Dear Socially Stephanie:
I am the owner/designer of a fashion company based in LA. We're hosting a warehouse sale to liquidate some of our older merchandise. Do you have any ideas on how we can get the word out locally to attract as large a crowd as possible?
Liquidating in Los Angeles
Ooh, I love a good sale, and so does everyone else. Obviously, for your sake, this is a good thing. Let's talk about making the maximum number of fashion-loving Angelenos aware of your event, so they can start buying up that merchandise.
If you read my column, you probably know what I am going to say next. And feel free to say it with me, I don't mind: The first place you should start is within your own customer base and email list. These people are going to be the easiest to convert, considering they already know you and trust you. You have a relationship with them and it's much easier to sell to someone you have that foundation with. Don't be afraid to hit them up more than once, either. This is a live one-day event, and with busy schedules and hectic lifestyles you're going to want to stay in front of your customers to bring them in. Your mantra with your email should be "buy or unsubscribe."
All right, I think you have a good handle on your email list. Now, let's start targeting those local Los Angeles fashionistas. When I think of fashionable people, the first online locale I think of is Instagram.
Instagram and fashion go hand in hand. Plus, you have a huge opportunity to reach local people (thank you, Instagram geo-tagging). To make this work, you're going to have to commit yourself, because Instagram works best when you are active and consistent. The first thing you need is a content strategy. Feature an article of clothing each day, or a few pieces that will be on sale. This will work as a teaser. Next, you'll need to use hashtags, and a lot of them. This is pretty much the only way you can get found by new people. #OOTD (outfit of the day), #fashion, #style, #onsale, #swag, #LAstyle, #yourbrand, #warehousesale and anything else that would fit the likes of your audience. Here's some inspiration.
Next, you need to build your new audience and community from a local standpoint. That means people in LA who are stylish and like a good deal. So, where do those people hang out IRL? Boutiques or department stores, right? Right. Search that geo-tag and start liking people's photos. I promise, they will come back and like your posts in return and check out what you're up to. Hopefully you can capture them, engage them and bring them into your store.
Now, let's talk about Facebook. I love Facebook for this because you can sponsor super-targeted posts. You'll want to target your fans of course, but with Facebook audiences, you're also able to target people who live in LA and are connected to other related pages like BargainsinLA. This means the right people will see your advertisement. Talk about laser focused! If you want to get a bit more creative, you can try an incentive like offering them a free gift with purchase on the day of your sale to encourage more foot traffic. You can do this through the "offers" tab and yup, you guessed it. You should sponsor that post to a custom audience.
Lastly, engage in a little local blogger outreach. Submit your sale to warehouse listing and event listing sites. And don't forget about Craigslist.
Good luck! I can hear that cash register ringing already.
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Illustration by Jesse Wells