Post a new topic
    26 Replies Latest reply on Apr 14, 2009 3:04 PM by jrtivoli

    Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession

    SBC Team Guide
      Actually grow your business in an economic downturn? History tells us that many small businesses can do just that. By taking advantage of weakened competition and big company cut backs, small business can seize a tremendous opportunity to grow. Learn a few basic marketing tips to help you weather this downturn -including improving your web presence, generating leads, pricing strategies and targeting your marketing dollars more effectively.

      About Tivoli Partners

      By focusing on direct marketing as a niche, Tivoli Partners has weathered the business ups and downs of the past decade, including the dot-com meltdown and September 11. As clients demanded more "bang for their buck" direct marketing has grown in popularity, with new technologies allowing for more targeted and personal messaging.

      Tivoli Partners continues to thrive by embodying a commitment to serve the needs of their clients and deliver programs that work. Their expertise encompasses all aspects of direct marketing including strategy, direct mail, advertising, collateral, web design and email programs. For more information, visit http://www.tivolipartners.com

      Janine Rogers joined Tivoli partners in 2008 and brought with her more than 22 years of direct marketing and sales experience in the financial services industry. As VP of Client Services at Tivoli Partners, Janine leads business development efforts and works closely with clients to deliver direct marketing strategies and programs that are on target, effective and on time. Before joining Tivoli, she served as VP of Marketing for a local financial services company. Prior to that, she was Regional Sales Director for a direct marketing firm and Vice President of Card Marketing at large financial institution.

      Join us on April 14, 2:00-3:00PM EST to pose a question to Janine. You can even ask her a question today and check back for her response.

      Participating in an event is easy! The event takes place on this forum thread. You just need to be a registered member to post your question. If you haven't registered yet, it only takes 2 minutes and it's free! Simply click on the green join now button or follow this link:
      http://smallbusinessonlinecommunity.bankofamerica.com/create-account.jspa

      We know business owners are busy, so we collect questions in advance of the event - just reply to this thread to post your question. Or during the event you can post your question. Tivoli's reponse will be on this event thread, so you can check back during the event or after for the response.

      Post your question today Community!
        • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
          larc3000 Newbie

          Hi Janine,

          I have been seeing alot of articles about having a niche. I am a co-owner to a general contracting company and one of our project managers suggested making our niche, finishing projects that were abandond by GC's that may have gone out of business. There are many un-finished jobs out there and it is a great idea, however, I have been trying to find out who would I connect with. No one seems to know who to direct me to for these kinds of inquiries. Where should I look? Thanks for your help.

           


          Rhonda
            • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
              pezz26 Newbie
              I'd be interested in the answer to this question also.
              • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                jrtivoli Newbie
                Rhonda - Great question! First let me applaud you and your company for "thinking outside the box" for new opportunities created from the recession. I clearly am not an expert on general contracting but have a few ideas for you: Do your homework - Talk to your local BBB, State Licensing Boards, attorneys who specialize in real estate law, local bankers and local consumer protection agencies. Chances are the clients that have been left high and dry are reaching out to these organizations for advice and possibly legal action. Position your company as a solution to help consumers deal with this growing problem. Check your local paper or Business Journal for news about GCs who are in trouble or have gone under. This will help you zero in on your target market. Use your existing client base as a source of referrals. Existing customers who are pleased with your work will be your best asset. Consider offering a referral fee for good leads. Reach out to your local Neighborhood Associations. Ask them to include your services in their next email blast or newsletter. This is an inexpensive way to get your name out. Use Craig's List to advertise your services -it is free and a great resource. If you have a web site, be sure to include this target market in your company's description of services. Be sure to include key words such as "abandoned jobs", "general contractors out of business", "unfinished jobs" etc.
              • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                rvrepairs Newbie
                Would love to register for this event. I am new to this network, can someone help me get registered or tell me how to access the event on Mar. 17? Thanks for your time.
                • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                  Chewy09 Newbie
                  Hi Janine,

                  I have a new product I am developing and we are nearing the final stages. I know it is a product that is very specific to a very specific industry. I will post it to my website; however, I want to make it known to the companies I know that can use it. What is the best way to promote, without having a celeb use it to market it, because I dont have the "connections. Is direct mail marketing overrated? If not, do you think a reply card or reference to the web will work? Do I need to throw in a bonus or "give away" to entice?

                  Thanks.
                    • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                      jrtivoli Newbie

                      Congratulations on your new product! It would definitely
                      be helpful to know more about the product because the development of effective
                      marketing strategies are contingent about many factors. Questions I have
                      are:

                       

                       


                      *Is the product marketed business to business or
                      business to consumer? Tell me a little more about the target
                      market.

                       

                      *What are the product's unique and competitive
                      advantages?

                       

                      *Are you first in the market with this
                      product?

                       

                      *Is the product competitively
                      priced?

