With many businesses starting to feel the full impact of current slow economy, it might be a good idea to review your current marketing efforts to make sure your business stays on top of the game. Here are some tips for what you could do.
1. Intensify Marketing
One of the biggest mistakes business owners make during periods of economic slowdown is to cut back on marketing and advertising, doing this could be most damaging to your business. Studies have proven–and every marketing analyst will agree–that marketing should be the last thing to cut in recession.
Instead, your marketing needs to be more aggressive and more comprehensive than ever. You can simply start by contacting past clients and simply touching base. Chances are a good number of them will have projects for which your services may be required.
2. Spend smarter
You may have to reconsider your current marketing efforts and focus your spending on things that work best for your business. While you won’t always be able to measure the ROI, there are statistics and studies available online on the effectiveness of the most common advertising channels. Do you know where are your customers coming from? Is there another channel you haven’t use before for some reason? Your Yellow Pages advert may work fine for you but what if you are missing out on whole lot of business that you could get through a web site? If you wonder what to do next with your advertising budget, give us a call. We can have a look at your marketing, see if there is anything we can improve and offer a objective suggestions and recommendation. We can also provide you with case studies on what will work best for your particular business.
3. Utilize every marketing effort to it’s maximum
Do you give your clients all the information you could? You may already have materials you produced for some of your previous campaigns that could very well complement your latest marketing efforts. For example a case study you did a while back can be an inset to your brochures or a handout at your office. You can use it on your web site to improve your search engine ranking. Better yet, offer it for download on your web site when people register for your email newsletter. Your customers will get an interesting document to read and you have a new subscriber in your database to keep in contact with.
Offer discounts, freebies, or other extras as incentives.
There is a truth to P.T. Barnum’s quote: “Without promotion something terrible happens… Nothing!”
When money’s tight, clients expect more for their dollar. Offering discounts and special deals will help you attract new customers. It will also serve as reminder for your current ones customers to contact you next time they need your services.
You may also consider setting up a referral reward program for clients as part of your marketing efforts.
5. Double-down on your current customers
Sure it’s more fun to get new customers, but it’s more practical in a downturn to provide more value (and get more in return) from your current customers.
When customers make decisions in a downturn, they’re more likely to go with a more trusted source. Ask current customers what they need from you.
Care for them, and they will be even more likely to stick with you if the going gets tough.
6. Stay consistently visible
In any economic situation, being consistently visible and staying in close contact with media and the industry community is critical to a company’s success. See if you can partner with a local newspaper or have an article about your business published in an industry specific magazine or web site.
Not only can a you maintain a strong market presence for your business, you can do so at minimal cost, compared with traditional advertising. In addition, the credibility of an independent third party carrying your message strengthens its impact.
The first step toward gaining a new customer is being seen in the places they tend to be looking, including industry newsletters, magazines, Web sites, and association reports.
While press releases with substance are worthwhile, they should also be accompanied with interviews, background information, customer case studies and data on specific industry trends. All of this works to establish a relationship with reporters and positions you to be a valued resource to them.
7. Outsmart your competitors
You have an opportunity in a downturn to win market share from your competitors.
If you pay close attention to what’s happening in your target markets and how customers are reacting to a recession, you can act early and often with changes in product or service, price, and positioning.
For example, in the last technology downturn, software companies became very creative in their pricing schema, many switching to software as a service model (Hosted solution where you pay as you go) that gave them an edge over competitors who were stuck in an old paradigm.
Bring in your staff and get everyone to put the thinking cap on. Are there areas of your business that could be improved? What about new service you could offer to market segment you’re not using that much at the moment? Strange as it sound recession may produce some new opportunities for your company if you are willing to explore them.
For example, in the last US recession instead of laying off staff, Apple got it’s employees to think and innovate. Six months later the first iPod was born - a device that revolutionized the music industry and is responsible for almost half of Apple’s revenue today.
Current economic conditions require that businesses make difficult investment and cost-cutting decisions.
Maintaining a customer perspective in these trying times will ensure that the right activities are invested in and your customers are satisfied and secure.
Those that retain their customers in the current economic environment will not only be more resilient in the short term but also best positioned to prosper in the long term, when the economy begins to rebound.