How To Prepare For An Economic Slowdown In 2020

Irish businesses are entering the world of uncertainty again. The last time this happened was between 2008 and 2012. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the economy is expected to gradually slow down. This means that means people will spend as little as possible. A lot of businesses will have to cut down on unnecessary items. Projects which cannot generate immediate revenue will be postponed. As a business, you may have to lower your pricing and this will result in less revenue collected. A lot of businesses, especially start-ups, will dry-out of cash.

Economic slowdown

The Central Bank forecasts the rate of unemployment in Ireland to rise to 25% by June. You may have to make the hard decision of letting some of your staff go too. Your sales and marketing will not be on the road as much as before the crisis. This means you will have to rely on digital marketing to get new leads and sales.

However, it is not all gloom. The good news is that the crisis will give you an opportunity to reinvent yourself and come up with new ways of doing business. Customers will still be there and, even though you might experience a decline, there will still be a demand for your products. All you have to do is move smart and fast. Businesses are moving online, so should you. It is not going to be easy especially if your business was mostly based offline, but you can navigate through this period of uncertainty by:

1.Understand your customers’ buyer personas

Buyer Persona Template

Understanding your customers’ buyer personas is the backbone of any digital marketing strategy. To be able to improve your lead acquisition and conversion strategy, you will first need to understand your customers’ buyer personas. This will inform how you customize each stage of the sales funnel to their needs for maximum effectiveness. A buyer persona is defined as the representation of your target customer. It is based on market research and real data. Buyer persona includes the customer’s demographics, purchasing habits, motivations, and goals. The more detailed your buyer persona is, the better off you are.

Some tips for creating your buyer persona include:

  • Uncover trends about your web visitors.
  • Use website form fields to capture important information about your target audience.
  • Ask your sales team for recommendations on their leads.
  • Talk to prospects and existing customers about their product preferences.

2. Provide solutions through high-quality informative content

Quality Content

 This is the best time to help your customers see potential issues and provide solutions even if the issues are not that obvious. You can do this by ensuring that your website has great content that is informative and educative to your target audience. You should effectively guide the customers through the change. Find new innovative ways to attract, engage, and convert. Additionally, you can communicate new measures that your business is taking to protect them.

3. Improve your lead acquisition and conversion strategy

AI enabled Chatbot

Business is going to be tight during this period. You cannot afford to lose any opportunity no matter how small it seems. You will have to open your doors to new business through robust digital marketing and ensure that you convert as many leads as possible. This can be done through marketing automation. It also allows personalization of the customer experience. Marketing automation will improve the productivity of your staff, align your sales and marketing efforts, and ultimately increase your revenue. Some marketing automation tips you can use include:

  • Integrate an AI-enabled chatbot on your website to enable round-the-clock Customer Service.
  • Integrate live chats for better customer engagement.
  • Use automated drip campaigns to drive conversions.
  • Have an automated analytics dashboard for measuring key metrics.
  • Automate the customer’s journey down the sales funnel.

4. Make use of social media marketing

Make Use of Social Media

The social media landscape today is constantly evolving. There are new networks and technologies rising every day which increase user participation and allow real-time content sharing. The landscape is no longer just for sharing content and having conversations but also allows for customer acquisition and retention. With an effective social media marketing strategy, you can engage your customers and know how to serve them best while increasing your leads and conversion rates. While the organic reach is shrinking as leading social media platforms look to monetize their investments, it doesn’t mean that you can’t advantage of both paid and organic media to reach your audiences.

5. Stay visible through paid advertising

PPC

Paid advertising on Google Ads and social media platforms such as Facebook will help your business stay visible to the specific audience your business serves. Make use of long-tail keywords to target highly-specific audiences and increase your leads. You can also leverage display ads to stay top of the competition. Display ads are banner ads, either texts or graphics, that appear in strategically designated locations on a website or social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

6. Don’t forget about email marketing

Email Marketing

Another way to always stay on the mind of your customers is through email marketing. It is the most effective way to connect with your customer base. In Ireland, email use was the second most common internet activity at 84% after finding information on goods and services (88%). Social networking comes a distant third at 73%. This is according to a 2018 survey by the Central Statistics Office. Globally, 99% of internet users check their emails on a daily basis. Growing your mailing list and implementing an effective email marketing strategy is therefore bound to put you on top of the mind of your customers.

7.Optimize your sales funnel for conversions

Marketing Funnel

Always strive to convert all your leads to sales. If you are having problems with conversions, you are either attracting low-quality leads or not attracting enough leads. You should look at your sales funnel and ensure that it is optimized for sales conversion. Each stage of the sales funnel should be customized to the customer’s purchase journey.  You should provide them with relevant information at each stage of the funnel.

8.Personalize your customer experience

Why Personalize Marketing

During these uncertain times, excellent customer service is paramount. Your prospects and customers should feel valued. You can do this personalizing your marketing efforts and tailoring them to your audiences. People will engage your business more if your messaging speaks directly to them. Some of the ways to customize and personalize your customer experience include;

  • Use their names when doing email communications.
  • Tailor information and content to their demographics such as age and location.
  • Respond to customer enquiries as soon as possible, providing extra information when you can.

9. Implement remarketing campaigns

Re marketing Example

No prospect is worth letting slip through your hands. Always engage web visitors who left your website without making a purchase with the aim of winning them back. You can do this through remarketing campaigns on search engines and social media platforms. If you are on their radar early enough, you will be able to reach out to them and be included as they revise their budgets to adapt to the crisis.

You can also turn one-time buyers into brand loyalists through retention marketing. You will spend less on your existing customers than on acquiring new ones. It is worth investing every marketing trick you know in retention marketing. It is, however, important to note that your remarketing and retention campaigns should be informed by data and metrics.

Despite the economic slowdown expected because of the COVID-19 pandemic, your consistency and commitment will determine the success of your business this year. All hope is not lost. It is also important to take a break and seek help if you are struggling, either financially or mentally. There are brighter days ahead.

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