5 Marketing Strategies for Business Survival During a Recession

“Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs.”
- The Father of Business Consulting Peter Drucker.

Managing a business in a recession can be a challenge for virtually any business.

The five strategies for business survival during a recession are: 1. Segment your customers, 2. Use more email in your marketing, 3. Push out more value in your social media, 4. Use direct mail, 5. Create better USP's.

But by focusing on a few choice marketing activities, many organizations are not just surviving - but thriving.

And you can, too.

Here are five strategies your marketing needs to focus on. And if needed, Your Strategic Marketing Partner is happy to help.

Use these 5 marketing strategies to survive a recession in business

1. Get Good at Segmenting Your Customers

This strategy alone will do more for your organization than any other thing you do.

Specifically, do you know who your best customers are? The ones that contribute the most value to your organization? Or, do you know who your customers are who ‘need to be sold’ on your value proposition?

By better knowing your customers -- beyond just the basic demographics such as where they live, how much they earn, male or female, and how much education they have -- you can craft better, more personalized messages that matter most to them.

Use this Simple Marketing Strategy to Increase Sales 

One of the easiest methods for delivering more value to your customers and increasing sales is to segment your customers using the law of 80/20 (the Pareto principle).

That is, 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers.

For example, if you have 10,000 customers, rank them by the amount of sales revenue each contributed to your organization.

Now break out the top 2,000 customers and save it in a file called: “My best customers”

“The data” shows that these 2,000 customers love your brand more than everyone else - now it’s your job to give them more value. You could offer them a membership-style offer, a loyalty buyers club program, a special bulk quantity or a limited-time lowest-price-ever-offered deal.

By communicating to such a specific, high value segment, you will find that your costs will stay low, your customer engagement rates will skyrocket and your customers will be delighted to receive a special offer reserved for just them.

Your options are endless.

In addition to your customer’s existing buying habits and basic demographics, an excellent starting point for better understanding your customers is exploring their psychographics.

One excellent tool your sales and marketing team will benefit from is called VALS, a.k.a, values and lifestyles. VALS is an online tool that can help you better learn what is important to your customers and help you to be better at communicating your message.

  • For example, some of your customers will be driven by showing off their success to their friends,  these are called Achievers or Strivers.
  • Or, if you have a proven, long term brand with a core group of careful savers, a portion of your best customers may be Makers and Survivors.

Would an Innovator be more likely to purchase the newest tech gadget, or would a Survivor be the ideal buyer? What does the psychographics look like for a buyer of a $18,000 beefy motorcycle cruiser? Would you differ the language in your marketing strategy with these potential buyers?

Of course you would. And if you are not, you may be turning away actual buyers because of improper messaging.

You can learn more about the VALS system by going here.

How well you segment your customer list will make a massive difference

Let’s now communicate the value.

2. Increase the Value in Your Email Marketing (and send more)

Email marketing is absolutely business-changing. And if you aren’t doing it, or if you are not doing enough, you need to. Immediately.

There are many email delivery tools and you are invited to go here and learn more about ramping up your email: email delivery tools. This resource can help you manage the process for you and ensure you stay current on the best strategies.

Recent data says that most customers check their email daily and truly enjoy high value communications. Your customers are no different.

The options for getting more from your email marketing is, again, endless.

To get the wheels turning, here’s a simple example we set up for a wonderful eCommerce company. This email campaign is called the ‘abandoned cart’ campaign and when done right, will increase sales for you the same day it is developed:

  • The segment: customers who left a product in their shopping cart without buying.
  • The strategy:  3 sequential emails sent within 48 hours.
  • The offer: a coupon code giving them a % off their purchase if they buy before a deadline.
  • The results: The best results usually come from the 1st of the three emails as its most recent for the customer. It's not uncommon to have email open rates as high as 50% and if the offer resonates with your customers, purchase rates can be in the double digits bringing you sales almost instantly.

Whether you are a brick-n-mortar, don’t have an email list yet, a services based company or somewhere in between, email will be a valuable asset for you.

But beware, if you send too much boring or low value email, your customers not only won’t respond, but they will opt-out of your database. They might even mark you as spam.

A strategy we often do is deliver 52 high value email impressions per year. If you touch your customers this often with reasons why they should think about you and not your competitors, you WILL thrive.


