Crisis Survival Kit: 7 Tech Tips To Beat This Recession

It's official -- we're in a recession. But that doesn't mean your company has to suffer. By taking advantage of technology, you can still attract business -- often easily and inexpensively.
It's official -- we're in a recession. But that doesn't mean your company has to suffer. By taking advantage of technology, you can still attract business -- often easily and inexpensively.It wasn't a huge surprise when the National Bureau of Economic Research announced on Monday that we're in a recession, especially when the board added what many of us also already knew -- the recession started a year ago. But with news that the economic downturn could last another couple of years, businesses -- particularly smaller ones -- need to look for creative ways to stay afloat. I'm not talking about just surviving but also thriving.

Marketing and digital technology coach John Jantsch just posted over at the Open Forum blog a list of seven recession-busting marketing basics, and they're quite useful. So here's that list, and I added ways to employ technology to get great results.

  1. Partner with other businesses. Not every other company out there is your competition; rather, partnering with others can earn you more business while filling in the gaps in expertise you might be lacking. For example, if you're immersed in finance, you may not have time to invest in long-term technology planning, which is why you'd do well for yourself to enlist a relationship with a technology adviser. In turn, you could provide financial planning to the tech adviser and generate referrals for each other.
  2. Reactivate past customers. You likely have clients whom you worked with once and then never saw again. And it's not necessarily because you provided bad service; instead, those clients may not know other services you have to offer that they could use. Newsletters are a way to keep past and present -- and, hopefully, future -- clients up to date on what your company is doing, any sales going on, and new product or service information. People love to think they're getting a bargain, so offer a discount to returning customers.
  3. Get out from behind the computer. OK, so this one is actually anti-technology, but it's true -- while some of us would prefer to tap away on a keyboard all day, oftentimes it's the face-to-face interaction that counts and that people will remember you by. Jantsch suggests attending industry conferences, joining chamber-type groups, and attending events where you can meet up with partners and be introduced to prospective clients.
  4. Speak at events and hold workshops. Those two are fine ideas for getting your name out there and positioning yourself as an expert in your field. In addition, there are other ways to "host" events without leaving the building or even standing in front of a live audience. You can also create podcasts and Webcasts to market your business. Don't make a commercial for your company; rather, choose a topic to discuss, create and film or record your presentation, and have it available to customers, whether by sending it to newsletter subscribers or by posting it on your company's Web site.

  5. Don't Miss: Online Advertising the Smaller Business Way

  6. Fix your follow-up. As Jantsch posts: "Lead generation and conversion is not a one shot deal. By automating your multiple follow-up messages, scheduling routine marketing touches and sending the occasional hand-written thank-you note, you can stay top of mind when the buying and referral decisions are made. The longer the sales cycle for your industry or service the better your follow-up needs to be. There is so much that technology can do for you here, let it!"
  7. Repackage your products and services with offers to act. There's a reason that shiny objects catch our eye -- they're different looking. And often people need to be tricked into looking something over once again. By redesigning your Web site, adding graphics to your newsletter, or redoing your packaging or logo, you'll cause people to look at you in a new light. A redesign is also the time to add interactive tools to your site, such as blogs, articles, product descriptions, and forums.
  8. Fix the marketing gaps. What's working, and what's not? Stop doing what's not working or at least tinker with it to make it work. In these tough economic times, you can't afford to keep doing what isn't attracting customers. So work smarter, not harder, to bring in business. Take advantage of social media tools, which are often free, to get your word out. And practice search engine optimization to lead people to your Web site.

Unless your company is recession-proof, you need to think ahead to keep it going. And with all the technology available today -- often, right on your computer or sometimes an inexpensive add-on -- it pays to take advantage of it.

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