One of the biggest challenges during difficult financial times for businesses is figuring out where to reduce costs. In many cases, marketing and advertising are the first things to go, as they may not seem absolutely critical to your operations. It’s during these lean times, however, that your business needs to actually ramp up its marketing to find new customers, and there are a number of ways you can do so without adding substantial costs.

The following are some effective ways you can market your business in a sluggish economy:

  1. Keep moving ahead. Take advantage of marketing and advertising space left by retreating competitors and increase your brand recognition. You can reduce costs by hiring a copywriting services provider to write your content, and freelance graphic designers to create ads. Leverage the power of social media, which comes at a low cost, to engage your current and potential customers.
  2. Send regular e-newsletters. Developing a monthly newsletter and sending it to your customer list is a great way to remind people that your business exists, and it just may be the final push they need to buy from you. Your newsletter text should include links back to your website or blog, and encourage readers to take action.
  3. Improve website content and traffic. Use a web analytics program like Google Analytics to understand what content customers spend the most time viewing on your site and how they found you. Good search engine optimization (SEO) leverages the keywords customers tend to search to locate services like yours, so optimize your web content writing with those terms to ensure you don’t get buried in the back pages of a Google search. A solid understanding of standard SEO processes will not only put your site front and center in search rankings, but also make creating new and useful content much easier in the future.
  4. Partner up. Businesses may be reluctant to partner with others because it suggests smaller revenue, but some joint ventures require only half the monetary investment while opening up new opportunities to engage customers. Identify businesses that market to your target audience without competing directly with you. Consider setting up a presentation, seminar or trade show together. You’ll be surprised how much you’ll learn along the way, and it will be invigorating to see your vision come to life.
  5. Investigate profitable markets. Evaluate where good customers come from and invest in those areas. Find out what draws customers to you over your competitors, and use this information in your marketing. Cut back on areas that are no longer profitable and likely won’t be in the future.
  6. Earn existing customers’ loyalty. Customers are investments, and focusing on their needs yields more of their business and a higher return for you. Earning their trust through strong relationships and valuable content makes them more likely to stick with you over the long term.

When times are tough, it’s vital to continue to reach your audience and address their needs and wants through your content marketing efforts. After all, the only way to achieve real growth is to continue expanding your customer base.