Most of the news we hear about is about how big business is being affected by the economy. The reality is the same things that affect big companies, don’t necessarily affect a small business to the same degree.
Yes, it is true poorly managed and weaker companies won’t make it through this tough economic time. There’s a Darwinian Cleanse occurring which is naturally making these companies become “extinct” and removing them from the competitive landscape. This is good news for you if you are a stronger company, and you do the right things to get your business through this tough economic time.
Small businesses like yours can operate like a speedboat in this economy. You can make swift changes that will move you quickly toward a new direction and opportunities. It’s time to seize them so you can outmaneuver the Darwinian Cleanse taking place.
Now is the time to ratchet up, not decrease, your marketing. Most companies are decreasing their marketing activities to cut their budgets, which is exactly the wrong thing to do. Since “kill the marketing budget” is such a common fear response, your company can stand out from the crowd if you’re marketing and putting yourself out there for everyone to see.
Here are five marketing strategies you can use to weather the tough economy and avoid becoming “extinct”:
1. Create a marketing plan.
A marketing plan doesn’t have to be expensive to carry out. However, you do need a plan so that you know exactly what objectives you want to accomplish. You also have to create strategies and tactics to achieve those objectives, and periodically test your plan to see if it is working.
What’s your marketing plan?
2. Accelerate your marketing activities.
Do more marketing, not less, in a tough economy. This will make your company more visible to prospective customers.
More marketing doesn’t mean you have to spend more. Referrals and word-of-mouth are the most powerful ways of getting new business. So, get out there and give your marketing activities the personal touch! Networking, speaking at live events, attending trade shows, conferences, and conducting teleclasses are ways to be seen and heard by prospective clients.
3. Deliver programs, not services.
Bundle your services into programs, such as group coaching, one-on-one coaching, or offer CDs with your products. Offer clear deliverables and a guarantee to eliminate risk for the buyer. All these things will increase the perception of value to the buyer.
4. Be willing to get a smaller piece of the pie.
I know some of my peers would disagree with this statement, but, if you have to, be willing to provide your services for a smaller fee. Yes, you may have to decrease your prices to stimulate sales; there is no shame in doing this!
It is better to sell something for a bit less, than not budge on price and sell nothing at all. I work with many high level consultants, and the reality is their customers are not budgeting money for consulting services like they did in the not-too-distant past; many of these consultants are cutting their fees anywhere from 20 to 30%.
If you do find you must decrease your fees, think about restructuring your services so that a client may invest less if they are willing to do more of the implementation work.
5. Know the value of your services.
When someone spends money with you, the expenditure must be seen as an investment; not an expense.
How will you add value? What is this investment worth? What is your customer’s return on investment for their purchase? If you can quantify the value your products/services provide, communicate this information to prospects to make buying decisions easier.
To survive this tough economy, be sure to create a marketing plan. If you’re not sure how to go about developing a marketing plan, engage a marketing consultant to help you. Remember, even when business slows down, people are still spending money on things they want to buy.
Copyright 2008, Bonita L. Richter