Businesses up and down the country have struggled to stay open during the last few months. The COVID-19 pandemic forced many businesses to shut their doors, and for those that did manage to stay open, cutbacks had to be made. It has been a terrible time, and sadly, some businesses have now fallen by the wayside.
These are uncertain times, and while businesses are slowly starting to reopen, the way ahead still isn't clear. Experts have declared that recession is coming, public spending might not be what it used to be, and as a business owner, you might have to make cutbacks in some areas. But within your cutbacks, should you reduce your marketing efforts? Saving money will be a priority to you, and this might be something you are considering.
Well, here's our advice on the matter…
Don't Cut Back On Your Marketing!
Now is the time to make a concerted effort with your marketing. Reducing it could only damage your business, as your customers need to know that you are still open for business, and you need to protect the long-time welfare of your business. If you make cutback in this area now, you are only going to face further hardships down the line.
This is backed up by research.
As can be seen in this article at LinkedIn, evidence suggests that spending more on marketing is vital during an economic downturn. To spend less, according to the studies mentioned, could damage your brand and limit your survivability.
So, while you should definitely make cutbacks within some areas of your business, think twice before curbing your marketing efforts. To stay open in the long-term, you need to get the word about your business out there, not only to new customers but to those customers you already know.
Now is the time to reach out, because if you're slow to act, you can guarantee that your nearest business rivals will be doing all they can to steal new and existing customers away from you.
Of course, you might be in full agreement with us, but if your financial resources are low, you might still be reluctant to spend a lot of money on marketing. Thankfully, you don't have to break the bank! While you could invest a large share of your current income into your marketing plan, you can also market your business fairly cheaply. We will detail some of these methods later on in this article, so read through them and consider them for your own business.
And be sure to get in touch with our team at Improve Marketing. We are here to help you through this tough time and can help you create a marketing plan to increase your chances of surviving this period of economic uncertainty. Check out the other articles on our blog too for expert advice on marketing your business. We especially recommend the articles below.
Making A Start With Your Marketing
We appreciate marketing your business in a recession is difficult.
If you have a reduced marketing budget, you will have to rethink the way in which you promote your business. It might be that you rule out some of your regular marketing channels during this period while focusing on those that deliver the highest ROI.
You might want to commit some of your time to market research on your target demographic too. By doing so, you will waste less time marketing your business to demographics who are unlikely to profit your business, and you will improve your capacity to grow during this tough time.
So, the first thing you need to do is analyse the marketing efforts you have used in the past. Work out what has worked for you and what hasn't. You will be able to review some of your performance data using Google Analytics and Google Search Console, as well as those other measuring tools you can find online.
Then assess your target demographics. What groups of people tend to use your business? Consider the age range of your customers, their locations, and the needs that they are trying to fulfil. When you understand more about the people who have used your business, you will be able to focus your efforts on reaching them and not those groups who have barely profited your business.
There are other areas of market research you might want to commit to as well, such as taking the time to assess your competitors and what they are doing to reach customers during this difficult time. By taking stock of what they are doing, you will have a better understanding of where you need to focus your marketing.
For help in these areas, get in touch with us for experienced advice. And check out the links below for some useful tips.
Low-Cost Ways To Market Your Business
You don't need to overspend during this time as there are ways to market your business relatively cheaply. We have outlined some cost-effective marketing methods below, so consider each one, and get in touch with us if you would like further advice on any of them.
If you already have an email list of past or potential customers, now is the time to focus your efforts in this area.
Let people know that you are back in business. Appeal to their emotions by sympathising how difficult their lives may have become during the period of the pandemic. And if you are in the financial position to do so, encourage your customers to come back to you with a discounted product or a promotion, as not only is this a savvy marketing tactic, but it lets your customers know that you appreciate their spending isn't what it used to be.
While it doesn't cost a penny to send an email, you will be able to save time if you purchase email marketing software. You can often benefit from free trials, so don't assume you have to spend money right away. You might even swap between email marketing tools, making use of the free trials they provide, without committing to any after the trial is over. Check out the link below for a few examples, as well as a link to our services.
With the right keywords on your website, you stand a better chance of appearing higher on Google's search pages and you stand a better chance of outranking your competition. This can be an excellent way of reaching new customers, especially if you use those keywords that they are likely to use when searching for businesses such as yours.
If you already have an understanding of SEO, you will have the opportunity to make the relevant changes to your website yourself. If you are unsure, you could always hire the services of our marketing agency for our expert support. You might do this anyway, as marketing professionals are up-to-date on the best practices for SEO, and they have a better understanding of the changes that are made to Google's search algorithms.
There are some useful articles below, so have a read, and get in touch with us if you require extra help in this area of marketing.
Ask For Customer Reviews And Testimonials
Customer reviews are an essential part of your SEO strategy, and they can encourage new customers to trust your business too. Testimonials on your website can also build trust for your brand. Both are important during a recession, as many people will think twice before parting with the money they have in their possession. Now isn't the time for them to spend willy-nilly as they don't have the income to waste. This is why customer reviews and testimonials are important as, if they read something positive about a product or a service, they will have less need to worry that they could be wasting their money.
According to the stats provided by Ignyite, 93% of people say online reviews impact their buying decisions, so the benefits to you are clear.
So, reach out to past and current customers and ask them to support you in this way. Ask them to place reviews on Amazon, Yell.com, Glassdoor and other business review sites. Encourage them to say nice things about your business on their social media channels too, and ask them to link your website address with their helpful comments. And ask your customers for quotes that could be placed on a testimonial page on your website, perhaps with a picture of their happy, smiling faces to add credibility to their comments.
To make the most of the business reviews you receive, link to them from your site, or include elements of them on your web pages. Use reviews and testimonials within your email marketing campaign too, as they can be used to encourage potential new customers to visit your website.
Check out the links below for more useful advice.
Use Content Marketing
Content marketing can be an effective way to educate and influence your customers during an economic downturn. It plays an effective part in SEO marketing too, so you should never underestimate its worth to your business.
No matter what content you create, you need to understand the needs of your customers. The information you provide will need to be relevant and interesting to them, so take their needs into consideration before executing this type of marketing.
It might be that you use these tough economic times as a starting off point, with content that addresses some of the fears they may be experiencing during this time. Or you might create content that is geared around any new innovations that are taking place within your business. Whatever message you convey, be sure to Integrate your content across the different channels that are available to you, including email, your site blog, and social media.
You can also track your content performance using Google Analytics and other analytic platforms to assess the effectiveness of the content you are producing.
So, use the various methods of content marketing that are available to you. While blog posts are a popular choice for businesses trying to relay information and marketing messages, remember that you can use your various social media channels to share content too, alongside podcasts, videos, infographics, webinars, and more. Check out the links below for some useful advice, and a link to our services.
Spend Money The Right Way
We have outlined several marketing techniques that are either free or low-cost. However, there are occasions when you might spend a little extra. Hiring a freelance writer to produce content for your blog might be cost-effective if you need help in this area, for example, and you might hire our services for the expert support that we can provide with many forms of marketing.
So, don't be afraid to spend when you think it might be sensible for you to do so. By channelling your funds into the right areas, your business will profit from better marketing.
To survive during this time, you need to make those decisions that will keep your business going into the long-term. Talk to us if you need extra help on the matter, and make every effort to market your business using the various marketing channels that are affordable for you, as your business will start to grow again if you are proactive during this period of uncertainty.