How to Increase Sales in a Recession

The global economy is in a state of flux. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the many challenges faced by the supply chain, the economic downturn has become much more severe. Many countries are facing unprecedented economic declines, with the World Bank forecasting that the global economy will contract by 2.9% in 2022, with most growing economies slowing down below 5%.

This global recession will significantly impact all businesses, regardless of their niche. Business owners and marketers must be more mindful and strategic in allocating their resources. A global recession means tightening belts and closer management of budgets across the board.

It’s time to make hard choices and choose only the best strategies and channels that will be the most productive using the least resources. But which methods will work during the recession? Is it even worth marketing products or services when consumer spending is expected to decrease?

This article explores how businesses can leverage strategies for digital marketing during a recession to stay afloat—and even thrive—during these challenging times. Surely, there are key marketing strategies you can use to weather the current economic storm and emerge on the other side stronger and more profitable than ever.

The Global Recession

Many countries are still struggling with the economic effects of the pandemic. Though most populations are returning to their normal activities, recovering from the downturns caused by prolonged lockdowns and labor shortages will still take some time.

Experts forecast that a recession will likely hit the United States by the end of 2022 and spread across the globe. Many think and hope it will be brief, but some experts suggest that an extended recession may be imminent. Some argue that the increased value of the dollar indicates a stronger world economy. But high inflation on a global scale has only increased fears of economic struggles.

With rising gasoline prices and higher demand for products and services, the average consumer will take the brunt of these difficulties. A recession, no matter the length, is imminent, and businesses and consumers must make some adjustments to survive.

Business Performance During a Recession

During a recession, businesses often go through a period of downsizing and restructuring. This can be a difficult time, as they have to make tough decisions about layoffs and budget cuts. However, it is also an opportunity for businesses to streamline their operations and adapt to the new economic climate.

While a recession can be a challenge, it can be a time for transformation. By making smart decisions and being proactive, businesses can come out of a recession stronger than before.

What Type of Business Does Well During a Recession?

There are a few types of businesses that are generally considered to be “recession-proof.” These provide essential services or products that people will always need, such as healthcare, food production, and basic utilities.

These businesses will always be in demand, no matter the state of the economy. Some businesses can quickly adapt to changes in the economy and thrive despite the global financial downturn.

For example, online retailers—especially dropshippers with no physical inventory—can quickly pivot their offerings and adapt to changes in consumer spending. But how can you grow your business in such difficult times?

How To Grow a Business During a Recession

There is no doubt that a global recession will affect businesses. But even during these challenging times, there are ways to grow. Consider the following methods:

Diversify your products and services

  • Offering a variety of items will make it more likely that customers will find something they need from your business.

Cut costs wherever possible

  • This will mean making significant changes to your business operations and streamlining your processes. These productive adjustments will set you up well throughout the recession and even after.

Use technology to your advantage

  • There are many ways to reach potential customers online and boost brand awareness. Updating your website and consistently posting on social media are two simple steps you can take to grow your business, even during a recession.

Get creative with your marketing

  • With a limited budget during a recession, thinking outside the box and looking for innovative yet affordable ways to reach consumers and generate sales is essential.

How Does a Recession Affect the Spending Habits of Consumers?

economic downturn

Unfortunately, no matter how well you streamline your operations or market your business, your consumers might not be interested in buying more. They will likely be focused on saving rather than spending.

Businesses often see a decrease in revenue during a recession because consumers become stricter with their spending habits. This can lead to a decline in demand for goods and services, which can further hurt the economy. But it is not necessarily all bad news. For example, a recession can encourage consumers to save money and focus on buying only essential items. This can lead to a more stable economy in the long run.

Companies must adjust their marketing tactics to address the concerns of the consumer. These tactics include campaigns that focus on saving or providing high-quality products that are worth the investment. Consumers are more likely to spend money on products that will last for a longer time (quality) and save them money.

How to Increase Consumer Spending

Various methods to increase consumer spending include advertising, offering discounts and coupons, and providing incentives. Advertising is a powerful tool that can influence consumer behavior. By increasing the visibility of a product or service, advertising can increase the likelihood that consumers will purchase it.

Discounts and coupons are also effective in increasing consumer spending. By offering lower prices within a certain period, businesses can entice consumers to purchase their products or sign up for their services. Incentives are another way to encourage consumers to spend more money.

