During tough times such as these, it’s common for small businesses to trim expenses, the first usually being marketing and advertising. In times when you’re just trying to survive, search engine marketing can seem to be a luxury. You eagerly wait for the day when things begin to turn around to restart your SEO efforts in earnest.
Usually a recession is cast in a national context – the U.S. economy is doing well or it isn’t. Some businesses, though, are counter-cyclical and can thrive in tough times. But to better understand business behavior, the term recession needs to apply to a specific market and the growth it’s experiencing.
If your market is in recession, advertising and online marketing is much more critical
Research abounds to support this fact – businesses that cut advertising and marketing budgets experience a sharper decline in sales and profits than those who maintain or boost theirs. These businesses were better able to solidify their customer base, maintain brand image and consumer awareness.
If this is indeed a recession, it’s important to keep in mind that previous ones ended with significant increases in consumer spending – if consumers are aware of your brand, they will flock to your business once they begin to readjust their economic behaviors.
Cutting back (advertising) during a downturn is like throwing away your investment. Maintenance today costs much less than rebuilding tomorrow. - Robert Wilson, Award winning business writer & speaker
The Strategic Planning Institute, a non-profit Cambridge, MA institute that specializes in strategic business management, maintains the Profit Impact of Marketing Strategies (PIMS) system, which tracks over 3500 strategic business units in over 200 companies across North America and Europe.
Data from this resource proves how important advertising and marketing is during times of economic uncertainty – demonstrating how businesses who maintain their marketing budgets increase their market share during bad times. The main reason for this is the decline of competitors, especially smaller ones, who may be unwilling to defend against more aggressive firms.
During times of economic expansion, some companies are eventually not able to serve a certain market – opening the door to competition. Hence, a strong business may lose market share even though unit growth is satisfactory.
A study by Cahmers Publishing Co. evaluated a wide-range of companies from the 1981-82 recession and found that companies who boosted their marketing expenditures 28%-80% experienced a 1.5% jump in market share while a company that decreased their marketing budgets only saw a 0.2% increase. In a normal environment, a company only saw their market share increase by 0.2%, no matter whether their ad budget went up or down.
Marketing in a downturn should be considered a contributor to profits, not a drain.
Now is the time to start or increase your online marketing efforts – let people know you’re there. Your website can be quite a valuable tool to reach millions of potential customers. And a cost-effective one, at that. You can save on marketing dollars and gain more brand awareness than through other, more traditional advertising mediums. Remember though, not all websites are created the same.
Optimize site architecture, content and graphics for the search engines to get the most from your online marketing efforts
Search engine optimization is a process by which a website’s traffic volume and quality are enhanced by natural search engine results. An optimized site is one that is easily and consistently updated with informative content – serving as a trusted resource for customers in the research phase of the buying process.
It’s the job of search engineers and online copywriters to identify valuable keywords and produce keyword-rich content that is useful to consumers in any stage of the buying process – coordinating various online communication components like articles, press releases, blogs and social media to accelerate rankings and bring qualified traffic to your site.
Graphics too are a very important component to a site optimized for the search engines, but they must be designed and coded so a search engine will pick up the content within that image – if graphics are not designed with the search engines in mind, they will not even notice the content within the image and pass you by.
For instance, an old table-based layout will not produce rankings as good as a newer CSS-based one.
A consistently updated website not only improves search engine rankings but lets people know you’re actively engaged in your industry and builds trust with prospective customers who are in the research phase of the buying decision. While it may be cheaper in the short-term to neglect your site, the longer-term cost to your brand and profits makes neglecting your website quite consequential.
Neglecting your website will communicate to potential customers that you are no longer in business, hurting not only current sales and profits but future ones as well
Search engine optimization firm SEO Advantage® can help you design a website optimized for the search engines with consistently updated, keyword rich content, making your site a valuable tool for your specific market.
Ongoing search engine optimization services help build your rankings for the long-term, while even one-time optimization services can help you start out on the right track.
Contact us today and keep your online marketing efforts strong. When the recession ends, you will be much stronger than competitors who trim their marketing efforts in this down economy.
About SEO Advantage®
Led by Stone Reuning, SEO Advantage®, Inc. is an online marketing and search engine optimization firm that helps businesses turn their web presence into a powerful revenue generation medium. Our clients enjoy dominance on Google, Yahoo and Bing through a suite of unique pay-for-performance search engine optimization and online marketing services implemented by a multidisciplinary team of SEO engineers, copywriters and web designers. You'll find us referenced in books such as "Writing Web-Based Advertising Copy to Get the Sale" and the BusinessWeek bestseller "The New Rules of Marketing & PR," as well as the popular ebook "The Small Business Blogging Blueprint." Find out more today by calling us at 1-800-366-1639 or email us here.
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