How SMBs Can Improve Revenue Marketing By Leveraging Strategic Marketing Risks


In an economic downturn, SMBs must prioritize strategic marketing risks to keep driving revenue growth. This article by Emily Popson, senior director of demand generation and customer marketing, CallRail, dives into why it makes financial sense to experiment and the tools needed to get maximum ROI. 

Businesses, from scrappy startups to massive enterprises, have had to overcome some incredible hurdles over the past few years. And, no one has had it harder than the small to midsize businesses (SMBs) that were already often operating on limited budgets or financial reserves. Not to mention, those that have survived shutdowns, COVID-19 safety protocols, countless supply chain issues, and ongoing inflation. 

To help weather the storm, many SMBs have leaned into data-backed marketing strategies to optimize spend for the highest ROI during these periods of economic certainty. In fact, according to our study, 81%Opens a new window of SMB owners credit the success of their business during the pandemic to their marketing strategy. However, these same SMBs face yet another hurdle — the economic downturn. But hope is not lost — recent CallRail research shows that this is the time to double down on creative marketing strategies and to build and invest in campaigns and platforms that will give the maximum return on investment (ROI). The key to success lies in strategically testing new channels, expanding the use of proven tactics and investing in the data and insights to show where the biggest revenue gains can be made. 

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Testing New Channels

When it comes to testing new marketing channels, there are often several to choose from, and all come with their own risks and potential rewards. The world of digital marketing and social strategy is always changing, and it may feel intimidating for the SMB owner or small marketing team. However, this is where buried revenue lies — the data proves it. 

According to a CallRail studyOpens a new window , 85% of SMB marketers believe that testing a new media channel is a worthwhile financial gain for their company, and 79% believe that executing experimental campaigns is worth the investment. In fact, when testing new channels, those who tested Google Ads saw an estimated revenue gain of $281,577, while those who tested Facebook as a new channel saw an average revenue gain of $403,161. And, top of them all, those who tested Instagram saw an estimated revenue gain of over half a million dollars! So, SMB owners out there — if these social channels are not being utilized, there could be countless new customers not being reached and money left on the table. 

As the economy moves into a downturn, any opportunity for potential revenue gain must be explored. While it might seem counterintuitive during a time when cutting costs and limiting spending are the talk of the marketing town, this is the perfect time to take a look at marketing budgets and see where some strategic testing on new channels could actually yield impactful returns.

But how do you take risks when budgets are tight, and every penny counts? The first step is evaluating everywhere you are spending and looking for waste. Finding this wasted spend immediately lets you divert those funds toward new risks. Only then can you evaluate these risks using lead tracking technology like CallRail to see which provides the most value clearly. This will let you further optimize the use of that spend on the most rewarding risks for your business which will further drive revenue during this economic slowdown. 

Proving ROI in Real Time

Marketing teams can quickly become ground zero for cost-cutting exercises during economic uncertainty. But armed with the right tools and data, they can quickly escape red lines and position themselves as a solution center instead of a cost center. It is all well and good to say, “take marketing risks.” But SMBs must have insights from their marketing teams that not only show a campaign is working but also how well they are working, how many calls and leads are being generated, and how many of those convert to paying customers. 

According to CallRail’s research, 97% of SMB marketers that do not have a trusted way to prove if a marketing initiative is working or not say that they would take more marketing risks if they were equipped with these insights. Additionally, 89% said it is unrealistic to keep up with emerging marketing trends without trusted proof of a campaign’s effectiveness. 

The research also shows that 31% of SMB marketers with a trusted way to prove an initiative is working were more likely to take those critical risks on paid social ads that lead to higher revenue. So what does this mean? Marketers with trusted data to inform their risks and strategy will be a solution center — not a cost center — through economic turbulence. 

The Tools To Invest In

So, where can SMB owners invest to ensure their teams are equipped with the right data and tools? 

Website analytics tools like Google Analytics can help marketers quickly determine the source of web traffic and where leads are primarily being acquired. This will help show which campaigns and ads are most effective at driving web traffic. But this isn’t the only way leads come in. 

For SMBs that have a high volume of call traffic, call-tracking software like CallRail’s allows teams to measure and track the effectiveness of online and offline marketing campaigns. This technology provides real-time insights into calls, texts, form submissions, and live chats allowing SMB marketers to see the very channel, campaign or keyword where that lead originated. These critical insights allow SMB owners to rest assured that their marketing dollars are never wasted and only utilized in the best possible ways for maximum customer reach and, ultimately, revenue gain.

See More: Attribution and Scoring Are Key To Effective Marketing Campaigns


The SMB landscape is competitive, and those that have survived the past few years are the ones who were able to pivot and adapt quickly. These SMB leaders must use these same skills and savvy to take the right risks now to reach new customers and keep that growth going during this economic climate. 

Recession-proofing SMB marketing ultimately comes down to four steps: finding spend waste, redirecting this toward higher value channels and campaigns, remaining competitive through some degree of strategic risk-taking, and having the tools you need to understand in real-time what is and isn’t working so you can make quick, effective adjustments. Focusing on these four steps will create a successful path through any future downturn. 

What steps have you taken to recession-proof your marketing? Share with us on FacebookOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , and LinkedInOpens a new window .

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