By
avanti printing
March
23, 2009
arrow rider How tired are you of the phrase “during these tough economic times?” As tired as you may be of that overused slogan, you are probably even more frustrated with… well, “these tough economic times!” “Recession exhaustion” is the latest epidemic du jour in this country, as scores of people are being laid off and having to vacate their homes. The general mood is indeed rather depressing. We could give you blog after blog on what strategies to utilize during a down economy in order to market your business effectively. However, it is also important to consider some of the overall mentalities and strategies on how to maintain your morale and energy during this national financial crisis. Above everything else, it is important to remember to never throw in the towel. Here are five things to keep in mind during a down economy. • This Too Shall Pass – As difficult as this recession may be, it will not last forever. Eventually, it will arrive at its completion. Don’t believe us? Think about the last time the economy was down, such as the 1990s, the 1970s, and even the Great Depression. Did it last forever, or did it eventually end? • Treasure Your Loyal Customers – Now is a good time to treat your beloved loyal customers like royalty. Right now may not be a great time for new customer acquisitions, so remind your loyal customers of how truly great you think they are. • Everyone Needs a Break – We know that you may feel as if you have to work each hour of every day to keep yourself afloat. But everyone needs a break now and then. Believe us, it will aid your overall spirit in the long run. • Save, Save, Save – Even if you can only put aside twenty dollars a week, saving a little extra money will help you feel more reassured and relaxed about finances for your company. • Grin and Bear It – When it really comes down to it, the overall wellness of our national economy is out of your hands. All you can control is your own personal success and vitality. The best thing to do during these horrid economic times is to just grin and bear it – after all, what else can you do? Above all else, take a few minutes a day just to breathe. Maintain your composure, and work hard until this all is nothing more than a distant memory.
By
avanti printing
March
9, 2009
MarketingIn a soft economy, small businesses are often the first to suffer. Plagued by a lack of resources, small business owners may feel financially stifled. However, a recession or soft economy can actually be used in your favor – if you are smart and savvy enough to know how and where to market yourself. Indeed, the well-informed small business owner can see their operation flourish during these tough times, while watching their competitors swiftly fall behind. Here are some tips on where to market your small business in a down economy. • Your Existing Customers – In a soft economy, it still costs more to attract a new customer than to retain an old one. Make sure you are tapping into your existing customer base, as they have already indicated their interest in your business! Send them coupons, mailers, and incentives, as they are still your most powerful business cornerstone. • Flea Markets and Consignment Shops – During a recession, second hand operations like flea markets and thrift shops actually see a huge spike in business. Since flea markets are public forums, they are a great place to hand out flyers promoting your company’s latest discount or special. Consignment shops, on the other hand, may be a trickier forum in which to promote your small business. Consult the owner of a few different second hand shops and see if they would be interested in conducting a cross promotion. You will be reaching a very captive audience. • Your Neighbor’s Customers – Teaming up with a synergistic business is a powerful way to increase your marketing efforts without spending a dime. For example, if you are a wedding florist, partner with your city’s wedding stationer. You both share the same target audience, yet are not competitors with each other’s business model. You can have brochures printed to leave in each other’s stores, and you could even split the cost of a mailing campaign or wedding show booth. • Your Website and E-Mail –If your small business has not tried e-mail marketing, now is definitely the time. It is cheap, easy, and allows for you to reach a large group of people for absolutely no cost at all. You can also swap your e-mail list with another company, which allows you to reach a much larger audience. Thinking outside the box is the only way to thrive during a recession. Take advantage of all the resources around you to put your business in front of spending customers.
By
avanti printing
January
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.

By
avanti printing
January
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.