I recently sent out a series of emails about marketing through uncertain periods of time like the one we’re in currently. In case you missed it, I want to share (very briefly) my personal story about what happened to my family in 2008. Listen to my story, and thn download the freebie below to ramp up your marketing today!
I sent out a series of emails last week about marketing through uncertain periods of time like the one we’re in currently. In case you missed it, I want to share (very briefly) my personal story about what happened to my family in 2008. Listen to my story:
My husband and I owned a flooring installation business, which we had grown over several years to have several employees, and it was the main source of income for our family. We were lucky to have always had referral business and several home builders as a constant source of projects. We never marketed our business.
As you can guess, we started to feel a little pinch in late 2007 and then all at once at the end of 2008 our builders went out of business, which also meant no referrals were coming in, and our business ground to a standstill in what seemed like overnight. Full disclosure: This ended up not being as bad as it could have been because we already had a plan in place to close down our business because we were relocating. It moved up our timeframe a bit. And, had we not already had another plan in process, that would have been devastating for our family.
Looking back on the difference between our business and some of the others (of colleagues and friends) that managed to navigate that recession, the difference all came down to marketing. They were already marketing or immediately began marketing as soon as they felt the pinch. So, they were top of mind all of the time. They were able to capture the business that was still happening — for those in an income bracket that was less affected. Or, as in some of our colleagues with similar businesses around the country, they pivoted to things like restoration work. And the fact that they were marketing allowed them to capture those clients. The marketing might not have looked the same as it always had. They might have cut back and gotten a little scrappy and grassroots about it. But they DIDN’T STOP.
So, the moral of the story is that you need to be marketing right now. Marketing through all of this uncertainty. That doesn’t mean you can’t cut costs a bit. You’ll need to get a little scrappy and grassroots, too.
I have two easy suggestions for you. The first is a bit old-school, but it’s effective and easy to track its return on investment. That’s mailers to homes in the neighborhood of a project you’re working on in conjunction with a yard sign. I suggest a letter in an envelope. If you (or a college student) can hand-address them, that can result in more opens. You can buy a list of the addresses online for about $35-50 depending on how wide of a net you want to cast.
OK, so what if you don’t have any projects in process right now, or maybe you do but they aren’t in a neighborhood where you really want to pursue more work? There’s an easy fix. You can approach a past client or maybe even a friend, ask them if you can put a sign in the yard for maybe a month or 6 weeks and do some marketing around it. In exchange, you might offer to help them choose some new window coverings or some small decorating project.
The second suggestion goes in conjunction with the first. You can do Facebook ads (which if you have your accounts linked can run on both Facebook and Instagram) that are geographically targeted to the same neighborhood where you have a sign and sent out mailers. It’s a 1, 2, 3 punch for brand exposure. And you can set a small budget and run ads to the neighborhood for as little as $25-50/mo.
I hope my story is a good lesson for what NOT to do right now. And I’d love for you to implement these marketing suggestions in your business right now.