Economic uncertainty has tamped down consumer spending. Inflation is cooling but still hovering at 4%, and research shows that 91% of consumers are reducing or changing their spending habits in response to recent economic conditions.
It’s challenging times for app companies that want to maintain and grow their subscriber base, while also lowering CAC and increasing CLV. But if you build the right marketing strategy, you can set your business up for success, even if the economy winds up slipping into a recession.
Don’t Stop Marketing
As tempting as it might be to take a machete to your marketing budget, don’t. If you cut back too much on marketing—or, even worse, eliminate it entirely—acquiring subscribers might grind to a standstill. Even current users may lose interest in your brand if engagement campaigns halt.
Instead of stopping your marketing efforts, build smart, strategic campaigns. Marketing in a recession is just that: continuing to market during a recession.
5 Ways to Grow Your User Base Now
1. Target Relevant Customer Groups
Your marketing campaigns should be narrowly targeted toward specific groups that are relevant to your brand. For example, an app company specializing in food delivery could offer a discount to students during their final exams, when they're likely to want a meal delivered.
What to Do
Look at your current customer base and decide if there are groups you can engage more effectively or groups you want to reach for the first time. From there, personalize campaigns to these groups.
While there are many ways to segment customers, one of the most effective is by using identity-based attributes such as job, affiliation, or life stage. This technique is called identity marketing. It drives conversions by using an exclusive offer to reward customers for belonging to groups they strongly identify with, such as students and teachers. These campaigns often go viral because customers want to share the offer with others in their community. And those customers remain loyal because the offer establishes an emotional connection with your brand that keeps your band top of mind.
2. Leverage Your Best Customers to Win New Ones
With customer referrals, you can gain new customers with little to no additional financial investment. This is a great way to keep customer acquisition costs low.
What to Do
You can encourage referrals through programs that incentivize sharing with friends. For example, Doordash gives customers the opportunity to share a unique referral link with friends in exchange for credits, while their friend receives a special offer.
When you target identity-based segments, those who convert often do some of the work for you. More than 97% of teachers, nurses, and first responders would share an exclusive offer with their colleagues.
3. Support Privacy-Friendly Data Policies
Consumers are increasingly concerned about data privacy, and this is no time to risk alienating customers. In fact, 80% of CMOs say that it’s important to switch from invasive data collection methods to privacy-friendly ones in 2022 and beyond.
What to Do
Invite your users to share their data with you in exchange for something they value, such as a discount or a more personalized shopping experience. Collecting this kind of zero-party data, where customers only provide the information they want, shows that you take consumer data privacy concerns seriously.
4. Prioritize Customer Loyalty Strategies
It’s critical that you continue both customer acquisition and retention strategies when marketing in a recession. However, remember that acquisition can cost up to 5x more than retention, and repeat customers convert 9x more compared to new ones. To maximize the cost-efficiency of your marketing, invest in nurture campaigns designed to stoke loyalty and retention.
What to Do
- Create a Loyalty Program. Customer loyalty programs are a low cost way to encourage repeat purchases, larger purchases, and referrals from current customers. Many brands use a point-based system to allow access to perks, while others have tiers you can move up as you unlock certain benefits. Still others require a fee to join their loyalty program.
- Collect Customer Feedback. Inspire greater loyalty by collecting feedback from your customers and taking action in response. Surveys are a great way to engage your customers while also learning more about their preferences. Take their feedback to heart to show you value their opinion.
- Run Re-Engagement Campaigns. Use zero-party data to keep customers interested in your brand with ongoing targeted campaigns designed to drive repeat purchases. For example, if you know which of your customers are teachers, you can offer them teacher-specific content or run discounts at relevant times of the year, such as during back-to-school.
5. Make Your Customer Discounts Exclusive
Creating exclusive offers for your key consumer communities is a cost-effective way to drive customer acquisition and increase your active user metrics. When you reward the groups that customers identify with, your offer appears more valuable and creates a positive connection to your brand.
What to Do
Create gated discounts targeting consumer communities that are relevant to your brand. These could be evergreen or limited time promotions.
To prevent fraud and ensure the offer is truly exclusive, require customers to get verified when they redeem it. The best verification process is instant, in-brand, and easy to navigate. Brands such as YNAB, Headspace, and Pvolve have seen impressive success after implementing exclusive customer discounts.
Build a Marketing Strategy that Will Stand the Test of Time
Just because the economy is experiencing a downturn doesn’t mean your business can’t continue to grow. Learn how SheerID’s Identity Marketing Platform and our team of experts can help your business thrive even during uncertain times.