Lisa Fahoury

Article Summary:

Six ways to increase sales during an economic downturn.

Marketing in Tough Times

Holding off on executing a marketing plan until the economy improves? You could be in for a long wait.

Instead, why not look for ways to beef up your efforts without increasing your cash outlay? That way, you'll still be top-of-mind when a customer's ready to buy, rather than completely off their vendor radar screen.

Try these six sure cures for the economic downturn marketing blues:

1) Renew relationships with lapsed customers.
No-brainers like making a quick phone call, sending a handwritten note, or inviting a past customer to lunch are sometimes all it takes to rekindle a business relationship. Or, try a "We Miss You" discount via email.

2) Cut out the institutional advertising in favor of more highly targeted efforts. View every ad as a direct-response vehicle, and make them work hard for you by spelling out your value proposition and including a compelling call to action.

3) Sharpen your pencil and submit an article showcasing your area of expertise to the trade magazines and websites regularly perused by your target audience.

4) Try sampling.
Who doesn't love a freebie? As long as your efforts are intelligently targeted, sampling can be a highly effective tool. Think those sample cheese cubes in the trendy grocery chain are an accident? Or the free consultation offered by the local business coach?

5) Network, network, network.
According to Nick Faragasso, founder of ING/Integrity Networking Group in Short Hills, NJ, the most effective lead generation groups are the ones that don't focus on member-to-member selling. "I may not be your ideal customer, but I probably know more than a few people who fit that profile. By getting to know and trust each other, and becoming knowledgeable about each others' markets' members of a good networking group become evangelists for each others' businesses." What business couldn't use an unpaid sales force?

6) Finally, enlist the help of your customers.
Two things to request: testi-monials and case studies you can use in your marketing efforts. And don't forget to ask for referrals!

Tough economic times needn't put a crimp in your marketing style. Weather the storm with a little creativity, and you'll be in prime position when customers' budgets come bouncing back.

Copywriter Lisa Fahoury, a Certified Business Communicator and principal at West Orange, NJ-based Fahoury Ink, is the editor of "Creative Compost: Where Great Marketing Ideas Grow", a quarterly newsletter focusing on offbeat marketing and sales promotion strategies. She is also the creator of the "Think Like a Fish" seminar series on creative thinking. Fahoury can be reached at 973-324-2100 or at www.fahouryink.com

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