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  • It is a well known fact that the global economy has moved into the recession era and slowly people are cutting down on their expenses. The biggest impact of this recession has been on businesses which is reflected in budget decreases in every department.

    In regards to marketing, businesses can still market with the same effectiveness even on a reduced budget, provided they follow these fundamental strategies. It will depend on the businesses as to how effectively they can implement these strategies in order to gain the same exposure and reach during a recession.

    Taking care of your Customers
    Customers are the lifeline of businesses. Now more than ever businesses must enhance the way they provide service to their customers be it pre-sales or after the sale. This is just one critical factor, which may help separate your business from the rest. Therefore, catering to your customers and fulfilling their demands and taking care of them during the recession is itself a better way of marketing and building your goodwill.

    During hard times, it is important we make it easier for the customers to purchase our product or use our service by offering special incentives or discounts. This can greatly help customers choose where to buy. If a customer is undecided about where to buy, it might just be the discount you offer them that could make the deal. Discounts or incentives have always been one of the best ways to entice a sale. Also you should be innovative in determining the discount codes. For example, use ‘credit crunch’ or ‘recession’ discount code on your promotion. This helps assure clients that you are aware of their financial woes and are doing what you can to help them in these times of uncertainty.

    Your Product Price
    During a recession customers take more time searching for durable goods and negotiate harder at the point of sale. They are more willing to postpone purchases, trade down, or buy less. Thus, it’s better to reduce your profit margin per item and try to increase the bottom line by increasing your sales. Giving discounts, attractive gifts and free or reduced shipping are truly viable options.

    Furthermore, it is important that you show why choosing your product or service will be a cost effective solution. Provide a comparison chart showing why customers should buy from you and not from your competitors. Clearly state (or show) the reason for your recommendation. During the recession it is always in the best interest to differentiate your business based on pricing as this factor closely resonates with your customers needs.

    Basic Needs and Quality Goods
    It is important to focus on those items which are of daily use and are considered basic needs for people. In periods of a recession, customers are not concerned about the luxurious goods and commodities. If you have some products that you can position as an everday item, then tailor your marketing message and promote it as an everyday item.

    Quality is another important factor. Durable goods are in high demand during recessions. Thus, it is important to make the customers feel that they are purchasing something of quality that will last longer. It is important you portray the message that this product is of better value for the money as it will last longer than other products on the market. Again, as mentioned before, price factor is something that closely resonates with customers during recessions, so even if you are differentiating on quality, it is imperative that you bring out the price factor. For example, you can mention that your company’s product may cost a little bit more but it will give you twice the service life as compared to your competitors, thus providing your customers more value for their dollars.

    Advertising and Marketing
    Research shows that brands that increase advertising during a recession can improve market share and return on investment at a lower cost than during thriving economic times. Generally, during recessions uncertain consumers need the reassurance of known brands. More consumers stay at home watching television or browsing the internet looking for the best deals. Therefore, it would be a good time to boost advertising in these mediums. Those brands with deep pockets may be able to negotiate favorable advertising rates and lock them in for several years.

    However, if you have to cut marketing spending, then try to maintain the frequency of advertisements by shifting from 30-to-15 second advertisements, substituting radio for television advertising, or increasing the use of direct marketing, which gives more immediate sales impact. We recommend not decreasing advertising during this crucial time as it may have a broader impact on your sales than you think.

    Sign up for eMail Marketing for FREE for 60 days, then as low as $15/month thereafter!

  • promoting your rss feedWhat is an RSS Feed?
    Really Simple Syndication (RSS): In simple words, RSS refers to a notification system which is keeps subscribers updated with the latest updates on their favorite websites which could be blogs, music sites, etc. When a user subscribes to an RSS feed, they will receive updates from their favorite sites. To find out if the site is RSS-enabled look for the (usually) orange button that allows visitors to subscribe.

    Many people don’t know how to use the RSS button that they see on a website or what it’s for. For the Internet-savvy, it is turning out to be the best way to simplify their searches. Generally, RSS feeds contain summaries of the web pages and allow the subscribers to pick and read the article of their choice. A powerful aggregator which helps you organize and choose the news items just like an email is all that you need to get the most out of RSS feeds.

    Upon subscription, you will receive updates automatically. Subscribers can also choose to display the feeds on their web pages so visitors can view the updates as well. As a result, your website will generate more traffic. RSS feeds are turning out to be an essential tool in web marketing today. Your client is constantly reminded of your website’s existence and most importantly the updates will encourage them to visit your site regularly.

