When it comes to the double dip in the recession the immortal words of Yogi Berra ring true: “It’s déjà vu all over again!” The nation that essentially invented global credit has seen its own credit rating slashed, and while the stock market gyrates in response to contradictory and paradoxical economic events the only thing financial experts can truly agree on is that the international economy is not going to get better anytime soon. Email marketing in a recessionary scenario is considerably more challenging than the buckshot pitching of products during booms, and these seven factors should be carefully considered by all online promoters to improve their efficiencies.
1. Refine your pricing strategies – Catering to the more money-conscious recessionary consumer does not necessarily equate to a wholesale guillotining of your list prices, but you may want to offer special limited time price promotions; extend greater promotional offerings to loyal customers; adopt generous RMA policies; offer free or cut-rate shipping; and reduce the thresholds for critical quantity discounting. When the economy is down, the attraction of lower prices readily supersedes the allure of email sweepstakes and contests.
2. Adjust your product mix – Recessionary times favor products that have multiple purposes over specialized “flash in the pan” trendy devices. Gimmicks fall flat when the economy is unhealthy, but durability, reliability, competitive performance and safety never go out of style. When introducing a new product the onus must be on an advantageous price to performance ratio, rather than the promotion of your corporate image or the chimeras of the status, social or sexy benefits to owning it.
3. Find out more about your subscriber – With conspicuous consumption fading, consumers are expending more time and effort to search for the right deal while minimizing or outright postponing purchases. By stepping up your research and resulting email list segmentation you will be able to more readily comprehend how your customers respond to the state of the economy and how they are redefining the essence of value.
4. Bring it back home – Rugged adventure, extreme sports and vigorous individualism become secondary to a withdrawal to the home and hearth in a recession. The expenditure for the expedition to rock climb in Morocco gets replaced by home entertainment, connectivity and furnishings. Adjust your email marketing campaigns away from escapades and polarizing subjects to home-centric family values and your customers will respond.
5. Ramp up your social conversation – Unlike spending $100,000 a second for a spot on the SuperBowl, social media interaction with your customer base is readily affordable in any economic condition. A consumer who is worried and leery needs reassurance that a brand is accessible and worthy of trust, so redoubling your efforts in the social media sphere will provide an authoritative and informative presence which will act as a “face” for your entire company.
6. Partner with charities – When consumers face tough times they gain sensitivity for the even less fortunate, so mobilizing your customers to support a specific and thoroughly reputable non-profit organization will result in a wave of good will towards your brand. Charities are strongly affected in recessions as their donations dwindle, so they will be even more grateful for your support and willing to participate to help you achieve your email marketing goals.
7. Keep up the pressure – Most of your competitors are backing off on their advertising spending during a recession, yet it is a time-honored fact that companies that increase their ad spends in down cycles not only improve market share but also return on investment. In times of uncertainty your customers seek the reassurance of known brands, so a stepping up of your email promotion of the familiar and comforting will be received favorably.
During prolonged recessionary periods email marketers must never compromise their consumer value propositions or reduce the comforting and efficient experience your customers have come to rely on from you. Although you may have to temporarily squeeze your margins, it should be a priority to keep your customers satisfied with your brand rather than motivating them to sample the competition. Keeping subscribers happy will result in long term loyalty!
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