As entrepreneurs and small business owners, it’s only natural to feel stressed in times of change. First it was the pandemic and the unknowns on when we could leave our homes and get back to work. Now it’s the looming recession. The first thing many business owners are going to do is cut expenses. And it’s noticeable. In fact you may already be noticing the lower income months and hustle to hit your revenue goals. Marketing in a recession is not only needed, but necessary to keep your business growing.
You might think, now is the time to start something new. Maybe run an ads campaign on Facebook or Google? However, during a recession, making any major changes to your marketing strategy is not a good idea. In other words, pumping a bunch of money into paid advertising when you’ve never done it before is only going to cause you to throw money away. Your audience doesn’t know you, trust you (yet) and you have no baseline for performance.
So what should you focus on? How should you spend your marketing time or dollars during a looming recession? Because we all know that we don’t just want to sustain our business, we want to thrive.
5 Marketing Strategies To Focus On During A Recession
1. Reconsider your unique point of difference
Why are you different from your competitors? This needs to be stronger than ever and might even change slightly in this new environment. It’s not about convincing your clients or customers to spend their limited dollars with you. Instead it’s about helping them understand why they still need you now more than ever. Why you aren’t the expense they need to cut. If you aren’t certain what makes you different, simply ask your audience with a quick survey.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Focusing on organic search strategies can be completely free if you DIY it yourself with a little research. It’s all about prioritizing those people who are searching for you and your services. These are easier sells rather than trying to convince your Instagram following to hire you. Take a quick course on how to optimize your website for SEO or dedicate time to do outreach by building a backlink strategy to increase your domain authority with Google.
3. Content Marketing
Our favorite examples of content marketing are blogging and podcasting. This is one of the best marketing tactics in a recession because it’s low-cost way to continue to generate growth and awareness your business long term. It involves creating informative and relevant content to engage your target audience. Instead of constantly selling your audience, you’re creating helpful resources and providing value. Over time, many of these individuals will become loyal customers and raving fans.
4. Lean on your past clients and customers
Ask for some help and you shall receive! Start asking for customer reviews regularly. Start hosting Instagram lives asking your students if they wouldn’t mind sharing their experience. Take those stories and tell them in your weekly newsletter. Word of mouth and brand trust is everything when money is tight. So go ahead and use this time to reflect and ask for feedback, especially if the month is kind of slow. Focus instead on how can improve your current offerings?
5. Evaluate your brand.
Your brand needs to be strong af during this time. You need to standout, not blend into your industry. Therefore, it might be time for a rebrand if you find yourself unable to standout in a crowded market. Here are some things to consider.
Questions to ask yourself:
- Do I look and sound different?
- Does my brand bring me joy?
- Am I still a reflection of my brand?
- Does my brand bring joy to others?
- Is my brand confusing?
- What does my brand do differently than my competitors that allows me to stand out?
Marketing in a recession is necessary to keep your small business thriving
Recessions can be scary for everyone, especially small businesses. We feel it too and know you aren’t alone. Use this time to focus on the tactics we shared here so you can come back even stronger, this is just part of that rollercoaster ride we call entrepreneurship.
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Abbey Oslin and Courtney Petersen are Minnesota-based marketing experts, educators, and co-founders of boutique marketing agency Duo Collective, which specializes in SEO, social media strategy, and branding for small business owners and creative entrepreneurs. To learn more about Duo Collective, or to inquire about working with our team, head over to www.duocollective.com.
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