Should I still be marketing if the business is slow? Three points to consider.

If you’ve been in business for a few years, you know that even if your business is not seasonal, there are some external fluctuations that may affect your revenue on a regular basis. We’ve all seen changes to some extent over the last few years since the pandemic. The question I often hear from small business owners is if they should still be marketing their business if the business slows down. Here are three points to keep in mind if you are pondering the same question:

1. Why did your business slow down?

Is it because your industry is going through changes, or is it something internal that caused the reduction in your revenue? Look at all angles. Businesses are never linear, looking at your business from one angle may cause tunnel vision, and you can miss opportunities that are right in front of you. For instance, let’s say your industry is going through changes. A change like this was seen in the legal industry in BC when the legislation changed for personal injury lawyers. Many law firms felt the change in their revenue. How does marketing play a role here? Marketing, as your communication tool, helps you to communicate other offers you have to ensure that your customers are aware of how you can help them, beyond the personal injury legal help.

Action this: review the main problem of why your business is slowing down and asses how marketing, as a communication tool, can help you grow.

2. What are you doing to attract new customers?

Running a small business is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Marketing is not a sprint either. For marketing to be effective, it must be consistent and strategic. Your marketing strategy must also be consistent and connected with your specific sales goals and strategies. How are you attracting new customers right now? Is it word of mouth, or is it referrals or business from existing clients? While these channels are great, diversifying marketing is key to ensure you allow for a level of predictability in your lead flow as your business grows. When you diversify your marketing, you know that you can shift from one channel to another as needed, depending on your marketing budget. So even when your business is slow, you can shift your marketing efforts into the areas where you normally don’t pay attention when business is booming. See, when business slows down, it reveals a lot of inefficiencies and having marketing inefficiencies could be costly. When you have a diverse marketing strategy, you can shift as needed to keep your marketing on purpose, supporting your business exactly where it’s needed.

For example, if your business is seasonal and your leads slow down in the winter, you may want to consider putting your marketing minds on working towards building or strengthening your customer retention programs or improving internal communications.

Action this: review your sales strategy and see how it could be aligned with your marketing efforts to maximize your input in both areas.

3. Are there any fresh marketing opportunities?

What’s interesting about marketing is that it’s an easy cost to cut. I’ve been in this industry for over 17 years, and I’ve seen the patterns. Something happens in the economy, companies cut their marketing costs, missing low-hanging fruit marketing opportunities. For example, what we’ve seen with some of our clients during 2020 is that, in some cases, all of a sudden, there was less competition in digital marketing to compete with, as many people pulled their marketing off Google Ads. What this means is that there’s less competition bidding on certain keywords, meaning the cost per click could go down – which offers you more website traffic at lower costs. And then, a few months later, businesses realized that the world was not ending, they came back to market their businesses with increased budgets because there was an influx of companies that realized that they still needed to run their businesses and still needed their customers to find them.

Action this: look at your marketing strategy and make data-driven decisions about your marketing plans and budgets.

In conclusion

So if you were to ask me if you should stop marketing your business during a slower period, I’d say this… Yes, pause all marketing if you run a cookie-cutter campaign without any data-driven evidence of what you should or should not do – you are wasting your money. No, absolutely do not pause your marketing, keep running your marketing IF your marketing team has clarity, consistency and connectedness in their strategy vs your business goals and needs.

Was this helpful in gaining some fresh perspectives? Contact our marketing agency in Vancouver to learn more about how we can help you gain more clarity in your marketing to help you grow your business. We would love to chat over a video call or in person in our beautiful office near Gastown – we always have chocolate!