Three free ways to get your online marketing butt in gear

marketing buttA post by Bob Bly got me thinking…

Bob posed the question, “Are your customers tightening their belts?” The DM News study he cited said that 84 percent of people surveyed have “cut back their spending.”  Bob even mentioned his own experience – higher returns, less robust sales – the normal “we’re all in this recession together” blues.

But let’s think about this.

The reality is – no matter how bad things are, people are still buying. Yes, companies are going out of business and yes that is sad.

But people are still buying. Maybe not as much. Maybe not as often.

But there is money to be made.

Listen to your own self-talk. Are you saying things like, “We have to hunker down and get through this. We’re slicing all spending and new projects until the economy gets better?”

Or are you saying, “OK, we have to slice our budget – but what creative things can we do right now? Where should we focus our efforts?”

See the difference? One firm is making the best of what they’ve got, and the other is too scared to move.

What firm would you rather be?

Start thinking of some ways you can start gaining a little more market share. They don’t have to cost money – they just need a little work and a strategy. Here are three free ways to get started:

  • Call some of your best customers just to say “hi.” My father taught me  that it’s the little things that build customer loyalty. It’s remembering a client’s birthday. It’s asking about their husband and kids. And it’s calling them when times are tough just to say hi – even if they haven’t ordered from you recently. The economy isn’t just hitting people’s pocketbooks – it’s hitting their self esteem, too. You think that they don’t feel bad that they sliced their order with you by 75%?  They do. You think that they like slow-paying you?  Nope.  There are people behind those irritating corporate policies. They’re scared too. And they would really appreciate a friendly voice at the other end of the phone. You may not talk about business during that conversation. But you will help cement a relationship. And you never know what you’ll learn from a customer that could spark a new idea or strategy.
  • Examine marketing avenues that are heavy on strategy – but not a lot of cash. It doesn’t cost anything to build a Facebook fan page. A Twitter account won’t set you back a cent. If you’re a local business, have you submitted to Google Maps, Yelp and other local sites? Granted, not every business can benefit from a Facebook or Twitter account. And your customers may not Yelp. But that’s something to research and consider, not figure “it won’t work.” Especially since you can do all that for, yes, free.
  • Try different SEO copywriting approaches. It could be that the old tone and feel isn’t working anymore – and that’s hobbling sales. If you have a SEO copywriter on staff, pick a sales page and experiment with something completely different.  You can try changing the headline, the offer – even the tone and feel.  Google’s Website Optimzer will let you run A/B tests for, yet again, free.

So, what free marketing tactics would you add to the list?

Photo credit: © Mona Makela | Dreamstime.com