300 Seconds

300 Seconds: Test Kitchen

Using Workman’s show-and-tell method of marketing can be as easy as going to the cookbook section and planning tonight’s dinner. Take 300 seconds and select a recipe you’d like to try in your home kitchen. Test it with your customers in mind. They’ll want to know:

  • Were the ingredients easily accessible?
  • Was the recipe easy to follow?
  • How did it taste?

Take a photo and write about it on social media, your store blog or in your newsletter. (If it’s a kid-specific cookbook, try to have some children helping in the photos.)

I’m filing this under 300 Seconds because the recipe selection and the photo follow-up will take about 5 minutes each. I’m assuming that the shopping for ingredients and dinner prep is something you would have done anyway. And, of course, clean-up is optional.

Holiday Hours

I’ve mentioned before that the philosophy behind 300 Seconds is the thought that these short 5 minute marketing sessions add up to more time spent on marketing than we typically allow ourselves. But I also want to alleviate the daunting, always-behind feeling that plagues small business owners.

Today, look at your calendar for the next 90 days. Will you have any special holiday hours? Do you close early on Halloween? Do you open early on Black Friday or Small Business Saturday? Do you extend your hours between Thanksgiving and Christmas? What time will you close on Christmas Eve? Are you open New Year’s Day?

These are questions to ask yourself while you sit down at the computer. Then take the time and print all of the door/store signs you need between now and January 1. Special store hours signs need not be fancy with extra graphics. You really only need the store name, the holiday to which you’re referring, and the hours in bold, legible type.

Books & Whatnot
Special Halloween Hours
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
Always open at booksandwhatnot.com

Special hours signs should be placed on the door and in the store about a week prior to the holiday. Except for the Christmas Eve/Christmas hours. They can go up anytime after Thanksgiving.

By creating all of these signs at the same time, you save the time it takes to think through a task from scratch –go to the computer, decide which design program, determine paper size, portrait or landscape, which font, what size, what color, should I add graphics, how many should I print, etc.–and you only do this once for multiple tasks. And instead of feeling daunted, you’re one task closer to being poised.

300 Seconds: Other Nooks & Crannies

Yesterday we looked in nooks and crannies for cobwebs. Today you should spend 5 minutes in other nooks and crannies.

What is your most neglected section in the store? Head over there and organize, alphabetize, or maybe pull for returns or a sale.

We tend to handsell books that we can quickly call to mind. If you spread yourself around the store a little bit, your handselling rate should increase as your book awareness increases.

300 Seconds: Nooks & Crannies

If you only have 5 minutes to spend on marketing today, walk around your store with a long-handled duster (or an equivalent tool) and remove cobwebs from your corners, nooks & crannies. We usually don’t notice these things until we look around with our customer’s viewpoint in mind.

It’s amazing how quickly cobwebs can appear. Or so it seems. If we’re around them every day, we become accustomed to their gradual presence.

And even though we’re approaching Halloween, the only acceptable webs this time of year should be synthetic.

How to Manage Those 300 Seconds

I just returned from the Mountains and Plains Fall Discovery Show where one of my presentations was titled, “Move Your Business Forward in 300 Seconds.”

In the session, I covered many of the 300 Seconds posts from Books & Whatnot. As I was compiling the posts for the presentation, I worried that those attending the session would quickly become daunted. Add a 5 minute task to a 5 minute task to a 5 minutes task and it adds up to a long to-do list. In the presentation (the slideshow of which can be found here… but without the live banter) I presented enough quick tips to last 7,200 seconds.

7,200 seconds? Now, all of a sudden, you’re way behind.

Since Books & Whatnot is supposed to be helpful, here’s what I recommend:

  • Delete the emails. Seriously. If they’re piling up in your inbox, delete them. They are always archived on our website.
  • Search by category. If you go to booksandwhatnot.com, in the right column there’s a block which shows how many posts there are in each category. Click on “300 Seconds” and a page with all of the posts tagged with that category will appear.
  • If you have a difficult time deleting the emails, then use your 300 marketing seconds each day to read an additional issue of Books & Whatnot.

When you’re behind, 7,200 seconds can seem insurmountable. But when 5 minutes + 5 minutes + 5 minutes, etc., = 7,200 seconds in the “plus” column, it adds up to a lot of marketing effort of which you should be proud.