Times are challenging. Being a business owner does not guarantee that you are set for life... Even multinational corporations are downsizing or going out of business. So what actions does a business need to do to keep growing in this faltering economy? While there are no guarantees there always are a few techniques a savvy business professional can do to thrive successfully in this economy.
However, these initiatives include thinking outside the financial box and being willing to take some risks. Yes, I did say RISKS...
One of the main ideas to consider is that it is necessary for you to implement many marketing activities at the same time to create a robust client-base. I am not promising a magic pill or wand, just the knowledge that we always have to experiment with different techniques until we reach the set of marketing actions that works for us.
Before we look into all the different marketing activities available to us there are two important questions I want like for you to consider:
- Question 1: What is the ultimate maximum you can afford in order to run a blitz marketing campaign? Is there a way you can come up with a little more? If you don’t have the money, can you spare some workers or work a little differently yourself to do what I am going to propose? Don’t answer that yet, but keep it upmost in your mind.
- Question 2: Are you aware of all the ways you create a marketing blitz? No? Let me count the ways.
1) Marketing begins at home
The first initiative to consider is you and your business. Make no mistake - marketing begins at home.
If you are a brick-and-mortar business, how does your physical location create interest?
- Your business sign acts as a billboard for your driving and foot traffic. Is is large and easy to read as a person passes in a vehicle?
- Your window is the next sight that you want people to use to identify with your business. Is it visually appealing and does it tell the public that you are open for business?
- When people enter your business, are they greeted warmly? Do your sales personnel know enough to be truly helpful? Would more training be an asset?
- Do you have in stock the items you promise in ads or in your window?
If you are strictly an internet company, these same questions apply in a slightly differing form.
- Is your website optimized and is it optimized for mobile devices?
- Have you switched to a responsive design format? Times on the net have changed rapidly over the past ten years. Have you kept up?
- Is it easy for potential clients to find answers to their questions?
- Are your offerings taking leads down the sales funnel?
If your business is the sum of both a brick-and-mortar establisment and an online one, all the same questions apply.
2) Internet, anyone?
The internet is every marketer’s dream come true; however, your own online marketing experience may have been less than ideal.
In order to get the most from your internet marketing budget you have to realize that marketing online is a different beast from marketing from your brick-and-mortar business. It's simply not the same as putting ads in your local paper.
Marketing online should be approached with a mindset of sharing - have you ever heard the phrase "sharing is caring"? Internet sharing is carried on all the time. You are already aware of this because you probably text, check your email from your smartphone, use Facebook and are a member of LinkedIn groups.
When you share something of business value with other people, you show them that you care. Another benefit of online sharing, specifically if you are sharing your knowledge, is that you prove you are the expert. And if there is one thing we all care about, it is doing business with an expert.
But how do you get people into your online store or website? Actually, those online chats you have are part of the process. You just need to think about representing your business not just promoting yourself.
- There are more ways, but it will cost you in time or money or both.
- If your website is not up-to-date, you need to work on that.
- You want to make sure that all your pages on the internet are visually compatible with each other. This builds familiarity. If everything is unrelated, you are cutting off your nose to spite your face.
- How does a potential client know that your business is still in business?
- One way is to go to the company blog and see if there are current articles in it. Who wants to even contact a business if there hasn’t been a new article posted since 2010?
- Another way your business is vetted by someone is that he or she checks you out on social media sites. The vistor wants to know if you have an active presence on LinkedIn (if you are a business-to-business organization) or Facebook if you are a business to customer one. When you seek a company’s social media site to determine if you want to work with the company and there haven’t been constant current posts, do you bother to see if the company still exists or do you continue to search for one that is active? Me, too.
3) Local marketing sources
You may have the best location, the best merchandise, the best staff. So what is missing? You need to get the word out locally that you are available. Certain of these marketing techniques are simple and don’t require much time or money, but other techniques will take both. Some of these are activities in your community and are essential especially because you are a local business.
- The easiest to do are business cards. And please, print 2,000 cards and then make sure you exchange cards at every opportunity. This will allow you to follow up with your new connection. When you follow up, make sure to ask for permission to add them to your mailing list.
- If you have an online presence, you can use banner ads, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter ads to lead prospects to your website - just make sure the landing page has a great offer for them.
- A little more time-consuming are certain local community activities. You may find events at your Chamber of Commerce that are good opportunities to discuss your business with other business owners. Again, the purpose is to get your business cards into the hands of business owners who may either have a need for your services or know someone that could benefit from your services.
4) Instant wonder-No way.
Finally, you have to realize that no single marketing activity alone is going to bring clients swarming to your door. Inbound, in your community, advertisements, perfect sales people, social media - not one will get you those clients in and of itself. But the more marketing techniques you employ continually pays off. You will see a return on your investment within a few years. This is not an economic atmosphere in which you can expect the money you spent on marketing to give you a positive return on your investment within the quarter, but you will see that ROI in the future.
And the risk?
The risk comes when you create and spend that money on your marketing budget instead of reducing the budget because things don't seem to work out immediately. Marketing is a patience game unless, of course, you can afford a commercial at the Super Bowl.
Jaco Grobbelaar is the owner of BroadVision Marketing. BroadVision Marketing works with business owners to put in place inbound and outbound marketing strategies that consistently secure new clients. The BroadVision Marketing Training Center is located in Petaluma, CA and primarily serves companies in the San Francisco Bay area.
Jaco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707.766.9778 or connect with Jaco on Facebook - www.facebook.com/broadvisionmarketing - and LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/JacoGrobbelaar. He can also be found at Jaco+.