Marketing your business in times of economic uncertainty

expert advice marketing Jun 19, 2023
Marketing when times are tough

In times of economic uncertainty (like, say, an impending recession!), most people’s instinct is to cut costs and ‘batten down the hatches’ to try to ‘weather the storm’. And one of the first things business owners usually do is cut the marketing budget.

The problem with this approach is that usually exacerbates the problem and makes it harder to survive.

Right now, you’re probably thinking to yourself: “Of course she’d say that! She’s a marketer!”. The thing is, I’ve seen businesses who invest in their marketing during difficult times survive, and even thrive, when others fail because they turned off their marketing tap.

Marketing is how you keep a constant pipeline of leads coming through. If you turn that off, you’re cutting off your opportunities to bring in new clients.

Economic uncertainty can be an awesome marketing opportunity

And, when everyone else is cutting their marketing budgets, the people who stay in the market will have less competition and get a much better return on their marketing investment.

If your product or service solves a problem that doesn’t go away at times like these (versus, say, a luxury handbag or impulse purchases), with fewer options to choose from, conversion rates go up, more people are likely to buy, and you’ll generate more revenue, which should lead to more profit.

I’m not saying you should be throwing your marketing budget around arbitrarily, but if you plan your marketing well, you have the opportunity to experience really good results.

Make sure your marketing is working for you

It’s vital that your marketing really works for you at any time, not just when there are some scary economic headwinds about. Naturally, if you’re in survival mode you’ll be particularly interested in cutting out any unnecessary activity or expenses.

Monitoring marketing results is something I recommend to all of my clients all of the time, regardless of what the economy is doing. When you’re running a business, it’s never worth spending money that doesn’t give you some sort of return on your investment.

For every marketing activity you do, you need to track the results you get from it.

For example, if you’re spending time posting on socials, what are you looking to achieve? Do you want to gather followers because it makes you feel good, or are you looking to get paying customers from this channel? If so, what pathway are they going to follow?

If you map that customer journey out, you can measure the results every step of the way, and really see what is working for you (or what isn’t!).

PRO TIP: test small, fail fast, tweak as needed and scale when it works.

Marketing isn't always about spending money

It may be possible for you to focus your marketing efforts on activities and tactics that require your time, rather than dollars.

For service providers particularly, it’s a great time to focus on building your authority and sharing your expertise with your target market.

For example, blogging takes time, not money (unless you outsource it). If you have your blogging platform already in place, and if you use the right AI tools to help you come up with ideas, then your time will be very efficiently spent!

Build up your marketing assets. Write useful guides and checklists and invite people to download them.

Share videos with your thoughts and expertise with people who are interested in what you do.

Host webinars to share our expertise and attract people to you.

Spend time pursuing PR opportunities.

Share all of the above on social channels and anywhere that you can increase your reach beyond your existing network.

These are all activities that will build your authority, attract an audience, and ultimately, often pay off better than activities such as advertising.

Work to a plan

Cue the eye rolls and cries of “We know already!” from any of my clients because I do tend to bang on about this a fair bit: you need a marketing plan!

Marketing Plan = Less Stress + Better Results

If you work to a plan, marketing your business will not only be less stressful, it’s the only way you’ll know you’re focussing on the right activities to get you from where you are now, to where you want to go, in the most efficient and effective way.

You may have noticed the 12,000 plus marketing technology solutions out there promising to solve all of your marketing woes. The truth is you only need a handful of the right solutions to get your marketing to work for you. A plan helps you make the right choices.

And a strategic marketing plan will make sure all of your marketing activity is aligned to the same goals, so you get far more bang for your buck.

Marketing will help, not hinder, your efforts to make your business profitable

In times of economic uncertainty, the business owner who invests in smart marketing, will not just survive, they’ll thrive. Isn’t that what you want?


If you have any questions about any aspect of this blog post, or would like more information on this topic, please contact us and let us know. Thanks!

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