avanti printing
10, 2009
discount In a soft economy, you will find that customers are less likely to part with their hard-earned dollars.  For small businesses, this can mean a decrease in profits that could put you in serious jeopardy. One way to combat this is to cut your prices.  Keep in mind that cutting your prices does not always equal cutting your profits.  Here are a few scenarios where you can cut costs and see big rewards. Increase your sales numbers Will cutting prices allow you to sell more of your product or services, ultimately raising your bottom line?  Calculate the anticipated rise in volume versus the discounted rate to determine if your bottom line will enjoy growth.  After all, in economics, the supply/demand graph indicates that a lower price will sell more widgets. The “economy” option Another way to cut prices without affecting your profits is to create an “economy” version of your product.  This is a product with fewer frills and is offered at the same time you offer the original version.  This gives your customers a more affordable option without diluting your main product, and it may keep your budget-conscious customers from shopping elsewhere.  Those who are loyal to your original product can still enjoy it at the normal costs, but those who are looking for a better value can cut a few frills and go with the second option. Create a package deal If you offer multiple products or services, considering offering them up as a bundle package with a percentage off what it would cost to buy each item individually.  You’ll see magazines doing this frequently; they’ll offer an annual subscription for 30% off the individual issue price.  Customers who are interested in the value of an item will often choose the package deal, and you may end up selling them products or services that you normally would not have if they were buying everything individually. Cut your costs Another thing to consider if you want to drop your selling price is to look for ways to cut your production costs.  In some cases, it may be easier to cut money from other aspects of the business than from the product itself.  For example, take a look at your marketing.  Will a black and white ad bring in as many customers at the full color one?  Could you go with a two-color brochure instead of four-color?  Do you have the photography skills to take your own images instead of hiring a photographer?  By looking at ways to cut your business’ costs, you can make sure that you can safely cut your prices without cutting your profit margin. With an ounce of creativity and a dash of economic understanding, you can grow your profits, regardless of the economy outside.
avanti printing
17, 2009
budgeting-for-marketing The world was such a more beautiful place before the evil “R” word came into all of our lives. Of course, by the “R” word, we mean recession. Unfortunately, both small businesses and major corporations alike have felt the financial pain of the recent recession. News outlets worldwide have reported that marketing and advertising budgets have been the first to be eliminated at many companies and corporations. Many business owners and CEOs inaccurately identify marketing and advertising as a frivolous side expense in an economic crisis. However, it is extremely crucial to continue to invest in your marketing and promotional materials during an economic recession. Here are some quick ideas to consider when it comes to marketing during a recession. • Without Customers, You Have No Business – This is an obvious sentiment, but it is deeply important to really consider this fact during an economic recession. Marketing is like gambling: you can indeed invest thousands of dollars, yet finish with no real profit. This is why it is crucial to be confident in your product before attempting to achieve any sales whatsoever. If you have firm confidence in the product you sell, then you should have a firm confidence in the fact that spending money on advertising will have a real turn around. • Without Advertising, You Have no Customers – It is really important to consider why you ever put money into advertising and marketing in the first place. In a recession, many businesses decide to try and float on word of mouth and current customers, rather than new acquisitions. However, it is crucial to consider what will happen without a constant flow of customers. Word of mouth is only so effective – but it is really vital to continue to acquire new customers regularly to keep your bottom line healthy. To really effectively budget for an economic recession, be sure to carefully consider what “frivolous” spending is for your business or company. Even putting money aside for something as small as “we’re still here” flyers can give your company a lucrative boost in revenues. At the end of the day, it is important to put enough money aside for marketing materials – even if all you can afford is something small and inexpensive.
avanti printing
16, 2009

recession saleDuring an economic recession, you will inevitably need to lower pricing to maintain old customer relationships and ensure consistent new acquisitions.

However, it is very important to not let your clients know that your discounts are a result of the recession. First of all, the recession is depressing, and the customer will instantly associate your brand with unpleasant feelings about the economy. Secondly, it is best if customers view you as being impervious to the economic downfall. If customers view your brand as being recession-proof, they may begin to subconsciously associate your product and brand with durability and survivability.

