Low-Cost Options for Marketing

 

Ask the expert …
Q.  Budgets are still tight with many companies.  What are some low-cost options for marketing?

A. There are a lot more than you might think.  I’ll give you a few but keep in mind that some of these apply more to certain types of businesses more than others.

1. Take care of your clients!  Meet with each of your major clients on an individual basis, at no charge.  Gain an understanding of their business issues for the coming year. 

2. Add value to client relationships.   Think of innovative ways to help your clients, such as introductions to a prospective client for their business.  

3. Help your clients to reduce costs – even the cost of your services!  This may be a real shocker for your clients— but they will greatly appreciate it and it can help in client retention. 

4. Consider cost-effective marketing tools that build name recognition and create selling opportunities.  For example, in a recession, your clients and prospects others have more time to attend seminars or workshops.  These events can be invaluable for image building and developing relationships through face-to-face interaction. 

5. Use your existing marketing materials effectively.  Are you using what you have the right way?  A lot of businesses don’t.   For example, you may have a website but is it generating quality prospects for you?  Are you using it to build client relations?

6. Build and maintain relationships with business contacts.  These relationships can be critical in keeping business coming in the door.  It is important to communicate with these key individuals on a frequent basis.

7. Advertise – if it makes sense!  Depending on the media that you select, advertising may be cheaper in a recession.  Plus, you will likely have far greater exposure in your target market because your competitors are likely cutting back on ads (at least those who aren’t reading this article!). 

8. Train your personnel in effective client service and sales.  Lots of opportunities can go out the door – or not return – because your employees don’t treat clients right.  This is an area that is often overlooked but is extremely vital to your company’s long-term health.

9. Give back to the communityDo what you can to help out the local community.  People will realize how hard it is to do that in tough times and will appreciate your efforts.  You can sponsor a Little League team, help out at your church or synagogue, volunteer for a position in a non-profit groups.

Overall, a key is to be consistent.  Marketing pro¬grams should be consistent, year-round efforts because “stop-and-go” marketing always bring mixed results.  This can be particularly difficult for smaller businesses, since those professionals involved in marketing activities also have significant client obligations.  However, it is crucial to have consistent implementation, since this will maximize your efficiency and effectiveness.  It is also easier to rate the productiveness of an activity if it is carried through to completion.

About the author: Kevin W. Brown, M.B.A. has worked with professional services firms for over 20 years.  His firm, Kevin Brown Marketing & Consulting, is a full-service marketing and management consulting firm that specializes in serving lawyers, CPAs and other professional services firms. Phone: (714) 965-1556. Website: http://www.kevinbrownmarketing.com