Tel: 01243 116432

Business Growth in a Recession: Effective Digital Marketing Strategies

Growth Strategies in a Recession 

If you’re like a lot of people, you might be wondering how the next six to twelve months will work out for your business. Will you be able to create steady customer demand, maintain a positive cash flow, and continue to stay profitable? Is business growth in a recession even possible?

In order to remain competitive and promote growth in an economic downturn, businesses can really benefit from an efficient digital marketing strategy. Many companies’ first reaction is to cut back on their marketing budgets in an attempt to save money. However, this could have a negative effect on digital marketing efforts and could be counter-productive in terms of medium to long-term growth.

There are numerous ways that businesses can leverage digital marketing for maximum reach and create engaging content strategies during challenging times. With the strategic alignment of your marketing and sales teams, you can identify and reach your ideal customers while differentiating yourself from the competition – all essential components of successful growth even in a recession.

An effective digital marketing strategy enables small to medium-sized business owners to remain agile amid economic uncertainty by generating consistent demand and sales momentum, despite possible marketing budget constraints.

Use multiple digital channels to help maximise the effective reach of your messaging.

Leverage Digital Channels for Maximum Reach

Leveraging digital channels is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. The fundamental aim is to help increase sales. From social media platforms to paid advertising, businesses can use these tools to attract a larger audience and drive more sales. To maximise your reach, optimising your website for SEO is key to being found by potential customers online. Here are some tips on how to maximise your potential reach through digital channels:

Utilise Social Media Platforms:

Social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn provide businesses with an opportunity to connect with their target audience in real time. Producing stimulating and engaging content that connects with your audience can help you increase brand awareness and create potential leads rapidly. Beware of the click-bait headlines though! Most people rapidly become irritated when the content that they thought would be interesting is completely irrelevant to them. By utilising paid ads on social media platforms, you can increase your comapny’s visibility and acquire new customers.

Invest in Paid Advertising:

Paid advertising such as Google Ads or display ads is another great way to increase visibility and reach more people who may not otherwise find you organically. These campaigns allow you to target specific audiences based on people’s interests or demographics. That means you’re reaching the right people at the right time with relevant messages tailored just for them. Having said that, it is worth spending time to ensure effective advertising campaigns spend.

Optimising titles, meta descriptions, and content in your ads with keywords used on your website is hugely important. Use keywords strategically throughout both your social media and paid ads to match your site’s content. There’s no point in appearing prominently via paid ads and organic keyword terms that are different to those that you have optimised for on your website. Link building can also help improve rankings over time, allowing potential customers to find you easily when searching online. Internal link-building is equally important, as this helps connect similar content in order to help the reader discover additional information.

One of the best ways to leverage digital channels for maximum reach is by creating an attractive, compelling content plan that helps you stand out from the competition and encourage more conversions. When you invest in driving traffic to your website, you want the visitor to find content that is contextually relevant to them. Providing information that answers typical questions, as well as educating and inspiring visitors, is a great way to ensure your business has the best chance of success in a recession.

Key Takeaway: All businesses can leverage digital channels to maximise their reach and drive sales growth in a recession. This involves utilising social media platforms, investing in paid advertising campaigns, as well as optimising their website content for SEO to rank highly on SERPs.

Develop an Engaging Content Strategy

Creating an engaging content strategy is essential for small to medium-sized businesses. Stuffing your website with keywords in the hope of “ranking on page one” is no longer an effective strategy – and hasn’t been for some time! By creating relevant and valuable content, incorporating visuals and video, plus focusing on quality over quantity, you can more effectively reach your target audience.

Start your content strategy with clear goals.

Content that is well-written and informative should be at the core of your digital strategy. This type of content helps establish credibility with potential customers by providing them with useful information. Additionally, it helps improve organic search rankings when optimised for SEO keywords that are related to your business’s products or services. To ensure maximum impact, research topics thoroughly before writing and consider using idioms or colloquialisms to make the text more relatable to readers.

