Roberta Guise, M.B.A.
Guise, MBA, works with experts, small business owners and
professionals who want to be extraordinarily visible and sharpen
their marketing edge. A marketing consultant and speaker, she owns
San Francisco-based Guise Marketing & PR. For more
information, please visit her website www.guisemarketing.com
. Ms. Guise can be reached 415-979-0611or Roberta@guisemarketing.com.
I look around me
these days, I find that some small businesses are thriving and
others are struggling for prospects that are harder to find than a
sunny summerís day in San Francisco.
isnít fair, right? My close colleagues in real estate and the
mortgage business are having the time of their lives. For a number
of consultants and other professionals itís their best year yet.
Then there are those who have watched in horror as their client
and prospect pipelines have shriveled, the very survival of their
business hanging like the Sword of Damocles over their head.
get asked how we should market in a down economy. My answer: no
differently than when the economy is booming, with two exceptions.
Keep your eyes open for prospective markets or individual clients
that in the past you might have shunned or ignored, and who are
willing to spend money. The first two ideas given below explain
Revisit your strategy. Take on clients you might normally
turn down. Think carefully before rejecting a prospect or project
ó think of what it could lead to when the economy looks
brighter (which could be soon).
Go after winners. Target industries that are fairing well and
are willing to spend money. Donít chase sectors that a couple
of years ago were big spenders but now are in trouble. If youíre
not sure, subscribe to the Wall Street Journal and read it daily
next five ideas can help you to further expand your client_base.
Ask for referrals. Your current happy clients and
customers are your cheerleaders, or evangelists. But they donít
automatically assume youíre interested in finding new
assignments or new clients. Remember also to ask current clients
for new assignments. Nicely, of course.
Network. Go to trade and professional association meetings
where youíre likely to meet and rub shoulders with prospects.
Look for the influential people and buyers. Join and get involved
in organization leadership for maximum exposure and goodwill. Bonus
point: Be on a mission and go to meetings regardless of the
Follow industry trends. Focus on changes in your current
clientsí industry. What are their new concerns and needs you
can adapt to and address? Donít guess or make assumptions! Ask
your clients to tell you whatís shaking them to the core, and
what they would most value right now. If you serve consumers,
stay on the bleeding edge of trends that your type of customer
Make #5 part of your selling and marketing strategy. Show
prospects and clients you understand what theyíre going through
and the challenges theyíre grappling with, by what you say to
them in conversation and how you word your marketing materials.
Clients buy value, so sell them value.
Promote your expertise. Position yourself as an expert to
be more visible. Contact targeted publications for their
editorial calendar. When you find a topic for which you can be an
expert source, let the editor know how you can contribute.
next four ideas deal with giving away big chunks of your brain
reserves and knowledge. Give generously. Itís the most honest
form of marketing you can engage in.
Be a speaker. Speak to target audiences on topics in your
field of expertise. Think both in terms of pro-bono presentations
and speaking for fees. Speaking skills not up to snuff? Join
Toastmasters International (www.toastmasters.org) and National
Speakers Association (www.nsaspeaker.org). The resources in both
these organizations are endless.
Write articles. Publish them on your Web site and give
them away. Identify publications in target industries and inquire
whether they accept "by-lined" articles (ones you
write). Get the guidelines for writers. Ask what topics theyíre
looking to fill. Customize your articles to target markets and
get them published in on-line publications, with links back to
your Web site.
Be a Web resource. Tweak your Web site to provide maximum
value. That is, offer articles, tips and resources that visitors
can use. If your Web site is merely an electronic brochure, youíre
missing the vast interactive capabilities of the Internet and the
opportunity to build trust with visitors.
Keep in touch. Create an e-mail newsletter ("e-zine")
thatís loaded with valuable content. Get permission (opt in)
from recipients prior to sending on a regular basis, although itís
OK to send a sample first issue, with the place to opt out or off
your list clearly labeled. Make sure the newsletter points people
back to your Web site where thereís more valuable content.
last idea will help you to stay on_message and keep you headed in
the right direction.
Be intentional. Whatever you do, do it consistently,
intentionally and purposefully. Some tactics, such as asking for
referrals, can bring in new projects fast. Other activities such
as a sending an e-zine and getting media publicity are long term,
and are recognition and credibility builders that keep your name
in front of prospects for when theyíre ready to buy. You need
to carry out both short and long-term activities for best
all, be patient. Youíre in this for the long haul, right?
Marketing is a long-term investment, so make it an integral part
of your business, whether the economy is down, up, or sideways.
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