It's a tale as old as time, the romantic Holiday Scavenger Hunt.
The script usually starts with a peppermint-scented stenciled envelope, elegant cursive lettering, and just a few words. "Open Me."
The envelope unveils a simple card with a note. The as-stenciled note is usually something with a riddle of a hint only the giftee would know right away. This leads them to a little ribboned-box hidden in the Christmas tree behind their first anniversary ornament. The hint in the box leads them to the kitchen where next to a cup of coffee is a set of new car keys. The giftee grabs the keys and spills a little of the hot chocolate where out in the garage they find a Lexus or a Jeep or something else jubilant and extravagant. Hugs, smiles, playful snowball fights where the dog tries to catch the snowballs in their teeth. Closing music. End scene.
For the long-term thinkers, such an experience would entwine them into a long love-affair with their customers. For others, this guarantees they get into the black for the year. Whatever the reasons, the methods are the same. And for store shoppers, it starts with how they find you.
Whether the method is in print, newspapers, AdWords, or a catalog, start the tease with just a few words. As the old adage goes, "Truth is singular." Don't bury the lead. Let them know it's big. They want to come and get it. Big special. Latest book in the series, whatever it is.
If I'm not explaining myself properly, look at what TV network HBO did to announce that Season 6 of Game of Thrones is returning in 2016 and that beloved character Jon Snow, who was dying in the final moments of Season 5 just might, perhaps, hold onto the ghost afterall. Once they posted the billboards, the internet broke with the news.
You have a go-to, a hook your customers want. Bait it.
Outdoor signs were made for such an occasion-fulling expectations. Let the sign know they're close and that they should go grab their cup of coffee in the store below.
They're there. They're so close. Give them the key to what they desire: a coupon, waiting list ticket, picture, or the item itself.
Customers want the experience. The first rule of marketing says to find a need and fill it. Just remember that signs can be signs in all facets of the word. Let them help in the scavenger hunt. Just don't lead them down too many steps or they'll go from feeling memorable to irritated. No one wants to be in the way of their snowballs when that happens.