This is the final segment of a three part article on marketing through tough times. If you have missed either of the first two parts, please check out part one & part 2. Today we will discuss the importance of testing and keeping a high visibility to your customers.
Archive for January, 2009
“Downshifting in a Slowing Economy: A Business Planning Guide.” That course is designed to help business
owners reorganize and streamline business strategies. Other tools include a new automated business plan template, and an assessment and strategies guide for surviving in a sluggish economy. The agency also offers resources to small firms that are uncertain about what actions to take in the current economy.
In other SBA news, the agancy is hosting National Small Business Week in Washington, D.C., May 18-22. Not many details are available yet, but they will be rolled out at www.nationalsmallbusinessweek.com.
Will you check out any of these courses or attend National Small Business Week?
This is the second installment of Tips for Marketing Through Tough Times (click here if you missed part one). Today, we’ll go over the importance of building an effective Web presence that can fit your budget.
Traditional advertising spending, which has included newspaper, magazine, and other print publications continues to decline as the readership and circulation of these mediums continues to go down. More and more customers are moving online to find the products and services they are looking for. Small businesses that can’t be found online and through local searches are missing out on potential business. Getting your own web presence is also very easy. Many companies offer Website packages that are even under $5.00 per month. You can design your own site and include your products or services, your contact information, pricing, and where you are available. Oftentimes you can even sell your products online using even basic packages, taking payments online and driving additional sales. Read more…
Business cards are very common as hundreds of thousands were handed out last year alone. But don’t underestimate the power of the business card and what it can do for you. A business card is you when you can’t be there and portrays the personality and image of your company. A well-crafted card can be the difference between success and failure.
The following 10 tips will explain how to design a business card that will serve as an effective sales and marketing tool, while properly conveying your company’s mission. Read more…
Understand why continuing to market your business is most essential during tough financial climates and how these times can present an opportunity for your business. Topics include:
- reevaluating your current marketing plan
- cross promotions and partnerships
- utilizing free publicity
- customer examples
Your small business is operating in a time where things are uncertain. Business coming through the door might be spotty, customers seem to be spending less, and making the bills is a much bigger struggle than it once was. But that doesn’t mean that customers aren’t out there to be had. People are still spending money, and they still need what you’re selling, just like they did a year ago. The key is doing the little things to bring in business, and that includes creative marketing. You might think that marketing in a recession is impossible because of the costs, but staying on top of mind with customers and letting them know that you’re still there for them is paramount in a down economy. Marketing to customers that you have already served, as well as working to bring in new ones can pay long term dividends through any economic downturn. It also doesn’t have to be expensive if you have a little know how and creativity.
When most people think about marketing, they think that it’s going to be too cumbersome in terms of cost to achieve any kind of results. The truth is if you use your creative mind and do things a little bit differently, you can still make a marketing impact while tightening your belt. Here are a few things you can do to keep yourself out there and in the minds of customers for a very small investment. Steps like these can be the difference between keeping your doors open and having to close up shop in tough times. Read more…
Here’s a good video up from the Country Computer Consultant over on YouTube. He talks about some of the methods that he has used to successfully market his business. His channel also has some good videos to check out on products and marketing techniques on a variety of topics.
Earlier today I was reading Stephen Baker’s Blogspotting on a new Nielsen-WebVisible survey titled: The Great Divide: The Gap Between Online Consumer Behavior and Small Business Marketing… and Light at the End of the Tunnel.
Catch this: 92% of Internet users, according to a new Nielsen-WebVisible survey, say they’re satisfied with search
results. But 39% of them frequently can’t find companies they’re looking for. In other words, they find what they’re looking for-even if it ends up coming from a different company.
While I agree with Baker that this is a very interesting finding, I also find it troubling for small business owners on the local level. Especially with the report noting that an overwhelming majority of owners – 99% – are directly involved in marketing their small business and growing their business is the primary goal of their marketing efforts.
With close to 40 percent of searchers turning to another vendor if they can’t find a business they are looking for, it seems like overall education on some marketing tactics would be beneficial to even the most savvy small business owner. A number of Webinars on this topic can be found by clicking here, you can also visit VistaPrint’s learning center for live interactive Webinars as well.
This article leaves us with three questions for the readers of this blog:
- How do you search for local businesses online?
- What do you do when you can’t find a vendor in your area?
- What methods do you use to market online?
Let us know what you think.
It’s no secret that the economy is failing and that small businesses are having to make tough choices, including possibly shutting their doors for good. These are the times where owners have to “dig deep” and decide whether or not this is something that they truly want to do, or if it’s something that will be worth the time and effort over the long haul. Only you can know the answer to that question, but there are others who have been through similar situations, and more often than not, their response would be, “keep fighting.”
The resolve of small businesses and their desire to stay in business and succeed during these difficult times is what will eventually help pull the US economy out of the hole that it is in. Small businesses have always sustained the economy through difficult times. But if you’re in need of inspirational stories or advice from others who have been through similar situations, it’s worth reading Sharon McLoone’s post on the Washington Post Small Business Blog. This post pulls from small businesses she has interviewed in 2008. One story includes the following:
“Don’t give up if you believe in your idea,” said Aviva Goldfarb, founder of online dinner planner Six O’Clock Scramble. “You’re going to get so many No’s…Just because something doesn’t catch on right away don’t despair, although at times I was desperate…Market your product [because] it’s not like you build it and they will just come.”
You can read the entire post here. Also, don’t forget that VistaPrint’s small business marketing guru Mindy Sanderson will be hosting a live webinar tomorrow at 4 p.m. EST regarding tips and tricks for Recession Proofing Your Business. You can register and listen in online for free at www.vistaprint.com/learningcenter.