Trick or treat: The changing economy and small business marketing

October comes whipping right along on the calendar.

It seems like the languid summer days conclude and October launches like a speed racer toward the holidays and new year full of blowing leaves, shorter days and a feeling of imminent conclusion in the air.

This year has been no different. There is one new texture that is coloring small business marketing this year that we have not seen in some time. That texture is economic uncertainty.

Some of my clients are just overwhelmed with demand for their products and services. Other clients are starting to show signs of worry about the coming months and the new year. How can some businesses be swamped with revenue-producing work and others faltering and drying up financially?

The nervous rumblings I hear from some clients are sounds I recognize well. From professional practices worrying prospective client pipelines are less robust than they have been in the past couple of years to health care professionals straining to fill schedules with patient sessions to nonprofit organizations fearing people won't donate as much as last year, the worries are legitimate. The economic direction of the business community is unclear.

How should small business marketing professionals respond to a shaky economy? The answer may surprise you.

The time to invest in marketing strategies is now when things feel like they are losing steam when the pipelines of potential customers are less robust when fewer people are scheduling appointments and when sales are down. The natural reaction is to cut budgets. If you reduce your spending, you will suffer financially.

This last quarter of 2022 is proving to be complex for many small businesses. The trick here for the small business marketer is to grab hold of the marketing space and not let go. The treat will be a revenue reward, an increase in market share and closed deals that were hanging in the ether if small business marketers hold their plans steady through this year.

In practical terminology, this means now is the time to invest in a little local advertising and reassert your business presence in communities that care a lot about what you do. Focused local advertising shines through to consumers in trade publications, local newspapers, magazines and even on the radio.

Digital marketing is also essential right now. Small businesses must invest in their search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. If you are not investing in SEO tactics for your business, you are absolutely losing to your competitor who is investing.

Interestingly, many medium and large businesses are reducing their marketing spend, which creates remarkable opportunity in the SEO space for smaller businesses looking to gain traction in specific geographic spaces and through specific key word searches.

There are two months left to this fiscal year. Small business marketers will be working hard to do everything possible to close the year strongly with as much business booked as possible.

Now is not the time to cut marketing budgets. As the markets shift to headwinds, now is the time to batten down the hatches and hold your marketing strategies in place, while investing more in the ones that really perform for your business.

Dig into marketing now so you can conclude this year successfully. A new year is just around the corner, how will you position your business to finish as strong as possible?

• Rebecca Hoffman is the founder and principal of Good Egg Concepts, a strategic communication and brand marketing consulting practice serving clients around Chicagoland and nationally.

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