Friday, October 3, 2008

How to Get New Business during the Economic Crisis

Times are tough right now and more than ever, small businesses need money coming in.

Small business owners will be losing sales to the businesses that can afford to advertise during this down turn in our economy.

How can you grow your business if you don’t have the available capital to start an effective advertising campaign?

One way is through the Internet.

If you don’t already have a website, investing in one should be your #1 priority.

With gas prices up, consumers are shopping from the comfort of home and comparing pricing online before venturing out to make purchases.

Whether you are providing a service or a product, you should definitely have an online presence so that they can see what you have to offer.

Several times I’ve seen small business owners who have a splash page up with their contact information and the words “Site under construction”. This is a big mistake. Google and other search engine’s will not index the website if it has “under construction” on it. If you’re one of those business owners and you can’t afford to move forward with your site design at this time, at the very least, alter your web page to remove that phrase.

How can you increase your visibility on the Internet?

  1. Place content on your page that lists relevant keywords that pertain to your product or service offering.
  2. Submit your site to online directories
  3. Make sure you include your meta tags including keywords, title and description of your business.
  4. Write articles relevant to your business and include a link to your site and then submit them to article submission sites. Many other websites create RSS feeds from those article submission sites that can lead to many sites linking to your business.
  5. Post comments on blogs, social networks and articles to market your business by providing useful information. (Beware of the hard sell, make sure your comments actually offer advice or insight.)
  6. Seek out businesses that are related (and not direct competitors) to your business and exchange links with them.
  7. Write a press release outlining a community benefit to using your product or service and distribute online.
Small businesses need to stick together during these rough times and reaching out to other businesses in your community could prove to be beneficial if you can team up together to offer special deals to your potential customers. If you own a pizza parlor near a video store, you could work together cross promoting each other by offering a special deal of showing your receipt to receive a discount.

You can also team up with other small businesses in producing a flyer or postcard to be distributed for added exposure.

Join your local chamber of commerce (it usually doesn’t cost too much) and network. Go the functions and meet business owners from your community.

Even if your marketing/advertising funds are low, you can still generate new business by working online and through your community.

Please do write in to let me know if you have success or if you would like to share any great ideas with the small business tips blog readers.