Sports commentators like to say that the best defense is a great offense. It’s hard for your competition – whether they are facing you on a field or in the marketplace – to beat you when they’re too focused on protecting their own ground.
This is a great place to start a conversation on marketing tactics this Fall, because far too many business owners and executives are sitting back and worrying about what they might lose instead of thinking about what they have to gain. Things might be hard in your area or industry, but in most cases the sky really isn’t falling. However, the perception that everything is going wrong might be keeping others in your market from being as proactive as they should.
That means your best move might be to be on the offense. You may find that there are lots of opportunities to grow, acquire customers, and save money. That’s because the other players in your market are too busy worrying about the future to take the bold steps you are thinking about.
Of course, deciding to be aggressive can take a lot of different forms, and figuring out the best path forward requires careful consideration of your specific situation and goals. Still, there are some general guidelines you can follow…
Think About What Your Customers Need Now
Earlier in the spring, when hand sanitizer disappeared from stores virtually overnight, liquor companies started getting creative. They already had the materials and equipment needed to offer a product that was suddenly very valuable, so they shifted production in a matter of days.
A lot of restaurants followed suit. When they could no longer fill their dining rooms, they started emphasizing simpler takeout and delivery menus. Some even began offering meal kits that could be cooked at home, or branded merchandise that they could sell to their favorite customers. A lot of service providers looked for ways to turn their expertise into digital products.
These sorts of examples might not apply in your business, but there are probably things that your customers need from you today that they weren’t thinking about six months ago. If that’s the case, then why not supplement your existing product offerings with something new?
If you aren’t sure what you can (or should) provide to customers in this climate, talk to some of your buyers. Figure out where the sweet spot between what you have and what they need can come together. You may discover a new revenue stream that replaces, or just adds to what you already had to sell.
Look for Growth and Savings
You probably have a good idea of who your day-to-day competitors are. This is a great time to ask yourself what they’ve been up to, and to consider what the implications might be.
The most obvious example of this would be that if a business you’ve been going shoulder-to-shoulder with for some time has stopped advertising, then this might be your chance to grab some of their customers. Or, you could take advantage of decreased PPC bidding to absorb the attention from web searchers. Maybe they are scaling back. and you could hire one or two of their best employees.
Conversely, if your competitor is being smart and finding new profit opportunities, you might look for opportunities to implement those ideas in your own business. They might have new products or processes in place that your market is really responding to. Don’t just copy their efforts – see if you can do even better.
You might take either of these approaches or some combination. The point is to keep your ear to the ground and study others in the industry and constantly look for inspiration. Things are changing quickly in 2020, and we have seen businesses innovate in ways that would have been unimaginable in the past. You can follow their example and start attracting new money at a time when so many entrepreneurs been caught flat-footed.
Reach Into New Areas
What if you are in a business that isn’t affected directly by the pandemic or economic downturn? If that’s the case, ask yourself two things. First, do your customers or clients have different needs than they did in the past? And second, could you take advantage of this moment to make smart investments?
Let’s look at a couple of examples. Suppose you had an accounting firm. It might be that your work hasn’t really been disrupted lately, but you might have some clients (or potential clients) who could use help figuring out how to deal with the paperwork around their stimulus loans. You could put together a consulting package that might be very popular.
It could also be the case that there isn’t anything special you need to offer right now. Even in that situation, you could see whether some normal purchases (like employee uniforms, mobile devices, etc.) can be purchased at a lower than normal cost. If so, it might make sense to buy now and take advantage of those discounts. As we’ve already mentioned, we have had clients benefit from lower pay-per-click advertising rates and other services in exactly this way.
Don’t Sit and Wait
What’s the best way to push ahead and play offense in an uncertain economy? That depends on what kind of business you have and what’s happening around you. That’s why we recommend a consultation with a team like ours, to find specific answers.
For the moment, though, what matters is that you adopt an aggressive mindset. Rather than sitting back and hoping for a better business environment in the future, decide that you are going to take this chance to get ahead of the competition. Be flexible, adapt your approach, and find new ways to attract customers, generate revenue, and lower costs.
The best entrepreneurs and business leaders know that every economy and situation brings its own challenges and opportunities. Are you ready to stop seeing barriers and start finding chances to grow?
Let Us Help!
Creativity isn’t just about creating websites and logos – it’s also about finding “outside-the-box” solutions for our clients. If you’re looking for new ways to serve your customers, draw in revenue, or just grow your business in a challenging environment, contact us today to schedule a free consultation and see how we can put our skills and experience to work for you!