// Marketing your boutique club in todays financial climate

by Kelly Butson

Looking back on the past 12 months, there is no question that the global credit crisis and associated fallout, including increasing unemployment, exchange rate fluctuations, petrol prices and the general rising cost of living has resulted in tighter household budgets.

In such a turbulent time economically, boutique business owners can feel under enormous stress. However, the reality is that small businesses can be in an advantageous position due to their ability to change course easily and to duck and weave in unpredictable times. Being small means an ability to adapt quickly in response to market shifts.

Taking the necessary time to market your business will ensure that it remains viable in a market when consumer confidence is at an all-time low. Marketing ensures your business is visible in the eyes of your target demographic.

There are many steps you can take right now to market your business

Stay positive. Often a small business will abandon a marketing strategy or cut its marketing spend during a downturn. However, businesses that maintain marketing spending during a downturn are often the quickest to recover.

Remain focused. Focus on your business plan and revisit your marketing and public relations plan as often as is required, to keep you on track and keep it relevant to what you are trying to achieve. Remember, people still need what you are selling and things will turn around.

Remember integrity. A brand must have brand synergy and visual integrity. Everything your business prints or publishes, drives and promotes, must look cohesive. You may be small, but that makes a strong visual presence so much more relevant. Repetition, integrity and reinforcement are the keys to a successful brand identity.

Be prepared. Look for advertising bargains such as last minute or ‘distressed’ ad spaces, which are substantially cheaper and offer great value. The trick is to have ads of various sizes on standby, ready to go.

Cross-promote. Exchanging links with other businesses is a great way to reach new customers and expand your client base. It also provides contact with other like-minded business owners.

Reward loyalty. Continue to make the most of the customers you already have. Reward their loyalty by giving existing customers incentives for repeat business through loyalty programs such as special offers or a discount card.

Develop a strong marketing plan. It sounds obvious, but many businesses don’t have a marketing plan. Small business operators who are not marketing-minded may choose to consult with a specialist. Selecting an agency that specialises in marketing the lifestyle industry will ensure that marketing is up-to-date with industry and marketing trends.

Keep your web site updated. Constantly updating and making changes to your web site will give your business a much greater presence on Google searches, ultimately increasing traffic to your site. Remember to upload all of your press clippings onto your web site as well.

Newsletters are another efficient and effective way of letting your customers know what is new, as is writing articles and planning seasonal campaigns. If you are time-poor, find a marketing agency to do this for you. Marketing agencies can manage all of these small and very important marketing tasks for you, for a minimal cost and maximum result.


Kelly Butson
Kelly is the founder and director of Kaw Agency, which specialises in marketing the lifestyle industry. With over a decade’s experience in marketing, strategic partnering and public relations, Kelly has worked with numerous sports, fitness and leisure companies. For more information call 07 3122 6151 or visit www.kawagency.com.au