Your marketing budget is an investment. It’s an investment in your belief in your practice, your belief that what you offer is essential to people in your community. When money is tight, people need to know how much your work will benefit them. They will be glad to spend the 60 or 70 bucks to see you – if they know they will get their money’s worth. But you may need to work a little harder at making your case.
Invest in target marketing
You don’t necessarily need to spend a lot of money to market your practice. Invest in smart marketing tools – ones guaranteed to build your business and bring in more clients. First of all, notice the clients you most enjoy working with, whether they are athletes, seniors, working professionals, or some other group. These are the kind of people you want to target with your marketing. Develop a message that speaks directly to them. Mail those clients your promotionals or newsletters, and distribute your brochures, business cards, and flyers to the places your “target” clients go.
Track the results
Are you unsure which of your efforts are reaching people? Now is a good time to find out. If you’re not doing so already, track your efforts. For example, if you send out a postcard promotional, keep a record of how many clients respond. Better yet, mail postcards to half your clients, and a newsletter to the other half. See which gets a better response.
Keep reaching out with mailings
Direct mail is still an effective way to stay connected with clients and increase rebooking. If you feel the need to save some dollars, try email. To compare the effectiveness of each, send an email newsletter to some clients and a paper newsletter to others, and track how your clients respond to two different offers – one in the e-newsletter and one in the paper newsletter.
Don’t ditch your plan
Whatever else, an economic downturn is not the time to ditch your marketing plan. Jay Conrad Levinson, author of Guerrilla Marketing says,
“Abandoning a marketing campaign before it has a chance to flourish squanders money.”
For example, you may think it’s a good idea to cut back on the quality or quantity of your marketing materials, but remember, that could backfire. Cheap materials can damage your image. And cutting back on the frequency of communications with clients gives them time to forget about you, or worse, start wondering whether your business still exists. Don’t make them wonder. Stay in touch via the mail and/or email.
Remember your regulars
No matter what else you do, remember to market to your regular clients! Marketing experts say it costs six times as much to bring in new clients as to keep your existing clients returning. Your regulars understand what your work means in their lives. They just need your reminders, your concern, and your appreciation.
You believe your work helps people feel better. Make sure your marketing materials reflect that belief. This will express a confidence in yourself that is unshaken by the inevitable ups and downs in life, economic or otherwise.