No, it’s not Mexican Independence Day as many North Americans mistakenly think. It’s not even an important holiday in Mexico. But Cinco de Mayo matters in the U.S., and students everywhere will be primed for fun. This month’s marketing plan gives you all you need to host a fabulous May 5 sale event that drives foot traffic, boosts sales and cultivates student trust. Just download our colorful marketing kit and follow our step-by-step guide to success.
What really happened on May 5? The date commemorates the Battle of Puebla, which took place during the French occupation of Mexico. Although Mexico had established an independent government and elected a president, the French invaded in 1861 and drove the government into hiding. On May 5, 1862, a ragtag Mexican army of 4,000 defeated the 6,000-strong French. It wasn’t Mexico’s last battle against the French — who later sent an army of 30,000 and reestablished a French government — but the David and Goliath-like victory became a source of inspiration for Mexicans living throughout the Americas.
In time, Cinco de Mayo came to stand for a celebration of Mexican-U.S. culture. Californians have honored the date since 1863. The holiday gained popularity throughout the country in the 1960s as Mexican Americans rallied for civil rights. Now, of course, May 5 has become an opportunity to kick back, dance, sing and sip a margarita.
This spring, students will see Cinco de Mayo as an excuse to come to your store and shop with glee.
The $5 back appeal
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While 5% off or $5 off might not seem like much to customers, the prospect of pocketing $5 cash after a purchase will have allure. Digital natives are accustomed to using a bank or credit card more often than cash. Crispy bills are not only satisfyingly concrete, they might even seem novel. Customers will remember the perk — as long as it’s in their pocket — and could turn around and spend their moola on something else in your store right away.
Choose items throughout your store to promote with the $5 back promise. Use your judgment about which merchandise will tempt students to spend without damaging your margins. This month’s marketing plan includes a “$5 Back” sign that you can attach to your choice of displays.
One idea: Combine higher-ticket items you’ve been struggling to move with low-cost merchandise that will seem virtually free to students once they get their cash back.
A 5-5 raffle for $55
Before your one-day $5 back sale, you can drive foot traffic with the chance to enter a raffle for a $55 store gift certificate. Offer one gift certificate or as many as five, depending on your budget.
This month’s marketing plan includes a form that students can fill out to enter the raffle. The form features survey questions that students will answer about your store. Everyone who enters the raffle will tell you what they like best about your store — and what they most wish you carried. This ensures your sale event will help you reach students even better in the future.
It can be hard to entice customers to voluntarily fill out a survey. But, if there’s a prize involved, they’re likely to feel like it’s worth their time.
Have students put their entry form in a large box. Draw names and announce the winner or winners at exactly 5 p.m. on Cinco de Mayo. Make it clear in your advertising that you can’t win the raffle if you aren’t present.
5 steps to 5-5 success
Just follow these simple steps to enjoy a Cinco de Mayo sale that bring celebratory students through your doors and helps you get to know them even better than you already do.
- Use the attached social media image to advertise the raffle and sale on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Let students know they must be present at 5 p.m. on May 5 to win the $55 gift certificate.
- Download the attached poster and place it in key gathering spots all over campus — the union, the dining halls and, of course, in your store.
- Download the raffle forms and place them next to your register along with a large box you will use for the drawing on May 5.
- On the day of the sale, post the $5 back signs beside items you wish to promote. Ensure you have a healthy stack of $5 bills on hand to give students as they make purchases. At 5 p.m. draw a name or names from the raffle and announce who wins the $55 store gift certificate.
- After May 5, review the survey answers you received from students who filled out the raffle form. Create a database of ideas their responses inspire.
Happy Cinco de Mayo to all!