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Recession-busting online marketing

...or "digital marketing on a shoestring"

In these tough financial times businesses are firmly focused on their survival, but is that really enough? to compete effectively, the focus needs to be on growth. this got me thinking about how organisations can beat the economic turndown without literally breaking the bank and raises a fundamental question:

How do you boost your sales and marketing efforts with a restricted budget?

Here are some pointers to get you moving in the right direction...

> Good house keeping:

First things first, you really must get your website in order.

Make sure everything works as it should - you've got a very small window of opportunity to get your message across and get that conversion before they're off spending money with your competitors.

Optimise your site by adding valuable keyword-rich content about you, your brand and your products or services.

If you can't easily add new content to your current site, look at blogging as a cheap & effective alternative (more on that below)

> Engage with your customers:

what do your existing & potential customers really want? find out by inviting feedback (both online and off) and ensure that you monitor industry news, blogs & forums. sign up to google reader to help you keep an eye out.

> Exploit the cheap (and often free) marketing channels:

If you're already paying a monthly subscription for your email broadcast system, make sure you're taking full advantage! most systems will only be charging a few pennies per email so it's worth the nominal cost of keeping in touch with them.

Generate some links in! make sure your site is on the major search engines and key online directories: hotfrog, yahoo, google, dmoz and the google directory, and so on, and ask any trade associations and governing bodies you are involved in to set up some reciprocal links with your site.

Blogs and forums are another great way to disseminate information about what's going on at your organisation. you can quickly and easily publish news and events information, and invite interaction with your target audience. if you have something to say then why not set up your own free blog using blogger, wordpress or typepad?

For a b2c organisation, facebook can be a great way to interact with your audience. using facebook pages & perhaps even facebook adverts to drive traffic your way.

If you have loads of video content relating to your organisation, products & services then consider setting up a youtube channel of your own. upload your own content and invite your customers to do the same.

For a b2b organisation, linkedin is a great way to keep up to date with industry issues, see what your competition is up to and explore opportunities with contacts both old and new. if, like me, you're a consultant in your chosen specialist field, linkedin can be very good for informally offering guidance to potential customers out there. check out my profile at


To conclude...

Generally speaking, for many of the above, the process is essentially the same:

1. generate some content
2. get it out there

All of these options are cheap, effective and highly targeted ways to stay in touch with your target audience as well as acquire new customers. in addition, this sort of activity also generates mentions of your brand(s) across the wider internet which, when coupled with links in to your main site(s) also means better search engine rankings - a veritable win/win

There are a evidently number of effective ways to market while avoiding spending that hard-earned cash but please, please note - this is an ongoing process and MUST be setup and managed properly going forwards.

This means that you're going to have make up the difference by investing time.

But look at it this way, with even a few days' pro-active marketing per month, you could be achieving a whole lot more.

Good luck!

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