How To Grow Your Business During A Tough Economy
Mark Hale ‐ December 31, 2013
Marketing and promotion are more important than ever to grow your business. Two things about marketing and promotion. Now more than ever you have to do it. Your competition may have cut back their marketing and promotion, but now is the time to increase your promotion. Your prospects have not seen ads, received postcards or seen other forms of advertising from your competition for several months. What does this mean to you? How can you take advantage of this situation to increase your sales and grow your business?
No matter how slow things are people are buying what you sell. Unwise companies jump immediately to marketing and sales items when cutting expenses. Get smarter in your marketing. Look to direct forms of advertising that allow you to target directly the customers you want. Direct mail is such a medium, allowing you to target and track. Many people shy away from direct mail because of postage costs and because they do not know how to use it. Postcards are inexpensive, particularly small 4 x 6 postcards. By using a company like Wilson Printing we can get your postage cost down to 21 – 27 cents per postcard.
Depending on your target customer, other forms of direct mail like sales letters may generate better response. If you are going after a professional market or a market that has mail screeners, lead letters will work best for you. We have a specialist on staff who can help you write a sales letter that will generate response.
Full-color brochures can double as a self-mailer – this saves you money and gives you flexibility. Brochures to be effective for direct mail have to be designed so that they flow naturally creating interest. Full-color brochures attract attention and can be used to give customers more information or passed out at trade shows.
When marketing expenditures are increased during difficult times it helps you to power through the cycle. A mistake that many businesses make is that they cut marketing and sales efforts and fail to cut less important activities and expenditures. Marketing and promotion are vital activities. It is the only way to actively increase your sales.
Most importantly don’t sit back and do nothing. Certainly you have to look at your expenses and see what can be trimmed without negatively impacting the business. If you don’t have a sound strategic marketing plan in place, get one in place immediately and begin executing it. If you have unproductive people, get them productive or replace them if they can’t get productive. If you can raise prices even slightly without impacting demand for your product, do so to enhance margins. If you have to decrease prices due to reduced demand, do so very carefully and don’t lower them more than necessary. Shop around for better pricing on things you buy. Look at your processes. Can they be improved and made more efficient? Do you have managers or supervisors who are ineffective? Get them some help or replace them. Is your customer service lacking? Work hard to improve it. Now is a good time to survey your customers to find out what else they may need and want.
Don’t exacerbate the impact of the economy by making bad decisions out of fear or panic. At the same time, don’t ignore the economy and what your business can do to withstand a downturn. The good news is that most businesses can survive a tough economy with appropriate action and decision-making.
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