How to Attract New Customers in Today’s Economy

Patient: Doctor, it hurts when I do this.

Doctor: So stop doing that.

Small business owner: How do I attract new customers in today’s economy?

Small business marketing consultant: Sell what people are buying.

While the doctor’s advice falls a bit short, the marketing consultant is on to something powerful, however simplistic it may strike you at first.

I sat with a small business owner just yesterday who is struggling.  They offer training classes on a variety of subjects.  As I listened to what they’re doing to “right the ship” I was impressed.  Very proactive.  Yet there was one thing that jumped out at me.  They continue to promote the classes that are not filling up.  Their job is to fill up classes.  Logical, right?  Logical during normal times.  But not now.

A long-standing truism in business is that training is one of the first things you throw overboard when things get tough.  When 9-11 happened those splashes you heard on 9-12 were my training clients.

My advice: add more of the classes that are filling up and promote them until they stop filling up; and don’t worry about the ones that aren’t. 

How does that advice translate to how you are approaching your marketing in this economy?

3 thoughts on “How to Attract New Customers in Today’s Economy

  1. Marc Fowler


    You make a great point. It’s challenging enough getting people to say yes to things they already want. You certainly don’t need the additional hurdle of first convincing them that they should want it.

    As Gary Halbert said: Find a starving crowd, find out what they’d like to eat, then feed it to them.

  2. Kris Bovay

    And I’d even add that I’d cancel the courses that aren’t filling up and look for some new demand (e.g. understanding the importance of cash flow in small business operations or ?). History tells us that there are businesses that do very well in poor economic times; the root of their success is being able to adapt to market conditions. Easy to say, sometimes harder to do.

  3. hamilton Post author

    Agree on adapting to market conditions. It’s somehow less fun having to market in a down economy, but we need to know how to create sales (identify what our customers want and give it to them) in good times and bad.

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