Smart companies know that the last thing you should do in a down economy, which is what builds great companies, is to stop marketing because out of sight, out of mind is never more true than it is in troubled times. Plus, with so many of your competitors blindly freezing the marketing budget, with less forward-thinking companies marketing these days, those of you who do consistently market and build a brand presence become front of mind, and the first invited to the table.
To help you get started, here are the doctor‘s top 7 tips for marketing online in a down economy.
- Understand Your Audience
Who are you trying to reach? What do they look for online? Where do they go to find it?
- Understand the Avenues at Your Disposal
Once you’ve identified where your audience goes, you then need to understand the audience of the sites they visit before you choose any as potential investments. For example, 50% of your audience reads CNN. Does that mean you should you advertise on CNN? Considering that CNN gets over 1,000,000 visits a day, if you have a niche product that you are targeting at 5,000 companies, this says that your audience comprises less than 0.5% of CNN’s readership on a good day. Not good odds of your ad being seen by the right individual. You want to find a site where the majority of it’s readers are from your target audience.
- Target Niche Sites and Bloggers
The best way to reach your target audience is to advertise on niche sites and blogs where the majority of their traffic is your potential customer base. A blog with 10,000 unique visitors a month that likely has 70% of it’s readers in your target market is ten times as attractive as a major site with 100,000 unique visitors a month that would likely have only 0.70% of it’s readership in your target market.
- Focus on Building Your Brand
It used to be all about impressions. Then it was all about clicks. Now it’s shifting to leads. But the leaders know it’s all about impressions through a trusted channel (and recent research is proving this out). There’s a difference between selling trinkets to tourists and selling enterprise software and services. The first is an impulse buy. The second is a calculated decision, after a budget becomes available, made by individuals who will not always be ready to buy when you’re ready to sell and who are very busy and likely will not have the time to research your offering when they first see your ad. That means you need them to remember your brand so that they’ll look you up when the next budget cycle comes near and they are researching the solutions they want to acquire. They’re most likely to remember you if they see your logo time and time again on a trusted site that they visit every few days.
- Avoid Sites with “Set-Up” or “Hidden” Fees and Prices
Let’s face it … there’s not much work to adding your logo to a page, re-directing a URL, or cutting an invoice off of a standard agreement. The price should be all-inclusive and straight-forward, because if you can’t trust the price, can you trust the site?
- Look for Prominence
Just like people will not notice your logo on a printed page with a dozen other logos crowding the page, people will not notice your logo on a crowded web-page that has more advertising than content. You want to make sure that the site limits the number of advertisers/sponsors it will accept at any one time to a small number (my recommendation is at most 7, since psychologists tell us this is the maximum number of pieces of information an average person can process at any one time in their short term memory) and that your logo is at the top of every page, because, let’s face it, most readers don’t scroll all the way down on a page that’s 3, 4, 5, or even 10 screens deep.
- Target the Campaign
Use your understanding of the site’s audience to tailor welcome pages specific to what they will be looking for. And keep the content current and relevant.