Crafting Creative Store Promotions

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Crafting Creative Store Promotions (Conclusion)

Pointers from Paulie B: More you shout it out, the more people will try it

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Wouldn’t it be great if there was one easy promotion that would bring in as many customers as you wanted?

But there are all kinds of people out there with all kinds of needs, so one promotion alone won’t do it. It’s best to create a variety of promos and switch them up from time to time.

Lots of promotions will get folks in the door but how do you get them to come back? If you want to retain as many of the “promo people” as possible, you really need to make your mat stand out from your competitors. You need to have an awesome mat.

It’ll generate good word of mouth, plus positive reviews online, and your business will grow automatically. But what if you can’t make your mat as awesome as it can be? Then you have to get a little creative.


Humans tend to seek the path of least resistance. One of my greatest promotions wasn’t technically a promo per se but rather an infrastructure strategy to make my mat more convenient for customers. Once set up, there was literally no more expense beyond the occasional maintenance. It was a promo that occurred every day, and was my cheapest in the long run.

For drop-off customers, it was the walk-up window. These customers appreciated being able to jump out of their car and walk a short distance to the window. We installed a bell outside the window for customers to alert us they were there. After I installed this window, our drop-off business quickly rose by over 30%.

My mat was located on a busy commuter road, with a bus stop only a few feet from the store. Thousands of cars whizzed by us every day.

After the sliding window was installed, customers would quickly pull into the bus stop and the passenger would quickly jump out to drop off or pick up. Besides offering them convenience, it turned out to be terrific advertising. The visual of a customer standing on the sidewalk performing a transaction was hard to duplicate with signs.

Passing motorists saw the unusual sight of colored laundry bags being passed through the window. Sometimes, more than one customer would be waiting in line on the sidewalk. What an endorsement!

People tend to ignore stationary signs but any movement, especially if it involves people in an unusual setting, will catch their eye. You’ve heard of “rubbernecking,” right?

For self-service customers, a similar convenience would be automatic doors so they can easily walk in pushing a cart or carrying bags filled with clothing.


Most of your promos should be advertised in advance to get the word out. It can take weeks, sometimes months before a good percentage of people in your trading area become aware of your offers. 

Naturally, the more you shout it out, the more people will become aware and ready to try it. So a “coming soon” approach is good for creating excitement and anticipation. 

Lastly, if you really want to get your message noticed, you might try spreading the word in a unique way. I had good success with a cold air balloon.

Sometimes called a rooftop balloon, this is a big balloon installed on your roof that looks just like a hot-air balloon. In the right situation, it can be seen from miles away. They are best for short-term promos, but I recall a car wash near me displaying a King Kong balloon on their roof for two years. 

You can have a banner attached to the balloon with any message you want.

There are a couple of caveats: Some building codes won’t allow them, and you’d better have it anchored well in case a strong wind blows through. I think it’s best to have a balloon rental company handle everything for you.

Here’s hoping your next creative promo flies high.

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Bruce Beggs at [email protected].