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Business Strategy: Playing the Recession Card

Posted on 3.03.2008

From where I sit, the economy is chugging along nicely. Business owners are investing time and money in their websites even in the face of mass media's assault on the everyman (or woman) with what I call "woe is me" recession talk. Whether you believe a recession is here (or coming) or not, it's important to leverage the current economic environment. How do you do that? Play the recession card in your copywriting.

Schooner Tuna - The Tuna With a Heart

Do you remember the 1980's movie "Mr. Mom?" Toward the end, Mr. Schooner from Schooner Tuna (a take-off of Charlie Tuna) is shooting a commercial. He rambles on about lowering the cost of tuna temporarily. I remember hearing, “These are trying times," “We’re all in this together," and “Schooner Tuna, a tuna with a heart.” See where I'm going with this? Converting users is not always about the feature list or the support guarantees - it's about understanding the situation of the user. In "trying times" it's important to express that you "feel" your users woes and are doing something about it.

As fear takes over desire as the dominant emotion that drives people to take action, it's in your best interest to empathize with users and play the recession card by working in a few Mr. Schooner phrases. Better yet, find some ways to calm those fears. Perhaps you could cut the cost of an extended warranty. Or offer longer customer support hours. If you can, maybe drop the shipping fees a bit.

Finally, try rebates - they push customers to purchase and often times go unredeemed. The increase of sales combined with unused rebates could boost your bottom line while quelling customer fears about spending money in a sagging economy.

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