Small businesses, particularly those with limited resources, are vulnerable during recession. In today’s economic crisis, cutting advertising spending has become a popular practice. Many owners are on a quest for innovative and cost effective marketing solutions. Recession or not you must continue to promote your products and company.
So, here are some ideas on how to re-energize your marketing and give your business a boost.
Reactivate Past Customers – It is sad but true that sometimes we don’t bother to communicate with customers unless they call with an order. It may be worth going through your list of inactive clientele and try to reactivate those with whom you have had success. Reach out and let them know you value their business. Ask what it will take to get them back. You would be surprised, how simple and low cost this process is. Don’t be discouraged if you hear “No thanks”. Consider it a learning opportunity, wish them the best… and try back in a year.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce – Also referred to as board of trade, it is a business network formed by business owners – people like you, sharing similar obstacles. Joining your local chamber of commerce is a great forum for your business concerns. Membership comes with free programs, services, networking opportunities and often times referrals to other affiliates. Some chambers even issue press released of their new members to the community as well as local media.
Be Charitable! – Consider sponsoring a community event, charity, sports league or even high school yearbook to spread some goodwill around. It is a great component of a brand-building awareness campaign, and a tax deduction. Sponsoring a high-profile cause might be a good public relations bolster, creating positive association for your business. If you have limited resources, consider making an in-kind donation rather than a monetary one. Remember, you may not be able to say yes every time you are asked for donation, nor should you. But giving careful evaluation to the opportunities that arise, you might be able to contribute to your community while supporting your business.
Partner with other Businesses – Creating strategic relationships is a great way to generate new leads and build long-term momentum. Find other local companies that complement your business offers. By combining and leveraging resources of two companies you generate greater marketing impact. It is an opportunity to share contact lists, split marketing costs, and exchange referrals. As a good practice, only seek marketing ventures with organizations that you would have no problem referring to your best customers.
Add your business to a Review Site – Never underestimate the power of the word of mouth. You can generate a lot of revenue for your company simply by encouraging others to talk about it. People trust the recommendations more than flyers or posters. Start by asking your friends, family and employees to post comments. If you find a bad review or two, do not despair. Step back; gather more information to help determine the root of the problem. Afterwards, this maybe a gift in disguise – it will give you opportunity to see if there is something that needs fixing. Remember reviews, both good and bad can help streamline your business model.
There are a lot of different ways to advertise a small business without spending a huge amount of money. Maintaining your marketing spending is very important, now more than ever. Studies have proven that an increase in advertising during recession, especially when many competitors are cutting back, can improve your company’s market share and brand awareness.