Rewards such as free shipping or loyalty points can do a lot to encourage consumers to make a purchase.

How Does Recession Affect Marketing?

It’s no surprise that the current economic recession has profoundly affected businesses and consumers. It has changed how consumers buy products and how business owners create and deploy their recession advertising and marketing campaigns.

In these tough economic times, businesses must be more strategic than ever with their marketing efforts. They must carefully consider their target markets and what messaging will resonate most with them. Recessions also lead to changes in consumer behavior. When consumers are tight on money, they are less likely to make impulse purchases or take risks on new or unfamiliar products. Instead, they may opt for cheaper alternatives or products they have firsthand experience with.

Keeping all of this in mind, businesses need to adjust their marketing strategies accordingly to generate sales despite the challenging economic environment.

Does Advertising Do Well in a Recession?

Studies have shown that advertising can increase during a recession, as companies look to maintain or increase market share. However, some industries are more affected by a recession than others. For example, sectors that are more discretionary, such as luxury goods, typically see a decrease in advertising during a recession.

Overall, though, advertising is mostly recession-proof. So don't be discouraged by an economic downturn—you can still build new marketing campaigns that can reach your audience and encourage them to purchase from you.

Effects of Recession on Advertising

During a recession, businesses must be careful with their marketing budget. The goal of marketing is to generate revenue, but people are more likely to cut back on spending in a recession.

To combat this, businesses must be very strategic with their marketing and advertising efforts. It is vital to create content that is highly valuable and informative instead of strictly salesy.

Businesses and marketers must also focus on building stronger relationships with their customers so that they will continue to buy from them even during tough economic times. All of this requires not only strategic thinking but also a ton of creativity.

What Is a Good Strategy for Marketing During a Recession?

existing customers

Marketing strategies during a recession must be very precise and focused. So what’s the best thing to do for such times? There is no perfect answer to this complex question, as effective sales strategies during a recession depend on the specific industry and the nature of the business.

However, a few general tips can help enterprises weather the storm during tough economic times. First, it's essential to focus on delivering value to your customers. This means offering products and services they need and want, at a price they can afford. Second, it's important to be as efficient as possible with your marketing spending. This means doing more with less and finding cost-effective ways to reach your target audience.

Finally, you must keep a close eye on your competition. This means staying ahead of the curve and being prepared to adapt to changes in the market.

Creative Marketing During Recessions

The key to success during a recession is creativity. With less money to spend, businesses have to be much more imaginative to continue to market their products and services.

Here are a few creative marketing ideas to help companies weather a recession:

  • Rewards programs - offer incentives to customers for continued loyalty.
  • Leverage social media - social media platforms can help businesses reach a wider audience.
  • Collaborate - team up with other businesses in your industry to reach a larger market and develop a mutually beneficial relationship.
  • Go local - focus your marketing efforts on your local community.
  • Think outside the box - be innovative with your marketing tactics and approaches.

What Strategies Can a Company Use in an Economic Downturn?

There are several strategies companies can use to weather the storm and even come out stronger on the other side. These include cutting costs, reducing capacity, and renegotiating contracts. In addition, companies can focus on innovation and developing new products and services that meet the changing needs of consumers.

No matter what strategy the management and marketing teams deploy, the goal is to keep the business afloat during tough times and position it for success when the economy improves.

Sales Strategies During a Recession

But not all strategies work, and it all depends on the nature of the business and the mindset of its consumers. Companies must be strategic in their sales approach to maintain or increase revenue.

There are a few key strategies that all businesses can use to adapt their sales during a recession:

Right-size your sales force

  • Depending on the industry, you may need to increase or decrease the size of your sales team. For example, businesses that rely on large-scale projects may need to downsize and focus on smaller, high-performing endeavors.

Cross-sell and upsell

  • When customers cut back on spending, businesses can generate more revenue by upselling and cross-selling to their existing customer base.

Target new markets

  • A recession provides an opportunity for businesses to reach new markets that may have previously been inaccessible.

Increase marketing efforts

  • During an economic downturn, it is more important than ever for businesses to stand out from the competition. Increasing marketing efforts that are suited for such challenging times can help.

The last two are the most critical strategies if you want to keep your loyal customers and still grow the business.

