What Happens When Business Slows Down?
Regardless of what industry you are in, there is always the possibility that your business will be affected by an economic downturn. While the state of the economy affects different businesses in different ways, there are some things we can all do to make sure our marketing efforts are sustainable so we can continue driving business and sales even through hard times.
Here are some thoughts on creating recession-proof marketing
No one wants to think about the down times. It’s depressing. But in order to maintain a healthy business even when the economy isn’t doing so great, we need to do a little planning.
Don’t put all your eggs in one basket (Yay, idioms!)
When it comes to your customer base and new lead generation, it pays to diversify. Having multiple pathways established for finding and retaining customers provides good insurance against a slowdown.
There are inbound and outbound methods for developing new sales leads in the B2B market. Here are a few ways to ensure that your strategies are strong in both.
Web presence. You have a website and a blog and those are great vehicles for lead generation. But there are more things you can be doing to strengthen your online visibility. Make sure your website is up-to-date. Current and relevant info on your site provides value to your customers and potential customers. Additionally, publishing content on other sites such as industry blogs or LinkedIn will give you a traffic boost. And these outlets help build visibility and trust.
Social media plays a big role as well. Staying visible on social is a great way to drive traffic to your on-site content as well as stay top-of-mind with potential clients. Ads and boosted posts on social are often good investments that result in an uptick of clicks and conversions.
And finally, SEO, paying attention to how your business is ranked in search engine results, can pay big dividends when it comes to finding and attracting new customers.
As far as outbound marketing efforts go, email, direct mail, and good old phone calls are excellent methods for gathering and cultivating customers.
Pay attention to your longer-cycle customers
When things are going well and business is booming it’s easy to fall into a pattern of nurturing your relationships with clients who buy repeatedly and quickly. It makes sense to focus on this set when times are good and everything is moving quickly. But keeping up relationships with your slower-turn, less frequent buyers can be a boon when your normal fast-paced customers dry up due to a slowdown.
Think ahead and differently
Don’t wait for hard times to ask yourself hard questions about the way your business does things or what you could do more efficiently or better. Finding ways to differentiate yourself while things are going great can be the difference maker when things suddenly slow down. Dream up creative ways to connect with new clients or ways to cut costs or overhaul processes to be more streamlined. Act now so that you have those things in place later.
Manage your risk and think ahead
There’s that mantra again. Every business faces the risk that a new startup could burst on the scene and dramatically change the landscape in which you operate. Think Uber and Lyft vs. taxi companies and other traditional transportation businesses. Don’t wait until something like this happens in your industry. Get ahead of the curve by observing the things that could be done in a different way, perhaps a way more attractive to your customers, and then decide if you can make those pivots before someone else comes along and does them for you.
This applies to both marketing efforts and your business model in general. The stoic Musonius Rufus warns us to be mindful of doing things a particular way simply because that’s how they’ve always been done. Doing so leaves us open to disruption by someone willing to find a newer, better way.
We address circumstances not in accordance with the right assumptions, but mostly by following wretched habit.
—Musonius Rufus, Lectures
Are there ways you can improve, rebrand or update before external conditions force you to? Probably. Spending some time thinking about those things now can save you pain later.
Make some honest evaluations about your business and the ways it attracts and maintains customers. How bullet-proof are these things? Can you withstand losing a few of your key customers? Do you have contingency plans in place? Can you adapt to continue to be successful when the market isn’t doing well?
With a little planning and investment in your processes, you can set yourself up to weather the inevitable downturns the economy sometimes takes. It makes good business sense to insulate yourself against hard times by putting in a little legwork while times are good.