In a recession, most businesses cut back on their marketing (assuming they are doing much in the first place) which is just plain crazy. A recession is just the time you need more customers or your existing customers to come back more often (or spend more with you). Of course, many business owners wrongly think that marketing is advertising, which of course they may not be able to afford.
In fact, a lot of good marketing is actually free and just not taken advantage of. Here are six effective but free virtual marketing techniques:
- Linked-In can be used very effectively to build up a network of connections. You can also use it to share your views and opinions to position yourself as an expert in your field as well as publicising your biography, skills and experience not counting getting clients and peers to endorse you
- Facebook. A non-business Facebook page can be used as a great tool to publicise your business. If you post interesting snippets or comments or a link to elsewhere, get your Facebook friends to click on the Like button which means your comments etc will appear on all their friends’ Facebook pages too – how good is that?
- Google Places is really fabulous! Not only can set-up a mini-website with photos, information on your business and even a video but in addition, being on Google Places sends your website soaring up the search rankings on Google without paying for Adwords or spending hour after hour typing in the optimum search words on each of your web pages.
Cost: big fat zero!
- Twitter is not just the place to find out what your favourite celebrity’s latest tattoo is all about. If you can fight through people telling you how far they ran the previous night and build up your followers you can usefully publicise your Blog Posts, newsletter, website and special deals etc
Cost: absolutely naff all!
- Blog Posts are a great way to present case studies and success stories. It’s far easier to get your message over by providing practical examples of how you’ve gone beyond the norm to help your customers get out of sticky situations and demonstrate how your expertise has made a difference to your customer’s lives. They do not have to be long, just keep them short and succinct – what did Mark Twain say – “if I had more time I’d write less”.
Cost: not a cent!
- Free Website Publicity. Your local Chamber of Commerce probably reserves a page on their web-site for members to publicise special offers for fellow Chamber members who can be a useful source of new prospects. In addition, some local councils offer a free business directory, many of the commercial business directories are free, and you can always set-up deals with other businesses to put links on each other’s websites.
Cost: nothing whatsoever!
Once you’ve set all these up you can cross-promote and cross-publicise all your virtual marketing activities to really get your message out there. If nothing else, people will be impressed by your marketing activities and think you are a switched-on businessperson. How much easier will it be for them to refer you if they can talk enthusiastically about your all-round business acumen?