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5 Tips To Marketing In A Down Economy


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In a down economy, many business owners feel the pinch and are quick to cut expenses. What expenses should be cut? Unfortunately, all too many times, a decision is made to cut back on marketing. (Sales staff, advertising, direct marketing, networking, etc.)
By cutting marketing, business owners could actually be missing new sales growth opportunities. In an economic downturn there is a huge opportunity to invest in marketing to capture more market share, as your competition runs into trouble and makes the mistake of cutting back their marketing. Your competitors may not have the foresight or the capital to make good marketing decisions. By investing in effective marketing during an economic downturn, it puts your company in a better position when the economy rebounds.
Instead of making a decision to cut marketing, it would be better to re-evaluate your marketing plans to make sure they are most effective. Knowing where to spend your marketing dollars and why, is critical in getting the best return on investment. This is where having an effective marketing plan is invaluable when times get tough.
Whether you have a marketing plan or not, here are some tips that can assist you in doing effective marketing in economic downturns.

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5 Tips To Marketing In A Down Economy

  1. 1.  Spend marketing dollars effectively  Choose networking events wisely  Build professional referral relationships  Provide exceptional customer service  Ask clients/customers for referrals
  2. 2.  Have a marketing plan ◦ Focus your marketing efforts ◦ Consider potential ROI vs. Expense ◦ Know exactly who your target market is  Geographic | Demographic |Psychographic  Tracking ◦ Since it takes 7-8 impressions on average to get a sale, provide enough time to track effectiveness. ◦ Ask and record – Don’t simply keep in your head. If you have multiple marketing efforts going, people may have seen your ad or heard about you somewhere else, but will typically only mention the last way they heard about your company. ◦ Do more of what works and less of what does not
  3. 3. Evaluate:  Who will be in attendance ◦ Quality of attendees, are they potential referral partners or clients.  Type of venue ◦ Will it allow for good networking – not too crowded, loud, etc.  Cost ◦ Set a budget for networking – it should be part of your marketing
  4. 4. Resources to find networking events:  Other business professionals  Chambers of commerce  Trade associations    www.places2networkcom
  5. 5.  Reach out to existing referral partners ◦ Stay top of mind ◦ Provide ideas of what a good lead is ◦ Thank properly  Identify potential new referral partners ◦ Professionals who call on your same target market, but not competing  Steps to building a professional referral relationship ◦ It takes more than one meeting to build up this relationship. People refer and do business with those they know, like and trust.
  6. 6. Companies who consistently deliver exceptional customer service can often spend half the money in marketing and have twice the profitability as a company who does not It is 6-7 times more expensive to gain a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. 96% of unhappy customers never let you know that they are unhappy ◦ 4% of unhappy customers will call  Just the tip of the iceberg! ◦ 44% will tell someone else, but won’t tell you. 13% of these customers tell 20 or more people. The average person will tell 10 other people. ◦ 52% don’t tell anyone, they just go away.
  7. 7. Out service from the start - First Impressions are critical:  Store/office cleanliness ◦ Whether you have an office, store or your car is your office, make sure it is clean and orderly.  Professionalism of staff ◦ Use proper greetings (in-person and on the phone) and be attentive ◦ Be well-groomed ◦ Dress appropriately for your target market  Being responsive ◦ Most people when making an inquiry have an immediate need – being most responsive could make the difference between them selecting you or your competition
  8. 8. Telephone Etiquette Rules: • Answer the phone within 2-3 rings. • Greet caller, identify your company and department and give the caller your first name. • Speak directly into the mouthpiece. • Speak slowly and clearly • Do not eat or chew gum while on the phone. • If appropriate, get the customer’s name and use it at least once during the conversation. • If others around you are on the phone – be quiet! Keep background noise to a minimum. • Never try to talk to someone who is on the phone with a customer. • Always push the hold button before placing the handset down and don’t put the handset in the cradle until you have pushed the hold button. • Never lay the receiver on the desk without putting the customer on hold. • If you are normally a loud talker, lower your voice. Soft talkers need to make a point to speak up. • Always ask for permission to place someone on speaker phone
  9. 9. Rules for voice mail: • Do not use your voice mail to screen calls. If possible, always answer the call if you are at your desk. • Use a professional, sincere greeting on your voice mail. It should contain the following: 1. Your first & last name, position or department and organization. 2. Information about your availability 3. What to do to leave a message 4. What to do if they need immediate assistance (if this is an option) 5. How to bypass the message in the future (if this is an option) 6. Thank them for calling • Update your voice mail if you are going to be out of the office and when you return. Change your voice mail to reflect absences. • Check your messages as often as possible – whenever returning to your desk. • Always return voice mail messages the same business day if at all possible, but no later than 24 hours after the all was originally placed. • When leaving a message, state your full name, date and time of call and a detailed message (without rambling), including your phone number. Repeat your name and number slowly. Even if you have given the recipient your number before, leave it again. They may be at a remote location without your phone number when checking their messages. The more convenient you make it to have someone call you back, the sooner you can expect a call back. • Avoid playing phone tag. Tell the caller when you can best be reached. • If someone has reached you by mistake and left you a message, call them back and tell them the proper person to call. If you do not know who that is, forward the message on to that department head. Don’t ignore messages left for you by mistake!
  10. 10. Rules for E-mail: • Know your organization’s email policy. • Have a closing for your e-mail and use a signature with your first and last name and phone number. You can have an internal signature and an external signature. • Return e-mail messages the same business day if at all possible, but no later than 24 hours from the time of the e-mail. • Read the e-mail thoroughly and answer all questions posed in the e-mail. Try to foresee other questions and answer them. Don’t respond without answering all questions. • Hit “reply” to messages you receive. Do not compose a new one. • Do not use CAPITAL letters in e-mails. This conveys shouting or yelling. Do not use an unfriendly tone. Be polite. • Some issues are not meant for e-mails (personnel, financials, etc.) • Do not use work e-mail for personal use. • When writing e-mails be brief, but do not leave out necessary background information. Re-read what you have written and edit yourself. • Use proper spelling, grammar and punctuation. • Address the person(s) you are sending the e-mail to; use a greeting. • Be careful in using the following: High priority, cc, abbreviations and emoticons . These icons are not professional. • Have a relevant subject line. • Have a clear request to your e-mail. • Always acknowledge the receipt of an e-mail even if it doesn’t require a reply. • Don’t forward jokes, virus hoaxes or chain letters
  11. 11. Have a follow up plan (When, Who and How) • Let the customer know what follow up to expect and who will be doing the follow up. • If a person other than yourself is doing the follow up, give the customer your name and phone number in case it doesn’t happen. • Keep your promises in regards to follow up. • Call back when you stated you would, even if you don’t have an answer yet. Let the customer know you are still working on the situation and ask if you can call back at another time. • Keep appointments and be on time. • If you are going to be late, call as soon as you know you will be late. Give the customer as much notice as possible.
  12. 12.  Create a referral rewards program ◦ Let you clients know about it, how it works and how you will take care of their referrals ◦ Remind them regularly  Newsletters, forms, invoices to say: “We appreciate referrals”.  Simply ask! ◦ A perfect time to do this is when the client is expressing their great satisfaction with doing business with you. Say something like: “Well, I’m glad you are so pleased. If you know of anyone else who would be in need of our services and would enjoy the same satisfaction you get from doing business with us, please don’t hesitate to send them our way. We appreciate referrals.”
  13. 13.  More than 2 decades of marketing and customer retention experience  Contact information: Beth Boen 303-981-1541