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Digital Marketing During a Recession: Why It’s Still Important & Strategy Tips

By: Ed Carr

When economic trouble looms, the knee-jerk reaction for many businesses is to cut spend, and marketing is usually the first to go. We’re here to tell you this could be a significant tactical error. Digital marketing in a recession can still be a highly effective strategy—just take a look at what worked through the pandemic…

If there’s one thing top marketing agencies mastered through COVID, it’s prioritizing the *most* impactful tactics to stay top of mind. With warnings of a potential recession, this lesson can be applied today: don’t skimp on digital. After all, no matter what industry you’re in, the one place your clients are definitely spending time is online.

When businesses lean into marketing and ramp up efforts during economic uncertainty, they come out better on the other side. The central question is how to do that with digital marketing tactics. Sagefrog has helped businesses accelerate success during uncertain times for over twenty years, and can help you, too. Get in touch with us today.

We have a few essential tips to help you create a recession-proof marketing strategy:

Why Marketing During a Recession Is Still Important

Belts tighten as economic worries increase. Whether on an individual, household, business, or industry level, cutting back on the unnecessary or indulgent becomes a priority. For business leaders, marketing and advertising budgets are often the first to go. This, however, can put long-term goals at risk.1 With digital efforts utilizing data-driven KPIs and audience targeting to fine-tune campaigns and eliminate ineffective marketing tactics, you can still nurture leads and generate revenue despite the recession. As competitors pull back their marketing budget, you’ll be positioned to take advantage of a lighter playing field and less expensive paid advertisements.

How Does a Recession Affect Digital Marketing?

While a recession may cause some businesses to cut spending, many will still need your products—and that’s where a smart digital marketing strategy comes in. As competitors pause or re-evaluate, you can ensure your products, services, and brand are still visible to those who need them with practical digital marketing efforts like search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

7 Recession-Proof Digital Marketing Tips

Marketing is essential for growth during a recession, but how do you build campaigns that generate leads during such a time? Here are seven tips for a recession-proof marketing strategy.

Focus on Digital Brand Building

Brand strategy is crucial regardless of what’s happening in the economy and the world around us. But to maintain and create a level of trust and comfort with your audience as they feel the pressure of an economic downturn, honing your brand online is critical.

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Improve Your Google Ads CPC

Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a proven, cost-effective digital marketing strategy for immediate results. But don’t just throw money at a PPC campaign, optimize it. Cost-per-click (CPC) is a prime metric of the ROI of PPC ads. The lower your CPC, the more cost-efficient they become. By leveraging long-tail keywords, negative keywords or phrases you don’t want ads to show for, and scheduled ads, you can improve CPC and get more bang for your bidding buck.

Create Evergreen Content for the Full Buyer’s Journey

Content is the foundation on which all digital marketing should be built. And the key to creating stellar content is ensuring it’s worthwhile for clients or prospects to read now and in the future. It should also cover the entire buyer’s journey and nudge readers through a sales funnel. Leverage individual, evergreen content pieces that build awareness of a challenge, point to a potential solution, and then sway a lead toward choosing your solution. For more immediate conversions, start with decision-level content.

Paid social media advertising during a recession is a game-changer. You can explicitly target qualified leads with sponsored ads and paid promotions, showing them the best, most relevant offer. Rather than casting a wide net, you’re fly fishing, using tailored ads to highlight your brand to ideal prospects only.

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Prioritize SEO to Make Your Content Stand Out

As mentioned, PPC is a valuable tool for immediate results. The flip side of that is generating organic, long-term visibility. SEO is the best way to ensure your content is at the top of Google and Bing results pages when prospects search for related topics online. There are a few ways to improve SEO and rank higher in search results:

  • Use backlinking to build site-wide authority and help your content rank better
  • Create content that establishes you as a thought leader and industry expert
  • Create content that matches the search query (transactional, informational, navigational, comparison)
  • Use internal links to pass link equity and make your pages more discoverable
  • Build sitewide topical authority to make your content more trustworthy
  • Fix any technical issues that affect crawlability, discoverability, or indexing

Keep Your Audience Engaged with Email Marketing

Email is a direct line between you and existing or potential prospects. Ensure your brand and product or service are always top of mind and top of inbox. Plus, emails are yet another opportunity to encourage engagement with other lead-nurturing content and drive web traffic without a heavy investment.

Focus on Conversion Rate Optimization

Eliminate any roadblocks between prospects becoming clients by optimizing webpages to ensure they encourage a desired, measurable action. Submission forms, contact buttons, and calls to action are great additions to any content piece when you want to foster more conversions.

Closing Thoughts

Marketing during a recession is complicated, but to forego it entirely is a mistake no business can afford. Instead, with well-organized marketing strategies and budgeting prepared with a recession in mind, you can stay on top of the market as the economy turns back around.

Want more ideas on remaining resilient during a recession? Get a jump start on this vital conversation.

How can we accelerate your success?