When I was in college, one of the lessons a professor gave us was short and sweet: when the business isn’t doing well financially, the first thing to go is marketing. The reason: not many business owners know the value of their marketing.
I graduated from Drake University with a Bachelors in Mass Communication in 2009 during the Great Recession. When it came to finding a copywriting job, there were none. Not even an internship. My professor’s words came true - everyone was scaling back and the job market for my industry showed it.
Now, don’t take this as a “poor me” type of post, that’s not the direction I’m going here. If anything, it’s more “poor them” as in the business owners. Another lesson that same professor taught us was that the businesses that get through hardships and thrive after are those who don’t stop marketing, at least not completely.
I’ll be the first to admit that marketing your business when the finances aren’t strong has seemed like an easy choice. Here’s the thing - if you don’t keep yourself top of mind, you’ll be forgotten. I’ve seen that first hand - people forget about what I do when I haven’t been posting on social media, networking, and keeping up on my blogs ad newsletter (as I referenced in another blog). Trust me when I say my business has suffered because of it.
This is why I always encourage my clients to invest in a newsletter. It can cover a few bases:
1. Staying top of mind: no matter the frequency, you’ll always be in their inbox.
2. Showing expertise: both sharing your blogs as well as industry news.
3. Referrals: when you’re top of mind, you then give them something to pass along to someone who might need what you sell.
4. Builds trust: if you’re giving them relevant information and not just selling to them all the time, they know you’re a good resource.
And this is only one form of advertising that can help during a rough patch. The point is never stop marketing in some form otherwise don’t be surprised when your business goes from bad to worse. Just like a friendship needs to be nurtured, so does your relationship with your customers. Marketing is all about building those relationships not simply telling people how well you do what you do or how amazing your product is (that’s advertising). When you aren’t marketing to them, even indirectly, they can feel jaded or as if they are just another transaction.
If COVID has taught you anything as a business owner, let it be that marketing works. Find ways to keep communicating with your customers and they will help see you through the hardest times!