Economy Gotcha Down? Why You Need To Make A Marketing Push Now
Right now you, along with just about everyone else, is afraid to spend money. The current uncertainty and “dooms day” reports by media about an impending recession have got people scared to do much of anything but cut back on everything. I get it! I do! Even I have cut back my spending on non-essentials, but not on marketing and growing my business.
Over the years, I’ve fallen victim to budget cuts and slow economies resulting in a “pink” slip (once after returning from a fun and restfull vacation – what a bubble buster). This is because when things slow down businesses look at the first things they “think” they can cut, and that typically becomes marketing.
But I have to tell you that NOW is the time to boost your marketing efforts. How are you going to make business better when you all but terminate communications to customers? I’ve never quite understood this rationale.
Think about it this way – right now you have a unique opportunity to build customer loyalty by being a business that really cares and wants to make life easier for customers. Trust me, what you do today, during tough economic times will be remembered by customers and create a long-term relationship that will only grow your business. There are ways to do this affordably but still get your point across. What you need now more than ever is pure determination.
Here are some tips for promoting your business and building loyalty during economic down times:
- Couponing – show you care by offering discounts at your store/business. Everyone is looking for a bargain right now
- Regular, ongoing discounts – this can come in the shape of a customer loyalty or membership program where anyone who signs up receives a regular discount every time they make a purchase. OR you can run a long-term promotion open to any and all customers, supported by store/window signage, advertising, etc.
- Incentives and trials – maybe as part of your sales promotion you offer a free gift or service. This will not only bring people in to try your store/product/business, but people love free stuff and they often will want to let others in on their “big find”.
- Other freebies – complimentary services including consulting. Anything that is a “bonus” offering. This is the time when you will need to go above and beyond for others. Call it “The Secret”, “the universe at work” or what you will, but I’m a big believer that when you go above and beyond the call of duty for others that it will come back to you.
- GET OUT THERE! Now is not the time to sit behind your desk or counter all day. You are the best marketing tool your business has so get out there and tell people about your business. One client of mine does a particularly great job at this. She went to Kinko’s and had business card-sized coupon cards made and she hands them out to everyone she meets. Believe or not, she has gotten a pretty decent return on an idea that cost her about $25. Mostly because she is really determined to build one-on-one relationships with everyone she meets and turn them into customers.
No matter how you decide to connect with customers right now the key is communicating it. That means you will still need to advertise, but maybe you cut back on the number of outlets and pick only one, three or four that directly target your customer. It’s also a good time to pursue an affordable element like PR as media are looking for all kinds of information to provide readers on how to save money, especially with the holidays coming up.
The reality is that most of your customers are going to start flinching a little bit when they have to pay full price. What you have to do is show them you get it by giving them more for their money, or be willing to offer discounts to drive sales. Many of you might not be willing to reduce your prices but wouldn’t you rather get the sale and make a little bit less than not get the sale at all?
Jennifer Fortney, Cascade Communications