On the morning drive, NPR was explaining the arcane but unsettling concept of the “inverted yield curve.” By 11:30 p.m. the wonky phrase was a punch line for late night comedians.
But it’s no joke when recession hits your business. My own businesses have been through the storms of the Dot Com Bubble and the Great Recession. It’s never fun, and there’s no guarantee about what happens next.
Nevertheless, there are simple strategies you can follow now to be sure your marketing plan is prepared for a downturn. Here are two principles to consider:
Principle 1: “Cutting back on advertising to save money is like stopping a clock to save time.” That was Henry Ford’s advice, but it’s hard to take when the water gets rough. When a downturn hits, advertising is often the first thing to get cut. But cutting off advertising is like cutting off the fuel line to the engine of your business.
A better approach is to revisit your advertising to ensure you’re investing where you get the best bang for the buck. According to a new report by Borrell, local businesses find the following sources to be among the most effective at driving new customers:
- Referrals from other customers. One effective (and inexpensive) way to nudge your existing customers toward referrals is to send send out an email newsletter.
- Facebook. Facebook is now the most commonly purchased form of advertising for local businesses. It can be inexpensive and easy. But to get maximum return it requires strategy and consistency that goes beyond simply boosting the occasional post.
- Company website. Is your corporate website up to date? Is it mobile responsive? Is it acting as a lead magnet or simply a passive brochure? Your website is the foundation of your digital marketing, and now is always the best time to be sure your foundation is strong.
Principle 2: “Half of the money I spend on advertising is wasted. The trouble is, I don’t know which half.” That was marketing pioneer John Wanamaker. Tracking ROI on advertising can still be fuzzy. For instance, how much of your word of mouth was reinforced, encouraged or spurred by your advertising?
But you can directly measure the effectiveness of your digital advertising in several key ways:
- Website traffic. Your website should have comprehensive reports on how many people are visiting, what they’re looking at, and how they found you. You’ll be ahead of most small businesses if you actually pay attention to your website traffic.
- Search engine ranking. Search engine optimization continues to be a critical component in any digital marketing strategy. And again, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. When we help our clients with search optimization support, they get detailed reports on how their activities are paying off in increased search positions.
- Social media engagement. In addition to tracking your likes, clicks and shares, you can also track the engagement of your e-mail marketing by measuring your opens and click-through rates.
Would you like to see all these metrics in a single, simplified dashboard? Here’s an example of what we provide our digital marketing clients. It combines Google Analytics, Facebook performance, email marketing statistics as well as sales growth:
For more information on how you can put your local digital marketing on a solid foundation, give us a call at (352) 351-1131. I’d love to hear from you.