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Sunday, June 13, 2010

We're definitely not out of the weeds yet, but things are starting to look up - people are spending money again. But this time, they're a little more discerning. What does this mean for small and medium sized business depending on cautious consumers? It means that they need to alter our approach and keep an eye on buyer confidence.

To make the most of this recovery, think long term. Consumers may be less likely to make big purchases right now, but you can certainly encourage them to make small purchases again and again. By thinking long term, a new approach leads you to alter your pricing and packaging approaches.

A good example is that of a small retailer. Can you offer specific incentives that get consumers to buy small items again and again? Points programs or frequent buyer cards can do the trick. Think about ways that you can get consumers to return without being overly concerned about making a really large sale. The more you can get your customer into your store or back to your web site the better.

Of course you can always issue coupons or discounts, but I don't like getting consumers into the habit of expecting money off each time they visit my web site (or a retail store). Rather, consider bundling small products to keep average order size smaller than what you normally may be offering and encourage replenishment.

The other side of this coin is buyer confidence. How can you make consumers feel as though they're receiving valuable products and services? And, doing so at a price that is fair? In this economy, low price guarantees or liberal exchange policies are recommended. You can also help by doing the comparison of products or services on behalf of consumers.

Let your buyers see consumer generated feedback, ratings, and other information that can improve their knowledge of the products and services you're selling. Provide a personal testimonial and let them know what they can expect during and after the buying process.

The best marketing strategies today are those that let consumers try before they buy and minimize risk. These are actually tried and true marketing techniques but have risen to the top as markers look for new and improved techniques for creating awareness and generating sales among targeted segments.

Improve your marketing today by thinking long-term. Review your product and pricing strategies to support what's going on in the real world. Most importantly, put yourself in the shoes of your customers. If you do, you'll understand what matters most and provide the confidence they need to continue buying from you.


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