How Businesses Can Stay Relevant During An Economic Downturn

By Lidemta Kawira

Thu Jul 23

The COVID 19 pandemic has had significant effects on every aspect of our lives, including consumer behavior. Most people are now shopping online, and this is expected to continue with online retail sales estimated to reach $6.5 trillion by 2023!

We had a candid discussion with Mashhood Ahmed who is the Team Lead, Digital Marketing at Qordata a New Jersey-based technology company on tactics marketers can implement during an economic downturn, business trends since the onset of the pandemic, what marketers should do post the crisis and so much more.

Here are some pointers from the discussion that I believe will come in handy to you as a marketer or business owner to help your business stay relevant during a time of an economic downturn.

Now more than ever before, your business needs to be present, provide value, and be human and empathetic. At the same time, you need to protect your cash flow in order to stay in business.

There are 2 types of businesses which are running out of business:

  1. Businesses that aren’t online.
  2. Businesses which have no evidence of how they provide value. This includes businesses that have no human touch or have poor customer service. It’s important that your business becomes more human and relatable. Unlike before when people shopped form a certain store they already knew, now, with people spending more time online, they can easily find another business that can provide your products/services and is providing a better experience.

Marketing tactics to implement during an economic crisis

  1. Avoid pushing products.
  2. Focus on things you can improve on during downtime.

Focus on providing more value instead of selling aggressively.

Take note of your marketing emails. If the open rates and click rates aren’t getting you the results you desire, it’s time to stop and change tactics.

On your social media Ads, be more human and gentle. Avoid the usual style of for example emphasizing the great features, product fanciness, and pricing, and focus on the value you are providing instead.

Downtime allows you to focus on important aspects that will improve your business, which are otherwise put on hold during busy seasons. Some of these include:

  • Improving your website content – Review, update, and ensure your website content speaks your language and represents your brand persona in the best way possible. Ensure you resonate with your ideal customer in order to attract the right people.
  • Improve on your website load time. For example, if according to your industry benchmark the web load time should be 5 to 6 seconds, match that or be better. If not, people are likely to bounce off your website at a higher rate.
  • Pay attention to chat features. If you don’t have one, now is the time to install one. Ensure it’s relevant and helpful. People want to have intellectual chats with useful information.
  • Improve on other features that your company can improve on without spending money for example blogs, creating brief knowledge base videos. Tell people how you are solving their problems.
  • Explore and test, test, test. Don’t follow your old philosophy. Test various platforms e.g. social media channels by putting some value back into the market and see what works best for you.

HubSpot Features that are Bringing the Most Value Now

There are numerous awesome features in HubSpot. We asked Mashhood his most favorite features in HubSpot and I bet you’ll find his favorites expedient. They are:

  1. Workflow:
  2. Chatbots
  3. Email Marketing.

Workflows streamline repeatable business tasks, therefore minimizing room for human error, improving efficiency, and saving you time and money.

Chatbots might be the best thing to happen to marketing yet. Just like workflows, chatbots automate certain tasks usually chatting with a user through a conversational interface. You might have heard that Chatbots are the future, and that’s so for a good reason. If you haven’t installed one on your website yet, we encourage you to consider the option of having one. It will also save you time, money, and make you more efficient.

Pro Tip: To create a workflow or even the chat tool conversation flow, first map it out with a pen and paper. Think logically and write in simple everyday language stating what happens when a certain action is taken, then convert it to a workflow. This way you’re more likely to get it right and minimize errors.

The HubSpot email marketing automation feature is available on the free version and comes loaded with many amazing features that make your work really easy for example great designs, templates, landing pages, analytics dashboards among others. You can also integrate it with other amazing tools you use every day like WhatsApp and phone calls.

What Marketers Should Be Doing Post COVID 19.

It’s unlikely that consumers will go back to where they were before COVID 19. For example, in that time, we called Batman a hero, today, doctors are our heroes.

People’s perspectives have changed and they’re focusing more on what provides tangible value.

This is a great time for learning, and practice being more mindful, human, authentic, and relevant to real human needs; and avoid the same old ‘fanciest, fastest, best’ way of marketing. Communicate what extra value you bring, not only from pricing – show the extra mile you are going.

Feel the people’s pain and bring real solutions. People are more aware of what brings them real value and they’ll hold you accountable.

In short, now and post-Covid 19, focus on empathy, authenticity, and over-delivering on your promises.