EP151 – Marketing Your Services in an Economic Decline

As the economy naturally changes, how do we adapt? Whether it is a temporary scare, industry shift, or a documented recession, we have options during an economic decline.

Jason and Bridget are joined by Pam Aungst of PamAnnMarketing.com to discuss how to market your WordPress business during these difficult times.

“We’re still humans. We still have emotions and we still do business with people we know, like and trust. Pick up your phone and call your clients. Real human connection is the important part about life.” Pam Aungst

Our show notes only touch on highlights. As always, we encourage you to watch (or listen) to the whole episode.

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About Pam Aungst

Pam Aungst is no stranger to innovating marketing and business strategies. Not only does she have a natural intuition toward strategy and marketing, but she has an MBA, too.

Throughout her career, Pam has been able to pivot companies during economic declines. She has done this for industrial products and even niching down in the SEO and PPC field.

Her agency, Pam Ann Marketing, and it’s white label sister company, Stealth Search and Analytics, have just turned seven years old and she’s released a new plugin: Crosscheck SEO – “Search Engine Visibility & Robots.txt Monitoring & Email Alerts Plugin for WordPress.”

Be sure to follow Pam on Twitter.

Empathy in an Economic Decline

The most important driving force to cope with an economic decline is empathy. In many ways our businesses are interlinked and codependent. (Not codependent in a toxic way but a symbiotic way. Think algae and fungus. We can learn a lot from nature’s systems.)

“The symbiotic relationship between algae and fungus creates lichen. The algae make energy through the process of photosynthesis and the fungus provides protection from the elements to the algae. Without the protection of fungus the algae would die and without the life giving energy produced by algae the fungus would die. It is a true partnership!” Curtis Carman

Remember, in any time, it is easier to keep an existing client base than gain new ones. Ask your clients what they need and don’t be afraid to loosen up a bit. Generally Pam doesn’t change her hourly rate or contract terms, but right now she believes serving her clients where they are today is more important.

“I don’t have an exact plan and I refuse to have an exact plan. We have to ride this wave.” Pam Aungst

The best way to demonstrate empathy is to get ahead of the situation.

“Be as empathetic as possible. [My clients] are all asking to pause; I’m not enforcing my contract.” Pam Aungst

A recession or economic decline tends to move people toward the do-it-yourself model. But your relationships with your clients should still be maintained through helpful communication.

“Figure out how to help the client [and] maintain the relationship.” Pam Aungst

Pivoting in an Economic Decline

When Pam was in charge of the her department and the company hit an economic decline, they made the decision to strategically pivot. She’s proud that they grew 30% year over year in that recession. This comes from being creative and self-aware.

“What other skills do you have or could you develop to help your clients?” Pam Aungst

Pam likes the “gun to your head” thought experiment. Imagine you’re forced fo choose a career. What’s the first thing that you think of? Now, take that and see what elements of those you can introduce.

If the first thing you said was “teach.” Then develop some online courses.

As an aside, Chris Badgett has been advocating this forever but especially now.

“If you inventory your skills, life experience & passions, (and overlap that with what the world needs right now) what could you make a free or paid online course about?” Chris Badgett

If you were hosting events, do them virtually. If you were going to speak at a conference, offer free consulting.

Email Marketing in an Economic Decline

Bridget recommends against ambulance chasing. This applies to your email marketing. Jason mentioned we don’t need emails from companies who are electronic-only. The “cloud” is safe from COVID-19. Don’t be part of the noise when an emergency hits. Be part of the solution.

“Before you send any email, think about what’s in it for them.” Pam Aungst

Instead, why not reach out via text, phone, or email with this simple line, suggests Pam:

“I’m thinking about you.”

Those four words make a huge impact. We’re all businesses. Truly, we are all affected together, but we choose to be in it together.

Tool or Tip of the Week

This Tool or Tip of the week is brought to you by Fat Dog Creatives. If you’re a service-based business serious about growth, Rhonda Negard is your rebranding and web design thinker, a strategic design specialist. Check out her website at FatDogCreatives.com

Pam recommends the following:

  • Relax.
  • Mental health really matters now more than ever.
  • Take care of yourself.
  • Do you.

Jason recommends Unichar. Sometimes you need those trademark and copyright symbols.

Bridget recommends the Smule. You can still do karaoke and meet new people.

Weekly Watercooler Discussions about WordPress and it’s community.

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