3 Unusual Places I Found New Customers
It's easy to fall into despair when thinking about promoting your store. It's even more daunting when you feel like you've exhausted your resources for new players. Sometimes, you simply need to try new locations for customer acquisition.
Today, there are more potential customers than there have ever been. There is so much geek-centric entertainment creating new potential customers every day. Colleges and conventions are great, but don't take other locations for granted. If there are people, there are customers.
Libraries are always looking for partnerships, and game stores are exactly the type of partner they like. They're interesting to kids, they push reading and social skills, and they give people a reason to hang out at the library.
At my former store, the Game Closet, we often partnered with movie theaters to run demos in conjunction with films that have crossover elements with our products—fantasy or science fiction films, for example.
There's a good chance moviegoers don't know about your business and you can reach them while they are killing time before the movie.
Think about reaching out to any community groups where people gather together.
In my store's location of Texas, churches were a big part of our community, so we partnered with them, believe it or not. Lots of them do fundraisers you might be able to participate in, and some even do "parents night out" events where you can provide entertainment while the adults go on a date.
Naturally, it's important to be as professional as possible when reaching out to a church group, a community group, or any of these venues. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Anticipate Their Questions
They may not know you or your business, and they probably don't know much about gaming in general. Think about what questions they may ask. The more you can answer, the better your odds.
- What day or times are you wanting to promote?
- Are you charging anything?
- How much space do you need?
- Is there an age limit or restriction?
- Are you providing all the supplies?
- Are you selling anything on their premises?
- How long have you been in business?
- Will you be utilizing their staff or only your own?
Make Your Business Relevant to Them.
Spell out how you'll add value or fill a need for them.
For libraries, you're helping draw people in. With the theater, you're filling the wait time before a movie. For churches, you may simply be providing entertainment for their charity or benefit.
Ask For a Manager or Event Coordinator
If you speak to another employee, or someone who doesn't usually make decision, you increase your odds of falling through the cracks.
When you meet in person, and when you run your event, maintain that professionalism. Keep a nice look, with branded shirts and banners. Bring business cards. Introduce yourself to the staff and management when you arrive.
Prepare a Call to Action
If you are able to secure an demo or other event in your community, make sure that you make the connection between the event and future visits to your store.
Have something potential customers can leave with—something that rewards new contacts for visiting your store. With a theater demo, for example, promotions where people bring in their ticket stub can work. Consider using an expiration date on the promotion—the goal is to give yourself a way to track the success of your promotion.
Just remember that customers are potentially everywhere. Be different. Try new things. Step out of your traditional comfort zones. Getting those new customers is the best way to build your community.