Recession Marketing

revenue growth

Recession marketing is a term that was first coined during the economic downturn of the early 21st century, specifically during the US recession in the early 2000s. It is a type of marketing designed to specifically target consumers affected by an economic slowdown.

It aims to provide products or services that will help consumers save money or cope with the financial challenges they face. This type of marketing often includes discounts, special offers, and other incentives designed to attract cash-strapped consumers. Recession marketing can effectively reach consumers who are feeling the worst effects of an economic downturn.

If your company is considering this type of marketing, research your target audience and craft a strategy that will resonate with them. Marketing in a recession requires using specific strategies that would help a business cut costs while maintaining its revenue levels and even growing.

Businesses need to explore different strategies to overcome a recession. Here are some effective methods to do so:

Targeting the Right Market

Take a close look at your target market and make sure you are still reaching the right people. Your target market may have changed in recent years, so it may be time to recalibrate your marketing strategies.

Improving the Quality of Marketing Content

Focus on creating quality content that will appeal to your target market. This is important because consumers become more discerning about what they spend their money on when they have limited budgets.

Allocating Your Marketing Budget Efficiently

Make sure you are being efficient with your marketing budget. This means being strategic about where you spend your money and ensuring you get the best bang for your buck.

Focusing On B2B Marketing

Marketing budgets are often one of the first to be cut during a recession. But this does not mean that B2B marketing should be put on hold until the economy recovers. B2B marketing during a recession can be even more important.

Businesses are looking for ways to save money and become more efficient—B2B marketing allows businesses to target other companies rather than consumers. This means similar marketing efforts could sell more products for less effort. By helping businesses find the products and services they need to succeed, you can sell more goods or services.

Additionally, B2B marketing will strengthen professional networks, which can lead to more business opportunities down the road.

Exploring Digital Marketing

It’s important to have a strong digital marketing strategy in place these days, but it becomes even more crucial during a recession. Digital marketing is incredibly affordable even for small businesses, and there is great potential to reach millions of people through free or low-priced strategies through search engines and social media.

Digital marketers should explore eCommerce, social media marketing, and online advertising, such as pay-per-click (PPC) ads and paid advertising. And with so many channels and options available, it can be hard to know where to start. A recession can provide a unique opportunity for businesses to streamline their digital marketing strategies and invest in long-term growth. You need to focus on more specific channels for your digital marketing strategies to succeed.

By investing in these channels now, you’ll be in a better position to weather the storm and come out ahead when the recession ends.

The Best Digital Marketing Channels During a Recession

marketing budgets

During a recession, businesses typically experience a decrease in revenue and an increase in costs. This can make it difficult to maintain marketing efforts, let alone grow them.

But because digital marketing can help reduce the cost of advertising campaigns, it is a better alternative than traditional marketing, which can be quite costly. So, what are the best marketing channels during a recession?

Improved Online Presence Through SEO

Your business website is a fantastic recession marketing tool where your audience can learn about your products and understand how they could address their needs. You can use it to boost your online presence, draw your target market in, and educate them about what your business can offer.

It is no secret that in the digital age, having a robust online presence is essential for businesses of all types and sizes. After all, the internet is now the go-to source for consumers when they are looking for products or services. This is why it is so important for businesses to ensure that their website is ranking high in search engine results. And one of the best ways to do this is through SEO marketing. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of improving the visibility and ranking of a website in search engine results pages.

By using certain strategies and tactics, businesses can increase their chances of ranking on the first page and earning organic clicks from potential customers. When leveraged correctly, SEO can be a very effective marketing tool, especially in a recession. Using the right keywords that focus on your unique selling proposition (USP) and your target audience’s search intent will make it easier for consumers to find your website and learn about your business.

Adding words such as “saving,” “budget-friendly,” or “low-cost” to your website content could also make your business a better choice for consumers who are controlling their spending. Of course, you must back up these claims with affordable options that customers can benefit from.

Expand Your Social Media Presence

Social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are helping businesses create and launch sprawling marketing campaigns that can boost their revenue at a minimal cost.

A recession is a perfect time to focus on your social media presence. Your target market is likely spending more time online and scrolling through their feeds. They are looking for ways to save money and are more open to engaging with brands and companies that offer value. By increasing your social media activity during a recession, you can reach a wider audience at a lower cost.

