How to Market your Small Business in a Depressed Economy
Owning a small business in a depressed economy can be hard, but it is survivable and many businesses prosper during these times. Marketing is a large part of what will bring customers to your business, but you donít want to blanket the whole country to get just a few people through the door. It is very important to know who is still purchasing your type of product or service in a depressed economy and be able to target them specifically.
To effectively market your business in a depressed economy there are THREE steps you need to take.
Know your Technicoloured Coat. Your Technicoloured Coat is what makes your business stand out. What is your Technicoloured Dream Coat? This means, what is the thing that makes your business stand out?
There are a lot of accountants, lawyers, business coaches, child caregivers and photographers in this world and each one is uniquely different. It is important to identify how you are different from the rest.
What makes you the only one in the world to do what you do, to offer what you offer? What is your Unique Selling Point (USP)?
Before you say, I donít have one, there are hundreds of Real Estate Agents, there are heaps of Insurance Brokers, here are a few guide lines:
Are you the only Pilates Physio in Ellerslie, Are you the only Mensís Barber in Bethlehem?
Are you the only planner to have worked with the council for the past 30 years. Are you the only nutritionist to have written a thesis on the continued affects of childhood obesity?
Is there an area that you specialize in Ė I specalise in residential property sales over $1million dollars, I specialize in de-cluttering peopleís home environment
I do warn you that price is a dangerous one, because if the warehouse stocked what you are selling would you still have a USP. It is easy to be undercut on price and you are then left with little differentiation.
It could be that you are the only business to package together Roofing, Plumbing and Electrical. Packages can often be easily replicated unless it is your experience and knowledge that is your USP.
A Guarantee or Warranty
Can be a USP, if you are the only Plumber to guarantee no leaks in your shower installations.
If you still havenít identified your Technicoloured Coat, think about what you enjoy working on, as in most cases, that will be what you are also best at. For Adconomy our USP is that we Ďspecialize in cost effective marketing for small businessesí. This is because I enjoy working with small businesses and I am best when I am helping a business realise their potential. If you are a mortgage broker you may love working with first home buyers as you take them on a bit of an educational trip, so that may become your specialist area.
A USP doesnít mean that it is the only benefit that your business has, but it is a main differentiator from your competition.
It is important to have a Technicoloured Coat so that you donít blend in to the rest of the crowd. If you completely understand what makes your business unique then it is a lot easier to create promotions, and campaigns that reach the right people with your unique message.
Your product group or service can only have ONE Technicoloured Coat to focus on, so make it a strong one.
Know your Target Market. This may sound easy, but in a depressed economy your target market will shrink as fewer people are in a position to buy. You need to precisely identify who is purchasing your type of product or service. I have identified six groups of consumers who are still spending in a tight market.
In a depressed market people still purchase, either because 1. they HAVE to, with a product of necessity or 2. because they are not willing to do without that product or service.
There are also some groups of people who 3. will carry on behaving as they always have, maybe because they have enough money that they are not affected by a tighter market or 4. they are ignorant of the situation until they find themselves in trouble.
Some people are 5. very calculated about their spend at this time and often need convincing of the merits of a product or service much more than they regularly would.
Others will 6. only spend small amounts that seem to fly under the radar of having spent anything at all.
Once you know which groups you are targeting you can tailor your marketing to reach them.
Knowing the Size of Your Pond. If you are trying to reach your Target Market to tell them about your Technicoloured Coat, then you need to use media that is reaching them and only them. There is no use going on National TV if your Pond is your local community. Understand which media reach your Target Market best in a depressed economy and donít waste money by going outside of your Pond.
The Size of Your Pond is the geographical area that you regularly attract customers from and that you aim your advertising to.
If you understand YOUR Target Market and their behavioural traits AND you understand the Size of Your Pond, it is going to be very hard to waste money with your advertising.
Imagine something like a darts board with the largest rung being International, the next inner one National, then Regional, Local, Internal. Whichever level you chose it will encompass all of the inner circles as well, like Russian dolls. If you are focusing Regionally then Internal and Local tactics will also work.
If you have 3 stores across Christchurch then you would advertise Regionally. If you have one Physio practise in Matua you would advertise Locally. If you are selling DIY weight lose packages on the internet you would focus your advertising Internationally.
Examples of advertising mediums within each rung are:
International - International websites advertising - selling on the internet, sponsorship of international team or sports.
National - National television, nationwide radio, internet advertising on mainly national traffic sites, magazines.
Regional - Regional newspapers, regional radio, website for directions and information not for selling.
Local - Local newspapers, magazines, sponsorship of clubs, school events, newsletters, prizes at events.
Internal - Database marketing through email or posting addressed mail.
If these three steps are followed it is nearly impossible to waste money on advertising and you will maximise your chances of making money despite a tightened market.
To find out more information visit www.adconomy.net. My new ebook on How to Market Your Small Business to Make Money during a Depressed Market walks you through each of these steps and more.
You will know exactly who is buying your type of product or service, who to reach them in the most cost effective manner and what to offer to them to ensure you make the sale.
Written by Nicky Bowden of Adconomy
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