOMETHING CONSISTENT
Kroger sends me an email every week tempting me with their latest specials. They aren't shoving their wares down my throat but every week I know I can depend on that little email saying "hey, come take a look at what's happening over in my corner of the world". A writer serious about expanding their fan base can learn from that. If you have a blog then have a regular posting schedule and stick to it. It doesn't matter what goes into that post as long as you are consistent about it. If your blog is a writer's blog then don't start writing about how you are crocheting your dear aunt a sweater for Christmas...unless of course you can tie that back to writing somehow. My blog has always been aimed at writing/seeing the positive side of things so I always make sure whatever I write falls under one of those two categories. I've written 660 blog posts so far and if you look at any one of them you will find that is the driving theme in all of them.
2. OFFER SOMETHING TEMPTING
Every week Kroger offers a Free Friday coupon. They send me an email on Wednesday to tweak my interest about visiting their website on Friday to discover what the free coupon might be. The item doesn't usually cost much...this week is was Marie Calendar's Breakfast Pot Pie. Some weeks I'm not interested in picking up their free coupon but EVERY week I make sure I visit Kroger's website because I don't want to miss out on the possibility of treating myself to something free. Kroger doesn't bang on my door and yell at me to buy their stuff. They simply send a friendly reminder saying, "we want to show our appreciation for your loyalty by offering you a gift as a way of saying thanks". I don't HAVE to take them up on their offer but in this day and age of rising costs and diminished customer service, even one small gesture like Kroger's Free Friday coupon subtly reminds me why I like shopping there in the first place. I'm going to be revamping the look of this blog in the next few months and will be adding some free things as MY way of showing my appreciation for all the wonderful visitors who take a moment out of their busy days to stop by. Yes, it's smart marketing but it also ties into the caring and sharing person I am so I'm excited about being able to do this for my readers.
3. OFFER A "BRAND" TO IDENTIFY WITH
There are many other grocery stores in my city...just now I thought of about six other companies offering basically the same thing...but when I need a loaf of bread I immediately think Kroger. For me, they have managed to capture my attention in such a way that their BRAND is seared forever into my brain when it comes to grocery shopping. I will still look at the other store's ads but unless there is a HUGE difference in pricing, Kroger will see my smiling face every Saturday morning for many years to come.
I've been working on creating my own "brand" and the title of my debut picture book has made it somewhat easier. To me, THE STORY CATCHER is who I am...a writer trying to catch the right words to tell an engaging story. My new business cards show a person running around with a butterfly net trying to snag flying words. My Facebook fan page is titled The STORY Catcher. I even have magnets on my car doors announcing I'm the STORY CATCHER and directing them back to this blog. I've had those magnets on my car for about a month now and I'm starting to see some interest. People are pausing to read my sign and last week a server at the Burger King drive thru stopped and asked me about my sign. She told me her granddaughter loves to read and I told her about my book. Maybe she will pick up a copy of THE STORY CATCHER when it comes out on January 20th and maybe she won't, but I know if she sees my "brand" enough, she might decide it's a brand worth being loyal to in the future...