                       

                      *Are you already selling a similar product line? Are
                      existing customers good prospects for this new
                      product?

                       

                       


                      With that said, in general, we are firm believers in
                      integrated marketing campaigns - meaning you utilize complementary channels to
                      get your message across to your target audience. Direct mail is definitely not
                      "overrated" and in fact remains quite effective - provided your message, offer
                      and targeting are in line. Many of our clients lead with direct mail then follow
                      with email marketing or a phone call. You should always give responders the
                      option to call or visit your web site for more details.
                      • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                        jrtivoli Newbie

                        Congratulations on your new product! It would definitely
                        be helpful to know more about the product because the development of effective
                        marketing strategies are contingent about many factors. Questions I have
                        are:

                         

                         

                        Is the product marketed business to business or business
                        to consumer? Tell me a little more about the target
                        market.

                         

                        What are the product’s unique and competitive
                        advantages?

                         

                        Are you first in the market with this
                        product?

                         

                        Is the product competitively
                        priced?

                         

                        Are you already selling a similar product line? Are
                        existing customers good prospects for this new
                        product?

                         

                         

                        With that said, in general, we are firm believers in
                        integrated marketing campaigns – meaning you utilize complementary channels to
                        get your message across to your target audience. Direct mail is definitely not
                        “overrated” and in fact remains quite effective – provided your message, offer
                        and targeting are in line. Many of our clients lead with direct mail then follow
                        with email marketing or a phone call. You should always give responders the
                        option to call or visit your web site for more details.
                      • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                        rvrepairs Newbie
                        Hi Janine,

                        1. We have a small business, a mobile RV Repair and parts sales. We go to where the rig is set up and repair whatever needs our help when called. My concern is this: This is a very distinct market, and one that is really watching its pennies, since it deals with how much disposable income people have. How can I intice people to call me first (there are several of these services in the area). Once I speak with them, I feel confident in being able to get the job, but getting the inital call is the key.

                        2. We have recently purchased parts catalogs to hand out, What do you think of doing a "door to door" in neighborhoods that have an abundance of RV's parked at their homes. Do you think this is an effective way to market or does the "door to door" aspect give a negative impression? I have also created a 'Wish List' to use as a bookmark for the catalog, so as people look thru it, they can jot down page, part number, description and price, making ordering easy. The back side of the wish list has a partial list of suggested services we offer ie: appliance maintainence, ect. This was a successful idea in other locations. If you have any fine tuning ideas, all are welcome.

                        Thank you for your time. Mary (rvrepairs)
                          • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                            jrtivoli Newbie
                            Mary - sounds like you offer a great value added service. I have a few ideas and a few questions:

                            Do you have a web site? If not consider building a simple site you can use to drive traffic. Web sites are a great way to offer "niche products" in your market area as well as being able to offer items and services that may frequently need to be updated. You should also consider an educational focus on your web site like providing tips on "spring maintenance", how to save on fuel or the latest new RV equipment. This type of informational content will
                            help visitors to your web site visit again.

                            I am not a big fan on "door to door" drops. Perception is typically not one of professionalism and I am not convinced they are very effective. You are offering a valuable service and you want to be perceived as trustworthy, competent and competitive.

                            Instead, have you looked into a mail list of RV owners in your area? There are many lists available through list brokers. If you purchase a list, I would recommend you investigate creating a simple oversized postcard
                            (10" x 6") that highlights your services and directs them to call you or visit the Web site. Perhaps even offer a discount to first time buyers or even free shipping?

                            In addition to a direct mail campaign, we would also
                            recommend you follow up your direct mail with an email campaign. You would want to limit this campaign to prospects and existing customers who have opted in to
                            receiving email from you. Again this email would focus on the value your company brings and would encourage them to call or visit your web site. If you provide informational and educational content, you will be surprised how quickly
                            this list can grow for you.
                          • RE: Event: Apr. 14: Advertising and design in a recession
                            create Newbie
                            Hi Janine,

                            I am one of three partners in an Advertising and Design agency in Los Angeles. we are quite small (10 of us including partners) and have been in business for 13 years and provide a range of services such as Graphic Design (concept to delivery of printed material including packaging design), Web Design (including content management systems), Creating Advertising campaigns including recruiting campaigns. We started off in the Financial industry, then began working in the consumer electronics industry, Entertainment and also LA county, we have worked with very large companies. We've had some great success up to this point.

                            We have attained most of our clients through word of mouth and networking and some through RFPs that were granted to us. Unfortunately many of our clients have dramatically cut their Design, advertising and marketing budgets most by more than 1/2. We are being hit hard by this recession. We are also finding it hard to get new business. We are trying to go after some new companies we have not worked for and have been using many networking channels....but have been hitting a brick wall.

                            How can I market and grow this business better? and in a recession?

