Whatever your favorite national sports team there is a mascot to represent it. Someone in a comical costume takes to the sidelines and revs up the crowd with antics from dancing to practical jokes. We may be adults, but a little make believe and hilarity is always fun. When the game is over we still connect that mascot with that team and the enjoyment it brought us.
The same principle works with a shop mascot. I have ten years experience at a large quilt and machine store. A few years ago it fell to me to establish an email list and keep customers informed via email. Things went well but the number of email "opens" in comparison to the number sent wasn't up to expectations. What could be done to entice more customers to actually open our emails and read them? The solution was to introduce a store mascot. Fabric scraps, stuffing and some funky yarn for hair and Frieda the patchwork chicken was hatched!
Frieda introduced herself via email and has sent out all the store emails since. She crows about new machines, fabric, and patterns as well as reminding customers about upcoming classes or special events. She sends out holiday greetings and always encourages customers to "eat beef" for Thanksgiving since some of her closest friends are turkeys! She has been known to sit in on classes and store sew-ins. Frieda has traveled to Paducah to the quilt show and shared photos of herself with celebrity quilters to her email fans. This spring she did a live appearance in the shop booth at the International Quilt Festival. She has expanded her influence and popularity by occasional posts on Facebook as well. Customers always check to see where Frieda is in the shop....she does tend to flit around!
Silly, you say? Maybe, but customers love it! Most important is the rate of opened emails now average more than twice that of other businesses that use the same mass email service. A sales rep asked what we did to achieve such a high open rate, and was very surprised to hear a stuffed chicken was responsible! The best rate of opens occurs when the subject line refers to Frieda.
Just like those sports mascots boost interest and support from the fans a store mascot can make your customers loyal followers, actually looking forward to those emails! While following the antics of a stuffed chicken or another whimsical mascot your customers get information about new products, specials events and sales, upcoming classes and more. They are also reminded that your shop is a creative and fun place to shop.
Challenge your staff to come up with just the right mascot for your shop. How about a giant spool of thread with big googly eyes and funny hair, or perhaps a stuffed mouse sporting a cute apron, pockets packed with fat quarters and notions? Make sure you feature your mascot on your Quilting Hub listing and your shop website. A clever mascot could be the most valuable staff member you ever had! The possibilities are endless and the results are well worth the effort.
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Bonnie enjoys writing and quilting. She retired from working at one of Illinois largest quilt/machine stores as the marketing specialist using email, Facebook, QuiltingHub and other social media tools to bring in business.