During a recession, it is not unusual for businesses to cut back on marketing and advertising expenditure. But this is actually the time to put more emphasis on communications activity. Companies that continue with promotional campaigns, usually find themselves in a stronger position:
- they have set themselves apart from the competition;
- continued to communicate with their customers (leaving them feeling valued as well as providing an opportunity to remind them of all their products / services!)
- and ensured that potential customers are aware of them.
Here are some of our pointers to help keep your business ahead of the game.
Business growth doesn’t have to come from new customers
Looking after existing customers is particularly important during tough economic times when they may start to look around for ways to cut costs (your competition may well try competing with you based on cost alone, keeping excellent customer service helps you retain your ‘edge’). Plus, following the old adage, it is much more expensive to attract new customers than it is to keep the ones you’ve got. Why give yourself the hassle?
Make sure you communicate your entire (relevant) offering to them. You may have a product or service they were not even aware of. Is there something you can offer them which could help them survive the tough climate? Don’t forget, you should already be ahead of the competition as you already have a relationship with them. Build on this and look after the relationship.
Are you creating the right first impression?
Remember, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression – make it count. And this doesn’t need to come down to spending a lot of money.
Make sure you and your team are always dressed smartly / appropriately.
Is the office / venue that you will meet with customers in a tidy and relevant state? Think how you would feel if one of your suppliers met you somewhere that looked like that – what would it make you think of them? Is it a good impression? Great. If not, now is the time to smarten it up!
How are visitors greeted?
Do you give visitors any refreshments? Are the coffee cups chipped?
Do you have company vehicles? Are they clean at all times?
Does you building signage look professional or is it falling off / lights missing, etc?
In the busy times, it’s easy to forget these small and seemingly insignificant points, but these are the things that make us stand apart from the competition. Isn’t it worth making the effort to get these points right?
Know your competition
Knowing what your competitors offer and how they present themselves is important. You may not always need to compete on price alone, do you have better customer service or a value-add that makes you different? Finding a key differentiator and communicating it to your target audience is critical to standing out from the crowd.
Nothing confuses your customers more than changing your message. Understand what your customers want to hear from you, create the message that delivers that for you and stick to it. Equally important is to not try to cram in too many messages all at once – you’ll just end up with confusion.
You don’t need to be something that you’re not
During tough times, some companies believe they have to reinvent themselves to stand out from the crowd. You may see quite staid, professional businesses suddenly becoming ‘quirky’ with their branding. But this isn’t always the right thing to do. If your customers came to you in the first place because of your solid reputation, why would you want to move away from that? Also, think about how your customers want to be communicated with – don’t just change things that are working well for you without good reason.
Need some help?
Purple Chilli aims to help local businesses to market smarter – especially when money is tight . If you’d like to talk to us about how we can help you get better value from your marketing spend, contact us now on 01482 672742 or email us on email@example.com.