                            thank you
                            -A
                            • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                              e_d.04lv10 Newbie
                              I'm a new contractor who's trying to get into property maintance field. How do i get the property management company and the banks(fix the short sale houses) to give me a chance to show them the kind of quility work my company produces.
                                • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                  jrtivoli Newbie

                                  Get connected! Use sites like Linked In to utilize your
                                  own contacts to introduce you to property managers. You can easily search people
                                  on Linked In in your area with "property manager" or "property management" in
                                  their profile. You'll be surprised at how quickly you build a
                                  network.

                                   

                                  Check your local paper or Business Journal for news
                                  about new properties or property managers coming to
                                  town.

                                   

                                  Use your existing client base as a source of referrals
                                  to property managers. Existing customers who are pleased with your work will be
                                  your best asset. Consider offering a referral fee for good
                                  leads.

                                   

                                  Have you looked into a mail list of property managers in
                                  your area? There are many lists available through list brokers. If you purchase
                                  a list, I would recommend you investigate creating a simple oversized postcard
                                  (10" x 6") that highlights your services and directs them to call you or visit
                                  the Web site. Perhaps even a discount to try your
                                  services?

                                   

                                  If you have a web site, be sure to include this target
                                  market of property managers in your company's description of services. Be sure
                                  to include key words such as Property Managers, property management resource,
                                  etc.
                                • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                  VIP.Journey Newbie

                                  We plan to attend the event in April. Will there be any information/strategies for small business non-profits? Ours is a training initiative and there is strong emphasis on education and training at this time. However, being a non-profit we rely on donor support and donations. The grant proposal process can be lengthy to say the least.

                                  Thanks
                                    • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                      jrtivoli Newbie

                                      No doubt - non-profits have been hit hard by the
                                      recession. Here are a few ideas to consider:

                                       

                                      *Investigate partnerships with other non-profits. Could
                                      you share physical, resources, ideas and expertise?

                                      *Bottom line - in hard times, you are going to have to
                                      ask more often. Keep marketing and asking for donations. In your materials, be
                                      sure to boldly define that you are doing something important and especially now
                                      need their support.

                                      *Help your corporate donors redefine donation. With
                                      donors forced to rein in spending, pursue other "gifts" they could contribute.
                                      For example, are there unsold products or excess inventory that could be
                                      donated? Unused tickets to local baseball games donated to a homeless children's
                                      group, home improvement store partnering with environmental energy conservation
                                      group to share trade show booth space, shopping mall opens early so that a
                                      Senior
                                      Center can walk in safety
                                      and warmth.

                                      *Be creative and resourceful. For instance, social media
                                      - Facebook,Twitter and Linked In - have become great free tools for getting your
                                      message out and even raising money. For example, you can easily set up a
                                      Facebook Page (not to be mistaken with a Facebook Profile) using the available
                                      applications to create a viral presence. The Causes application even allows you
                                      to raise money for your organization.

                                      Have you looked into GoodSearch - a search engine that
                                      donates money to causes based on how often people search? Be sure to post a link
                                      to GoodSearch on your web site and Facebook page to let your supporters know
                                      about it.

                                      *Reinvigorate your communication channels - get out
                                      there and speak to local churches, associations, groups, papers, publications
                                      etc.
                                    • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                      vlea_online Newbie
                                      What's the best data to collect when determining the "best price" to charge for services and products a downturn? I have a list of my competitor's pricing, but I don't know how much lower I should price my products and services. What else can I do to capture prospective customers?

                                      Virtual Learning Educators Association (VLEA)
                                      Background: We're a new/start-up membership-based organization offering professional benefits (such as online education programs, collaborations with peers and mentiors, etc.), reward points (participation in surveys, etc.) that are redeemable for real merchandise (iPods, digital cameras, projectors, laptops, etc.). We have a web site, and are using SEO and analytics (Google). We're also considering "cold-calling" and email marketing. www.vlea.org
                                        • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                          jrtivoli Newbie

                                          We would recommend that you not undercut pricing during
                                          a recession -this is a common mistake that small businesses make during hard
                                          times. Instead, make sure that your sales and marketing materials clearly
                                          outline the value your service brings to the table - especially in these
                                          economic times. It is important that you set yourself apart from the competition
                                          and offer added value that your competitors do not. You want your clients to
                                          focus on the value you offer not cost. Your clients aren't buying something -
                                          they are buying into a great relationship with you!

