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Thursday, October 9, 2008

Business Tips: The Secret to Sales Growth in a Recession

Posted by @ 6:52 pm

If you haven’t heard all the news about stock market crashes, falling exchange rates and recession – then you’re probably living under a rock!

In the face of such economic times, many small businesses go into panic mode, and let the economists drive their business decisions. Big mistake!

To be honest, it is difficult to remain calm when everyone is shouting stories about economic disaster. But for most business owners – panicking is a recipe for failure.

The Secret is to Stay Committed, Remain Calm and Spend Smart.

This isn’t the first recession we’ve ever had. There’s been several before it. And more importantly, there have been thousands of businesses that have ridden through the recession storm and come through triumphant on the other side.

If you really want to succeed in an economic downturn, you need to stay focused on business growth, be smart about where you spend your money and keep a cool head.

Focus on Growth: Offense is the best Defence
Don’t start trying to tread water. If you continue to aim for growth, you’re more likely to achieve it.

By applying the brakes on your business goals, you increase the chances of coming up short. Yes, it might take a bit longer to reach your goals in the current market… but you’ll get there eventually.

Spend Smart: Marketing That Generates Results
So where is the best place to spend your marketing $

Leverage Existing Customers:
Are you making the most of your existing customers? The old saying “it’s cheaper to keep a customer than find a new one” is never more important than now.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re a ‘services’ business or a corner deli, there’s always ways to leverage more sales from your current customers both online and offline.

  • Loyalty programs (buy 2 get one free, frequent shopper points etc)
  • Encourage return business in transactional emails
  • Cross promo in invoices/quotes/paperwork
  • Encourage up sells at every opportunity (online and offline)
  • Exploit the cheapness of email marketing to stay in touch and “front of mind”
  • Referral programs

The Cost Effective Way to Acquire New Customers.
The key is “Pay for Performance” marketing. There’s no safer way to spend your marketing budget.

There’s a range of online “pay for performance” marketing options and here’s just a few of the main choices:

  • affiliate programs (“pay per sale”, “pay per lead”, “pay per click”)
  • PPC search engine advertising (“pay per click”)
  • leads based programs (companies offering guaranteed sales opportunities)

FREE is Good
There’s plenty of free promotional opportunities. Now’s the time to step up your use of these ways to find new business.

  • Networking and socializing – self promote at every chance
  • Engage in local and industry groups
  • Offer to present at relevant conferences/presentations
  • Online discussions, forums and blogs
  • Free directory listings
  • and the list goes on….

Stay Calm: A Clear Mind Makes the Best Business Decisions
Running a business is stressful enough at the best of times, without the added pressure of recession propaganda.

You can’t ignore what’s happening, but remember, you also can’t change it. So focus on the things you can – “your business”.

Now all of the above is sometimes easier said than done. I understand that, we are a business in the same position as everyone else.

But stay focued, calm and prudent and you’ll surely be one of the businesses that people look back on and admire when the next recession hits ;)

If you’ve got some great “results driven” marketing tips that you want to share with our fellow business owners… share them below.

Rene LeMerle Rene is the marketing manager of - a global search engine marketing company. He also leads the marketing for - a web 2.0 style community for online and digital marketers. Rene has been in the industry since 1997 with much of that time spent helping businesses embrace the best of the internet and digital world.

View Rene LeMerle's profile

Discussion (1 - comment)

Couldn’t agree more. I’m hoping that more of the real estate industry divert funds away from magazine advertising with low ROI and into pay for performance marketing on sites such as ours, then we may just about get through unscathed!

By Dan Johnson - October 15, 2008

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