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Digital Marketing During Economic Downturns

No matter how you define a recession, it’s no secret that things are weird out there.

For many businesses, the thought and fear of a recession are looming. At a time when you need more customers, there’s a fear that people are going to spend less, so what do you do to drive more customers to your business?

Now, it’s more important than ever to make sure you are doing everything you can to ensure that your business is bringing in and taking care of customers. You may be worried about spending money on marketing, but that would be the worst decision you make. The bleak predictions actually give you a chance to grow your business.

The fear associated with a recession leads many of your competitors to spend less or drop their marketing almost entirely which not only reduces their chances of bringing in customers at a time when they need them the most, but it gives you an opportunity to capture more of their market share.

It just makes sense that when you market your business appropriately, chances are good you are going to see a marked improvement in your lead generation and less risk from inflationary factors.

Every business is different based on the industry and where you stand right now. However, if you do not put some effort into your blogs, website design, and search engine optimization (SEO), you will not remain competitive, and that could mean too few customers for you to keep your doors open.

How do you know what to spend on and what not to? Should you expand or contract your marketing budget?

Money Is Tight. Should I Cut Back on Marketing?

For many businesses facing concerns about inflation and declines in the economy, spending money on digital marketing may feel like a bigger risk right now. With the pandemic, many businesses have been limping along as it is, so a recession is just another gut punch.

First, off, it’s important to look at your perception of marketing. Believe it or not, there are still many business owners that feel like it’s a luxury expense. Smart businesses see marketing as a vital investment.

As you think about your business and your marketing budget, it is critical that you consider recession-proof marketing, but that may just be a buzzword and nothing more.

There’s never a guarantee for every business, but from previous business cycles and economic conditions, we know there are some things that work better than others. These are the areas you want to focus on as you work to build your business during that time.

That includes a multi-channel approach to address the current buyer behaviors of your target audience. That may sound like a lot, but in fact, it is made up of solid digital marketing factors that may contribute to the growth of your business year after year.

Money may be tight for you now. Cutting back on your marketing, though, means that you’ll have less money coming in, and that’s going to hurt more. On the flip side, digital marketing, in particular, can be more affordable given a strong ROI and, even more importantly, it is far more likely to be effective during this period.

The Opportunity for Marketing When Things Are Bad

“Invest when there is blood in the streets”

Nathan Rothschild

Digital marketing is an important tool during a recessionary period. The use of a multi-channel approach that includes SEO, pay-per-click (PPC), and social media marketing can provide most businesses with a foundation of success to weather the storm and come out more profitable on the other side.

Instead of canceling or dialing back your digital marketing campaign, it’s time to ramp them up. You may wish to play it safe, but cutting back on your advertising could hurt more than you realize. A number of surveys that look at economic data and factor in the actions of businesses to maintain or increase their marketing budget indicate that those that did saw the best outcome from the recessionary periods.

By investing in a strong and refined marketing plan now, you maintain your brand image and build a stronger revenue stream from the work you are doing. You also outplay the competition.

Online marketing is very different than paying for TV commercials, radio spots, and other traditional marketing. With it, comes incredible amounts of data, including Google Analytics, that can provide you with far more insight into what is working and what is not. This is the data you need to ensure that every dollar you spend is going to yield a significant ROI. That’s not easy to do with other forms of advertising.

Also, note that with every campaign, you have an opportunity to refine and improve your strategy without having to start over or put more money into the process. Professional digital marketing firms can help you to enhance, tweak, and update your plans so you can achieve far more with whatever money you put into it.

It’s also important to know that digital marketing during a recession is the smarter option.

·     SEO strategies can help you to gain better visibility over your competition.

·     Digital marketing campaigns can help you to create highly targeted ads for serious buyers.

·     PPC ads can be refined to maintain your budget but still produce the best results possible.

The Marketing Plan During a Recession

Since the onset of the pandemic, many businesses have had to make changes to their operations to overcome challenges most had never seen before. If a true recession should occur, it will be important for your organization to take steps to overcome it. You will need to tweak your current marketing strategy and work a bit harder at cutting away areas that may not be producing the ROI you desire.

However, there are some areas where you want to ramp up your marketing. Here are a few key areas where most businesses should focus now as a digital marketing plan for a recession.

Know Your Customers

One of the first steps to take is to better define who your target customer is. This is the person that is most likely to buy from you. Keep in mind that your target customer isn’t just who you think it is, but rather the most likely person to make a purchase based on the data and analytics you have. Here are a few ways to better define who these customers are:

  • Use SEO tools to help you analyze who is coming to your website. Your website design team can help you determine who visits, what they buy when they do, or when they leave without purchasing. This can help you to get a better idea of who is truly buying your product.
  • Listen to social media. This is another important way for you to gather information about what is being said about your product. Establishing a strong social media presence helps people to recognize and talk about your brand. Who is doing the talking? What are they saying?
  • Customer data from every purchase is also valuable. You can have better insight into the demographics of your buyers if you spend some time analyzing what people are buying and when they are doing so without the customer journey.
  • Look at the ROI from specific campaigns. This is a valuable step because it will also give you an idea of where you do not need to continue to spend money. When you look backward at where most of your sales or leads are coming from, you may notice that it is a very different age group or organization that is doing the buy. Where did they learn about you?
  • Develop clear, well-researched buyer personas. Use your digital marketing team to help you create buyer personas that represent who your audience is and what their pain points or needs are.
  • Look at geographical trends. If you sell nationally, identify where your current customers are coming from along with where you want them to come from. Explore using data-driven concepts to help you focus on more likely geographical targets. For example, if you sell something golf related nationally, then heavily focus on the cities in states that have the most golf courses.

