During a recession, businesses and consumers alike are more likely to analyze where they spend their money, so you have to work hard to earn their business. Here are two major ways to get new customers stepping through your doors and coming back for more.

1) Use Non-traditional Marketing
Direct marketing is nothing new, but businesses are increasingly turning to non-traditional media because it’s less expensive than traditional advertising mediums (like television and radio) and can be tailored to reach a small or large target demographic. Direct marketing campaigns like fliers, street advertising, promotional letters, coupons, customer appreciation events, and direct selling have become very popular among businesses during the recession.

The more clever your campaign, the more likely it is to succeed. For instance, PETA’s 2009 Super Bowl advertisement was banned for being too sexually explicit. It is widely presumed that PETA intentionally made the ad overly explicit with the intention of creating word-of-mouth publicity, which is even more valuable than airtime during the Super Bowl. The supposed “plan” worked – PETA’s commercial was spoofed on television shows like The View, and copies of the video floated around the Internet virally for months. PETA also avoided the $3 million it cost in 2009 for 30 seconds of Super Bowl air time. By understanding how the marketing world works, PETA earned almost free major national publicity.

2) Use Technology
Social media sites and text messages are great ways for you to keep in touch with your employees (TimeForge offers great schedule notification options through social media and sms), but technology can also offer huge pools of potential customers. Advertise online and make sure your business has professional accounts on sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and LinkedIn.

Check reviews of your business from the Better Business Bureau, Company Name Sucks, and Angie’s List. Be proactive with review information and use it in your next staff meeting to improve your product.

Make sure your company’s website is accessible and interactive so customers will return, and consider offering an online newsletter or blog with coupons or other incentives.

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