Recession Marketing For Niche and Specialty Providers – 5 Tips For Small Business Internet Marketing

Are you a high end, niche provider of high quality products? Did you, or do you, rely on your website and internet marketing initiatives to produce your most profitable leads? Many of my clients fall into this category, and before owning my own company, I worked as an executive for companies in this category. High-end niche manufacturers, which not too long ago, enjoyed high profit margins and felt immune to the initial stages of recession, are now facing challenges arguably more daunting than any other business sector.

The tables have turned in a little over a year. The country was facing a subprime mortgage crisis but the luxury goods manufacturers, sometimes with a touch of hubris, dismissed this warning sign since subprime mortgage holders did not buy their products.

And who can blame them? Partly because it’s human nature, and partly because there were too many underlying issues we just didn’t know about.

Well now, everyone is feeling the pinch of the economic downturn, and the niche-based, luxury product manufacturers may be the last to come out of it. But this is an article on successful internet marketing for niche manufacturers, not a depressing rehash of what you are already way too familiar with.

The Marketing Challenge If you are a business owner, marketing director or sales manager for a niche based business targeting the wealthy, I imagine this resonates with you. So the challenge is how does your business evolve?

You’ve probably done the cost cutting, reduced staff and managed your cash flow with a microscope. But you need revenue and everyone wants a discount. A discount! Niche manufacturers of high end products are in this business to avoid discounts. That’s what niche marketing is about.

So what do you do? Here are five proven tips to generate more revenue through internet marketing you should consider.

1. Collaborate with Complementary Businesses You know who your competitors are, but have you built relationships with potentially collaborative business? Let’s say your business provides custom doors – expensive, made of mahogany. If you don’t install the doors, contact realtors, installers, hinge manufacturers, lock manufactures, custom moulding and millwork suppliers, etc. – you get the idea. Potential internet marketing solutions include:

• Linking to each others’ websites
• Sharing e-mail lists (if you are compliant with your privacy policy and can-spam
• Refer business leads to each other

2. Hire a Marketing Consultant Seriously, a skilled marketing consultant with a proven track record and real business experience will pay for his or herself. And if you find a quality, niche-focused resource, it will be far more cost-effective than using a high-end agency.

On the other hand, don’t go the cheap route and hire an inexperienced resource that can do some website coding but doesn’t have seasoned experience with internet marketing.

My firm, Marketing Practicality, focuses on internet marketing solutions for small business. We understand small business marketing and are currently positioning clients for the eventual turn around while growing revenue in the short term.

3. Search Engine Optimization This is a critical area of internet marketing for small business. Even more so for the high-end, niche supplier in a recession. Granted, there are a lot of snake-oil salespeople and misinformation around this topic. But if you find a qualified search engine optimization firm that takes the time to learn your business, you will generate more revenue now and be well positioned for the economic recovery.

4. Refine Your Internet Marketing Process Really, you should refine your entire marketing process. When you look at it objectively, is it the best it can be? Are your marketing and sales processes integrated? Are you monitoring your KPI’s? Have you established new benchmarks? What are your marketing metrics? How do you evaluate performance? Where are your leads coming from? Do you have an effective communication stream with your customers? How about the people that could have been but aren’t your customers?

An effective internet marketing process can answer some of these questions.

5. Work Hard – Work Smart I know you are working hard. But like most things in life, there is no secret sauce. It takes hard work and determination to be successful. If you need a resource to do this, hire one. If you want to do it yourself, prepare to spend a lot of time learning, and take some hard knocks along the way. Either way, if you commit to improving your internet marketing your business will succeed.