Economic times are tough for marketing and advertising agencies. Businesses are backing off marketing budgets. Some are folding their hands and letting fate take their brand into the abyss. Heck, some are closing the doors all together. And that directly affects the marketing and agency professionals that depend on them for their own livelihood.
So what do you do in hard times? What do you do when times require tightening the belt or cutting back? Hopefully you do what we all tell our clients to do… “For God’s sake, keep marketing!” Without constant visibility, people (even customers you’ve depended on for years) will forget about you. To us marketers, that’s obvious, right?
Over the last 18 months, I’ve heard marketing “pros” and agency staffers (from receptionists on up to CEO) saying some of the oddest things. Things like, “The work just seems to have dried up.” and “I’m not getting any callbacks.” or “Clients are ‘InSourcing’ all the work we’d do…”
Solution: How about you “SPEND” your way through the downturn? YES, SPEND! And I don’t mean doling out your hard-earned cash for new equipment or some rock star biz-dev stud bolt. I’m talking about strategically investing what you DO have, time, into generating those ever-elusive new leads.
I’ve put together a list of five simple (and VERY economical) actions that marketers and agencies can do to churn up new business. And all you have to remember is “SPEND…”
S = Social Media Marketing: Many “traditional” agencies are still having a hard time figuring out the power of using social media for marketing. If your agency or marketing team hasn’t jumped into the social media waters yet, I encourage them to get in there! It’s inexpensive (costing little more than time – and we all know you have oodles of that) and it has outstanding targeting capabilities. You just need to find and join the right conversations.
P = Public Speaking: Can you think of a better way to position yourself as “thought leader” of your chosen field? Associations, civic groups and chambers are always looking for great information and presentations for their meetings. Think of standing in front of 100 business owners looking for marketing advice. It’s a captive audience and each time you present your message, it’s honed to a sharper and more effective tool for your other marketing efforts.
E = Email: Do you know what 93.6% of business owners do every morning when they walk into the office? They check their email! Why not be in front of them, IN their office, ON their desktop on a regular basis? There are plenty of FREE or LOW COST broadcast email services out there (my favorites are AWeber and MailChimp). Get a sign-up form on your website. Set up your target list. Create a reason for them to WANT to open and engage with you (remember you are a marketer). Then, and this is the MOST important part, KEEP DOING IT AND FOLLOW UP!
N = Networking: If the calls aren’t coming in then you need to get out and start introducing yourself to your audience again. Sitting in your office, looking through PeachTree or QuickBooks isn’t going to get people interested in what’s going on in your world; nor will it help your attitude much. Not interested in chamber functions or professional associations? Then get involved with your church or a board for a non-profit. I don’t think God frowns upon doing business between the pews as long as you thank him once-in-a-while. 🙂
D = Dial The Phone! This is one that should go without saying, but for some reason, those that choose “Communications” as a profession seem to HATE talking on the phone. Ridiculous! As I said above, FOLLOW UP! You’ve spent time working your social media, speaking engagements, emails and networking, now just give ‘em a call! You need to reach out and touch someone (more than once) before they’ll turn their attention to you. Sure, the phone is cold, impersonal and intimidating, but it can be the best lead generator in your office – if used correctly.
Guess what you do for a living. You market! You advertise! If you’re able to do it for your clients, then why is it so difficult for you to do it for yourself? Even if you only do a couple of the SPEND tactics, isn’t it better than sitting on your thumbs waiting for the phone to ring?
How do you generate new leads when times are tough? Do you SPEND your time wisely? If you don’t do it, someone else will.
Keep Cooking (at all times)!
Andrew B. Clark
The Brand Chef