Tweets can be a useful way of managing your online reputation, as well as minimizing damage during a crisis.
There’s been a lot of buzz (or should I say chirps?) on The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal’s Small Business sections about using twitter to expand sales and marketing efforts.
All of the articles emphasize that Twitter can, to quote the Times, “shorten the emotional distance between businesses and their customers.” Many small businesses are hiring out the project or hiring consultants to train them. Of the two, the latter option seems more viable in the long run as it is really the owner/employees who need to be making that connection with their customers.
I think what’s most important to corporate housing providers is that Twitter can minimize the damage during a crisis. So if, say, there’s damage to the water main of an apartment complex where you have several units or more, you can connect with all of the residents at once through the use of Twitter. You can also monitor what’s being said about your business and respond to the individual tweets. For now, this can be very time consuming for business owners to do, however, all of this could change shortly Twitter is developing business apps that can streamline the process and make it more efficient, and the products should be out shortly.
McGraw-Hill Research analyzed the performance of 600 companies during the recession that lasted in the early eighties. The study went from 1980-1985, and showed the B2B firms that either kept their advertising budget static or increased their advertising during the recession averaged higher sales growth both during the recession and for the three years following the recession. If you’re thinking about eliminating or cutting your corporate housing advertising budget this year, here are four questions you may want to ask yourself:
1. What is my Share of Voice? What is my Share of Market? The term Share of Voice, as defined by the SEO Glossay Online, “refers to the relative exposure of an advertiser within a defined market sector over a period of time.” The Share of Voice and the Share of Market exist as a ratio such that, when SOV is greater than SOM, the market share will most likely increase over the next year. This is key in a recession because, as Advertising Age magazine writes, “Recessions offer what may be unprecedented opportunities to market in an environment of relatively less noise, as others cut back.” Because everyone is cutting back on their share of voice, it becomes easier for small providers to be heard, and to increase their share of market.
2. Who are our economy-priced competitors? Win back your clients from extended stay hotels. When it comes to choosing economy-priced brands in a time of recession, how many consumers are really happy with their new brands? What is the barrier to purchase? Chances are it’s not price, it’s value. And that’s where advertising during a recession comes into play. After all, allocating money to advertising helps to build your brand identity and reinforce the value that you are offering your clients.
3. How can I adjust my product portfolio? Harvard Business Week writes, “Marketers must reforecast demand for each item in their product lines as consumers trade down to models that stress good value, such as cars with fewer options. Tough times favor multi-purpose goods over specialized products, and weaker items in product lines should be pruned.” How does this translate to the corporate housing industry? You can quote units with economical furniture packages, and you can promote rather than just offer two twin beds in a bedroom.
4. Who are my existing customers? Try not to be all things to all people. You have a niche, a brand identity that is different from every other provider out there. Reward the loyalty of your existing customer base by offering them discounts for longevity and repeat business. By doing this you will not only garner their business, but you can also put into action a system of getting referrals as well.
Cutting your advertising budget is a risky proposition. Smarter marketing is what’s needed. Think of how Proctor and Gamble survived the Great Depression (Ivory Soap) or how Wal-Mart dominates the retail scene during a recession. Shop Corporate Housing can help increase your share of voice and reach your targeted customer base. For more information, call 727-331-6261.