A Pennsylvania store owner raises the bar for PR-seeking jewelers everywhere
To call David Jay Jewelers president Scott Slobotkin “media savvy” is certainly a compliment, but it’s also a bit of an understatement. Take, for example, the recent gift-card exchange he hosted at his Warrington, Pa., store: During the holiday season, Slobotkin took a page from sites like PlasticJungle.com and LeverageCard.com, offering customers the chance to swap gift cards from any retail outlet—in any denomination—to use toward a jewelry purchase at least three times the value of each exchanged card. Naturally, the promotion garnered huge amounts of local media coverage, which Slobotkin and his public relations firm then parlayed into SEO-rich content for his blog, David Jay Jewelers’ website and Facebook page, and even YouTube. Spreading the word about his store isn’t just Slobotkin’s job—it’s his mission.
Why do you think your gift-card exchange got so much media coverage?
The National Retail Federation stated that of the nearly $25 billion spent on gift cards nationally during the recent holiday season, about $5 billion won’t be redeemed. You add in the surge of new websites offering buying or trading platforms for gift cards, and this is a very topical holiday news item. I think this was part of the reason our gift-card exchange program got so much media attention. Plus there’s a novelty factor. Scooping up all those unwanted gift cards in small denominations to make a big jewelry purchase generates a lot of excitement. And the customers who take advantage of the service are either in the market for jewelry or are jewelry lovers. Providing a creative, turn-key service for jewelry enthusiasts creates loyal customers who will come back for this after-Christmas event and throughout the year.
How do you build excitement for your store events?
Repetition and consistency are key in making these events must-attends for people. The hard part—coming up with the idea—is done. The basic framework and logistics are pretty straightforward. When customers take advantage of our regular events, the trick is to tweak them slightly to make them interesting but to also keep the basic elements people like about the event in place so their expectations are met or exceeded.
So that’s how you think about your monthly events such as “First Sips on Last Friday.”
Exactly. Each month, “First Sips” is always a social wine-tasting with no sales. We don’t turn down an opportunity to answer questions or show jewelry, but people who regularly attend these parties know it’s all about socializing, tasting wine, and enjoying delicious foods and music. Again, that basic formula has been established, but we do try to vary the event with the help of our local wine expert. We’ve done everything from different wine regions to wine-producing countries to wine types. Just before the holidays we had a vodka-tasting event instead of wine. It went over very well.
Why do you videotape events?
To step things up with our social media platforms. We have them professionally edited down to a few minutes, put in some background music and text so people know the event, and upload the videos to Facebook and YouTube. The YouTube Channel feature on Facebook is a recent addition to our social media marketing strategy. When we upload a video to YouTube, it automatically adds that video to our Facebook video channel. On YouTube we get the SEO benefit and on Facebook we get rich content, unique visits and views, plus the customer postings and interaction with staff.
Can you offer fellow jewelers some tips on getting their events covered?
Come up with new and novel ideas or put creative spins on time-tested events. For the most part, local news outlets are hungry for new and interesting news features that help support local businesses. But you can’t just produce a press release or make a call and wait for the camera crews to show up on the big day. When dealing with the media, we have to pitch the event—and hard. After repeated dealings with local reporters and editors, we’ve gotten to know many of them by name. When you’re pitching an event to a media figure you’ve dealt with in the past, providing a news item that worked well for them, the process gets easier.