When times get tough, businesses pinch pennies… and usually, it’s the marketing budget that gets pinched first.
This is an understandable instinct: Faced with leaner profits and greater financial instability, business owners naturally may look to their marketing budget as something “extra.” That is, something non-urgent. Something of middling importance. Something cuttable.
Marketing Matters — Even During Lean Times
Actually, slashing your marketing budget is the wrong approach: The businesses that do so jeopardize their long-term market share. In fact, during periods of financial downturn, robust marketing is more necessary than ever.
There are several reasons for this:
- If your business is pinching pennies, you can bet that your customers are, too. They’re going to be extra cautious about which products and which brands they entrust with their hard-earned money. Marketing may be just what you need to remain top of mind, and to give yourself an edge over the competition.
- Continuing to market during a recession also conveys your strength and resolve: It shows resilience and a mind for the big picture, traits likely to appeal to customers who are grappling with their own financial uncertainties.
- By contrast, cutting your marketing budget will leave you with a diminished online presence and a vanishing brand awareness… providing an opening for competitors to swoop in and steal your customer base.
Tips for Effective Marketing During a Downturn
The answer for small business owners, then, isn’t to cut their marketing budgets, necessarily, but to use their marketing resources effectively and judiciously. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind:
- Reach out to existing customers. Your loyal customer base is one of your most valuable assets. These customers already trust you, and already have a pretty clear idea what to expect from your products and services. Focus on maintaining contact through social media and email newsletters, gently reminding them that you’re open for business at their discretion.
- Be consistent. This is important no matter the economy, but it’s especially impactful during downturns. There’s likely going to be less marketing noise than usual, so you can make a big impression simply through consistency: Create a monthly schedule for blogging, social media, and email, and stick with it.
- Tap into the right emotions. What’s the best way to connect with consumers during a downturn? The answer isn’t to be glib and pretend like the recession isn’t happening, but neither is it to wallow in despair. Instead, convey encouragement and empowerment. The “we can do it,” problem-solving attitude is most likely to resonate with customers who are looking for some uplift.
- Keep an eye on your data and metrics. Pay attention to the product pages or blog posts that see heightened traction during the recession, as well as the areas of your business where interest seems to vanish. These metrics can provide clear insight into the kinds of pain points your customers wish to address. Those are naturally the areas you’ll want to focus on with your marketing budget.
- Emphasize your value proposition. As we noted above, consumers will be extra vigilant about where they spend their hard-earned money. To win their business, you’ll need marketing assets that clearly convey the value you offer, the benefits you provide, and the pain points you address. This is an area where professional copywriting can be invaluable.
The bottom line? Marketing isn’t a fair-weather investment. If anything, it’s even more important when times get tough. We’d love to help you get your message across, and to make smart use of your marketing capital. Reach out to the Grammar Chic team by contacting 803-831-7444, or by visiting www.grammarchic.net.