How any small business can prove its marketing inflation

It started with the rise in grocery prices, but now inflation is everywhere we look. The latest Consumer Price Index confirmed what many of us suspected: inflation may be slowing, but it is not going anywhere in a while. For small businesses in America, this is another hurdle they need to overcome.

When I talk to small business owners, they all share the same feeling of uncertainty about rising inflation. However, their resilience stands out when asked how to deal with these economic pressures. While business owners cannot control all of the rapidly rising costs, they can use marketing as a tool to help their business cope with inflation.

Take advantage of technology to understand your customers.

The pandemic has fueled the rapid reception of e-commerce, and people are buying more online than ever before. In 2021, more than 2.14 billion consumers bought a product or service online – twice as many as in recent years. This opens up a treasure trove of customer information.

Don’t be fooled by the old adage that data collection and other marketing technologies aren’t available to small businesses. Nowadays, they are relatively simple and inexpensive to set up, and are significantly equal when competing against big brands.

As inflation affects consumer behavior, companies can set indicators that can assess what a positive interaction, sale, or return customer is all about. Small business owners have some common sense and this can be turned into a superpower by using data to better understand customer data.

Communicate early and truthfully.

Imagine this: You show up at your favorite restaurant in your neighborhood, and when you receive your bill, your regular visit is significantly more expensive. You love this local place, but now you feel a little conflicted because you didn’t expect a price increase. This will be a common experience as inflation lasts throughout the year. However, the good news for small businesses in America is that 70 percent of consumers plan to continue helping small businesses, despite the record inflation.

Consumers want to see their favorite business succeed, and business owners can ensure that this happens by communicating early and frequently about the impact of external factors on the business. Ninety percent of consumers say that transparency and adherence to values ​​are important factors in deciding which business to help and that small businesses have a unique position to do so.

While social networking continues to be a great way to communicate with customers, switching to direct channels like email and SMS makes for better engagement and clearer communication. Both parties have agreed on this flow of communication and business owners can ensure that their message reaches their loyal and committed customers.

Simplify, simplify, simplify.

Inflation is a direct threat to the consequences of small businesses and is putting pressure on business owners to identify where they can save costs. Tactically, marketing can be cut short in times of financial conflict; you should not make a decision between making a payroll or investing in marketing.

What I love about marketing is how light it can be. At such times, companies should not overdo their marketing tactics and tools. Small businesses can analyze the data, listen to customers, and find the right channels and the right budget to communicate effectively. Marketing should never break the bank in order to be effective.

This can be a daunting task for small business owners right now. Like many of the challenges they have faced over the past two years, inflation is out of their control, forcing them to make difficult decisions. For all small businesses that face this reality, I encourage you to put your customer at the center of the decision-making process. Guess what’s most important to them, and then use your marketing tools to try to give it to them. You’ll have a more loyal audience, and you’ll probably have a thriving business as well.

The opinions expressed here by the Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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