During times of uncertainty and economic turmoil, it can be tough to decide how to handle your marketing efforts. Some people fall into the trap of believing that sales will just dry up during bad times, so there’s no point in doing anything.
In reality, this time, like all the other rough times, will pass. You’ll sail out of these rough waters into a much smoother sea, and if you play your cards wisely, you’ll emerge with previous client referrals and leads from new ones.
Don’t Slam on the Brakes
It’s very tempting to pause all your marketing spending and efforts when demand suffers, but that is a mistake, as noted by the Harvard Business Review.
While this sounds a bit strange, it’s actually during a downturn that you might have the best chance of cutting through the noise of the competition. Everyone spends in a bull market, so businesses don’t have to fight as hard to earn consumer dollars. However, when a downturn looms, it separates the wheat from the chaff. As more people pull back on their marketing efforts, you’ll get an opportunity to gain market share and see more impact from your efforts.
Of course, you still need to use your resources in the right way. Spending just for spending’s sake is never wise. As you consider what to do, create a way to measure your results. This way, you’ll know what to cut, and you might even find new, more effective ways to reach your audience once things return to normal.
Invest in Social Media
Social media is typically less expensive to use for marketing purposes to begin with. It’s also a great tool for reaching out to clients during a down time. It’s instant, widely available and a medium many people use. It’s also targeted if you research your typical clients and their behaviors.
Keep your brand message in mind when you’re crafting social media posts. You’ve worked hard up until this point to cultivate a brand image and message, so you don’t want to jeopardize what you’ve built because you are in a rush to get posts up.
Never forget that you don’t want to come off as if you’re looking to profit from uncertain times or a bad event. Put yourself in the minds of your social media viewers right now. They want to feel safer, happier and more secure, and these needs should drive the creation of your posts.
Try Thoughtful Postcards
Send out thoughtful, attractive postcards from providers like Wise Pelican to connect with previous clients and remind them that you are still here and ready to help. Postcards also allow you to reach out to potential clients in your area and generate new leads.
An eye-catching postcard with a compelling offer can lead to a sale. A dentist’s office, for example, could offer a new patient package or free consultation services. Landscaping companies might offer one free lawn cutting or snow removal or discounts on other services. A real estate agent could offer free home staging services to sellers and complete virtual home tours to buyers.
Spread Some Joy With Packages
Create care packages to send to your previous clients. These unexpected deliveries serve as a “thank you” to past clients and as a reminder of what you can provide right now. They can also brighten someone’s day during tough times, and that goodwill alone could translate into a lead or referrals. A recipient posting a photo of your care package on social media, for instance, is a great, organic way to reach new clients.
You don’t have to break the bank for a good care package. To round yours out, use low or no-cost items like discount vouchers relevant to your services, referral cards or a handwritten note. Presentation is almost as important as what is in your packages, so take the time you need to create attractive ones.
Take Part in Your Community
When times are tough, many communities need more help. This is an opportunity to serve your local community and get your name out there to potential clients at the same time.
If you’re not sure where to start, try checking your local news outlets and local social media groups. Usually, calls for help from hard-hit community organizations are issued through these mediums. Ask your family members and friends for suggestions, too. They may have an organization they’re familiar with to recommend.
Get a Bit More Charitable
Now is the time to work on that charity event you thought of before or join an effort-in-progress for a cause that’s close to your heart. With a charity event, you’ll be able to work on something you really believe in, help others and connect more with people in the community who may need your services one day.
Charities, in particular, are often hard hit during economic downturns, despite a greater need for their services during those times. If you can’t find an event in the works for a cause you believe in, don’t be afraid to start one yourself.
Work With Other Businesses
To help cut down on costs and expand your reach, consider working with businesses that are relevant to your services. When you co-advertise with other businesses, you’ll stretch your ad budget further and offer prospective and past clients a “one-stop” menu of service options.
Which businesses you should work with will depend on your industry and your existing relationships with other companies. A real estate agent, for instance, may have connections with landscaping companies, contractors and mortgage brokers. Work with your advertising partners to craft a marketing campaign you are all excited about and can contribute to.
You can still thrive in a downtime and even make new headway. Your marketing efforts may pay off in ways you never expected when things are uncertain. Now is the time to be creative and go after more market share. After all, things will return to normal, and when they do, you’ll want to be ready to hit the ground running once again.