B2B Marketing in a Recession

Marketing in a Recession: 2020 Pandemic-Era Marketing Resources

Initiatives and guidance for B2B marketers

Trade shows have been cancelled, sales reps are grounded due to travel restrictions, and already overstretched B2B marketers are balancing urgent communications with getting more value than ever from their websites and digital marketing.

We’re here to help, and we’ve compiled this document of resources to help you get farther, faster, with more precision and focus. We’ve organized this guide into four sections: Near-Term Initiatives (things to do now, today, this week), 90-day Initiatives, Planning for the Future, and additional Self-Directed Learning.

Near-Term Initiatives

Start here, get the basics covered and start seeing traction quickly.

1. Essential Communication

Many companies have already implemented these measures. If you haven’t yet communicated via email and/or on your website any changes to your business due to COVID-19 (hours, locations, closures) or reassured your customers that you are in fact still open for business, read How to Share Essential COVID-19 Communications with B2B Customers and take these steps first.

2. Improve Something Every Day

With trade shows being out of the picture for the near-term, your website needs to quickly evolve to become your sales team’s best ally. The good news is you don’t have to wait for a capital expenditure budget and a four to six month timeline for a redesign. Read and implement 3 Things You Can Do to Improve Your B2B Marketing Today and add to it with your own list of what specific, achievable and actionable improvements you can make to your online presence in the near term, without a large budget. Block your calendar to implement one item each day, and watch the improvement take shape over time.

90-Day Initiatives

Over the next 90 days, you can make some big impact with minimal budget outlay.

3. Pivot to Digital Marketing With Quick Wins

For more ideas on how to start improving your website and digital presence in light of trade shows being cancelled, and add to the list you generated in step 2 above, read Trade Show Canceled? Quick, Easy, Low Cost Ways to Pivot to Digital Marketing. Your website is the hub of your marketing, and the place to start first; you can achieve quick wins internally with content, analytics, video, email, social media and more.

4. Experiment with Chat

You might find that introverted technical buyers and engineers would rather engage with a chatbot than your sales team until they’re certain that they’re ready to buy. Now’s a great time to experiment with low-cost, easy-to-implement chat features. You’ll find ideas and benefits in How Live Chat Improves B2B Conversion Rates.

5. Create an Infographic

Complex products and services can be, well, complex. Infographics are a great tool for simplifying complex processes, in a way that is more quickly understandable and impactful than a text-based description. Infographics can also convey the value and behind-the-scenes steps of a seemingly simple process. For more details, read How Do Infographics Strengthen Communication?

Planning for the Future

Set a recurring calendar invite for every 90 days to take a step back and look at the big picture of where you’ve been and where you’re going.

6. Schedule and Hold Quarterly Reviews

In addition to any regular monthly or weekly meetings, all B2B marketers should set aside time every quarter, or at least twice a year to review the big picture. Review trends and performance from analytics data and deal quality & attribution reports, feedback from customers, pain points from within marketing, initiatives from sales and upper level management. Prioritize, based on the data and where you’re going, how you can make the biggest impact over the next 90 days. Rinse and repeat. For more details, read How to Conduct a Quarterly Review of Your Marketing Health.

7. Heatmap Data

Most everyone has Google Analytics and Tag Manager installed these days (if you don’t get that set up right away.) If you aren’t already taking advantage of inexpensive and easy-to-implement heatmapping tools, which can show you how users are actually engaging with the content of key pages on your website, learn more in Heatmaps: Find Hot Opportunities for Growth. In a recession, every website needs to work harder, and advanced analytics can help you fine tune the user experience.

Self-Directed Learning

Content is king, and email marketing is easily overlooked. Below are additional resources to read and implement any time.

8. Create compelling content

The number one thing that marketers struggle with is generating content. In addition to talking to your sales reps about what questions they’re answering lately (which is a treasure trove of good content ideas), find more tips in How to Create Content Your Customers Will Actually Read.

9. Email marketing

Email may not be new and shiny, but it is still a workhorse. Keep clients and prospects engaged with relevant, helpful information (not a sales pitch), at least every quarter, but ideally every two weeks. Send out new product information, useful case studies about how you’ve solved other customers’ problems, or helpful information. Re-purpose website copy and take advantage of automation. For more details, read How Email Marketing Can Put More B2B Leads in Your Hands.


About Windmill Strategy

This resource was prepared as a guide by Windmill Strategy, a web design company & marketing firm helping B2B, technical, industrial, life science and manufacturing companies achieve increased visibility & engagement, stronger branding, higher quality leads, and greater marketing ROI to accelerate growth. We’ve built our web design and digital marketing company around a foundational mindset of continuous improvement — for our clients and our own processes. Our business grew through the last recession, and we’ve helped budget-constricted clients get more from their marketing since we were founded in 2006.

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