January 3, 2023

7 Reasons Why Inbound Marketing Is A Recession-Proof Strategy

Reading the word “recession” will likely elicit some sort of fight-or-flight response. Over the past year, “recession” has been a buzzword for nearly every business owner. There have been many factors (inflation, shortages, hiring bottlenecks, and layoffs to name a few) pointing to the likelihood that we’re headed into an economic decline.

For any organization, talk about a recession produces a lot of stress and questions about the future. Will we have enough business to keep our doors open? Where will we have to reduce costs? It can feel like deja vu to the beginning of the pandemic.

Many have the knee-jerk reaction to reduce marketing or pause it all together in times like this. However, having a strategy for filling your pipeline is arguably the most important thing to spend your money on when times get tough. We’re here to explain why investing in the right strategy with inbound marketing will help you navigate and thrive in a tumultuous economic environment.

1. Customer Decision-Making Takes Longer

In a time of recession, consumers are questioning every purchase. They are hyper-analyzing spending to ensure they are being smart with their money at a time when the economy is suffering.

This means your customers are taking more time to reach a decision on whether or not they want to spend their money with you.

Inbound marketing is designed to guide a user through the sales process at their own pace, from awareness to decision. By neglecting this methodology and hoping to ride on your good name, you risk alienating potential customers or losing their interest altogether.

Invest in Search Engine Optimization

A strong organic presence is one of the most valuable assets your business can have and helps to ensure you meet people in every stage of the funnel. Customers are going to spend more time researching, gathering information, and comparing before they reach a decision. Your business has to be a trusted source, offering transparency and a clear process to have any shot at converting a lead.

If you cut out marketing or dramatically reduce it, your SEO value suffers. We tell our clients often: search engine optimization is a long-term strategy. Google doesn’t change based on the economy. You have to continuously craft new, relevant content, optimize your website, make technical improvements, and test new strategies as Google is ever-changing their ranking algorithm. Neglecting organic efforts causes you to lose a foothold in search results and miss out on the very people needing your services or products.

Additionally, when the economy starts to improve, you’ll have to spend twice as much time to get back at the top if you’ve pressed pause.

Leverage Automation and Email Marketing

Did you know that it takes, on average, seven touchpoints for a message or brand to stick in someone’s mind? If your customers are dragging their feet on making a decision, you’ve got to stay top of mind with them throughout their journey. One of the most effective ways to do this is through email marketing and automation.

When someone submits a contact form, they should enter an email drip campaign with intentional touchpoints to answer questions, guide them through the process, and help connect them with the right next step. While it can take time and investment to get this off the ground, it will automate your sales process while you focus on more pressing areas of your business.

2. Trust is Your Most Valuable Asset

The brands that thrived in the pandemic were the ones that gave peace of mind to a world ripe with chaos. This is true for times of economic decline. If you can offer trust and transparency, you convert a lot more customers and retain them for years to come.

As mentioned above, customers are researching businesses thoroughly. Finances are tight and every purchase can seem like a risky decision. If your digital presence is lacking, you won’t be a contender for new customers. Trust is hugely important to the success of your organization in a recession.

Establish A Strong Brand Identity

Customers will be scrutinizing your brand, website, and digital channels. In a normal environment, this is true. But in a recession? They will be even more critical about who they work with. If your website has been neglected or your branding hasn’t been updated in decades, this is bad news for you.

Users will be looking to give their business to organizations that:

How do you communicate that? Investing in a strong brand system is the best way to do so. If you’re nervous about rebranding your organization in light of the recession, check out our guide.

Display Authority with Content

Trust is also communicated through the content you’re offering. Not only is Google prioritizing authoritative content, but your customers are looking for it too. Are you going to trust a company that hasn’t put out new content in 2 years or one that has various content offerings throughout their site with regular updates?

3. Current Customer Retention Is Essential

It’s more expensive to capture new customers than it is to keep your existing clients. In a time of uncertainty, retention could be deprioritized while you try to wrap your head around all of the things out of your control. Neglecting your current customers is a recipe for disaster. Make sure you are carving out time and resources to invest in your loyal customers. This can be done through:

Companies may be looking to cut corners in a recession. This often comes at the cost of loyal and long-time clients. If your competitors choose to do this, you have the opportunity to win over their customers by showing how well you treat your customers.

4. You Need a Flexible Strategy

Inbound marketing, when compared to traditional marketing, has the ability to more easily pivot. As we saw in the pandemic, crises require quick, strategic decision-making. Businesses leveraging strong inbound strategies were able to quickly pivot to meet the new demands of a distanced world.

If you have been relying on old advertising methods or no marketing at all, it’s much harder to change directions when new information arises. With traditional marketing, channels like print, TV, direct mail, and radio can’t easily be altered in the same way digital marketing can be. Need to pause a Facebook ad to swap for another? Can do. What about an email to highlight a new service offering? Absolutely.

