Sunday, July 26, 2009

Marketing and Business Solutions During Tough Times

It’s not surprising that marketing and business growth right now is challenging.

The current economic environment is making it harder and harder to find qualified prospects as well as getting established customers to continue their purchase patterns.

This has been the subject of many blogs, Tweets and articles posted to sites like LinkedIn (which is a professional social networking community).

After posing the question myself to some of the top marketers in the industry, here were some ways they are staying afloat at a time when others are drowning…

  • Partner Power. Whether it’s through targeted joint ventures, reciprocal ad swaps, guest editorials in like-minded publications, revenue share opportunities OR affiliate marketing efforts -- there’s no better time than the present to reach out and seek out synergistic partners for sales or prospecting efforts. These efforts cost virtually nothing and could bring in a stream of new sales and leads. As I mentioned before on this blog, relationship building and cultivation is always a critical part of your business development/marketing efforts, so make sure you’re spending at least 10-25% of your time doing this.
  • Database Marketing. This is another tactic I’ve written about before. Data-mining your current customer list into different "buckets" or segments such as VIPs, multi-buyers, hot prospects, new to files, actives, cancels, expires, inactives, etc. and then crafting special messages to each of those groups to either -- encourage purchase activity or re-engage communications through special offers -- is a great way to leverage your database. Find out who your top buyers are (remember the old 80/20 rule?) and then build a strategic marketing plan to contact this list several times a month with special offers, new events, referral programs, and other compelling offers.
  • Referral Incentives. Speaking of referring a friend, family or colleague … some marketers are offering gift cards to their top customers (of $20 each for group of 25) for every qualified lead they refer to the company on a quarterly basis. On average, each person referred at least 2 people during first 90 days, which equates to about a $20/CPL…a very reasonable cost per lead.
  • Optimizing Search and Social Marketing. Another tactic that should always be incorporated into your marketing plan is SEO and SMO. However, nowadays, marketers are refining and testing to get the most out of their website’s conversions. They are making sure their website and monetization process is clear and strategic. And since leads obtained from SMO and SEO involve little to no cost to acquire (not including the time of the marketer), reevaluating your website’s overall message, content, navigation, layout, lead gen tools, products, tags and similar will really offer a huge bang for the buck.

What are YOU doing to help grow business during these tough times?

I’d love to hear all about it! Let me know in the comment section of this post.

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