Let’s review some tips on marketing a new discount without sounding desperate.

  • Make Them Think It Was Planned All Along – If you are promoting a sudden sale or dramatic discount, choose language in your marketing materials that gives the customer the impression that it was in your plan all along. Phrases like “It’s finally here” and “Annual” can give the image that the new sale is completely standard procedure.
  • Positive Budget Talk – It is acceptable to use words like “budget” and “efficient.” Encouraging customers to buy your product because it is being offered at a great deal is fine – but just avoid telling them to capitalize on the good deal because the economy is faltering and they have no other choice. The point is to encourage exercising fiscal responsibility and purchasing your product to save money. Just don’t feel the need to follow those claims up with negative discussions of the current economic climate.
  • Avoid Threats – Believe it or not, many businesses resort to language that comes off as threatening. Don’t use phrases like “Capitalize on this great deal or you’ll be sorry tomorrow!” Especially in these trying times, customers don’t like to feel excessively pressured. You want to ensure that customers will purchase your product because they genuinely want to, not because they have to. If they purchase because of the latter, you are essentially guaranteed a return on your product.

In an economic recession, it is important to work to maintain existing relationships with solid customers. Even in your efforts to obtain new acquisitions, don’t forget to encourage positive, continuous relationships with your tried and true old customers.

avanti printing
2, 2009

Marketing strategies to improve sales

With Wall Street experiencing losses not seen since the Great Depression, along with unemployment soaring to a 26-year high, how can your company stay profitable during a recession? The secret to success, even in soft economic times, is maintaining intelligent marketing. In fact, according to Professor Patric Barwise of the London Business School, “The most successful companies maximize long-term shareholder value by maintaining their advertising investment when the economy slows down and weaker competitors cut back.”

While many businesses unfortunately close their doors during economically dire times, your company can still flourish through smart and effective marketing. Consider employing these five recession-proof marketing strategies that will keep your bottom line black, even as your competitors fall into the red.

  1. Explore joint marketing efforts. Intelligently stretch your marketing budget during a recession by partnering with another business that has complimentary customers. For example, if you operate a wedding dress boutique, partner with a wedding florist to share the costs of a direct mail package. Not only do you enjoy reduced marketing and printing costs, but you also gain exposure to your partner’s customer base.
  2. Use upbeat, exciting language. In times where your customers are worried about their pocketbooks, you can help alleviate their mood by staying upbeat, fun, and friendly in your correspondence. According to Dr. David Freemantle, a customer service expert, “The companies I studied that tended to be successful also tended to be the most likeable.” TGI Friday’s, Southwest Airlines, and Virgin Airlines are excellent examples of “fun” companies that have built their success upon upbeat attitudes. Be fun and unique in your marketing materials and correspondence, and your customers (and their pocketbooks) will stay loyal to your business.
  3. Maintain aggressive advertisement budgets. McGraw-Hill Research studied 600 companies during an economic recession, and they found that companies who reduced advertising investments experienced significant declines in performance. On the other hand, the companies who maintained aggressive advertising budgets increased their sales during recessionary times, and then enjoyed sales growth of more than 256% during the first three years after an economic turnaround. While your overall budgets may be changing, it is important to keep your advertising budgets as healthy as possible during a recession.
  4. Be personal with your customers. Companies who develop customer loyalty are those who rise to the top. Being personal with your customers shows that you appreciate and value them, which in turn will reward you with additional sales. You can send out birthday cards, regular monthly newsletters, or even include free notepads with each purchase. Make sure that you make each correspondence personal, such as handwriting their name and a short upbeat message.
  5. Showcase how your product or service provides benefits. When people are evaluating each dime they spend, definitely show your customers why they should purchase your product. Indeed, there is a beneficial “purpose” behind every product, even those that may be luxury goods. For example, if you sell candles, make sure your marketing materials demonstrate exactly how your products help your customers feel rejuvenated. There’s never a better time than now to definitively remind your customers of the benefits of your product or service.

While a recession may be upon our economy’s doorstep, you can keep the downturn away from your company’s foundation. Using smart marketing strategies can keep your bottom line profitable, giving you an even greater edge against your competitors when the economy rebounds.