    Making RSS Feeds work for you

      1. Create your RSS feed.Write an appropriate title and description and ensure that the link leads to the website with the actual content.
      2. Validate your RSS feed.Once you’ve created your RSS feed, validate it. Read more about the RSS format standard and ensure that your RSS feed conforms to the format.
      3. Create a web page for displaying your RSS feeds. After your RSS feed is validated, add it to your web site. Creating a separate web page for displaying RSS feeds is a common web practice.
      4. Promote your feedDisplay your RSS feeds on a webpage. Once you have created and validated your RSS feed, create a separate web page for displaying it.
      5. Promote your feedUse directories to list your RSS feeds. Once the RSS feeds are up on your website, you need to ensure that your potential viewers are aware of it. Below are a few RSS directories which will help provide visibility to your live RSS feeds:

    RSS Feeds Directory
    Free Feeds Directory
    RSS Feeds Submission

    1. Allow access to RSS reader. Add a link to which enables your viewers to ‘download RSS reader’.
    2. Be regular with updates. It is important to update your RSS feeds. It is as important as updating your website content. If you aren’t updating your feeds, your viewers don’t have any reason to continue to subscribe to them.
  • Ideally, marketing should be a self supporting activity which pays back the cost of investment and reaches potential buyers at the right time. However, businesses need to market their services to their consumers with much effort today. During a recession, it’s tempting to get in a “holding pattern” of waiting for things to get better. Cutting costs and staff is not the solution. While it’s important to run a lean business, remember that it is impossible to make money by saving money. The old saying, “a penny saved is a penny earned” is not hold weight in the business world.

    If marketing during a recession is the main cause of worry, here are a host of solutions:

    1. Social marketing, with authentic messages, is one of the most important marketing tools any company can use. There are a number of social networking and bookmarking sites you can use to market your products and services. It’s not easy - it requires a change in the way you think about communications, your customers, requires a fair amount of your time, and the very core of your business model. Encourage your readers to redistribute the message with a constant application of authentic, easy-to-spread information.
    2. Reward your best customers:Don’t forget your existing customers as you prepare to follow up on old leads. You will need to take special care of them, since they are likely to move onto availing services of your competitors who might try to woo them with special offers and incentives. Keep in mind, they are also facing rough economic times as well.

    3. Follow-up on old leads:It’s time to bring out old business cards, brochures and other business leads that you did not follow-up with, earlier. You need to be persistent, because you might not get the job your first few tries. Don’t expect them to avail your services instantly. You will need to follow those leads, since you don’t have anything to lose - and lots to gain if you can seal a deal.

    4. Put your best face forward: Pay attention to the quality of your advertising and marketing material. Understand the technical requirements pertaining to each medium in which you are advertising and marketing. You don’t need to be an expert in computer graphics, you need to know that each medium has different requirements and ensure that your marketing materials are subject to some sort of quality control. If this is something that you feel you need help with, there are many web designers that will help to create an overall package.

    5. Try new things: it always helps try something new which your customer has not been exposed to before. You can try enewsletters, buy ebooks, read online articles - anything that you can learn that will help you to better understand the different types of services or businesses that will help you or your client.

    Once you have implemented the above marketing strategies, you will realize that they are not costly to implement and you will quickly figure that they can be a great return on investment, especially in trying times.

  • All businesses want their websites ranked at the top with search engines, so how does one go about doing this? There are many different ways to help get your website ranked higher during those searches. A key way of increasing your web traffic and optimizing your site for search engines is by increasing the number of organic links to your site. Previously, a couple of the more conventional ways to build links were through directory submission or buying links. The value in using these artificial methods have declined, there are different search engines that do not even recommend using high quality paid directories. In respect of Google’s rules, paying for links is not allowed, and many companies are being penalized.

    Stop building links artificially and utilize one or more of the following ways to build links organically, optimizing your search engine rankings.

