1. Focus on quality first. Try your best to ensure that customers will love what you deliver, whether that’s a product or a service. Otherwise, your marketing efforts will be in vain.
2. Keep wooing your current customers. They may have needs you haven’t yet discovered, so stay in touch and find out if there is more you can offer them. Landing a new customer costs 10 times as much as servicing an existing one.
3. Conversely, some customers may not be worth pursuing. Why give your time and emotion to customers who make unreasonable demands, are never satisfied with your pricing and make up only a small part of your business? Center your efforts on those who are already fans … and help them grow to another level.
4. Know your competitors better than they know you, and then distinguish yourself with advantages they don’t offer.
5. Give to get. Offering as much as you can for free—whether it’s industry tips, time and cost-saving tricks, consulting or pertinent white papers—will help build a sense of expertise and trust with prospective customers. They will see you as the go-to expert when it comes time to purchase your goods or services.
6. Your website is your most important marketing asset, but your customers have to find you online. In addition to using search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click advertising, drive customers to your site with a well-orchestrated, integrated campaign. The campaign could include email; online or direct mail; radio and TV; outdoor advertising; and blogging and other social media outlets such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
7. As much as possible, don’t let your short-term response to the economic downturn deter you from your long-term marketing and growth goals. Hunkering down and slashing marketing costs are not effective strategies for riding out an uncertain economy. Winning new customers is the only hope for success, so keep on promoting your business. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending more money. Instead, the ultimate performance of a marketing campaign or program flows from correct targeting. If you target with the right message, you’ll realize increased success.
8. Don’t think in terms of selling your services. Instead, think of solving your customers’ problems—today’s customers don’t want to be sold to. If you can’t fix or alleviate a customer’s nagging problem or situation, why would they want your products or services?
9. Be open to change. Advertising that may have worked last year, or even last quarter, may not work in today’s rapidly changing economic climate.
10. You can create your own PR. Writing frequent local press releases is free advertising. There are also sites such as www.pr.com
, which for a nominal fee will assure your press release gets dispersed to all major search engines.
11. Remember, consistency is key. It’s more effective to reach customers with frequent, targeted marketing initiatives than to blow your budget on one massive “Wow” effort.
12. There is no magic trick that will alter the current economic climate. One thing is certain: Doing nothing will produce nothing, and doing little will produce little!