Market Smarter, Not Less, in a Down Economy

I see a lot of small businesses cutting back on their marketing as a way to pinch pennies in this economy. Are you one of them? If you are, your thinking is penny-wise and pound-foolish, because when your margins are shrinking, the solution is smarter marketing, not less marketing.

Here are six ways to market smarter:

1. Have a plan. Too many small businesses fritter away their marketing dollars because they don’t have a written marketing plan that sets out clear, realistic marketing goals and objectives and practical actions for achieving them. Instead, their marketing is haphazard, hit and miss, and a waste of money more often than not.

2. Use your plan. There is no point in going through the effort of writing a marketing plan if you don’t use it. Yet, many small businesses develop plans and never implement them. Or, they follow their plans for awhile and then put them aside, either because their initial marketing efforts don’t yield the results they hoped for and they become impatient and frustrated, or because some other aspect of running their business distracts them and they forget about their plans.

3. Partner with another business. Join forces with a business that’s related to yours and that can send clients your way and visa versa and cosponsor events with that business for your respective clients and potential clients. For example, if you are a financial advisor, partner with an estate planning attorney or a CPA to put on a speaker series, host informal get-togethers, do webinars, and so on. Sharing the planning and cost of events can make it possible for you to do things you might not be able to pull off otherwise.

4. Get involved. Being actively involved in your community is a great way to market your firm informally (and for little or no money). For example, help out a local nonprofit. With budget cuts and donations down, many nonprofits need volunteers and in-kind donations now more than ever. Actively supporting respected organizations in your community helps increase your business’ visibility and generates good will towards it .

5. Become a resource. Introduce yourself to the media via email and invite them to get in touch when they want to interview someone about an issue that relates to your area/s of expertise. In your introductory email, succinctly review your professional credentials and experience and provide an overview of the kinds of topics you can discuss. Then, whenever something newsworthy develops related your area/s of expertise, email those same media to remind them that you’re available to share your thoughts and insights.

6. Add content. Google loves web sites with quality content. So figure out the kinds of information and advice members of your target market want to read about -- what issues do they care about; what are their biggest concerns and fears; what mistakes are they most apt to make, and so on? Then, at least once each week, blog and write articles for your site about those things.

Return to top of page: Market Smarter