Your instincts say you need to cut costs when business is slow, and one of the things you want to cut is marketing. Perhaps you don’t have a clear connection in mind between marketing and revenue in your business — you’re not really sure if marketing brings you more business or not?
In a recession, your traditional marketing methods may actually not be helping you much. But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate marketing. It means you need to switch your marketing strategy. This is the time when Public Relations — yes, PR — has to be a key part of your marketing mix. This is when you most need to explore getting in front of people in new ways and letting them know about your business.
Start by figuring out what your business “story” is. Was there something unique in your background that drew you into your current business? Are you offering your products or services in a different way from most of your competitors? Do you have a particular expertise that is valuable to your customers? Once you figure out what your story is:
- Contact your local media and see if you can get someone to “run a story on your ‘story'”. It can be print or broadcast media or both; just make it local.
- Find organizations where your kind of customer meets, and ask to be a speaker at an upcoming meeting or program. If your “story” is interesting enough, unique enough, they’ll find a spot on the schedule for you.
- Spend time as a visitor at local business or trade organizations to find where the interest is. Networking can be a great way to meet new customers.
- Create a teleseminar and invite people from some of these groups to attend to learn something useful from you.
Get more ideas from Guerrilla Marketing (by Jay Conrad Levinson) and Guerilla Publicity (by Levinson with Rich Frishman and Jill Lublin). Spend time, not money, to get the word out in tough economic times.