No business wants a recession to happen, but they are inevitable.
Any shrinking of the economy can spur necessary changes not just in business plans but in your digital marketing strategy as well.
Since 1945, the U.S. has gone through 11 recessions officially.
While many businesses tend to cut as many expenses as possible to improve their short-term financial standing, your marketing strategy is critical to the overall success fo your business. Therefore, resist the temptation to slash your marketing budget in extreme ways. Instead, think about how you can maximize that marketing budget during an economic recession that not only saves you money but adapts to changing consumer behaviors.
Remember, if you cut too much, you stunt your potential business growth. Specifically, cutting marketing expenses in the short-term can hurt your business in the long-term. For example, you could see decreased market share and share of voice, decreased brand awareness and missed opportunities.
So, let’s focus on working smarter. The following are 12 digital marketing strategy tips that you should consider during a recession or economic downturn.
Audit campaign (and channel) performance
While the best practice is to regularly monitor the performance of your digital marketing campaigns and channels, you should take a closer look when entering a recession.
Are all channels hitting your desired KPIs (key performance indicators)? You want to get a sense of what’s working (and should be done more) and what’s not working (and should either be optimized or eliminated altogether).
If you are working with a reduced marketing budget, you should ensure that you’re investing your limited resources wisely. There’s no room for error, and you want to identify the channels and initiatives that deliver the biggest ROI (return on investment). Definitely cut any “excess fat” from your marketing expenses, and relocate portions of your budget to the channels and/or campaigns that are working.
Your digital marketing audit can include analysis via Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Search Console, Facebook Insights, Instagram Insights, Twitter Analytics and anywhere else your brand has a presence and/or is spending money.
Conduct a competitive analysis
During a recession, it’s more important than ever to know what your competition is doing (for better or worse).
A competitive analysis is essentially a strategy where you identify your competitors and research their products/services, sales and marketing strategies. Of course, your analysis can be as simple or as complex as you need to satisfy your goals behind it.
Have your competitors cut back on their marketing and advertising? How are they communicating with their customers? Of course, this can serve as inspiration for your own marketing efforts. But you’ll also get a sense of whether you can optimize an advantage if your competition has scaled back in any way.
Adjust your marketing goals
Your goals matter. And what you’re aiming to achieve with your marketing during a recession could be very different from what you want to accomplish in a strong economy.
Make sure to take the time to evaluate what matters most to your business and how your digital marketing can support this.
To help you better assess the appropriate marketing goals for your business during a recession, consider using analytics to understand the scope of your digital marketing efforts.
Optimize your recession marketing plan
Even when the economy is not experiencing a recession, you want every dollar of your marketing budget spent well, working smarter not harder.
Beyond cutting initiatives that aren’t performing, you can optimize your recession marketing strategy by focusing on targeted marketing, where you’re sending a specific message to a specific target audience group (i.e. segmentation and personalization as mentioned before).
Targeted marketing isn’t isolated to one specific marketing channel. If you’re using a platform like DailyStory, you can easily target personalized emails and text messages to very specific groups of consumers within your contact list based on the data you have on them. Targeted marketing can be executed via social media advertising as well.
In addition to targeted marketing, make sure you’re monitoring patterns around days of the week, times of day and even geographic locations (if relevant) that deliver the best engagement and conversions for your brand across channels. Remember, though, that every channel can be different.
Adjust your messaging to reflect consumer spending changes
Successful digital marketing considers your target audience first. If the consumer behavior of your audience changes, so should your messaging.
Consider how consumer spending typically changes in your industry and how that will impact your business. For example, if your target audience is particularly price sensitive and will likely move to low-cost options within your industry, then you should highlight those not just in your campaigns but also generally on your website. On the flip side, you could promote the added value that your brand’s products or services offer if that could resonate with your audience more. Or, you could highlight flexible payment or financing options. It just depends on your business, your industry and your target audience.
Market to your existing, past customers
Rather than invest a lot of your marketing budget always trying to find, engage and convert new customers, consider your existing and past customers. In fact, targeting that group is one of the most cost-effective ways to grow your business during an economic recession.
This marketing could aim to drive new sales from existing and past customers or upsells.
These customers already know and trust your brand. Therefore, they’re more likely to buy from you again.
Invest in your educational content
During a recession, consumers tend to take longer researching products and services before spending to ensure their getting the best value.
