In any country’s economy, things can change suddenly and quickly. Economic downturns are almost impossible to predict and difficult to navigate. Everyone feels the effects. As a small business owner, when confronted with the reality of a recession, it’s critical to adapt, especially when it comes to your digital marketing efforts. Digital marketing can be a powerful tool in weathering the storm, especially when used strategically. Follow these steps to navigate choppy waters.
Communicate with your customers and competitors
Most likely, you already use your digital marketing channels, especially social media, to communicate with your customers. Posting updates and interacting with customers encourages brand loyalty. If you’re experiencing financial difficulties during an economic downturn, chances are your customers are too. People appreciate honesty and transparency. Use your digital presence to communicate truthfully with your customers. Let them know if you’re suspending operations or no longer carrying certain products. If you are able, offer discounts or waive service fees. Be candid and communicative about your situation. It will encourage them to remain loyal to your business.
During a recession, everyone is affected, regardless of industry. Now is the time to show support for your fellow business owners as much as you can. Camaraderie is important at a time like this. Creating a strong network of support can be very powerful. If one business is in serious trouble, the rest may be able to help. Reach out to your partners, suppliers, and other businesses in your community. Something as simple as a guest post or link opportunity could go along way and be mutually beneficial. An economic downturn can be an opportunity to forge valuable relationships with other businesses.
Determine which digital marketing campaigns to put on hold
The truth is, during a downturn, cuts often have to be made. However, it’s important to know what to cut and what will be beneficial to continue investing in. Halting your marketing efforts altogether could be extremely damaging to your business in an already difficult time. Think about which elements of your marketing strategy have been the most lucrative. Take a good look at your web analytics. If your customers are mostly from a younger generation and your social media accounts have large followings, focus on that. If the content you post on your blog draws a lot of attention, make that a priority. Use this time to invest in what’s already working.
As the chart below indicates, advertising consumed via digital search is the uncontested leader in return on advertising spending. The amount of commerce being conducted online is skyrocketing. In an increasingly paperless world, investing in digital marketing is not only smart, it’s necessary.
When people are searching for a service or product, they turn to the internet. This doesn’t change when the economy is suffering. People will still continue to need your business, so your business will still need marketing.
Digital marketing efforts that can aid your business in an uncertain economy
- Social media – It’s estimated that about 8 billion people worldwide use social media. It clearly isn’t going anywhere, especially since it’s free, and won’t be affected by the need for budgeting during a crisis. For that reason, it’s critical that you keep growing your social media presence. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and most other social media services are free to use. During a downturn, you need to focus on retaining your existing customer base. Keeping up engagement with them on social media will help to ensure you don’t lose the support you already have. Take this time to try and make your audience feel supported. They will remember it going forward. This is also a good opportunity to determine which of your social media accounts are performing the best. Where do you have the most engagement? Prioritize posting to that page and be available to reply to comments or messages.
- Content – During an economic downturn, it’s important to really consider what type of content you are posting to your blog or social media. Does it make sense in the current climate? Is it written in a tone that you want associated with your brand? People are facing hard times, and, as is always the case when it comes to content marketing, it’s important to keep it relevant. When the country is experiencing a downturn, everyone is feeling the effects. Take the opportunity to speak to that. Consider creating and promoting content that offers people advice about navigating the current economic challenges or lifts their spirits. Make sure that what you’re posting is useful to your audience. It ultimately reflects positively on your brand and will keep your customers engaged with you.
- SEO – Search engine optimization is always a powerful tool. During a downturn, it’s more important than ever to be taking steps towards attracting new customers and driving traffic to your website. SEO makes it more likely that your content will appear high on search engine results pages (SERP) through strategic placement of relevant phrases. Most people click on one of the first few results that appear when they conduct a search. You want to make sure your business is among them. Investing in SEO services is a way to stay ahead of the curve and continue to bring in new clients.
- Paid advertising – Even during a recession, people are always shopping online. Halting your paid advertising puts your business at risk of being left behind once things start to improve. Promoting your services online is a relatively inexpensive way to continue attracting customers and driving traffic to your website. A lot of business owners’ first instinct will be to drop paid advertising to save money, especially if the advertising is not delivering results. Because digital advertising is often based on auction platforms, that means fewer competitors in the space, which could result is lower costs per click. Services like Google Ads, Microsoft Advertising, and Facebook ads are all low-cost options that connect large audiences with your content. Paid advertising services eliminates a lot of wasteful spending by delivering data that shows you exactly what’s working and what isn’t, making it the smartest choice when money is a little tight.
Ultimately, digital marketing is what leads to exposure. That doesn’t change when the economy is suffering. Halting your marketing efforts during a recession will only limit you moving forward. Instead, it’s actually more important than ever to have a digital marketing strategy in place for keeping existing clients and attracting new ones. Focusing on these goals and taking the time to determine which marketing efforts are working best for your business will help you thrive during the tough times and ensure your business continues into the future.