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6 Must-Have Marketing strategies for This Recession in 2023

Panicking? Don't be. We've got your business covered with 6 key strategies.

Marketing during a economic recession or Downturn

There is little doubt that the global economy is expected to face an economic downturn in 2023. The question most business owners will have is: what does a recession entail for my business? Where should I trim costs and increase efficiency? Can I my business survive in a recession and even thrive? 

During a recession, some businesses might be tempted to halt their marketing expenditures in an effort to save costs. Statista showed that 77% of brand feel that the recession will impact their 2023 media budget worldwide.

However, just because revenue might be down does not mean you should dial back on your marketing spend. In fact, when market is down, opportunities are up. Increasing ad spend efficiently (note the emphasis) can actually help the business survive and grow by attracting critical revenue because it’s often harder to cut costs faster than growing revenues. (read more about why businesses need to spend on marketng in a recession here – link to internal article)

While recessions can be difficult to weather and business failures are expected, strong companies can thrive even in the most challenging of times if they consider employing the following 6 marketing strategies.

Strategy 1: Focus on Customer Retention

Focusing on keeping your current clients satisfied is crucial during a downturn. After all, acquiring a new customer is significantly more expensive than maintaining an old one. Customers who have already used your products or services in the past are the backbone of your company as they already trust and love what you offer.

Here are a few actionable tips for businesses to excel in customer marketing and thrive in an economic downturn:

  • Leverage loyalty programs such as offering exclusive deals and discounts to keep existing customers engaged and as a form of thanking them for their support. Starbucks launched “The Starbucks Gold Card” which gave its most loyal customers extra freebies and in-store benefits which helped to build credibility in the brand.
  • Introduce surveys or feedback channels so as to improve customer service and based on those feedback, introduce add-ons to exiting features so as to provide more value. Starbucks launched the “My Starbucks Idea” in the 2008 recession that gave customers an opportunity to share their ideas with the company. Starbucks implemented some of the suggestions which allowed it to gain a robust fan base and trust in the brand.
  • Emphasize to your clients the unique benefits of continuing with your products/services as well as why they are worth the investment. It is important to demonstrate value in times where customers might be more selective with purchases.
  • Incentivize customers to refer your business to friends and families. Making customers feel appreciated in difficult times (especially when they might be suffering too in the recession) is a really simple way to help your company stand out among the competition.

It is clear that a highly strategic customer marketing campaign will help businesses cement brand loyalty and help businesses not only survive the recession but grow faster. Existing customers are the real driver of growth because they can be your brand’s best advocate. So focusing on going the extra mile for them often pays dividends and greatly helps your business build resilience during a recession – which is what Grow Faster Marketing advocates strongly. Spend more when others are cutting down and be the loudest in the room.

Strategy 2: Make Use of Social Media Marketing

In today’s digital age, Social Media Marketing is a great way to help businesses prosper in an economic downturn.

Here are a few approaches businesses can consider:

  • Organic social media posts: Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Twitter and LinkedIn are free to use and are a powerful way for your business to connect with customers. If you already have a strong social media following, take the chance to design a meaningful social media calendar so that you consistently engage with your customer base. This helps to build your brand’s credibility and repuation which is crucial to maintaining existing clients and attracting new clients. Get a chance to go viral and get free advertising.
  • Sponsored advertising: Paid social media marketing is a cost-effective advertising strategy that is targeted and will allow your business to increase brand awarness with minimal spend. In an economic downturn where some companies might scale back on marketing spend, this creates a supply-and-demand dynamic that lowers media costs and increase marketing reach.
  • Facebook Groups: Businesses can also join or create facebook groups where they can share updates and post current photos to connect with customers in real-time. This helps to create a sense of community and builds trust in the brand.
  • Optimization: Social media platforms often provide valuable data and insights about customer behavior, audience demographics, and the performance of marketing efforts. Social listening also allow businesses to understand what they are doing right and where they can improve further. All these information can be used to optimize marketing strategies, ensuring that efforts are directed at the right audience and delivering the best results.

Therefore, concentrating the media mix on social media marketing considerably aids businesses in growing their customer base without having to spend an eye-watering amount on marketing. Keeping costs lean while increasing revenue will help businsses survive challenging times. Of course, the devil’s in the details and doing it right with an expert can make a world of difference.

Strategy 3: Utilize SEO

Ensure that your website is optimized for search engines as this will help your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs) when people are searching for products or services related to your business. This will help you gain more organic traffic and increase sales without straining your marketing budget.

In fact, where other companies might not be investing in sound SEO marketing strategies in a recessionary environment, it becomes much easier for you as a business to rank on SERPs. For a more detailed analysis on this, see here.

