Soaring gas and food prices, the housing market decline, the mortgage crisis, the Fed's $700B bailout have all cast a dark shadow over the current economy.  The uncertainty of the times ahead have made even those who are not poorer feel poorer.  People will spend less.

Instead of retreating and cutting back on your marketing dollars, now is the time to push and perhaps take some market share away from your competitors.

Here are a few ways to connect with your audience to encourage them to buy from you now:

  • Hold seminars.  Show prospects the difference between must-have and would-like options for a new TV, how to repair that leaky faucet without hiring a plumber, or how to take advantage of the tax credits before the end of the year. Tie the act of buying your product or service to keeping more money in the consumer's pocket.
  • Add more value to your current menu of products or services. If you provide services, add a dash of extra customer service or throw in a good book as an appreciation for business. For products, try discounts, buy-one-get-this-free, or other offers.
  • Show customers ways to save money. Food stores can create a "Thrifty Recipes" email newsletter that highlights meals made from products that are on sale that week. Other retail stores can promote products with fewer bells and whistles.
  • Accept your competitors' coupons or other offers.  If your margins can afford it, allow customers to bring in coupons or other offers from competing companies.

Tune in to people's need to save money and get more value out of the money they choose to spend with you.  Try to use language to connect with their feelings.  Convey the message that you will help them get through these uncertain economic times.

For more ideas, head over to our MoreBusiness.com site's Recession Proof Your Small Business section: http://www.morebusiness.com/recession-small-business-08