All of this information allows you to begin to make decisions. You can create campaigns that focus on the people that are most likely going to buy, allowing you to improve ROI on every campaign you have.

If you do not do this, you may be opening the door to overspending on what will not work and spending a bit more on what does work. Doing your homework is never a waste of time.

Evaluate The Effectiveness Of All Your Digital Marketing Channels

When a business is first starting out, there’s a tendency to try and be everywhere all at once. As the business matures, it becomes clear that not only is this not possible, it’s not even wise.

Just as an accountant may not want to use Tik Tok to market her practice, now is the time to really evaluate all the places you’re spending your time and money marketing.

Google Business Profile

When someone wants to buy your product, they need to be able to find you. Make it as easy for people to find and interact with your business as you can. One way to do that is through your Google Business Profile. The use of this profile does not cost you anything. Optimizing it is critical, though, to get the very best results.

Your profile helps people to find you when they search on Google. It provides some basic information, like your business’s address and website. When you optimize it, it provides your would-be customers with a very important way of engaging with the business, including making purchases.

For example, the Google Maps component ensures that customers can find you when they are driving around. For a restaurant, for example, that’s critical to the hungry person on the road. It also helps them find your brick-and-mortar store.

Your profile should also include valuable information such as your business hours and the types of products and services you offer. The right keyword placement here could help your business to rank better in the search engines, too.

You can have reviews on your profile, photos of your products or location, as well as content that helps people make the decision to connect with you instead of the competition.

Get On the Front Page of Google

Remember, just because times are tough doesn’t mean people stop searching for what you do. In some industries, the search for what you do actually increases during these times.

Now, more than ever, people are doing more research before they buy. That means you need to be sure your website is showing up on the front page of the search results for the keywords related to your products or services.

A well-ranking, conversion-friendly website is more likely to get leads and sales than one that is buried a few pages back. Many businesses recognize the value of ranking well, but they are not sure they can invest in SEO. Doing so can be a big difference maker.

The efforts you take to improve your SEO now may help you to keep customers coming to you during the recession. At the same time, it may also help you keep them coming for years to come.

The efforts you take to improve your ranking now will continue to help you down the road. While ongoing SEO is far more effective to get you on page one and help you stay there, there are many situations where doing SEO sprints can help you bring more customers through your digital front door. Either way, SEO is an investment that can really pay for itself fairly quickly.

Google Adwords gives you another way to get on the first page of the search results. With this marketing channel, it’s even more important to get the data on how to establish an effective ROI. Focus on your highest revenue-generating products or services to help achieve this.

Remember that people click on the ads less than they do on the organic results. This isn’t the only difference between an Adwords campaign and SEO. The other big difference is the time it takes to get on the first page. Google Adwords is absolutely the quickest way. There are many cases where running a an Adwords campaign is a great way to bring in business while your SEO is gaining traction.

Provide Value Through Content Marketing

Yet another important step to take is to provide people a reason to work with you. Provide valuable content to them so they know they can trust and work with you and that doing so will significantly contribute to their betterment.

Content marketing through blogs, social media, and thought leadership also contributes to your SEO efforts. It aids in building your brand. In many situations, it is the foundation of the success you could have during these difficult times.

Consider Email Marketing

There are many businesses out there who seem to have forgotten email marketing.

That can be a mistake.

Like any marketing tool, it’s important to look at the data. Nearly all reputable email providers will give you data on what you send. Now is the time to experiment to see what works. Keep what does and abandon what doesn’t.

Remember, email marketing is a great way to help you maintain “top of mind” awareness. Depending upon what you do, it can also be a great way to upsell customers who have already had a great experience with you.

Rather than sending out random emails, it’s important to have a strategy, test it for several months and make adjustments along the way to find ways to bump up metrics that matter to you the most.

Don’t Do It Alone

The main idea here is that you always need to find what works for your marketing and to do that, it’s essential that you track your ROI. While it’s fine to experiment in order to discover what works or not, your marketing should pay for itself.

While most business owners are experts at what they do, marketing in today’s business environment can be tricky. That’s why it’s important to have some people you can trust to give you experienced recommendations. Read more about how to pick a digital marketing agency and how digital marketing can grow your brand in any economy:

Make It Loud is here to help you. With more than 18 years of experience in digital marketing, we have survived when others didn’t. We’ve developed strategies to overcome numerous economic conditions. Contact us today for a free consultation about making your digital marketing far more effective.

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