Finding creative ways to market when pursestrings are tight is an important skill for any marketer. Even when you’re facing a squeeze on internal budgets or a widespread economic slowdown, it’s important to not let marketing efforts lapse—especially considering that marketing can make an enormous difference when it comes to getting new customers in the door. In this article, we’ll share five tactics for marketing during a recession or when funds are limited. Together, these strategies can ensure you keep your brand powerful (and visible) through slow times ahead.
1) Stay consistent with brand messaging
During a recession or slowdown, brands can be tempted to pivot when it comes to their messaging and position, fundamentally changing the brand to hopefully capture business from new customer segments or more budget-conscious customers. Resist this urge; altering your brand message during challenging times will only confuse customers—and make it harder to ever return to the established brand when business picks up.
Regularly publishing content is one of the best ways to reinforce your brand message through slowdowns or recessions, and it’s an especially cost-effective strategy because it relies on the expertise you already have in-house. Try to develop a pipeline of content that you can steadily trickle out through the downturn or have ready to go in the future. The content you publish could be anything: a whitepaper, a video or animation, a testimonial or case study, a blog—especially because it drives users to engage with your brand while simultaneously giving you another avenue through which to boost your website’s SEO.
When creating content, keep a few things in mind:
- Stick to the brand. For example, if low prices weren’t part of your brand message before, don’t introduce them now.
- Speak about what you’re an expert on. Avoid muddying the waters by publishing content on a trendy topic you know little about—unless you’re able to take an interesting angle related to your brand.
- Publish content on a variety of topics, and be sure to incorporate keywords in a natural way.
This may also be a good time to revisit old content and refresh it to be more relevant and in line with current brand standards. Or try reworking an old piece of content entirely by taking an old whitepaper, an old blog, an old case study, and repurposing it into a new piece of content, like a short brochure, an eye-catching infographic, or a testimonial video.
2) Lean on social media for greater and cost-effective reach
Social media marketing keeps your brand in front of potential customers and ensures that your product or service stays top of mind even when spending slows. By taking the time to prioritize building a greater social media presence now, you can benefit from greater awareness and potentially an influx of new customers when spending accelerates again. In fact, 75% of marketers credit social media marketing with increased web traffic, and almost 90% say it has improved business exposure.
Active profiles on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, TikTok, and other platforms enable you to cost-effectively promote the content you’ve published, connect with users, and drive traffic to your website. A few things to keep in mind with social media marketing in a recession:
- Stay active. Regularly engaging with users is how you build rapport and customer loyalty.
- Tag other accounts: customers, influencers and partners, or companies you know and like. This can broaden the reach of your business to help you grow your following and attract new customers.
- Explore user-generated content. This can be a great source of content that feels more personal and can drive greater connection with customers.
3) Optimize your web presence to reach more customers
Optimizing your web presence can often fall by the wayside when things are busy, which makes now a perfect time to do so. Customers will be spending this time browsing and gathering data, and they’re likely to spend much more time doing independent research rather than reaching out to your company directly. Consequently, you’ll want to take steps to ensure that your site is easy to find, that your brand is ranking for the terms you want to rank for, and that you’re eliminating as many potential hurdles as possible for prospective customers when they’re looking for more information on your offering.
Some quick ways to start begin optimizing your web presence are to:
- Ensure your Google My Business profile information and Google Maps presence are accurate.
- Check all online directories to be sure that your business information is correct.
- Going back to our first tactic, publish new content or blogs that are especially relevant for users in your area, using some of those location keywords you’ve already added elsewhere.
- Run an SEO audit to evaluate your current standing, then introduce targeted keywords throughout your site.
4) Focus on building and sustaining relationships with customers
During tough times like a recession or downturn, customers are looking for reassurance, empathy, and connection. Prioritize relationship-building activities that help customers—both new and prospective—to develop positive associations with your brand.
- Use email marketing to keep potential customers engaged and maintain existing relationships.
- Stay consistent with social media and regularly engage with individual users.
- Consider reaching out to loyal customers to offer additional perks that help ensure they stay loyal customers.
- Think of unusual ways to engage customers. For instance, if your company supports local charities, ask customers or social media users to weigh in on which charity the company should support this year.
5) Stay visible to increase your share of market perception
When budgets start to tighten, it’s common for brands to take a step back as companies focus on their internal priorities, rather than on external-facing ones. In a downturn, this means that any steps you take to increase your brand visibility can pay off double, as the landscape is currently less saturated by competitors’ messaging.
There are plenty of ways to make sure your brand is staying in front of customers. Beyond publishing content, building a stronger social media presence, and other tactics, try some options that put you in direct contact with current or potential customers. Try planning or hosting a small customer event during the downturn. If that’s not in the cards, a webinar is always an effective and educational option for brand visibility. Encourage a member of your company to host a webinar on an interesting or useful topic that they know well, then collect user information and email addresses from attendees. After the webinar, you can begin nurturing these new contacts via email marketing.
When you’re trying to think through your strategy for marketing in a slowdown, realize that there are plenty of tactics available to you that can make a big impact while still staying budget-conscious. Think of this as a time to set yourself up for future success: building customer connections and a strong content library, optimizing your profiles, and getting systems and processes underway so it’s all ready to run seamlessly when business picks back up—and when your attention is demanded elsewhere.