We all know that coronavirus has changed everything.
Businesses thought to be safe are struggling. Entrepreneurs are panicking. And sadly, millions of people are losing their jobs.
This is an unprecedented situation — and while some things feel scary, there’s also hope. In fact, some of the most successful businesses have been built during uncertain times.
Let’s talk about how you can build a recession-proof business to weather any storm.
This is exactly what we’ve done at SendFox (part of the Sumo Group family with AppSumo) over the past few weeks.
And it’s helped us have one of our better months EVER. 💰
Let’s dive in…
3 Steps to Build a Recession-Proof Business
Step #1: Create a marketing plan — and keep it organized
Businesses are scrambling right now.
A lot is going on, and it can be easy to lose track of everything that’s being done.
However, even in the chaos, it’s essential to list all your marketing efforts in one centralized place.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated. As you can see here, we’ve centralized all our marketing ideas in one main Google Sheet.
Keeping everything organized helps in two ways — especially if you have a team. Here’s why:
- Everyone knows what they need to do. When team members panic, they pull in different directions. And when people pull in different directions, nothing gets done. You want to avoid this happening to you and your business. Listing out what everyone is doing helps the team move in the same direction.
- We can see what’s missing. When it comes your marketing ideas, stop asking the question “Did we do this yet?” Once you have everything in a document, you’ll see exactly what was done… and then come up with more ideas of things to do. You don’t have to track down a bunch of different people and ask if something was completed – you’ll know at a glance.
You can check out AppSumo’s Chief Sumo, Noah Kagan’s, Marketing Plan when he was the CMO for Mint for free.
To further organize, inside our main Google Sheet, we link to different marketing copy and other documents. Above all, this helps keep everything clean, and still gives us the documentation we need.
For example, here’s the linked Google Doc for one of our marketing projects, Email segmented Sumo customers.
🔑 Key Lesson: Create a centralized Google Sheet for all your marketing strategies right now. You can link to any additional copy, resources, etc. in the Google Sheet — but keep one Google Sheet centralized for anyone. In moments of confusion, this makes everything easy to find.
Step #2: Look for opportunities outside the noise
Every marketer in the world right now is doing a virtual webinar.
Don’t compete where it’s crowded… go where you have MORE opportunity and LESS competition.
Right now, all of us REALLY want two things:
- A way to save money. It’s scary and unpredictable out there. Most of us are tightening our wallets because we don’t know what’s going to happen.
- More cash. Lots of people are getting laid off. People need money because their main streams of income are gone.
To find and help these two groups, our team at SendFox has done a lot of 1-on-1 outreach to two main groups: potential influencers and customers.
1-on-1 outreach is something the marketing community tends to hate. It’s hard to scale, it’s not sexy, and it doesn’t get a lot of attention…
But it works.
We’re targeting potential influencers and customers 1-on-1 for two reasons:
- Influencers can promote SendFox to their audience. With the AppSumo affiliate program, influencers who promote SendFox on AppSumo keep 100% of revenue for new customers they refer to buy. That’s a really helpful source of income for people who have lost their jobs or need money right now.
- Potential customers can move to SendFox to save money. There are a lot of entrepreneurs, content creators, and small businesses paying high monthly costs for their email marketing bill. SendFox’s one-time cost (for small senders) or 50% off monthly cost (for large senders) can help people save a TON of money during this chaotic period.
Reaching out to these potential influencers and customers 1-on-1 doesn’t mean we’re blasting hundreds of cold leads per day non-stop (we all get enough spammy cold outreach every day).
We’re looking at highly-targeted relevant people who we think could really benefit from SendFox right now. Consistency is key — even if we email just 5-10 highly targeted potential customers or affiliates per day, the numbers add up.
Here are the exact scripts we used for each type of outreach:
Influencer outreach. We picked our FAVORITE and BEST current SendFox customers, and then messaged them to be a part of the AppSumo affiliate program promoting SendFox. We heavily emphasized one of the key things people want right now — to make more money. Because our message matches what people want right now, the response rate has been super high (40%).
Prospective customer outreach. We want our favorite people using SendFox. So whenever we get an email from a newsletter we’re subscribed to in our inbox, we tell them about SendFox. Don’t make marketing more complicated than it needs to be. Sometimes, it’s just about leveraging your network and keeping it simple.
When we reach out to an influencer or potential customer, we make note of them inside a second Google Sheet (linked in our main Google Sheet to keep everything organized).
🔑 Key Lesson: Think about what your customers want right now. During tough times, it’s usually to save money or make more money. Then think about the marketing channels you can reach them, and what you can offer them.
Step #3: Make sure the ENTIRE team is involved
Even though it’s a crazy time, it’s important to slow down enough to keep the team focused.
If you’re leading your team, and you’re frazzled, stressed, and all-over-the-place… the entire team will match that energy.
With SendFox, I’ve kept my team in the loop daily, and shown them all the people I’m outreaching (including the results).
Leaders lead by action. When we tell our team something is important, we as leaders should shift our priorities there, too.
And when a team member does something great towards our goal, it’s vital to provide positive reinforcement. Every action makes a difference!
Stepping back and not losing sight of the forest for the trees, I remind our team daily that two things are critical:
- Finding potential customers who we can help save money by switching to SendFox
- Finding potential influencers we can help make money by sharing SendFox with their audience
Setting clear high-level instructions — “let’s help new customers save money, and influencers make money” — gives large boundaries for the team to be creative.
One of our team members, Samantha, decided to take the idea of “more customers” and promote our product on Reddit. It was totally her idea, and it was AWESOME to see the initiative.
🔑 Key Lesson: Lead your team with action. Model what they should do by taking action on the right things yourself, and then encourage them to be creative to accomplish the goals you’ve set.
It’s a crazy time in business, but crazy times also mean OPPORTUNITY.
You have the opportunity to organize experimental marketing channels.
You have the opportunity to lead your team better than ever.
And you have the opportunity to get creative.
Remember the 3 steps to build a recession-proof business:
- Create a marketing plan — and keep it organized
- Look for opportunities outside the noise
- Make sure the ENTIRE team is involved
If you want to cut your email marketing costs by literally 5-10x, check out SendFox, an exclusive deal on AppSumo starting at a one-time cost of $49.