Stand Up for Something and Get Customers Talking

by : 

Megy Karydes

September 19, 2016
Marketing Mondays - Stand Up for Something and Get Customers Talking

There’s a saying that goes something like, “Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” The idea is to put a stake in the ground and stand for something you strongly believe in. Most people jump to the political bandwagon when it comes to making a stand, but that’s tricky for most businesses, retailers included, since you’re likely to alienate half of your customers. Rather than going political, find a topic or issue you believe in, preferably one that has wide support in your community, and go all in with that issue. It could be adoption, American-made products, breast cancer research, sound-healing music, or even something more generic and universal, such as food. Once you identify the issue, go deeper. Become an expert in that topic and figure out ways to connect it to your store’s mission.

Let’s look at the topic of food as an example. Here are 10 ways to engage your customers around that topic:

  1. Offer classes in your shop that range from cooking classes to having an expert talk about how to reduce food waste.
  2. Invite cookbook authors or any type of author who focuses on food prominently in their book (such as a memoir).
  3. Arrange a trunk show for an artist who creates beautiful ceramic bowls.
  4. Partner with a local food pantry to organize a fundraiser.
  5. Include a recipe with every transaction. Make sure your recipe includes your shop’s name.
  6. Post a new recipe or something about food weekly on each of your social media platforms.
  7. Write a blog post about upcoming events in your community that include food.
  8. Write a review on your blog (and add your blog link to your social media pages) about a new restaurant or neighborhood favorite eatery.
  9. Ask customers to share their favorite Thanksgiving Day recipes and post them throughout the month of November, leading up to the week of Thanksgiving.
  10. Offer to do a cooking segment on your local television news show.

As you can see from this example, it’s not hard to drill down on what you can do around a topic when you plan it out. What will happen is you’ll become known for your expertise in food and customers will start talking about it. When they need a housewarming gift, a host/hostess gift, a new recipe, a place to go with their girlfriends, they’ll think of you. And, not only will customers start talking, so will other businesses, including the media. What topic do you know a lot about or have a passion for that your customers and your greater community would respond to favorably?

Megy Karydes helps small businesses harness their marketing power. She’s also a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The Atlantic’s CityLab, Midwest Living magazine and Chicago Tribune, among others. Find her at