When times are tough, marketing efforts are often the first to go. Cutting a marketing budget or reducing your marketing staff can seem like a quick cost-saving effort in an economic downturn. However, there are considerable ways to market in a tough economy. By shifting your focus, you can gain ROI even in the most difficult economic times.

Understand Consumer Behaviour

Spending does not stop in a tough economy. It shifts to lower value items or lower cost alternatives. Your customers have not stopped spending, and it is critical to understand how their behaviour has shifted during this time. What do they value most in a tough economy? How can you meet those needs with your products and services? A tough economy requires you to change the way you market based on consumer behaviour.

Track ROI

Carefully review past marketing campaigns to determine which methods had the greatest success. If your marketing budget is limited, it is more important than ever to stretch each dollar. Review campaign performance across platforms, audiences, seasons, and more to guide future campaigns.

While you should always track ROI for marketing campaigns, it is even more crucial during an economic downturn. Justify spending on marketing by showing a real value for your business. Whether you include a unique promotional code, link, or phone number, make sure you can directly track an action back to a specific campaign.

Build Trust

In a tough economy, consumers try to be smarter with their money. If they sense any red flags around a business, product, or service, it can quickly shut down the buying process. Focus some of your marketing efforts on building trust with your target audience to boost your credibility during uncertain times.

Reviews and testimonials are excellent ways to increase trust for your brand. Reach out to current or previous customers to solicit reviews, and be sure to offer some sort of “thank you” in return. Don’t just post reviews on your website, though. Make sure your customer reviews and testimonials are also on relevant industry review sites.

If you notice a negative review, act quickly to resolve the issue. With increased uncertainty in an economic downturn, a negative review can do even more damage to your reputation than usual. This is also an essential time for improving your customer service and ensuring every client is satisfied with your brand.

Market to Current Customers

Your current customers already know and trust you, making them a prime audience for marketing during a tough economy. Also, previous or existing customers are more likely to buy from you again in the future. By marketing to existing customers, you can boost your sales and earn reviews to attract new customers.

There are many ways to market to current customers, including a rewards program or loyalty program, exclusive offers for savings or discounts, and a first look at new products or services. Customer service is important during this time, so make sure each and every customer is well taken care of.

You can also find a great deal of helpful data among your existing customers. Review demographics information to help narrow your target audience when marketing to new customers. Determine which products or services perform best, and leverage this data when creating marketing campaigns for new customers.

Setup a Free Trial

In a tough economy, consumers are more frugal with their spending. You can put potential customers at ease by offering a no-strings free trial for your products or services. For both B2B and B2C sales, impulse buying is likely to decrease, and customers put more time and consideration into purchasing decisions. With a free trial, you can help overcome reluctance and showcase the true value of your offerings.

Combine Marketing Mediums

Variety is key when marketing in a tough economy. While it can be tempting to focus most of your efforts on no-cost or low-cost marketing activities, it is important to utilize multiple mediums. Digital marketing offers considerable cost-saving benefits, but traditional marketing activities can help you stand out from the crowd.

Social media marketing, email marketing, and PPC ads are all likely to increase during this time. Costs for these marketing methods tend to be lower, and ROI is easier to track. However, do not discount the value in print marketing or other offline marketing efforts. With everyone focused on digital platforms, you can cut through the noise by thinking outside the box.