Recession Marketing: Finding a Path in Times of Uncertainty

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of Australian businesses to rethink their 2020 performance and growth. With nearly half of the country’s workforce mainly working from home, employment uncertainty forcing consumers to cut back on spending, and businesses across a broad range of sectors consolidating their assets, to say that the year has been one of upheaval would be an understatement.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom. Many businesses have shifted their entire product offerings from bricks and mortar stores to online eCommerce retail, something that continues to meet buyer needs. Virtual communication has helped to continue seamless operations, and measures have been introduced to protect jobs and employee safety.

In this evolving working environment, it has never been more important to reach and influence customers online. Multi-channel digital marketing is tailormade to help steer businesses through these challenging times. Employing search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click (PPC) and social media marketing strategies will help businesses to not only survive but thrive throughout the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Recession-Proof Marketing

The economic fallout has plunged Australia into its first recession in 30 years. Gross domestic product (GDP) shrank 7% in the April-to-June quarter compared to the previous three months. This is the biggest fall since records began in 1959.

Despite the gloomy economic outlook, this is not a time to reign in marketing. Recession-proof marketing matters now more than ever. Instead of cancelling digital marketing in a recession, businesses would actually benefit from ramping them up.

Decades of research have taught us that businesses who cut their marketing spend do so at their own peril. In fact, businesses that engage in both long-term branding strategies and short-term market sales can shake off the effects of a recession.

Keeping your online marketing campaigns going means that you can keep revenue flowing, something that’s critical during a recession. Data is one of the primary benefits of online marketing. It helps businesses to run and hone campaigns to maximize SEO or paid media campaign ROI. It’s possible to maximize returns and minimize spending in ineffective marketing areas.

Also, SEO and PPC can provide businesses with greater visibility at a time when it’s likely that competitors are pulling out of the market because cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-impression (CPI) decrease, something that helps businesses to drive more traffic to their websites.

Grow Your Business in a Recession with SEO

One of the most attractive attributes of search engine optimization (SEO) is that it allows businesses to grow naturally (organically) over time without being weighed down by potentially expensive paid media marketing.

In Australia, an average of 51% of website traffic is generated from organic searches. SEO is a sound long-term digital marketing strategy. Why? It gains more value over time and a well-optimized website can generate search traffic revenue for months or even years.

SEO is more of a measurement of effort than funding. This means that businesses that focus on SEO during an economic downturn can have a long-term payoff that extends long after the recession is over.

Strategies like well-thought-out keyword research can help businesses to achieve top-level funnel traffic, which is better for driving conversions at the bottom of the funnel. What’s clear is that despite the gloomy economic outlook, people haven’t stopped buying. Good search marketing will help businesses to position themselves in front of customers, allowing them to sell their products and services.

How to Leverage SEO in Your Recession Marketing Strategies

Keyword research is a fundamental part of a good SEO strategy; targeting keywords that match your audience’s needs and habits. However, tailoring content toward specific audiences will build brand authority and cultivate trust.

Google Keyword Planner is a great resource to help marketers decide which keywords offer the best ROI. Low competition keywords with low-regular competition can be identified, as can keyword metrics and PPC bidding costs.

Understanding user intent is essential for selecting the right keywords. SEO tools like Google’s Search Console can help marketers to understand clicks, impressions, and click-through rates (CTR) for their primary keyword tools and find new keywords.

Search engine marketing may be cheaper than paid media marketing, but that doesn’t mean that businesses should neglect online paid media in a recession. Digital marketing strategies like search ads and paid Facebook ads can still help businesses to reach and influence audiences – and they allow businesses to control their spend.

With eCommerce marketing influencing consumer buying behaviour, it makes sense that paid digital marketing strategies, like PPC, become more and more influential. It’s important that businesses maintain or increase their ad spend during a recession. This will increase their market share and provide them with strong foundations to build upon after a recession is over. 

In fact, it’s not hyperbole to say that paid search advertising is the ideal marketing model for a recession. The amount of data it generates creates an opportunity for long-term prosperity. Google has recognised this and is actively discouraging businesses from reducing ad spend by offering small and medium-sized businesses free ads credit.

These free ads mean that SME’s can maintain their existing campaigns throughout a recession and give themselves the best possible opportunity of running successful marketing campaigns.

The New eCommerce Opportunity

What is clear right now is that there’s a huge opportunity for eCommerce marketers. Google now allows for unpaid organic results to appear in the Google Shopping search results tab. This has given eCommerce marketers a huge opportunity to push product sales directly in its search results, something that allowed Google to compete with eCommerce marketing giants like Amazon.

This has allowed businesses to optimize digital marketing during the recession. Google Shopping organic results are not part of a paid search ads campaign, giving businesses an option to advertise for free. All they need is a Google Merchant Centre account and to import product listing details into the Google Shopping ads platform.

The best option for businesses right now is to ramp up their eCommerce marketing. This will help them to retain sales metrics and rankings which if they slump are difficult to recover.

Stating the obvious, since lockdown measures were implemented, shopping habits have changed. There has been a huge spike in eCommerce sales. In the 8 weeks after the Covid-19 pandemic Australian eCommerce grew by 80%.

Digital Marketing Provides a Tangible and Reliable ROI

If history has taught us anything it’s that established digital marketing strategies provide customers with a tangible and reliable ROI. Global eCommerce sales are expected to reach $4.5 AUD trillion by 2021 – and this was predicted before the pandemic. A well-executed digital marketing strategy can help businesses get a bigger slice of the pie.

Paid search ads are one of the most popular forms of digital marketing, with 23% of global marketers believing that PPC, single keyword ad groups (SKAGs) and Google or Bing ads offer the best business ROI.

Social media ads fare even better. 30% of responders claim that they get the best ROI from outbound marketing across social media platforms. This shows that paid advertising is well ahead of many other forms of marketing.

SEO and content marketing provide businesses with a long-term gain in search engine visibility. However, in terms of content marketing, there are few better ways to build business authenticity, instilling trust, and turning customers into advocates.

You Can Find a Path in Times of Uncertainty

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent Australian recession have presented businesses with many challenges, but many opportunities too. By adjusting digital marketing strategies, focusing activities on meeting the needs of customers you can find a path in times of uncertainty.

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