Here are some sobering statistics for any small-business owner:
“Two-thirds of respondents to a recent survey by online marketing
company Performics say, ‘the recession has fundamentally changed the way they
think about saving and spending money now and the future’.
What’s more, the’2009 Online Buyer Economic Trend Study’ showed 8 out of 10
respondents say,’the recession will have a lasting impact on how they buy
products and services.’
In this type of climate, how do you market your products and services to capture consumers precious dollars?
Here are four (4) ideas that work NOW.
1. Help customers save money. Saving money is probably your customers biggest concern right now – so you need to be able to show how your entertainment product or service will do this. the use of a rewards or frequency program (www.bowlingrewards.com) does just that (not to mention an easy way to get a real live database; not just a bunch of emails with no purchasing behaviour patters; an essential ingredient for future marketing). One small firm I read about recently has gotten more business than it can handle by auditing commercial customers shipping expenditures and finding cheaper solutions. key to making the sale, the company doesn’t charge any upfront fee, but takes a percentage of the savings – so clients don’t pay anything unless they save money.
2. Get out in the community. The online community is important, of course, but I am also talking about the physical community. There is a growing trend of consumers “thinking local” when they spend money. Consumers also care more than ever about social responsibility-so if they see that your business is an active, involved part of the local community, they will be more likely to patronize it. There are many ways to get involved, from sponsoring local schools, special events or sports teams, to participating in charitable causes, to speaking in front of local organizations relevant to your business. Whatever the activity, the key is to make sure there is a relevant tie-in. For instance, if you own a bowling center or a soft play center, childrens physical fitness can be your “cause”. You could sponsor bowling events, school fun runs or community sports teams. You could donate athletic equipment to schools and speak with parent groups about how to help their kids stay fit. Leave behind handouts,coupons or other special offers for the people at any event in which you are involved. In addition, make sure to publicize your activities with a press release.
3. Get niche. I recently read about a realtor who had one of his best years ever last year. Yes, you read that right. Why? Because he had developed a specialty – selling homes built in one particular style of mid-century modern architecture. By becoming known in the national and local community as an expert in this area, whehever homebuyers were searching for someone who could help them buy this type of home, they would be directed to him. Most successful small companies already have a niche, but consider how you can narrow down your niche even more. Are there more targeted subsets of your target market you could be reaching? Is there one product or service area where spinning off something into a niche item would yield big rewards? Then validate these claims with real testimonials or letters from your customers that you can post on your social media sites (i.e. best birthday party specialists for the under 6 year old crowd, home of the HIP party, the place to be for Rock N Bowl, or the “most fun” short season bowling programs, or world class coaching for existing league bowlers or newbies).
4. Convince customers you are worth it. Many small businesses focus on upscale, or luxury products. While some of these are taking a hit, others are doing surprisingly well. Why? With less money to spend, consumers are thinking harder about where to spend it, and they want products that are special in some way. If your entertainment product is unique and you can create a remarkable position for your center, then your marketing should emphasize that position. Make sure your Website, marketing materials and packaging tells the story that makes what you are selling unique. For example, you could post a chart on your website comparing your center to the competition based upon these variables:
* cost for a family of four
* close to home
* one stop for fun,food and socialinteraction
* get rewards for participating
* total family time
* friendly competition
To market in a recession, put on your guerilla marketing hat,dig a little deeper, and do something remarkable.