When a potential recession is looming, it might appear to be sensible to cut back on business spending. But according to Gareth Hoyle, managing director of United Kingdom-based search marketing agency, Marketing Signals, taking those measures with certain marketing strategies can cost your business in other ways.
Instead, business owners should consider a downturn in the economy as an opportunity to play up core digital marketing channels that need to remain strong and resilient. Check out Hoyle’s take on the following three areas of marketing he believes should be the focus of increased activity during a recession.
1. Continuously optimize your business’ website for search engines.
In times of recession, consumer spending habits often change, which is why effective search engine optimization (SEO) campaigns are essential for brands to get a better understanding of these variations and continue to attract customers. SEO relies on quantifiable keywords and search volumes to break down what your target audience is actively searching for online.
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google searches in the United Kingdom for food, electronics, clothing, e-learning, and even insurance year on year, as reported by Statista. So even during a worldwide health catastrophe, people were still flocking to Google for answers, questions, and products.
SEO provides businesses with the opportunity to rank higher on the search engine results page (SERP). When done correctly this will increase the amount of relevant traffic a site can earn and consequently will drive increased revenue—all at a return on investment (ROI) that Hoyle claims would be greater than other digital marketing channels.
So, for an ambitious business looking to grow their online revenue, scaling back on SEO means curtailing the impact of the marketing channel with the highest ROI. According to Hoyle, the combination of an ever-growing level of consumer demand (search volume) coupled with relevance, measurability, and scalability make SEO one of the most effective digital marketing channels, regardless of how the economy is performing.
2. Increase your brand awareness and site authority through digital PR.
A solid link-building strategy is a prerequisite for good rankings, as search engines use links as the primary means of determining how authoritative a site is within any given industry. In other words, the better the links on your website, the more credibility the site will have with Google, and the more organic traffic and sales you can potentially drive.
There are many different types of link building strategies you can pursue. However, Hoyle suggests that the one most likely to drive the most authoritative links is online public relations, often referred to as digital PR. Links from digital PR activity, if well executed, will include top tier coverage from a mixture of national or local press, plus trade and industry publications. These links will last the test of time and will help drive traffic to your site, as well as boosting your overall domain authority.
One thing to note with digital PR: It often drives the best links to a site, and as a consequence, it often costs the most to execute. However, by reducing or stopping your digital PR activity, Hoyle believes a business could stand to lose (or reduce the impact of) the most important link building channel. Moreover, during a recession could be the ideal time to exploit the fact that there is potentially less activity from your competitors. Remember that journalists—whether local, national, or trade—still need content to fill their column inches with, regardless of the state of the economy.
3. Utilize pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to keep your brand competitive online.
According to Hoyle, even in dark financial and economic periods, the level of comfort and trust that people have in Google continues. Given that, as SEO company Ahrefs reports, 54.4% of all clicks come from the top three search results on Google, having the right pay-per-click (PPC) online ads is essential to maximize the commercial opportunities.
By continuing to advertise online during a downturn, Hoyle says you can push your business forward and potentially get ahead of your competitors, who might have mistakenly reduced their PPC budgets.
For more information on the importance of your business’ digital marketing, no matter the shape of the economy, check out Polish Your Online Presence.