How to Market Your Way Out of Tough Times
by Patricia Fripp & David Garfinkel
When there's gloom and uncertainty in the air, most businesses are making a terrible mistake in their efforts to ride out the tough times. They're cutting back on marketing and waiting until the economy improves.
In an economy such as this, cutting back on marketing is flirting with business suicide. Instead, what we need to do is increase our marketing without increasing the amount of money we spend.
This will not only protect you from sales declines, it will also strengthen your business against the threat of deep-pocketed competitors who may see tough times as a great opportunity to outmaneuver you and grab some of your customers.
How do you get more marketing bang for fewer marketing bucks? By using proven lower-cost, higher-yield methods. Here are five sure cures for marketing woes:
1. Get back in touch with past customers and clients. It's all too easy to ignore your old customers, yet they are often your best source for new business. Sometimes sending a personal note, making a phone call, or inviting an old customer to lunch is all it takes to rekindle a business relationship. If you want to do this through direct mail or email, you can give old customers a special "Welcome Back" offer: a gift, a discount, or a bonus when they resume doing business with you.
If you are a consultant, speaker, or seminar leader, why not call with an offer of a telephone consultation with advice, a TeleSeminar with reminders of your key training ideas, or at least an upbeat message?
2. Offer prospective customers a free sample. This is an obvious but often overlooked strategy that certainly can work for your business. Everyone from grocery stores (who offer tidbits of food) to high-priced consultants. Offering potential clients a complementary coaching conversation has always been an effective strategy for Fripp.
3. Your best sales person works 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and never asks for a commission. Yes, it is your website. Patricia Fripp's has generated a major portion of her new business and kept 1000's coming back with her information-rich website. Just because it is working does not mean you do not revisit, rewrite, and renew content. Look at yours and make sure it is easy to navigate, content rich,
and full of the keywords that get attention.
Do you regularly Google yourself, your competition, and your service? How about starting to blog?
4. Let your customers help you out. Business is always a two-way street. Some of your customers who you've helped in the past will be glad to return the favor. Often, all you have to do is ask. Two things you can ask for: testimonials and case studies you can use in your sales presentations and advertising.
Another way they can help you: by giving you referrals. And if you have an influential customer who's appreciative of what you've done, ask that customer to write and send an endorsed letter to others recommending your business. Offer to pay for the printing and postage, and help with the writing if necessary.
5. One of the least expensive ways to market is speak to your local service clubs. Every Rotary, Kiwanis, and Lions Club is looking for a free speaker next week. What would it mean to you if you could deliver a speech that engaged, inspired, informed? Even if you talk about your hobby or recent trip, your introduction tells everyone what your business is.
Want to learn how? Why not attend Patricia Fripp's Las Vegas Speaking School, June 29-30?
"In strange and uncertain times such as these that we live in
Any reasonable person might despair.
But hope is unreasonable
And love is even great than that.
May we trust in the inexpressible benevolence of the creative impulse.
We must learn to see grace working in important small ways."