Many businesses make the mistake of freezing up when times are tough or slow. They hunker down and don't spend any more money than necessary. One of the first things that usually goes is marketing. They do it to save money, but really it's costing them money in the long run. Marketing plays a big role in bringing you business. It's what takes your message to the public and gives customers a reason to think of you. When you stop marketing, the tough times get tougher and the slow times get slower.
The other side of that coin is not marketing when times are good. Many people make the false assumption that since business is booming, there's no need to market. Clearly they've got enough business to do without it...until they hit an inevitable dip. When you don't market during the good times too, there's nothing waiting in the pipeline when sales reaches a lull. At that point, your cash flow may have dwindled to a trickle, and you don't feel like you can afford to market, and then you're back to the first problem.
The only way to combat this vicious cycle is to make a commitment to market, in good times and bad. I'm not suggesting that you break the bank with elaborate marketing when you can't afford it. What I'm recommending is a consistent drip marketing plan. These drips can be anything, big or small, from direct mail to TV spots to simple email newsletters. The whole point is to continuously get your name and your message in front of your customer.
Regardless of what channel or method you use, the key is commitment. If you don't make yourself a commitment from the beginning, you will be tempted to stop as soon as business slows down. It may be hard to make yourself market in the slow times, cash flow is just too tight. But you have to look at the big picture. There will be months that everything works beautifully and your phones will be ringing off the hooks. There will be months that you think nothing is working and that your drip marketing campaigns are wasting money, but they're not. Drip marketing evens out your cash flow by making sure there are primed customers ready to be sold, in good times or bad.
For most businesses, making that commitment is tough, maybe even impossible. Few can have the time or can afford to handle this continuous drip marketing schedule on their own. But there is a way to do it. Next week, I'll tell you how automation can make the process easier and more affordable for your company.