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  • Writer's pictureRachel Olstein Kaplan

Marketing in a Recession: Go Old School

woman lying on her back surrounded by paper, pencils and pens

In a recession, businesses of all kinds can find themselves struggling to find new clients. Over the past few months, I’ve seen and heard from many companies that traditional methods of bringing in new business aren’t working as well as they had been. These days, we tend to look first to digital marketing to help increase exposure and bring in new leads. Social media, PPC ads, email marketing, SEO, etc. For most of my clients, these channels are indeed the main drivers of the sales funnel but I still believe that “old-fashioned” methods have an important role to play—even more so when the economy is slow and everyone from individual consumers to investors and businesses are thinking much more about how they spend each dollar. In fact, I’ve noticed this applies not only to SMBs where hitting the pavement is intuitive, but also to startups and national businesses.

Here are a few examples of how my clients have used local marketing efforts and in-person interactions to boost their business lately.

  1. Local Business- I am working to market a new, boutique school. Facebook and Google ads have done well. But many people have also reported that seeing signs on the road and fliers around town have also made a difference. I also encouraged the business to hang up posters, school schedules and student work on the school grounds so that families coming for tours will learn about the curriculum and get a sense for a typical school day as they check out the facilities. 

  2. SMB - One of my clients wanted to start marketing a new service. They sent out email marketing, posted on social media and set up affiliate partners to help spread the word. Ultimately, however, it worked best when they picked up the phone and called a few of their past clients. By hand-selecting customers who they already knew - and who were most relevant - helped them quickly resell the product. Here, the resell/upsell worked well because the ask was personal. 

  3. National Business - I have a client who markets a cleaning product nationwide. Their website receives tens of thousands of visits a month from Google and they are well-known among industry professionals. Last year, however, they were able to make a huge breakthrough in their market by starting to attend conferences across the country. These in-person meetings ultimately helped them secure new partnerships and achieve huge growth.

Have old-school marketing tactics helped your business grow? Share your story with us

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