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5 Keys to Marketing Your Business During a Recession

By Ramona Sukhraj

5 Keys to Marketing Your Business During a Recession

As frustrating as it can be, sometimes even the most qualified prospects aren't in a place to buy from you. 

Sometimes certain purchases just aren't a priority. At others, they aren't in the budget.

With costs of everything from eggs to rent rising dramatically amidst aggressive inflation in the U.S. today, many buyers are reassessing their spending.

According to PwC, 96% of consumers plan to implement cost-saving behaviors over the next six months — and maybe your deal is one of the things that isn't making the cut.

In light of this, you may be thinking about cutting back your marketing investment. And I get it — Why spend time and effort trying to attract buyers when people aren't going to buy?

But, I urge you, don't take your foot off the gas pedal completely. 

Marketing is essential to maintaining your brand awareness and audience relationships, and consistency is key.

In this article, we'll discuss why you need to maintain your marketing during a recession, and we'll share tips on how to do so effectively. 

Marketing isn't just a nice to have


Marketing is an essential part of any business strategy. It's your business' voice to potential buyers.

It's how you share your unique perspectives, education, and guidance and build the trusting relationship you need to ultimately close deals. 

Recession or not, the worst thing you can do for this relationship is go silent.

Think about it.

When it comes to marketing, you're ultimately trying to earn prospects' trust. You want them to see that you know what you're talking about, but also not just out to sell them. 

Modern buyers don't want your sales pitch. They want to make informed decisions on their own. 

But like any relationship built on trust, that means offering guidance and support even when it's not beneficial to you. 

To maintain a healthy, trusting relationship with your audience, you need to continue to invest in your marketing even when prospects are not in a position to buy from you. 


That means continuing to share content and offer value. It means maintaining and improving your offerings. 

Continuing to offer value when times are tough shows that your business isn’t just a fair-weather friend, so to speak.

You don’t just care about making a buck — you care about helping your customers solve their problems, and you'll be there even when it isn’t necessarily profitable for you to be.

I know what you're thinking: You're a business and you need to make money.

But this is a long-term play. 

Even though some prospects may not be in a position to buy today, that doesn't mean they won't be in the near future.

When you maintain your marketing during a recession, when prospects are ready to buy again, you won’t be forgotten. Rather, you will be one of the first solutions that come to mind. 

Let's talk about five things to keep in mind to do this most effectively.

5 keys to marketing your business during a recession

1. Double down on educational and helpful content

During economic uncertainty, focusing on producing high-quality content should remain one of your top priorities. 

This is one of the most low-cost but far-reaching strategies you can engage in. Let me explain. 

In They Ask, You Answer, IMPACT partner Marcus Sheridan explains how he actually grew his pool business during The Great Recession of 2008. He did this by answering common buyer questions through content on his website.

While other pool companies were shying away from topics like price and potential problems with their products, Marcus chose to address them directly on his business's website.


As a result, River Pools and Spas, brought in more traffic and leads who were concerned about price. Eventually, these turned into sales — and the company was doing even better than it was before the recession started.

As we said earlier: Modern buyers want to be educated. They want to be empowered to make their own buying decisions. 

In an interview, Marcus noted: “When prospects research their problems online and find that you provide answers and solutions, they are more likely to trust you and remember you."

And when they remember you as a trusted expert, they are more likely to buy from you when they are in a position to again.  


2. Focus on price and value

What should you be addressing in your marketing exactly? During an economic recession, buyers tend to be more price-conscious.

With this in mind, use your content to educate your audience on how much a product or service like yours costs. Talk about what a realistic price tag looks like and explain the details. 

Create a pricing calculator like the one pictured below from Outgrow. Write a pricing guide. Explain what makes costs increase or decrease. 

pricing-calculator-outgrowExample of a pricing calculator by Outgrow

This is the kind of information that will help buyers plan their budgets and make the most financially sound decision for themselves. 

3. Optimize your website

Your website is your 24/7 marketer and sales rep. It never takes vacations and it never needs a raise. 

During a recession, use this to your advantage.

Make sure your website is set up with everything it needs to guide a buyer as far down your sales funnel as possible, without having to talk to someone on your team. This may include adding things like the following:

  • A self-service tool: Tools or interfaces on a website that allow users to find answers to their questions and configure their own buying experience
  • A learning center: A hub of all of your educational content whether it be articles, videos, tools, or otherwise.
  • Social proof: Case studies, testimonials, customer journey videos, awards — anything that supports your claims

Optimizing your website will enable it to do more of the work for you when customers are looking to bite, rather than you having to do the legwork to find them. 

4. Rethink your positioning and 'packaging'

During a recession, the value of your product may not be as top-of-mind as it would be during normal economic times. 

Consider how you can reposition your product to help your business stay profitable. 


For instance, while people were stuck in their homes during COVID-19 lockdown, several brands like Spotify and Unilever pivoted their focus or developed offerings to help consumers cope with their new circumstances. This earned a great deal of favor and even some revenue.

Others companies even put profit aside to simply offer aid

Now, amidst inflation, local restaurants in my area are offering "Inflation lunch deals" to entice some cost-conscious buyers. 

The point is, smart businesses don't stay oblivious to the world around them. They seek a way to stay relevant and help their customers through difficult times. 

A recession could also be a valuable time to explore how you can repackage your product or service.

All in all, you want to explore ways to overcome objectives and make it easier and more comfortable for people to buy from you.

5. Explore partnerships

Another smart way to market your business during a recession is through partnerships or collaborations.

If you use particular tools (like we use HubSpot), find out whether they offer a partner or affiliate program.

You can also think about co-branding a campaign with another organization in our space or working with an influencer or thought leader.

For instance, you could co-host a live event on social media or publish a co-branded piece of content like HubSpot has with KissMetrics. 


Both opportunities allow you to capitalize on the network of your counterpart to expand your reach and potentially grow your audience. They may also help you boost business through referrals and network with others to explore other opportunities.

Don't let your marketing (or your relationships) go dark

There is a lot of uncertainty that comes with inflation and recession. It's natural to be concerned, but that doesn't mean you just retreat with your marketing.

The best any business can do is pay attention to its surroundings and lean into what will bring it the greatest impact in the shortest amount of time. The five tactics we discussed here will help you get started.

Want to learn more about how to save money and improve results by bringing your marketing operations in-house? Talk to one of our coaches!

Free Assessment:

How does your inbound marketing measure up?
Take this free, 5-minute assessment and learn what you can start doing today to boost traffic, leads, and sales.


Marketing Strategy
Executives and Leaders
Content and Inbound Marketing 101
Published on April 17, 2023

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