Marketing Smart in a Tough Economy
By Bob DeStefano
Published: February 20, 2013
Using smart marketing strategies can help businesses weather the storm of a turbulent economy.

 


*Special Global Pet Expo Coverage*

 

 

Smart companies know that the last thing you should do in a tough economy is pull back your marketing. Instead, you need to learn how to do more with less—making sure every marketing dollar is working for you.
How can your company thrive in these challenging times? By marketing smart. The following tips will help put you on the path to success.
 

Measure Marketing ROI
If you think of marketing only as an expense, you’re probably doing it wrong. Marketing is an investment that should produce a measurable return in the form of qualified leads and bankable sales. So, how will you know if your marketing investments are producing significant return on investment? You measure results.

ROI needs to be as fundamental an ingredient in marketing as it is in finance, sales, R&D or any other strategic department in your company. Unfortunately, very few marketers know how to measure marketing ROI. If you’re not measuring marketing ROI, it’s time to start—and it’s not as hard as you think. The following ideas will help you get started:

•  Implement a web-analytics system, such as Google Analytics, to measure how well your website is working toward achieving your marketing goals. This online report will show you where your most profitable web traffic is coming from, what products and information they are looking at and what  calls to action are generating the most leads and sales.

•  Use unique and trackable phone numbers and web addresses for each of your marketing activities (e.g., print ads, catalogs, postcards, etc.) to track online and phone-in leads generated by each marketing activity.

•  Leverage a marketing analytics system to track your marketing ROI. These systems will automate all of the above-mentioned ROI measurement tactics.
 

Cut Marginal Investments
Now that you know what’s working and what’s not, it’s time to cut, cut, cut. Cut marginal investments that are not producing a return. Save this money, or choose to funnel it into activities that are producing stellar returns. Many of your peers are pulling funding away from traditional marketing activities, like newspaper advertising and direct mail. At the same time, they are increasing investments in online marketing activities such as websites, search engine marketing, email marketing and social media marketing because they are producing results.
 

Power Up Your Website
The most successful companies consider their website to be their most powerful marketing tool. It is the most public face of your company. More people will visit your website than will ever visit your location, view your catalog or talk to your salespeople. Make the most of this marketing channel by transforming your website into a lead generation machine.

Begin by providing customer-focused content and interactive features that speak to the needs of your customers and provide the solutions they are seeking. Next, pepper your website with a variety of relevant offers tailored to the needs of your target audience, such as requests for price quotes or online purchases. Don’t forget to display your phone number prominently on every page. More than half of web visitors prefer calling to completing online forms.


Search Engines
Search engine marketing is extremely important because, according to research, over 80 percent of customers begin at a search engine like Google when researching products and services online.

Simply defined, search engine marketing helps ensure your company’s website is presented at the top of the search results when people are searching for your products and capabilities. Prospects who find your website through search engines are actively looking for your products and will be motivated to take action when they land on your website. And, with the pay-for-performance model of search-engine advertising, you only pay when a qualified prospect clicks on your ad and visits your website.
 

Keep in touch
We all know that it is by far easier to sell to existing customers than to try to win new ones. Many successful marketers are turning to email marketing and social media marketing to help demonstrate to current customers that they understands pet owners’ needs.

Through email marketing you can generate repeat visits to your website by producing an educational email newsletter with valuable how-to content. In addition, you can generate repeat sales by emailing targeted promotions to your past customers. This same educational and promotional content can be leveraged for social media marketing by sharing this information with your company’s network of fans, followers and connections.


Bob DeStefano is an online marketing strategist and professional marketing speaker with more than 18 years of experience helping companies leverage online marketing to produce bottom-line results. Connect with Bob at
svmsolutions.com and bobdestefano.com or by calling 1-877-786-3249 x3.