How To Market In A Really Bad Economy

Eight marketing ideas to help your small business during a bad economy.

Even if your company is doing well during a down economy, you need to make plans for customers who may start cutting back. They key is to shift your marketing from image-oriented marketing to direct response, measurable advertising.

If your business is already feeling the effects of a weakening economy here are some strategies you can use to market in a bad economy.

1. Place your focus on more direct forms of revenues versus “image advertising.” It’s time to show good, measurable results. Coupon redemption programs and the use of promo codes can be very effective. When the economy is down everyone is looking for bargains. With coupons and promo codes you also get to track what’s working and what isn’t.

2. Learn more about your customers needs. Surveys don’t have to cost anything. If you have an email list, you can build a quick survey to send out using Survey Monkey. It’s free and easy. You can also put the survey on your web site and offer something free for people to take the survey. Since you may not be able to advertise everything during a bad economy, it’s smart to know where to put your money.

3. Call in favors from your vendors. You need to get the biggest bang for your buck. I’m not suggesting hitting up your vendors for such large discounts that it places an undue strain on them. However, get what you can while keeping your relationship good and making sure they stay in business to serve you throughout the downturn.

4. Not all customers are created equal. See who has purchased the most from you and make sure you stay close to them. As your best customers, they should be entitled to any perks you can afford.

5. Stress ROI. All of your campaigns need to convey how your customer will profit from your product. And you need to be as certain as possible that your advertising campaign will pay for itself. When you start a business you obviously need to watch your pennies. However, don’t abandon this practice as you grow your business.

6. Test. Test. Test. Segment your list and try different subject lines, headlines and sub heads. Try different offers. The key is to find the one combination that hits the sweet spot and use that one. This point brings us back to the importance of measuring your results. With limited funds when starting a business you need to know which message gets you the best results.

7. Try to “convert” everyone that comes to your web site. By convert I mean capture their name, company, email, and phone number. Get this valuable marketing information by offering your visitors valuable content. Reports and videos are great things to use. Think about any content and information that would help your customer or prospect succeed – especially in a bad economy.

8. It’s time for family values. When hard times hit, people tend to go back to the nest. Try to position your product in warm, fun, family-oriented scenes. Even if your product doesn’t quite fit that image or is more business oriented, every product will affect someone. The image could even be a coming together of office workers around your product. “Paint the picture” how your product makes a warm, positive impact on someone or something.