It’s where we all want to be… Business is picking up, the marketing is working, and your clients know where you are and what you have on offer. You’ve got more customers than you can cope with and the last thing you want to spend your precious time on is more marketing. You definitely deserve a rest and a celebratory cup of your favourite tipple so go for it, but now is not the time to stop promoting your business.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking – ‘it’s alright, I’ve arrived! I can stop all of that now. They know I’m here!’ Although that may be the case today customers are notoriously fickle and they like to feel that you are paying attention. Even when times are good you have to continue to invest the time and effort in building and maintaining relationships with them. If you don’t, there are plenty of other businesses out there that will happily oblige and take them off your hands.
Keep on keeping on
Keep talking to your existing customers through newsletters, blogs and social networks. Share the news, make them offers, make them feel they’ve made the right choice and get them to tell their friends and colleagues. Remind potential customers, through whichever media is appropriate, that you are out there and ready to satisfy their every need.
Learn from the big boys
Too many businesses get complacent as soon as they get busy and then get into a panic if, or when, there is a slump. Learn from the big boys. We all know that Starbucks, M&S and Gap are out there but that doesn’t stop them reminding us. Whatever the size of the business, most of us are operating in a highly competitive environment and we need to work that much harder to make sure we keep a high profile. There is always someone out there who is ready and willing to take your customers away as soon as you stop talking to, nurturing or appreciating them. (I know I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating.)
Don’t lose your momentum
Apart from anything else, just think how long it took to build up your business in the first place. If you stop your marketing during a busy period you could lose valuable momentum. It takes a lot of time and effort to get into the heads of your customers and get them to trust you enough to buy. Do you really want to have to start all that again – from scratch…?
Starting from scratch – or near scratch – can be costly if you’re in a hurry. Although advertising can provide a quick fix for many businesses, in a slump, it usually requires a big budget to get the desired effect in the short term. Most businesses don’t have that kind of money at their disposal. Besides, there are much more cost-effective ways of marketing but they do take time to take effect. This is not what you want if business suddenly goes quiet so don’t put yourself in that position. Make sure that you have a plan of regular marketing activities in place to keep existing and potential customers informed and engaged.
Remember – Marketing is for life not just for Christmas.
About the author: Deborah Rowe, Consultant, Sheba Marketing
Deborah is a chartered marketer, member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and fellow of both the Institute of Direct Marketing and the RSA. She has more than 20 years of solid marketing and communications experience which she puts to good use as principal consultant of Sheba Marketing.
Originally from a science and engineering background, she gained much of her initial experience in the construction industry, civil engineering, and the built environment. She now works with a wider range of clients in industries including professional services, professional associations and publishing. Through her enterprise agency clients she works with micro-businesses, and start-ups, to engender best practice and a strategic approach to marketing. She has been successfully running her business for 11 years.
Sheba Marketing provides no-nonsense business-to-business marketing support to small and medium-sized organisations in a range of sectors. The principal consultant works with a network of professionals to provide clients with tailored services to suit their needs. www.shebamarketing.co.uk