Most industries go through downturns at some juncture. Planning a more aggressive approach to sales and marketing can help you keep your business in the black during difficult times. In addition, it can set you apart from the competition who may be complacently weathering the storm.
While you always want your products or services to meet the needs of the customers, this becomes more significant during a downturn. Therefore, you need to market your product or service as important to your customer as possible. You need to solve a problem, satisfy a need, or make life easier in a cost-effective manner.
You should also be there for your customers. “Going the extra mile” is a cliché, but it’s necessary to extend yourself and your business to meet customers’ needs. This means stepping up customer service and communicating regularly with customers through newsletters, emails, and mailings. Don’t oversaturate your marketing campaign with product features, but stick closely to how your products or services are helpful and cost-effective. More than ever you want to maintain your relationship with existing customers who will be there when your industry takes an upturn.
In addition, help find solutions to problems experienced in your community. You can market yourself effectively and show your concern by being involved in community activities, particularly those where spending may have been cut. For example, sponsor activities or donate supplies to an after-school program in your neighborhood.
People also seek reasons to feel good. Provide them with attractive offerings, both in appearance and in value. Use creativity to meet their needs while making them smile and relieving stress. A marketing campaign that makes customers feel good can differentiate between two products that are otherwise the same. Remember, not only do you want the customers to buy what they need, but you want them to have a reason to buy it from you.
In addition, consider marketing your product or service online if appropriate. You can target more people more effectively if you have a good search engine marketing strategy in place. Consider working with search engine companies such as Google and Yahoo! to get your ads in front of people searching for particular keywords. And make sure you choose a keyword specific to your business, not a broader term. There is too much competition for the latter, and you won’t be featured as prominently.
When things turn around, make sure you continue your marketing efforts. If you can take advantage of momentum that you built during a downturn, you can remain ahead of the competition for the long term.