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6 Ways to Maximize Your Marketing in a Down Economy
Article by: Dan Wilson, Nov 11, 2008
Source from: www.wilsonweb.com
Everyone's worried about the economy. Consumers are tightening their belts. Companies are delaying expenditures. How about your marketing strategy.
Has the economy got you paralyzed? Don't know how to spend marketing dollars. Here are 6 tips that can pay off big for you.
1. Focus on Existing Customers
Everyone knows that repeat sales to existing customers cost far less than creating new sales from scratch. While it's still important to keep building your customer base, it's absolutely critical to hang on to the customers you already have. Show your customers you appreciate their business by offering things like loyalty rewards, discounts for add-on services, and access to your best offers. Don't just make your greatest deals available to new customers only -- your existing customers will feel excluded and just might jump at your competitor's "new customer" offer.
2. Start an E-mail Newsletter
E-mail newsletters are a cost-effective way of keeping your organization at the top of your customer's mind. One mail-order company we worked with started sending quarterly email newsletters in addition to their yearly printed catalogs and improved their year-round sales by over 40%. While it takes time and care to produce content that is relevant and useful to your audience, the investment can pay handsomely. And always be sure to include a call to action so potential customers will contact you while you're still fresh in their minds.
3. Outsource Judiciously
Use outside experts instead of hiring new staff. In a shaky economy, it's hard to assume the risk of adding new full-time employees. Hiring seasoned professionals on a contract basis to handle specialty marketing work -- like web design, message development, and graphic design -- allows you to limit spending to your immediate needs, allows your existing marketing staff (or you) be more efficient, and enables you to achieve top-notch results without creating an ongoing expense.
4. Hang On to a Modest Ad Budget
Though it may seem counter-instinctive, companies that advertise during a down economy fare better than those that don't. Why? Because many companies shave marketing budgets when times are tough. With fewer competitors advertising, your message stands a better chance of reaching the eyes and ears of your customers. And with less demand, you can often take advantage of favorable pricing when buying ad space. The customers you gain will generally stay with you as times improve, giving you a long-term market-share boost.
5. Re-Examine your Value Proposition
Customers tend to make buying decisions based on a combination of three factors: speed, quality, and price. In a down economy, consumers and businesses alike are in the process of re-evaluating every line item in their budgets and are focused on price more than ever. Make sure you look at your value proposition through your customers' eyes. Then be sure your marketing message highlights the monetary value you bring to those customers.
6. Send Virtual Holiday Greetings
One of our clients, a large law firm, has been doing this for years, but we thought this idea was too good not to share. In lieu of printed cards, they send friends and clients an animated holiday greeting, and donate the resulting savings to Unicef. By doing this, they are able to share their holiday message, help those in need, and enjoy a tax write-off come April. Another benefit of online greetings is the low incremental cost -- while tightened budgets might only allow you to print and mail just a few cards, sending 1,500 online greetings costs virtually the same as sending 300.
While competitors retreat, a down economy is a great time to move your organization forward -- carefully. Which of these tips can you implement today?