Think it’s time to cut back your budget for marketing? Think again.
In a tough economy, it’s more important than ever to strategically market your business.

Across the nation, large and small businesses are looking for ways to trim unnecessary expenditures from their budget. For many, this might mean erroneously reducing or eliminating marketing budgets. In reality, it’s more important than ever to put your company ‘out there’ in order to flourish in tough economic times. Here are a few ways to advertise without breaking the bank:

Consistent Branding and 360-Degree Marketing
The most important aspect of marketing in a hard economy is to build and retain customer relationships. With so many messages bombarding prospective clients on a daily basis, you want your services and products to stand out at the forefront. The first way to do this is to keep your brand prevalent and accessible; this can be done with a strong branding message that stays in front of your audience. Your message should accurately reflect your unique services, and be consistent across various advertising touch points—from advertising to point-of-sale to customer service. You will want branding to make you recognizable and transparent across all marketing mediums: print ads, interactive, broadcast, logo iconography. As you connect to your audience through a 360-degree campaign–which may involve both traditional and nontraditional advertising tactics–your business will retain a powerful presence within customers’ minds as they make purchasing decisions.

Nontraditional Marketing Tactics
Alternative marketing is one way to boost your bottom line on a small budget. Rather than launch expensive mass media campaigns, you may actually make a bigger impact with pinpoint strategies. For example, grassroots marketing often involves using highly targeted outlets—such as ads displayed in shopping plazas or community newsletters—to connect with audiences on an intimate level. Your business can focus on creating messages that address the core group of individuals who are most likely to need your services. This can lead to a greater return on investment than bigger, traditional campaigns. A billboard that reaches a thousand eyes might equal 20 sales—but so might shaking 20 hands at an event where you interact with your audience—and it’s much more meaningful and cost-effective. Rather than reach as many sets of eyes and ears as possible, by using precise analytics to target and address your audience, you are given able to speak directly to your client base in a more personalized way. This builds brand loyalty and establishes a line of communication—which will not only benefit your business in the short-term, but have a lasting effect for years to come.

Interactive Marketing Strategies
Utilizing web marketing to maintain an online presence doesn’t have to be a budget-breaking endeavor. You can harness the power of the Internet on a limited budget by getting acquainted with blogging, e-mail marketing and free analytic tools. Once you’ve established a home base for your business online, all you have to do is give readers a reason to stop by and see what you’re all about. Hosting a blog on your website lets you speak directly to your industry peers and prospective customers, while managing your message. A blog can tie together e-mail marketing, web advertising and social media messages. Creating fresh content on a regular basis is also an affordable way to improve your page rank and increase traffic to your site. You can watch viewership climb by utilizing Google Analytics, a free online interface that automatically tracks and graphs your website’s unique visitors, daily traffic and other relevant data. Seeing how readers locate and use your website will help you understand how your audience thinks. Then you can continue to invest in cost-effective advertising techniques, such as e-newsletters, to encourage repeat visits and stay connected with your customers.