Post by Dr. Marsha Firestone, contributing Women On Business writer
During tough economic times, business owners are forced to cut costs. Marketing is often one of the first things to be reduced, but that doesn’t mean it stops. You just need to learn to market in a different way. If your marketing budget is changing, your techniques will have to change as well. Don’t let this discourage you. There are simple ways to stretch your dollar to efficiently market your business.
First, come up with a strategic marketing plan. Be careful not to make spur of the moment decisions when you are trying to be cost-effective. Think about who your target audience is, and how they want to be addressed in this economy; what will entice them to use your business over one of your competitors?
Begin to think outside the box, and explore new ideas relevant to your clients. The best place to get ideas is from your current customers. Ask them what they think works, and what doesn’t. Also, ask what they are looking for. Your customers will appreciate that you value their input, and hopefully they will supply you with new ideas.
Next, get word out about your business, especially about ways you are helping customers cut costs, by marketing for free. Try blogs, Twitter, e-mails and even your own press releases. Add these to your website and press kits to promote the press you have gotten. In a down economy, PR can be equally effective as advertising, especially with access to social media sites and forums.
Network as much as possible. This is a free way to meet and connect with potential clients. Have your pitch prepared when you are going somewhere to network, and think of this as a marketing strategy. Guerrilla marketing is a great way to invest in your business’ growth. Be patient with this technique, get involved, and be confident.
Once you have implemented your new techniques, make sure you give them time to work. Don’t get discouraged, always be brainstorming new ideas. A down economy doesn’t have to always have a negative effect on your business, take this time as an opportunity to try new things.