It’s challenging to market your business even in the best of times. You’ll be specially tested during an economic downturn. Although it’s completely up to you regarding how you respond during a recession, know that there are ways to continue marketing in a way that attracts goodwill and sales.
Weathering the storm might seem lonely if you’re a landscaper, dentist, insurance agent or realtor, for example. The key is staying level-headed and interacting in an empathetic manner with your customers. Being the light amidst the financial darkness now will inevitably lead to more repeat customers and referrals.
Your ability to withstand a recession depends on your industry and financial health. However, it doesn’t need to feel as though all hope is lost even when your business isn’t in the best financial state. There are marketing strategies that work during recessionary times. Here are eight tips for weathering the storm and even thriving during a recession.
Think From Your Customer’s Perspective
It should be a given that you always put customer needs first. Take a slightly different approach during a recession. Think beyond your product or service offering and ask yourself what your customers are thinking when it comes to life overall.
They’re most likely fearful about their jobs. Your customers wonder how they’ll take care of their families. Brainstorm how you can be a positive influence in their lives. How can you set yourself apart during these times?
Don’t take advantage of the situation. Think less from a marketing mindset and more from a helpful human being perspective. It will make your marketing campaigns empathetic and thoughtful. Your prospects and customers will notice that your message is different from the negative angles competitors and the news might be broadcasting.
Keep Your Social Media Platforms Active
It’s time to jump into positive action now that you have a more unique marketing mindset. It’s likely that competitors will go dark on social media or feel challenged with how to market effectively.
Social media is actually easy when you’re posting with empathy and understanding. Here are some ideas for using social media during a recession.
Consider that paid ads will become less expensive. You have an opportunity to push out Facebook ads, for instance, at cheaper click costs now that many other businesses are canceling out their marketing campaigns.
Use organic social media tactics, too. Create a video that shows you talking about the hard time’s everyone is experiencing. Don’t hide from the situation. Hit it head-on. Address the concerns you know your customers feel.
Let them know you’re working hard to make their lives easier. Brainstorm ways to make their purchasing decisions easier. Include something extra for their continued business instead of cutting prices. This makes sure you remain financially healthy while setting your business apart.
Find examples that show how other people are responding positively in the face of hard times. Post those across social media as inspiration to your followers. This sets your business apart while others are complaining or invisible during the recession.
Don’t cut your social media activity. Do it yourself if you need to. Or, find someone locally who loves social media and needs part-time work. Explain the strategy and let them keep your social media profiles active while you focus on other parts of your business.
Send Care Packages To Customers
How many competitors are thinking about past customers right now? Step into that void and send out care packages. Include a note that explains how aware you are of your customers’ situations.
Imagine the goodwill this transfers from you to each of your customers. They will remember that you were there when they were struggling most. They’ll talk about it. It will generate business and referrals during the recession and after the tough times.
Use Direct Mail & Send Thoughtful Post Cards
You’ve sent care packages to customers. It’s now time to send out a direct mail campaign aimed at both prospects and past customers.
Do this in the same thoughtful manner as you did with social media. Use empathetic messaging that simply puts you front and center with your target market and helps them see you as the shining light they need. Here are examples of thoughtful messages you might consider:
- I’m a hugger (benefits of a hug)
- Sending hugs your way
- I want you to know that I’m thinking of you
Get creative with this. Get a physical positive message into the hands of your target market. It’s highly unlikely that any of your competitors are even remotely thinking about this as a marketing strategy during a recession. An excellent resource to achieve this is Wise Pelican, where they already have all of those thoughtful templates along with hundreds of others that are completely customizable and free!
Keep Your Digital Marketing Strategies In Place
Social media isn’t the only digital marketing strategy that must be kept up during a recession. This is an excellent time to get more active than ever with SEO (search engine optimization), for instance.
Take a fresh look at your website. Where can improvements be made so that your rankings improve? Go back to old blog posts and add new content. Do a little keyword research and write new blog posts that address the current times. Think from your target market’s perspective so your content addresses their current concerns.
Look at your Google or Yelp listings and make improvements. Work harder than ever to garner new reviews. Imagine how more attractive your business will look to new customers when they see new reviews on your listings while competitors seem to not be doing much business anymore.
Find Partnerships & Co-Advertise
Think about other local business owners to co-advertise with. Reach out, establish partnerships, and help one another thrive.
For example, you might partner with a general contractor if you’re a landscaping business owner. Expose your customers to their services and vice versa.
It doesn’t matter what type of business you are. There are always related businesses to partner with. This includes insurance agents, realtors, flower shops, car repair shops, etc. Think about who has your target market, isn’t a competitor, and then help one another.
Get Involved With Community Events
This is an excellent time to immerse yourself in the community. For example, you might teach a class at the local library or community college. You’ll be in front of people who might become customers. The advertising for the class alone will show the community that you care.
Other ways to embed your business into community events might be:
- Sponsor an event
- Host a school field trip
- Attend a city council meeting
- Throw a barbecue
- Adopt a highway
- Hold a contest
Help a Local Charity
Nothing says to the community that you care more than helping a local charity. Donors are harder to come by during a recession. Cut costs elsewhere and become that shining light to a charity.
Another way to help charities is to encourage employees to get involved. Provide them the freedom to donate time during the last two hours of one day per week or month, for instance.
The community will notice you and your people making a difference when times are tight. They’ll make sure to reciprocate with you now or when times are better.
The bottom line is that a recession doesn’t need to hurt your business. Use these marketing strategies, be that shining light and watch your business survive, and even thrive, during economic downturns.