When the economy tightens, there is often a natural inclination among small businesses to cut costs across the board. This can be a healthy move. Certainly, there are business expenses you are now incurring that could be curtailed or eliminated. However, drastic cuts in marketing is not one of them.
In an economic downturn, continued marketing is key to survival. It's simple - without sales, you go belly up, and effective marketing generates sales even in a recession. The key to survival is to step back and re-orient your marketing dollars to activities which contribute to cost savings while still effectively maintaining visibility among targeted audiences.
For example, if you run ads in a trade periodical, just start running smaller ads if this medium is critical for your business. If you do television or radio ads, cut back to just those time slots that generate the most sales.
And most importantly, invest your valuable marketing dollars where you get "the most bang for the bucks." In good or bad times, this means placing an emphasis on Internet marketing. Why? Just consider:
- Internet marketing reaches a worldwide audience on a 24x7 basis. And over 70 percent of people now surf the Internet when looking to buy a product or service. A Website and domain name costs about $60 annually. Figure another $1,000 to $6,000 (depending on complexity) to have an experienced pro develop a site for your business and optimize it for Internet search engines so it eventually bubbles up on the first or second page of Google for your keywords. This is a pretty cheap price to gain a worldwide sales vehicle that works around the clock for your business.
- Flyers, direct mailings and hard-print advertising in newspapers and magazines are expensive...very expensive. On the other hand, online pay-per-click (PPC) advertising (when done right) delivers high-quality sales leads for pennies or a just a few dollars each. A typical medium-size newspaper ad might cost $600 or more for a short run. For the same amount, you could run PPC advertising for one or two months. Hard-print advertising is a shotgun approach whereas PPC advertising targets potential customers at the exact moment when they are looking for a product or service just like the one you offer. And, you are only charged when a prospect actually clicks on your PPC ad. Otherwise, it's free advertising! Plus your business gains immediate Internet visibility while your Website gains search engine ranking.
So don't cut your own throat by discontinuing marketing during this economic downturn. Rather, make your scarce dollars go further by shifting promotional activities to Internet marketing. But employ a professional to help your business. As many before you have discovered, you'll get results sooner, avoid costly pitfalls and save money overall.