    1. Create a genuine yearly competition or organize a charitable event such as blog action day.
    2. Mirror a high traffic site such as free software sites / open source software sites, or an activist site.
    3. Join social networks such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Yelp, Inc. and maintain them over time.
    4. Offer a rebate for a particular group, such as working class families, veterans or whichever disadvantaged group you decide upon.
    5. Maintain a business blog that is updated regularly with high value resources.
    6. Posting articles on a few quality article directories with your resource box and URL is a sure fire way of creating back links.
    7. Send out a press release via a few online services.
    8. Network through business colleagues and people you know and have them link to you.
    9. Answer questions in different forums like Yahoo Answers.
    10. Go Green, start a green initiative. There are countless opportunities on how to go about achieving this, carbon free websites is a great example.
    11. Add resources to user generated sites like associated content or zimbio.
    12. Create a regularly updated resource list like the Web developer’s Handbook that people will continue to refer back to and refer others to.
    13. Get your content translated and republished in multiple languages and countries.
    14. Create CSS solutions for common tasks or CSS problems, or even more effective would be a whole set of solutions.
    15. Program a free tool or software everyone needs for a specific niche, but not one that everybody offers yet.
    16. Fashion an enduring partnership with similar service providers, like a graphic design agency joining forces with a PSD2XHTML provider.
    17. Publish recipes for healthy, Greek, Indian, raw or any type of food that is desirable to others but not everybody can buy.
    18. Perform a community service or help with animals and display images of them for others to see.
    19. Join a community and become one of the more prominent members like Maki of DoshDosh did on Sphinn and Digg.
    20. Build a community like 9Rules where people “proudly” are part of and display it on their sites.
    21. Develop a Firefox plugin for a common reoccurring task or having to deal with a widely spread annoyance, like BugMeNot .
    22. Join the “freebies” bandwagon, people love free stuff and when everyone loves you, the people willing to spend money will find you.
    23. Offer free music or other audio downloads, or at least a way to listen to the audio online.
    24. Give away a free eBook, or better yet offer several free eBooks like O’Reilly does.
    25. Offer free high quality icons for download and free use.
    26. Have background patterns available for free for web designers.
    27. Give away free wallpapers for download and invite artists to modify.
    28. Offer free scripts and “chunks code” for webmasters to use freely.
    29. Offer fundamental self improvement quotes or advice like hackyourself
    30. Give away images using a creative commons provider such as creative commons on your website.

    These are a few of the ways you are able to build links naturally and enhance you SEO. Keep this in mind when you go from very few links to having an additional 3,000 in a week, the spiders notice it and your ranking drops. So stay consistent with building your links naturally and avoid the artificial means of link building.

  • Guess what marketers in the flat lining economy are singing? When the going gets tough, the tough gets going! Clearly consumers are watching their spending which means that the advertisers need to try harder by providing better rates, top placement or other incentives.

    Modern marketing techniques have been used extensively to assist businesses with attracting consumers and converting more visitors to leads. However, in recessionary times its importance is magnified as the Internet is a clear and proven means for exceptional return on investment. It is much more targeted and measureable than traditional advertising channels. When competition is less active it is definitely the time to dominate the market. To top that, online advertising is simple, cheaper [most of them are free] and a faster option.

    Great Return on Investment
    Great results can be achieved with just a bit of effort, minimal time and no cost. Post your article or service to online forums, use your social networking profile to provide information about your business services, advertise for free on Craigslist, undertake and email marketing campaign or try posting articles related to your business on the number of free article submission sites. Writing and submitting press releases is an important aspect of most marketing campaigns. Today, you can use the extensive online databases to perform targeted submissions. For added ROI, link all [posts, ads, emails] back to your website.

    Another widely used technique is e-mail marketing. You can add coupons to e-mails to acquire new customers or even convince existing customers into availing your services. When you attempt to generate publicity through your social networking profile through blogging, RSS feeds and incorporating community functionality, you are using Social Media Optimization. It distinguishes itself by focusing on driving traffic from sources other than traditional search engines and thus results in higher ranking.

    Online classified advertisements are a popular option for browsers looking for jobs, housing, pets or personal services. Craigslist is a breakthrough network of online communities which features online ads relating to community, services offered, housing, jobs, services, gigs and forums on various topics.

    Free Advertising on Google
    Create an account with Google and use Google Maps or Google Local to ensure that your business shows up in the search results on Google.com. When Google infuses these results on its page, it increases the value of its local search and Maps application. I searched for ‘Salon in New York.’ Check the image below. Sense Spa at The Carlyle is listed at the top of the Google search results.

    This isn’t paid advertising. There are a number of other salons listed as well. None of them have paid to advertise their services on Google. All they have done is added their business [or edited it if it is listed] at google.com/local and followed the simple steps to verify their business. A concise description of your business/services, contact details, a logo which represents your business and details of any offers you want to advertise, just what you need to get your free advertisement on Google. You could add a coupon for FREE as well to further entice customers!

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