How to Market Your Small Business: Practical Tips to Thrive in a Recession
With market fluctuations, the shrinking economy, and mounting competition across every industry, many small businesses are getting concerned about the future of their company. Most marketers and financial experts are expecting a far-reaching recession over the next few months, providing even more reasons to be worried about the future economy.
Either way, no market will not stop existing altogether. It’s just about adaptation and finding new ways to meet customer demands. In other words, any economic turbulence is a chance for business owners to build resilience and use that specific change in the market to their advantage.
In such situations, marketing practices also walk side by side with the new business needs. If you’re wondering how you can prepare your marketing campaign to stay relevant during a recession, here’s a comprehensive guide.
We’ll explore some of the best marketing practices during a recession and offer a few tried and true strategies to Market Your Small Business successfully. We will also examine the importance of conducting competitor analysis to solidify your marketing efforts and build a more accurate business roadmap. So, let’s dive in:
Competitor Analysis During a Recession
Business owners are always ambitious. They are willing to make every sacrifice and fight for their own piece of the pie. And more often than not, they are constantly comparing their gains against others to ensure they rank among the winners. But during a recession, it is even more crucial to have a deep understanding of competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
Whether you are about to launch a new product, establish a new branch, or expand your customer base, you will need an accurate understanding of the competitive landscape. And competitor analysis is the only tool that ensures you can market your small business successfully and achieve your business objectives. Here’s how you get it done:
#1 Define Your Niche
With the growing specialization in any industry, you must identify the type of relationship you prefer to establish between your products/service and your market niche. Here are some questions to illustrate how you can define your relevancy in a market:
- What kind of values are you offering?
- What are the needs and interests you are satisfying?
- What is the scope of that industry, and how could that be expanded and used in your favor?
Answering questions allows you to market your small business more effectively and identify market gaps that can potentially be occupied by your offers.
#2 Define the Competitor(s)
Once you identified your market niche, it’s time to see how fierce the competition is. In real-life situations, your friends define your personality; But in business, your competitors take over this responsibility. So, make sure to choose the right competitors because they will determine what lessons and insight you will get at the end.
Generally speaking, you’ll face two types of competitors: direct and indirect. Direct competitors are those that offer similar products or services which can be substituted with that of yours. Indirect competitors do not provide the same product but meet similar needs and satisfy similar interests in the market.
It goes without saying that the geographical reach and operational scope are also essential in determining the importance of each competitor. So, make sure you are targeting businesses that operate in the same market as yours.
#3 Find In-Demand Products or Services
To market your small business more effectively, you should focus on in-demand services and products. Do the same during your competitor analysis process and collect relevant information on similar products and services in the market, their main selling points, qualities, pricing, etc.
Start by creating an in-depth comparative review of each service and product, and highlighting their primary strengths and weaknesses. This will help you adjust your promotion and production practices to the market changes and locate untapped opportunities in the market.Finally, remember to look for any kind of perk and special offer your competitors are providing. Sometimes these additional benefits can turn into your golden ticket and give you the edge to outperform others.
#4 Analyze Effective Sales Tactics
Before you begin to market your small business, you need a thorough plan to promote your brand and improve your sales. Without effective sales tactics, all your marketing efforts will be wasted and you will not be able to pave the way for an efficient conversion journey.
Product promotion methods, representation tactics, and communication channels all play part in shaping your sales strategy. Make sure to collect real-time, actionable insights on each aspect of your business operation and integrate them into your marketing campaign.
#5 Analyze Marketing Strategies
The next step is identifying competitors’ marketing strategies. There are tons of marketing initiatives, practices, methods, and approaches you can use to grow your business. Competitor analysis allows you to find the most effective methods that have worked in your market niche and will probably help you achieve your objectives faster and more effectively.
The first thing to look for is competitors’ websites or blogs. How are they marketing their products? Do they provide EBooks? Whitepapers? Webinars and videos? Podcasts? You can also look for their online ads, reviews, and testimonials to find out how users and consumers rate and view them.
#6 Analyze Content Strategies
Bill Gates once said, ‘Content is King’. That was almost three decades ago. And today, that kingdom seems still to be in good shape! Content production is now one of the primary pillars of every successful marketing campaign. That’s why analyzing competitors’ content strategies is so crucial for finding efficient ways to market your small business.
There are several things to consider in analyzing content strategies. But most importantly, the level of engagement should become your priority. User engagement shows how online viewers and leads react to a specific piece of content. You can simply go through the comment section and read reviews carefully to get a sense of customers’ feedback.
