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Get recession-savvy: Utilizing marketing to your advantage in an economic downturnHeather
Get recession-savvy: Utilizing marketing to your advantage in an economic downturnAfter researching and scouring the Internet for the best marketing takeaways to beating an economic downturn, one article in particular caught our attention. (Well, many did, actually—we’re compiling the rest in a special Blue PaperSM and podcast for this month: Tips For Marketing Your Way Through A Recession).

Bytestart, the United Kingdom’s fastest-growing online portal for small businesses, published “Beat the recession with 10 new marketing activities,” in November of 2008. The article details several examples and tactics. We thought to expand on our favourite five in this eNewsletter, but feel free to check out the whole list here.

Set up a formal referral scheme
With word of mouth marketing reigning as king during a down economy, setting up a referral scheme can prove quite helpful. After you’ve formulated the plan’s details, approach your current customers with the “ask” when they are most happy—after making a needed purchase, helping them with some great customer service or following a paid compliment.

Ensure that your system allows for a notable reward to them and your organization, such as a referrers-only savings night, or perhaps a 25% off their next service – both rewards boost sales for minimal investment. You could also give them their personalized savings pass with the logo’d punch key tag that tracks redemption and is within their easy reach.

Do some speaking or other PR
Liz Ryan, Business Week writer and public-speaking expert, advises that during a recession, public speaking is important as it allows you to capture the attention of future prospects directly, as well as their influencers—people who will refer you word-of-mouth if your message is worth hearing. When choosing your topic, consider a timely subject that deals with the state of the economy, like “How to get the most out of your affiliates and partners,” or “Leveraging the power of customer service and loyalty.” Publicize your speaking venture by printing the conference name, date and time on useful everyday items like large brown shopping bags, screwdrivers or magnet memo clips. Order all items in minimum amounts to ensure they’re used up before the speaking event takes place.

Revamp your website
Websites can be never-ending projects; there’s always something more that can be done! What a perfect time to tackle updates when outside prospects may be taking less time than usual. Spruce up content with industry keywords to increase search engine optimization (SEO), or add new pages of value for current customers. (To learn more about SEO, read our SEO Blue PaperSM.)

Also consider rethinking your site’s landing pages – the pages that a user first sees when clicking through to your site from a link elsewhere on the Internet. Did you know that a relevant, dedicated landing page is the single most-effective way to turn a click into a prospect? After revamping your landing pages, make sure to also point offline users to them by imprinting the website address on relevant, yet creative products like 1G USB People, Computer/Cell Phone Cleaners or USB Cup Warmers. Then distribute them at trade shows, through sales calls, front counter interactions or even direct mail.

Contact 10 people from your past
Think back to the times when things were good and leads aplenty. Were there any contacts, clients or customers that you barely lost-out on, didn’t pay enough attention to, or perhaps pitched half-heartedly due to a mounting to-do list? Revisit these contacts with a phone call, eNews subscription invite, LinkedIN friend request or personal e-mail. You’d be surprised what opportunities may be in store if you simply reach out.

Network online
Networking online is similar to its offline counterpart, except often less time-consuming, easier to manage, and with further reach. Whether you choose to spend time in targeted online chat rooms, contribute to blogs and forums, or have a slam-bang presence on communication tool Twitter, make sure that you are where your prospects are. Bytestart recommends contributing to the conversation by providing content to put contacts at ease (i.e. customer success stories or advice), or even entice on-the-fence customers into purchasing. Have a strong, valuable presence, but beware of coming off too “corporate” and pushing the sell too hard.

It’s a tough time economically, and we’re all feeling it in one way or another. But, as the old saying goes: When the going gets tough, the tough get going. We hope this eNewsletter has contributed to your wealth of marketing knowledge and that some of its tips will prove useful in the upcoming years. Best of luck—from one go-getting organization to another!

And, don’t forget, you can find more information in our special Blue PaperSM and podcast for this month:Tips For Marketing Your Way Through A Recession!

Ryan, Liz. “The Power of Public Speaking.” BusinessWeek 07 Dec. 2004. 21 Jan. 2009

“Beat the recession with 10 new marketing activities.” Bytestart. 17 Nov. 2008. 14 Jan. 2009

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