Marketing in Turbulent Times
Develop a Savvy Plan of Attack
When you're on a shoestring budget, there are several creative ways to market yourself effectively. Here are four ways to help you get started.
1. Send out an e-mail.
One of e-mail's competitive advantages is its "... ability to help you protect your most valuable asset in a down economy: loyal customers," says John Rizzi, president and CEO of e-Dialog, a provider of e-mail marketing and database technologies for permission-based e-mail marketers.
Today, e-mail has reached almost universal penetration, with 97 percent of consumers and 94 percent of marketers using the channel (according to a study published by Forrester Research, Email Marketing Comes of Age). So contact those people you have relationships with or who have opted in to your e-mail list. It doesn't have to be a sales pitch-and it's probably better if it's not. Simply provide some helpful information that is relevant to them, such as a monthly or quarterly newsletter.
2. Join professional organizations.
However, don't just pay your membership dues and walk away. Many people join organizations, then sit back and wait for business to come their way. Clients don't automatically knock on your door just because you've become a member of the local Chamber of Commerce.
I found when I volunteered to serve on a committee (i.e., public relations, entertainment, programming, event planning, etc.), or sat on the board of directors, that fellow colleagues discovered more about who I was, what my business was about and what my capabilities were. Then, many times, they referred me to others just based on their knowledge of me, not necessarily because they had worked with me on a writing project. Joining and actively participating in such organizations is a great opportunity to increase your network of contacts while being given the chance to share your expertise.
3. Offer to speak in public.
"The best way to market yourself is to give yourself to the market. Expose yourself to your prospects," writes marketing professional Jeffrey Gitomer, author of The New York Times best-sellers "The Sales Bible" and "The Little Black Book of Connections."