5 Strategies for Marketing During Tough Times

30 03 2009

It can be easy to push marketing to the back of your mind, and your business budget, during hard economic times. But not marketing is the worst thing you can do during a recession or any kind of slow period during your business cycle. Consumers may not be able to buy as much during hard times, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t paying attention to marketing messages. Most consumers are making plans for when they get that next job or when gas prices come back down.

By continuing to market during down times, you not only keep your brand at the forefront of people’s minds, but you also show your resilience. If your company can afford to keep marketing during bad times, it must mean you’re doing something right! Even if it’s only a direct mail postcard, anything that can remind customers of your presence will keep you at the top of their lists for when they’re able to spend more again.

Emphasize the cost savings of your product or service
Instead of focusing on quality over quantity at this time, focus on the numbers – show customers how you can save them money. If your product isn’t cheap or can’t offer short-term cost benefits, try to emphasize long-term benefits.

Use postcards to announce a sale
Instead of spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on TV and radio commercial spots, spend a hundred dollars to send postcards to a targeted market in your area. You can print and mail postcards for as little as 25 cents each. You can also use postcards to introduce your business to a new area or to introduce a new product to current customers.

Stay in contact with current customers
It costs much less to keep current customers than to recruit new customers. In tough times, reward loyal customers with coupons and discounts to let them know they are important. You can make up for slow sales by increasing the amount of sales to current customers.

Employ word-of-mouth marketing
Ask customers to tell their friends and families about you and your products. You can even start a referral program to reward current customers by offering them coupons or a small free item for sending new customers your way.

Write articles for local publications for free
Local newspapers and magazines are feeling the pinch too, and they probably can’t afford to hire as many writers as they once employed. Offer to write a business-related article for local publications for free. Most publications will publish a one-line bio of the writer, so you can include your Web site address and the name of your business in the bio. Even if your article doesn’t have anything to do with your business, you still get free advertising with the bio line, as well as credibility for being published.

These strategies are not hard to do, but they might take some more time than your traditional marketing techniques. Don’t get discouraged; you’ll likely find a new marketing technique that you’ll want to use even when times are good. If not, at least you’ll have kept your business in the public’s eye when your competitors probably aren’t.

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