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May 2014: Build-a-Sundae Bookstore Tour

Posted by Kate Seat on 5/1/14 4:30 AM
Topics: bookstore events

The incoming class will begin arriving on campus any day for new student orientation. Build customer loyalty and help overcome any anxiety by giving them a delicious introduction to everything your store has to offer. 

We’ve come up with an event, several activities and all the marketing materials you’ll need to make the incoming class feel welcome at your store right from the start.

Connect with these potential customers with daily trivia questions, online crowdsourcing, ice cream-centered social events and then top it all off by combining sundae building with a bookstore tour.

All you have to do is follow our easy instructions to get started!

Build-a-Sundae Bookstore Tour

Set a date

Choose a day during orientation weekend to host your store tour. You can even plan several or schedule them for separate weekends if you have new students arriving at different times.

Plan the route

Decide which areas in the store you want to showcase. These will be your sundae stations. Designating them first will help determine how many different ingredients you’ll need to build your sundae. Pick areas new students will need to be familiar with when the semester starts such as apparel, textbooks or school supplies. Make sure to schedule staff members at each station to answer any questions the incoming students may have.

We've created customizable station signs to make setup simple. Just use our ready-made options or personalize them with your own flavor selections.

Download: “Build-a-Sundae” station signs
Download the station signs
Download Station Signs

Pick some prizes

Your overstock or marked down merchandise is a good place to start. Choose low-cost products that would appeal to new students or reach out to vendors for donations. This is also a good opportunity for local businesses to showcase themselves as landmarks. Ask for menus, pens, magnets or other small items to hand out as freebies during the event.

Get students involved

Use your Facebook fans to decide which sundae components to offer for the big event. By making your online community part of the decision making process, they’ll feel more involved in the event and will be excited to see how it develops. Spread the word by asking your school to post about the voting on their social accounts, and especially on their Freshman class page, if possible.

Every day, ask a new question about what they would like to see in their sundaes. For example, if you have five store sections you want to highlight on your tour, then select ten ingredients and prompt your students to select their favorites each day. Here’s what a sample social posting schedule might look like:

Monday: Cast Your Vote for the Build a Sundae Bookstore Tour! Which ice cream flavor would you rather see: Chocolate or vanilla?

Tuesday: Vanilla may be winning, but a challenger appears: Mint chocolate chip or cookie dough?

Wednesday:  Which topping is tops in your book: hot fudge or caramel?

Thursday: Add a little crunch! Would you choose crushed peanuts or M&Ms?

Friday: Chewy vs. chocolaty: gummy bears or chocolate chips?

Saturday: Pick your favorite: chocolate sprinkles or rainbow jimmies?

Sunday: If you had to choose, would you pick bacon bits or shredded coconut?

Generate excitement

Build engagement before the event with a "Brain Freeze," a series of interactive social quizzes. These fun activities will keep your event top of mind with students in the days leading up to your tour. Post daily trivia questions on your store’s Facebook page to create some buzz leading up to the big event. For instance, you could ask: what’s the most popular ice cream flavor in the United States?

Set a designated amount of time to let your fans respond with their guesses. Then, enter all those who answered correctly into a drawing for your prize of choice. Finally, announce the winner at the end of each day. Luckily, your store doesn’t have to put any thought into the questions, because we’ve come up with a list of some general trivia questions for you. Download the complete set here.

Download: “Build-a-Sundae” Q&A template
 Download: “Build-a-Sundae” Q&A template
Download the Template

Don’t have a social presence? No problem. Create an entry box for answers in your store. You can use our customizable question and answer template or go old school and write the question on a chalkboard or dry erase board. Aside from the fun factor, this contest is a great way to get students’ email addresses for future promotions.

Select other activities

Once the tour is complete and the ice cream has been eaten, choose a couple of other fun activities for students to participate in. We’ve come up with some entertaining options:

Cherry on the bottom: Put a maraschino cherry anywhere on the bottom of a disposable pie tin and fill it with whipped cream. To make this game even more challenging, blindfold your contestants and instruct them to keep their hands behind their backs. Using only their faces, whoever finds the cherry first wins!

Ice Cream Eating Competition: This one is pretty self-explanatory: all you’ll need is large quantities of ice cream and some willing participants with huge appetites and a resistance to brain freeze. Set a time limit for the competition and whoever eats the most ice cream wins.

Spark Sales: A sweet sale is the cherry on top of a successful event! Let your students scoop up some savings with discounted merchandise in each of your featured sections. Choose your sale items based on what would be most attractive to incoming students like branded apparel or helpful items for campus survival. Then, hand out a coupon for participants to use once school starts. Our customizable coupon template makes it easy!

Download: “Build-a-Sundae” coupon
Download the coupon
Download Coupon

Spread the word

Start advertising the event as soon as possible. We’ve included a customizable email to send out to incoming students, poster templates to promote your event in store as well as a Cover Photo for Facebook. The more channels you use to promote, the more successful the response will be.

Download: “Build-a-Sundae” marketing kit
Download the kit
Download Marketing Kit

Enjoy the fun

Take pictures at each activity, but especially on the day of the tour. Be sure to get your staff excited about the event too. A welcoming, friendly atmosphere will keep these new customers coming back as long as they’re enrolled – and even as alumni!

Analyze Results

After the event, post pictures on your Facebook page and announce the winners. Share some details with your online audience about the fun things that happened, such as how many sundaes were created, the prizes given away and the highlights of the other activities you chose. Then, take note of which elements were a success and which you’d like to improve to start planning next year’s festivities!

 

About Kate Seat

Kate Seat is a former copywriter at MBS. When away from work, she’s either creating one-of-a-kind art dolls, reading or watching way too much tv with her husband, daughter and an irritable chinchilla named Klaus.

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