8 Digital Marketing Strategies for Service Firms in Recession

In the face of economic downturns, service-based businesses are turning to digital marketing for a lifeline. We've gathered eight insights from CEOs to digital marketing managers, covering strategies from growing through strategic digital marketing to building loyalty with humanizing videos, to help your business not just survive, but potentially thrive during a recession.
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    Here are 8 digital marketing strategies for service firms in recession:

    Growth Through Strategic Digital Marketing

    Digital marketing will help companies maintain growth and avoid stagnation during potential recessions. Recessions function as stress tests and tend to reduce the competition, allowing companies to plant the seeds for future growth in new or the same consumer markets.

    Generally, marketing expenses are drastically cut during periods of market stress. Maintaining or slimming down instead will allow a company to spend their marketing budget on more for less cost.

    Kevin Larsen, Web Developer, Mediaveien AS

    Foster Organic Brand Advocacy Online

    Digital marketing can create a community of people who might become big supporters of your brand. During times of intense economic challenge, digital marketing could really help. It keeps you connected with your customers well after they buy something from you. 

    More importantly, through social media, you can build online communities that talk to you all the time. These conversations can keep your network active, both with you and among themselves. You can keep the interest in your brand alive, answer their questions, solve their problems, and fix issues with your service right away.

    Customers who really like your brand can turn into your cheerleaders. Eventually, they might even become people who actively promote your brand. They could tell their friends and family about you, spreading the word further than just their groups. The best thing about this kind of promotion is that it’s genuine, excited, and not asked for.

    Precious Abacan, Digital Marketing Manager, Softlist

    Boost Sales with Enhanced Online Visibility

    Digital marketing can help service-based businesses improve their sales through increased visibility. 

    During a recession, most businesses see a drop in their sales, but digital marketing can help them thrive in such times. It can help increase their visibility; when more people see the name of your business online, you’ll find your number of new customers rising. SEO, in particular, is very helpful in this regard. It helps attract customers who are ready to make a purchase.

    James Owen, Co-Founder and Director, Click Intelligence

    Amplify Reach with Digital Marketing

    Digital marketing can make the difference between a successful business and an anonymous one. For service-based industries, you rely heavily on reviews and good word-of-mouth, all of which can be boosted by digital marketing and good PR.

    I’m in a service-based industry of sorts since I directly provide a service to my clients. While local word-of-mouth is great, digital marketing ensures that our reach is amplified in a way we’d never manage to do organically. Not because we’re not a great company, but because it’s impossible to get there via traditional routes.

    Imagine working in your local community is like talking on a stage without any amplification devices. How many people are you reaching? Only the ones sitting in the first few rows. 

    Now imagine you’re talking with a megaphone in your hand—now you’re reaching everyone in the back of the room, and probably outside the building as well. It’s why mega-church pastors have microphones. Digital marketing is your metaphorical megaphone. Use it, and you’ll reach people from all around your area who will come down to get a good contractor—or hire a good cleaner, carpenter, eat at a nice restaurant, etc.

    Rick Berres, Owner, Honey-Doers

    Optimize Content for Voice Search Queries

    For service-based businesses, it is particularly important to craft content that includes both the questions customers are asking regarding their service and the answers to them, laid out in a direct, logical, and easy-to-read Q&A style format. 

    The reason is twofold: success in voice search relies on addressing the terms users would say naturally—not keywords—and because service businesses have their own unique offerings and pricing models. This lack of standardization across various niches can lead to numerous questions among their consumers and potential customers. 

    At Lower Street, for instance, we’ve integrated FAQs like “How long does it take to launch a podcast?” or “What are your rates?” on designated pages. The key is to deliver clear and concise solutions to common inquiries to optimize your content for voice search, ensuring it is more likely to be featured in voice search results, and boosting the visibility of your services.

    Harry Morton, Founder, Lower Street

    Leverage Cost-Effective Digital Advertising

    Digital marketing is cheaper than other forms of marketing. Mainstream advertising, such as television and print ads, has a high barrier to entry. The equipment and advertising slots are expensive. 

    Meanwhile, digital ads tend to be less expensive to create and can usually be created on your phone. It can be an especially important tool for small businesses. You can even generate money through your Instagram, YouTube, or TikTok videos. This can be an additional stream of revenue for your company.

    Albert Vaisman, Founder and CEO, Honest Brand Reviews

    Engage Customers with Email Marketing

    I was just speaking with a friend who owns a home service business, and he is very old-fashioned with his marketing: word of mouth, lawn signs, placing business cards on cork boards in local businesses.

    He was telling me that things are slowing down, and I recommended investing in digital marketing. He said that he can’t afford it, and I explained that he can start email marketing for free. 

    I asked if he sent Christmas cards to customers every year. He does, and he gets a lot of business every January from it. I told him to imagine doing that every month. Sure, the success rate with email is lower; however, it will keep him in his customers’ minds all year long. Instead of waiting six months to see one of his trucks and call him for a renovation, they’ll email him right away. 

    At the very least, your service-based business should create an email newsletter and focus on collecting email addresses from customers and leads.

    Kam Talebi, CEO of Gigli, Gigli

    Build Loyalty with Humanizing Videos

    One role digital marketing can play in helping your service-based business is building customer loyalty throughout the recession. Use the power of video to connect with your audience by featuring exciting people who work for your company. 

    Customers will get to know your brand in a more human light, which can often be the difference when it comes time to pay for your service. Stand out from your competitors by participating in the conversation.

    Scott Sidders, Co-Founder and CEO, Scott & Yanling Media Inc.

    In these challenging economic times, the eight transformative digital marketing strategies outlined in this article are not just lifelines but catalysts for growth and resilience for service-based businesses.

    From growing through strategic initiatives to fostering organic brand advocacy, enhancing online visibility, and engaging customers with personalized content and humanizing videos, these tactics transcend mere survival. They equip businesses to thrive in a recession-hit market, turning adversity into an opportunity for redefining growth, customer engagement, and loyalty, ensuring businesses emerge stronger and more vibrant.



    I help businesses increase their revenue and become visible online through search engine optimization, social media, copywriting, media buying and email marketing.

    Right now, I'm focusing on helping local service-based businesses consistently get clients by driving targeted to highly converting funnels.

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