2020 has brought with it a marketing challenge that no one could have expected. The global outbreak of COVID-19 has affected every part of our lives, forcing many businesses to work from home or shut completely. These are unprecedented times, but hope remains and “normality” will return eventually. One thing we can be sure about is that those who have implemented a thorough business strategy with a clear marketing plan during a recession will be those to recover the fastest from the economic downturn.
Don’t Stick Your Head in the Sand
Whilst coronavirus is playing havoc with our freedom and confining us to our homes, the online world remains and is our portal to normal life! People are still using the internet to connect, research, search and even buy. Online activity will surge as people use what means they have to continue life as normally as they can. People may not be able to go on their dream holiday, but they can certainly plan, research and book it in these trying times. Simply put, businesses should market their way out of a recession – now is not the time to stick your head in the sand!
Those who maximise their marketing and advertising efforts now will recover more quickly in the long-run.
Advertising in a Recession – Does it Work?
Of course, for many businesses, this is a trying and worrying time. Budgets are tight and you may be looking for any means possible to cut back on costs. Cutting advertising budgets, however, is a highly risky strategy and could ultimately damage your brand and future sales.
There has been much research conducted into the benefits of advertising during hard times and evidence suggests that now is not the time to cut advertising costs. A study by The Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) finds that advertising in a recession can be extremely helpful in ensuring businesses recover. Their study finds that “businesses that increased marketing spend as a proportion of market size reported higher market share growth in the first two years of recovery than those cutting or maintaining budgets”.1
A similar study from the IPA found that “the more marketing activity strengthened brands, the more it also improved performance of the business over an extended period.”2 In short, letting your online presence slip in a time where more and more people are turning to the online world could be a short-term solution to financial difficulty but will wreak long-term havoc on your sales and recovery. If your competitors are using this time to promote themselves, your brand voice will sink into the background and be forgotten.
How to Market in a Downturn?
So, you know that now is the time to ramp up your marketing efforts, but what’s the most cost-effective way to do this? Here, at Creative Insight, we have had a great deal of success with paid search and paid social advertising. Pay-per-click is a fantastic tool for many marketers as you only pay if someone is actively searching for your products and services, and clicks on your ad. In this way, you only spend money when interacting with useful, targeted users who are interested in what your brand has to offer.
When many competitors may be pausing their PPC campaigns, we have advised our clients to maintain or even increase budgets if possible to capture the market share. Just looking at this week’s PPC results for some of our clients who continue to believe in our strategy, we have achieved the following growth since lockdown began:
Industrial B2B +45% click throughs; Leisure B2C +48% click throughs; Construction B2B +40% click throughs and Social Care B2C +41%. Even B2B Dental saw a 15% increase in click throughs.
These figures are not minor and show that properly optimised paid advertising campaigns can achieve fantastic results, even when the rest of the world has come to a standstill. To highlight some specific trends, we have:
- Near enough doubled leads through Facebook Leads Generation after the first month for a highly competitive sector, namely Foster Care.
- Improved click through rate to an all-time high at an average of 9% over the last month for a dental wholesaler client.
- Achieved a 256.9% increase in click through rate this month so far, compared to last, for an industrial contractor client.
- Marked a 91.23% increase in conversions this month for an industrial equipment supplier.
Incidentally, there has been an increase in clicks across multiple accounts since the beginning of the UK lockdown. This trend is demonstrated in the graph below.
By maintaining advertising budgets during the run up to what most analysts are predicting to be a recession, our clients have seen huge successes with their campaigns. Their voice is being heard above their competitors and they will surely benefit from this in the long-run.
This can be evidenced in a client who put their faith in us to ramp up their brand during the shut down in a highly competitive sector. We recently launched a new paid search campaign alongside a Facebook Leads campaign and are already seeing fantastic results after only 2 weeks: an 11.45% CTR for a core ad group and a quality lead a day for our Facebook campaign.
When A Recession Comes, Don’t Stop Advertising3
These are challenging months for all of us and things are bound to get tougher before they get better. The global economy is uncertain, but careful planning and a targeted digital marketing strategy can ease the pathway back to normality.
For support with digital marketing during a recession, we are here to help. Online visibility is important and alongside paid advertising campaigns, search engine optimisation and content marketing are invaluable tools. For more information, contact us by calling 0121 321 2828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.