By Jim Ackerman
im Ackerman is a retail jewelry marketing expert who has spoken to jewelry retailers at JA New York, JCK, The Smart Jewelry Show and others. He can be reached at 800-584-7585, ext. 3, or by email at
Here’s the way it normally goes …

You advertise for people to come buy from you because you want sales and you want them now. Your ads are designed to get people who are in the market to come into your store and plunk down their hard-earned money, preferably TODAY!

For example, you hold a bridal show in hopes of attracting people who want to buy an engagement ring. You want these people to buy from you because it usually represents a sale substantially larger than your average ticket.

There’s only one problem with all this.

Every competing jeweler in town, not to mention online, is chasing that same business at the same time with advertising that, frankly, just isn’t appreciably different from yours.

Let me make the case for a different approach. Adopting it will take great insight and courage on your part because adopting it will mean taking a whole different approach to your marketing.

You see, the approach I’ve outlined above is like hunting. You go out and find that sale and knock it down. Have success and you eat tonight.

Below, I’m going to suggest a farming-like approach. You plant your seed in fertile ground, cultivate it, nourish it and, ultimately, harvest the fruits of your labor. Have success with this approach and you eat for a long, long time.

I’m suggesting that you get in early. I’m suggesting you shift to a lead-generation approach on your advertising, wherein you attempt to get to prospects very early in their buying journey, perhaps before they even realize they’re a prospect.

With this process, the goal of your advertising is to capture a name and contact information. And to do that, you’ll have to provide them with a safe incentive. Usually, that’s in the form of information-- guides, tools and materials that are cheap or free to deliver, but that the prospect would find valuable early in the process.

When you offer to educate a prospect early, you have a chance to render value in advance.

But you also get to do these 3 key things:
1. Establish a relationship;
2. Render up-front value; and
3. Help them set buying criteria that inevitably leads right back to you and only you.

Establishing relationship refers to getting that precious contact information. It may be as little as a first name and email address, but it comes with permission for you to market to them further and directly.

Rendering up-front value invokes reciprocation. You’ll have performed a service and given a gift. The prospect will almost certainly reciprocate by giving you a chance to sell and also by preferring you over the competition.

When you use your educational materials to help the prospect establish their own buying criteria, it’s fairly easy to “stack the deck” in your favor, virtually insuring that nobody else measures up to what you uniquely have to offer.

Your job is to program a multi-step process of contacting, leading, teaching, securing additional information, nurturing the relationship and making offers, until the prospect makes the logical decision to buy. Your program may consist of emails, direct mail, phone and text contacts, and more.

There may be many steps in the process between initial contact and the ultimate purchase. However, those steps will almost always lead to the prospect buying from you instead of the competition.

Once you have a system that works, you lock out the competition, and it is highly likely it will continue to work for a long, long time to come.

Jim Ackerman has addressed jewelry retailers at JA New York, JCK, the Atlanta Jewelry Show and others. He has teamed up with Shane Decker again this year for two Ultimate Jewelry Sales & Marketing Boot Camps. Ackerman also is providing National Jeweler readers with a free email marketing evaluation and consultation through April 30. Send an email request with your name and phone number to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.