By John Eberhard

I have written a couple articles recently about how to deal with the current economic situation. I have said basically that you shouldn’t cut your promotion right now, otherwise your business will shrink. It’s tempting to do so, especially if gross income is hurting.

But having been in the marketing field for 20 years, I have seen the painful process too many times of being in a tough financial situation, and the financial committee deciding to cut promotion (always against my advice). Invariably what happens is that the company struggles along for a while, with their gross income falling further and further. If they change their mind quick enough they can recover. In one case at a company my wife worked for, the company got smaller and smaller and six months later went out of business.

My point is not to alarm one and all. You can turn to the newspapers for that. My point is to tell you the right things to do now to disagree with the doom and gloom and continue flourishing despite the recession or whatever you want to call it.

The way to flourish despite current economic conditions is to double your promotion.

Read that line again. I’m not usually so bossy but tonight I’m feeling a little spunky.

I can hear you saying “Oh yeah, right. Easy for you to say. You don’t know what my income is like right now. Promotion costs money.”

Well fair enough. It is true that promo costs money. I’m not saying you should double your promo budget. I said to double your promotion. I’m not trying to be cryptic or tell you to remember that “there is no spoon Neo,” or something.

My point is that you need to not only not cut your promotional efforts, you need to find a way to increase them dramatically. If you can find a way to do that, you will continue to expand in this climate no matter what the network news anchors are saying.

Here are some website marketing things you can do to increase your promotion that would not cost a lot of money:

  • Find out if there any inexpensive email lists you can purchase for one of the target publics for your business. In the past it was always that you would pay someone for sending out your email to their list, you always had to pay each time an email was sent, and you never took possession of the email list. In a couple cases recently I have seen large, targeted email lists for sale, and I recently purchased a list of 23,000 names for $150. That means I can email to that list as often as I want, for no additional fee, as long as I conform to the CAN-SPAM law, which I do. That includes including an opt-out option on the email and really removing people who request it, within 10 days.
  • If you are not sending out an email newsletter, and have not compiled an email list, gather up all the email addresses of all your customers and prospects into an email list. Then send them out an email newsletter, either monthly, twice a month or weekly. The main part of your newsletter should be information that is useful to your public, usually 70-80%, with the remainder being sales information about your products and services. Make sure to include a form on your web site for newsletter subscriptions. I use a program for sending out HTML emails called Mass Emailer (http://www.mass-emailer.com/) which is relatively inexpensive and allows you to compile unlimited lists. You can also use one of the online services like Constant Contact.
  • If you are not doing any direct mail for your business, compile a mailing list, get a postcard printed up and start sending out some postcards each week.
  • Run a pay-per-click advertising program and set the monthly budget at a level you can afford.
  • Send out press releases monthly, twice a month or weekly, about your business. Put them up on a blog for releases, notify the blog search engines every time you post a new one, and submit them to online PR sites. Most online PR sites require at least 300 words.
  • Start a blog and start posting an article to it weekly. Make sure your blog links back to your main web site, both in the sidebar (links to products or services on your site) and in the text of your articles. Your blog posts can be anywhere from 200 – 1,000 words. Every time you post notify the blog search engines. And remember, posting regularly is important. I recommend putting something up weekly.
  • Get involved with social media. I recommend starting on Facebook. See my past articles on this (1 and 2).

These things will all take some of your time. But they won’t cost you much, and they are effective.