Marketing For Rough Times

March 24, 2009 at 4:28 pm Leave a comment

Marketing can often be a tricky and expensive venture for many small businesses. If you’re not careful, it can consume vast amounts of time and money without bring in the return on investment to make it worthwhile.  The problem with most marketing attempts by small business is not in the actual marketing methods being employed, but rather the implementation of them.  We’ve come up with a few steps to refocus your marketing efforts and help renew your lead-generation.

1. Identify Your Ideal Clients

Every small business has an idea of who their ideal clients would be.  If you don’t, you should.  This may include demographics, industry verticals, even company sizes.  Do your company a huge favor and write down the characteristics that make up your ideal clients.  Some market research might be helpful in this step.

Example:  A Gym will have several types of ideal clients depending on the services they want to promote.  If they want to push their personal trainer program, they’re ideal clients might be middle-aged men and women that are not currently in a fitness routine.

2. Target Your Recipients

Now that you know who you’re after, think about where they might be.  Do they commute? Are they homeowners? Can you utilize county or state records to determine specifically where they are located (This is a good resource for new homebuyers and new business listings)? The more specific you are in this step, the better.  The ultimate would be to have addresses, phone numbers or email address.

Example:  If you’re selling commercial insurance, one of your ideal clients might be automotive repair shops.  You can easily get a list of a few hundred of these by checking out your local yellow pages or jumping on the internet.  This should give you both address and phone number – jackpot!

3. Tailor Your Message

When thinking about what to say to your ideal clients, don’t just regurgitate your marketing materials.  Make it about them.  Put yourself into their shoes and think about how your services might be able to help them.  Keep in mind the everyday worries and issues that they deal with tap into the human truth behind them.  Note that they are getting along fine without you now, so you need to prove to them how your services or products will solve a problem, enhance their life or do more than another product they currently use.

Example:  One of our clients, an indoor inflatable park for kids based in Northern Virginia, was placing an ad in a local newspaper.  Knowing that they were targeting mothers of young children, we tapped into the motherly instinct of wanting to encourage playfulness, both mentally and physically, in their kids.  The headline read “Let Their Imagination Run Wild”.  The ad, with coupon had over a 20% return rate.

4. Build Your Relationships

This step is probably the most crucial and the most often overlooked.  Too many small business are centered on themselves, when they should be centered on their clients and customers.  Keep in mind that people are more likely to go out of their way to use your services or purchase your products if they know you, like you and trust you.  Use every opportunity you can to let your clients know who is behind the company.  As a small business, you have the unique ability that larger companies don’t, to let your clients know that when they use your company, they are supporting neighbors, communities and like-minded individuals.

Example: A boutique dog shop offers free home-made treats to any and all dogs that enter the store.  The owners of the shop make it a point to share the recipe with those interested in order to foster goodwill around their brand even though they sell the same treats in the store.

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Entry filed under: marketing tips.

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