Marketing Survival During a Recession
Running a business has its ups and downs, and pragmatic entrepreneurs know this when they start a business. It’s a good time when the sales are skyrocketing and the cash register is making that sweet sound that tells you the money’s rolling in. That being said, you have to be ready for the downtimes to ensure you survive them and are around for the next boom.
If you are a local service business professional, such as a Realtor, landscaper, insurance agent, dentist, plumber, home improvement contractor or another similar profession, you need ways to stay uppermost on each former customer’s mind. The following advice should help you do just that. These tips cover a range of different approaches. Some may be more applicable to your specific business, and some may be more within your budget.
- Social Media Can Give You a Low-Cost Boost
Digital marketing is popular for a reason. The internet is everywhere, so it’s a great vehicle through which to reach a seemingly unlimited supply of customers. Having a strong social media presence is the latest technique for building your brand and boosting your sales. Websites like Facebook and Instagram have a ridiculously high number of monthly users, so businesses that neglect to have a presence on them are leaving a ton of money on the table even during good times.
During bad economic times, stepping up your social media game can be the difference between your company’s life or death. Do you run a landscaping company? You might write or pay someone to write some articles about landscaping ideas of note in your local area. At the end, you can mention how you are here to make these ideas into a reality for the reader as soon as times turn around, and they have the money for such work. This tip can be adapted to any profession to help keep you out there in front of people, so you’ll get your share of work when things start to turn around.
- Try Sending a Reminder Postcard
There was a time when junk mail was one of the worst parts of checking the mail. It may still be to an extent, but there isn’t nearly as much as there once was. Before the internet, direct mail was one of a comparatively few avenues that especially local companies had to reach out to local prospects. With digital marketing so dominant in today’s world, many businesses don’t give direct mail any consideration. This leaves you with a tremendous opportunity to reach former clients in a way that will have you facing little competition.
You might try mailing a simple postcard out to former customers or clients. This can be a bit much to organize on your own. Fortunately, there are services that can help you create slick, glossy postcards that will make a professional impact on the recipient. They enable you to select and customize templates within minutes as well as manage mailing lists and track delivery. This can be the perfect way to drop a note to let your clients know you’re still here and are ready to fulfill their needs as soon as they require your services again.
- Make an Unforgettable Impression With a Care Package
You could try taking the above postcard idea up a level with a full-blown care package. Few businesses will go this far, so it will definitely help you stick out from any competitors. The possibilities are almost endless with care packages. You will have better luck if there is a way you can personalize it to your clients. One thing you should be sure to do is to include any branded merchandise you may have. If you have pens or hats that have your company name on them, throw them in there. These are far more effective than a business card since these are items a person can actually use, so they’ll be far more likely to keep them around.
- Get Involved With the Community
When you have a local service business, you have a symbiotic relationship with your local economy and the people in it. Its survival is your survival. This is where doing community outreach is a win-win situation for you and your community. You can sponsor an event, join a parade, hold a contest or do any number of other outreach projects. This not only keeps your name in front of people but it also helps strengthen that community to some degree, which also helps you in the long run.
Working with a local charity is another excellent way of keeping your name out there in the community. This may be a local chapter of a large charity or one that’s purely local to your area. Sponsoring an event for this charity will not only remind people that you’re still around but that you also care.
- Network With Related Businesses
Building relationships with other businesses that serve a similar market as yours is always a good idea. It’s an especially good idea, however, when there’s a recession on. Let’s say you run a house painting business. You might want to establish a referral relationship with a local plumber and HVAC contractor. If you get a painting job and the homeowner mentions that their AC is on the fritz, you can give them the card of your HVAC contractor friend. They can do the same when they run across someone who also needs their house painted. These types of symbiotic relationships can literally keep your company afloat during tough times.
- Give Your Website a Makeover
Take advantage of lulls in business to improve anything you can. This includes refining your online outreach efforts. A big part of this will be making sure your website is as good as it can possibly be. For many businesses today, their website first and foremost serves the purpose of the entryway and lobby of a brick-and-mortar office building. It makes that critical first impression that will be positive or negative and that you only had that one chance to make.
How old is your current website? If the answer to this question is five years or longer, you should definitely consider a whole new website redesign. In most instances, you only have about 10 seconds to grab a visitor’s attention with a solid value proposition before they leave your site. Do everything you can to ensure your website has the design elements, navigation, content, coding and appeal that grabs visitors and doesn’t let go.
Stay Focused on the End Goal
The above tips and techniques will definitely help you during difficult times. It’s important to remember that many people will be short of money during a recession. These tips will undoubtedly bring you some customers or clients now to help you stay afloat. That being said, they mainly serve the purpose of letting people in your community, including past clients, know you’re still here and will be when they need you again. This will get you future business from them and perhaps referrals right now from their friends who need your services.
Following this advice will help you weather the storm of bad economic times. Many businesses go under during recessions. One reason for this can be that they cut back on outreach. This can be a tremendous mistake. Economic realities may force you to trim your marketing costs, but it’s imperative that you do what you can to stay in front of prospective customers to survive to the other side of this recession when the money starts flowing again.