There are 2 types of SEO for websites, namely:

  • On-page SEO. This involves optimizing the content and structure of your website to make it more noticeable to search engines. This includes optimizing titles, descriptions, and keywords to make your content pieces relevant to the current market scenario and stay true to your audiences. It also involves using keyword research to follow search trends and understand the changes in customer needs and behavior.
  • Off-page SEO. This type involves building quality links on other websites to increase the authority of your website. This includes submitting guest posts, creating social media accounts, and getting featured on relevant websites.

Do not forget Local SEO. This means optimizing your website so that it appears on the SERPs when people are searching for similar products or services to what your business offers in a specific geographic region.

Make sure your business has an updated and optimized listing on Google My Business (GMB). Claiming your GMB listing adds credibility to your business and makes your business more visible to local customers, thereby increasing the chances of conversions.

SEO can be a relatively inexpensive way for businesses to improve their online ranking and bring themselves to the right audience. Note that SEO marketing takes time to show results but it important to work on these fundamentals and build brand awareness so that your brand can emerge stronger when the economy recovers. And getting an SEO expert who truly understands your business helps a great deal in getting to #1 on Google & Bing, and growing your business faster.

Strategy 4: Employ Content Marketing

Content marketing, which is closely related to SEO as covered above, is a powerful way to connect with your target audience and build trust in your brand. By creating relevant and impactful content that simultaneously highlights your services or products, you will be able to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, while also driving traffic and sales from both new and established customers.

Content marketing during an economic downturn is a very delicate strategy that needs to be executed with precision and thoughtfulness. You need to ensure that your content reflects the current market trendby sharing how your brand can help them adapt in times of crisis. You cannot come across as wanting to money grab when some of your customers might be facing difficult times.

For example, in the recent Covid-19 induced economic crisis where alot of businesses could not stay open, Salesforce built its ‘Leading Through Change’ resource centre, featuring webinars, blogs and ebooks to help businesses get insights and tools to survive through the crisis.

Below are some tips you can follow to level up your content marketing game during a recessions:

  1. Create content for every stage of your customer funnel to engage your audiences and encourage them to become your customers.
  2. Emphasize value in your content to build a genuine connection with the customer and make sure your tone is emphathetic to the current market conditions
  3. Repurpose your old best-performing content to increase traffic flow to your website and double the chances of generating more leads.

Recessions bring opportunities to build client relationships. As with SEO, you are unlikely to see results right away with content marketing. However, do not give up as content marketing in the long run will pay dividends and eventually bring more conversions as customers come to recognise your brand as offering value and support in their most trying times.

Strategy 5: Adjust your products and services

Businesses cannot remain stagnant in a changing economic environment. Since consumers are likely to become more price sensitive during recessions, it is vital to analyze consumer spending habits and adjust your marketing strategies accordingly.

During a downturn, businesses can diversify their offerings to reach new customers and tap into new markets. This can mean:

  • Offering complementary products or services that will appeal to your existing customer base. For example, if you run a restaurant, consider offering meal delivery or take-out options.
  • Offering tiered services or offering a free version of a product with minimal features (also known as “free-mium” will draw in more customers and build loyalty. This gives customers more options and still allows you to retain them until they regain their footing when the economy improves.

Of course, the devil’s in the details and it’s up to individual businesses to decide how to best introduce new offerings, market them successfully and increase revenues. 

Strategy 6: Consider Co-Marketing

image of brand collaborations - using co-marketing as a marketing strategy during the downturn - Grow Faster Marketing

Co-marketing is where you partner with other complementary businesses, tap into new markets, reach new customers, and expand your reach, so as to effectively grow your business, even in a downturn.

Some businesses might think, why would I help in driving business to other companies? However, note that we mention complementary businesses here which means that these businesses are not in direct competition with yours. What this meaans is that sharing the customer base can often lead to a snowball effect and attract more customers. For example, a restaurant can partner up with a home building company and cook in their kitchen. This means both brands can pool resources together to create videos and other content that can showcase both the functionality of the kitchen and desirability of the food.

Another form of co-marketing is two brands collaborating together to produce one single merchanise. This allows both brands to leverage off each other’s goodwill and helps to promote conversations amongst both communities. A great example of this recently is the collaboration between Nike and Tiffany & Co. It generated lots of good publicity and organic media because it was something different and therefore attracted lots of attention.

Co-marketing is cost effective in the woes of a recession, presents your brand in a way that might be often seen and allows your brand to attract even more eyeballs, which in turn, contributes to revenue growth in the long run.

The Goal Is To Survive AND Thrive

Economic downturns, even shallow ones, bring uncertanties to businesses and can be difficult to weather, but they don’t have to be disastrous for your business.

By focusing on customer retention, making use of social media marketing, utiliizing SEO, employing content marketing, adjusting your products and services, and leveraging co-marketing, your business can come out of the recession successfully.

With the right marketing team at your side like Grow Faster Marketing, your business can not just survive, but even thrive during such times.

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