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How to use growth marketing to recession proof your business

by Ana Lopez
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recession. The word is enough to strike fear into the hearts of entrepreneurs. Naturally, they will look for ways to reduce any expenses. And those cuts could affect everyone from the CEO to frontline workers to the people who serve companies.

While the ultimate goal is to keep the business running, it’s not always wise to cut marketing budgets. A lean strategy can still include enough marketing spend for activities designed to support growth. Even in a recession, companies can grow. It may sound counterintuitive, but historical data supports this idea.

Companies that continued to spend on marketing and advertising during previous recessions outperformed the competition. During the 2008 financial crisis, companies cut advertising revenue by 13% across the board. However, leaders who maintained their marketing spend saw 3.5 times greater brand visibility. In tough economic times, growth marketing strategies are a way to continue reaching your target audiences with maximum impact. Here’s how.

Engage consumers via email

In a recession, customers will not respond to marketing messages with the same enthusiasm. In an effort to be cost conscious, most consumers will think twice about any purchase. If something sounds too good to be true, they will succeed. The same goes for in-your-face promotions for solutions that customers consider non-essential.

Companies accustomed to healthy conversion rates from promotional email campaigns will no doubt find this unnerving. The solution is to a growth marketing perspective and use email as a long-term relationship building tool. Use email to engage leads at different stages of the sales funnel. Don’t push your product simply as a way to nudge consumers; show off your business as a helpful resource, even if potential customers don’t buy right away. Your patience now will result in higher lifetime customer value later.

You can also use email to keep existing customers informed. By segmenting your customer list by interests and past behavior, you can target customers with relevant content. Highlight what your company does for local communities and educate people about how your solutions meet market needs. Email newsletters can build an audience for your online content, giving you even more opportunity to highlight your value and expertise.

Become a go-to resource

Online content is a cost-effective way to increase brand awareness. Consumers may be tightening their belts, but they still need to know that your company exists. More importantly, shoppers need to know what your brand stands for and why they should consider you.

Digital content, including a blog, helps consumers get to know your brand. But the information needs to be useful and at the same time appealing to the motivation of the shoppers. Shallow, self-promoting blog posts and website pages won’t get your business very far. Whatever materials you create, your audiences shouldn’t be left with more questions than answers.

You can make your digital content stand out by making it a go-to resource for consumers. When customers have a problem that needs to be solved, your online tutorials and how-to videos can help them.

Of course, you’re not limited to blog posts and videos. You may find that your audience engages better with something more interactive. Live streams, webinars, and polls on social media sites are some ideas. Keep experimenting to find out what works, no matter what formats you initially choose.

Reward loyal customers

Growth marketing strategies are all about cultivating your customer base. When companies only offer incentives to new customers, it incentivizes loyal customers to look for greener pastures. Why would they pay more for the same product? More importantly, why should they continue to be your company’s customers if you care more about new customers than old ones?

As with any relationship, consumers need a reason to stay invested. Providing exceptional service or a unique product may not be incentive enough. In a recession, it is not unusual for consumers to look for cheaper alternatives. While this change in behavior is typical of commodities, hyper-competitive markets ever turn new products into pedestrian offerings. Think of coffee specialties and wireless telephony.

Rewards programs can be effective, provided they don’t have multiple hoops for customers to jump through. So are referral programs that offer incentives to new and existing customers. With referral rewards, your business doesn’t have to spend so much money on attracting brand new customers. Current customers do the advertising for you. In addition, consumers are more likely to trust what someone they know says about your company than what your company says about itself.

Form partnerships with industry thought leaders

A well-known industry opinion leader advocating for your brand can quickly increase its visibility. Someone who respects and listens to your target audience will help you gain more traction in the market. Consumers are skeptical of companies without positive recommendations from trusted sources. If you just honk your own horn, the compliments won’t come across as authentic.

Influencer partnerships give both parties a chance to say something more meaningful. A thought leader can enable your company to reach a coveted but elusive market segment. You can also use each other’s knowledge to create resources that your competitors can’t duplicate.

Before joining forces with an opinion leader, evaluate what the partnership can bring to the table. You want someone who aligns with your company’s values ​​and identity. While an influencer’s large following is nice, it’s not the most critical factor. Look for a long-lasting voice – one you can envision representing your brand well for the foreseeable future.

Growing a recession-proof business

Some industries naturally seem to endure one economic downturn after another. But many companies don’t have the luxury of being inherently immune to recessions. To help their businesses survive, leaders must develop strategies to cushion the effects of reduced consumer spending. Growth marketing initiatives can keep revenue flowing by investing in long-term, engaging customer relationships rather than transactional ones.

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