Your business has more flexibility to serve customers in an ever-changing climate with inbound marketing.

5. You Can’t Afford to Lose Market or Mind Share

If you press pause on marketing, you run the risk of losing out on highly sought-after market and mindshare in your industry. This can also happen if you choose to stop blogging, reduce your social media posts, or remove ad spend altogether. Your competitors may choose to do the opposite and swoop in to collect your vacated slice of the pie. Maintaining your digital presence also communicates stability to your customers, a quality they are desperately seeking.

Content Is King

We’ll continue to harp on this. Consistently putting out new, relevant, and educational content is one of the best ways to remain a trusted industry leader. This isn’t just adding a blog to your website. This exists across many platforms including webinars, social media content, videos, newsletters, podcasts, or speaking engagements. Your voice needs to be consistently reaching users. When you go dark, you lose out on being a key player compared to your competitors.

Maintain Your Social Media Presence

Maintaining a strong, consistent presence on social media is crucial. This is how you humanize your business and get people excited about working with you and your team. Neglecting social media can be enticing as it isn’t always a huge lead magnet. But, staying active on social media shows that you are committed to staying connected with current and potential clients. It also gives an opportunity to speak directly with users who may still be deciding whether or not to give you their business.

But What About Ad Spend?

Paid promotion is one of the first to end up on the chopping block when it comes to cutting costs. A word of caution: removing all of your ad spend will threaten your ability to maintain large market share.

With a flexible inbound strategy, you can scale down or up more easily in a time of uncertainty. It’s important to evaluate all of your paid promotion strategies to ensure that you are achieving great ROI, but don’t get caught up in the hysteria of needing to reduce every single paid avenue to save money. You’ll end up losing out on business that way.

The good news? Your competitors may end up pulling the trigger to pause all paid promotion, allowing you to capture more for a lot less. Less competition means you can spend less and capture more.

6. The Pool of Potential Customers is Smaller

If your industry is more negatively affected by the recession such as retail, tourism, and travel, then your pool of potential customers is significantly reduced. You have to be increasingly careful of how you’re going after a small amount of people. This requires time, energy, and patience as you test and evaluate your strategy. Inbound marketing is designed to reach the right people right where they are. Gone are the days of doing the bare minimum with your marketing and reaping the benefits of an overflowing lead funnel.

Targeting and Retargeting

Have you ever sat down and mapped out your buyer personas? If not, then stop, review this article, and come back. Ensuring that you and your team are aligned on who you need to go after is paramount to navigating the recession.

If you have buyer personas, review them. Ask yourself: “Do these still make sense given the current climate?” It’s important to consistently review your buyer personas with your sales team to ensure marketing is aligned.

Once you are settled on who you are targeting, you can better map out the channels in which these users exist on. The key here? Focus. A common mistake is trying to be present on every single digital channel known to mankind. When you do this, you end up spending a lot of time and end up with very little payoff.

Jumping back to the point made at the very beginning, you may not get a bite right away from these people, even when they are in your target audience. It will take a little more to earn that conversion. Make sure you are creating intake points for first-party information that you can use for retargeting opportunities in the future with email, automation, and paid promotion.

7. You’ll Be Ready to Ramp Up Post-Recession

The time you spend investing in inbound marketing during a hard economic time is time well spent. When the tides begin to turn and consumer spending rises, you have already established a strong rhythm that you can increase easily. A strong brand system operating on the channels that their target users are on can push the needle instantaneously. Staying top of mind during the recession opens your business up to capturing leads that have watched you stay legitimate and consistent.

For those businesses that merely set out to survive, they will be met with more time and challenges as they try to capitalize on an improved financial climate.

A Recession is Time-Bound. Inbound Marketing is Long-Term.

In a time of increased stress and decreased financial outlook, it can be difficult to decide where to put your dollars. When it comes to long-term lead generation success, the best advice we’ve been given is: “never stop pumping the well.” The worst thing you can do for business is to stop driving new business. Inbound marketing does that in a way that meets your customers where they’re at, builds trust through education, and keeps them so engaged that they’ll be telling their friends all about you.

We’re here to guide you through uncharted territory. If you’re looking for a trusted marketing partner to set you up for success in any climate, connect with us. We look forward to partnering with you in every season of your business.

Bailey Revis

Bailey is dedicated to infusing joy into every single touchpoint she has at PHOS with team members, clients, and our community. As Director of Marketing, she oversees our incredible team of marketers, supporting them as they foster great relationships and exceed our clients’ goals.

Outside of PHOS, you’ll likely find Bailey talking non-stop about Taylor Swift, enjoying an abundant amount of cold brew, curating incredibly niche Spotify playlists, or chasing sunsets.