During times of economic uncertainty, it can be tempting to put your marketing efforts on hold.
Whether you’re using your own hours to do it in-house or if you’re paying an agency to handle it for you, marketing adds to your overhead, right?
Instead of making the mistake of going dark, however, it’s might be wise to double down on your marketing efforts by focusing on the area that really matters most: your local community.
A great deal of research has been done on marketing during recessions and many conclude that maintaining or increasing your marketing during a recession can pay off handsomely.
Businesses are part of each community’s fabric, and you have something unique to offer.
Whether it’s a minor economic recession or a full-blown pandemic like the coronavirus, your clientele still has a demand for your goods or services—even if they have prioritized differently in crisis.
It’s now your job to remind them that you are doing everything you can to keep contributing to the local marketplace. Lean into your community resources to get this done.
Rely on Your Local Business Association
Your local business association and/or chamber of commerce have a rich, interconnected network of connections to the local community, including the ability to communicate with customers, community leaders, and other business owners.
Simply letting them know that you need help getting your message out there is a huge first step.
Ask your local business association to send an email on your behalf—you can even save them a step by writing the main body copy yourself. This will ensure your message is on point.
New Operations, New Page
Your website should feature a page specifically dedicated to explaining your new operations under any kind of crisis.
You want to convey that you are fully aware of the situation and are prepared to address how it is impacting your operations. Display links to this page prominently on your site menu and homepage. Consider adding an FAQ section, as well as a strategic statement detailing exactly how you plan to conduct business in a “new normal.”
Get Their Attention
Use your text and email systems to reach out to all of your customers with an offer—it’s move that not only puts you right in front of their eyeballs again and could generate business, but it also does the job of letting your clientele know you understand that budgets might be tight.
TextMagic is great for beginners and SimpleTexting is ideal for easy campaigns; Salesmsg is a great option for small, local businesses. If you want to do more customizing, Twilio is a good place to start.
Negotiate Advertising Buys
Advertisers are hurting, too—they want your business as much as you want your customers’. Unfortunately, many small businesses may cut their ad budget entirely during a crisis—we think that’s a mistake.
You might not be able to go full-bore on ad campaigns right now, but advertisers aren’t expecting you to open your wallets as they would during “normal” economic conditions.
This is a good time to negotiate a buy, and you can consider all options: cable TV, local radio programming, and digital radio are all viable options to advertise AND in which you can have some leeway to work with a human who will negotiate costs with you. (Social media advertising is typically set by the platforms’ algorithms, meaning your wiggle room for negotiation is next to none—focus on traditional broadcast ads if you do decide to haggle ad rates.)
Get Help From the Post Office
USPS provides an incredibly useful service called EDDM—Every Door Direct Mail—and it’s often underutilized. You can create cheap mailer offers, promote your new delivery or curbside pickup options, or simply send a reminder to your customers that you are still here and ready to serve. EDDM’s flyers, postcards and flats are imminently inexpensive and can provide a terrific, tactile way to augment your marketing efforts.
Remember, you aren’t in this alone—the community you serve is prepared to help you do it if you know which resources to use. Consider crafting a marketing strategy using some or all of the above locally based tactics to make sure you reach your customers in a meaningful way.