If your business is suffering from a slowdown in sales right now, you’re not alone. Businesses across all industries are struggling to survive in a climate of reduced spending, fluctuating demand and high unemployment rates as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread around the country. 

To survive and grow in a volatile environment, businesses must be willing to actively listen to customer fears, concerns and priorities, adapt their strategies to meet customers where they are, and lead with empathy and compassion.

Below, we’ve outlined strategies your business can adopt to optimize sales during times of economic downturn. These strategies include areas where your business should maintain current practices, areas where your business should adapt to new circumstances, and areas where your business should forge ahead in the face of uncertainty.

3 Areas to Hold Steady

1. Marketing and advertising budgets

Unfortunately, marketing and advertising budgets are among the first to get axed when the economy plunges into a downturn. Why hemorrhage money into promoting goods and services that people aren’t buying? However, marketing is more critical than ever during times of low incoming volume.

Marketing communication is the lifeline between you and your customers. Right now, customers are being more selective about the brands they hand their money to. They’re more likely to spend money with brands they know, trust and see during this crisis. If your brand fades out of view now, it will be that much harder to regrow your audience base and regain customer trust when the economy starts improving. 

Of course, some form of budget cut may be necessary during lean times. NewGen Marketing has some cost-effective marketing ideas you can implement immediately to keep moving ahead:

How to Market and Advertise Your Business on a Budget  

2. Pricing for products and services 

In the long-term, it’s not a good idea to arbitrarily slash prices for your products and services to survive a downturn. A price drop with no explanation permanently devalues your products and makes customers believe they’ve been overpaying for your services. Your brand’s reputation and credibility will suffer, and you’ll lose the trust of valuable customers who feel cheated. 

However, there are ways to adjust your pricing models to optimize sales and make your products more enticing and accessible to customers with less flexibility to spend right now. Can you offer financing plans spread out over several months? Can you bundle products at more attractive deals? Can you maintain your current pricing but offer a bonus product or service upon purchase?

3. Customer service

During times of falling sales, it’s difficult not to fixate all your efforts on trying to acquire and convert new customers. But one of the most effective strategies your business can employ is to continue providing excellent customer service to existing customers. Compared to new customers, loyal customers are more cost-effective to maintain, have a greater lifetime value and provide a rich source of cash flow and growth. 

How? First, 90% of customers are likely to purchase more than once and 93% are likely to make repeat purchases with companies that have excellent customer service. Second, loyal customers are brand cheerleaders and amazing referral sources. People trust word-of-mouth referrals and referrals from friends and family more than they trust advertising tactics from companies. 

One of the most important things you can do right now is remind your loyal customers how much you appreciate their support. One easy and cost-effective way you can achieve this is through email marketing. Use emails to keep customers up-to-date on your product and service offerings, business hours and the safety measures your company is taking. You can also show your appreciation by offering loyal customers a special discount, promotion or deal as a thank you for their continued support. 

2 Areas to Be Flexible

1. Content and messaging

Now is not the time to dig in your heels and keep moving forward with the campaigns you already have planned for the year. Customers are closely watching the messaging brands are putting out at this time and they are giving more business toward companies leading with compassion, empathy and sensitivity.

If you haven’t done so already, it’s time for your brand to conduct a complete content audit for the remainder of 2020. As customers face new worries about their health, safety and finances, how can your products, services or expertise be of value during this time?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and don’t know where to start, NewGen Marketing has some guidelines:

How to Position Your Brand Strategy to Meet Customer Needs During Coronavirus     

2. Meeting customer needs

How can your business provide greater access to your products and services right now? First, use Google My Business, your website and social media to keep customers updated on your contact information, business hours, products and services available, and other important information. 

Next, evaluate how you can make your team available to customers right now. Can you expand customer service hours? Can you add a live chat option to your website? Can you dedicate a representative to answering all comments and messages on social media? 

Then, evaluate how you can make your products and services more accessible to customers. Can you implement options for people to purchase and pay for products online? For physical goods, can you offer delivery or curbside pickup? Can you offer services like online scheduling, online forms and video appointments? Can you host webinars instead of in-person networking events?

The current situation calls for businesses to adapt and rise up to meet customers in new and creative ways. 

1 Area to Move Forward

1. Preparation for future growth

If your business is experiencing a drop in acquisition, sales and growth right now, know that the downturn is not permanent and the market will rebound in the future. Take advantage of the extra time you have to refresh and strengthen your business goals and strategies in preparation for future growth.

Like many busy companies, you probably have several long-term to-do projects that always get pushed down the priority list by day-to-day needs. Now is the time to:

  • Optimize your website. Do you have a fast upload, download and site speed? Do you have an organized and easy-to-navigate website? Do you have missing or broken on-site links? Your website is most customers’ first impression of your brand, so make sure it’s making a positive impression.
  • Do market research. When was the last time you re-evaluated your buyer personas? Is there room to expand your knowledge of your buyer personas or identify new ones? This pandemic will have a permanent impact on how people buy and do business in the economy. Make sure you know what new challenges and pain points your customers will be facing in the future and how you can position your products and services as a solution.  
  • Analyze your data. Dig deep into the metrics of your marketing campaigns. What types of messaging and content performed well in the past? Where are customers hearing or learning the most about you? What media channels are driving the most leads, conversions and engagements? Use the data you’ve collected to brainstorm new campaigns for the future.    
  • Audit your processes and strategies. The current pandemic is forcing all businesses to take a hard look at the efficiency of their business practices. Now that efficiency is a necessity, be honest about what’s working, what isn’t and where you can permanently cut costs. 

Contact NewGen Marketing to Optimize Your Sales Strategies

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the challenges facing your business, we can help create your brand strategy and optimize your current processes to drive more sales. NewGen Marketing provides a full range of marketing services, including strategy and investment, analytics, paid media, social, remarketing, content marketing and customer acquisition. Our goal is to help you spend your marketing dollars efficiently by allocating resources into the campaigns and multimedia channels that generate real results, conversions and sales.  

If you’re interested in learning more about what performance marketing can do for you, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.