Five Tips to Inexpensively Increase Your Marketing in Tough Times
Experts are saying that most recessions only last 18 months which means that this crazy “sluggish economy” should be ending soon. So then what! So now what! What have you done to continue markeing your business in Tough Times? Research studies have proven that those businesses which continue to market through a recession will grow 50% and those who do not will either not grow at all or not be there when economic situation improves.
So you are saying to me, "but I can barely pay administrative costs and it’s tough to make payroll even for my administrative assistant. I have had to make cutbacks and tighten up, there’s nothing left for marketing." Well, did you ever hear that when the going gets tough, the tough get going????
Can I throw some other trite sayings at you?
Think outside the box.
Find a quicker, more effective way to market.
Get out of your living room, there’s no business there.
Action cures just about everything.
Here are five ways to increase your marketing without expanding your budget
I. Increase your networking, find synergistic events and get out there—miracles don’t happen in your living room.
Sign up for newsletters that tell you about events in your local area.
In Pittsburgh—Pittsburgh Business Times, City Paper, City and County Websites. Many of these events are free or low cost, you will know which ones work out for the best Return on Investment if you have to pay for them.
II.On line free marketing:
Merchant Circle, you can almost create a mini website
Craig’s List—check out announcements and Notices, Shows and Events, Clubs, Garage Sales, Fundraisers, Graduations .What works for you to expand your potential customer base?
Craig’s List—Services and Small Biz Ads
Open Directory or Dmoz, takes a while to get your website approved by volunteers but let it sit and percolate while you do other things.
Restaurants can advertise on LocalWineEvents.com for free in your local area
SuperAds.com, choose the free listing, you can upgrade later when the economy gets better if you feel the need.
III. Word of Mouth:
Offer Perks to Regular Customers to Get the Word Out, use referral marketing. It helps keep your steady customers happy, let’s them know they are important and there is no source of new business like a satisfied customer.
IV. Use Social Media, Blog, Talkcast, Social Networks
Blogging, Talkcasting and Social Networks can give you an opportunity to do some shameless self promotion by setting your self up as an expert in your field. With all of the options out there and money tight you need to be the “go to person” in your field.
Some tips for Social Media
· Don’t always tout your business, offer good information and then give people a call to action, a subtle suggestion that if they need additional information they can call you.
· In your social networking offer free seminars, do them on line as webinars or hook up with a businesss that needs to promote itself also and hold it there for free. Everybody wins. You get your expertise out to some new clients and your non-competitive venu gets exposure for their business.
· Good partners are salons, spas, small restaurants (some like Panera have free meeting space that you can reserve.) Anyone that has a space that can accommodate about 30 people is a good candidate.
V. Many small businesses do not know that you can get some free advertising on Google, using Google Local or Google Maps. Google is looking to increase the value of their local search and their mapping application, so they have a simple way for you to tell them some information about your business, and now they are infusing those results into their main search engine
Things You Need Before Starting Your Free Advertisement
· A description of your business
· Your phone number, address and any other contact info you want to advertise
· A logo or image that represents your business (some people use a picture of their office, store or restaurant) If you are a consultant and a good in person networker, it's best to use YOUR picture.
· A coupon or special offer you want to advertise (Google also lets you add a coupon for FREE if you want)
Step-by-Step Guide to Free Google Advertisement
1. Go to www.google.com/local and search for your business to verify it is not yet listed with an advertisement.
2. Go back to www.google.com/local and click on Add/Edit Your Business at the bottom left part of the page.
Whatever you do, know that your clients and your neighbors are watching you. You can be the impetus for not just building your business during tough times but also inspiring others to do the same. The trickle down effect is that businesses on the same perverbial street corner who are doing business makes that street corner a hub of activity and in tough times prospects and customers want to be where the action is.
This blog post can be reproduced in its entirety with the following information:
© Joanne Quinn-Smith 2009, Monday Morning Marketeer™ 412-628-5048
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Joanne Quinn-Smith is the Creative Energy Officer of Dreamweaver Marketing Associates in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and an expert on Web 2.0 Branding.
Joanne has also been designated by the 2009 U.S. Small Business Administration as the Small Business Journalist of the Year for her work with information relevant to and advocacy of small businesses.
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