Keep in mind that content promotion and publication are essentially the beating heart of your marketing campaign. The more relevant information you can collect at this stage, the better you will be prepared to market your small business in the future.
#7 Analyze Social Media Strategies
Social media is undoubtedly one of the –if not the one- main battlefields for competing businesses. During a recession, you can use the exceptional potential of social media platforms to reach new customers and market your small business.
To find out how each platform can contribute to your business growth, analyze your competitor’s activities and the level of engagement they receive from their audiences. Check out the number of viewers and followers, the content virality, posting frequency, and consistency.
If you have limited your social media presence to one platform, consider social media expansion as a relatively cost-beneficial option to market your small business. But if you are working on a limited budget, find a platform that offers an environment better suited to serve your interests.
5 Tips to Improve Your Marketing Efficiency During a Recession
Once you completed the competitive analysis, you will have an abundance of super-valuable data that will help you make better strategic decisions. Remember that the market is continuously changing. So, to keep your brand relevant, you need to keep collecting insights and analytics from every marketing effort you make.
Here are some of the best tips to help you market your small business:
#1 Value Your Current Customers
Having a loyal customer base is every business owner’s dream. But customer loyalty is especially a valuable asset during hard times like a recession. When you market your small business to current clients, you will have to spend less money, time, and effort to build brand awareness or convince them to convert since you already have gained their trust.That said, your customers will need the same recognition from you. So, try to keep in touch with them by informative news feeds, sending them emails on exclusive discounts, offering special gifts, etc.
#2 Identify New Prospective Customers
While customer retention is a huge plus for every brand, you should always look for new audience segments and markets that you haven’t reached yet. During an economic downturn and recession, advanced targeting methods can help guarantee your business survival by preventing you from spending money on uninterested viewers.
If you are working on a shoestring budget, focus on a particular niche within your audience with the highest chances of conversion. Understand their pain points and devote your entire social media strategy and content marketing to address their questions and concerns. This is a surefire strategy to attract the right audience and improve your ROI on marketing efforts.
#3 Play the Long Game
Making impulsive decisions is one of the most common mistakes people make during poor economic conditions. As a business owner, you should realize that the market never stays the same and you will always experience ups and downs throughout your journey.
While it is important to be flexible and be able to make quick decisions, most of your choices should aim for long-term achievements. In short term, you should only focus on maintaining your competitive edge and collecting information that can help optimize your marketing campaigns.
One of the most important variables that determines your marketing approach is consumer behavior. Economic fluctuations can significantly change the behavior of individual consumers. So, make sure to keep tracking these changes and find out which methods have remained effective regardless of the market trends.
#4 Focus on More Specific Needs
We often recommend small businesses explore various business angles in order to find new opportunities in their niche. But during a recession, your best bet is sticking to a handful of services and products that are needed most.
Even without a recession looming, you should get on the same page with prospective customers to strike a balance between supply and demand. But when household spending decreases, you must focus on specific needs that keep your business in the game.
#5 Ensure Brand Consistency
Another common mistakes during market fluctuation is changing brands’ social image. Every marketing effort, brand promotion tactic, and advertising approach can be replaced. But no change should compromise your brand consistency.
Brand consistency essentially translates into ensuring that the way you present your business remains the same across all your marketing efforts and communication channels. In other words, brand consistency provides a unified image and message to your customers and potential customers.
Brand consistency is important, especially during hard economic conditions. Why? Because it reinforces positive values, establishes longer-lasting customer relationships, and builds trust and credibility. So make sure to use a consistent voice and image throughout all your blog posts, emails, PR campaigns, news feeds, digital ads, etc.
Preparing for a recession is not exciting! But following a proactive marketing approach is the only way that will keep your business ready to meet harsh weather. Many business owners underestimate the impact of recessions. But if you don’t intend to lose your investment and compromise your business survival, it’s best to come up with a pre-emptive plan.
Competitor analysis and market research will allow you to always be a few steps ahead of others. Instead of reactive, panic-driven decisions, you’ll have a chance to turn threats into opportunities. And hopefully, the above-mentioned strategies will help solidify your marketing efforts during a recession.
Aside from a well-thought-out marketing plan, you also need to find a well-trained, professional team who can help you implement your ideas. And that’s exactly what we offer at Momentum 360.
One of the most effective ways to market a school is offering a tailored education 3D virtual tour along with a broad array of multi-media solutions to optimize your online exposure. With Momentum 360, you can enjoy the exceptional quality of our services provided by a team of dedicated professionals. Don’t hesitate any further. Contact us today.