In addition to written content, visual media such as images, graphs and infographics can help capture a reader’s attention. This also helps to convey complex ideas quickly and easily. Videos have rapidly become a popular option due to their potential for captivating viewers through audio-visual elements and storytelling techniques. It’s often enough to simply use captivating soundtracks or voiceover narration. When developing visual or video assets for your website or social media channels, focus on creating high-quality pieces that align with your brand identity, again instead of opting for quantity over quality.

When creating your content strategy it is important to think of your target audience’s needs. This is especially relevant in B2B as your potential customers are also seeking ways to drive growth in an economic downturn. Forming a strong bond between your marketing and sales teams can lead to improved outcomes with reduced effort.

Too often we hear “marketing isn’t producing the right content”. To alleviate that problem, marketing should work hand-in-hand with both sales and customer service teams to identify the key type of content that will be useful to your potential customers. After all, sales and customer service people will probably be answering the same questions and hearing about the same problems regularly. Try to address the key questions your potential buyers have throughout their buying journey.

Finally, keep track of performance metrics such as page views and engagement rates so you can measure success over time. Analyse data regularly to refine strategies according to what works best for your target audience – this will help differentiate your company from competitors who may be utilising similar tactics but not getting results due to a lack of insight into their customer’s needs and behaviours. It sounds obvious, but by thinking of marketing strategically rather than just “the colouring-in department”, entrepreneurs, marketers, company directors and other decision-makers in small-to-medium sized businesses can enhance their competitiveness, without needing huge budgets.

Key Takeaway: By leveraging relevant, valuable and well-written content, including high-quality visuals and video assets, SMEs can create an effective digital marketing strategy. This will help differentiate your company from competitors who may be using similar tactics without success.

Align Your Marketing and Sales Teams

To optimise efficiency and create effective competitive positioning, it is critical for businesses to ensure their marketing and sales teams are working in harmony. By setting clear goals and objectives, tracking performance metrics, and creating automated workflows, you can streamline processes and achieve greater success.

Shared Marketing and Sales goals should align with overall business goals.

Establishing clear goals and objectives helps ensure that the marketing team’s efforts are aligned with the sales team’s needs. For example, if the goal is to increase website traffic by 20%, then the marketing team should focus on organic strategies such as SEO optimisation and Social Media as well as paid advertising campaigns. The sales team should work on lead-generation tactics like email outreach or calling potential customers who they haven’t spoken with for a while.

Quite often there are sales opportunities that have gone cold because the timing wasn’t right yet the need still exists. Both teams must have a shared understanding of what success looks like in order for them to effectively collaborate towards reaching those goals.

Tracking shared performance metrics is also important when it comes to measuring progress against set targets. Digital marketing allows measuring the customer lifetime value (CLV) much more straightforwardly than traditional channels. Standard KPIs usually include website visits to conversions to CLV. But don’t get fixated on increasing traffic – the last thing salespeople want is having to chase uninterested “leads” that have no intention of buying from you.

Setting relevant KPIs and metrics based on a typical customer’s journey as well as visitor intent is almost unique to each company. Understanding how your existing customers discovered you and what information was/is important to them, will help you provide increasingly relevant content for your ideal new customer too. It’s worth looking at your existing organic and paid campaigns regularly to identify:

  • What percentage of your incoming leads progress to a quote or proposal stage?
  • What is the conversion rate from quote/proposal through to becoming a customer or client?
  • What is the best-performing channel or source of enquiries?
  • Where are the main friction points (i.e., in the customer journey) where people lose interest or stop engaging with you?

Remember that just because someone sees one of your ads or posts, it doesn’t mean they have an unfulfilled need now. They might become interested in your product or services when they realise that their current pain or frustrations can be resolved.

By leveraging automated workflows, marketers can streamline mundane tasks and free up more time for high-value activities such as strategy development or customer service initiatives. In many companies, the proliferation of Marketing Automation tools has led to CRMs overflowing with meaningless data. The promise of rapid personalised messaging and continuous nurturing, without human intervention, is too often badly implemented and thus ineffective.

