Can your business thrive in turbulent times?

It’s sure been an unpredictable ride in business over the last 6 months or so. If your workflow has been up and down, or if there’s a restructure looming at the company you work for, you’ll be feeling the stress. It seems like the only certainty right now is more uncertainty. Just see the results from Auckland Business Chamber’s latest survey.  It’s not looking good.

Our e-Commerce clients especially have noticed customers tightening their belts, and some of them had to shut up shop. Many service providers aren’t exactly flat tack either. Compliance, cashflow issue, increasing costs and the cost-of-living crisis are causing trouble for small and medium-sized businesses across the country.

If you have a product or service that excels in a slow market, good for you. Our clients in the tech, aged-care and biotechnology sectors for instance are doing just fine. However, many business owners are feeling the pinch, and they are looking for ways to cut costs.

When budgets are tight, it can be tempting to slash the marketing spend immediately but be warned. Doing so can do more harm than good. Cutting back on marketing in an economic downturn is almost never a good idea.

Research from previous recessions (since the 1970s) shows that companies that maintain or increase their marketing efforts during a recession see a greater market share and overall growth when the economy recovers. So, what’s a marketer to do (and not to do) right now?

Do not cut your marketing budget immediately

Making sudden cuts to your marketing budget is one of the worst things you can do during an economic downturn. When you drastically reduce or stop your marketing efforts entirely, you’re basically telling your customers that you are no longer in business. Instead, look for ways to be smart and more efficient with your spending.

Analyse your data and past performance

Now is a great time to take a step back and evaluate your marketing efforts and update your strategy. Which campaigns were successful? Why did they work? What didn’t work and for what reason? An audit can help you find areas where you may have been wasting money and give you insights into where you should focus your efforts going forward.

Study your audience to understand your buyer

An authentic connection with your potential buyers is essential for selling your product or service. Selling is all about knowing what motivates people. Pinpoint who your most engaged audience is, where they hang out, and find out exactly what they want. Forget the hard sell and create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey. Use positive language, offer value and show empathy in your content as they’ll be in a sensitive mood themselves.

    Reach out to your warm leads and existing customers

    When times are tough, it’s important to stay top-of-mind with the customer base you already have. Focus your advertising efforts mostly on them because they are more likely to do business with you. Reach out to them through email, direct mail, paid ads and social media. Let them know that you appreciate them and that you’re still open for business.

    Build social proof and user reviews

    When consumers are hesitant about spending their hard-earned cash, social proof can be the incentive they need to buy from you instead of your competition. If you don’t have many (or any) user reviews or testimonials, now is the time to start collecting them. Ask happy customers to leave a review on your Google Business Profile as soon as you finish up a job, then make sure their feedback is prominently featured on your website and in your marketing materials.

    Optimise all your content pieces and revise your SEO

    If you show up on the first page of Google for your keywords, make sure you stay there. Your competition will have more time to work on the business now, too. If they review and optimise their website and you don’t, your rankings may drop while theirs go up. If your SEO isn’t performing well, now is the time to revise and optimise! Just let me know if you would like some help with that.

    Repurpose your content

    Repurpose your old best-performing content to increase traffic flow to your website. It will increase the chances of generating more leads. Stick with what works, tweak things where necessary, and remain consistent across all your channels for maximum impact. Here’s how.

    If no one is buying, does marketing matter?

    Yes, it does. Consumers in a recession, particularly this one, aren’t dead and gone. They’re just dormant. Keep in mind that most customers make purchasing decisions long before they make the actual transaction. Don’t you spend days, if not weeks, researching any major purchase yourself?

    In turbulent times, businesses need to understand the evolving consumption patterns and fine-tune their marketing strategies and content output accordingly. You’re in it for the long run, and we’re here to help. If you would like some assistance with audience research, digital marketing and content creation, get in touch.

    ~ Martine Pierhagen, founder of Sweet Orange SEO Copywriting & PR

    ~ Again, with thanks to amazing creators from around the world that generously upload their work for free sharing on