Adapting Your Marketing Approach Amidst Declining Sales

I’ve been around long enough to have experienced several down cycles in the sales revenue, caused both from internal mistakes and from external. I thought I might give you some things to think about before the next down cycle hits.

Adapt to declining sales

Being an online entrepreneur means being prepared for the unexpected, including those moments when sales might dip or even plummet. It’s not a time for panic, but a time for strategic action. You need to be prepared to adapt and adjust your strategy to ensure your revenue remains stable.

Factors such as advancements in technology, changing trends, or significant news stories can influence whether your existing content, methods, and strategies continue to convert. The consumer’s interest could wane temporarily or permanently.

In such situations, there are two kinds of marketers – those who crumble under the pressure of significant change, and those who persist. Your goal should be to belong to the latter category, and there’s a straightforward way to ensure you’re never left floundering due to market fluctuations.

In the following section, you’ll read my thoughts on how successful entrepreneurs can manage to maintain their business operations smoothly, even when others are floundering in panic.

Anticipate Changes That Could Affect Your Business

As a solo entrepreneur, being a visionary is crucial. You need to keep an eye on not just current events, but also anticipate what lies ahead. Consider the emergence of artificial intelligence (AI), for example.

AI has the potential to significantly disrupt industries. It could affect service providers such as ghostwriters, graphic designers, or private label rights sellers. Even information product developers and affiliates could feel the impact, as competitors could scale rapidly.

For instance, with AI’s advent, fiction writers faced competition from authors producing similar, albeit lower-quality novels. SEO specialists also felt the heat as AI could guide users directly.

While some marketers grumbled about a sudden dip in sales, others remained largely unscathed. It’s not just technology that can cause such disruptions, but it’s certainly something to keep an eye on.

Other factors could include changing trends. For instance, Weight Watchers saw a decline in sales due to the popularity of Ozempic and Wegovy shots. This had a ripple effect on the weight loss niche as social media was flooded with dramatic weight loss before and after photos, making traditional methods less appealing.

Sometimes, trends and news can work to your benefit. For instance, the survival niche sees a sales spike whenever there’s negative news. But while a topic like inflation might boost sales for survival marketers, it could hurt others.

If your business is centered around high-end coaching, and people are struggling to afford basic necessities, you’re faced with a challenge. Even something as simple as ghostwriting for $10-$20 per page could be seen as too expensive for those on a budget.

Monitor industry news for marketers, stay updated on your niche news, be aware of tech advancements and new products that could render your business model obsolete or less vital, and brace yourself for potential setbacks.

Keep an Eye on Competitor and Consumer Behavior

Just like animals react unpredictably to events like a solar eclipse, competitors and consumers can also behave erratically when significant changes are on the horizon or starting to affect them.

Monitor conversations among these groups to gauge their mindset. For instance, if a number of other marketers are reporting a drop in sales, take note.

When this occurs, analyze whether your business model and niche are similar to theirs. If yes, your business could be next in line. Alternatively, is there something unique about your business that’s keeping it afloat?

Consumers may be willing to settle for something that’s not exactly what they want but close enough. But any shift – in the economy, technology, or trends – could influence their decision-making process and turn an easy yes into a no.

You may not see competitors openly discussing a drop in sales, but you can observe changes in their strategies or topics they’re focusing on.

Monitor Your Revenue for Fluctuations

While observing the competition is crucial, it’s equally important to keep a close eye on your own revenue. Are your launches converting as they used to? You may find that something that used to sell well is no longer performing.

It’s time to pivot! Or, you might notice that while your promoted items are converting well, your own products are not. Try to understand why. You may see sales for smaller packages outperforming larger ones because that’s what people can afford.

You might also need to incorporate technology (like AI) into your offering because it’s what your audience expects. Perhaps instead of a course teaching them to customize a nutrition.

You may need to incorporate technological advancements, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), into your business model to meet the needs your clientele. An example could be, rather than instructing them on how to create a personalized nutritional plan, you could teach them how to utilize AI to do it.

This minor adjustment can significantly impact your brand’s survival by keeping it current. Some Private Label Rights (PLR) sellers have had to adapt to AI as it has offered individuals a way to generate their content.

However, in most cases, the quality of output was not up to par, leading them to either tutor clients on how to incorporate AI into their PLR or start offering discounted AI PLR. That doesn’t imply that all non-AI topic PLR written by humans ceased to sell.

In recent years, however, some sellers have noted a decline in sales. Surveys of consumers have revealed that this slump often had less to do with AI and more to do with the impact of inflation on their budgets. Some sellers continued to offer expensive bundles that had become unaffordable, or the topics were no longer relevant.

It is essential to regularly review your earnings from your various revenue streams to identify any underperforming areas. This should be a weekly practice. You don’t want to invest time and resources into something that isn’t yielding returns, but it’s worth exploring if a minor modification, like the one mentioned in the nutrition plan, could rectify the situation.

