Alastair Campbell of the Ideal Marketing Company (idealmarketingcompany.com) has identified the seven key areas of marketing that companies should be focusing on in the current economic climate.
If all the forecasts are to be believed, businesses are in for a tough time over the next few years. In the midst of all this economic gloom, it’s easy to panic and start slashing budgets, rather than focusing on growth.
Many companies immediately reduce their marketing activity as soon as things look grim, but this is a mistake: growth is still possible in times of economic decline if you have the nerve and foresight to maintain your marketing strategy.
So, start by focusing on these key areas of marketing and you shouldn’t go far wrong.
1. Value your customer
In the rush to attract new business it can be easy to ignore what’s right in front of you – your current clients. These are the most fruitful source of business – and are much easier to convert. Reward their custom by offering products or services at reduced rates and maintain good communication so they are fully aware of what you can do for them and why they should continue spending money with you.
2. Making the news
Getting your company in the news: on the TV, the radio or in the papers is fantastic advertising – and it’s virtually free. But you have to make it happen: editors and reporters won’t come to you, so your business has to actively seek publicity.
Think about what your company does and what makes it newsworthy – there will be something if you think about it hard enough. Survey results, news releases and articles (the more topical the better) all have an audience – and it’s a great way to reach potential customers.
3. The law of reciprocity
This means that if you give a customer something, they will naturally feel the desire to give you something in return. Supermarkets understand this philosophy, which is why they give out food samples at the deli counter. Research proves that once you have tried something, you are more likely to buy it.
Apply this principle to your business by offering special reports, insiders’ information, and free seminars or tips booklets. The key is to make your giveaway cheap to produce but of value to the recipient, -ho will then feel obliged to offer you something in return.
4. Create your niche
Some businesses think that by expanding the appeal of their product or service, they will attract a larger audience and therefore win more sales. In fact, one of the most effective ways to achieve increased sales is to create a niche and become the leader in that particular market.
Make your brochures, mail shots and direct mail letters specific to each individual sector and address the issues that your target market has. This way your customer feels that you are the expert in your field.
5. Trace new business
How do you know which marketing strategies are working if you don’t trace where your new business comes from? Put a reference code on every type of marketing that you produce and ask people to quote it when they call you up.
Make it company policy that any new business enquiry is checked to so you know how the prospect heard about your company.
6. Keep your website current
We all know that the internet is a fantastic tool, but if you want to use it to its full potential, you need to be proactive. No matter how flashy your website is, if it isn’t reviewed regularly it won’t be picked up by the search engines.
One of the simplest ways to improve your online presence is to put a blog on your website and keep it regularly updated with news and views. You should also reference articles from other sites that may be of interest to prospects – your new business enquiries will shoot up.
7. Never say die
If you have a good product or service, make sure that your target market knows what its benefits are. This doesn’t mean telling them that your company is great, it means explaining what’s in it for them.
When someone says ‘no’, they may mean ‘not yet’ or even ‘I don’t know enough about the benefits of what you are offering’. Create a target group of hot prospects and keep in touch with them: if you’ve got your targeting right and explained the benefits, they will probably buy from you – eventually.
So, keep your nerve, review these key areas and your company should be one of those that experiences growth – even in the economic downturn.
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