Yes, we are currently in a recession, but which type remains unknown. However, rather than focusing on identifying the type of recession, the more important questions to ask are how it impacts your business and what you can do to survive it and thrive. In this article, we will explore these questions, provide practical tips for recession-proofing your website, and offer ideas for seizing growth opportunities.
What does the recession mean for your business?
The current economic climate is rife with uncertainty, and predicting the length of the recession is a challenging task. The field of economics is complex because it deals with human action, and the market is shaped by subjective value judgments of individuals. Customer confidence, credit availability, and spending habits are all influenced by the decisions of people. Putting a number on how long a recession will last is nearly impossible. The best approach to prepare your business for a recession is to focus on resiliency and customer needs.
Credit contraction, plummeting customer trust, inflation, stagflation, and more – these are the terms you can expect to hear in the coming months. As a business owner, it’s important to recognize that customer behavior typically changes during a recession. Though each customer is unique and subjective, common patterns emerge from their daily decision-making. In aggregate, a few relevant things happen that can guide your decisions in the coming future:
- Customers try cheaper alternatives: willingness to pay declines as they try lower-end brands. They want to see if they’re overpaying for what they want and if they can find similar products or services for less.
- Customers shop around: every dollar counts, and customers will be more reliant on marketplaces and price comparison tools online to make the most out of their total spending power. They’ll want to ensure that they’re getting the best value for their money. This means not just switching to competitors but looking for alternative solutions.
- Brand experience and emotional bonding play a larger role than before: while it may seem counterintuitive, brand experience and emotional bonding become even more critical during a recession. When money is tight, people want to trust the brands they’re investing in. They want to feel confident that they’re making smart purchasing decisions.
It’s essential to understand how your customers interact with your business and what their priorities are during a recession. Do you solve a critical problem for them, or are you relying on superfluous needs and wants? Take the time to think about your personas and how you can address their needs effectively. By doing so, you can position your business for success during even the most challenging economic times.
In a recession, customers have fewer resources to spend, whether it’s because credit is contracted, prices are higher due to inflation, or they simply don’t have the same revenue streams as before. As a result, people may try cheaper brands at the supermarket in non-critical categories or cut out excess subscriptions.
It’s also important to note that not everyone will cancel their Netflix subscription and live off free alternatives. They will shop around and experiment with alternatives, it is your job to remind them why they should stay.
Therefore, it’s crucial to understand how your brand or product is perceived and to work on nurturing it to gain the hearts and minds of your customers. This will help you move up the ladder and secure customer loyalty during a recession.
Recession-proof your website
Now that you know how consumer behavior changes, it’s time to create a plan around it. One important aspect of preparing for a recession is not to act reactively but to think of possible scenarios and actions upfront as contingency plans.
We start from the thesis outlined above that in a recession, brand connection and user experience are the pillars for weathering the storm and growing despite it. Your website is a central touchpoint with customers and likely accounts for over 50% of interactions with them. Thus, it’s a prime place for you to shine and provide valuable experiences, even when they don’t make a purchase.
Bear in mind that some things you might already be doing, but we invite you to think about them with the mental model provided: the goal is to build a lasting brand connection. This way, you can evaluate whether your current plan accounts for the behavior changes that are coming.
Trust signs and low-hanging fruit
Data Protection – Your compliance is only as strong as the weakest tool in your arsenal.
Remember customers try out cheaper alternatives in a downturn? They are more risk-averse and they will overcompensate on the side of caution, especially when it comes to compliance. You, on the other hand, might be doing the same and consider cutting down on some of your tools, for example. While you evaluate, keep in mind the consequences of the tools you keep and make sure to highlight them to your customers. For example: if all your arsenal is GDPR or CCPA-compliant, don’t be shy! Showcase that to your customers! They don’t know it unless you are vocal about it. Being vocal about it also doesn’t cost much.
By stating that you comply with GDPR, LGPD, CCPA, and VCDPA, you can reduce friction for customers who are considering other options and become perceived as a safe haven. Not only will this encourage them to remain with you, but it may also prompt them to refer your business to others who are seeking reliable alternatives.
PS: as a Mouseflow user, you can feel content to know that you comply with all data privacy regulations.
Good user experience leads to a stronger brand connection
Your website accounts for the majority, if not all, of the touchpoints with yours. It is where they search for a product/service, read an article to improve their knowledge on your topic, find solutions to problems they have, and much more. It is only expected that your website is the first impression they get of your brand. First impressions last. So make it count. Positive user experience on your website is a leading indicator of a positive brand connection. Let’s see how to roll out the red carpet and welcome them to your website.
In the physical world, it is very straightforward to put yourself in the customers’ shoes: you simply walk into your own store to notice the wires hanging and that kids can’t reach the candy at the checkout. Online it is different. We drown in numbers, but the understanding is often not there. You can look at Google Analytics all you want, but you won’t notice that for a subset of your users, the chatbot bubble is actually covering the most important call to action on that page. Traditional web analytics tools were simply not designed for that.
Behavior Analytics, on the other hand, will help you make sure all the relevant customers are met with exactly the best experience you had in mind for them and build a connection.
SEO builds trust
SEO is a cost-effective way to market your business. By optimizing your website and content for search engines, you can attract targeted traffic to your site without having to pay for ads. This can be especially important during a recession when budgets are tight.
Going back to the topic of trust – by having a website that ranks high in search results, people are more likely to trust your business and see you as an authority in your industry.
SEO focuses on optimizing your website to attract targeted traffic from search engines. Web behavior analytics helps you understand your audience’s behavior once they arrive on your site. By analyzing metrics like bounce rate, time on page, and conversion rates, you can identify areas for improvement and make changes to your website that will better meet the needs of your audience.
In combination with web behavior analytics, this can become your powerful revenue driver.
Learn more about how behavior analytics can help you with SEO.
Paid channels don’t need to spend more during a recession
In times of recession, businesses need to be smart with their spending to maintain profitability and growth. With budgets shrinking, it is crucial to make every penny count by identifying and targeting the right audience and focusing on channels that drive revenue.
Remember that campaign optimizations don’t finish on platforms with bids, keywords, and audiences. You’re delivering a whole experience on your landing page and need not overlook the importance of optimizing that experience as well. A high-converting landing page should be visually appealing, easy to navigate, and provide clear calls to action. It should also be optimized for speed and for mobile devices. By continuously testing and improving the landing page experience, businesses can maximize the return on their advertising investment and drive more conversions no matter the platform.
For example, getting more out of your Google Ads doesn’t mean spending more. You can do Google Ads optimization beyond Google’s reports and take a more holistic approach by incorporating Behavior Analytics insights into it.
Apart from Google Ads, or paid search in general, it is also important to consider other paid channels, such as social media ads, email marketing campaigns, and affiliate marketing programs. Again, the key is to optimize these channels based also on the data that you collect through behavior analytics. By monitoring your results closely, you can make adjustments to your campaigns to ensure that you are driving the most revenue possible.
By leveraging web behavior analytics to optimize your Google Ads campaigns and targeting your efforts to the right audience, you can get the most out of your advertising budget, even during tough economic times.
Recessions are tough. A lot of changes are very fast and one needs to be prepared. The businesses that thrive in a recession are those whose customers are so satisfied and connected to a brand they don’t even consider switching.
For you that means focusing on building strong brand connections through meaningful website experience is a key factor in surviving the recession. When it is over and the economy is roaring again you will be ahead of your competitors stronger and readier than ever.