Always Be Prepared for the Worst-Case Scenario

You now understand how to identify changes, so let’s discuss your contingency plan. Always prioritize building your client list, which will cushion you against any downturns.

Some people stop growing their list once they reach a satisfactory income level, but this can be risky. For instance, if your list has 1,000 people with a 2% conversion rate, and suddenly 1% of those stop purchasing, it can be disastrous.

In contrast, if your list comprises 10,000 people with a 2% conversion rate, and 1% stop purchasing, you’ll still make 100 sales from whatever you’re promoting or selling. It’s also crucial to diversify your income streams.

If one revenue stream starts to falter, having a backup plan can ensure you continue to have a steady income. This can be due to any of the reasons mentioned earlier, or because platforms have banned you or altered their regulations.

Consider exploring various business models, such as info product creation, affiliate marketing, drop-shipping, providing services, Fulfilled by Amazon (FBA), selling printables, and becoming an influencer, among others.

Have a list of alternative strategies. This could mean exploring new topics or niches, publishing in different formats, listing your items on new platforms, or even changing your launch or promotional strategies.

For instance, instead of launching a single PLR package per month with a $97 front end and $197 OTO, you could break down the package into smaller, more affordable options.

You can still sell everything as before but in more manageable parts. People may hesitate to spend $97 in an economic downturn, but they might be more open to buying ten different $9 packages throughout the month.

Alternatively, you could limit the availability of your product to a few exclusive customers. While you’d price it higher, the sales would eventually balance out.

There may be times when there’s little hope of your business model recovering. If you’re a vendor and your sales nosedive, you might need to pivot to a new niche or topic or transition from text eBooks to video courses.

You might even need to begin promoting other vendors’ info products that are still converting instead of creating your own. If you were an affiliate promoting a weight loss product, and the product’s performance declined, you could pivot and launch info products related to eating habits on the product, or how to lose weight as if using the product.

It’s crucial to think creatively and not dwell on what’s happened. Another important aspect is to overdeliver. When the economy is in a downturn or something else threatens your business, you need to offer consumers more than before.

Consider using any downtime to create additional content that you can use as bonuses or add-ons for your business model. An info product with built-in bonuses is more appealing than one without any.

Consumers often make purchasing decisions based on affiliate bonuses. Therefore, you need to overdeliver to convert them through your link. However, this doesn’t mean you should offer everything under the sun.

It’s better to take the time to overdeliver in terms of quality, not just quantity. Prepare in advance and have extra deliverables ready for when you need them most.

You may find it necessary to modify the cost of your informational products, dropshipped goods, printable items, services, and more. It’s a common occurrence to witness public backlash when companies increase the prices of essential goods and services for consumers during periods of high inflation.

Even if your online business isn’t considered essential, you may need to weather the storm by reducing your prices until the situation improves. It’s not a bad idea to put in some extra effort to figure out your next steps during a downturn.

Ensure you have a presence on various platforms. Whether you’re a service provider, an affiliate marketer, an information product vendor or something else, having accounts on multiple platforms can widen your reach and increase your earnings.

This strategy also serves as a safety net in case a platform decides to remove you, shuts down, or if consumer preferences change regarding where they find or purchase what they need. It’s wise to establish a solid reputation early on, so you don’t find yourself scrambling in desperation later.

Start networking as early as possible. It’s not something you should leave until the last minute. Collaborating with other marketers to promote your product launches or share insights is something you should start doing ahead of time.

Strategic networking could be the lifeline you need to stay afloat during financially uncertain times as a solo entrepreneur. Monitor for signs indicating whether the change is permanent or temporary.

It could go either way. If the change is permanent, you might need to drastically overhaul your business. However, if it’s temporary or not as severe as you anticipated, you simply need to stay afloat for a shorter period until the situation normalizes.

For instance, with something like inflation, outcomes could change based on election results. With technology like AI, initially, it might appear as a panacea for all content needs, only to realize later that it requires significant effort to be truly beneficial.

Even news and trends can swing things back in your favor. For example, if weight loss injections are found to cause serious health problems, consumers might revert to traditional weight loss methods.

Don’t Hesitate to Understand How You Can Serve Better

Perhaps the most effective strategy is to cultivate a relationship with your audience. If you come across as impersonal in your emails and communication style, they may not share their needs, likes, or wants.

However, if you establish a rapport where they trust you, they might feel comfortable sharing if your products miss the mark in terms of pricing, subject matter, or quality. It’s crucial to actively seek feedback – don’t just expect them to volunteer information.

Conduct a survey or poll to understand their current needs and why their purchasing habits have changed. Keep it brief and consider offering an incentive, like a freebie, to encourage participation. Their responses might provide valuable insights that you can leverage strategically.

Hopefully these might get your wheels spinning on what you must do to prepare, regardless of what industry you are in. Let me know what you think in the comments area below.