In this harsh economic environment, everyone is faced with hard financial choices. Because of the economy, business may be slower than you would like. In response, you should be doing more marketing. Of course, marketing costs money and there is less money to allocate towards marketing when business is down. My message is that marketing does not have to be expensive. Many think that marketing is expensive because they equate marketing with advertising. Advertising is a form of marketing, but marketing encompasses areas outside of advertising. There are plenty of inexpensive marketing solutions that are very effective. This is the perfect time to be implementing these low-cost alternatives. Make a phone call A phone call to your sphere is one of the most effective and inexpensive marketing actions you can take. It does not sound like a phone call can be that effective, but try making three calls each day. Three calls per day will add up to more than 750 calls per year. Together, these calls can make a major difference in your results. To realize these results, you must make sure that you prioritize your calls. Prioritizing will dictate that you make the calls to the targets that have the most potential business to refer or the greatest need for your services. Finally, you must set goals beyond getting direct referrals. Perhaps someone within your sphere of influence can introduce you to a significant referral partner. Network When you ask for an introduction during your phone calls, you are starting the process of networking. Calls to your sphere are an effective means to network, but they are not the only means. For example, try attending networking events. Most events are inexpensive and developing one great relationship could give you the same result as many thousands of dollars of advertising. Social networking The new age gives us a new vehicle to implement our networking plans. From personal networking sites such as Facebook, to business connection sites such as LinkedIn, you now have a new way to get the word out and meet people. More and more business people are using these sites to market their services, make connections and more. There are even seminars on the topic of using these sites to implement effective networking plans. Targeted advertising As we mentioned previously, advertising is expensive. This means that we want to make our advertising as cost-effective as possible by reaching out to the right targets. Instead of casting a net over the entire city, try placing an ad in your church bulletin. These people already know you and you will be supporting your church. Deliver e-mail newsletters and articles to your sphere Once again, your sphere is a targeted market that will be more cost-effective than reaching the masses. You need to build your sphere list and find a way to deliver value in a cost effective manner. E-mail newsletters are extremely effective and the delivery costs are next to nothing. Write an article or issue a news release Marketing yourself as an expert epitomizes the definition of cost-effective. People seek out experts for their advice instead of shopping them for prices. The good news is that articles and news releases cost little more than sweat equity. Another example of marketing as an expert is to hold a seminar. Many local organizations would love to host an expert and having a host lowers the cost of the seminar. Also, the news releases you send out may lead to invitations to appear on radio and TV shows. Now you are getting the same effect as mass advertising for no cost! Use synergy partners The most effective marketing produces referrals from partners. Spend more time focusing on how you can help your partners build their business and they will do the same for you. This is called the law of reciprocity. Applying synergy to your marketing efforts gives you maximum reward for the least cost. Take a look at any marketing you are doing right now. What is one additional step that could make it more effective? It takes less money and energy to make an adjustment in what you are doing now as opposed to starting completely new activities? Dave Hershman is a leading author for the mortgage industry with eight books and several hundred articles to his credit. He is also head of OriginationPro Mortgage School and a top industry speaker. If you would like to stay ahead of what is happening in the markets, visit ratelink.originationpro.com for a free trial or e-mail [email protected].