Whether it’s a crisis in a distant country or political turmoil here at home, a glance at the day’s headlines serves as a reminder that much of what happens in the world is beyond our control, including the economy. That’s why, if you are a business owner or a financial advisor whose personal income is tied to AUM, it’s critical that you have a plan for when the next recession hits and your revenue falls. While you can’t control the global economy or the actions of politicians, you can control how you run your own business. Two ways to help your business survive the next downturn are making a commitment to marketing and developing a crisis communication plan.
Commit to Marketing
The stock market may be in a long-running bull market, but volatility has been spooking investors both this year and last. Case in point: the market sell-off in late August 2015. On August 18, the Dow Jones industrials began a slide that turned really dramatic August 24, when Wall Street opened with the Dow already down 1,000 points. (It closed the day down 588 points.) Sell-offs like this prove an invaluable point: Market volatility will happen even in bull markets, and your business needs to be able to grow during upturns and downturns. You wouldn’t tell your clients to count on an economy that only goes up, and you can’t expect the same for your business if you don’t plan for it.
You’ll be better able to respond to a downturn if you have a marketing plan in place than if you have to scramble to find new revenue (or merely stop the bleeding) when times get tough. By embracing marketing when times are good, you’ll build momentum that will help you retain existing clients and bring in new ones during a recession. Plus, marketing consistently—even during a recession—will help you stay in front of both current and prospective clients and reassure them that better times are ahead.
Communicate During a Crisis
During troubled times, clients and prospects want reassurance. You can ease their fears by consistently communicating during a crisis. Share your perspective on the current situation and let people know how you are responding through market commentary, webinars, newsletters, videos, seminars, social media posts and eblasts. Even if your clients and prospects aren’t actively engaged with these marketing activities, the outreach is a reminder that you’re there if they need you.
In addition, it’s essential that you are able to quickly contact your clients and prospects in an emergency. Efficient communication during a crisis requires:
- An up-to-date database of client and prospect email addresses
- An email template so you can send an email within a few hours of a major event, like a stock market crash, natural disaster or firm emergency
- The ability to quickly set up a conference call or webcast within days—or hours—of an economic catastrophe
- A staff member who has been trained to execute these items in the case of an emergency
Swift communication can ease the fears of panicking clients following an economic disaster. It may even attract new clients who are looking for the guidance you can provide.
Don’t wait for an economic downturn to start marketing your firm. Instead, prepare for the next recession with consistent marketing and by developing a crisis communication plan. You’ll be ahead of the pack if you do.