PART 1: By Clare Sykes – Bright Star Marketing
Marketing in a recession? No way… I’m cutting my costs not increasing them!
It’s no secret that business is tough at the moment… and it’s no surprise that this is the reaction some people have when it comes to marketing. They think it’s all about spending money on flashy expensive adverts – nothing could be further from the truth. During these difficult financial times it is more important than ever to make sure your potential customers know about you and what you can offer, and this does not need to cost the earth and there are lots of things you can even do for free! It’s a well known fact that those who invest in marketing during the difficult times come out stronger when the recovery starts to take place. So let your competitors become the ones that fade into the background while you work on making sure your message is heard loud and clear.
Here are a few tips to help you on your way to marketing success…
Plan & Follow-Up
It’s common sense but before you do anything don’t just jump in feet first, think about your objectives and what you want to achieve – develop your marketing strategy – even if you are a small company or one-man band you need to have a full understanding of what you want to achieve and a plan of how to go about it. Don’t forget the other end too… follow up on your marketing efforts wherever possible – if you’ve been to an event, call or email any contacts you made as soon as possible. Also analyse how successful you have been so that you can learn from your experiences, what did/didn’t work, what would you do again and how could it be improved.
You’re here reading this… it works! An effective website is invaluable, when searching for a product or service most people now turn to the internet first so you need to make sure you’re there. Websites can offer more flexibility than a printed brochure as you’re able to react immediately to any new circumstance eg. new product/service, prices changes etc. If you already have a site, make sure it’s up to date and do what you can to improve your search engine ranking (see Zoe’s Blog).
Online Social Networking
The possibilities here are endless, and free! Get yourself connected with business associates, ex-colleagues, university friends and even your old school pals – and then connect with all their contacts too! Tell them all about yourself and what you’re up to now, subtly promoting your business at the same time by getting them to visit your website. People like to do business with people they know or who have been recommended – so put yourself out there and start building your online networks! You can even start up your own online groups and communities with customers, prospects and associates to get them all talking about your company.
Focus on ROI
If you are operating in the ‘business to business’ market then focus your messaging on ROI (Return On Investment) – if companies are going to invest during these challenging times they want to know that the product/solution that they are going to buy will either help ‘make them money’ or ‘save them money’, so let them know how you can contribute to that.
Hook up with other local businesses who offer complementary products or services and figure out ways that you can support each other (take this for example blog for example!). Provide links to each other’s websites, maybe provide access to customer databases, run joint marketing campaigns and pass on sales leads to each other.
Improve your Brand Identity
Make sure you stand out from the rest – ensure that you have a strong brand identity and logo so that people remember you. Make sure it gives the right impression about your business – if you are running a professional business the last thing you need is a logo made from clipart or a flyer knocked up in Word, this can often do more harm than good, so don’t be afraid to spend a little to achieve a lot. If you have a mobile workforce, make sure your vehicles are branded and acting as mobile adverts. Also don’t forget to always include your website address on any communications – it’s so much easier to remember than a phone number.
It would not be sensible to start increasing your fixed overheads at this time by hiring more permanent marketing staff. So consider outsourcing your marketing requirements to freelance marketing staff or an agency – enabling you to take advantage of all their skills and experience but only when you need them.
More tips to follow in Part 2…
To find out how BrightStar Marketing can help you develop your marketing plan to help you succeed in these challenging times please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07864 927007.
Visit our website www.brightstarmarketing.co.uk
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