Real Deals-Boise announced its temporary store closure on March 25 because of COVID-19. The store reopened on May 1, with uncertainties if people would come into the store. Owner, Suzin Allphin didn’t know what to do to help people feel safe enough to come shopping during such critical and scary circumstances. Suzin only opened the store a year ago, and advertising hasn’t been her primary focus. Suzin is in charge of everything, from being a single mom to ordering new products, unpacking the merchandise, handling employees’ schedules, and in the midst of it all, trying to advertise for the store. After talking to her, I knew I wanted to help her and Real Deals-Boise succeed.
I spent multiple hours brainstorming ways to get the business growing without putting more work on Suzin. I couldn’t create a plan that would add more stress and work on her plate. After evaluating Suzin’s needs and the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided it wouldn’t be beneficial to plan and hold an event during May and June. I’ve helped Suzin start the process of scheduling a social media LIVE class in July. We conducted a poll on Facebook and Instagram to decide the topic, with the results being a Floral Arranging class.
I created a PR plan, Real Deals: Becoming the Real Deal, which includes detailed information to guide Real Deals back to business growth. I researched best practices for marketing strategies, specifically what to do during COVID-19. I completed a SWOT analysis that identified the main challenges Real Deals currently has: a lack of awareness and inconsistent communication. These challenges can be overcome by being creative and continually strategically preparing to communicate. I’ve detailed and started implementing a social media calendar, social media giveaways, social media LIVES, quarterly direct mail advertisements and monthly Email newsletters. I wanted to create a plan with longevity, so I spent time training a Communications Officer within Real Deals to be in charge of social media. Real Deals now has the tools to become the Real Deal.
I spent hours researching on Hubspot, Hootsuite, Forbes, Sprout Social and scholarly articles to come up with the perfect plan full of solutions for Real Deals. The main goals consist of helping Real Deals-Boise stay open and growing. I designed a plan to create more awareness and consistently communicate through quarterly direct mail advertisements, monthly Email newsletters and a consistent social media timeline. Below are specific and measurable goals to evaluate the various communication vehicles in this plan.
Increase social media following on Instagram from 1,436 to 1,800
Increase engagement on social media from 3,900 to 4,200 a month
Increase customers in the store 10% from the current 350 a month
Social Media Calendar
Real Deals has a strong following on Facebook and a reasonably new Instagram that has room growth. According to Sprout Social, “79% of 30-49 year olds use Facebook.” Suzin mentioned her constant struggle is not knowing when to post or what to post, so I created a calendar for her to follow.
I’ve created a social media posting schedule consisting of:
Mondays- Weekly Deals
Wednesdays- “What’s New Wednesdays”
Fridays- “TGIF” Fridays
Social Media Giveaways
Social media giveaways create more engagement than other posts and reach a wider audience. As people like, comment and share online, friends of friends become aware of Real Deals. These giveaways will increase Real Deals’ social media following and overall customers in the store.
Social Media LIVES
Social Media LIVES have the capability of reaching a greater audience and engagement. According to current Real Deals Facebook analytics, the most engaging post this last month was a Facebook LIVE showcasing new products in the store. It had a reach of 2.1K and 430 engagements.
This is one example of a Monday post during Memorial Week! Providing information up front allows people to plan their week and know what deals to expect.
“What’s New Wednesdays”
Sharing new product information with pricing gets people excited to come into the store and doesn’t leave people wondering how much items cost on social media.
Sharing excitement for the weekend and reminding customers of the weekly deals will entice people to come shopping.
Social Media Giveaway
This Father’s Day Giveaway created more engagement than other posts on Facebook and Instagram! People were liking, commenting and sharing to win.
Social Media LIVE
This social media LIVE showed new product available in the store, which got 803 views.
Direct Mail Advertisements
Direct mail advertisements will reach a wider audience than social media will. According to Infogroup, “66% of adults 55+ regularly read promotional mail.” Real Deals currently has over 3000 mailing addresses to send mail postcards out to customers.
Direct mail advertisements can have a call to action of bringing the postcard into the store for a percentage off or entered into a giveaway.
Email newsletters will be sent out every month through the Real Deals Constant Contact account. Real Deals has over 3000 email addresses to utilize for emailing. The Real Deals franchise provides graphics and images free of charge to use.
Email Newsletters engage customers every month with specials and deals in a more digital form to come into the store.
All of these ideas and examples are explained, in detail, in the PR plan. I created an organized timeline to guide Suzin in knowing when and what to be communicating to customers. I trained a Communications Officer within Real Deals on this plan and schedule for posting. The Communications Officer will continue posting, engaging, communicating and planning on Real Deals’ behalf.
Here are some specifics on engagement so far-
Social Media LIVES (increase in engagement)
o 534, 802, 718 views on LIVE videos of the store
Social Media Giveaway (increase in engagement)
o Instagram (37 likes & 60 comments)
o Facebook (23 likes & 32 comments & 12 shares)
48 New Page Likes on Facebook in the past month
An evaluation is conducted six months and a year from now. Continuous assessment of the analytics will be essential to see if something needs added or changed to fit current circumstances and needs. Suzin and the Communication Officer have all of the resources and information they need to make Real Deals the Real Deal. They will be using the PR plan and detailed calendar to continue posting on social media, sending direct mail advertisements and monthly email newsletters. Real Deals: Becoming the Real Deal is just getting started.
“Engagement reports on social media have been in the red (negative) for months, but this past month they’ve been steadily in the green.”
— Real Deals Owner, Suzin Allphin
Hours Spent on Real Deals: Becoming the Real Deal