Below are short excerpts of the quality content you will get in the documents of this collection.
Define Your Position
When economic times are tight, companies must be smart in their marketing and promotion The income that was easily earned in years past now requires double the effort. Companies are now fighting fiercely to acquire customers and laboring hard to keep them.
Is the answer to difficult times more foot traffic? Do companies need to pay closer attention to social media? Should they be investing in an SEO program? Are they ready to attract new customers with mobile marketing? While all of these channels are good places to find new avenues of customer attraction, they may be unreliable upon in tightening economic conditions.
Selling To Existing Customers
Acquiring new foot or web traffic is expensive in terms of time and resources for small businesses. If you decide to put a new system in place for search engine marketing (SEO), social media marketing or even mobile marketing, there will be a startup cost associated with these implementations. While they may bring you the traffic that you want in order to secure the level of income that you want, there is a step that should come before doing this.
Maximizing the sales in your existing customer base is a requirement to marketing effectively. When you have a system that brings your existing customers to your website or doors repeatedly, then every new prospect that enters your marketing funnel will eventually bring you more profit...
Just because you don't have a corporate budget to work with when it comes to advertising doesn't mean that you can afford not to spend resources on branding. Moreover, if you listen to the conversation of experts and consultants, you might think that branding is close to being unnecessary as the adoption of direct marketing has been successful for those that implement it.
Indeed, this emphasis over the last 10 years on direct marketing principles has been good for small businesses. The focus on one to one communication has meant better direct mail, Internet marketing, classified ads and telemarketing. However, the casualty of this new focus has indirectly led to a de-emphasis on branding.
The easiest way to expand the amount of customer traffic to your offers is to leverage relationships with other businesses that have similar but noncompeting client bases. What each business would be doing in a joint venture is to exchanging opportunities to present value.
Of course, the most important part of this process is to develop an active ongoing dialogue with customers in your database. This will probably be your e-mail marketing list, while some businesses will be using SMS marketing and/or direct mail. Regardless, if your customer base regularly receives communication from you, and there is evidence that they are responsive, you will have the basis for a joint venture.
One of the buzzwords among marketing consultants is content marketing. Content marketing is using online articles, video and podcasting to get your message into your customers' heads without making a direct pitch. The point of content marketing is that the sales message tends to be less direct. Your goal is to interest and educate your viewer and prospect and then direct them to solutions based on those things that you have educated them on.
The education process typically takes place within the problem/agitate/solve (PAS) marketing model. With PAS you are openly researching and discussing your findings regarding customer problems before you begin your education process. To that end, your blog should contain articles that highlight your in-depth understanding of the problem.
While social media has not yet lived up to all it was supposed to be for small business, it still provides tremendous benefits to those companies that know and understand how to use it effectively. Whether a company uses Facebook, Twitter, or Google Plus, social media platforms give companies direct personal access to people that make buying decisions.
While social media does not necessarily cement existing relationships, it does open the door to new relationships through warm introductions. As a business owner, you can give social media followers insight into your life and access to what you're doing before they ever meet you in person. It allows you to demonstrate transparency in your business, which will open the door to trust. It also puts a real face on your products and services, which takes the impersonal nature of doing business on the internet and makes it personal.
The Leverage of Publishing
In economic downturns, it's typical that a company may have more time to invest than excess cash flow. When that is the case, business owners should look to explore publishing as a viable alternative to getting their message out.
When using the term publishing, what isn't meant is traditional content marketing. The use of blogging, podcasting, video marketing or press releases would not be classified as publishing in this discussion. That does not mean that each one of these channels wouldn't be worth your time. You should have them all in operation. In fact, you should probably not pursue publishing on until you have maximized all of these channels because they will all play a role in making your publishing efforts work well.
Your Personal Network
Much has been written about networking and how it can increase opportunities to grow your business. In fact, there are entire organizations built around the principle of networking. In both of these contexts, business owners are encouraged to exchange business cards and stories with others like them. This is done in hopes that potential sales can be referred.
While this way of generating sales can be lucrative, it is time-consuming. A business owner can only be in one place at one time. Therefore, business owners should take seriously where and how they spend their time networking. It is common among sales professionals to spend the majority of their time with others that are like them which tends to be the same circle of people socio-economically, as well as professionally.
Internet Marketing In a Downturn - Part 1
As you set your sights on higher profits during what is supposed to be a downturn, you will hear a lot from sales people about what you can 'buy' from them to get more 'leads' for your business. Some of the solutions will work for you and some of them wont. That is the nature of new technologies and methods. They tend to work for the manager or owner who inclined toward the method. Owners and managers that are technical, tend to find new solutions that are technical. Owners and managers that believe in a close and personal approach, find new solutions that highlight that.
Internet Marketing In a Downturn - Part II
Marketing in any downturn comes down to first, making sure that you are exercising the fundamentals. In an earlier article and post, we described the eight functions that every business should be undertaking in order to successfully navigate an economic period of increased competition and decreased capacity from consumers to buy products and services. The reason that these eight practices are so important in a downturn is because they no not depend on heavy up front expenditures on advertising.