How to Stay Top of Mind-Featured.jpg

How to Stay Top of Mind and Why it's Important

The recession and economic downturn caused by COVID-19 are still very much a reality small business owners are facing day in and day out in the US.

And, since case numbers are still rising in many places, the challenges small businesses are dealing with are much more complex than the challenges during a typical recession.

However, if there’s one thing that’s true of every recession, it’s that small businesses need to be able to stay top of mind in order to survive.


Why pulling back your marketing budget is a bad idea

During times like these, small business owners have to make tough decisions about their financial priorities, and marketing budgets are often one of the first things on the chopping block.

It’s natural to want to pull-back your marketing when your budget gets tight, but it can actually do more harm than good to your bottom line in the end.

As counterintuitive as it may seem, economic downturns are actually the time to consider maintaining if not increasing your marketing budget. Here are a few key reasons why:

Capture market share

Most small businesses market less during recessions, which means there will be fewer businesses competing for ad space and market share.

Stay top of mind

Just because consumers aren’t spending as much now, it doesn’t mean they never will. Marketing will help yours to be the first brand consumers think of when they are ready to spend.

Project confidence

When businesses keep advertising during a recession, it projects strength and confidence that helps to influence consumers. By making things feel more “normal,” it helps consumers feel more comfortable and confident.

Get leads for less

Since there’s less competition out there for leads, it helps to drive the cost of lead acquisition way down for businesses that are still advertising.


How to stay top of mind during a recession

I cannot overstate the importance of marketing during a recession enough; however, that does not mean that your marketing strategy should look the same as it did pre-recession.

If there’s one major lesson to be learned from the pandemic, it’s that things change, and sometimes, those changes happen quickly and drastically.

People don’t spend money the way they did before the pandemic, and they don’t even exhibit the same behaviors when they’re online, either. Those changes require a re-evaluation of your digital marketing strategy.

Here are a few ways to adjust your marketing strategy and maximize your budget during a recession:


Focus more on your existing customers

According to OutboundEngine, it can cost up to five times more to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing customer.

Not only is it cheaper to market to your existing customers, but the success rate of converting an existing customer is 60-70%, compared to a success rate of just 5-20% for new customers.

Customers who are loyal to your brand are also more likely to make repeat purchases and to spend more with each purchase than brand new customers.

Customer loyalty is a worthwhile endeavor and a smart investment, especially when things are tight and you want to make the most out of every dollar you spend on marketing.

A small business CRM will help to stay organized and simplify relationship management for your business. Email marketing, text message marketing, social media and retargeted advertising are also powerful tools for building customer loyalty.


Reprioritize your marketing goals

Things have changed. That’s just the reality of the situation. And, no matter how aggressive you’re being with your marketing, you can’t expect to see the same results as you did before the pandemic and recession.

The tough part about marketing during the recession for many small businesses is that the payoff won’t always be immediate. The investments you’re making now will help to put you in the best position long-term, but your short-term goals may need to be adjusted.

For example, let’s say you’re a retailer. Before the recession, a successful campaign might have meant sales or conversions. But, during the recession, success might have more to do with building brand awareness or engaging more with customers.


Monitor your performance

KPIs (key performance indicators) are the metrics that help you understand how successful your marketing efforts are. And, in order to maximize your marketing budget, you need to keep a close eye on the KPIs that matter most to you.

By closely monitoring the performance of your marketing efforts, you’ll be able to make more informed, data-driven decisions about which channels and strategies to invest in.

You’ll also be able to A/B test ads, social posts and more to dial down the most effective options for your brand.

While it’s always important to be in the know about how your digital marketing strategy is performing, when your budget is tight already, it’s absolutely critical.


Target the right audience

No matter how inclusive or universal your products or services may be, the fact of the matter is that not everyone is going to want or need them. And, frankly, it’s a waste of time and money to advertise to people who will never want or need what you have to offer.

This is exactly why outbound marketing strategies, like television and radio ads, should be deprioritized when your marketing budget is tight. Don’t waste your efforts trying to market to everyone. Instead, target people who are already looking for what you’re offering!

Advertising giants, like Google and Facebook, have given marketers the ability to micro-target ads to just the right audience. This can include everything from age and gender to geographical location, interests and beyond.

When you have a specific audience, it allows you to cater your message specifically to them. Suffice it to say, it’s a much more effective strategy than trying to attract a large, diverse audience with a single, all-encompassing message.

Targeting the right audience goes beyond advertising to include your performance in organic search results.

People who are actively searching for keywords relevant to your products or services are people actively looking for what you have to offer. Building up your performance in the organic search results will ensure that you are visible to those people.


Re-adjust your tone

As cliche as it may be, we’re all facing an unprecedented time right now, and it has left a lot of people facing difficulties and losses. Small business owners know all too well what that feels like.

A lot of people are stressed and going through challenges right now, and that means that people might be a little more sensitive than they used to be.

Something that may have been shrugged off or laughed at before now might make someone cringe. And, nothing can hurt the success of your marketing efforts more than an insensitive tone, even if it’s accidental.

Tone can make a huge difference in how a message is received, and as people are more sensitive right now, you should also be more sensitive to the tone you’re using.

Do a quick audit of your website, social media profiles, local listings and any other channels your message is on to ensure that your tone meets the moment and doesn’t exclude any potential customers.


Pick the right offerings to focus on

When people have less money in their bank accounts, they spend less on things they consider to be luxuries and more of the things they consider to be essentials. The pandemic, too, has forced people to re-evaluate their spending habits.

Some businesses are already offering solutions that feel tailor-made for the moment. Zoom and other video conferencing software providers, for example, have seen major growth, because people need an alternative to in-person meetings.

Other businesses may not be so lucky. Many businesses are not already offering what people currently want or need. But, that doesn’t mean that you can’t start!

A good example of this is a personal trainer who previously got most of their business from in-person training sessions. Obviously, those in-person sessions are more difficult these days, but by pivoting to virtual sessions and expanding services to include nutritional advice or online classes, that trainer can keep operating.

Staying nimble with what you’re offering (and how you’re offering it) will help you stay relevant, and that’s incredibly important for any small business during economic downturns.

Regardless of whether your marketing strategy during the COVID pandemic involves social media management, multi-channel advertising, email marketing or SEO, you’re going to need to back it up with a modern, professional small business website.

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