You should optimize for that shift in behavior with educational content that can help customers determine how to find the best solutions for their needs. This means focusing on your content marketing.
Examples of educational content you can offer include (but are not limited to):
- Educational blog posts can help consumers define their problems and understand what solution they need, as well as help you rank higher in search engine results. Consider common questions your business gets asked already as topics.
- Case studies can show potential customers how your products or services have helped others in a very specific way.
- Comparison charts can greatly help consumers understand the value of your products or services as compared with your competition.
Content marketing is an excellent part of any recession marketing strategy because of the relationships it can help build between your brand and potential customers.
Embrace local SEO
If your customer base is located in a specific geographic area, another cost-effective recession marketing strategy to consider is local search engine optimization (SEO).
Local SEO is when search engines rely on signals (such as local content, social profile pages, links and citations) to provide the most relevant local results to the user. It’s all about delivering the best and more relevant local search engine results.
Improving your local SEO can lead to increased leads and foot traffic at your physical business location. That means that you’re connecting with local customers who are actively searching for your products or services.
Some of the actions you should take to boost your local SEO include:
- Setting up and/or optimizing your Google Business Profile with your up-to-date brand information that includes name, address and phone number.
- Uploading photos and videos to your Google Business Profile listing. Visuals are a powerful communication tool for consumers.
- Requesting reviews from your customers on Google, Yelp, Facebook and any other service-ranking platform that makes sense for your business.
Dive deeper with our 11 local SEO tips to help you beat your competition.
Use more videos in your recession marketing
Videos are powerful. About 85 percent of all internet users in the U.S. watched online video content monthly on any of their devices, while 54 percent of consumers want to see more video content from a brand or business they support.
Even more important than that, videos can better communicate the value of your products or services than any amount of copy (if done well). Remember that in a recession, value is everything.
Some ideas include:
- Video demonstrations to show potential customers how to use your products.
- Videos about your employees as well as showing them at work for your customers, conveying the quality of service and care you offer.
- Videos answering commonly asked questions.
Professional videos can be powerful, but don’t underestimate the DIY power you hold with a smartphone, decent lighting and an easy-to-use video-editing app.
Leverage remarketing for more conversions
Remarketing simply refers to the practice of targeting individuals who’ve already visited your website with ads on Facebook, Google or elsewhere.
Think of the last time you viewed a product for sale on a website but didn’t buy it. Then, you kept seeing it everywhere as you browse elsewhere online. That’s remarketing, also referred to as retargeting.
It’s clear why it can be such a powerful tactic. These leads have already shown some level of interest in your business offerings, and now, you’re reinforcing your messaging to convince them to come back and complete the purchase, whether it’s a product or service. Because you’re already targeting warm leads, your overall advertising spend should be that much more effective, with a great ROI.
To get the most out of remarketing, consider using in your ads:
- Images and copy that speak to the needs of your target audience.
- Special discounts and offers.
- Educational content that can help consumers research their options.
Granted, remarketing is valuable even in a good economy, but it can be especially helpful during a recession.
Consider tiered pricing
Creating tiered pricing (if you don’t already have it) during a recession can help bring in new clients and also help existing customers save money (so that you don’t lose them entirely).
Many businesses offer at least three different pricing tiers with additional perks with the higher-priced tiers. That way, customers have options when they may not need all features and are trying to save money. Depending on the product or service you’re offering, a free version could be made available with very limited scope and features. If a customer likes the free version, they are easier to upsell to at the right time.
Don’t make too many changes
While you’ll want to change your marketing strategy to accommodate shifting consumer behaviors and a possibly smaller marketing budget, try to avoid making too many drastic changes at once.
Big changes, like rebranding, could be confusing to consumers and make it appear as if your company isn’t doing well. Remember, you’re always trying to build a trusting relationship with your customers. Consistency is key.
A recession can feel scary and intimidating for any business owner, but remember that you want to optimize your digital marketing during this time, not slash it entirely.
Embrace what’s working and cut what doesn’t. You can be more efficient and also successful with the right choices.
As you prepare to stay successful in your marketing efforts during a recession, consider optimizing your digital marketing process, which includes automation, audience segmentation and enhanced email marketing capabilities, to name a few. DailyStory can help. Schedule your free demo with us today.