Whether or not we have talked ourselves into a recession is no longer the issue. Neither is it time to argue over who’s fault it was – the banks? the politicians? big business? All the economic data now suggests we are in a recession and that it is going to last until around 2011. Instead it’s time now to knuckle-down and work out how your business is going to cope.
What’s clear is that those companies who now devote most of their energies to marketing are those which are most likely to survive and thrive. During the last recession in the late 1980s/early 1990s companies that cut-back, that reduced costs actually had a tougher time surviving than those who spent more on marketing.
However, when times are tough spending more on marketing seems counter-intuitive. It makes much more “sense” to reduce costs – especially as most accountants will tell you this is the surest way to defend your bottom line. If you employ people you will also be tempted to cut costs in order to be able to pay them – your emotions will take over.
Luckily, though, in this recession we have a new weapon – the Internet. For the most part this can provide your business with free marketing. But are you ready to do it? The time now is ripe for grabbing hold of all the Internet has to offer in order to market your business out of the recession. That means – in short – adding plenty of “content” to every part of the Internet. Poke your face into every corner of the World Wide Web and let people know your expertise.
That does not mean standing up and shouting “Hey buy from us”. What it means is letting people know your “secrets”. If you are a plumber explain how to change a tap washer, or how to install a new sink. If you are an accountant show people how to complete their Profit & Loss properly, or explain the latest tax rules. If you are a hairdresser, show people how to use hair clippers properly so they can cut their own hair. And so on and so on.
In other words, start putting your knowledge online. On the Internet that’s what people are looking for. And when they do want a plumber will they choose one who simply shouts “Hey buy from me”, or one they can trust because they have clearly explained how to swap a washer? If they want an accountant will they want one who simply has an online brochure, or one who has already given away the secrets of compiling a P&L? Giving away your knowledge sounds stupid – but it allows potential customers to see you are an expert, to feel that you are prepared to help and to get “beneath your skin”. They’ll know far more about you – and therefore will be able to trust you and start to like you. And people buy from people they like – that’s the secret of selling…!
So, rather than build a new web site, think of “redesigns” or take on “SEO” campaigns, just start adding more and more content to your existing web site, to social networking sites, to forums and to blogs. You will significantly increase your visibility – which is exactly what you need in times of recession. And best of all this kind of marketing is free. What are you waiting for?
Graham Jones is an Internet Psychologist who studies the way people use the online world, in particular how people engage with businesses. He uses this knowledge to help companies improve their online connections to their customers and potential customers and offers consultancy, workshops, masterclasses and webinars. He also speaks regularly at conferences and business events. Graham is an award-winning writer and the author of 32 books, several of which are about various aspects of the Internet. For more information connect with me on Google+