Fleet Feet does not advertise for other running stores on its site. After all, why would they? Fleet Feet specializes in selling running shoes and apparel, so it is not in their best interest to promote other similar specialty stores. What Fleet Feet does do, however, is have a clickable title on their landing page entitled “Brands”. Under the Brands heading is a pictorial list of brands that Fleet Feet “loves.” Those brands include: Adidas, Nike, Saucony, Garmin, Mizuno, and Brooks. These are some of the most well-known and popular sports shoe and apparel brands. Fleet Feet describes its relationship with their “loved brands” as a partnership. They go on to describe the value that they gain from this partnership. These brands do such things as sponsor training programs at Fleet Feet and host in-store events at Fleet Feet. In this way it’s not hard to imagine that both Fleet Feet and the different brands have something to gain from this partnership. Fleet Feet gets sponsors and the brands get more exposure from one of the preeminent running store franchises in the country.
Fleet Feet offers a variety of products, but all of the products focus on one cohesive theme: running. Products include the obvious things, like specialty shoes for running and trail running, as well as clothes one might need to run recreationally or during a race. But Fleet Feet also offers products that complement the running lifestyle. Things like gel packs, compression socks, sunglasses, headwear (including headlamps for nighttime or early morning runs), heart rate monitors, braces and ankle supports, and even foam rollers to massage painful limbs post-race. They try to be and are a one stop shop of sorts for the running crowd. All of these products are listed on their website and most are available for purchase both in store and on the site itself. Fleet Feet has the newest styles available and prides itself on keeping up to date on trends in the running community. Having strong partnerships with the brands listed is one way that they are able to continually do that.
As far as the communications I’ve received from the website, I have gotten a steady but not overwhelming amount. I signed up to receive the emails on October 6th, and since have received a total of four emails. The emails are primarily about products available at the store. This is clearly one of the main ways they reach out to their potential clients. Every email has an obvious “hook”, for example, “Cool on the Outside–Warm on the Inside”. The email subject lines entice the reader to learn more. That particular email was talking about a hoodie that was for cold weather running. The emails also include links to other products and usually a healthy recipe at the end. The emails are very aesthetically pleasing and on brand, showing colorful yet simplistic pictures of the products that are mentioned. The recipes are a nice touch and stay with the healthy lifestyle vibe that Fleet Feet is known for. Overall, the email communications only add to the overall appeal of the store and my guess is they have a high open rate because of the clever and intriguing subject lines.
While I would not recommend that Fleet Feet incorporate the advertisements of other similar stores on their site, I do think that they could benefit from advertising themselves elsewhere. One way to advertise is through Facebook. Fleet Feet has a Facebook page already, and sponsored Facebook ads can be very beneficial for several reasons. In recent years, Facebook has allowed companies and even individuals to pay for sponsored ads that will pop up on the sidebar or newsfeed of Facebook’s users. The advantage of this is that Facebook allows companies to pick specific demographics to show a particular ad to. It also cannot be undervalued that Facebook currently has 1.71 billion monthly active users. This is a captive audience just waiting to be sold. Business Insider’s article,”10 Rules For Advertising on Facebook” has several hints that might prove helpful for a company looking to either begin or delve deeper into Facebook sponsored ads. One example is to “Create a Greater Volume of Ads that Target Less People.” By this they mean that instead of just creating one generic ad to go out to everyone, Fleet Feet should utilize the fact that Facebook divides users up by many demographics (location, age, gender, birthday, workplace, education level, relationship status). An ad that specifically is targeted toward people with a birthday coming up might produce a very high response rate since it will feel so personalized. Along the same lines, ads that would appeal to people who are about to get married or have just had a breakup might also feel personalized and therefore more appealing than something more generic. Another helpful hint for Fleet Feet is “Set Advertising Budgets With a Goal in Mind.” Due to the nature of Facebook advertising, it is extremely easy to just keep spending and spending as you experiment with different types of advertisements. The suggestion is to think in the longterm, plan your budget, and don’t expect huge changes from Facebook advertising in a week’s time. Facebook advertising is an affordable option for the franchise owners who own individual Fleet Feet stores, like those around my hometown of Columbus, Ohio. If well planned, budgeted, and executed, it can make a real difference while getting advertisements in front of many different people who are actively engaged in the Facebook world.
Fleet Feet (2016). Retrieved from http://www.fleetfeet.com
O’Neil, N., (2009). 10 Rules for Advertising on Facebook. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/10-rules-for-advertising-on-facebook-2009-7