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  • Writer's pictureClaire Elbrow

Don't pull the plug on your marketing!

As we head into recession, don't panic! With a little clever thinking, your marketing budget can be maintained or reduced, but the effectiveness of your activities can increase.

This blog was inspired by a local tradesman I use to do jobs around the house. We were talking about the upcoming recession and how he had noticed a change in trade. Yes, he had noticed a downturn in bookings and some people cancelling bookings and forfeiting their deposits. But, he had also noticed an increase in requests for staggering jobs and urgent jobs. People obviously still need their repairs completed but are looking at staggering the priorities and payments, or completing their work before the recession really bites. He has sensibly adapted - he has increased prices on urgent jobs, discounted prices on jobs within specific timelines, say December and January when work is historically quiet and offered staggered options for those unsure of how much cash they want to commit in one go. Being small, he can adapt his ways of working instantly, but can't we all?

Having worked through the last recession and the pandemic as a freelancer, I noticed a couple of things which clients did which meant they stayed visible and attracted work ahead of their competitors. Not all were high-cost options, and a few are listed below:

Look at your customer experience

Do your current customers have the best experience they can when buying from you? Can you improve or tweak your customer service to help stay at the forefront of your buyers' minds when their budgets are tight? Is their journey to working with you easy, seamless, or complex and admin-heavy? The best businesses know that happy customers give fabulous reviews and spread the word quickly. Word-of-mouth marketing is the most valuable and cost-effective marketing any company can have.

Stay Social

Your social media channels are your friend in a recession - post, engage and comment as much as possible. Re-evaluate your social media strategy and ensure you are doing as much as possible to stay visible and relevant.


OK, not a cheap option! By leveraging and managing PPC or digital advertising, you can keep your business in your customer's eye-line and push them to purchase from you. It needs managing and a firm eye on your competitors, but it can keep your cash flowing nicely.

Improve your email conversion rates

All businesses can improve their email conversion rates. Use your email marketing differently - try sending shorter emails more regularly so your customers remember you, your products and your services. Try testing different approaches, wording and tone, images or offer types to see what works best.

Build your content

Content marketing is relatively cheap! For most small and growing businesses, it is time - time to research your chosen blog subject and write it up. A blog is a fantastic cheap way to share knowledge and information with your customers. By blogging and keeping your blog current, informative and relevant, you will showcase your experience and your solutions. You can also build some excellent backlinks to your site on the way, which will influence your search engine ranking.

Above all, think about your customers. The 'normal' segments you work with might not apply during a recession. Your average Millennial or GenX audience might react to different purchasing triggers than pre-recession, and your targeting might need to be much more niche. As with the pandemic, some businesses and audiences will thrive, and others will struggle but listening, reacting and adapting to your customers is key to surviving.

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