Constant innovation should be a central part of your business strategy but when the budgets get crunched, there is still plenty of value in the “old-school” marketing basics.

Bargains in traditional media. Marketing dollars are moving toward Internet marketing, but there is still a place for TV, radio and newspaper — and the value has NEVER BEEN BETTER! Newspaper ad sales were down 38% in 2008 – it’s a buyer’s market. More than 90% of Americans spend an average of 236 minutes a day with TV. I recently worked with a customer who was paying $9 for a 30-second commercial on a targeted cable TV demographic.

Focus on existing customers. Up-sell, cross-sell and micro-market to your existing customers. It’s 80 percent less expensive to sell more to existing clients than attracting new ones. How have their needs changed during the recession? There are probably new product and service niches being created with your valued customers. Go find them before the other guy!

Is your website alive? You’ve probably already invested in the website infrastructure and this is a highly cost-effective way to attract new customers. Is your site aligned with current customer needs? Does it have fresh, compelling content? A bold call to action? How is it differentiated from competitors?

Service essentials. Follow up on every lead quickly. 88 percent of people are happy to hear from a vendor after download within 24 hours. Waiting 96 hours drops that number by half. And think about using personal, hand-written notes to cut through the clutter and really delight your customers. Writing a letter … now that is REALLY old school!

Destroy complacency. I see so many customers spending money on advertising channels simply because this is what they have always done. Are your channels still relevant and targeted? Have your customers shifted to another gathering place? Here’s a more detailed article on this topic: http://tiny.cc/9VYRI

Measure what you treasure. It takes no capital investment to make sure the way you measure your success is still appropriate and driving the right actions in your business. Is your marketing plan integrated and measurable?

Re-discover email marketing. This can be an easy and inexpensive way to stay in front of customers, especially if you have a built-in mailing list. This is a tricky channel, but done right, can be highly effective.

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