Seven Ways Your Business Will Thrive In This Economy
Seven Ways Your Business Will Thrive In This Economy
By Dr. Jan Southern,
J. DelSUR Marketing Group
Every time you swipe your card, you feel the pinch of inflation. Everything costs more, including doing business.
It can be scary, downright terrifying running a business with economic hardships looming and consumers obsessing over inflation. It is tempting to begin cutting back—potentially cutting the very things that will help your business survive and even thrive during difficult economic times.
Marketing happens to be one of those business functions that should not be cut when times get tough. Even though it sounds counterproductive, you should maintain your spending. Marketing during a recession involves going against one’s initial instincts to hang back and wait it out.
According to Harvard Business Review, companies that maintained their marketing budget during tough times fared far better than those who cut their spending.
The key here is to be strategic in how you spend your marketing dollars and your efforts. Here are my suggestions for what you can do right now:
Make a Plan
I always say that you shouldn’t spend a dime on advertising until you have a marketing plan. A marketing plan identifies the best strategies and tactics specific to your individual business, goals, market potential, customer types, and budget.
Focus on Your Offerings and Customers that Deliver the Best Returns
After making that marketing plan, take a look at your product offerings. What items or services have the highest profit margins? Is there a service you provide that has very little expense but brings in good revenue? What products have expenses and materials that may be less affected by inflation? Is there a product or service that you know your customers can’t live without even in tight economic conditions? Can you promote more of that?
Focus on the customer. What kind of customer is the most profitable, and does that intersect with your ideal customer? Identify the products or services that resonate most with your desired audience and create marketing messaging to attract them.
Focus your marketing efforts on the products or services that will bring you the best margins and the type of customers that are the most consistent and you will be more likely to weather any tough economic conditions.
Don’t Be Afraid to Adjust Your Pricing—But do it Carefully
The most successful businesses are thinking ahead about how they can be profitable in the future and anticipating that things will get more expensive over time. However, you should be judicious about adjusting your pricing, as it’s a tricky balancing act. If you evaluate and determine that a price increase is needed, apply it in smaller increments over time, for example, when you’re onboarding a new client.
Add Value to Your Existing Offerings
If adjusting your pricing isn’t a viable option, consider how you can add value to your existing products and market them accordingly. Emphasize the features that give your products value compared to your competition and shed aspects that don’t contribute to your product’s quality.
For example, if you are a service business, can you offer a complimentary consultation to give the customer extra guidance and share more of your expertise? If you are a massage therapist, could you offer a free video on how to give yourself a scalp massage at home or offer a sample bottle of lotion for free?
Focus on Existing Customers It is five times more expensive to attract a new customer than it is to sell to an existing one.
Your customers generally already know, like and trust you. You don’t have to explain your brand, show them why your product or services solves their problem or fulfills their need. Customers who have purchased from you are already aware and interested in you, so give them the tools to make their buying decisions as simple as possible. Provide easy to purchase add on items and introduce them to other products they may not have tried yet. When you upsell to existing customers, you just might increase your revenue with minimal effort and expense.
Keep Nurturing the Marketing Funnel
When times are tough, it’s more important than ever to nurture your marketing funnel.
The #1 marketing effort, no matter how busy you are, is to keep driving traffic to your business and pumping leads into your marketing funnel. Don’t wait until business slows to prime this pump.
If you are a brick and mortar store that means getting more and more people to walk in your store continuously. If you are a service-based business, this means building brand awareness, getting more inquiries, sending out more proposals then landing more sales.
Online this means driving traffic to your website or sales landing pages. This is where being efficient with your marketing efforts and thriving is critical. It is not efficient to run advertising and have those ads land the interested person on your homepage. You will want to have that person land on a landing page specific to the product or service that was advertised on the ad he or she was responding to in the first place. And even better, once they land on the landing page, they fill out a form and give you their email address.
Posting on social media is just one form of advertising. So many small businesses rest all of their marketing efforts on social media. Yes, social media is critical these days. And everyone who follows your page is a potential customer, but there’s a catch. Most of those followers will not see every post you make-—in fact only about 1-2% of your followers will even see what you post (thanks, algorithm!). You should still post to your page and those posts should be engaging, informative and reflect the character of your business brand.
Do you want to know the secret to reaching a larger share of your target audience? Collect your customers’ email addresses whenever possible. We do not own our followers on social media platforms. If Instagram disappeared tomorrow and you didn’t have your customers’ email addresses, you would lose hundreds or thousands of contacts. Email addresses are the most permanent (if there is such a thing) way to stay connected with current and potential customers virtually. You can also use these email addresses to segment your customer base and create informative newsletters or special promotions based on their buying habits.
Capture emails by asking. You may obviously get an email address at the point of sale but what about on your website? Can you offer them a free download or a subscription to your newsletter when they visit your website? There are many clever ways to capture email addresses, which we can cover in future articles. Just know that cash is still king and email addresses are the keys to the kingdom.
Don’t Forget About the Physical Space
While online visibility is important, you also need to bring awareness to your business in the physical world.
Social media is getting very noisy and the algorithms work against us when trying to attract customers to our businesses. Google is essential as is a website. An online presence is critical but don’t forget we all live in the physical space.
More and more, people are getting screen fatigue. Take advantage of this newfound awareness. Get in front of your customers in real life. Network, host events, be the local print magazine, send direct mail to homes, partner with other companies and think outside the box on ways to get the most attention for your business outside of online tactics.
Making physical connections is what will solidify your business in the hearts and minds of your ideal customers in your target market. So, don’t forget to include the real world in your strategy to combat the economic challenges.
Everywhere we turn we are hearing about gas prices and the tough economic times that may be coming. This doesn’t have to be a challenge. It truly can be an opportunity. Many companies transformed for the better during the pandemic. By being deliberate and intentional in your promotional efforts, you can maximize your resources and make this your time to shine!