With recent activity against Syria and unknown’s about tax reform and healthcare, small business owners may be facing anxiety about how to market their businesses going forward.
To that end, today’s podcast, How To Advertise Your Small Business In Times of Uncertainty will help address those issues.
While we can’t always know the future–knowing our history can help us adjust to current situations.
At On Demand Advertising Solutions–we specialize in innovative content that can take your advertising to the next level. But it all starts with our three-point strategy in forming and targeting that content.
You can listen to all of our strictly audio podcasts here!
Now, enjoy the video podcast!
All podcasts recorded and produced at Verlin Studios / Gardner, Kansas
Advertising Your Small Business During Times of Uncertainty:
Host: John D. Verlin
Good afternoon, John Verlin of On Demand Advertising Solutions, Digital Marketing Update, this is podcast #13.
I was going to talk with you today about another subject, but due to recent events, I want to go ahead and share this with you as a point of knowledge, and education but also comfort.
This past week, the U.S. Bombed Syria. I know that’s caused a lot of unsettling feelings as well as worry if the President can pass tax reform. It affects small businesses. A lot of small business owners are sitting tight, not knowing what taxes may come down or not come down.
Let me give you some pointers here that actually come from Hartford Insurance. It’s a blogpost they have that’s very helpful.
I will also tell you some of my thoughts as well. It’s the idea of what to do…how can you market your business or advertise it during times of uncertainty.
Small business consistently has to be marketing themselves, as do most businesses because we rely so much on growth on a monthly basis.
And this can be affected by war, you lose a key employee, a disaster…all of these are kinds of uncertainty. Things that small businesses need to plan for.
During times like this—refine your small business plan. Take a look at your value proposition.
During times of uncertainty, it can give you a good opportunity to review everything. Research competitors, talk to your customers…make an inventory of your positives, your strengths and weaknesses…opportunities…
Update your business plan during a time of uncertainty helps you navigate and switch, refocus your goals to prioritize.
Prioritize your expense. Cut what you can. Expand programs that will gain business growth. Years ago, I had a client when the Gulf War started, who was nervous. We talked about this. The Wall Street Journal published an article that I quoted him.
It said that in times of uncertainty, like a war… Continue doing what you’re doing marketing-wise—and maybe expand on it!
And that’s what Harford is talking about in their blogpost. The reason for that is, most people are creatures of habit and will not cut back their spending unless there are prolonged times of uncertainty and fear.
We’re not just going to cut back automatically. People are creatures of habit. We have weathered storms before. We have weathered wars, recession…and it didn’t dramatically change the economy.
Yeah, there were some painful months. In essence, with your competitors, there first knee jerk reaction is to cut back. Quit spending. Stop the advertising. Cancel the insurance. Whatever.
You can step in and ramp it up some. And buy market share so to speak. When this crisis passes. You’ll be picking up market share and ramping it up
So competitors may drop off and you can just move right in. Anyway, consistently keep doing your plan in marketing. Cut your expenses. They actually say to focus on marketing. Get rid of expenses that are not business critical.
Improve your cash flow. Try to get payments as soon as possible. Delay making payments as long as you can. Invoice immediately. Let customers know you expect to get paid immediately.
Prospect for new clients. It can be a challenge. Promote your expertise, your service. Go where the customers are.
Join business associations, attend local or regional trade shows…speak at events. Start a newsletter. That’s what we do for our clients. This is one reason why. Write articles for industry publications. One reason that we do podcasts is to expand your expertise—it’s why we do these for our clients.
Getting your name out there consistently in front of your prospects by demonstrating that expertise and projecting that professional polish. That will set you apart. That’s another reason why we recommend doing things like these podcasts for our clients because you can showcase your expertise.
Consistently build relationships with your customers. Really important. Keeping them happy. Add value to your products or services.
Stay in touch. One reason we recommend monthly email blasts for your newsletter…consistently being in touch. Consistent with posting.
Consistently doing these things for social media. And of course if they have a brick and mortar store, going by and visit.
Keep yourself top of mind. That’s why these little reminders, the social media. The regular drip, drip, drip of a raindrop eventually can form a big puddle.
That’s what you want to do with your customers.
Build an online presence and i’m still amazed at how many businesses don’t have websites or blogs. It’s really economical now.
We help out with our clients but we really do the blog part of it because that’s consistent content on a regular basis.
Which will build a presence. And build a presence on social media. Like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter.
You need to hire a professional to do these services. But these are critical things that you should be doing, keep in mind, on-going anyway—but particularly in times of slowdown, war or anything really.
Look at your internal operations. Streamline the processes. Take a step back. Look for opportunities to do better.
Tap employees for their ideas. A lot of times we may forget that they could be our best idea generators.
And take care of your employees. This is really…let them know their value. Give them training opportunities for new skills to bring new value. Be honest with them. Let them know the finances.
Let them know what’s going on. They’ll reward you by including them in the decision-making processes.
And finally, plan for emergencies. If it’s a disaster—obviously you can get insurance for disasters and things like that…but plan for the unexpected.
The final point is to protect your investment. In some cases it may be to buy an insurance policy. Some sort of back up for your data for the unexpected.
Those are some of the thoughts I had during times of uncertainty.
Just remember what, 27 years ago when the Gulf War started…to the client I talked to then.
He was worried. You could see the fear in his face. Because we had just started bombing Iraq. He ended up doing extremely well in his business years later. He didn’t change his course of marketing. He kept doing it.
I had another client that sold high-end homes and typically wanted to cut off their advertising in the fall. This is radio advertising.
I told him no…keep it going year round. He said, “well no one is going to want to buy a home in the winter…” I said to him, you don’t know that. The problem is—you don’t know when your customer is in the market.
And this is true of anything. Find that niche…target it and be relentless. Consistent…within your budget of course.
Well, guess what? They said let’s go ahead and continue for this year through December.
On December 13th I got a phone call, and the client told me he had just sold a million dollar home to a customer and it was twenty below zero!
The customer had been thinking about it…heard their messages a month or two earlier. Finally decided to pull the switch.
This is why that consistency in marketing, regardless of what’s going on out there…that consistency is just like investing. Long term investing. Dollar cost averaging. You do the same thing with your marketing. Why?
Because you don’t know when your customer is in the market. You keep reminding your customers that you’re there and top of mind on a regular basis.
More importantly, and you see this over time…your competition may pull back. You get in there and you buy market share.
So…bit’s of wisdom here. I want to thank Hartford for that info from their blog. It’s very helpful.
My number by the way is 816-223-2105…if you have questions/comments. Feel free to call. Have a great day and we’ll do another podcast next week!