Ice cream shops use a variety of marketing methods to help sell their products, including print advertisements in local publications, email marketing and direct mail. According to John Jantsch, author of Duct Tape Marketing, a marketing strategy explains how you are going to promote your products and services. For an ice cream shop, this means your marketing strategy helps you determine how you will bring more customers into your shop, and ultimately increase your profits.
The marketing strategy for your ice cream business should start with a clear statement of your marketing goals. Write the goals so they are specific, measurable and realistic. For example, "increase ice cream profits" is too broad of a goal. A better goal would be something like, "Increase sales of chocolate desserts by 9 percent within the first four months of the fiscal year."
The marketing strategy for your ice cream business should also help you better understand your target customers. Research your target market by observing customers who come into your shop. Think about the customers who frequent your ice cream shop the most, and identify several market segments for your business. This means you should identify several "subtypes" of customers, and describe demographic characteristics like age, gender and ice cream preferences. For example, you may notice that a common segment in your shop is young mothers with who bring their children in for a weekly treat.
Another part of the marketing strategy for your ice cream business is a competitive analysis. Describe each of your main ice cream competitors in detail. Include all information you know about their business model, competitive strengths and weaknesses and market share. Scour your local newspapers and other publications, and collect advertisements and other marketing materials your competitors use. For example, you may notice that a local ice cream shop offers $1 off coupons in a local newspaper. If other ice cream shops in your area use these marketing materials to promote their services over an extended period of time, it could mean that these strategies are working for them.
In your ice cream marketing strategy, you should organize and select several tactics to promote your ice cream products. For example, create a direct mail campaign in which you send ice cream coupons and offers to your target market. Place an advertisement in a local newspaper, and communicate the business hours and most popular flavors for your ice cream shop. Sponsor ice cream eating contests and other events in the hot summer months to draw parents and kids to your shop. Develop a search engine marketing campaign so customers can find you when they search for local ice cream shops online. Create a website, and offer printable coupons for your ice cream business.