How To Survive, And Maybe Even Thrive in A Recession – A Survival Guide For WordPress Agencies In The Age Of Covid-19

Many businesses are waking up to the sad fact that large portions of their book of business is being lost or, at best postponed. If you haven’t been affected by it yet, you will be. With an estimated One Trillion dollars+ of economic damage to just the USA, its only a matter of time before you’re affected too.

But for nimble and flexible WordPress focused agencies this might be an opportunity to gain new business. Or, at the very least, you need to figure out a way to offer your customers even better value so that they don’t jump ship.

So what can you do?

The first thing to ask yourself is what is the question foremost in your customer’s mind?

The answer is likely the same as in yours – to cut costs so that they can survive a brutal environment.

In order to help your customers do this, you need to take on some additional risks. We’ll explain what those are in a moment.

But first, lets address this:

Building Loyalty.

What if you could approach your customers and prospects and offer to cut their hosting costs by 50%? For small businesses this might mean just a couple of hundred dollars. For larger businesses it might be even more.

No matter how small the amount you’re offering to save your customers, you are communicating the same thing – that you understand their pain and that you will be working to address it.

That alone builds a certain level of loyalty to you and your agency.

Now how do you actually go about providing these kinds of savings?

That’s where a little bit of risk taking comes in.

Venturing Outside Your Comfort Zone

Dedicated WordPress hosting companies make a HUGE markup on the cost hosting. By removing this markup you can offer your customers some serious savings. And, if you provide the hosting at COST to your customer, the savings to them will be even more.

To do this, you need to take the hosting risk onto yourself. But that doesn’t mean that you need to be a server guru!

Instead, you can use the WPCloud Deploy plugin to spin up your own WordPress servers using reputable cloud providers such as Digital Ocean. You can spin up one server for each customer or spin up multiple servers and host multiple sites on them.

Either option is going to be a lot cheaper than the cost of any hosting company.

For small sites, it would work out to as little as $5.00 per month which is less than half the price compared to places like WPEngine or Pantheon.

So where’s the risk to you?

Well, you will be the first point of contact for any server and hosting issues. And you will need to be prepared to resolve those.

Luckily most hosting issues are easy to resolve.

And, if you take on the hosting responsibility, you just might save some of your customer relationships and have a credible cost-driven offer to recruit new business.

The new reality is that in this environment, cost is going to be even more of a factor and “value” is going to be a much harder sale. So you need to be able to have one or more offers handy.

Additional Steps

Not everything you do for your customers need to be WordPress or even Web focused. How about approaching them with a list of ways to cut costs that have nothing to with you? Here are some examples:

  • Get a discount on utilities. Many businesses don’t take advantage of these
  • Reduce the cost of internet and ip phone access – help them shop around!
  • Suggest leasing for new capital equipment instead of buying
  • Extend payables (though this might bite you in the behind as well)
  • Find a way to help them double-down on their best and most profitable customers (something you should do as well). The priority should be to keep those customers!
  • Does your customer have hourly employees? If so, maybe they can cut hours instead of cutting hourly wages or doing a full-scale retrenchment. Employees will thank businesses who make an effort to keep them on even when its obvious that the business is hurting.

On the flip side you can encourage them to not make common mistakes – such as cutting back on marketing. Their competitors will likely do that which means that the same marketing dollars will go much further, giving them opportunities to grow.

Is there a way for you to help them expand geographically? While everyone else is retrenching, maybe there are additional opportunities to grow in new markets. Maybe they can Be bold while everyone else is being timid!

Wrap Up

The bottom line here is to engender as much loyalty as you can from your customer base. To do this you might need:

  1. To take some additional risks and get outside your comfort zone
  2. Help your customers beyond just your own core focus
  3. Encourage your customers to not make common mistakes everyone else might make

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