5 Benefits of Investing in Your Online Brand During a Recession

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Are we headed into a recession? This seems to be the question of the day, as experts point to various factors that could contribute. Either way, the uncertainty can impact how we run our businesses, make decisions and prepare for the future.

My wife gets nervous during uncertain times. She likes to avoid change and hold onto what’s proven safe in the past. I’m more optimistic and have a higher risk tolerance. I see opportunities for growth – personally and professionally – in any situation. I’ve always felt that you can make the most of any situation as long as you’re willing to do the hard work.

Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m blind to change. If there’s a recession, things will shift. As business owners, we need to prepare for those unavoidable changes. Remaining nimble during times of uncertainty can mean the difference between success and failure.

There are several things you can proactively do during an economic downturn that can help recession-proof your business. These can help you come out the other side stronger and positioned for growth.  

One study found that during the 2008/2009 recession, companies that thrived had done so by reducing costs and focusing on efficiencies, BUT they also invested in growth strategies such as marketing and SEO. These companies:

  • Acted early
  • Had a long-term version
  • Focused on growth, not just cost savings

Marketing Is Important for Navigating a Recession

Optimizing your online brand will be more important than ever during a recession.

Analysts have studied what did and didn’t work in past economic downturns. MarketSense found that “businesses that engaged in long-term branding strategies and short-term market sales were able to shake off the recession of the 90s.”

This blog provides a solid outline of best practices for marketing during a downturn, and shares examples of companies that were able to grow during the bleakest of days.

Harvard Business Review studied 4,700 businesses during three different global recessions. 17% of companies didn’t survive, 80% were still catching up three years after and 9% were actually able to grow. Those that didn’t do well drastically cut their spending, while those that grew focused on data-driven marketing strategies.

As Mark Ritson – a leading brand consultant – shared, “It may seem like a paradox, but recessionary periods actually provide fertile grounds for marketers to grow their brand’s market share if they’re prepared to think long-term.

Having the overall understanding that marketing is important during downturns is good. But we also wanted to take it a step further and share five specific benefits to investing in your online brand during uncertain times.

5 Reasons to Invest in Your Digital Presence

1. You’ll improve SEO, creating long-term visibility, organic traffic and growth during and after a recession.

Optimizing your online brand – no matter how the economy is doing – improves your SEO and helps you reach more people. Many of your competitors will cut their marketing budgets during a recession, which will lead to less noise online. Continuing to invest in your online presence will ensure potential customers will see your brand more often.

2. You’ll keep your current clients happy by providing consistency and stability.

Even if people aren’t using your services now, consistent and positive online messaging will keep your business top-of-mind when they are ready. Remaining visible during a downturn can also provide customers a sense of comfort as they see a known business remaining stable when other things are out of control. This in turn can create more brand loyalty when things return to normal.

3. You’ll build trust, educate people and inspire others during times of uncertainty.

This is where social media and content marketing will be very helpful. Continuing to post regularly – while making sure your content is sensitive to the current situation and providing useful information – will make you a leader for those looking for a beacon of hope.

4. You’ll establish important relationships and better understand customer needs and pain points.

Maintaining a consistent social media presence – an extremely low cost or even cost-free marketing strategy – will help you connect with people. Seven out of 10 people use social media daily, and time on these platforms typically increases during a crisis. This provides you the opportunity to communicate directly with customers, develop relationships and again (like Reason #2), build brand loyalty.

5. You’ll have data to understand how an economic crisis impacts online behavior.

While people’s buying habits will shift during a downturn, they will continue to remain very active online. Focusing on your online brand and paying attention to trends will enable you to meet potential customers where they are. You’ll be able to use data insights to make informed and smart business decisions.

Consumer Behavior Changes During a Recession

There is no doubt about it, people’s behaviors and choices change during times of uncertainty. Collectively, we’re all still working through the impacts of COVID-19.

Our family made changes during the early pandemic days. We cut unnecessary spending and even tried to see if we could groom our own dog. (In case you’re wondering, dog grooming is not a business opportunity I’ll pursue. Plus, our dog held the attempt against us for a long time!)

We made even bigger changes during the 2008/2009 recession. Your current and potential customers will face similar challenges and decisions.

When people spend money during a recession, they will take longer to make purchasing decisions. They’ll do more research and stick with businesses they trust. The services and products they select will need to provide the biggest bang for their buck, as well as provide familiarity and comfort.

This is where a strong online presence supported by positive customer reviews can make a huge difference.

Closing Thoughts

It’s at this point that we’d normally remind you how we can help your business. While we can help, more importantly, having this information can prepare you and your business for what may lay ahead.

We feel very strongly that focusing on your online brand during a recession will make an impactful difference in your long-term success.

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