We’re in the midst of the worst global economic disaster of this scale in history and companies around the world are scrambling to find strategies for marketing during a recession.
Well, it turns out that Internet marketing and especially SEO remains a great investment for small and medium sized businesses. Companies that were benefiting from SEO before disaster struck in 2008 are still reaping the rewards of high rankings and great conversions. If you find that your company is one of the millions that is losing the Internet marketing war, I suggest you read these surefire ways to conquer the recession blues and increase leads and sales.
People may be making less money and be out of jobs but they’re still browsing the Internet in mad numbers. In fact, probably more people are wasting, err, spending time online as a result of extra leisure time. That’s the beauty of the Internet… it isn’t going anywhere! That’s reason #451 why you need an Internet strategy. I’ll write about the some other time.
There’s a lot to say about Internet marketing during a recession but I’d like to focus on key aspects that can help companies beat the hard times.
(1) Start a Website
If your business doesn’t have a website, it’s time to make one. Spending on a fully optimized, attractive website that converts website visitors into users will be great now and later. If you already have a website, it may be time to grab more market share in the search engine results pages by launching a second optimized and useful website.
(2) Re-design Your Website
Adding to the first point, if business is slower than usual, you should spend some time looking over your website and your competitors’ sites and call an SEO consultant to help you strategize and head in the right direction. (Full disclosure: I am an SEO consultant who helps companies find the right direction.)
(3) Become Big Brother
It’s time to look over your website statistics in detail. Analyze who’s doing what on your website. Track conversions. Look at trends, patterns, and successes. Watch every move and replicate and expand what works.
(4) Socialize Digitally
You’ve heard of social media and blogging. It’s time to actually get involved. Comment on people’s blogs, get involved in forum discussions, and other formats.
(5) Special Offers
Offer clients special offers by way of direct one-on-one emails and through newsletters. If you have a client list of email addresses, send them an email with new offers. Remember that it’s typically easier to retain current clients than it is to get new ones. If you don’t have a newsletter in place, it’s time to start collecting email addresses.
(6) Email a “Hello”
Instead of emailing special offers, just send a personalize “Hi, how are you?” type of email. Customers who have time and/or need your services may bite. Reaching out by email doesn’t have to be all about sales. It’s about communication and relationship building.
(7) Improve Your Content
During the best of times, website content is typically lackluster but overlooked because there’s no perceived need to improve it. During a recession, you need every advantage you can get. Re-write your website’s text. Hire a professional copywriter who can create useful yet sales and marketing rich text. If your website relies on product photos, try taking new ones or better yet, hire a professional photographer to photograph your items.
Now is not the time to cut back on your advertising dollars. If you have a solid product or service, and plan to be in business for years to come, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from maintaining an Internet marketing budget. Working on your Internet presence during a recession can reap great financial rewards later by way of customer retention and word of mouth marketing. Yes, this is true during the the good economic times but it’s also true during the bad ones.
(9) Try a New Angle
Is your angle stale? There are hot topics out there that your products and services might fit into. Does your widget apply to other areas but you’ve never marketed them as such? Try it! Add a new section on your website about a products applications that would generate interest. The eco-friendly/green movement is hot. Is your product eco-friendly? Tell everyone on people’s blogs, review websites, forums, and so on.
(10) Add Sales Tools
During a recession, companies have to excel at customer service. You can make it easier to help people using tools such as a live chat feature.
I was going to also add a #11 – buy a book but I decided against using that in my official top 10 list. How peculiar is it that I’m advocating the purchase of an Internet marketing book?! I’m working on my own right now so I figured I’d plant a seed! LOL!
To me, recession-proof marketing online involves building a solid foundation with a long term plan. Yes, we’re in a recession and you need the business now. I understand that. However, despite what far too many people in the business community think, nothing of value on the Internet comes instantly. If you want to benefit financially from the Internet, you need to think ahead. So, when it comes to marketing and recession, be prepared to spend some time, money, and effort. It will pay off in the short-term and long run.
Best of luck with your online marketing during these difficult times.