By Uju Obuekwe
It’s no secret that the state of the Nigerian
economy has been worsening in recent times. In fact, a recent World Bank report states that the Nigerian economy is at its weakest point in our history.
This poses serious challenges for many businesses. When times are tough, people tend to reduce their spending except on essentials such as food, housing, transportation and medical.
The research shows that spending on products and services — like travel, eating out, clothes and consumer electronics — can quickly become discretionary. Consumers may also eliminate certain products or services like buying real estate or new cars and substitute or switch to a less-expensive alternative. For example, people may switch from buying new clothes, cars, furniture to the used or second-hand version.
Studies have shown that the second-hand market for clothes is actually growing eleven times as fast as the traditional retail sector.
So how can you market your business in a downturn? Most businesses tend to move their marketing budget down the priority list, but that is exactly what you should not do. You have to market your business— especially if you’re a small business owner.
You just need to be creative in your marketing efforts. There are different ways to do that which don’t cost a lot of money. These tips will help you find the right marketing tactics for your business, even during tough economic times.
First, you have to look at your business as a whole. Determine how you can best position it in the marketplace. Is your business recession proof? Do you provide goods and services that are considered essential, or do you have a low-cost alternative for high-priced goods? What are your core strengths? Don’t try to do too much, instead concentrate on what you do well to improve your product offering.
Target your audience carefully. Make sure you are reaching out to the people who are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Consider the right price points and value proposition for your customers.
Aim for customer retention. It’s much cheaper to keep current customers happy than it is to attract new ones. So, make sure you’re providing excellent customer service and offering incentives for repeat business, for testimonials about the value of what you have to offer them and referrals of their friends and colleagues. This will encourage word-of-mouth advertising which is one of the best ways to get customers.
Be creative with your marketing efforts. There is no need to spend a lot of money on traditional advertising methods. Use social media or other creative methods instead. Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn offer great opportunities for promoting your products and services at a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising methods.
No matter the economy’s state of health, you can do well in your business, if you’re willing to focus on your core strengths, aim for customer retention and use social media to reach new customers. By following these tips, small businesses can stay afloat during these tough times.