by: Shelley Grieshop of Totally Promotional
Getting clients to spend money during hard financial times is tricky unless you understand the thought process of the human brain.
When incomes dry up and uncertainty lies ahead, consumers become more price sensitive and less brand loyal, according to a Harvard Business Review study that analyzed buying behavior following the Great Recession of 2008. Some will eliminate certain purchases they once considered “essential.” Marketers can overcome this obstacle by engaging customers and calming their fears.
Don’t lose what you have
Your first goal is to entice your clients, especially your loyal ones, with kindness. These clients are your primary source of income during good times and subsequently the ones you never want to lose.
Depending on the size of your business and the number of loyal clients, send each a compassionate but brief letter signed by your CEO. Show empathy for any hardships they are experiencing and let them know you are ready to serve them. Throw in a personalized item, such as sticky notes or a collapsible can cooler, to keep your name and logo in front of them.
Reach out to all of your clients and prospective customers with two of the most affordable and effective advertising methods in your arsenal:
- Online marketing, such as the use of Facebook, Twitter and other social media channels
- Email communications
Get your brand out there
Just as important as keeping in touch is the engagement factor.
The real key to client retention during tough times is non-stop branding. Your first instinct may be to cut your marketing budget to save money. Find other places to slash. Keep your name and logo out there to get a heads-up on competition when the economic outlook improves. This is your time to stand out and make positive perceptions, according to Marketing Week.
Be honest. Get real
No matter how you communicate with your target audience, don’t be a fake. If you can’t offer your regular services or products due to outside interference or government restrictions, say it. Your customers will respect your honesty and know that you truly understand the tough decisions they must make at this time. Be sure to explain the steps you are taking to overcome your problems and meet their needs.
Showcase your team
This is also the perfect time to feature some of the people at your company as part of your marketing efforts. Show your potential clients that you are more than a business; you consist of people, just like them, who are ready to provide solutions to their problems.
Be the calm in the chaos
The bottom line: Business owners are searching for marketers who care about them when times are tough. They want to be reassured, and you can do that by staying in touch with them in a transparent way. By leading potential clients through the uncertainty, and adding value to their brand during the crisis, you’ll increase your market share and client mindshare.
About the Author: Shelley Grieshop was an award-winning Associated Press writer before joining the team at Totally Promotional in 2016 as a creative writer. She currently writes blogs, press releases and other communications for the promotional products company.