We all hope for good news when it comes to the economy. Good economies mean more people out spending and more businesses created to service the needs we have. However, during these times of downturn, it can be hard to know how to get more customers in the door when many are just scared to go out at all.
Read here for eight ways that you can still market your company, whether digitally or by traditional means, and thrive through the current uncertainty.
1- Retain Your Existing Customer Base
Did you know it costs five times more to obtain a new customer versus retaining an existing one? True story! It’s more crucial than ever during times of economic downturn to maintain the customers you already have. There’s all kinds of ways to do this, but essentially it comes down to helping them feel seen. Make sure your customers recognize how much you appreciate their business.
Here’s a few ideas you can implement to give your customers a little extra love and appreciation to help them stick around for the long haul.
- Share customer success stories through social media
- Focus on great customer service at every single customer touchpoint
- Give exclusive discounts or offers through email directly to your customers
- Hype up your social media channels to make it the fun place to go for content (This can help you gain some new customers as well)
- Teach your customers something new through social media, email, or Youtube that is special and unique to your business. This doesn’t have to be a high class production
- Offer a loyalty program
- Show you value feedback for online reviews
2- Learn and Try New Things
When you might not be getting the kind of traffic you want or you expect because of a downturn, it’s the perfect time to start trying new things for your business. You might discover a new revenue stream you’ve never thought of before.
For example, the company Majestic Meat previously was a provider of high-quality cuts of meat to restaurants. However, when restaurants had to shutter their doors, they pivoted. They made a short term expense to update their website and turn it into an e-commerce site. For the first time, they offered these cuts of meat directly to the consumer instead of just to restaurants. After having to let go of their drivers when the downturn started, suddenly, they had to bring all the drivers back, and even get some others who work in other parts of the company to deliver. Because Majestic Meat tried something new, they are not only surviving the downturn, but thriving in a time of uncertainty for many businesses.
You can do the same thing. Even if e-commerce doesn’t work for your business, there’s plenty of different options on how you can grow your business that you might never have been able to try before. During the time of downturn is THE TIME to try something you’ve never had time for and see what happens. And if it doesn’t work or your customers don’t respond, pivot and try something else.
3- Create More Thoughtful Content
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘content is king’? There’s a reason. Good content can literally make or break a business. Content is everything from the words on your website describing products and services, to videos, to social media, to photos, and blogs. It’s the emails you send to customers. Content is essentially how customers learn about your business. If you want more people to find your business, it’s time to create meaningful content that will help attract more eyes to learn about your business.
Create videos on social media just using your phone talking about your products. Or show them how to do something. Write a blog that talks about some fun knowledge about your industry that others might not know. (This helps your SEO too!). This is the time to create engaging content that people will tune in and watch. This makes for more people finding your business and a better customer engagement with those who already know your business.
4- Audit and Update Your Website
If you’re having a hard time gaining new customers despite your best efforts otherwise, it might be time to reevaluate your website and give it a fresh look. Or just update more about your business.
The first step here is to take a step back and audit your website from the point of view of the customers you’re trying to reach. Can they learn what they need to know about your business? Can they get in touch with you? Do you have your store hours clearly posted? Do you list your products and services and give enough of a description? And finally, how does your website look? Is it old and outdated? Outdated websites that aren’t mobile friendly get fewer clicks and traffic.
If you can see some places where your site needs improvements, make them. Something as simple as an updated website can bring in a lot of new customers.
5- Make Conversions Your Focus
Converting a lead into a customer can be one of the trickiest parts of the funnel. But if you make just a few changes, you’ll turn more of those visitors to your online channels into customers in your door.
Start this process by auditing every customer touchpoint you have. Look at how people contact your business. Evaluate your social media, your website, your emails, and any other way that people can connect with you. Make sure these touchpoints are optimized for your target audience and target customers. Essentially, make it easy for your customers to find you and to contact you for their needs.
There’s a phrase out there known to journalists, and that’s people fascinate people. We like to learn about other’s stories and we like to be validated by others in our same situation. So what does that mean for conversions? SOCIAL PROOF! Use reviews that customers have left for you on your website. Make them front and center. Create case studies that show how you help your customers. Essentially, show off what you can do, and showcase it throughout every single customer touchpoint.
6- Make Yourself Indispensable
Think about why you started your business in the first place. Or why you decided to work there. Chances are it's because you had a passion for the product or service you offer. It’s likely that you started it because you care greatly about the customers you service. In times of economic downturn, think back to why you’re doing what you’re doing, and latch on to that. There’s a reason your business succeeded before the downturn, focus on that. You’re good at what you do. Make sure your customers know that they can count on you through good times and bad. Help them realize that your business is needed and that you’re there to meet their needs. It’s at times of downturn where people start cutting where they can. If you make yourself indispensable and help your customers remember why they come to you in the first place, you’ll be able to weather the storms.
7- Improve Affordability
If you’re still not able to make the kind of progress you want when people are holding their wallets particularly close, it might be time to figure out a different option. Sometimes, offering a part of your product or service is an option, but at a discounted rate. For example, a discounted SEO service, or a discounted car maintenance package. It might not be everything you would normally offer, but it gives consumers an option if they need help, but also need to save where they can.
Figure out places where you can make things more affordable, if even for a short time. Improving your affordability factor shows your customers that you’re 100% dedicated to them and helping them through these times of uncertainty and downturn.
8- Build Trust
A key takeaway from this article is that it never hurts to market your company. Marketing essentially is always trying to build trust with your customers. At times of uncertainty in the economy, people are looking for where to turn. Many companies pull back on marketing as an unnecessary expense. But that’s where they’re wrong. Those who continue to market their business can come out stronger on the other end of a crisis. They overtake spots that they’re competitors abandoned because they cut back. At times of uncertainty, customers want to know that you’ll take care of them, won’t overcharge them, and will do what you say you’re going to do. Be that business that takes care of their customers no matter what.
By continually marketing and building that trust, you will not only come out of a time of downturn with your customers, but you’ll likely gain a lot more along the way.