The economy has businesses cutting traditional marketing budgets for 2023 and moving more money into digital marketing efforts. It’s a smart move, since digital organic and paid touchpoints are less expensive to implement and easier to track.

Here’s a Cowtown Creative client that has made huge leaps with a long-term B2B campaign on LinkedIn. Follow the company on LinkedIn to see what they post, and how an integrated content strategy has continued to produce results through economic swings over several years, without paid ads.


digital marketing to increase leads
Oh, would you look at that! Great wall art.

Business stats tell us what’s coming in 2023

Marketing magnate Neil Patel recently reported some stats that reveal now is not the time to cut marketing budgets, even if the economic downturn is scary. Many digital marketing efforts build lead funnels over the long term, providing a recession-proof pool of prospects that can sustain businesses through hard times.

Here’s what Neil is seeing through the sites he monitors through Ubersuggest:

  • Digital ads costs are down by 4% overall. As many companies cut ad budgets, ads are getting cheaper for everyone else due to decreased demand and less competition for clicks. The flipside of that is that conversion rates are also down about 7.13%, but when you’re in ads for the long haul (as you should be), you keep your ads running even if you spend less overall.



Move 1: Don’t turn off your ads completely. You’ll lose optimization traction and have to start from scratch with a 90-day spin-up to full effectiveness. Just decrease your daily budget if you need to cut costs, but keep optimizing to maximize potential conversions.

  • Companies are shifting budget away from print, radio, and TV. Surveys show that more than 81% of companies are planning to reduce their marketing spend when it comes to traditional channels. The upside of that is that all those channels will be more affordable for local B2C businesses that typically see good results using them. If you want a billboard campaign in 2023, lock in a long-term contract when prices go down.



Move 2: Small to medium-sized businesses may benefit from larger companies exiting the traditional marketing arena in 2023. Prices are expected to fall for radio, television, and outdoor ads. Work these into your budget if it makes sense to “buy the dip.” It doesn’t always, but local B2C businesses could benefit from lower prices in the coming months.

  • Long-term digital marketing efforts are on the rise. Many of the same companies that are cutting spending on non-digital marketing are increasing their spend on digital tactics that show growth over time. Content marketing hasn’t ever really seen a decrease, and together with SEO and omnichannel promotions that use integrated messaging, it’s the digital wave of the next few years.



Move 3: Optimize your website for user experience and SEO. Integrate a full-funnel content marketing strategy that reaches prospects with consistent messaging across multiple channels: social media, email, search, and even SMS.

You’ll need to think long-term, here; this type of marketing pays off in growth over time, but it’s not where you typically see immediate ROI.


But, should I really spend money on marketing right now?

Thanks for asking. We know this is a question on everyone’s mind, so let’s dig in and find the answer that’s right for you.

5 reasons you need to spend money on digital marketing during an economic downturn

Even if things are tough right now, your digital marketing investment does way more than create immediate sales. Great strategy creates future sales opportunities through awareness and brand-building.

Reason 1: If you want to make money in the future, you have to spend money now so people know you exist.

So, where should you focus those precious few dollars you are willing to spend to keep your brand awareness, consideration, and sales churning away in the background while you navigate the muck of tough times? It’s not sexy, but people search for things on the internet, and search engine optimization is the only way to show up in those search results.

Reason 2: SEO is the unsexy beast that keeps showing your business to new prospects. It’s the only digital marketing effort that gets exponentially better over time, if you know how to work it.



Getting started with SEO first involves a little website clean-up work (see Move 3 above). Before you start sending everybody and their uncle to your website, make sure it works. Go through it like you’re a potential customer and see if you can find what you need easily, in three clicks or less.

Does it get and hold your attention? Does the content and layout make you want to stay on the page? If not, now is your opportunity to improve what we like to call the “hub” of all your marketing efforts.

Reason 3: Your website needs work, and now is the time to get it done.

Getting your website all spic and span isn’t going to get you all the way to optimization, but it’s a necessary first step. Once it’s bright and shiny, it needs CONTENT, and lots of it, regularly, to feed the search engines fresh fodder.


Reason 4: Start SEO content infusions to see results in 9-12 months and build a better future for your business.

Search engine optimization involves a lot of moving parts, not the least of which is an ever-changing Google algorithm that many people are now finding isn’t too friendly to their AI-generated blog content. (duh)


Google search digital marketing


Seriously, no one wants to read bot-written blog posts, and they’re obvious to anyone with an IQ over 20. The latest Google algorithm release in September 2022 is hip to the AI fakeblogs, and sites are getting penalized for it.

Don’t cheap out on your content creation, because if prospects read a blog on your site that makes no sense, you’ve just ruined your company’s credibility with them and cut off your lead funnel at the top. There is no chance to get back that trust once it’s broken, so:

  • invest in real content with good information every chance you get, then
  • optimize it intelligently for high-volume search terms, and
  • build domain authority and improve your rankings in search results.

Reason 5: Digital marketers gotta eat, too.



This is not an actual reason to invest more in digital marketing in 2023… or is it? Establishing a partnership with a marketing agency when economic projections look grim isn’t a bad idea. You just might find that a great marketing firm that understands what you’re going through could get creative with your marketing and help cushion the recessionary impact on your bottom line.

It’s possible that you actually do need a marketing team, and now is the ideal time to grab a great one that has room for new clients. Here’s a guide to hiring a great marketing agency. We hope we make your top 3 and get to talk with you about what you need, but if we don’t, let us know if our tips helped.


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