Thriving in Tough Times: Marketing a Construction Business in an Economic Downturn or Recession

Are you thinking about trimming your marketing budget in these tough economic times? It's a common thought for businesses bracing for a downturn or recession.

But this doesn't necessarily mean it's the best course of action.

Regardless of the economy, there's almost always a market for your products or services.

If you scale back now, there's a real chance your audience might start to forget about you. This could leave you struggling to catch up when the economy rebounds (which it inevitably will!).

According to Neilson, businesses that go quiet during a downturn can expect to lose 2% of their long-term revenue each quarter. Investing in marketing during a recession isn't just about survival. It's a strategic move to boost your brand's presence and capture a bigger slice of the market.

Still have your doubts? That's reasonable. The idea of spending more in uncertain financial times can seem risky.

That's why we've created this blog. We aim to help you understand the advantages of marketing your construction trades business during a recession and guide you on the most effective strategies to do so.

We’re not sure what will happen in 2024 or whether there will be a downturn this year in Canada, but we’re going to look at what may happen and help you be prepared for any tough times coming your way.

Benefits of marketing your construction business in a downturn

Let's explore 6 benefits of marketing your construction business during a downturn or recession.

  1. Stand out from competitors

    Many businesses pull back on marketing strategies during tough times – making room for you to step into the spotlight. By maintaining or increasing your marketing efforts, you stand out in a less crowded field, giving your construction business a competitive edge.

    A great example of this strategy in action was during the Great Depression when Kellogg's ramped up their ads for Corn Flakes while their big rival, Post, cut back.

    Guess what happened? Kellogg's ended up ruling the cereal world!


  2. Capture competitor market share

    As your competitors scale back their marketing tactics, they may also scale back their service offerings – giving you the perfect chance to swoop in and capture their market share.

    Your ongoing presence in the market keeps you top-of-mind for clients experiencing reduced service or attention from other construction businesses.


  3. Cost-effective advertising opportunities

    One unexpected benefit of recessions is that they often lead to lower advertising rates.

    This means you can spend less on ads and get more value for your marketing budgets, reaching a broader audience without breaking the bank. Watch for those competitive rates and snag yourself a great deal!


  4. Long-term growth

    Businesses that invest in marketing campaigns during downturns often experience faster growth once the economy recovers.

    In other words, you're successfully laying the foundation for future success during a period when others are not.


  5. Reinforce reliability

    Sticking with your marketing efforts in tough times sends a powerful message: your business is solid and dependable.

    This reassurance is so valuable in the construction industry, where project continuity and the company's stability really matter.

How to market your business in a recession

Marketing your construction business during a downturn can be daunting. But as we just learned, it's also an opportunity to stand out and prepare for future growth.

Here are 10 expert marketing strategies for construction companies to help you on your journey:

  1. Understand your market

    Firstly, keep in mind that economic downturns don't hit all areas and sectors the same way.

    It's crucial to understand how your specific market is feeling the pinch. For example, if commercial construction projects are slowing down, there could be a rise in demand for residential builds and renovations.

    Tailor your strategy to the areas where demand is holding steady or even growing.


  2. Maintain relationships

    Next, we recommend keeping in touch with past and current clients. A simple check-in email or call can keep you top-of-mind for future projects.

    Building strong relationships can lead to referrals, which, as you well know, are gold in the construction company.


  3. Emphasize value over price

    In a downturn, clients are looking for value. Highlight your work's long-term benefits and quality rather than just competing on price.


  4. Leverage a digital marketing strategy

    If you haven't dug very deep into the online world yet, now's the perfect time.

    Developing an easy-to-navigate website, engaging in social media marketing, and showcasing positive online customer reviews are essential tools for attracting new clients in today's market.


  5. Create helpful content

    Consider crafting blog posts or creating videos that tackle common construction challenges and demonstrate how your business effectively addresses them.

    This strategy positions you as a knowledgeable authority in your field, showcasing your expertise and building trust with your audience.


  6. Focus on networking

    Attend (or virtually attend) industry events, join online forums and take part in local business groups. Networking can lead to valuable partnerships and new opportunities.


  7. Seek customer feedback

    Use this time to gather feedback from past clients and existing customers. This can improve your services and show potential clients you're committed to satisfaction.


  8. Invest in your team

    Slower periods are an ideal time to train your team in new construction tools or techniques.

    It's an investment that can really pay off. When the market picks back up, your team will be ahead of the game, equipped with fresh skills and cutting-edge knowledge.


  9. Stay positive

    Finally, a positive attitude can be infectious. Keeping morale high within your team can translate to better customer interactions and outcomes from your marketing investments.


  10. Capture market share

    An increase in your market share will allow your construction company to operate on a greater scale, improving your profitability and developing a cost advantage.

    You can increase your market share by:

    • Building customer loyalty
    • Employing a skilled workforce
    • Enhancing your advertising efforts
    • Lowering prices through promotions

The bottom line

Cutting back on your marketing efforts during tough economic times is tempting, but if you do, you might be missing an opportunity to grow and strengthen your business.

Marketing your construction business during a downturn isn’t just about survival; it's a strategic move to stand out to your target audience, capture market share, and plant the seeds for future growth.

Remember, downturns are temporary. By focusing on building your brand and maintaining relationships now, you position your construction business for success when the market rebounds.

Elevate your construction business with Just For Contractors

At Just For Contractors, we understand that staying visible during economic downturns is more crucial than ever.

We're not just digital marketing experts; we’re your strategic partners in navigating these challenging times.

We specialize in elevating businesses like yours with specialized marketing for construction companies.

Let us help enhance your online presence to attract a steady stream of clients and recruit top-tier talent.

Connect with us today to get started.

Susan Smith - Founder of Just for Contractors -web design marketing and branding
Susan Smith
The Founder and Strategist & Lead Designer of Just for Contractors

Susan and her team help contractors and the skilled trades get ahead of their competitors with a one-of-a-kind website that actually works,
backs up their excellent work and brings in the kind of clients (and team) they want.

She’s been in the construction trade since she was a kid — her dad owned a 100+ people tool and die business, her husband and now her 3 kids are all in the
trades. She understands them and was tired of seeing the really crappy websites the construction trades had online and hearing them say "I don't get any leads
from my website". If their website was crappy, they were losing business. It was time to intervene.

You can find Susan on LinkedIn.
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