So you know where I’m coming from, here are the top 9 types of marketing I believe virtually every small software company should be doing:

  1. Pay-per-click advertisements (Google ads)
  2. Public relations
  3. Nurture program
  4. Search engine optimization
  5. Education strategy
  6. Email newsletters
  7. Flash demos
  8. Referrals
  9. Get Creative

You can get a fuller explanation on my website  www.j-m-r.com

And this is what we’re telling clients now, with the economy heading into a recession…

1. Move marketing online

One of the first things that gets cut in a recession is travel to conferences. We’ve seen it over and over again. If you have already spent the money to exhibit, still go. There will be some people there, including key influencers and speakers. With smaller crowds you will have time for more in-depth conversations. Focus on building relationships.

If you haven’t signed up yet, your money will be better spent online. For what it would cost you to attend one conference, you can do so much more online marketing. And a lot of what you do online will be there for months to come – often for years – to build credibility about your company and support your marketing efforts.

2. Demonstrate leadership

In chaotic times like this, everyone is looking for leaders who can give them advice about what to do. You are probably a thought leader in your industry. You know how to reduce costs, increase productivity, put better processes in place, generate more revenue – so share that expertise! Tell people what to do.

Do a press release, write an educational article, post to your blog.

3. Get more out of low-cost marketing strategies

The three types of marketing that are most consistently effective for small software companies are also the least expensive:

  • Pay-per-click marketing (Google ads)
  • Nurture campaigns
  • Referral programs

If you are not already using all three – get started!

If you are using them, take another look to see if you can make improvements. Sometimes small tweaks can lead to much better results.

4. Start doing Web 2.0 marketing

Many of the conversations in your market are already happening online, and more are moving online every day. If you are not participating, you need to start. You need to participate in discussion forums, contribute to blogs (or start your own!), get involved in social/business networks.

5. Quantify and educate

It is going to get harder to close deals. Start digging now to quantify the cost savings or productivity improvements your software provides so you can document this for prospects.

6. Optimize your website

Virtually every lead you have goes to your website. You are spending a lot of money to get them there. If you can improve conversions, that goes straight to your bottom line.

  • Do you have a clearly defined offer? Is it on every page near the top?
  • Can you do a better job of explaining your value proposition?
  • Can you make it easier to take action?

7. Don’t forget about search engine optimization

See what you can do to add extra content to your website that will help bring in more visitors. You are looking for keyword-rich, useful information.

Maybe do some interviews with key people at your company about hot topics in your industry and have them transcribed?

8. Do back-to-basics PR

If you have a little more money to spend, this is the time to invest in public relations. Other companies are going to be cutting back, so there will be more room for you.

This is the time when you really need to build credibility. A lot of companies are going to be shaky financially. Far more are going to be worried about whether they can afford to do business with a vendor who might not weather the current crisis.

When you get publicity in key publications, that provides reassurance that you are running a strong, solid company and it is safe to buy from you.

9. Get creative

There is so much that is fun and new going on in marketing right now. This is a great time to do some creative things, like a YouTube video series or a viral campaign in a social network.

There are also new online communities springing up everywhere. A lot of them won’t be around in 6 months, but they will get lots of attention when they launch. Piggyback on that by being very active in the beginning.