If you want your company to stand out in a crowded marketplace and hold on to a loyal customer base, it’s going to take more than just slapping together a user-friendly website and engaging with your current and potential clients on social media. In a tight and uncertain economy, you’ll need to give people a better reason to stick with your particular products and services for the long haul.
Below, members of Forbes Business Development Council offer 14 creative and practical ideas to help your brand remain relevant in today’s changing global market.
1. Leverage Your Database Of Potential and Existing Customers
The strongest organizations find ways to stay in front of prospects through a longer sales funnel. Building thought leadership and strong CTAs in digital-first marketing can be a surefire way to maximize conversion without incurring any additional cost. – Mark Cerminaro, RAPID FINANCE
2. Stay Relevant
Staying relevant is key to a resilient business always, not just in a tight economy. There are two ways to stay relevant. 1. Out-Inventing self by introducing new offerings or products to your customers, you’ll drive the relevancy (ie., Netflix went from DVDs to streaming to a television and film production house). 2. Keeping pace with your customers and tuning in to their needs will enable your company to provide offerings that are based on what the customers want (ie., Schwab offering stock slices). – Bharath Yadla, Workato
3. Analyze Your Competitors
A business should refer to good old-fashioned competitor analysis, unique selling propositions and positionings revision to stay relevant or reinvent itself in a tight economy. In fact, founders sometimes forget or do not pay much attention to these basic marketing activities. And even if it was done, these aspects should be revised over time, because the market is constantly changing. – Yulia Koroleva, Code Inspiration
4. Work On The Business
Shift from working “in” the business to working “on” the business. Those that can work on the operational and tactical fundamentals can build new efficiencies and improve on several KPIs. Also, this is a great time to focus on improving the product’s core value and go deeper into customer sentiment to make sure you are focusing on the right areas. In a tight economy, it’s time to tighten up your processes. – Jonathan Ferrell, Ideoclick, Inc.
5. Get Personal With Your Clients
Human connection is essential, so make time to give a call to people and don’t sell. Just say hello and see how clients are doing. This human touch followed up with a handwritten personal card will go a long way. – Wayne Elsey, The Funds2Orgs Group
6. Survey Your Current Clients
Start by talking to your current clients. Ask them why they do business with you, what they value most about your products or services and how you help them solve their business issues. Ask them what other challenges you might be able to assist them with. If they are doing business with you it means they like you and would probably be more than happy to assist you in growing your business. – Vincent Burruano, JK Moving Services
7. Say Thank You
Send a handwritten letter or small gift box to show a deep appreciation for your existing customers. Personal outreach is exceptionally effective to stay in the minds of customers. It’s not the words that stick but more the feeling they give. Make these gestures throughout the entire journey with your customers because they deserve to know you need them regardless of whether you’re reinventing yourself or not. – Britta Lorenz, PDAgroup GmbH
8. If You’re Not Blogging, Start Now
Blog like you mean it and never stop doing it! The number one thing that you can do for your business is to tell the world about it. Blogging may cost you personal time. But publishing those blogs with the right targeting for your keywords will, over time, garner you top search engine ranking for humanistic searches. This helps to drive the most valuable form of traffic that money can’t buy. – Brandon Batchelor, ReadyCloud Suite
9. Engage In Virtual Customer Workshops And Roundtables
Use ongoing virtual customer workshops and roundtables to ensure your offerings are meeting the customer’s needs. Explore the challenges that each customer is facing and find ways to help. You can show how existing products will help or use the feedback to modify your current suite of products and services. – Michael Fritsch, Prometheus Performance Systems LLC
10. Recruit New Talent To Reach New Markets
Utilize your talent acquisition team by implementing a high-level market penetration to help the team develop new business segments. A robust marketing strategy with branding is also key to expanding outreach in order to canvass a wider group of customers. In addition, by diversifying the product or service line, you’ll be able to target a brand new customer base. Get all senior executives to be out there in front of the key customer for account retention.
11. Enhance Customer Involvement
In order to alleviate the effects of a tight economy, businesses need to rethink their strategy and adopt a business model which fosters a deeper customer involvement and joint innovation model. This promotes a culture of collaboration for greater creativity and joint success. It also provides an enhanced customer satisfaction at a much lower cost. – Shyam Kumar, CloudNuro LLC
12. Focus On Customer Service
Improving your customer service doesn’t generate new expenses for your business, and small updates in this area usually have a huge impact on customer retention. This will help them build a positive relationship with your brand. They’ll become natural ambassadors and will be more likely to tell others about your solutions. There’s no better marketing than a recommendation from someone we trust. – Anna Jankowska, RTB House
13. Create A Strategic Business Plan
Plan. Plan. Plan. Having a strategic business plan in place will help you determine how to compete or if you should reinvent yourself. Your business plan will take the guesswork out of strategy and budgets while keeping your eyes on the bottom line. – Joseph Ferriolo, Wise Business Plans
14. Build The Right Ties With Academia
Building the right ties with people in academia is one of the safest and most inexpensive ways to get currency on market research and currency trends. Engaging with academia helps businesses identify gaps in an impersonal and deeply-studied setting. Commissioning projects with them is a great step forward under any economy. – Wajid Mirza, Arthur Lawrence