The numbers of the third quarter GDP have been announced and it’s official: We’ve “escaped” the worst recession since the Great Depression. I place the word escape in quotes because, as we all know, it doesn’t really feel like we’ve escaped. Some pundits argue the strength of the economic turnaround, which has been fueled largely by government stimulus like Cash For Clunkers, and the unemployment rate is still at a high of close to 10 percent around the country.
But the numbers are what they are (growth of 3.5%), which leads us to ask the question how you, as a small business, are planning for the economic recovery. Let’s put on a wish list hat for a second and offer a few suggestions:
–Social Media Marketing: This one is arguably the easiest to implement since there is no significant investment to make other than time. Have you taken our advice and started a blog, Twitter profile, a Facebook fan page, a LinkedIn profile, etc? Or how about multimedia social media opportunities like YouTube for videos? As you’ve read here and many other places, social media marketing is a fantastic way to create buzz for your company and you don’t need millions of dollars to do it properly. But you do need to invest time to nurture and grow your community. Social media marketing will only continue to grow in popularity, so as we continue to recover from the recession it’s a good idea to start doing it if you haven’t already.
Reaching The Press
–Public Relations: Getting publicity is another great way to boost your marketing and visibility because, again, it doesn’t involve too much of an investment other than time, creativity and the ability to develop relationships with the media. Sure there are some costs involved if you want to fly elsewhere to meet with reporters, send out news releases over the wire or even send reporters elaborate press kits, but you can accomplish good publicity without any of this. The great thing about PR is it’s more than just a marketing vehicle; it is also a great way to get third-party credibility for your business. All you really need is email, a telephone and creativity. Check out the PR Toolkit to learn more on this.
Click On That Email
–Email Marketing: Emails take a little bit of an investment but can be well worth the costs involved because of the ability to target exactly the right audience. Virtually everyone opens up email several times each day, so as long as you have the right subject line and a nice landing page they can be directed to, you’re good to go. Don’t forget to include some good incentives (possible tied in to a loyalty or rewards program along the way).
–Direct Marketing: Again, direct marketing can land you a great return on your investment because it can be quite targeted. The key is the creativity and the incentive provided to convert people into actually visiting your Web site or walking into your store. If you don’t have experience in design, it’s a good idea to find someone that can bring out the best in your brand along with some exciting and interesting designs to capture peoples’ attention. Remember, there is still lots of “junk” mail out there so you have to design a mailing or postcard that cuts through the clutter.
The important thing to know is that you can’t wait for good times to start marketing. Now is the time to plan some marketing and PR activities because the economy will continue turning around, although it may not happen over night.
How are you marketing during this economic rebound? Please tell us about it here.