Quick Ways to Boost Sales in a Slow Economy
These days everyone has the same problem. With war updates broadcast 24/7, people are too focused on death, violence, political upheaval, and an uncertain future to worry about shopping. And that’s what puts the economy in its current state.
Pam, a former customer of mine, had a thriving business selling vitamin supplements online. Through the events that followed 9/11, her business continued to do well. But this spring everything changed. As the economy tightened and the news focused on war, her customers disappeared.
Of course, her M.I.A. customers had nothing to do with how she was running her business. She offered a broad range of products and used various successful marketing techniques to get the word out about her business. The drop in sales was due to external factors. More specifically, her customers were glued to 24-hour war coverage that made them feel like the world was about to end. Not much there to make people want to buy.
The laws of physics say that what goes up must come down. But when things go down, there is no comforting law that says they have to come back up. However, keep in mind that they usually do anyway. As a business owner, you must accept certain facts, one of which is that a recession makes the strong stronger and the weak weaker. The only way to survive a recession is to get creative with your marketing, and your budget.
Here are a few ideas to help you boost your sales quickly, regardless of economic conditions, and get back in the game as a strong contender:
1. Do Something Extra – No matter what state the economy is in, people love to feel like they are getting great value at a low price. Try putting together a package of popular products or services for an especially low price, then send out an enthusiastic email to your list of subscribers and previous customers. If you don’t have a list, arrange a solo send through someone else’s newsletter.
2. Exploit Market Vulnerabilities – This is the best time to take your competitors to the mattresses. Forge partnerships and co- marketing opportunities. Find ways to steal business from competitors who are hesitating in the market or withdrawing their marketing until the economy shifts.
3. Take Advantage of New Opportunities – When one door closes, another one opens. Maybe it’s harder to get people to buy during an economic downturn, but as the economy dips, so do the prices of ad space. Try buying up a lot of commercial airtime on one radio station for a Sunday. The prices are cheapest on this day, and even cheaper since the recession. You can dominate the airwaves for a day and make a strong impact on an audience you may have overlooked.
New doors in your market may have opened during this economic downturn. Find out what problems businesses similar to yours are facing. What do these changes and challenges mean for your prospects? New problems for your competitors and customers mean new opportunities for you.
4. Reinvent Your Business – There is an important lesson to be learned from Madonna. She keeps selling albums because she reinvents herself constantly to keep people’s interest. Consider changing the products or services you offer. I knew a guy who switched his site selling old records to a site that sells only John Denver memorabilia. His business picked up immediately. Is there an enthusiastic segment of your customer base or audience who really want a certain kind of product or service? Maybe your business should be geared more to suit them.
You could also try giving your business or website a makeover. Get a new logo for your website or sign. You can get great logos form gotlogos.com for just $25. Try redesigning your website or using a new color palette for the whole site. A new look boosts excitement for old customers.
5. Spend Less, but Spend Wisely – Don’t cut your marketing efforts. Resist the driving temptation to do so. Businesses who try to save money by eliminating marketing are weak, and as I said before, during an economic downturn, the weak get weaker. The strong eliminate wasteful marketing dollars, but not marketing efforts. Track your marketing results and simply cut the unproductive efforts. Find new ways to market on the cheap and keep your name out there. This is the time to establish market dominance.
To save money on goods and services you need, try bartering. Remember, the barter must be win-win for both parties, so offer something as valuable as what you’ll be getting.
Make sure you know where every dollar you spend goes. When you make a purchase, always ask yourself how it will improve the company’s bottom line. Will it help to improve sales, bring new leads, or improve customer retention? Think before you open your wallet.
6. Cultivate Efficiency – The more efficiently you run your business, the more money you can save and the faster you can bring money in. If you are a service provider, ask for a deposit before starting a job. This gives you operating money to survive on until the job gets done. Pay close attention to your accounts receivable and get invoices out right away. Deposit checks and cash immediately. No more procrastinating.
Review expenses from time to time. Are there things you are spending on that you once thought would turn a nice profit, but now they are no longer making you much money? Cut them!
A down economy closes a lot of doors for all business owners, but if you know where to look, and you have the right key, you can find and open a whole new world of doors. You never know– recession may be the best thing that ever happened to your business.
Dr. Kevin Nunley provides marketing advice and copywriting. See his 10,000 marketing ideas and popular promotion packages at http://DrNunley.com Reach Kevin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-328-9006.