It’s hard to be anything other than optimistic right now with the (briefly) glorious weather and Team GB’s success in the Olympics (how amazing???) but it seems that in Blighty at least things are getting tough again economically. And just like in 2007/8 when the credit crunch started to hit everyone slowed down the marketing, it’s tempting to do the same again.
The truth is that the harder the market gets, the more you need to market your business. And there are real opportunities for those who do market hard: the opportunity to gain new market share as your competitors lose visibility, the opportunity to make your message heard more cost effectively and the opportunity to really grow your business.
I thought that to lighten the mood (and give you the same chuckle it gave us in the studio…) you might like to listen to a little Billy Ocean’s When The Going Gets Tough as you read the rest of this post?!
Five Ways to Market Your Business Without Spending a Fortune
Holding market share and maintaining customer awareness of your business doesn’t have to bankrupt you if you’re smart about where you invest your money. Here are five low cost things you can do to help you weather this very unwelcome storm:
- Email marketing. Everyone should be doing this. It’s incredibly cost effective, it’s quick, you can be highly responsive and you can track the results instantly. Use a combination of newsletters/ posts that add value to your readership, email offers/ sales messages and autoresponders to maximise value
- Blogging. This continues to be one of the most effective ways to build a relationship with your ideal clients, demonstrate your expertise and generate sales leads as long as you do it well.
- Public Speaking. If you know your stuff (of course you do!) then why not share it with an interested public – find networking groups/ conferences/ even WI groups to share your expertise, build your profile and build your list.
- Social Media. It’s easy to give social media a bad name and it’s true, Facebook and Twitter in particular can be time sappers, and with new toys coming on to the market every time you blink it’s easy to think that there’s just no point in bothering. I disagree. Done well and with a clear strategy social media tools can help you maintain your presence, demonstrate your expertise and build a relationship with your current and prospective clients. Just don’t spend all day on there!
- Search Engine Optimisation. If you’re prepared to put the legwork in to learning how this works and to spend hours in the evening refining things this will really pay dividends. Sure, it’s slow, and it’s time consuming, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll reap the rewards!
Five Activities Worth Investing In
And some things will just need investing in properly, but my goodness will it be worth it
- Get your brand in order. Having a powerful brand is all about making sure that what you communicate to the outside world matches how you know your business is on the inside. It’s about making your brand irresistible to the people that matter the most. And in these tough times having a brand identity that exudes confidence, professionalism and sends out all the right signals will make a huge difference to business.
- Get your website in tip top condition. For most businesses it’s your only shop window – make sure it’s as concise, focused and irresistible as it can be to both attract the right clients and generate enquiries for you. Talk to us about how we can help you ratchet up the power of your website.
- Google Adwords. If a large SEO monthly commitment just seems too much to stomach why not test the water (and gain some instant results) with Google adwords? If you’re prepared to put in the legwork and really do your homework this doesn’t have to be a money sapper but you do need to know how to use the system – and Google themselves are surprisingly helpful with this.
- Attend an exhibition. Exhibitions certainly aren’t cheap, but if you pick the right one and plan your strategy well it could provide you with a rich source of leads. My book, Exhibit gives step by step instructions on how I gained 100 leads at my first exhibition and converted 70 of them into paying clients. You can find out more here…
- Direct mail. Most people think that direct mail is dead. In the age of cheap and instant email marketing many people have stopped posting things out to their clients, which gives you the chance to make a real splash!
Over to you
What would you add to this list? What have you been doing to market your business this summer?