3. Push More Social Media Content that Builds Trust & Credibility

A quality Social Media Marketing plan can be very valuable. That’s because, right now, your customers use social media to stay updated on events, network with like-minded people, do research, influence others, stay in touch and make buying decisions.

Yes, they purchase and ‘influence’ purchases, too.

In fact, there are some wonderful tools that can help you find these ‘influencers’ and even hire them to promote your product or service. But more about that in a later topic.

In order to make social media an asset for growth, you will have to turn it into a platform that is aimed at building trust with your customers and followers.

But beware, not all social platforms are created equal for your product and service. You will need to go back to your customer segmentation exercise to determine which platform(s) deserve your social media resources.

Deliver Value Created by You that Your Social Followers Want

One thing is certain, the best social media users focus on delivering value. And you need to, too. Whether that is entertainment, smiles, drama or savings.  Make a ‘deliver value’ strategy in order to build trust and credibility part of your social media plan. This can be very similar to a content marketing strategy (think blog), but the messaging changes with each platform.

But beware: know that social platforms are literally rented space - you don’t actually own the platform like you do your website or your house list. For this reason it’s important to have a strategy to win as many customers over to your ‘house list’ as you can.

4. Use Direct Mail

If you are in our specific target market, you know that we love direct mail as much as we love email.

We especially love direct mail. Go here to learn how to develop great direct mail campaigns that earns your attention.

In fact, nothing is more powerful than a well-developed direct mail campaign because direct mail -- when properly developed --  is the ultimate targeted marketing tool and will help you to:

1) Gain a customer, and 2) Keep a customer - for Life!

In fact, direct mail was the first number-crunching tool in ‘old school’ marketing, before “big data” existed.

Here’s what you can do to combine your customer segmentation skills with a direct mail campaign.

  1. Carve out the top 5% of your customers that have spent the most money.
  2. Using our 10,000 customer example, that leaves us with 500 of the most awesome customers in your list - the ultimate in customer segmentation.

If you don’t have a plan for this ‘creme of the crop’, you are leaving huge sums of sales revenue and customer goodwill for your competition to scoop up.

Do you think you could come up with an amazing high value offer that you could send to these 500 customers?

Of course you could.

Now, let’s get you a 100% open rate using ...

Highly target, entertaining and engaging direct mail

Unfortunately, most freshly educated marketers immediately come up with a $0.35 postcard mailing because they learned in school that ‘direct mail only gains a 2% response,’ so why spend the money?

You probably throw away 98% of postcard mailers, too.

But it's virtually guaranteed that you will open the fed-ex package, the big lumpy envelope that is hand addressed to you or the see-through envelope that has money in it.

And when you make a great offer to

Your best customers that know you, trust you, and already have the habit of buying from you, you will thrive

It doesn't get any better than this.

And with that, the even bigger take-away that the best companies do during a recession is they …

5. Communicate More Value from Your Unique Sales Proposition

Whether you sell paper towels, organic ashwagandha, bourbon, a restaurant, personal training or hardwood flooring, when you look deeper into your unique selling proposition ...

You can find a dozen new ways to deliver more value to your customers

For example, how hard would it be to create a list of the top 10 reasons why customers choose your brand?

If you don't have a top 10 list, go here to learn how.

Fuel these 10 reasons by educating the customer on the benefits of using your products, give them a great reason to (re)purchase your product and they will choose you over your competition (until your competition finds Your Strategic Marketing Partner, too).

An excellent first step is to integrate some customer surveys. Go here for a great plan on how to do this. The strategy you will learn is used by the biggest companies on the planet, that you, too, can implement quickly and easily.

So few companies focus on identifying and communicating their unique value proposition as it matters most to the customer. And when you stay focused on this, and make it part of your company culture, your team will regularly focus on delivering a better customer experience.

In fact, this could be the focus of 10 of your next 52 email impressions. And again, this is where you can be better than your competitors.

You’ll keep more customers doing business with you long after the recession is over, and into a new upward growth curve

You will become a truly innovative organization and you will rise to the top of the customer’s mind. The best companies are rolling out innovative product offerings, increasing email communications, pushing out interesting and fascinating information to their growing social media following, making great and relevant offers to segments of their list and focusing on delivering more value to the people who ultimately support the organization -- the customer!



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