Saskia Schuldig from 1-grid states that the 2020 budget speech raised concerns for various sectors upon the announcement of South Africa’s third recession since 1994.

According to Statistics SA, the economy contracted by 0.8% in the third quarter and 1.4% in the fourth-quarter of 2019. Various businesses may feel the pressure of success; profitability and satisfied employees. Statistics SA noted that businesses in the Transport and Communications; Construction; Agriculture; Manufacturing and Electricity and Gas supply sectors will particularly feel the pinch.

In a state of recession, businesses are required to be agile and make nimble moves. Generally, the first decision made is to ‘budget cut’. The victims of these cuts are almost inevitably those occupying marketing or advertising roles. We however urge companies to continue their online marketing and advertising efforts as per normal.

Thomas Vollrath, CEO of 1-grid states that our sector has seen growth each time that SA has endured a recession and this is due to the fact that small businesses, with or without a digital footprint, are seeking to develop an online presence that will enable them to have higher reach, be more competitive and look professional.

Think about these three things: being frugal, visibility and investment. Your customers are trying to be frugal, just like you. Therefore, their research to find the best deals online will be more extensive. If you reduce your communication efforts, chances are your sales will be impacted.

Keep reminding your customers that you are there. The more visible you are to your customer, the more brand recall you create. This, in turn, will result in customers turning to you for need satisfaction.

Customers are investments to your business because they provide you with valuable data. Market research in a time of a recession will assist you in developing the most appropriate solutions for your customer.

Vollrath said the first online marketing tool you should focus on is your website as this is where your customers will turn when in search of information. Here are a few ways to ensure that you have a ‘recession-proof’ website that will attract your customers:

Enhance your website content

Keep your website content fresh and ensure that it provides enough information for the reader to understand your business and the need that you satisfy. Catering to these fundamentals are paramount to building a strong relationship with your visitors and potential customers. Dedicating the time here isn’t easy, so consider outsourcing this essential requirement to a professional web design agency. 

Omnichannel marketing

Direct customers from your additional marketing and advertising efforts to your website. Social media marketing can drive your customers to your website but you want this to be a seamlessly integrated experience for the user.

User experience

Monitor how users interact with your website – simplicity and ease of use should be fundamental to the overall layout and goals you want to achieve. By using sound user experience (UX) practices, you can make your website easier to navigate. Provide your users with clear call-to-actions and concise information on your offerings.

Call to Action (CTA)

A CTA encourages your customer to perform an action on your site. Prompt customers to browse freely by providing them with CTA’s. These will improve the overall interactions on your websites as customers are selecting where they want to be.  

Online contact forms

Keep your forms short and simple, this will encourage users to complete them. Eliminate the unnecessary requests of information, you can get that from the customer once you have contacted them. And please, contact the customer.  

Reviews and testimonials

Reassure the stability you provide to customers and prove your trustworthiness to them. Include customer testimonials on your website to motivate new customers as to why they should choose you instead of your competitor.  


Infographics provide customers with a large amount of information in one place. If your business requires explanation, use infographics to engage with your customers.  


Blogs can create a conversational tone with your customer about topics of interest. These include non-product related topics that your customers want to read. It is important to humanise your brand. If you can’t relate to your customer, why would they choose your brand over your competition? 

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