So you want to do two things:
1. You want to get them opening their wallets again.
2. You want to use this opportunity to grow your business.
So think about this. In the winter, the trees aren't dead. They are underground gathering water, making themselves stronger for when it's time to bloom. As a business owner you should be doing something similar in a recession.
So on the surface you might not be making more money (or even less), but when the economy turns around you'll be seeing the fruits of how much you grew in the "winter".
The key here is that it doesn't really matter what you are selling. You are a businessman and your customers are looking for guidance. They are probably on many other mailing lists from other business owners. The one that can reassure them, and make them feel all warm and fuzzy inside about this whole crisis is the one who will win their trust and their money when their wallets do finally open up again.
So here's what you do.
Organize a teleseminar (or even better a physical seminar) for your list about the bad economy. Tell them what a recession is, what causes them, the cycle they usually go through (you can find all this info on Google) and some profit opportunities they should be looking for in this economy (e.g. good deals on stocks, houses, cheap advertising, cheap fixtures from small businesses going out which can then be resold to other businesses that are replacing the former business at a blistering profit).
Don't charge for the teleseminar. Just be a friend. Give them some free ebooks about profiting from a bad economy. With the media freaking everyone out on a daily basis, when you are that voice of reason, calm and logic you'll stand out like a knight in shining armor.
No only will it ease up their concerns about spending money, but who do you think they'll be spending their money with when the economy "blooms"?
Take half a day. Read up on the topic. Mail to your list. And deliver the teleseminar. No pitches. Just comfort.
You'll thank me later.