When recession hits, businesses look to invest in profitable marketing. Discover the most effective digital marketing channels for driving profits.
What are most effective and profitable digital marketing channels for driving revenue during a recession?
Which marketing channel is best forms the basis for plenty of friendly banter across most agencies across the world. As marketers, we’re passionate about digital, and even more passionate about the particular area that we’ve fallen for! Ultimately though, our end goal remains the same – to accelerate digital performance marketing for our clients. Our own ethos is that conversion-centric, omnichannel digital marketing strategies are the most effective way to achieve these goals and grow sales.
With this in mind, it would be difficult to argue any one channel is more or less important than the other when it comes to prioritising marketing channels during a recession. We’ve looked at each of our own service offerings to establish their potential impact when trying to get more sales from the same marketing budget.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
Naturally, we’re starting with CRO. Conversion-centric marketing is what we do. It forms the basis of all our individual marketing and advertising campaigns, ensuring we get the best from our media spend and are improving user experience alongside organic performance.
We’ve already spoken about the potential impact of reallocating media budget to conversion rate optimisation. By taking 10% of media budget and applying it to a CRO project geared towards that campaign landing page, you can improve your total conversions figure while still getting less traffic. Ongoing CRO projects ensure that your site is continually being assessed on users remaining engaged (and spending) with your brand but, even if this isn’t on your radar, having CRO carried out on key campaign pages should be a no-brainer.
Paid Search & Programmatic Display
As with any Paid Media, Paid Search marketing brings two layers of cost to it, as you will need to invest in both the time and media spend with your strategy. Because of this, it may seem like a quick saving to cut this down when making your strategy more recession-proof. However, while active organic optimisation strategies bring long-term gains that cost only the time investment, the results aren’t immediate.
Launching and adjusting Paid Search campaigns can give you rapid visibility above organic results and ensures you don’t miss out on traffic while organic optimisations are taking effect. An integrated Paid Search and Organic Search campaign also helps you align paid budget to the areas your organic strategy needs the most work, meaning your media spend is used where it matters.
Programmatic Display ensures your brand visibility is widely spread and can connect with your audience. With Display ads typically achieving lower conversion rates at a 20% higher cost than PPC activity, it’s tempting to cut these out of your ad strategy but, by using personalised ad creative, you can relate your content directly to users and easily build a connection. Think of Programmatic as a key brand awareness component of your wider Paid Media strategy - users aren't necessarily ready to buy now, but keeping your brand awareness high means, when they are ready to buy, you're front of mind.
Like Paid Search, Paid Social requires the investment of hours and media cost. However, Paid Social activity is an excellent way of boosting and promoting your organic activity and rapidly expanding your follower base. We recently used Paid Social to take one of our clients TikTok following from 298 to 13,600 – an increase of 4,464%. This resulted in a huge, readily engage audience that delivered 10,002% more page likes. Assess whether reallocating some of your Paid Media budget (from either Paid Search or Paid Social) to Conversion Rate Optimisation could be an effective way of improving these channels’ performance.
SEO & Content
We’ve rolled SEO and Content into one here as, quite simply, you can’t have one without the other. Sure, you can look at your Technical SEO performance in isolation, but to achieve great organic performance you must have a solid Content strategy in place.
Content is not just about making sure your brand hits the right tone with your audience and goes beyond simply regularly updating a blog. Though you might be able to take an educated guess at the keywords you want to rank for, having a solid keyword strategy in place helps identify the surprising keyword combinations that will benefit your brand, and assess how competitors are performing. With user behaviour changing due to the cost of living and political climate, you must keep on top of your keyword landscape.
Rather than looking to cut down on media costs during a recession, consider how integrated Search and Social Media campaigns can improve your visibility and help you achieve more from your existing media spend and time investment. If certain keywords from your Paid Search campaign are achieving great conversion levels, make sure your Organic Search team know about it. Likewise, have your Organic and Paid Search activity closely aligned to the same goals with a linked Content strategy.
Closely linked to SEO and Content, we’ve split Digital PR out here as it brings its own unique benefits to recession-ready marketing. Often grouped together with content creation, Digital PR requires an additional set of skills and knowledge in how to amplify brand voices and help your brand reach readerships in the millions on external sites. Having a strong Digital PR strategy brings an additional perspective to content creation. It will provide insight on topics journalists are most likely to pick up on, identify which of your existing content pieces will be most valuable to amplify, and bring out the box ideas to the table on larger scale PR content projects.
It’ll also be able to identify the most effective influencers for your brand to work with – a marketing sector with a current global value exceeding $13.8bn (Statista, 2021). A Digital PR specialist will also have the flexibility, creativity, and knowledge to mitigate any unexpected events that crop up for your business. If supply chain issues are badly affecting your stock, an unexpected breaking news story makes your scheduled Social Media post seem tasteless, or a Programmatic Display ad has appeared somewhere you’d rather it didn’t, you already have someone who can ensure this is handled well.
Most effective digital marketing channels summary
Maybe this article seems like a typical cop-out from a fully integrated agency but, in truth, all these marketing channels bring their own unique benefits to a wider marketing strategy – particularly in times of recession when user behaviours are changing, and brands are fighting for a more limited customer base.
To recap on why each channel is so essential for profitable marketing;
- Conversion Rate Optimisation –underpins everything you do with an effective user experience that’s geared towards driving conversions
- Paid Search – achieve search visibility quickly, with the flexibility to react rapidly to changing stock levels and campaigns
- Paid Social – amplify your existing social media accounts and expand your readily engaged organic social audience
- SEO & Content – ensure you are creating content that matters and that your keyword strategy is water-tight and effective
- Digital PR – reach readerships in the millions and ensure your products are being talked about in the right places, by the right people
The key thing, however, is to ensure that these channels are not acting in isolation. Regardless of how many marketing channels form part of your recession ready strategy, omnichannel digital marketing ensures better performance from all involved.
If you want to explore how you can improve your performance without committing to a higher marketing budget cost, how to reduce media spend wastage, and how to drive more performance from less, read about our 10-Week Performance Accelerator Programme for CMO’s & Marketing Leaders.
Photo by Firmbee.com on Unsplash