Monthly archives: December, 2014

MARKETING IN BAD TIMES… AND GOOD

Marketing in Bad Times..And Good

By C.J. Hayden, MCC

Okay, so we’re in a recession. Now what? Is it time to throw your marketing plan out the window? Cut your prices? Close up shop and look for a job?

Hmm, none of those choices sound too wise if we’re in for a stretch of poor economic conditions. It’s certainly not time to throw away the marketing plan. Cutting prices doesn’t sound like such a good idea if you might be getting less work to begin with. Looking for a job in the current economy doesn’t seem like the best solution, either. So what’s an independent professional to do?

Maybe now is just the right time to get really, really smart about your marketing. Here’s what that might look like:

1. Target, target, target. It’s tempting when business starts looking scarce to throw your net wider and market to all kinds of prospects. But this is exactly the wrong approach. Marketing to multiple audiences diffuses your efforts and stretches your resources too thinly. Instead, focus in on the most likely market to need your services, take action on your offer, and provide you with repeat business.

2. Communicate your unique value. When you’re clear on who your audience is, it’s much easier to craft a message aimed directly at them. Then you can talk specifics when you describe the benefits of working with you. You can also tell prospects how you specialize in their industry, have plenty of experience with projects just like theirs, and possess special tools and techniques to get the job done. Specialization makes you much more valuable than a generic solution.

3. Seek out the low-hanging fruit. Pursuing brand new leads can be labor-intensive, and newborn relationships take time to nurture. Instead, reach out to former clients, networking contacts, prospects who said no in the past, even stale leads if they will recognize your name. A prospect who already knows who you are is many times more likely to take your calls, consider your offer, and agree to meet with you.

4. Ask, don’t wait, for referrals. Even business newbies have an existing network of friends, family, and colleagues who are ready and willing to help you get business. The key is to ask for their help. Instead of simply saying, “I’d appreciate your referrals,” tell them, “I’m looking for new clients in the X industry, or with Y problem. Who do you know in that category that you might be willing to introduce to me?”

5. Don’t stop when you hear no. On those rare occasions when a prospect truly says, “no, thanks,” it may be time to move on. But much more often, they say, “not now,” “not ready,” or “not sure.” These are all opportunities to follow up after more time has elapsed, or with more information, or with more evidence of your value. It’s much more common for prospects to say no than to say yes, so what to do with “no” answers should be part of your game plan.

Long-time marketers may recognize these suggestions for smart marketing as approaches that would be valuable in any economic climate. When times are bad, smart marketing can save the day. When times are good, smart marketing can make them even better.

If this is your first recession in business, consider this your baptism of fire. If you can learn how to get clients in this economy, you can get them any time.

Copyright © 2009, C.J. Hayden

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IS THIS A BAD TIME TO MARKET?

IS THIS A BAD TIME TO MARKET?

by C.J. Hayden, MCC

All economic indicators say we are in a recession. Consumer and business spending is down; unemployment is up. It’s natural to wonder whether perhaps this is a bad time to be marketing your business.

Since I’ve been self-employed for over two decades now, I’ve seen several economic cycles come and go. What I notice about these “down” periods is that people who frequently struggle to get clients typically think these are bad times to market. On the other hand, people who have been consistently successful at landing clients seem to believe that there is never a bad time to market. Personally, I’d vote to follow the lead of those who are succeeding.

Professionals who have built successful long-term businesses have learned that continuing to market pays off in both the best of times and the worst of times. But you may not be able to produce new results by marketing in the same old way. Here are six suggestions for how to keep your marketing up when the overall business climate is down.

1. Turn up the volume. When people are distracted by bad news or economic concerns, you may need to communicate more often or more visibly. Where an email might have done the job before, now you may need to pick up the phone or send a postcard. Instead of just one follow-up call, you may need to make two or three. If your business is slowing down, make use of the extra time you have available to ramp up all your marketing efforts.

2. Become a necessity. When clients are cutting back on discretionary spending, they need to perceive your services as essential. Look for ways to “dollarize” the value of your services. How can you help your clients save money, cut expenses, or work more efficiently? Will your services help them gain more customers, increase their income, or experience less stress in tough times? Tell your prospects exactly why they need you, and why they shouldn’t wait to get started.

