This past year has been a reminder to all of us that business is cyclical and that we need to prepare for downturns, especially when times are going well. Having an actionable plan to engage your customers, both existing and new, will make things easier for you during stressful times.
Shifting to digital marketing enables us to stay in front of existing customers and prospects, and also keep our sales funnels stocked with new leads.
Here are five examples of how you can prepare your business to get through difficult times plus three actionable steps you can take right now to get more sales.
1. Build and nurture your audience.
Having regular communication with your existing customers and potential new customers is absolutely vital for every business in their lead generation process. Phone calls and emails are a great personal touch, but they are timely and there will be customers who fall through the cracks.
Building an email list and utilizing it through regular newsletters is a great way to maintain constant communication with your audience without being intrusive or taking a lot of time – theirs or yours.
There are two pieces to good newsletter communications – a solid list of recipients and good content.
For the list, you can add customers with who you have a current business relationship with, and people who decide to opt-in to your newsletter via your website. Both are important as you want to keep top of mind for current customers and build value for potential customers.
To be effective, your content needs to provide value. You can give updates or news, promotions, or simply tips and tricks related to your business. Maintaining a regular cadence of emails is also important so your audience becomes accustomed to receiving your emails at normal intervals.
With this list in place, it is easier to communicate when we need to make sales during a downturn in business or a generally difficult time.
2. Maintain good relationships.
We all know who our best customers are. They could be the ones that have been with us from the start and support us by doing regular business with us. Or they could be the customer who loves to share our information and provides a solid source of referrals along the way.
Either way, every customer is important, and they need to feel valued.
We all know that finding a new customer costs a lot more than earning a new one. Take the time to reach out to your valued customers with a phone call or a simple thank you note.
In today’s digital world, it is also easy to promote a healthy relationship with your customers by connecting on social media. Take note of their posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, or whichever channels they use. When your customers share their victories or news, take time to like and comment on their posts, and if it feels like a fit, share their posts on your channels.
Building these relationships will ensure your customers will be there for you when you go through difficult times.
3. Create a special offer.
One of the easiest ways to get new customers to do business with you is to create a special offer or a discount on your products or services. Make it a limited offer, either in time or quantity to encourage customers to act now.
When we run offers at Evergreen we make sure they aren’t on one-off services. The best offers are loss leaders that are the start of a longer relationship. Devaluing your services for one-time customers doesn’t help us in the long run. And conversely, if we can engage a new long-term customer with a discount we can make it up over the months and years.
Getting the word out is the most important step. If you have taken the time to build an email list, share your offer there. If you really want to engage this crowd you can make the offer exclusive to your newsletter list.
Running your promotion on Facebook and other channels is also a good way to get out the word. Just make sure your message and promotion are clear and enticing to get people to pick up their phones and call you!
4. Focus on the small things.
Similar to creating a special offer, we can’t forget to focus on our smaller value services that can add up over time. Businesses often focus on selling their big-ticket items, but filling your funnel with smaller sales that are repeatable can be beneficial in the long run.
There has been a shift to doing business online in recent years, and this has been pushed forward even quicker with the pandemic. With this change in how we do business comes opportunity. At Evergreen we’ve assisted a number of new clients by helping them make some minimal changes to their online presence that can make a big impact on how their customers perceive them.
Does your business have a small ticket item or a simple service that you can offer? Getting that first sale or commitment from a new customer is the most difficult sale. Once they are your customer it is easier to up-sell to a larger purchase or turn them into repeat customers.
Just make sure you don’t always go for the biggest item when there are easy sales to make along the way.
5. Think about reducing your spending.
When facing a crunch in business we look at ways we can reduce our spending. One area that you may be tempted to cut is your marketing, and that would be a mistake. If you drop your ads or stop doing your activities that bring in your customers normally, you are setting yourself up for certain failures.
This past year has been a challenge when it comes to sales and marketing. Trade shows have been canceled, travel has been limited, and the in-person meetings we are used to having are shifted to phone or Zoom. For some businesses, that has meant a shift of marketing spend to online, and we’ve typically seen good results.
Digital marketing is great for targeted ads within a specific budget, and compared to traditional media it is very cost-effective. If you have a limited budget you can also focus on selling versus awareness. Brand awareness can be useful at times, but when you are facing a downturn in business it is typically more important to focus on marketing activities that show immediate returns.
3 Easy Ways to Get More Sales Now
1. Make your website actionable.
Having a solid website is key to business growth. One of the biggest gaps we see in websites is the lack of an obvious next step or call to action for site visitors. Having a good-looking site that doesn’t build your sales funnel isn’t a good site at all.
If you need to find some new business, there is good chance that customers will come back to your website to check you out regardless of the way they originally hear about you. This checklist will make sure your site is ready to convert visitors into customers:
- Make sure your product and service offerings are clear. If people can’t understand what you offer, they certainly won’t be trying to buy from you.
- Use customer testimonials as social proof that other people have enjoyed working with you and recommend your business. We love to do business with successful businesses.
- Create clear a clear call to action. If you want people to fill out a form, make it obvious and easy to find, and let the customer know what to expect from contacting you. If you prefer phone calls, make your number obvious.
2. Run Search Ads on Google
The best potential customers are the ones who already know what they need and have sat down in front of their computer to do a search on Google to find the right provider to work with.
Think about it. Do you often search Google for roofers on a random Saturday morning? Of course not. But what if the night before there was a rainstorm and your roof is leaking? Based on that Google search, someone will be getting paid work to do a roof repair.
That’s where Google Ads come in. You can select your keywords, your geographic area, and a budget you are comfortable spending and get in front of potential customers. Of course, there is a little more to it than that so you may want to speak with a team who offers Google Ads Management.
3. Engage with your audience.
Don’t be afraid to jump into a conversation. People like to do business with people, and if you see a conversation online, be it Facebook or LinkedIn, don’t hesitate to add value to the conversation if you can offer insights or advice.
The internet is used by people to solve problems in between looking at pictures of cats and kids on Facebook. But when it comes down to it, the internet really combines our network, the Yellow Pages book, and a million other resources to help us find the answers we need.
If you find yourself with some extra time during a slowdown, this can be a very fruitful exercise.
Need help in moving towards a digital marketing approach? Get in touch today, we’d be happy to connect with you on the phone for a complimentary consult.