During tough economic time businesses and organizations are faced with some difficult decisions, re-evaluating current budgets and spending certainly rises to the top of the list. Many times, the easiest place to cut your budget is in marketing your business or organization. It’s common to think you can cut back on your marketing and web initiatives today and make up for it when the economy bounces back.
The fact is, in order to survive an economic downturn, businesses need to continue to market themselves both on and off the web. In times like these your business, when marketed properly, can set the foundation for greater growth when the economy thrives once again.
Remember that in an economic downturn, your potential clients are facing the same financial constraints as you are. This means that your target market actually shrinks. To continue to drive new business, have to maintain (or even increase) your marketing efforts.
Your potential clients are looking to get the greatest “bang for their buck”, and will be even more selective in their decision making. You need to stand out from your competitors more than ever. Keep in mind that a strong competitor to your business can view tough times as an opportunity to grab new market share. Don’t give them the opportunity to grab from your pool of potential clients or from your current clients.
Remember that other business are cutting back on their marketing efforts, reducing the amount of competition that exists. So seize the opportunity…
1. Have an actual, focused marketing plan in place. Many businesses don’t have a plan at all. Work to develop a strategy to create multiple opportunities to connect with your potential customers. Find cost-effective ways to spread your marketing budget around, you can increase your visibility without increasing spending.
2. Strengthen your message and branding. Ensure that when you do connect with your target audiences you are emotionally engaging with them. Impress them as to why you stand above your competition and give them clear, concise reasons as to why they should do business with you.
3. Don’t forget your current customers. It’s a proven fact that it costs more to obtain a new customer than to keep an existing one. In tough times, you can’t take your existing customers for granted. Stay in touch with them. Give them incentives that remind them that they are important and encourage them to continue to do business with you. Use your strengthened message to communicate with them and continue to build your long-term relationships with them.
4. Use your website and the internet. Even (especially) in tough times, people are using the internet to search for the services and products that you offer. Use your website (if you don’t have one, get one!) to attract new customers. Work with an internet marketing firm to improve your search engine rankings and your online visibility. Re-brand your website and improve your message (see #2) and provide a strong “call to action” - make sure that when a potential client finds your site, they are compelled to take the next step to becoming a client. The value that a professional, visually pleasing website can have in making a buying decision can make the difference between doing business with you and going to your competitor.
You have to work a little harder, and a little smarter, to win new clients in tough economic times. Businesses and organizations that do will reap the rewards when the economy begins its upswing.