Marketing can be an expensive aspect of running any small business, especially when times are tough and money is tight. But that doesn't mean that you should write-off this fundamental business need until you can afford it. It just means that you're going to have to consider other options. Here are some suggestions on marketing your small business during the recession.
Go online. Even though your small business may have a limited budget, you have to have a website for your small business, especially during a recession. Allocate as many funds as you can toward the best website you can afford so that your business can reap the benefits of online traffic. Make sure that you place a link to your website on other pages so that more traffic will be directed to your site. You may also want to include a blog as part of your online marketing campaign. It's a way for you to communicate with your customers and clients and it will allow anyone and everyone to stay informed about your business.
Create a mailing list. From the moment your business leaves the ground, keep track of all the contacts you make related to your business. That is, keep a list of any clients, interested clients, colleagues, and even competitors that show an interest in your products and services. Your small business won't lose any precious money on this free marketing tool. But you'll still be able to promote your businesses and products to the people most interested in them. Send out a regular email about your company, or inform those on your mailing list of new products or offers. Email is a free and effective marketing tool.
Send out a regular newsletter. People are not interested in impersonal, one-page advertisements that inadvertently show up in the mailbox. So don't waste your time or money on flyers or other advertising tricks that people aren't going to take advantage of. Instead, consider writing a newsletter about your small business that will pique the interest of your clients. Include information about your company, new products or services, and other facts and information that your customers would find interesting. A newsletter shouldn't be used as a catalogue. Instead, it should be a mix of product information, company updates and personal messages from the president of the company. A newsletter specifically addressed to each of your customers by name (either by snail mail or email) is a very effective approach to marketing your small business during a recession.
Invest in some business cards. As much as you want to keep your small business costs down during the recession, it's still important to market and promote your company. You can purchase a few thousand business cards for relatively little. And unlike mass advertising, handing out business cards allows you to only market your products and services to those who show a genuine interest in your small business. Keep a bunch of business cards on your person, since you never know when you'll get the opportunity to market your small business.
Take advantage of word of mouth. Finally, never underestimate the power of word of mouth. You can generate a lot of revenue for your business simply by encouraging people to talk about your small business. Make the effort to get people talking by joining online discussion forums, attending trade fairs, and by talking to anyone who will listen (television, radio, etc.) You may even want to set up a free seminar for those interested in your small business. Word of mouth is an inexpensive way of marketing your small business that will continue to promote your small business long after your initial efforts. If you do it right, people will continue to talk about your products and spread the word about your small business, and that's the best kind of marketing that you can ask for.