Whether we’re in a recession or headed toward one depends on which expert you listen to, but one thing is certain — business owners are getting nervous. I get it. I feel it too. But the key to surviving and even thriving in a recession is going against your instinct to cut. When everyone else is cutting is when it’s your time to shine. It’s time to practice recession-proof marketing.
Why Listen to Me?
I understand that you may be hesitant to listen to someone who isn’t a financial expert about things related to the economic well-being of your business. While I may not know everything about finance, I know a lot about starting a business during a challenging time and even more about successful marketing.
I started Content Journey in 2020 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. I knew it was a risky time to start a business, but I couldn’t let my idea sit any longer. I started with one client and a lot of passion. I soon discovered that many businesses were trying to figure out how to pivot their marketing to something that worked during the pandemic. I was able to add clients quickly and help them grow their businesses while some of their competitors floundered.
Five of our clients had their best year in 2020-21 because they invested in digital marketing when seemingly everyone else was cutting. A few of them invested in ways they never had before, which paid off for them.
I know firsthand how to grow a business during a difficult time, and I can help you do the same.
Fighting the Instinct to Cut
The way we helped our clients reinvest their marketing dollars during COVID was key to their success during that time. But it didn’t come naturally to them, and it’s likely to make you nervous, too, when everything in you is telling you to save money.
“Marketing in a recession will never be easy, largely because it often involves going against instincts and standard operating norms,” according to Harvard Business Review.
This quote summarizes what we all feel during difficult economic times. It’s an instinct to cut budgets and save money. And marketing is often one of the first budgets to cut because it feels like an easy place to reduce when you want to focus on hanging on to your business, not necessarily growing. But HBR research also shows that you shouldn’t cut your marketing budget during a recession and should grow it if you can.
You will succeed and grow during difficult economic times if you go against these operational norms. That’s how you get to the other side without negatively impacting your business.
Embracing SEO Content Marketing
If you haven’t already, it’s time to invest in SEO and content marketing.
Search engine optimization is when you use strategies to rank well in search results, encouraging people looking for information on your topic of expertise to visit your website. It helps people find your information and, therefore, your business.
Content marketing is that informative, valuable, relevant content that serves your audience and helps you rank in search. The two work hand-in-hand to help people find your business and create new leads.
SEO content marketing works. It’s a long-term strategy that continues to build on itself. When done correctly, it works every time and for a long time.
There isn’t a better long-term investment strategy to recession proof your business.
Yes, I’m telling you to adopt a long-term strategy to grow your business now if you haven’t already. Why would you embrace SEO and content marketing now when everything in you tells you to make cuts? Because research shows that businesses that invest in proactive marketing during a recession achieve superior business performance.
These businesses turn adversity into an advantage. That’s what Content Journey did in 2020 and what our five clients did at that time. It paid off for all of us then and still is now.
Practicing Recession-Proof Marketing
You have the opportunity not just to survive the recession. You can grow and thrive during an economic downturn. You just have to work through the discomfort and go against your instincts. Here’s what to do to practice recession-proof marketing.
First things first, take a look at your business. It’s cheaper and easier to retain customers than replace them. Are you delighting your current clients? Is there anything you need to do differently to improve the experience for your current clients?
Think about your current offerings and services and how you can potentially strengthen them. Take the actions necessary to better serve your current clients and any clients you add in the future. Happy, supported clients stay.
Share Empowering Messages
Your marketing messages need to empower and encourage. Companies that focus on emotional engagement are more profitable than those whose messages are transactional. It’s the power of human connection.
Let your clients know that you understand what they’re going through. Share your experiences. Tell them what’s worked for you and other clients. And reassure them that you’ll get through this together.
Need some inspiration? Look at what successful companies have done through the past couple of years.
Assess Your Brand Voice
Do your social and email messages follow the empowerment concept above? Are you coming across as robotic and canned or empathic and personable? If people are facing hardship, how are they reading your communication? Make sure your brand voice meshes with the time we’re in.
Watch Your Competitors
If your competitors stop or reduce their marketing spend, it creates a huge opportunity for your business. Investing when your competitors pull back means your messages are seen when theirs aren’t. You have less competition for people’s attention. People are still making purchases and living their lives. They still need your products and services.
Remember that your competitors are watching your moves too. If you stop or reduce your marketing spend, they’ll be the ones to capitalize on the situation.
Review Your Budget
Of course, you’ll still review and consider your budget during trying economic times. Look where you’re allocating resources and ensure you’re using them effectively. During a recession, your marketing needs to be effective. You can make riskier moves in marketing that sometimes pay off big. Now’s not the time to try them. Invest in what works.
Let Content Journey Help
Your business can survive and even thrive during a recession. We’ve made it through difficult economic times before, and we’ll make it through this. We know that businesses that continue their marketing efforts during a recession will bounce back more quickly if they take a hit at all. Are you ready to practice recession-proof marketing? Let’s talk! We’re here to help.