It is no news that we are in an economic downturn/ recession. A recession that is characterized by layoffs, inflation, and the rising cost of goods.
It is a period that should wake you up if you have become too content with your business model and customer base. It is a time when you must continue to expand your customer/client base if you are going to stay afloat in these tough times.
Expanding your customer base can sometimes mean drawing customers from your competition. But how do you do that? We explore some strategies below:
Research your competition.
Research your competition and see what you can do to entice their customers into becoming your customers. What can you emulate or duplicate? How is your competitor's advertising? Can you step it up a notch?
Visit their business locations if they have one and ask their consumers what they like or don't like about your competition, then tweak your own business practices accordingly.
There might be something about your competitor’s business model that customers really like, or they are doing something out of the box. Whatever it is, within it lies an opportunity to gain more customers.
Update Your Product Offerings.
This is a tactic that worked for Apple in 2014 when they introduced the iPhone 6, a significantly improved version of the iPhone 5. The iPhone 6 was an instant hit and allowed them to take back some of the market shares they had lost to Android.
This strategy requires innovation on your part and if you do it well, you can even raise prices due to differentiation or the fact that you offer a premium product.
The innovation has to be a continuous process or new and novel products will quickly your place in the market.
Lower Your Prices.
This might be a strategy that is more suited to larger companies, but by dropping prices, the chances that you be able to lure customers away from your competitors are high. This is because everyone likes to think they are getting a good deal. It is an excellent short-term strategy that can lead to a higher market share, but keep in mind that competitors can also see this and also lower prices in turn.
Another drawback is that once prices drop, it can be hard to raise them again unless you gain enough market share that competitors are no longer your biggest headache.
Offer more robust customer service.
Providing great customer service is a surefire way to differentiate yourself from your competitors.
During this recession period, place a priority on training your employees to have a full understanding of not just your products and services, but your brand as a whole. They should also be trained in the act of interacting with customers, no matter their departments.
If possible, reward those who do it well, as employees need constant motivation to outperform others.
Your customer service team must always be responsive to customer queries, word will spread, and more people will come onboard, probably from your competitors.
Make it more convenient to use you.
If your competitors make people visit an office to start using a product or service. Make sure yours can be done over the phone.
Convenience doesn’t have to be complicated, you just have to find a way to make people’s lives way easier than they are now, maybe by covering more locations or offering more services.
Take for example, if there was a mechanic shop that offered to meet you anywhere to repair your car and one that always requires you to bring your car to their shop, which one will you choose?
Convenience always appeals to customers and makes them more likely to choose you over the competition.
Aggressively continue marketing.
During the 1990-1991 recession, Intel launched its “Intel Inside” branding campaign, spending $250 million over 18 months, The marketing effort was hugely successful and boosted Intel’s brand awareness and its market position.
A lot of your competitors are probably cutting back on marketing, don’t be tempted to follow suit. If you can afford to, continue to aggressively market.
A great hack to winning with marketing is to figure out where you should stay aggressive or what part of your audience to focus on.
Encourage brand advocates.
One of the most successful ways to attract customers from your competitors is word-of-mouth marketing. A personal recommendation from a friend, family member, or colleague can have a profound impact on consumers who are shopping around for goods or services.
Similarly, online reviews and testimonials are powerful tools when converting a prospective buyer to a dedicated customer. You can persuade existing customers to advocate for your brand through referral marketing strategies, like refer-a-friend schemes, especially if you are just starting out.
Create loyalty programs.
Everyone is interested in freebies, and you can entice your competitors’ customers to become a part of your brand through a membership or loyalty program.
You can also create emotional bonds with customers by sending them gifts on their special days, rather than building a solely transactional relationship. Others will see this and be interested in your brand.
How can Lumen help?
Lumen is dedicated to helping businesses stay afloat, especially during tough periods like this, and that is why we have created a tool to greatly improve your customer retention.
With Lumen you can send your customers personalized messages either through email, SMS, or push notifications to let your customers know that you care about them and are dedicated to helping them succeed.
Get a first look at Lumen here.