The big picture. What was that again?

As I sit at the office tonight, I wonder a few things –

1) With October online sales revenues basically flat over last year, everyone seems to be asking the same question: How do I use the tools I have in front of me to get what few dollars are out there spent with me? No magic bullet here, but with the increase in free or low cost, easily accessible, and measurable tools out there, you have options.

  • Build your social network – use your community. Everyone is in it together.
  • Use email to market smartly – I know you’ve heard this one before. It’s not rocket science, but it sort of is. Many companies don’t have a good way to connect their “marketing” databases or lists with any sort of intelligence that tells them who should get what. This is going to be one of the things that kicks them in the behind in the end. But, email’s still got the biggest ROI so it’s worth the effort to do it right.
  • Guerrilla marketing at its best – let your customers be your biggest advocates. The assumption here of course is that you have customers who love you. I think that’s a pretty safe bet. I wonder how you could find them… I wonder. No seriously, ask customers who consistently give you positive feedback to join your company’s Customer Community. Allow them to take a bigger part in your success. Reward them.
  • If you’re a business looking to cut costs, consider jumping on the bandwagon of companies embracing cloud computing, or SaaS (Software as a Service).

2) Also related to the October sales numbers – the biggest reduction in spending was the $50k and under income level, which historically is has helped carry retail cash flow. If this goes away, will replying on the historical “savers” to spend more work?

3) I hope that whatever economic stimulus package gets implemented has provisions for supporting our small and medium sized businesses. The big guys need help – everyone knows that and there’s been no shortage of companies reaching out their hands for assistance – but it’s seeing your neighbor build something from ground up that keeps that tricky American dream alive for the rest of us.

Tricky, but we’ll make it. What do “they” say? Ahh yes. Cautiously optimistic.

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