Since the Second World War, there have been four separate global recessions to hit the world. Of the four recessions, which occurred in 1975, 1982, 1991 and 2009, the last one was the most significant and most widespread of all. 

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But how do you define a global recession? Especially when there isn’t an official definition. It would be easy to assume that a decline in GDP over two consecutive quarters (gross domestic product) is all that is needed to define a recession. But other factors come into play, such as employment rates, oil consumption and economic deterioration.

By understanding what contributes to a global recession, you can get a better idea of when the next one will happen. And this can give you enough time to prepare your business so that it can survive any looming financial crisis.

Focussing on What Works Best

While recessions can stoke fear into the hearts of business owners, they also have their benefits. One of the main advantages to come out of the 2009 Global recession is that many lessons were learned about keeping businesses alive.

It gave insights into the strategies that many small and large businesses used to keep customers on side. And with the last recession having the most significant impact on a global scale, consumer-focused ad campaigns appeared to work best. 

Naturally, businesses will be looking at cutting expenditure during a financial crisis. And your marketing strategy should be the very last expense to cut back on. Without marketing, your customers won’t be able to see your services and products. And without customers, you have no business.

In fact, increasing your marketing budget in the face of a global recession could see your business thrive. If you use the right digital marketing strategy, you don’t only improve your chances of business survival. You have the potential to become a leader in your industry.

How to Use Digital Marketing to Survive a Recession

A digital marketing strategy consists of many different components. It’s not simply throwing together ads and hoping for the best. It’s a big old cooking pot of ingredients, including analytics, web design, web development, SEO, social media, advertising spends and content creation. 

All of these ingredients work together to create exposure. And exposure dramatically increases your chances of survival. So how can you use digital marketing to survive during a recession? There are five different things to pay attention to—each with its own advantages.

Increase Your Advertising Expenditure

When your business earnings start to become affected by a recession. It is easy to start cutting back on how much you spend across the board. However, there’s one area that you don’t want to cut back on. And that is advertising.

It doesn’t matter whether you advertise on a small scale or across various platforms on a larger scale – reducing ads is likely to damage your business rather than create savings.

Unfortunately, advertising tends to be one of the first things that many businesses start to tighten up on during a recession. Reduced advertising leads to reduced visibility. And reduced visibility leads to fewer people investing in your products or services.

And this is where this common oversight can work to your advantage. By increasing your advertising, you are more likely to reach your competitor’s audience and leap ahead of them in terms of survival. Larger brands and businesses tend to dominate the advertising world. And they assume that their customer base will remain loyal, never forgetting who they are.

As their visibility starts to fade, you have a real chance to get your foot in the door. Advertising creates exposure. Exposure creates interest. Interest creates site traffic. And site traffic creates conversions. Before you know it, people’s loyalties to a brand have switched.

Improve Your Site SEO

Finding a website without an effective SEO strategy is like trying to find a grain of sugar in the Sahara Desert. Search Engine Optimisation makes all the difference between being found and not being found.

Having great SEO helps the search engines, such as Google and Bing, to identify, categorise and rank your website and its relevance. A good SEO strategy can get you on the first page of the SERPs. A great SEO strategy can get you to the top of the SERPs and keep you there.

If your website is filled with useful content that people are searching for. Then SEO helps the search engines to present this content to them, instead of relegating you to the bottom of the search results. When it comes to SEO, it is essential to remember that it is more than just keywords.

You need to understand the search engines algorithms. Know what it is that people are looking for. Optimise your content and website as a whole. Understand the ratio of keywords and long-tail keywords to use in your content. Research and analyse trends. Work on backlinks. Build domain authority. And so much more.

Advertising and SEO go hand-in-hand. Especially as advertising isn’t just what you pay for. It’s what you put out there as a brand. Every aspect of your website is a potential advertisement – and SEO helps ensure that it reaches the right people at the right time.

Turn to Social Media

Less than a decade ago, social media was simply a way for people to connect. As social media has evolved, so has its uses. It is now one of the most reliable and effective means for businesses to communicate with their audience.

Social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter, can be turned into powerful PR machines. Building a robust social media marketing campaign can benefit your business efficiently and effectively. With more than two million active users logging into Facebook daily, you can up your PR game and stay connected with those all-important customers.

When developing a social media marketing PR strategy, focus on relationship building over transactions. During times of financial hardship, people tighten their belts. You can’t go in all guns blazing expecting them to part with their cash from the get-go. Build a relationship. Let them know why your product or service is worth investing in. Listen to them.

Listening to your audience not only helps build connections on a deeper level. It also enables you to understand what it is that they want and need, making it easier for you to deliver that. And this is why social media is such a powerful platform for PR. It’s a two-way conversation between business and consumer. A conversation that builds trust and brand loyalty.

Customers Are Not Numbers

While many businesses already know this, people hate being thought of as numbers. Nobody appreciates being referred to as a statistic. And if you think of your customers as statistics, you will have a hard time connecting with them.

It is important to remember that a recession doesn’t only create financial difficulties for businesses. People are affected just as much. The fact that they need to reduce their expenditure shows this. They are the ones who are affected first. And this has a knock-on effect for businesses. Thus, as spending power declines, business earnings fall.

The whole point of this is to consider the customer as a person. Think about how they feel, what challenges they are facing, and what they need. Then try to adapt your digital marketing efforts to cater to them. Focus not on what people want, but what they will need.

By making your customers a top priority, you can create a favourable bond that builds loyalty and improves business success during a recession. Remember. People vote with their wallets. If they feel like you only care about what they will spend, they will most likely spend it elsewhere. Customers are key.

Declutter Your Website

You can probably see a pattern emerging in all of the above information. People are going to be looking for advice and information relevant to their situation. Therefore, now is the perfect time to audit your website.

The more clutter and irrelevant information you have on your website, the harder it is going to be for your customers to find what it is that they want. Spend some time eliminating filler, fluff and useless graphics and menu items. If a customer has to click-through link after link to reach the information or product they are looking for, you are going to lose them.

A clean, mobile-optimised website can make all the difference between generating sales and losing them. Think of it as a spring clean. You are getting rid of all the old and useless stuff that is no longer relevant—and then replacing it with fresh content that is going to be appreciated.

By combining these five crucial digital marketing strategies, you create a solid foundation for recession-proof success. When times get hard for businesses, businesses need to get hard with their digital marketing efforts. At the end of the day, it all boils down to visibility. If your business is not seen or heard, you are going to be fighting a losing battle. Therefore, you don’t only want to maintain your digital marketing; you want to increase it.


At TALK, we’re in the business of growing businesses. From multi-level SEO strategies to web development and social media marketing, let us help you and your businesses navigate these unchartered waters to a brighter, more successful future. Get in touch today and discover the difference TALK can make.