How Can a Local Business Promote Itself in the Times of a Recession?
Check the slides with the essentials.
For most of last year, the Federal Reserve and investors thought inflation would go down when the pandemic ended. Today, they are still trying to get inflation under control. Financial institutions, economists, and many other prominent business people say that a downturn is almost certain. In fact, three-quarters of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies expect growth to turn negative before the end of 2023.
With this prediction, what problems will small and medium-sized local businesses that serve kids have to deal with? There is little doubt that people will spend less money, so there will be less demand for their goods and services. As competition gets tougher, businesses will need to do more to stand out and attract the same customers other companies are vying for. But on the other hand, if sales go down, companies won’t be able to put as much money into their marketing campaigns. It’s a predicament that has some business owners scratching their heads.
One of the best things you can do to keep your business afloat is to make sure your message is clear. You can’t feel into the panicked ads and sales in stores, but you also need to understand the changes and offer a solution for your customers that lets them know you’re on their side.
This doesn’t mean you need to slash your prices or constantly have sales, but you can offer them a free trial or samples of your products. You might also offer a referral program so they can benefit from their loyalty and possibly bring in new customers. More than ever, getting your name out there is important, and you might need to get a little creative.
Promoting Your Business Online
Before the pandemic, online shopping had increased steadily. From 2019 to 2020, online sales increased by 43%. Now that consumers have a taste of the convenience online shopping offers, it’s doubtful we will see a decline soon. As a small business owner, it’s time if you are not already marketing online.
Despite the thousands of resources to assist you with online marketing, it is still scary for some. Many business owners are afraid to promote their business online due to not understanding the various social media platforms or simply feeling uncomfortable with the process.
WP Swings offers business owners thirteen cost-efficient ways to promote their businesses online. Most only take a few minutes to complete. A few of the tips provided are listed below.
1.) List Your Business Online
You can use Google My Business, known as GMB, or Bing Places for Business to get started. Both services are free and function much like the Yellow Pages of old. Once you register, you provide contact information about your business, including address, hours, and products offered.
Customers can search for products and services. If your business is a match within their vicinity, they will see your information. Customers can also rate your services through these options.
2.) Leverage Social Media
This is most likely your biggest way to grow your business in today’s world. It is essential to understand what social media platform is best for your business and how it works. If you’re not convinced, consider that over 30% of the world’s population uses Facebook.
Remember the first tip? You can also list your business on Facebook and create a business page. Many businesses offer a public, more informational page and a private one allowing their customers to congregate within a community and bond through your products. Consider the last item you purchased. With a quick search of Facebook, you will likely find a page for that product or brand.
3.) Generate Content Around Your Brand
If you do not have a blog, you should consider creating one or networking with bloggers to promote your brand in their content. Building your own blog is best, as it allows you to control the information. There are multiple programs available that assist you with blog creation. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll wonder why you didn’t have one sooner.
Think of a blog as a digital magazine for your brand. You can post articles related to your brand, videos to show your products in action, and offer information on future products in one spot. Small businesses that blog tend to get 55% more website visitors, 102% more Twitter followers, and 126% more business leads.
Those are just three of the tips offered by WP Swings. Implementing a handful of their tips will improve your business in ways you might not have imagined. With the statistics, how can you not try?
It’s hard not to have this discussion and not introduce a marketing budget as well. If you are a smaller business, you may not have put much thought into a marketing budget until now. Creating a budget is tough when you don’t know the first step. How much should you spend?
Experts say you should consider spending a certain percentage of your annual revenue according to your financial goals. For instance, you should spend 3-5% to retain and 7-9% to grow. Whatever your goals are, you can rest assured that having a solid plan is key.
Business Strategies During High Inflation: Learning to Go With the Flow
Once your marketing plan benefits you, it’s important to remember the economy and how to make your money work for you. Forbes.com offers three business strategies that have increased because of high inflation. Besides marketing, learning how to monitor the ebb and flow of pricing is important to your business’s success.
The first strategy is to adjust prices quickly. For many small owners, this is a struggle. As a small business owner, you are just as loyal to your customer base as they are to you. Increasing your prices, even to cover your materials, is a tough choice.
If you are going to stay alive in this changing economy, you need to revisit your prices. Yes, you want to be fair, but you cannot give away your products. This is your livelihood, and you need to make efficient business decisions.
Putting a priority on your most profitable products is the second strategy. This one comes with some discussion, though. Many businesses may prefer to give priority to their orders by date. This is fair to your customers and keeps them satisfied. Other businesses give priority to their most profitable products, which will still make some customers happy, but possibly not your most loyal fanbase. It’s a tightrope to navigate and one that you will need to assess as you move through this era of economic change.
The third strategy is to watch changes in relative prices. Not all prices change at the same rate. You may be able to find a middle ground if you are looking at the prices as a whole and not so targeted. When you watch prices in this way, you might find that you can substitute one material or product for another, providing a similar return and no issues in shipping or customer loss due to drastic price changes.
As you consider your business strategies in a changing economic environment, let’s consider the most basic business strategy. The marketing strategy costs very little but can impact so much.
Word of Mouth Marketing
Economists are taking a longer look at word-of-mouth marketing, which impacts businesses. It shouldn’t be surprising that we operate in a consumer-driven world. This is largely thanks to the vast wealth of information available to customers today. The rise of social media and the ability to share has increased how customers drive brands more than ever.
Did you know that 20 – 50% of purchasing decisions are rooted in information learned through word of mouth? Taking a closer look, there are three types of word-of-mouth marketing you should understand.
This is the most common form of word of mouth, based on the customer’s direct experience with a product. It is also the most powerful, according to the experts. In fact, 50-80% of purchasing decisions are due to this type of word of mouth. You can see that if a company/brand receives negative reviews from direct users, it can do much damage. This is why customer service and satisfaction are so important. Customers rarely offer a negative review when they feel they’ve been treated fairly.
Intentional word of mouth is targeted, often by the business itself. Marketing in this manner uses a celebrity endorser or a marketing tactic to increase traffic around the product. This can be useful if many consumers feel positive about the endorser. Still, things can change instantly, causing businesses to scramble when it does.
Like the second type, consequential word of mouth is linked to a marketing campaign or product. Consumers are directly exposed to the product through targeted messages. Positive word of mouth is the reward when the messages elicit a strong response.
As a small to medium business owner, there are many things to consider in our ever-changing economy. You can take little steps to ensure your stability and growth, though. Looking at your marketing plan and pricing to ensure it’s in line with today’s standards and putting your best foot forward with the customer are all things to help you guide your business safely through a recession.