Nuts and Bolts: How Do You Market (In This Economy)?

by Trish

There’s no difference, trust me. It’s the same marketing practices you should use when the market is booming (and who says your market isn’t booming?). You should tweak your marketing message to fit the moods of your prospects, but I wouldn’t slant your marketing plans to fit the outlook given to us by people in the media, politicians, or folks who work outside your market segment.

So, with that clear, let’s begin.

1. First things first: who do you work for now? Do you have a list of current clients? If so, I’d begin thinking of ways you can help them. Can you start an ezine with quality information about their concerns? If you sell products, can you review some of your products so that your customers know what else you offer? If you are a services business, can you give them information about making better decisions on business purchases? Why not a customer survey? (Keep it short.) Current clients are your priority. It’s cheaper to keep them (if they are a right fit) than to find new clients.

2. Find more good prospects. How can you do this? What kind of web site do you have? Does it give away free stuff? Do people come away from your web site with a good knowledge of what you can do for them? If not, why? Along with that ezine, why not do a free report? Often called white papers, these outline all the very good reasons why your services or products stand out from the competition, or why your unique angle offers better results. It’s customer-focused, not business-focused. It provides several good “action steps” prospects can take on their own and a “call to action” that prospects can choose to take at their convenience.

3. Keep those prospects updated and in touch.
An ongoing marketing funnel doesn’t keep pushing prospects toward the company’s preferred outcome, they stay in contact with the prospect in case the prospect needs something (this is the contrarian way). As soon as the prospect asks, the company leaves them alone, but the trick is to be so helpful, so gracious, so relevant that the prospect wants the company around for as long as possible. You need to find several ways to keep giving your prospects more information so that they want to stick around (and buy) for the long term.

4. Offer a promo. One of the best marketing funnels I’ve seen in action isn’t even mine. (Surprise!) It’s my local gym’s (and probably countless other gyms around the country use the same idea): every new gym member gets a free hour of personal training. You experience the service, meet the trainer, use the equipment, and voila, you’ve signed up for personal training sessions. (Never mind, it took four years of gym membership before we signed up for personal training; we’re stubborn folks.) What can you give as a promo? A free ebook? A free hour of consultation? A free seminar? Make sure it’s packed with solid stuff, otherwise, prospects will run away screaming.

5. Add perks once the customer buys. If someone buys your product or service, they get access to a specialized forum, they get free email support for a year, they get a print copy of the ebook, and on and on. Add extra goodies when you sell something and your customers will love you for life. Make sure the extra goodies are relevant, however, as I’ve received tons of free goodies that were worthless wastes.

Now, I hear you saying, “That’s not marketing. That’s just customer maintenance.” Well, if you came here looking for hard sales tactics, you’ll be disappointed. I’m a contrarian with marketing and I don’t think some of those old tactics actually work. Sure, if you’re just starting out, you may have to use them here and there, but the more professional you are, the less you should be using them. If you’ve had customers buy from you more than twice, you should not be treating them as part of a list. They should be your utmost focus. Don’t market to them; partner with them, help them, listen to them, give them more value each time. For more information, read Elizabeth Marshall and Michael Port’s Contrarian Effect. Check out the real/brilliant shop for other marketing books worth checking out.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jack March 13, 2009 at 4:29 pm

I rarely comment on blogs but yours I had to stop and say Great Blog!!

admin March 17, 2009 at 12:58 pm

Jack, thank you for the props! I really APPRECIATE it. Stop by again sometime!

Traffic Formula November 8, 2009 at 5:20 am

Really good article. You’ve given me a great idea, to write a free report/white paper on why my customers and prospects need my services now more than ever.

Thanks!

Mike Stokes
Baton Rouge, LA

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