Public Relations (PR)

The crunch of a slow economy can leave business owners very worried. What worked in the past may not be working now and with less money than before to spend, small business owners that are tightening the belt will need to take a more proactive, even aggressive sales approach. And in today’s swift and harsh marketplace, more is needed than just a winner’s attitude.

There is a widespread belief that if you cut down on your largest business expenses you will be able to wait out the storm and think about growth when the economy recovers. However, even in a slow economy people don’t stop spending money they’re just shrewder in their choices. So, before you slash your marketing budgets and put up a huge for sale sign there are a few things to consider.

The key to surviving and even thriving in a lean period is to focus on growing your business, especially through existing relationships and maintaining your reputation. It is important to take special care of your best customers and give them plenty of attention, as well as paying suppliers on time. Word spreads quickly if you become slack with payments, which can harm your company’s image. Great products which are bought from a respectable provider will always have a place in society.

We all have expenses which we can’t really cut back on, however by eliminating those you can survive without is a wise move during a lean period. It’s important to think about whether those expenses are essential to bring in new business. Capitalise on the opportunities presented by an economic downturn. Large investors, for example, always buy in a slow economy, because they can get a great deal and when business is good again, they make a large profit.  Even if you own a café, a gardening supplies store or a hair salon, the same principles can be applied.

Products and services don’t sell themselves even in the most buoyant economy. It’s important to make sure that they are the right products for your consumers, and that they are in the right place at the right time. You have to work hard to promote your products whilst defining your unique proposition and creating a well-structured marketing strategy to reach out to your target customers. This could be a combination of word of mouth publicity to create awareness plus a direct marketing campaign to push your message to potential customers.

Whilst cutting your marketing dollars may seem like a good way to save money – if sales are tumbling, you want to make your business more visible, not less. Whilst your competitors are focusing their resources elsewhere, you are presented with the advantage of getting your message out to prospective customers. Look at different ways to implement a hard hitting marketing strategy through quick and easy letterbox marketing distributions. When your customers are local, reaching them through their letterbox will put you at the front of the pack.

Don’t worry too much about what your competition is up to. Focus on what makes your company unique and listen and respond to what your customers are telling you. If you are the trusted provider of your product or service and you have strong relationships with your customers, your business is in good stead to grow.

Tom Mahon

General Manager at LDN

I am the General Manager of Salmat’s SME division, Local Direct Network. I work with Australia's largest team of digital and direct marketing experts specializing in loyalty, data, websites, eCommerce, in-store experience, digital POS, essential mail, direct mail, undressed mail, email, SMS, competitions, social media, inbound and outbound call centres.