Six Steps to Marketing During a Recession

All markets fluctuate, economic cycles come and sometimes go just as fast as they arrived, businesses rise and fall. But some companies survive and even thrive in periods of economic recession not to mention the companies that make the right marketing moves, emerge from the economic downturns in a stronger position.

Since you are here you probably already know that if you had the time and resources to only pursue one avenue of marketing, make it Internet marketing; it’s the least expensive and only completely measurable ways to get your name out there and reach the full spectrum of your client demographic.

  1. Put extra focus on your Current Customers. During a recession marketers should exploit the fact that selling to an existing customer is 10-20% less expensive than marketing to a new customer.
    Recommendation: If your not doing email marketing export your customers email addresses from your CRM and develop a email marketing database and a plan of attack for turning these existing customers into profitable repeat customers. If you have advanced analytics you can pull a report to see who has logged in in the past 60 days and compare that to purchases in your CRM, if they have not purchased anything since last year but they are logging into your site your sales reps should be contacting them.
  2. Use call-to-actions. Look at your marketing web site, email newsletter, ads or any other marketing collateral. If you’re missing a phrase, paragraph or graphic requesting your customer’s business, your collateral is missing in my opinion the its most essential component. You can’t assume that your customers will know why, how and when they should act. A call-to-action can be as simple as saying “order today” or as complex detailing a multi-step process. A good call-to-action ties in with the goal of your copy. If you’re goal is to sell, please don’t ask them to call you for more information, ask them to purchase your product today. There is defiantly a need for a full article on this subject alone, I will see what I can do in the next couple of weeks.
  3. Get completely and utterly ruthless about ROI. During a recession it is more important than ever to not spend money that doesn’t generate a return. I’m not saying to stop experimenting, just break them up into smaller short term experiments. Also keep in mind your sales cycle, if it takes 4 weeks for someone to make a buying decision, don’t start deleting ads after 2 weeks.
  4. Measure everything. When you’re spending money on advertising, you should always measure every aspect of your web site, campaigns and sales process for effectiveness. If it’s not converting sales, dump it. Now is not the time save money on analytics software, while there are lots of free solutions such as Google Analytics I highly recommend once you’ve master Google Analytics to move on to Omniture SiteCatalyst or WebTrends. I have been delving into the world of Data Integration as of late. Integrating your analytic to your CRM will give you a level of business intelligence never before possible (not to mention you can integrate just about anything with anything, CRM to accounting software, SQL databases to Oracle databases, etc). For more info about data integration check out Fernando Labastida Data Integration blog.
  5. Search Engine Optimization. Pay attention to the basic principles of search engine optimization. Create great content, make sure your site is easily ‘crawled’ by search engines, don’t fall for SEOs that promise #1 positions in 30 days they usually will get you banned. The best place to learn SEO quick is at SEOmoz.com, get their pro membership for $50 per month and you will not only learn some solid principles (this is where all the SEO professionals are going to communicate with each other) but have access to many useful SEO tools.
  6. Capitalize on second tier PPC networks. Almost all companies participating in SEM efforts are using Google and or Yahoo!. This means you are in competition against all companies inside your industry for your keywords. When competition for keywords increases so do prices, when prices increase profits fall. Second tier networks can deliver tons of relevant traffic to your site for as little as five cents per click and no competition! Read my evaluation on second tier networks for more info.