How To Survive (Even Thrive) During This Recession
From Willie Crawford.
We are in a real recession, despite all of the emails that start out with, “What Recession?”
Tons of my subscribers have declared bankruptcy, or lost jobs or homes.
U.S. unemployment is creeping past 10%.
Lots of my subscribers have simply given up – many of them were marketing to the wrong niche – something I’ll discuss later.
As much as a year ago, I saw more and more people on discussion forums announcing sales or asking for handouts to prevent losing their homes.
The BIG question is “How do you survive the recession and emerge with a business that’s stronger than ever?”
A second question is “What should you be selling now?”
Both questions are things I’ve been asked a lot lately, and something I’ve done a lot of thinking about. The answers offered here actually came to me when I stopped consciously struggling with the questions and simply passed them questions off to my subconscious mind. In fact, many of the answers came to me in a series of rather strange dreams.
I know, that sounds quirky, but it’s true. For several nights in a row I dreamed of being in battles with strange creatures, or with roving gangs of thugs. I faced attack after attack and was somewhat baffled that they kept coming (seemingly unperturbed) but I successfully defeated them all.
While sitting and thinking about those dreams, and reflecting upon conversations with some of my mentors on the topic of how so many online marketers are struggling, it became clear to me.
Like the attackers in my dreams, this recession is unlike anything most business people have ever faced before. Like the attackers in my dreams, the challenges are VERY persistent.
Dealing with this recession will require a lot of resourcefulness, a serious look at what assets your business has (and how to best use them), and taking massive proper action.
Exactly how to do that is what I hope this special report brings into very clear focus!
First of all, your customers are really tightening their belts. They are more hesitant to buy things than they’ve been in recent history, making it harder for you to make sales. That means that you must sell those things that they aren’t hesitant to buy – those things that they view as “must haves!”
Incidentally, even your wealthier prospects are tightening their belts.
For MOST marketers that I’ve discussed the topic with, email response rates are at an all-time DISMAL low.
For even the biggest seminar promoters (the household names) seminar attendance is noticeable down.
The belt-tightening is painfully obvious to those paying attention.
This means that you absolutely must offer the right products to your customers. You must offer them quality products that they really need and want.
As has been happening for far too long in the internet marketing niche, just throwing together shabby products and doing product launch after product launch will no longer work. That kills off your customers, and also eventually kills off your business.
I get a dozen emails many days from people inviting me to take part in product launches. Those invites generally come with a free review copy of the product. There are not enough hours in the day for me to look at them all, so I politely declined 99% of them.
All of these product launches seem to be a sign of the desperation! More and more internet marketers are buckling down and cranking out “me too” products that are often of horrendous quality!
Ok, so we know what the problem is – what about the solution?
Let’s approach this by getting you to examine a series of critical questions…
1) Who are your customers?
This is something many online marketers never really seem to have nailed down. You should actually build an internet business by identifying who the core group of customers are that you’re going to serve. Then, you identify what it is that they really want and are willing to pay for.
As an example, my core product is website traffic generation, and my primary customers are other internet marketers. When I first decided to enter the internet marketing niche, I asked the question, “What is it that EVERYONE in this niche needs?”
The answer was and continues to be traffic. That’s why my core product is http://EasyPushButtonTraffic.com
2) Are you focusing on customers with money?
The formula is that you sell a product that people actually want, to those who can and are willing to pay for it.
Many internet marketers miss that second part. They either try to sell a product that people are unwilling to pay for, or they try to sell it to people who can’t afford it.
As the recession caused noticeable shifts in my sales to internet marketers, I actually shifted slightly, and started focusing more on local offline businesses.
Local offline businesses often have websites too, they need more traffic, and most importantly, they have budgets set aside for advertising. My only challenge was to point out to them that spending their advertising dollars with me was generally MORE effective than many other forms of advertising.
While it’s very noble to want to help out people who are struggling, you do need to ask if this can make you any real money. Targeting the wrong customers is why many internet marketers are experiencing dismal sales!
3) What do your customers really need to survive this recession?
