Inflation makes it much more difficult for any business to succeed, but it can have worse consequences for small businesses than larger organizations. We are not sure how long inflation will continue. It is dropping, but the aggressive action of the Federal Reserve has not stopped it, and their action may bring on a recession. Even if that doesn’t happen, the interest rate hikes have made it more difficult for every business to obtain loans or maintain a healthy cash flow.
So, what can you do if you’re a small business leader in a Business-to-Business (B2B) company? Here are four ways to make sure your marketing efforts succeed this year.
Maximize the Results from Your Technology
If you are using technology in your marketing program, make sure you have maximized the results you are getting. More than 80 percent of the companies I meet with are not using the full capability of their CRMs or Marketing Automation Platforms (MAPs). I hope you are in the 20 percent, and not the majority. If you’re not sure, you may want to schedule an ad hoc consultation to discuss whether there are other things you could be doing.
What can a CRM or MAP do that most companies are not taking advantage of? Most can automate your sales and email marketing processes to minimize human involvement and provide a greater ROI. On the marketing side, these platforms can be used to attract and engage better qualified leads. Your CRM should be able to limit in-person sales contacts and decrease the number of sales calls needed before an opportunity closes.
Be Creative with Your Offerings and Pricing Structure
We’ve heard reports of vendors and service providers that raised prices in December, which was atypical, and they are raising their prices again before the end of March. You may be one of the companies that has had to do this. Before simply raising your price, think about how you can make the cost easier for your customers to bear.
Can you increase the value you provide? Can you offer a lower-priced version of your service or product? Can you extend a payment plan option to them without sacrificing your company’s financial health?
Remember, your customers are also being squeezed by inflation. If your price becomes unaffordable to them, they may turn to an alternative. Consider whether the cost of acquiring a new customer is higher than any loss of revenue for a single sale.
Use Video and Hyper-Targeted Lead Generation Messaging
While longer content is great for search engines, people may have less and less time to devote to finding and reading the content they need. Deliver content to your prospects that is timely, targeted to their interests, and convenient. “Convenient” means easy for them to find in the places they typically go to find answers to their questions and concerns. These days that may mean YouTube or even TikTok and Instagram.
Create content that has a targeted purpose. Meet your prospects where they are in the buying cycle and provide content that answers the questions they may have at that point in the cycle. Keep your messaging short and to the point. Include links to additional, more detailed content they can check out if they have time. And use video. In addition to being easier to digest, it also puts a face on your company. Yeah, I know. I hate being on video too.
Use Flexible Staffing
Maybe you have already tuned your marketing organization as much as you think you can, but agility is going to be more critical this year than ever before. It’s worth looking into whether you can be more agile. Responsiveness and flexibility of your team are key this year.
The labor market has also been very challenging for small businesses. You may be one of the many companies that has been forced to run with less-than-optimal staffing. You may have also lost your best people to opportunities at companies that were able to pay better or offer better benefits. But there is talent out there.
Fractional Executives and consultants can be worth their weight in gold when it comes to providing expertise without the cost of a typical senior executive. Here are five signs you might benefit from bringing in a Fractional Chief Marketing Officer (from Foresight Performance, of course).
When we look back at 2023, we will all see how many challenges we have been faced with and, hopefully, overcome. If there is anything I can do to help you meet a challenge you are facing, please do not hesitate to set up a complimentary conversation with me. You can do that here.