Marketing and Advertising Your Business in a Down Economy

August 23, 2011 by  Filed under: Advertising 

As a Print Advertising Sales Consultant I get to talk to many business owners in a wide array of business categories. There are a couple of common denominators I have observed among these folks concerning business survival in “The New Economy”:

  • Most agree that this is probably the worst business climate that they have ever experienced in the history of their careers. This is not a fabrication by our government for political purposes. Times are tough for just about everyone.
  • When times are tough, most people either do more of what they have always did, or less.

Very rare is the case when I speak to someone who tells me- “We are analyzing the areas of our marketing plan that continue to work for us, and we are staying with those initiatives, and we are replacing the things that aren’t working with some different strategies.

4 Steps to Creating a Turnover for Offensive Business Growth

Going on Offense for business survival and growth may be easier than you think, if you just focus on the following 4 steps to take right now to help you increase sales and keep them coming back for more:

  • Lead Generation
  • From Lead to Satisfied Customer
  • Customer Retention – Increasing the Customer Life Expectancy
  • Dynamic Referral Systems

Lead Generation

Although this is sometimes thought to be the hardest, most costly, and time consuming, it is also mandatory. No business can get out of the starting gate, much less survive without someone to talk to about how much your product or service can make they’re life easier or better, or whatever it is your product or service does.

A lot of people ask the question “Should I spend all my time trying to generate leads online, or since I don’t know much about internet marketing, should I just stick with what I know and use conventional advertising methods? I believe in doing both. I call it “The Cross Over Strategy”. This means you use print media, radio commercials, television, billboards, newspapers- or whatever method you prefer and can afford, to take a prospect to your website, Facebook Fanpage, or whatever online method you use to capture the name and contact info of a prospect for your product or service. (If you don’t yet have a website or fan page and don’t know how to set these online venues up, find someone who does. This is not an option. It is a vital business investment.) Equally important, take your online prospects, (FB fans, Blog subscribers etc.) to your print advertisements, and offer some type of incentive for doing so. You could use a coupon, a survey or any number of things to get them to take your desired action. Once you have them where you can communicate with them, “Ask for the Order”

Customer Retention

Knowing how long a customer continues to be a customer, and the frequency of purchase of that customer, is one the most important functions of survival a business owner can take, yet one of the least practiced. In addition, it is astonishing how many businesses don’t even have a data base of customers who have already bought from them.

If you don’t have a data base of past, present, and prospective customers, do this step first. Start now. This could be the difference between business survival, or business failure. It can be as easy as creating an Excel spread sheet and just tracking customer names and contact information (the more info,the better, ie:phone number, email, sex, age,) the purchased item, the price of the purchase, the date purchased. Having a list of information about your customer with accurate contact information, allows you to invite them back to look at what new products or services you have that they might be interested in purchasing. You can also offer them V.I.P. discounts. The list is limitless, but the ability to stay in contact with people who have already bought from you, gives you the opportunity to improve the life expectancy of your customer and increase sales geometrically.

Dynamic Referral Systems

Remember that database you built of past, present, and prospective customers? Now that you have it, you can offer those fine folks great incentives to tell their friends to buy from you too. If you are going above and beyond what is expected in Customer Service (the way every business should anyway) your satisfied customers will go out of their way to tell their friends and family how great you are. Everybody knows “Word of Mouth Advertising” is the cheapest, most valuable, most powerful, and longest lasting type of advertising you can ever get. How much more powerful would it be to offer your customer (who you’ve already made a raving fan out of by treating them like royalty with superior Customer Service) a 10% or 20% discount on their next purchase, just for having a friend come in and buy from you? Very Powerful! It could almost give you a continuous flow of new customers for life.

These ideas may seem basic and old in age, but I guarantee that if you focused on these three areas, implemented strategies around them, and spent the next 30 days practicing those strategies, you not only will create the turnover you need to go from Defense to Offense, but you will be scoring new customers, increasing sales, and improving business for many years to come.

Article Source:
http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Frank_Donohue

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