This is not the only economically challenging time we’ve seen. And it probably won’t be the last. Recessions come and go, and so do the good times. What’s true is, at some point in your business, you will face a downturn.
And for many of us, that time is now.
No one knows for sure when restrictions will be lifted and business can get back to usual.
But in the meantime, unless you’re an essential business, you’re likely experiencing financial challenges, possibly having to lay people off, not knowing if you’ll be able to keep your doors open, and what the future will look like.
We’re dealing with the same COVID-19 issues facing businesses across the country, and we’re also being as agile as possible with our own clients to help them weather the storm. Here are the strategies we’re considering for all of our clients and our own company, and they’re tips that can help you keep your business going during COVID-19.
While it’s tempting to want to cut expenses by slashing your marketing and advertising spend, it’s been well proven that this strategy is short-sighted and will only provide benefits over the short-term.
In the long run, this tactic will put you at even more of a disadvantage. This is a time where you need to maintain normalcy for your clients, and stay top-of-mind as a brand.
You should definitely look at your marketing budget, however, and consider what channels and strategies are getting the best return – and reduce spending only on tactics that aren’t getting any traction right now.
The most important data you need in your hands right now is the behavior of your audience during an economic downturn. Don’t assume that they’ll do what they did during the last recession. In fact, don’t make assumptions, period.
You DO need to determine their motivations and behaviors NOW, and you can do this by calculating which type of customer they are:
You can learn more about marketing in a downturn from this Harvard Business Review article.
You can also determine consumer behavior using the above chart. Then, make adjustments to your marketing tactics accordingly.
As the saying goes, your existing customers are your most valuable customers. And nothing could be truer during an economic downturn.
Take a look at your existing customer base and come up with specials and discounts, pre-orders or new products or services that you can pitch to them now.
Do whatever – and we mean whatever – it takes to KEEP these customers.
Help them by being agile and creative. If they say in business, or if you make your product affordable enough for them to buy, YOU stay in business.
If you can, allocate some resources to building a network of new prospective customers. By generating new leads, you’ll have a storehouse of opportunities once life returns to normal.
Adapt what you do in terms of products and services to get around face-to-face interactions.
Restaurants operating as take-out dining facilities only is just one example. You can entice consumers to buy by offering free delivery, a subscription-style option, or break up your services into more affordable segments.
It’s also possible to offer a discount on services that will be provided after shelter-in-place restrictions are lifted, and get customers to purchase now.
There may be audiences out there that need what you have to offer, you’ll just need to adjust your messaging to reflect those needs.
For example, if you’re releasing a service that’s altered for this particular time of seclusion, develop marketing copy that reflects those pain points and how your product/service delivers solutions.
To sustain your business through the economic downturn, get your core team together and come up with a list of challenges you’re facing right now. Brainstorm various scenarios that could occur and come up with a plan of attack.
For example, what if your current supply chains become disrupted?
Are there secondary supplies from which you can source materials? What alternative tools or software programs will you need?
Having a plan in place to tackle potential problems that arise will not only provide peace of mind, but you’ll be able to respond swiftly and proactively when challenges do arise – and you won’t be reacting or responding from emotion.
Start tackling these action items now and be sure your business has a plan of action for addressing revenue, sales and marketing challenges – and getting through this season with confidence.