You can also use social media to position your company as a trusted resource for valuable information. Here are some tips for using social media to target your market during a recession:

Increase your content production

  • Consistently producing and posting high-quality content is one of the best ways to grow your social media following.

Create valuable content

  • Your target market is looking for information that will expand their knowledge and help them save money. If you can provide this, they will be more likely to engage with your brand.

Engage with your audience

  • Posting content on social media is not enough; you must be proactive. Respond to comments, post polls, conduct live Q&As, and solicit user-generated content. These will further expand your following and help you build relationships with your market.

Explore eCommerce

If there is anything that the COVID-19 pandemic taught the world, it’s that any digital marketing strategy can work better if you combine it with eCommerce. Many businesses were forced to re-evaluate their sales strategies when the world shut down. For some, this has meant moving some—if not all—of their operations online.

Selling online can be a great way to reach a wider audience and boost your sales, even during a recession. With the right platform and marketing strategy, you can set your business up for success.

If you want to make the move to eCommerce, here are a few things you should keep in mind:

Choose a Platform That Suits Your Business

  • You must choose the best-selling platform for your business. There are thousands of eCommerce platforms available today, so it's essential to do your research and find the one that's right for you. Once you've chosen a platform, set up your storefront and begin marketing your products.

Use SEO Marketing Strategies for Your eCommerce Store

  • eCommerce businesses know that competition is incredibly fierce online. The best way to rise above that is for your online store to be easily found—this means leveraging SEO strategies in all website content.

Paid Ads and Pay-per-click (PPC) Advertising

Paid ads and pay-per-click (PPC) marketing can be a lifeline for small businesses struggling to stay afloat during a recession. By generating leads and sales through online platforms, they can keep operations going.

Paid ads and PPC marketing are not a cure-all, but they can be a valuable tool for small businesses looking for ways to cut costs yet still generate healthy revenue. They can be an effective way to reach new customers without breaking the bank. You can control how much you spend—just make sure to optimize your ads and set targets that are sure to convert. These digital marketing strategies can also keep existing customers engaged with your brand, too.

In a recession, people are often looking for deals and discounts, so running special promotions through paid ads can be a great way to attract new business from previous supporters. PPC is an affordable way to market your business, as you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. They can be powerful tools to supplement other marketing strategies and help you reach your goals.

Email Marketing

In a recession, it's crucial to use cost-efficient ways to market your business. Email marketing is a decades-old yet still effective strategy that will help you reach a large audience for a relatively low cost. Plus, it's a highly targeted form of marketing, so you can easily calibrate your messages to make them work for specific customer segments.

Of course, this means creating an email list of subscribers that are already existing customers or possible leads. Crafting an email that engages them and piques their interest will significantly benefit your business, as it will cost less than most marketing strategies.

Catalog Marketing

Digital catalogs are another great way to reach a large audience with your message. They can be sent electronically to customers and prospects and viewed on various devices, including computers, smartphones, and tablets. Digital catalogs can also be interactive, which means they can include links to your website, social media pages, and online store.

This makes it easy for customers to learn more about your products and services and make a purchase. If you're looking for a way to boost your sales and save money during a recession, digital catalog marketing is one channel that can help you focus on your loyal customers and encourage them to spend more.

The Right Digital Marketing Channels Can Help Businesses Grow Even in a Downturn

An economic downturn can be a tough time for your business. But despite the challenges, it's still possible to grow and emerge stronger once the storm has passed. Leveraging the right digital marketing channels can boost your operations and maintain the support of your loyal customers.

There are many different digital marketing channels, each with advantages and disadvantages. By carefully choosing the proper channels for your business, you can make the most of your budget and see consistent growth even in the most challenging of times.

Contact us at elk marketing today to assist your business in determining which digital marketing channels are right for you in this economy.


What strategies can a company use in an economic downturn?

Any strategy that focuses on targeting the right consumers and markets can help any business grow in an economic downturn. Loyalty programs, bulk selling, and incentives are good examples that can boost a company’s sales.

How can you increase consumer spending during a recession?

Companies can increase consumer spending using certain strategies that focus on the interests and pain points of their target market. Use surveys to solicit customer feedback on the desires and needs of your audience, so you can create a campaign that will move them to buy from you.