Recently, I wrote a blog post about the strategies every business owner needs to take when times are tough. and they’re struggling to keep their businesses going and one of the points I made really did need a blog post all of its own. So, here we are, because I’m a woman of my word and this is a super important topic, given what’s going on in the wider world right now. But even when the word “recession” isn’t bouncing around the online space or all over the news, it’s one that needs to be talked about because, in my experience, every business goes through challenging times at some point. It’s pretty inevitable.
I’m talking, of course, about how you shouldn’t stop marketing when things get tough. And I know you’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘Well, duh, Aly, I know that!’ But you’d be surprised just how many businesses, when they start feeling the pinch, immediately shut down on the marketing side of things, even when they don’t really mean to. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve watched going through rough times who immediately think, “Oh shit, I have to cut my expenses,” and they opt for marketing as the very first thing that should go.
You probably already know this, but my background is in marketing. I’ve been in the industry for more than 15 years now. First as a copywriter, then as a social media manager, and, finally, I landed here as a Fractional CMO, helping service providers and coaches master their strategy and create a sustainable, long term business so they can reach their ultimate life goals.
Some years ago now (*cough* 2008-2012 *cough*), I was copywriting and social media managing for a number of clients, and there was a huge economic shift going on around that time. Social media was still kind of in its infancy. To give you some idea, TikTok wasn’t around back then and Instagram was just getting started. Instead, we were using Myspace and Twitter (in its infancy) with Vine right around the corner… And, as people panicked about what was going on, the first thing they started to cut back on was social media. In other words, as their social media manager and copywriter, they cut back on me. Almost overnight, I lost more than half my clients, some completely stopping, while others asked to pause their accounts until things picked up again.
The Perils of Cutting Marketing
It’s a very typical and common knee-jerk reaction I see over and over again in the online business space. And I can totally understand where it comes from. For one thing, most people think they can carry on doing it all themselves to save costs. How hard can it be to market your own business, right? You’ve done it before, you can do it again. For another, when times are rough, the last thing you want to do is keep showing that cheery, positive side in public when that’s probably not really how you might be feeling right now. I get it, I really do.
But here’s the thing… telling you not to stop marketing doesn’t mean you still have to spend an absolute fortune on it. It just means that the activities and the actions you’re currently taking to get yourself out there, to stay visible, and to share value and keep connecting with your audience need to keep happening, in whatever way, shape or form that might be. Even if it’s on a reduced budget.
Because when those things stop, the momentum you’d already built up stops. Soon, your business is less than an even-distant memory in your audience’s mind. They’ll move on, find other businesses like yours to fill the void. And if you do make it through the uncertain times and come back to it again, rebuilding that audience is going to be super tough.
In my experience, the business owners who stopped working with me all ended up closing their businesses down. The few that stuck with me, that kept me working with them to maintain their marketing efforts, rode the storm out and they’re now multi-six figure (and even million dollar) businesses.
Leveraging Opportunities in Uncertain Times
Here’s what I know. During periods of uncertainty, during times of financial change or shifts, how you approach what’s happening and how you respond to it is the biggest factor in the long term success and longevity of your business.
Yes, things are hard. Yes, it’s a struggle to keep going. But, while everyone is pulling back around you, while everyone is retracting their marketing efforts in desperation and panic, you’re going to wind up with a wide open playing field to work with. And that spells great news for your business.
Now look, I’m not great at the sports analogies but think of it this way (and I apologize to any football fans if I totally butcher this!)… It’s like you’ve now got the ball in your hands and now there’s no one in front of you to block you from reaching the end zone. There’s no one stopping you from reaching your goal. Making the most of what is, ultimately, a quiet period in marketing, means you’re having to deal with less competition for your industry, you’re reaping the benefits of lower ad costs because the market isn’t flooded and, ultimately, you’re continuing to build and nurture an audience who are going to take more notice now there are less of you to follow out there.
So, while things might be hard right now (for whatever reasons), and while you might have to be considering cutbacks in various areas of your business, I do hope you’ll keep your marketing efforts going. Stay ahead of the curve, don’t be one of the masses who drops out of sight and then returns when everyone else does to fight through the crowd and try to build up your audience again.
Keep marketing your business consistently, regardless of what’s going on behind the scenes. Keep building up that know, like and trust with your audience (which will likely keep growing with less competitors out there!). Your consistency is what they’ll remember and it’s how you’ll keep booking clients and increasing your profits despite the pinch, as well as potentially increasing your sales hugely as things start to pick up again.
If you’d like help to keep your marketing consistent and on point, even in tough economic times, why not reach out and book a chat with me. Let’s see how I can help you keep your business moving forward sustainably and growing, in spite of whatever might be going on right now.