In the best of times, a comprehensive marketing strategy is vital to the success of your business. In an economic downturn it becomes even more crucial. You need a marketing strategy that focuses on the needs and wants of your target market, and those needs and wants change during a downturn. To stay on the right track, you will need to adjust your B2B marketing strategy accordingly.
Whatever You Do, Don’t Stop Marketing
When the economy slows down, it can be tempting to stop spending on marketing to save money. Don’t do that. Slashing your marketing budget will only help in the short term – in the long run it will weaken your brand and leave you less profitable. Your marketing dollars, if spent wisely, are never wasted. Plus, there are plenty of marketing options available that won’t break the bank. Keeping your business top of mind with current clients and potential customers is crucial right now – that way, when the market recovers (and it will), they’ll think of you when they’re ready to buy.
Analyze Past Performance
It’s important to measure audience engagement with your online content, whether it’s blogs, ads, social media posts, or other content. That way, you can invest in what’s working and adjust or cut what isn’t. Review data from Google Analytics, Google Search Console, Facebook analytics, and other platforms you’re using to determine what types of content are doing the best job of engaging your target audience. For the ones that aren’t up to snuff, either make improvements to them or cut them for now.
Focus on the Basics: Email, SEO, and Content
As you’re sorting through your marketing strategy, there are three items that should stay on it regardless of what else you cut – Email Marketing, SEO, and Content Marketing.
- Email Marketing is one of the most effective (and cost-effective) forms of marketing you can do. It is an easy way to build loyalty and trust with your customers, it costs very little, and it enables you to deliver relevant content directly into your customers’ inboxes. See our recent blog post for our best tips on writing emails people will actually open.
- SEO Marketing is a long-term marketing strategy – you need to keep plugging away at it if you want results. In your SEO marketing, always make sure you focus on using strategically placed keywords, building content with a clear goal in mind, and distributing that content to relevant sites to reach your customers.
- Content Marketing enables you to educate and influence your target audience and close sales – even in an economic downturn. When done well, content marketing will give you a great return on your investment. To get the most out of this type of marketing, you need to be consistent and focus on creating content that builds trust with your target market. Check out our recent post to learn why blogging is a must-have for your marketing strategy.
Understand Your Target Market
Once you’ve determined what types of marketing you will stick with, take some time to make sure you’re addressing the current needs and wants of your target audience. In an economic downturn, people (and businesses) generally fall into one of four categories:
- Slam on the Brakes – This group is the hardest hit by an economic downturn. They will immediately stop unnecessary spending and hold on for dear life.
- Pained But Patient – This group is a little more optimistic about the long-term, but still nervous about the short-term. They will slow down their spending, but not to the same extent.
- Comfortably Well Off – This group feels secure about their ability to survive. They will be a bit more selective about their spending, but will continue to spend at nearly the same rate as before.
- Live for Today – This group functions pretty much as usual and is generally unconcerned about the future. They are likely to continue spending normally as long as their income allows it.
To best address your target audience’s needs and wants during this time, you’ll need to find out where they fall and adjust your marketing strategy accordingly. The best way to find this out? Ask. Interview your most loyal clients to learn what their motives and plans for spending are in the near future. Find out what they need right now and think about how you can help meet that need.
Gather Reviews & Testimonials
Now is a great time to ask current clients for reviews or testimonials. Reviews strengthen your online reputation and help build trust with potential customers. Think about it – how often do you make purchasing decisions these days without first checking online reviews? For most of us, customer reviews are a big part of the research we do prior to purchase.
Reach out to past and current clients to ask for reviews on Google, Facebook, or Yelp, or for a testimonial you can use in your marketing. Use these reviews and testimonials on your website, social media, ads, and other online content to help boost consumer confidence in your business.
Challenge = Opportunity
Stay positive. While marketing during an economic downturn can be challenging in many ways, it can also offer opportunities you wouldn’t otherwise have. With some tweaks, your marketing strategy can become more focused, relevant, and adaptable than ever, resulting in better engagement with your audience and making you more likely to survive future downturns or other crises.
Wild Fig Marketing can help you build a solid marketing strategy to keep you on track no matter what the economy is doing. Whether you’re looking for marketing help in the form of website design, sales or process automation, content marketing, email marketing or lead generation, we have the knowledge and experience to help you rock your brand. Contact us on our website or set up a complimentary 30-minute strategy session here!