When business is slow, there’s always ways for a small to medium sized business (SMBs) to market themselves – whether it translates to getting business from customers right now or if it translates to winning a sale later when things pick up. There’s also plenty of things for SMBs to do while they’re slow to drive more sales into the pipeline when things pick back up. Read on for great ideas for pumping the sales in.
Reach out to your happiest customers for referrals. Contact satisfied customers and ask them to refer you to someone else who might want your service or product. You can offer a reward for referrals, such as a discount coupon or a gift card. You’d be surprised on how many of your happy customers won’t want anything in return when giving you a referral.
Increase your online reviews. Ask past customers to review your business online. Make it easy by emailing them a link so all they have to do is click and type. Make sure you only send these requests to your happy customers – there’s no need to drive negative reviews. Unless you’re bored and love a good challenge! Drive one site at a time: Google, Yelp, Yellowpages.com, etc.
Hold a small event for your loyal customers. Build loyalty by rewarding your regular customers with a fun event. Every event should include a small preview of your latest offerings followed by a huge “thank you” to everyone for being a loyal customer.
Offer off-the-wall deals. Reducing prices during slow times is the easiest way to attract customers. Try holding a “one day sale” or something similar. Nothing excites consumers more than a “limited time offer” of sorts. But simply making great deals isn’t enough; you must get those offers out to the marketplace so consumers can see them. Digital display and search ads are a great way to spread the word.
Upsell or cross-sell your existing clientele. Reach out to your existing customers to offer them special packages with an expiration date. You’d be surprised how many of your existing customers will take you up on these deals.
Promote early payment deals. To keep cash flowing while business is slow, try offering discounts for early purchases for their next time of need. For example, if you have a pest control service, you could offer a discount to people who sign up for a service before May 1.
Hold a drawing or contest for customers and potential customers to win a prize. People might not be ready to buy now, but they would still be open to winning a service or a product. Use a contest to accumulate email addresses and get permission to send emails to the people who enter. You’ll build your list of leads for when things pick up.
Market a different product or service that has more demand at the moment. For example, a lot of lawn care services offer “leaf removal” in the fall because that’s what is in demand at that time. Any business can get with their local marketing companies to see what’s in demand based on Google’s data.
Target a new market geography. If it’s slow or too competitive in the big city (i.e. San Antonio), try marketing your services in nearby geographies that are close enough – such as 30 minutes out. These outlying geographies can drive new leads your way if you study the competition and have a competitive offer.
Educate your customers and potential customers. What can you teach customers to help them make the most of your products or services? Try hosting online classes via skype to educate people about your products and you’ll not only win business, you’ll also win loyalty. You can market your online classes for free using EventBrite, Facebook Events and LinkedIn – just to name a few.
Find out what your customers want. Send out an email to conduct a customer survey and see what products or services customers are interested in right now, then do some market research on the feasibility of delivering what they want. Sometimes all we have to do is ask.
Focus on low-cost marketing methods. Your sales might be slower and your budget smaller during slow times, so concentrate on marketing channels you can get the best overall value, such as social media, niche display advertising on sites that have a ton of local traffic like news websites or digital bulletin boards, even email marketing can bring you the leads.
In fact, use email to stay in touch with customers during the slow times. If you begin offering new products/services, customers won’t know about them unless you keep in contact. Even if you essentially reduce your hours or services, you don’t want to go completely silent until things pick up. Get customers’ permission to send them emails; then create a regular cadence of marketing emails (say, once a month) to promote various specials or build anticipation for new products or services.
Use both social media and email marketing to provide interesting content for customers to earn that “shelf-space” in their brains. Slow times will allow you time to create content on educating your customers and give them new ways to buy from you. If you keep it interesting, you’ll grow every time you do it.
With successful digital campaigns, local businesses can grow their bottom line fast. Our team at Sinclair can help your business grow by developing smart digital marketing campaigns based on research and data. Call us today and start your company’s journey. We’ll help you navigate to a successful future in a cost-effective way.
by Darrin Cheraso