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Branding & Marketing

5 Ways to Market Yourself During a Recession

When business slows down, it’s time to ramp up on your self-marketing efforts. Here’s a shortlist for how to jumpstart your outreach.

Rather than suffer through a slow economy, creative professionals should seize the opportunity to market themselves. A recession just slows everything down. Clients act more slowly, fewer projects enter the pipeline, and we are left with a little extra time. Rather than fill this time with insecurity, we should use it to differentiate affordable, and innovative. Here are a few tips to consider in these uncomfortable yet opportune times.

(1) Start re-engaging with your rolodex!

During the high-flying times, it is easy to lose touch with past clients and
colleagues. Now is a great opportunity to re-engage and strengthen your network. Spend some time fixing up your address book, go through that pile of business cards and enter them into your computer, and start connecting the dots on who you want to follow up with. Also, consider being a matchmaker – anyone you set up will feel all the more compelled to return the favor!

(2) Start a monthly email update.

Every creative professional has some side projects worth talking about. Why not start a monthly email to your network with 3-5 quick updates on your latest and greatest? If you keep the email short and catchy, your network will likely forward it along to others. And when people need your services, you’ll be top of mind.

(3) Start having breakfast (with whoever you can).

Marketing your ideas and your own brand must also happen offline. Consider scheduling two breakfasts per week with a long lost colleague or an old client. You’ll be surprised what potential opportunities and realizations can arise over breakfast.  And besides, breakfast is the cheapest meal of the day!

(4) Slow periods in the economy provide some precious time to invest in your online presence.

Whether you’re still employed, a freelancer, or on the lookout, take advantage of the opportunity to update your personal website or online portfolio. One anecdote we can share is that the Behance Network has seen seen
extraordinary growth among both full-time and freelance creatives that are taking more time to showcase their work online and build their professional networks (what we call “Inner Circles”).

Regardless of you’re employment status, you need to market your greatest works in order to build your network and gain respect. Potential clients, employers, and collaborators will search for your work online. Give them something great to find.

(5) Embark on a major personal project.

Some of the most productive creative professionals we have met try to complete one major personal project every year. The process keeps their creative instincts sharp and serves as a testament to their forward thinking, unrestrained capabilities. Now is a great time to follow through on an idea you’ve always had – something that will differentiate your portfolio when the boom returns.

More Posts by Scott Belsky

Scott Belsky is the Chief Product Officer at Adobe and is the co-founder of 99U and Behance. He has been called one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Fast Company, and is the author of The Messy Middle and the bestselling book, Making Ideas Happen.

Comments (11)
  • peweedesign

    Great to see that others are thinking the same! Our second email is in the pipelines, we are realaunching our new website in the next few weeks as well as launching our first personal ecommerce project (the beast)<br />
    <br />
    I guess we should go out for breakfast tomorrow then.

  • EleniP

    Yep. Breakfast sounds good!

  • travelingfemma

    Thank you for these actionable, affordable and applicable tips for this season. I’ll proactively add these to my action method list and make out a timeframe to do them in. An even bigger thanks to you, Scott Belsky, for all that you have done for the creative industry.

  • Glen Woodfin

    I can’t believe how many of my friends say they are creating their own economy and have decided not to participate in the recession. They say they are making more money now than they ever have in their life.

    Seems like success is a decision in any economy.

  • Maria

    You’re right!
    I’d like it so much and it was helpful about ways 2 market, thank you 😉

  • mariana


    First of all , I want to thank you for all this informations , and I’d like it so much .
    Thanks for this sharing!

    Good work for ways to market ! 😉

  • Caroline

    Very nice!!!

  • Linda

    Thanks for the useful tips. Although the economy is a factor, if you look at the parking lots of malls, movie theaters, and big-box stores, they are full. People are still buying…

  • Boiling Springs Real Estate

    Agreed! I’ve been investing my down time into my internet marketing. In addition to staying productive it builds my brand for tomorrows business.

  • Stock Tips

    I absolutely adore reading your blog posts, the variety of writing is smashing.This blog as usual

    was educational, I have had to bookmark your site and subscribe to your feed in i feed. Your theme

    looks lovely.Thanks for sharing.
    Stock Tips

  • Stock Tips

    I absolutely adore reading your blog posts, the variety of writing is smashing.This blog as usual

    was educational, I have had to bookmark your site and subscribe to your feed in i feed. Your theme

    looks lovely.Thanks for sharing.
    Stock Tips

  • louiegie619

     That’s correct!, Not shockingly great number of organizations seeking methods to promote on their neighborhood, many wind up losing, that is precisely why trying to find the advice of a Marketing Local Professionals is a must.

  • Catimini

    This is really a great way to marketing our business during recession, these all ways are really very effective. These all techniques are really amazing and i want more tips and techniques on online marketing. 

  • bovenaan in google

    Taking risks are just usual because you cannot learn new things if you will not take it. Learn from your failures because it will going to help you to be a stronger businessman.

  • Nick

    Thank you for providing these useful tips. The most important Marketing Strategy is having breakfast with your old friends or mates and look for new opportunities. Really a great idea.

  • Reach More Customers

    Good tips!.
    There are many techniques on how to make your business interesting by the people around you. Better to have some updates and information that you will be using to get more costumers.

  • Krisxi Chasanov

    If you need more tips, you can always ask the professional help of a branding consultant.

  • PatStarfish

    After studying marketing in Los Angeles for almost 25 years I noticed one huge thing that was very important. If you do not take risks, then you are not a business man. If a recession hits then you have no choice but to work through it and hope you land on your feet. Business is for us what hunting was for the caveman. The strongest and smartest always did better.

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