Advertising Your Local Business During an Economic Downturn, Part II: Tips to Finish the Year Strong

10.12.2020 Sara Brasfield

The economic challenges created by the pandemic continue to burden small businesses as they chart a course for recovery. But while social distancing and other guidelines may still affect how your business can operate, your ability to advertise your brand—and connect with your customer base—remains as accessible as ever.

This advertising is more important than ever before. With the right ad strategy, your business can maintain visibility among a local audience, and drive revenues that support your company’s recovery and growth in the face of any economic challenges you may be facing.

As the fourth quarter of the calendar year gets underway, here are some actionable steps you can take to leverage advertising as a tool to build back your business—and enter the new year riding a wave of momentum.


For many businesses, the pandemic has forced either temporary or permanent changes to their business model. Even if your old sources of revenue are still supporting your business, growth is key. Advertising can help you drive revenue from new customers in your local area, providing an influx of revenue generation that will serve as its own economic stimulus, while also broadening your revenue base.

This is particularly true if your business has historically relied on one or a few limited advertising channels. Expand your approach as the 2020 calendar year comes to a close, and embrace a multi-channel ad strategy that targets new customers through a wide range of advertising channels. Research suggests that 57 percent of sales professionals have seen their leads decrease since the start of the pandemic. By advertising, you can take lead generation into your own hands, providing a much-needed end-of-year boost.


Even outside of a global pandemic, regular engagement with customers is important to not only nurturing new leads for your business, but also retaining and strengthening existing customer ties. If the economic constraints faced by your business are affecting your ability to engage with your customers, advertising is even more important as a tool to cultivate those important brand experiences.

This engagement can take place across multiple ad channels, such as awareness-level cable TV ads, digital audio, social media, and email, among others. Your business can also create multiple campaigns and types of ad content that speak to different pain points your customers may be experiencing. Promotion for your brand can come in the form of providing DIY video resources, expanding and adapting your business services, highlighting safety concerns that may be relevant to reluctant shoppers, or even featuring behind-the-scenes stories of how your business is working behind the scenes.


Effective advertising is all about targeting. As a local business, you have many types of data and demographic information to refine your ad campaigns to target a relevant, high-value customer base. Geographic information is an obvious example: If you operate a brick-and-mortar store, you can restrict your digital ad campaigns to display only to consumers within a certain radius of your store, or within ZIP codes that represent your core customer base.

Your business can also leverage its own customer data, including information from your CRM, your email list, and website analytics, to build profiles of your target audience—or audiences, if your business serves multiple types of consumers. With this valued information in-hand, you can guarantee that ad dollars will be efficiently spent on an audience most likely to become customers of your business.


For businesses that have seen their operations and revenue streams disrupted by the ongoing pandemic, it might be tempting to cut expenses and patiently wait for conditions to improve. But this wait-and-see approach could result in further decline if you aren’t attracting new customers, and strengthening existing customer ties, through an advertising strategy.

Even in periods of uncertainty, it’s important to remember that advertising is a revenue-generating activity. Spending on an ad budget can lead to compensation in the form of new customers and increased sales. If you’re worried about losing customers during this crisis—or if you’ve seen your customer base shrink in recent months—your business needs a plan to turn around that momentum.

Embrace a strategy that focuses on growth. Want to maximize the value of your advertising? Work with a partner that can guide you toward the best practices and leverage your ad budget to increase your ROI. Talk to us today—we’re here to help.

About the Author

Sara Brasfield

Sara is a Marketing Manager on Cox Media’s corporate team in Atlanta, with a passion for writing and delivering relevant insights for advertisers. With more than nine years of experience in B2B marketing, Sara aims to help Cox Media’s current and future clients connect with their customers find new and unique ways to grow their business. Outside of the office, Sara loves spending time running, reading, and supporting her favorite sports teams (Go Braves & Gamecocks!).

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