Don’t forget to take the time to streamline the processes and workflow in order to align KPIs and metrics with a revised strategy. This will allow teams to focus on what really matters – so often internal teams are chasing their tails on outdated KPIs “because we’ve always done it that way”.

Now might well be the best time to take advantage of updating your marketing strategy to optimise your digital marketing operations while simultaneously boosting ROI through improved collaboration between departments.

As mentioned earlier, aligning your marketing and sales teams is essential to ensure that both teams are working together towards a common goal. By identifying the frustrations, anxieties, needs and aspirations of your ideal customers, you can better understand their buying behaviours. Ultimately, this helps you to refine your overall go-to-market strategies supported with successful digital marketing campaigns – rather than battening down the hatches in the near future.

Key Takeaway: Companies can achieve greater success, especially in a recession, by aligning their marketing and sales teams, tracking relevant performance metrics, and leveraging automated workflows. This will help streamline processes, boost ROI through improved collaboration between departments, and give most businesses the upper hand in a competitive marketplace.

Identify and Reach Your Ideal Customers

When it comes to digital marketing, understanding your target audience is key – qualitative market research is always better than following competitors. Knowing who you are trying to reach and what they need will help you create effective strategies for maximum success. To identify and attract your ideal customers, start by analysing their needs and behaviours with a view to clarifying:

  • What do they care about?
  • What drives them?
  • What are their concerns, fears, doubts, and frustrations?
  • Where do they search for information?
  • Who do they turn to for advice?
  • What are the motivations for them to look for a new solution or supplier?

Focus on identifying your Ideal Customer’s needs.

When you recognise customers’ needs and motivations, you can tailor your strategies by segmenting your ideal customers and creating targeted messaging to better engage with each potential customer segment. For example, if your target market includes people seeking to enhance their professional lives, e.g. through continuous professional development (CPD) for career progression, create content tailored to the objectives and aspirations of this group. That will also help position your company as an authority or subject matter expert.

Once you have the foundations of a revised strategy in place with clear goals, metrics and timescales, leverage data-driven insights in order to refine your strategy over time. Utilise analytics data to provide the necessary information to track your defined performance indicators. This information can quickly provide valuable insights into how successful certain campaigns have been so that adjustments can be made accordingly for future initiatives.

Additionally, by refining your use of marketing technology, you can use those insights to create simple automated workflows and streamline processes. In doing so, you are more likely to ensure that the right message does now reach the right people at the right time – resulting in more conversions and an improved sales opportunity pipeline.

Take time to implement your revised digital marketing strategy and associated tactics. Combined with careful analysis of customer trends and preferences over time, it will help you have a real chance of making a positive impact in today’s competitive landscape.

Your marketing strategy shouldn’t be left in the bottom drawer until next year. Too often this happens because it’s a hefty tome that took months of preparation – we’ve all been there. A simple one or two-page marketing strategy can be created in a few hours and then refined monthly – the marketplace is constantly changing and your strategy should be updated accordingly.

Key Takeaway: By leveraging customer data and automated workflows, businesses of any size can create effective digital marketing strategies tailored to their target audience. Utilising personalisation tactics works best when you segment your audience to allow targeted, thus relevant, messaging. Updating/refreshing your analytics setup for relevant KPI data capture will help your company stay ahead of the game in today’s competitive landscape.

Differentiate Yourself from the Competition

By leveraging data-driven insights you can effectively identify and reach your ideal customers. Differentiating yourself from the competition is essential for success in a business downturn, it’s inevitable! A good starting point is to analyse your competitors’ strategies to identify and improve your unique selling points (USPs) and then implement innovative tactics and solutions that will set you apart. By understanding your competitors’ strategies, you can devise innovative solutions to stay ahead of the competition and establish your USP.

However, there’s no point in just copying your competitors. Otherwise, any potential customers will not have a strong enough motivation to choose your company. And when that happens, it usually comes down to price – the last competitive tactic that any company should go to market with.

