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Top 7 Marketing Tricks to Boost Your Business During The Recession

By Brent Sampson

Throughout this economic downturn, “helpful” articles and “experts” are suggesting that now is the time to increase marketing and advertising spending because it is likely your competitors are pulling back. Yet, how are you supposed to increase marketing with constricting budgets, decreased cash flow and diminishing revenues? Welcome to the Catch-22 of business marketing.

Fortunately, there are ways to increase your marketing efforts and improve client acquisition techniques without necessarily increasing spending. Here are seven marketing tricks you can adopt immediately to boost your business during slow times.

1. Start a blog: Yes, blogging is time consuming and takes commitment. But it is also one of the least expensive methods for establishing a professional “presence” on the Internet. The good news is once you have a blog and it begins receiving a growing number of visitors, you have a “home base” with which you can leverage additional Internet marketing tactics, such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. One of the most popular blogging platforms, WordPress, is completely free and you can create your blog instantly.

2. Participate in other blogs: Once you have a blog and a “voice” of your own, share your opinions in the “comments” section of relevant blogs. By reading other blogs pertinent to your industry or topic, you become more knowledgeable, and by sharing knowledge or insights with other blog visitors, you further establish your own expertise. It also doesn’t hurt that you can include a link back to your own blog within your signature.

3. Enhance your business Web site with links to industry blogs: This step (this article, actually) assumes you already have a Web site for your business. If you don’t, you must get one. Once you have a Web site, the next step is incorporating “Web 2.0” functionality so the Web site does not seem “static.”  One of the easiest ways to do this is to add an RSS Feed of your own blog to your Web page. Add other RSS feeds or links to other industry blogs, too. Once potential customers start viewing your Web site as a hub from which they can get information, they are much more likely to revisit your site often. That kind of loyalty and trust is often punctuated with a purchase.

4. Write and publish a book: With self-publishing service providers, publishing a book is easier and faster than ever. And, as a business person in your industry, you possess the knowledge and experience to write and publish a non-fiction book that is relevant to your past, present and future customers. For the sake of example, a book of this nature, in its simplest form, is basically a rewrite of your business model combined with a rewrite of your product/service manual. Not only is a book a revenue channel in its own right, but a published book further establishes your expertise to new customers and provides a low-cost entry to your business. Potential customers who may shy away from your product or service’s price point will be apt to purchase a book from you in the $20 range. It becomes the book’s responsibility to communicate all the advantages/benefits of your product or service. Bonus: Once you have published a book, you open up a whole new marketing opportunity by reaching new customers through Amazon.com.

5. Offer your book free to potential clients as an e-book: What’s better than being able to acquire profitable new clients through a $20 “loss leader” like a book? Give your book away for free – all you ask in return is their e-mail address. They get something of value in exchange for adding to your e-mail database. Now, with their permission, you can provide them with additional information and assistance via e-mail, once a month, or at whatever duration you think is best. If they find your correspondence valuable, you are that much closer to adding a new customer to your business. How much did you lose? The royalty from the paperback book sale? What is $2-$10 in comparison to the $50-$200 cost-per-acquisition you typically pay for new customers the traditional way?

6. Engage in pay-per-click advertising: Once you have a blog, a paperback and a free e-book available on your Web site, you are prepared to successfully engage in high ROI (return on investment) pay-per-click Internet advertising through Google and Yahoo. Services such as Google Analytics will help you identify your cost-per-lead, and your own business model should help you identify an acceptable cost-per-lead. If your actual cost-per-lead is lower than your acceptable cost-per-lead, you have a successful marketing campaign. Otherwise, it requires a little refining.

7. Create “microsites” and “landing pages”: The next step is to categorize your pay-per-click campaign into separate and specific categories. Then, make sure people who click on specific keyword ads are arriving upon specific microsites or “landing pages” designed around those keywords. Further enhance your offerings by publishing multiple books (think around 100 pages) and offering multiple e-books, each one specific to each individual and each specific landing page. For instance, even though your business may cater to both mothers and fathers, women and men search for information on the Internet differently. When you advertise to them differently, and then treat them uniquely once they reach your site, they will each feel a personal connection with your business because you are treating them like an individual, rather than a wallet. Given the investment in the blog, in the book, and in the pay-per-click campaign, creating a “pink” version and a “blue” version of two different landing pages is a no-brainer. That is an over-simplification, but the point is the same.

By treating each potential client or customer as a unique individual and by liberally sharing a wealth of information with each of them, you begin to establish your own expertise while gaining their trust and loyalty. People buy from experts who they have reason to trust.

Now that you know how to increase your marketing techniques, even during a recession, imagine what you will be able to do once the economy turns around! These simple and cost-effective marketing steps will help you improve your client acquisition rates and sell more products and services, while your competitors cut back and lose out on new clients.

Read other articles and learn more about Brent Sampson.

[This article is available at no-cost, on a non-exclusive basis. Contact PR/PR at 407-299-6128 for details and requirements.]

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