During an economic downturn, business owners tend to stop everything—even what was working. Here are five ways to promote your business and avoid being dragged down by recession woes.
1. AH, AH, AH, AH, STAYING ALIVE
It is more important than ever for customers and prospects to know your business is still thriving. Keeping your network informed shows you are still going strong and that you really value your clients. Consider tying your news to current event or issuing a press release on a new product, service or event. Social media is also a cost-effective way to stay relevant. Create a page on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or LinkedIn and keep your contacts informed with industry trends, innovative articles, books and events that will help your prospects meet their goals.
2. IT'S WHO YOU KNOW
There is no better way to get on a producer, reporter or blogger’s good side than to help them out. Next time you are in need of a favor, the reporter will be likely to reciprocate. To do this, consider subscribing to HARO, which stands for Help a Reporter Out. It is a free service that lets you respond to reporter queries looking for industry experts.
Be warned: Don’t answer the request if you are not the right person. You could be blacklisted or worse your pitch could land on the bad pitch blog.
3. PLAY TO YOUR STRENGTHS
You know more about your business than anyone. Host a free seminar for clients and potential clients to educate them about your specialty and showcase your expertise in the process. Think about the skills you have that your clients want and demonstrate them. Also, consider posting a video on YouTube with free tips or post your best presentation on Slideshare.net. Checking out other people's presentations might also inspire you.
4. ELVIS HAS LEFT THE BUILDING – DON'T BE AN IMPERSONATOR – FIND OUT WHAT MAKES YOU, YOU
Consider what is first, unique, best and only about your business. Those characteristics differentiate you from your competition. Most importantly, analyze how your clients can benefit from your services and why they should choose you over someone else.
The first step in defining your niche is to figure out what situations/crisis/opportunities are your clients or potential clients facing that can be addressed with your service?
Send out tips, advice or case studies that demonstrate your unique value proposition.
5. HOWDY PARTNER
Partner with other small businesses that can complement your offerings.
If you're an IT specialist, perhaps there is a website company you'd want to work with to create a more streamline customer experience? If you are a carpenter, maybe there is an interior decorator in need of help completing projects. If you are a design firm, maybe an event planning company knows someone who needs a great invitation. Ask the business owner you partner with for a small finder’s fee.
If partnering seems too risky, think about gathering a panel of like-minded experts in non-competing fields and promote the event. Invite the trade and local media to attend.