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How businesses can survive a recession by leveraging digital marketing

Posted by Shivali Anand

August 10, 2022

Rumblings of a potential recession have picked up steam in recent months, leading to widespread anxiety among businesses and consumers. In April, Deutsche Bank became the major bank to predict a U.S. recession, and many investors are of the same opinion. 

For instance, a Bloomberg survey found that roughly 48% of investors expect a recession in 2023. Another 21% anticipate it will occur in 2024, while 15% predict it will happen in 2022. 

One way businesses can prepare for a possible recession is to focus on digital marketing — even though marketing initiatives are frequently among the first to be cut in a down economy. 

Consider that research by the Harvard Business Review, published after the economic crash of 2008, found that during “past downturns, consumer goods companies that were able to increase share of voice by maintaining or increasing their advertising spending captured market share from weaker rivals.”

Why digital marketing is essential during a recession



In a recession, it becomes even more important to let customers know that your business is open. Don’t make the mistake of assuming nobody is searching for your services or products. In your absence, a customer might instead go with a competitor. 

Digital marketing is a prudent investment during a recession because:

1. Generating leads through social media and search engine optimization can help your business keep growing, even if deals don't close right away. Further, because your rivals are likely cutting back on advertising, demand drops and so too does your cost per lead. 

2. It can provide promising leads, so employees have things to work on during the slowdown rather than a dearth of opportunities.

3. Most people rely on the internet when researching a business. Customizing your digital marketing strategy will help your business connect directly with customers and stay ahead of competitors.

4. New products and services can be introduced online, allowing your business to stand out from the crowd. 

Which digital marketing strategies should you tap into?



1. Targeted marketing 



Digital marketing has revolutionized how businesses communicate with customers, and a huge part of its success rests on market segmentation. By dividing potential customers into meaningful groups based on certain characteristics, such as interests and age group, your business can better target online consumers. 

Home in on particular buyer personas that could benefit the most from your services or products with the awareness that their needs may have changed due to economic uncertainty.

2. Data-based insights



By assessing customer data, marketers can better predict their needs and future behaviors, which can in turn be used to develop personalized marketing strategies.

In short, data-driven insights enhance your ability to make well-informed decisions on which marketing initiatives to deploy. Google Analytics and other platforms can provide such data and insights. Given a turbulent economy, data can help you keep up with rapid changes and pivot your marketing accordingly.

3. Client retention



Without a steady stream of paying customers, a company's efforts can quickly go to waste. In an economic downturn in particular, businesses must focus on keeping existing customers happy. Since most of a typical company’s revenue comes from existing clients, and the costs of maintaining existing clients is less than the cost to attract new ones, it makes good business sense to retain your lucrative customers.

Connect with your customers on digital channels with targeted, high-quality content, such as compelling social media posts. Send them appreciative emails and consider offering them exclusive discounts.

4. Expanded digital presence



The internet is an intrinsic part of our daily lives. When money is tight, people still go online to seek out information, find entertainment and make purchases. That makes your business website one of its most valuable tools, and it’s available 24/7. Make the best of this chance to boost your brand's visibility by increasing the amount of content you provide.

5. Enhance SEO 



It is essential to have compelling content on your site, but that content will go to waste if nobody can find it. The potential of your brand’s website is identified, classified and ranked by search engines such as Google and Bing, based on how well it has implemented SEO. 

In a recession, people will still be on their mobile devices, and you want to make sure they see you. A well-executed SEO plan can keep your site closer to the top position on Google results and attract more visitors. 

6. Social media



The power of social media extends well beyond the ability to target specific demographics with marketing messages. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the like have become pillars of contemporary communication. A well-designed social media campaign can help your business engage with its audience and attract new customers. 

When faced with economic uncertainty, most people are apt to stay home in an effort to save money, and they are likely to spend more time on their mobile devices as a result. Social media offers an opportune way to reach potential customers regardless of their location. 

Customers will also be looking for businesses they can trust, and social media can help foster their confidence in your brand. 

7. Fine-tune your website



A recession may seem like an unlikely time to audit your website's aesthetics, functionality and usability. But in a period wrought with emotional and financial challenges, customers will be interested in finding the information and products they want with minimal distraction. 

Aim to keep your website streamlined and simple. The longer it takes for a visitor to get to the product they want, the less likely they will make a purchase.

Final considerations



To ensure your services or products stay top of mind among customers, the importance of standing out through digital marketing takes on special importance during a down economic period. Recession or not, the internet will keep surging ahead.

You may also want to consider engaging the assistance of a digital marketing firm. By outsourcing responsibility for digital marketing, your business can continue to focus on doing what it does best without turning off the spigot of new leads or compromising engagement with existing clients.

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