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Marketing During A Recession

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Marketing During a Recession:

There’s no doubt about it, the US is in a recession, and you may feel your fingers wrap tightly around the dollar bills in your pockets. You think twice about spending money on non-necessities, and find ways to cut costs on a daily basis. It’s important to recognize that a majority of the people you do business with are feeling the same way. That’s why it’s more necessary than ever to evaluate how you are obtaining new customers and keeping the ones you have happy. Here are a few suggestions to keep your business thriving, despite the crippled state of the US economy.

Word of Mouth Advertising – free, and it doesn’t get much better than that!
You’ve spent weeks, months, or possibly years building your current customer base, and now is the time to capitalize on their loyalty. You may agree that the best new customer is one who is referred to you by a current, happy customer. So make sure you are encouraging your current customer base to tell their friends and colleagues about the services your business offers. Always offer incentives for referrals, it doesn’t have to be much – but it’s a good idea to reward the kind of customer loyalty that brings you new business.

Eye on ROI – Return on Investment, keep it in check.
You may be spending money on internet advertising, local newspaper classified ads, radio or TV commercials, etc. Wherever your marketing dollars are being spent, make sure you have an effective way to track the return on your investment. If you are spending $500 a month on advertising and marketing, but only getting one customer who will spend an average of $50 a month on your products/services – it’s probably time to reevaluate things. Find what is most profitable for you and stick with it. Don’t be above making cold calls or stopping in to visit the Athletic Director at the local high school to see if they need shirts or caps. Now is the time to be creative about your marketing efforts, and being able to effectively track where those dollars are going will help save you money in the long run.

Keep Them Happy – Maintain close relationships with current customers, regardless of their order volume.
You have probably noticed that some of the customers who used to keep you running in circles have slowed down in their need for your services, but that doesn’t mean you should let them fall off your radar. During these tough times you should focus on maintaining a close relationship with all your customers, despite the revenue they may or may not be bringing into your business. Times are tough for everyone, but they will turn around. When that happens you want them to still feel loyal to you and the products/services you offer. Continuing to show interest in them now, will result in some pretty serious customer loyalty – keeping a current customer happy is much cheaper than trying to obtain a new one.

Customer Feedback – Keeping the lines of communication open.
Don’t ever underestimate the feedback of your customers. Make sure you get their feedback if you are thinking of raising prices, discontinuing products/services, or cutting back business hours. Get feedback on any change you may anticipate in your business that could affect the way they do business with you. For example, you may think that closing your shops up a few hours early everyday will help save you money, but a majority of your customers use your company because you stay open late or work on Saturdays. So, if you were to make that decision without getting some feedback from your customers, you may end up losing business. Keeping customers in the loop will continue to build loyalty, and help them feel as if their opinions really matter – and they should.

Navigating through the rough waters of an economic recession can be a bit tricky at times – but it doesn’t have to be impossible. If you have any questions about how to increase your business, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you! Also, if you have any suggestions or examples of how you’re dealing with this economic downturn, we’d love to hear from you.

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