3. Make use of your existing network. It’s always easier to get your foot in the door when someone is holding it open. In a slow market, referrals and introductions can be the key to getting new business. Seek out opportunities to propose repeat business with former clients, too. Uncertain times encourage more reliance on trusted sources and known quantities, so warm approaches and existing contacts will pay off better than cold calls or mass mailings.

4. Explore partnerships. Working with a partner can create more opportunities for both of you. By sharing contacts, you each increase the size of your network. Together, you can multiply your marketing efforts and share expenses. A partner with a complementary business can allow you to offer a more complete solution than your competitors can. A photographer could team up with a graphic designer, for example. And you can help keep each other’s spirits up, too.

5. Meet people where they are. In a down economy, prospects are even more price sensitive than usual. Instead of slashing your rates to get their business, propose a get-acquainted offer. A professional organizer or image consultant could offer a reduced price half-day package for new clients. A management consultant or executive coach could propose a staff seminar instead of consulting/coaching work. Once clients see you in action, they’ll be more willing to spend.

6. Find the silver linings. When companies cut back on staff, opportunities are created. With fewer people on the payroll to handle essential tasks, downsized organizations present possibilities for project work, interim assignments, and outsourced functions. Economic changes beget other needs. People who are out of work need resume writers and career coaches. Folks concerned about their finances need investment advisors and financial planners.

Landing clients during a down period requires not just more marketing, but more strategic marketing. So instead of getting depressed by the news, get inspired by it. When you hear about coming layoffs, consider how your services could benefit those companies. When you read about negative consumer attitudes, use those words to better target your marketing copy. When prospects say, “not this year,” craft a proposal that ensures your place in next year’s budget.

For the successful independent professional, there’s no such thing as a bad time to market.

Copyright © 2008, C.J. Hayden

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How Coroplast Signs Differ

Coroplast signs are a brand name of corrugated plastic sign. Corrugated means the sign has ridges or has a wavy appearance. This material is known as plastic cardboard and is durable as well as water resistant.

These signs are designed to be lightweight and lead to it being used in place of other plastic signs, such as signs made of acrylic materials. Other signs that coroplast signs have replaced are foam and poster boards. This is because these are not water proof and can be damaged easily.

Coroplast signs are good to use outside for up to two years in part because they are waterproof and are also displayed indoors lasting around 10 years. Another reason they do well outside is these signs can withstand high temperature varying from really cold to really hot and not start to crack or loose shape. These signs have a thickness between 3/16 inches to ½ inches. The thickness helps it lead to be printed on two sides. If a client decides they’d like their sign printed they don’t have to worry about one side bleeding through to the other side. Each sign displays the message without seeing information that doesn’t belong there.

These signs are versatile for one reason because the message can be printed on both sides. Having the message on two sides will allow more people to see it. It really does make it vital for roadside signs because it lets people traveling in either direction to see the sign. Coroplast signs are also printed vertically or horizontally which increases design choices available to the client.

Coroplast signs are used for many different signs. People wanting to purchase signs do so for various reasons and coroplast signs fit these needs. If someone wants to promote a special event or advertising a business they can put these signs in yards or along roadsides. Politicians also use these signs to promote their candidacy or individuals could use this signs to display special messages, such as “Happy Birthday!” The great thing about coroplast signs is that they can be found anywhere, which allows them to fit many needs whether it is inside or outside.

Coroplast signs can be customized in to a variety of designs, sizes and colors as well as displaying graphics. This material does not do well with fancy shaping but there are ways to create any color desired. These types of signs, that are most commonly a square or rectangle shape, are even designed to display easily. These signs are found inside and outside on windows, walls, doors and stuck in the ground. They are displayed using stakes, suction cups, frames, an easel and using other tools.

When preparing coroplast signs for display the stands are inserted into holes found between the two sides of the sign. This could run vertical or horizontal depending on how the message is displayed. The stand end fit easily into the holes and is secure. Next, place the other end of the stand into the ground. Other ways to display this type of sign including using suction cups to display it in a window or some wall types. There are different tools available to help display coroplast signs in a variety of locations.

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