Given that your customers are tightening their belts and often spending only on necessities, you need to make sure that you are selling necessities. Getting back to my traffic example, an internet business absolutely must have traffic to survive! They can afford to cut costs in other areas but they know that they still need traffic.
4) How can your customers actually grow their businesses?
Sales are down for many businesses and some are even in danger of closing their doors. Anything that you can offer that your customers can clearly see will make a real difference is something that they should logically buy.
Your customers are looking for solutions to stalled business growth – due partly to the recession. Find and offer those solutions – real solutions to real problems.
5) What products/services are indispensable for your customers right now?
As pointed out with the traffic example, there are certain things that your customers must have. Look closely at your customers, and figure out what those things are. If you can’t figure it out on your own, survey your customers or ask your mastermind group!
6) Where are your customers and how do you reach them?
Your customers congregate somewhere online. The formula for getting them to your site is to figure out where your customers are and to stand in front of the traffic. I do that with content (articles, podcasts, press releases, videos).
By distributing my content in article directories, video sharing sites, etc., I stand in front of the pools of people who visit those site. Since I generate a LOT of content, I use automated submissions to get my content in as many places as possible. I use http://EasyPushButtonTraffic.com for that.
An alternative to content distribution would be using pay-per-click advertising, but that can get very expensive, and most marketers that I’ve discussed the topic with never got a positive return-on-investment.
Pay-per-click requires too much time and effort really mastering it to be viable for most marketers. That’s why I’m so big on content distribution. It offers tremendous leverage with no risk.
Your customers go online looking for solutions to their problems. You merely create content that solves those problems and through the search engines and directory sites they will find you.
7) How do you communicate with your customers in a way that lets them see that your products/services really are the answer?
At it’s simples, you merely need to talk about your customers most painful problems, and then show them why your product is an obvious solution.
By talking to their pain, you prove that you understand them, and reach them on a deep emotional level.
It is very important that you do this in a way that leads them to conclude that your product is the ideal solution, rather than yelling “buy my product” at them. That method of selling has been described as implication rather than specification.
Just remember that people like to buy, but they generally don’t like being sold to.
What do you offer to struggling customers who often really are cash-strapped?
Depending upon your market, your customers may really have very little cash. Even with large companies, cashflow is often a problem.
Often with the above situation, price is not the issue as much as cashflow. Often the solution to making more sales is as simple as convenient payment terms.
The recession has affected different groups of people in different ways though, so you do need to ask if you’re marketing to the right group. You may be able to continue marketing the same product, only offering it to a different segment of the market. My example earlier of offering “traffic” but shifting my marketing slightly to offer it to local businesses is the perfect example.
You can even segment your market and offer essentially the same product to different segments of the market at different price-points.
9) Are there other ways to monetize your traffic?
The rule is that you should always offer your customers other “backend” products. It makes no sense to work hard at generating a customer only to offer him one product, and then go off in search of another customer.
In internet marketing you capture your customer’s contact information, and you periodically email him about other related products. Simple enough.
If you have a website that’s largely a content website (perhaps a blog) then you subtly integrate recommendations for other products right into your content.
One system that I recently tested allows you to automatically generate webpages that have your Amazon.com, Ebay, Clickbank, Google AdSense, etc., links automatically inserted. It’s finds products related to the topic of the content, and adds your links.
Essentially, just by sharing useful content, your site automatically generates income for you. That system is called Profit Mart, and you can check it out at: http://budurl.com/ProfitMart
As you generate website visitors, you must acknowledge that the majority of them will leave without making a purchases. The key to monetizing that traffic is sending them some place where you get paid. Profit Mart does that nicely.
We’ve just covered tactics to survive, and even thrive during this recession. All of the issues mentioned above are important, and overlooking any one of them could have a significant impact.
There are many millionaires made during every recessions/depression. There’s no reason that you can’t be one of them. The secret is taking massive proper action – all the way through to completion.
To help you succeed Willie has created The Internet Marketing Inner Circle, a membership site where he frequently brainstorms solutions to problems such as those discussed in this article. Join that discussion for your success at TheInternetMarketingInnercircle.