Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Bear Marketing: Smarter Marketing Strategies in a Tough Economy

Yes, yes, we know: "Times are tough." The U.S. has entered a bear market which may or may not drag on, the world continues to cope with pandemic-related issues, and global conflict has made its own mark on an already ugly picture. But if you've been in business for decades, you've seen several pretty grim patches come and go. So how do you keep your head above water, or even thrive, during a tough economy? How do you market your brand to consumers and businesses reluctant to open their wallets? Let's look at some smart ways to make your marketing dollar work harder for you.

Maintain (or Boost) Your Marketing Investment

It may sound counterintuitive, but sometimes you need to increase your marketing investment to get more bang for your marketing buck. Sure, you can cobble together something resembling a DIY marketing campaign, but if that bailing-wire-and-string approach doesn't bring in more business, how have you helped your financial picture? (In reality, you've probably damaged your business further by taking yourself away from other vital tasks to focus on those unsuccessful tactics.) Now's the time to bite the bullet, consult a marketing strategist, and take whatever steps that marketing strategist advises to turn your marketing budget into an income generator instead of a boondoggle.

Resist the urge to cut back on your marketing -- unless you want to see your customer base shrink to microscopic levels. During the big economic crunch of 2008, the businesses that curtailed their marketing saw some short-term benefits. But once the recession ended, those businesses found themselves way behind their competitors who had continued to market themselves consistently and aggressively.

Emphasize Digital Marketing

Traditional marketing methods haven't gone the way of the dodo by any means. Print marketing still matters for reaching certain chunks of your target market that digital marketing might not impact. However, those chunks are getting smaller and smaller as more and more shoppers rely on their computers and mobile phones to find the products and services they need. It only makes sense, then, to shift your marketing focus toward the digital world if you want to grab new buyers' attention and maintain current buyers' loyalty.

Digital marketing holds another money-saving advantage over print marketing: the lack of material costs. When you think about how much money you might have to sink into printing and mailing on a traditional print marketing campaign, you can see how digital marketing allows you to tighten your belt without pinching your marketing power.

Seek Discounted Media Buys

Do you market your company through TV, radio, and billboards? These media options can work well, but they can also cost a ton of money. Your first instinct might be to drop these options from your overall marketing plan -- but before you do, consider the possibilities of getting some amazing deals in the current environment. Billboard and media providers are likely hurting as some of their clients pull away from these channels, so try pushing for special deals and discounts. You might be amazed at how much more media time and space you can buy for what you've paid in the past (or even less).

Make Your Content More Compelling

Remember the point about investing in smarter marketing strategies to get better value from your efforts? Well, the same goes for the content that drives your marketing. If your marketing content doesn't attract new eyeballs, inspire confidence, and compel sales, you might as well not do any marketing at all (and you can imagine how well that would work out for you). Instead of hacking away at your content writing attempts or allowing your current so-so content to keep doing nothing for you, you need to invest in professional marketing content creation. 

Fortunately, copywriting counts as one of the cheaper parts of an effective marketing plan even as it helps you persuade your audience to part with their own money. Best of all, you can hire a freelance copywriter on an as-needed basis instead of adding a new employee to your payroll. Contact me today so I can help your company bear up under this bear market!

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

How to Guest Blog Like a Champ

Congratulations! An influential business leader or publication has invited you to contribute an article as a guest blogger. You have a golden opportunity to share your insights, wisdom, and experience with receptive readers who may then seek you out when they need your products or services. There's only one problem: How do you capitalize on this opportunity instead of blowing it? You're an expert in your field, but what if your expertise doesn't include blog writing? Even if you do create content for your own blog, what do you need to know before you leap into writing for someone else's blog? Let's look at some important steps that can help you succeed in your guest-blogging venture.

Understand the Ground Rules

Different blogs maintain their own standards, from word counts and other formatting requirements to tonal and stylistic preferences. Ask the owner or manager of the blog how long your article should run, whether they want you to adhere to a particular style (Associated Press, Chicago Manual of Style, et cetera), and whether you should sound formal, casual, or somewhere in between. Refer to other blog posts, including those posted by other guest bloggers, and see if you can match their format and tone without abandoning your own unique voice. Last but certainly not least, make sure you know the deadline for submitting the article -- and make sure you can meet it.

Get Your Topic Approved in Advance

This point might sound obvious, but you'd be surprised how many guest bloggers assume that their topic will work for the blog host without actually confirming it beforehand. You can easily spend hours working on an article, only to get a note along the lines of, "Um, what we really needed was [something else]." At that point you can only start over from scratch (assuming you can still meet the deadline) or just give up. Avoid this pitfall by submitting your proposed topic for approval before you proceed.

Inform, Don't Sell

If you've been invited to guest blog, the blog host probably hopes that you'll contribute a thought leadership article that will impress and educate the blog's target audience. Don't take this opportunity to sell your products or services in a brash, transparent manner. Focus on the topic itself in ways that gently steer the audience in your general direction. For instance, a real estate agent writing about the latest trends in the residential market might present a wealth of relevant information while also mentioning the value a real estate expert can provide for buyers and sellers. Instead of dropping a firm call to action in the conclusion, simply wrap things up with a reminder that an expert in your field can help clarify this information and help the reader take the next step, whatever that may be. Since you're obviously the expert in question, who do you think they'll contact?

Even after you know exactly what to write about and how to write it to your blog host's satisfaction, you may find this kind of content creation too challenging, intimidating, time consuming, or just plain inconvenient to bother with. But that doesn't mean you should give up on the self-promotional benefits of guest blogging -- it just means you need assistance from a professional copywriter. Contact me today to find out how I can help you guest blog more easily and successfully!