                                           


                                          In general, we are firm believers in integrated
                                          marketing campaigns - meaning you utilize complementary channels to get your
                                          message across to your target audience. Direct mail is quite effective -
                                          provided your message, offer and targeting are in line. Many of our clients lead
                                          with direct mail then follow with email marketing or a phone call. You should
                                          always give responders the option to call or visit your web site for more
                                          details.
                                        • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                          CommunityTeam Adventurer
                                          Don't forget to join us today @ 2PM ET.
                                          • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                            CommunityTeam Adventurer
                                            Everyone, please join us in welcoming Janine Rogers from Tivoli. Janine will be with us from 2PM - 3PM ET. If you have a question, simply hit reply. Janine may not have time to answer all questions, but she'll try. Also, don't forget to refresh your browsers so that you can see Janine's latest response.
                                            • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                              fitnessclub Newbie
                                              I've been running a fitness studio and have no problem getting customers to sign up, but keeping them is another story. New customers drop out within 3 months on average. I don't understand why? I've asked a few of my regulars why they think people leave and they've offered up many different type of solutions - monthly fee too high ($120 for unlimited classes), workouts too long (classes are 2 hours), workouts are too challenging for a novice. With summer approaching it's a good time to start thinking about a new marketing campaign but I realize that I have bigger problems - keeping my customers. How do I find out why my customers are leaving?
                                                • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                                  jrtivoli Newbie
                                                  My best advice to you is to ask your customers! Staying close to your customers, while always important, is even more so during tough times. Since it cost 5 -10 times more to get a new customer than to retain one, now is the time to focus on your existing customer experience. There are several ways to do this:
                                                  *Use an online service to conduct a survey to both previous and current customers. Be sure to offer an incentive for participating (free class, water bottle etc).
                                                  *Have an open comment box where your clients can give you open honest feedback every day.
                                                  *When someone calls to cancel, be sure to ask why they are leaving and be prepared to take the good with the bad. If you know the reason, you can better address it (offering a finance plan, discount if customer is laid off until they are re-employed, shorter class options, etc)
                                                  *Ask your existing clients to be your advocate. Offer then an incentive for bringing in new friends or old clients who have left.
                                                  *Get out in the community to publicize your name and services - offer to speak at local churches and schools on health and wellness, volunteer to host a Girls on the Run site etc.
                                                  *In your marketing and sales materials, be sure to focus on why in tough times it is more and important for your clients to focus on their most important asset, their health. Let your customers know you care in your everyday actions and this should come back to you!
                                                • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                                  antiques4me Wayfarer
                                                  I opened an Asian antiques shop several months ago (I know bad timing) and my business is just making enough to keep the lights on and support my employees. My store is located in a high foot traffic area and I have invested in good store signage and have a decent in store display set-up to show off the merchandise. Why are my walk-ins not purchasing? A friend of mine commented that antiques is not an impulse item that walk-ins purchase. What do you think? Who should I be marketing to? And how? Please help.
                                                    • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                                      jrtivoli Newbie
                                                      It is true that many consumers are cutting back on non-essentials such as antiques and home furnishings. Have you actively reached out to the Interior Design community?
                                                      Perhaps stage an open house specifically for the trade. We would recommend buying a list of Interior Designers in a 60 mile radius and trying an announcement postcard about your store. You should also be considering Social Media - Facebook, Twitter and Linked In - both to create a buzz about the store and to build your network of loyal customers.Don't forget to use your existing customers as advocates - ask them to reach out to friends and coworkers to tell them about the store. Consider offering a discount to customers who bring in friends or coworkers. Lastly consider targeted advertising in select pubs to draw in traffic
                                                    • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                                      doughboy Newbie
                                                      During the day I'm a pattern maker for a large fashion house. By night & weekends I practice my true passion - baking artisan bread. Word quickly spread, first through my apartment building, and then with my network of friends that I was baking bread. Soon enough I'm lugging over 15 pounds of floor to my NY apartment and whipping out over 10 loaves of bread a night and can't even fill all the requests I'm getting in.

                                                      I'd like to save enough money to open a bread shop. Need to keep my day job right now, but want to increase my part time bread making business. Any low cost marketing suggestions?
                                                        • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                                          jrtivoli Newbie
                                                          You sound like a talented and creative individual. Here are a few suggestions:
                                                          Be creative and resourceful. For instance, social media – Facebook and Twitter – have become great free tools for getting your message out. For example, you can easily set up a Facebook Page (not to be
                                                          mistaken with a Facebook Profile) using the available applications to create a
                                                          viral presence. Ask your friends to help you spread the word virally through these online social media tools.
                                                          Also consider using traditional methods as well as Linked In and other online services to locate event planners, local bakeries and caterers to organically grow your business.
                                                          Get out there in the community - offer free samplings at charity races, farmers markets or other events to spread the word about your product.
                                                          Consider offering a rewards program to your loyal customers - like buy 6 loaves get the 7th free.
                                                          Good luck to you!
                                                        • Re: Event Apr. 14:  Market your business smarter in a recession
                                                          CommunityTeam Adventurer
                                                          Janine thank you for taking the time to share your expertise today. Community if you would like to market your business smarter, for more information please visit Tivoli Partners at www.tivolipartners.com