Yeah, we’re in the middle of a recession and YOU and your small business will save the economy, right? How are you going to do that when the mass of unemployed and underemployed are staying away from the necessities you offer to the public? Well, there are three goals you may want to consider when developing a marketing campaign: build sales, develop brand, or lead gathering. Sure, you can combine all three, but have you heard of the “K.I.S.S.” formula? By focussing on one primary goal, your results can be more measurable and testing different approaches will be more meaningful.
The first goal we all consider is to increase sales. What is the most fundamental way to do this? Offer real value and provide a definitive “call to action.” There are numerous ways to engineer this utilizing any medium. The most cutting edge of course is through coupon offers such as Groupon or Living Social which cater to both local as well as national markets, and are extremely successful at driving customers to your business while controlling your marketing budget. Google AdWords and other similar programs are also excellent for driving local response while limiting expense. Of course don’t forget the print media and hybrids such as Valpak which can combine online and print.
Why should you consider brand building when the economy is in shambles and you’re trying to simply survive? The answer is simple. The recession isn’t permanent (What is?), so when it comes out of the gloom, which businesses will be in a position to reap the most rewards? The businesses that people recognize and are familiar with. The businesses that stayed around when times were tough. A couple of historical examples might clarify this concept a bit. During the Great Depression, most companies cut back drastically or cut out marketing campaigns in order to save what resources they had. Two companies in particular increased their campaigns during those hard times and as a result led the pack as the depression ended and went on to dominate their respective markets for many years. Those two companies were Coca Cola and Arrow Shirts.
With today’s vast assortment of media delivery methods, the same strategy can be employed by local and regional businesses for a reasonable and totally controllable cost using most of the methods mentioned above.
Lead generation can be a little more sophisticated but can still be cost effective. By creative use of social networks and email campaigns organized through companies like Aweber or Constant Contact. These approaches can save money for you but success depends on devoting a considerable amount of time on your part.
I hope this has been a useful introduction and will help you focus on your goals and budget.