An economic recession is hanging over us like a water filled balloon. It’s not a matter of if it will pop, but when

Ecommerce brands that strategically invest in marketing will create a ‘water resistant’ exterior to their business so that when the recession does hit, it doesn’t weigh them down.

Ned Davis Research reports a 98% chance of global recession in 2023

But what marketing is the right marketing for ecommerce startups in (and beyond) a recession? 

In this article, we’re exploring 5 different options that can help you not only weather the recession, but come out of it on top.

Why ecommerce stores should invest in marketing 

Marketing is all about making customers aware. And in a recession, awareness is everything.

That’s because people don’t stop buying, they just become more selective about where and what they spend on.

So whether it’s a prospective customer or an existing one, you want them to know your brand, what you’re offering, and why they should buy from you over anyone else.

“Our research has shown the pace of online spending isn’t expected to slow down despite the squeeze on finances.”

Ted Rogers, Digital River, Chief Revenue Officer


It’s also worth considering that marketing is both a short and long term game. The recession won’t last forever so brand building and customer nurturing could help you sustain and accelerate growth months and years down the line.

5 ways to market your store to bigger profits in and beyond a recession

Make paid ads your friend

Paid ads are a great way for ecommerce brands to put themselves in front of their target audience. 

And there are plenty of channels for you to test, learn from, and test again until you strike gold. 

Why do paid ads work so well? Because you can carefully select your audience to ensure your ads appear for the people most likely to buy.

Depending on the channel you choose, you can target new customers, past customers, recurring customers, and even people who have engaged with your brand but haven’t yet made a purchase.

Google search ads and shopping ads put you in front of buyers searching for specific products so even if they’re not aware of your brand they can end up in your digital store.

And it’s a good investment—for every $1 spent on Google ads, $8 is earned back.

Another successful route for ecommerce brands are social media ads. Take Hedoine, an ecommerce fashion brand and Uncapped client who grew their revenue 1106% through paid ads on Facebook and Instagram.

Leverage the impact of social media influencers

The rapid rise of influencer marketing is impossible to ignore. In fact, the industry has grown 46.9% between 2016 and 2022.

On top of that, 93% of marketers report having used influencer marketing.

Neither of those stats is surprising when you consider that 75% of consumers trust recommendations they see on social media. 

While paid ads can be disruptive or intrusive to a social media user's feed, influencers are sought out and trusted by their audience. Influencer marketing is the new word-of-mouth marketing which can provide huge success if used properly.

It might be a fashion influencer who posts their latest finds, a beauty guru who shares the products they love most, or even a pet account where the owner posts about the products they use to take care of (wo)man’s best friend.

For Petcare brand Vetevo, influencer marketing worked a treat. They scaled their customers to 200k off the back of influencer marketing campaigns funded by Uncapped.

The key to success in these campaigns is a good product-market fit with the influencer's audience and a genuine appreciation for the product on the behalf of the influencer. 

Additionally, if you run an influencer marketing campaign on Instagram, make sure the influencer has fresh ideas for Instagram stories or reels to grab the audience's attention.

Nurture your community of buyers with email marketing

Building an email list allows you to communicate with those you know are interested in your brand. And if they’re already interested, they’re more likely to buy.

That’s why for every $1 a marketer spends on email marketing, $36 is earned in return.

Unlike with social media marketing (paid or organic), email marketing is completely in your control.

What can you do with email marketing?

  • Promote sales
  • Remind people of items they have in their cart but haven’t bought
  • Share insider deals only available to the email list
  • Give them early access to new products
  • Remind past customers when it may be time to replace their product

Stay top of customer minds with SMS marketing

SMS marketing, or text message marketing, is similar to email marketing in that you can communicate with customers directly. 

The major difference is that SMS feels more personal and immediate than email. 

A 2017 report found that Americans check their phones on average 80x a day while a different report found the average person checks emails only 15x a day.

Gary Vaynerchuk’s business, Wine Library, relies on SMS marketing to boost sales

The team sends a daily deal to their 9,000 SMS subscribers and the results speak for themselves. Compared to their email list of 400,000, their SMS campaigns are 9x more successful.

But that doesn’t mean you have to choose SMS marketing over email—you could use them in tandem as two touchpoints for promotions, reminders to buy, and loyalty offers. If you can't create an SMS marketing campaign in-house, you can always get help from a professional agency.

Draw customers in with content marketing

Content marketing is a great way to communicate what makes you stand out from your competition and to solve problems for your target audience no matter where they are in the funnel.

It can even capture potential buyers who aren’t aware of your product. If they have a problem your product solves, odds are they’re looking for a solution. 

Picture this. You’re noise sensitive and struggle to work in loud environments but there are days when you need to work from your company office. 

So you search ‘noise sensitivity’ hoping to find information that could help you manage your problem.

That’s when you discover a blog by Loop Earplugs. It’s full of valuable information but it also points to their product. After reading further and seeing the affordable price of the product, you order it ahead of your next office day.

The key to content marketing is offering your audience value. That value could be educational, like Loop Earplugs has done or from providing entertainment. Maybe both.

Good content marketing is valuable to the business too. Hubspot reports it can generate 3x as many leads as outbound marketing. Plus it costs 62% less.

Of course, SEO blog content is just one type of content marketing. In this process, you should also monitor backlinks, focus on technical elements and optimise content. However, along with optimising your content for SEO, you should also focus on its quality, and to do so, you can use an AI content generator to produce fresh and engaging ideas, even if you give the content a final touch by hand.

Below is a wide range of content types you could tap into.

Popular types of content marketing include:

  • Blog
  • Social Media
  • Infographics
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts
  • Video
  • Free downloads

Finding the right marketing strategy for your brand comes down to how well you know your audience

Different marketing works for different customer profiles. 

For example, if your product is targeting an older generation then maybe influencer marketing is a poor investment. Or if your customer set finds SMS marketing ‘spammy’ then you might want to pivot strategy. 

You’ll have to do some research and some testing to find the channel or channels that are right for you. If you are struggling to find the right channels and build an effective marketing strategy, marketing consulting agencies will provide you with the guidance you need.

Investing in marketing requires capital—fund it with Uncapped

While marketing is an expensive endeavour, there’s much to be gained from any one of the five digital marketing strategies mentioned.

That’s because digital marketing is easily tested and measured. 

After rigorous experimentation you can scale the marketing that works, 10x your results and accelerate business growth.

But if you want to see a return on investment you must first make the investment.

An investment you might not have the capital to make on your own, especially in times of economic uncertainty.

So, why not overcome that hurdle with funding from Uncapped?

We’ve helped brands increase their revenue in uncertain times before. Hedoine (the ecommerce brand who increased revenue by 1106%) did so in the heart of the pandemic with Uncapped funding.

If you want to find out how you can access low-risk funding options, book a call with one of our representatives. 

Not ready to book a call? 

Check out how London’s top plant shop 3x’d their advertising budget.