A gloomy global economy means that business owners should be preparing for the worst and creating leaner plans for attracting new business. With that in mind, here is my Seven-Point Marketing Plan for Tough Times.
Cut advertising wastage. If you can't measure direct results from your advertising, you really should be questioning it's value. Identify what is driving traffic, enquiries and sales and focus on making it as efficient as possible. Cut most of the rest.
Calculate lifetime value. One of the first exercises I do with my clients is get them to calculate the lifetime value of their customers. It offers perspective and context beyond monthly sales, allowing you to decide how much you are willing to invest in winning and retaining new customers.
Capture leads, then nuture them
Generate and capture leads. Most advertisers make the fundamental mistake of spending most of their time and money trying to convince people to buy from them now. They should be trying to use their advertising to identify prospects and encouraging them to join their list. In tough times your biggest asset is the number of people on your database. People who have indicated they are somewhat "interested" in your industry or offering, but aren't necessarily ready to buy today.
Be disciplined about lead nurture. Capture leads then nurture them. Only a small percentage are ready to buy "now". Your marketing needs to also allow for those who are more likely to buy "later". And that requires a disciplined approach to lead nurturing. You need a way of getting in touch with people regularly, so that you are always on the top of their mind.
Add value and build trust. People are more cautious in tough times, so you have to work harder to earn their trust before they will do business with you. You do that by educating and motivating them with valuable content. Newsletters, email drips and Facebook groups are good ways to share your best information. But don't try to sell yet. By patiently and generously giving value to potential clients you will bring them eventually to the next step.
Make it as easy as possible to take the next step. Look at your offering and break it down. What is the usual first step in the relationship? How can you make it as easy as possible for someone to take that step without necessarily committing to the full relationship yet? If you do a good job with that step, they will be highly likely to commit to much more later.
Develop a 'Mafia Offer'. Can you create an offer that is too good to refuse? It might be a compelling guarantee. It could be an undeniably attractive incentive. It could be amazing payment terms. Take the time to see if you can make something too good to ignore. It might be the thing that sets you apart in tough times.