Analysing competitors’ strategies involves researching their products or services, pricing models, marketing tactics and customer service approach. It is also beneficial to look for any novel strategies they may be exploiting. This information can provide additional valuable insights into where there may be opportunities for improvement within your own business model.

Identifying unique selling points (USPs) is key when differentiating yourself from the competition. These USPs could include anything from offering superior quality products or services to providing exceptional customer service or having an exclusive distribution network. It’s important to focus on things that clearly set you apart from other businesses in your industry so customers have a reason to choose you over others.

Finally, when thinking of implementing innovative new solutions, it helps to include things that no one else has yet offered. Introducing the latest technology, such as AI bots, or launching a new range of products with extraordinary features and abilities – are just some ways to remain in the race in today’s digital landscape.

FAQs – Effective Digital Marketing Strategies for Growth in a Recession

What is a good strategy for marketing during a recession?

In any market downturn or recession, it is essential to concentrate on implementing marketing tactics that are both cost-effective and easily measurable. Companies should focus their efforts on optimising existing digital channels such as SEO and PPC campaigns, utilising targeted email marketing initiatives, and leveraging social media platforms to increase brand awareness.

As a core part of any marketing refresh, you should aim to create consistent messaging across all channels to avoid potentially confusing and different brand positioning in each channel. Additionally, businesses can look into alternative methods of advertising such as influencer partnerships or content distribution via Podcasts and Webinars that will engage potential customers without breaking the bank.

Will a recession affect digital marketing?

Yes, a recession can affect digital marketing. Companies may need to reduce their budgets and prioritise specific strategies over others. Spending more on marketing during a recession might sound counterintuitive, but it can be one of the smartest decisions a company can make.

Don’t forget the value of low-investment, but high-ROI channels such as Content Marketing, SEO, paid media, and email marketing, which are digital marketing essentials and pay dividends over the long term.

Additionally, companies should consider the current economic situation when creating campaigns and focus on delivering value to customers in order to stay competitive. Furthermore, companies should review their existing campaigns for effectiveness and adjust them accordingly in order to maximise ROI during tough economic times.

Is digital marketing recession-proof?

Yes, digital marketing is generally considered to be recession-proof. However you see the future, marketing is essential to underpin growth and scalability – it’s no longer just about creating “award-winning” brochures and websites. It’s so much more than that!

Marketing is about creating and delivering products and services that provide value to your customers and clients. And that involves both longer-term consistent growth as well as short-term customer acquisition – lead generation!

It’s difficult to accomplish that without using Digital Marketing in some way or another. It offers an efficient route for firms of all sizes to make contact with prospective customers and boost sales without requiring a huge investment or physical presence. Digital marketing strategies are also flexible and can be adapted quickly in response to changing market conditions, making them more resilient than traditional methods during times of economic uncertainty.

What is the best business strategy during a recession?

During a recession, the best business strategy is to focus on cutting unnecessary costs and increasing efficiency. An example of reducing overhead costs, while streamlining processes for maximum productivity, is to analyse marketing activity vs outcomes and concentrate on those that produce a positive return.

Additionally, utilising digital tactics like SEO optimisation and social media can help companies target their audiences without spending too much money. An effective Content Strategy, producing helpful and inspiring content that answers customers’ information needs, is a great way of creating and maintaining brand and product awareness.


In conclusion, effective digital marketing strategies can help businesses remain competitive and profitable and maintain growth in a recession. By leveraging digital channels to maximise reach, you will be able to increase demand and sales momentum even during difficult economic times. Investing resources (time and budget) will allow you to:

  • Develop an engaging content strategy
  • Align your marketing and sales teams for shared goals
  • Identify and segment your ideal customers for relevant messaging
  • Creating competitive differentiation

Hopefully, this has created some food for thought!

If you need help putting together a strategy for growth and would like to leverage our expertise to maximize your ROI please get in touch. We’ll help you with an integrated approach that will bring you closer to achieving your goals.