3 tips for marketing in a down economy

The economy is slowly inching toward recovery, but many small businesses have yet to feel the positive effects. Entrepreneurs are keeping their eyes on their overhead expenses and bottom lines to avoid financial hardships. Some owners have slashed their marketing budgets in an effort to save money.

Entrepreneur Magazine reports that the frugal strategy isn’t entirely beneficial because it’s important to reach more consumers during tough economic times. Small business owners can find creative ways to spice up their traditional marketing tools to attract budget-conscious customers.

Consider the following tips to boost your marketing efforts during tough financial times.

Be charitable and support a cause
The news source states that charitable acts are cost-effective methods to increase market penetration. Joel Warady, a marketing consultant, said that supporting a cause forges a relationship between businesses and their customers.

“Not only does cause-marketing allow you to connect with customers, but it also allows customers to get some insight into your company’s soul. Then, it becomes less about what you give than it does about why you give,” Warady said to Entrepreneur.

Independent companies can raise awareness for important causes with unique promotional products. For instance, there are promotional key rings designed to resemble awareness ribbons for World AIDS Day. Small businesses can start their cause-marketing efforts in February with American Heart Month.

Offer value
Consumers are worried about their finances and are trying to save money. Entrepreneurs can use special discounts and promotional giveaways to motivate their customers to start spending again. Patrons are more likely to buy merchandise when they’re offered a deal, even if it’s only a couple dollars less than the regular price.

Promotional giveaways allow small business owners to add value to purchases without slashing their prices. Companies can create scales so that customers have to spend certain amounts of money to receive large gifts.

Don’t fix what isn’t broken
The developmental stages of a marketing campaign are the most expensive. While businesses design new advertisements, they aren’t actively reaching out to consumers. The lost time results in diminished brand visibility and fewer customers.

Independent companies should use their marketing materials as long as possible. If consumers are responding to advertisements, then there’s no reason to make any changes. The longer a small business uses one set of marketing messages, the less time and money it has to dedicate to developing new campaigns.

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