When businesses make the strategic decision to accelerate their public relations and marketing efforts in a down economy - instead of pulling back - many hit a road block of too much to implement with too little budget.
The solution to this problem is simple - do more with less. Believe it or not, low cost PR and marketing tactics can be just as effective (if not more) as the big budget strategies. In order to be successful while using fewer resources, you must first take a step back and think outside of the box.
The market has changed, so rethink your strategy to accommodate new attitudes and new audiences. Instead of focusing on a broad general audience, think about your customers that make up the greatest scope of your business. What do they like? What are they thinking? What is the best way to reach out to them? By becoming well versed on your target customer base, you can narrow down your activities to focus on them. This will allow you to have a higher frequency of interaction with them, in turn increasing your impact.
Narrowing down your audience will also allow your business team to sharpen your messages so that they are focused and on target. It is crucial that these messages are consistent and implemented in all of your tactics. Remember - the more focused the activity, the greater the impact.
After you've made yourself and your business sharper and smarter, you can start utilizing some key activities that will pack a lot of punch in your brand elevation - not your wallet.
- Media Relations - media placements are not only significantly cheaper than advertisements, but they also offer invaluable third party credibility about your business. Feature articles in key publications go a long way with bringing in new business and establishing yourself as an industry leader. And the value doesn't just end in the coverage - articles can be reprinted and included in sales and marketing materials to distribute to current and potential clients. This will ensure your entire target base sees your capabilities.
- Speaking opportunities - Some of the best business leads come from speaking directly to your customer base. Seek out opportunities in your area, and make sure that your presentation contributes to their needs. You want to talk about things that will help them - not just about your business.
- Email marketing - the beauty of the Internet is that it is quick, cheap and utilized by virtually everyone. Kick your marketing up a notch by sending out e-newsletters, case studies and new announcements. Don't over do it though - bombarding your customer base will alienate them. Try alternating e-mail marketing with other tactics to keep your audience engaged.
- Partnerships - Cultivate strategic business partnerships to make your impact go twice as far. Seek out businesses where both sides can benefit from a strategic alliance - then cultivate the relationship to make it worth your while. Host events, utilize each other's expertise - you'll find that a little help can make you go a lot further.
Doing something different will make you stand out to your clients. Try hosting a dinner, a networking event, or giving out unique, low cost gifts. By being bold, taking a unique approach and developing a value strategy, you will lock in your company's market share and come out on top. That's the beauty of a recession.