Tag Archives: referral marketing

How Credit Unions Can Benefit Your Bottom Line

recession-proof-business-300x300Does your company belong to a credit union?

Even with most credit unions moving to community charters where virtually anyone can join one, there remains additional value by being a member company.

  1. Becoming a member company costs your company nothing
  2. Your employees get access to loan rates that are typically lower than what banks offer, while savings rates are typically higher
  3. Credit unions tend to be more stable than banks
  4. They provide the customer service of a community bank
  5. They typically have all of the services of a national bank
  6. They are a terrific marketing opportunity for your company

A terrific marketing opportunity for your company?

It’s quite simple.  Credit unions tend to have very loyal members.  Members who have “gulped the credit union kool-aid” are evangelists for their credit union.  This halo covers the member companies as well.

The opportunity exists for you to reach out to your credit union business development contact and tell them you would like to market your services to the other credit union members or member companies.

Tell them you want to provide credit union members a special member offer or discount which can be marketed through their emails, on their website and/or newsletter.

The cost of this marketing is minimal, if it costs anything at all, and it gives you access to thousands of people you may not have reached before.

You both win when you gain access to potential new customers.

If you are already a credit union member company, you are halfway there. If not, find one who can best service your needs.  To find credit unions in your area check out the NCUA.

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Filed under recession marketing

Market Share is Not Recession Proof

I was reading the Three Minute Manager in the March 30 issue of Fortune magazine. The first question asked to the CEOs of Staples, TD Ameritrade and Head of Global Customer Strategy for Bain & Co was “Is it really a good time to go after market share” and their answers were a resounding “yes”.

Most of your competitors are in the same place you are – focusing on revenue and expenses.

You may have gone through your first, second and maybe even third round of cost cutting.

The last thing on your mind is market share. You figure your competitors are most likely cutting their marketing budgets so things should remain status quo except for the one or two weaker competitors who go out of business.

Since when is status quo okay for business?

A recession – especially a deep recession – is the best time to increase market share since it is significantly cheaper to stand out compared to your competitors who may no longer be marketing.

Think about share of voice – similar to market share but determined by your share of media impressions.

For example, everyone in your industry spent a total of $10,000,000 in advertising last year. Your ad budget was $1,000,000 giving you a 10% share of voice.

This year your industry’s ad spend is only $5,000,000. If your budget remains at $1,000,000 you grow your share of voice to 20% thus taking a more dominant role in your industry without increasing your cost. That increased share of voice leads to greater awareness and ultimately more prospects. (Sorry, but it is still up to you to close the sale).

If you reduce your budget by 25% to $750,ooo you are able to achieve a 15% share of voice – thus spending less, yet achieving a greater impact than the $1,000,000 investment made the year prior.

By continuing to market your company, you can actually gain market share more cost-effectively and be in a stronger position when the economy rebounds.

But you have to continue to market because if you stop marketing – even to your customers – someone will take your share of the market.

It is your job to market frugally, but not so much so that it is ineffective.

Here are some things you should consider to hone your marketing effort:

  • Look at what tactics are having the greatest return on investment. (A previous post on tracking speaks to what you can do to know what marketing tools are working best.)
    • For example, if you are in a service industry like plumbing, HVAC, etc, the thought of cutting Yellow Page advertising is terrifying, so move slowly by cutting your ad from a spread to a single page and track the changes.
  • Continue to aggressively pursue inexpensive ways to market to your customers.
    • Email newsletters
    • Service reminders
    • Phone calls
  • Implement a customer referral program
  • Look for affiliation marketing opportunities.
    • For example, if you belong to your local chamber of commerce, provide all other chamber members a discount on your products/services.
  • Volunteer/Donate services – the free publicity will help you reach a broader audience

These are just five ways you can market smarter so that you can gain market share while it is cheaper to do so.

We hope you’ll use the comment section to tell us how you are gaining market share during the recession.

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Filed under Competition, Customer Marketing, Marketing ROI, recession marketing

Why Sharing Customers Is A Good Thing.

A client posed a question to me: “Customers are your most valuable asset, so why in the world would you share them with another company”?  

My answer is simple – to get more customers.  

If you can partner with non-competing, complementary businesses who have a similar customer base, you can have access to a huge group of potential new customers at virtually no cost. In exchange for letting them market to your customer base, you get to market to their customer base.

For example, if you provide pest control services – find companies who also provide home services like electricians, plumbers, etc.  If you own a retailer that sells athletic gear, find a fitness center in which to partner.

If you think about it, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities.

Before you jump in, there are some important steps to remember.

1. Reputation – Make sure the company you partner with has a reputation you want to be associated with.

2. Courtesy – Let the company you are partnering with make the introduction to their customers and vice-versa.  It’s just good customer etiquette.

3. Incentive – Provide an exclusive offer to these new customers to encourage them to try your services. 

4. Recognition – If you are going to market directly to their customers, make sure you merge your customer information so you don’t market to their customers who may also be your customers.

5. Tracking – Make sure you are able to track which new customers come from their customer base so you know if the partnership is equitable. 

Sharing customers can be a great, inexpensive source for growth.  Just another way to help you market smarter.

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Filed under Customer Marketing