7 Strategies to start selling to recession-proof niches

If you’ve been researching how to make your agency recession-proof or how to survive a recession, you’ve probably learned that as a provider of digital services it’s essential that you fill your client list with clients in recession-proof niches.

Read "How to survive a recession: The agency playbook" and gain the actionable strategies, tactics, and checklist your agency needs to adapt in tough economic times.

Some niches reliably do well during economic downturns because the demand for their products or services is minimally impacted by economic conditions. There are some things people have to deal with regardless of how the economy is doing, such as healthcare and maintaining financial records.

Businesses that serve these perennial needs tend to face less volatility as a result of the economy. If your agency in turn serves these recession-proof niches, you can enjoy less risk throughout a downturn yourself.

Recession-proof niches to focus on

If you want more details about which recession-proof industries should be on your radar, we have you covered. But for a quick recap, here is a list of recession-proof niches that are worth your attention given the looming recession:

  • Childcare
  • Home repair
  • E-learning
  • Auto repair
  • Funeral services
  • Beauty products
  • Discount retail
  • Food and beverage
  • Pet care
  • Accounting services
  • Baby products

People may cut back their spending on non-essentials in a recession, leaving businesses that provide those goods and services to cut back their marketing budgets or even shutter altogether. However, the niches in this list illustrate the reality that there are essential goods and services that won’t face the same downturn.

So, how can you position yourself to sell more to these recession-proof niches? These strategies will help you close more sales even in industries you may be unfamiliar with.

1. Do your research

It may be obvious, but it is well worth mentioning that, if you want to impress your prospective clients as a worthy expert in their field, conducting market research is an essential first step if you’re looking to sell into a new niche.

Every industry has its own lingo, top publications, microtrends, and concerns. If you want to be successful in a new niche, you have to familiarize yourself with all of these facets of the new industry in which you hope to sell.

In addition to market research, you should research each prospect before approaching them so you can demonstrate that you are serious about working with them, rather than just sending the same generic pitches to everyone.

2. Meet your prospects’ needs

Use a needs assessment tool to get a complete picture of where each prospect is currently excelling, and where they can use the most help with their online presence. This can save you the hours you would have otherwise spent on Google using various tools to piece together a picture of your prospect's current marketing strategy and performance. Once you have a report on your prospect, you can customize your pitch to appeal to their precise needs.

For example, if you see that they are spending on PPC ads and having some success, but they don’t have up-to-date listings or good SEO performance, you can craft your messaging around how addressing these weak spots can help them further their business goals.

3. Resell white-label services and products

To make your business recession-proof by selling to new niches, you may have to switch up your offering a little bit. For example, if a significant portion of your business has been building and maintaining websites until now, you may find that you need to offer more PPC and SEO services to meet the needs of prospective clients in new recession-proof niches.

You can avoid the significant costs associated with hiring experts in these new areas, and pivot your business to go to market quickly, as a white-label SaaS reseller. This way, you don’t have to worry about the unproductive time spent hiring and onboarding a new in-house team member. Instead, you can focus your efforts on the sales side of the equation, and take advantage of white-label expertise that is available right away.

In addition to making it possible to expand your service and product offerings quickly, selling white-label solutions also mitigates your risks during this economically uncertain time. You don’t have to worry about putting yourself in the red by over-hiring or hiring the wrong people without being sure that you’ll make up those costs. Instead, you won’t incur any costs until you close a sale. If that business ends, you just as quickly stop purchasing white-label solutions.

4. Hire a sales rep with insider knowledge

As a white-label reseller, you can focus your energy and budget on the sales process so that you can build a healthy pipeline full of recession-proof clients. To increase your chances of being successful in a new industry with which you may not be very familiar, consider hiring a sales rep who has the insider knowledge you’re lacking.

You have two options:

  1. Find a salesperson who is making the jump from a role within that industry to the sales side of things.
  2. Find an experienced salesperson who has worked with clients in your target niche extensively.

With either option, you’re getting someone on your side who has a strong familiarity with the industry, which can help you close more deals faster.

They may have insider relationships that help, or they may simply know how to talk the talk in a way that is difficult to learn overnight. Either way, the right salesperson can shorten the road to success in a new niche.

5. Look for networking opportunities

Some of the new niches that you approach in order to make your business recession-proof may have local networking events, industry newsletters or publications, online forums, or other ways that members of the industry interact.

If you’re serious about focusing on a new niche, it can be beneficial to network and make your prospects aware of you through any of these avenues. Whether you attend a local industry event or contribute to an industry publication, you’ll increase the chances of landing those first important clients.

The more experience you get in a niche, the more your success is likely to snowball through word-of-mouth referrals. When you’re just starting out, however, it pays to put yourself (or your salespeople) out there.

6. Update your marketing strategy

As someone in the marketing industry, you know better than most how powerful a great marketing strategy can be. To make your agency recession-proof by reaching new audiences, your own marketing strategy may be in need of an overhaul.

How are you currently marketing your agency? Are you effectively using PPC and SEO strategies to improve your discoverability? You may want to think of vertical-specific keywords to target in those niches. Both of these can help you get on the radar of your target clients.

Creating content marketing that caters to clients in the recession-proof niches you’re targeting is another effective marketing strategy. If you want to be the go-to marketing agency in your area for medical and dental offices, you should be creating blog posts and other content on the subject.

7. Check in with your clients

Once you land your first few clients in your target niche, it's important to pay extra attention to them and their needs. Every industry has its idiosyncrasies, so things may come up that you haven’t experienced with other clients. These may include peak season variations that you don’t expect, for example. To be as prepared as possible to serve clients in your industry well, take advantage of opportunities to learn as much as possible from those first few clients.

A good way to do this is by establishing regular check-ins. You may already do this with your existing clients, but it may be worth going a bit more in-depth with clients in new industries as you learn about their unique needs and pain points. For example, that weekly check-in email may be a phone call instead.

With the right strategies, you can start closing more sales and generating more revenue for clients in recession-proof niches fast.

About the Author

Solange Messier is the Content Strategy Manager at Vendasta. Solange has spent the majority of her career in content marketing helping companies improve how they connect with their prospects and customers. Her diverse background includes magazine publishing, book publishing, marketing agencies, payment processing, and tech. When she's not working, Solange can be found spending time with her family, running, and volunteering.

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