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Recession Marketing Opportunities

During financial difficulties, the first thing businesses typically cut back is their marketing budget.

While seemingly a logical step, the reality is that continued marketing during a recession can mean the difference between long term success and failure.

In the past several weeks we have been bombarded with updates on the current economic outlook. Intensified stress in the credit markets, falling equity, increased unemployment, and a completely destabilized stock market.

With each news update the economic situation looks increasingly grim. Already the typical consumer has “tightened their belts” because of a lack of confidence in the economy; budgets are being lowered on both personal and business levels.

“Recession” is the term being used to describe the present economy and there have already been whispers of “Depression”.

While no one is “immune” during a recession, often it is the smaller businesses (local retailers and services professionals) that tend to suffer the most mainly because of their “lack” of marketing.

Faced with the current economic crisis, far too many smaller companies are adopting the “wait and see” approach yet, from a marketing perspective (based on historical data) this is a mistake.

When the economy is good and sales are plentiful, losing a few sales is something that can usually be tolerated affordably. It is during an economic downturn when one simply cannot afford to lose sales that as a business, you have the greatest opportunity for online marketing success.

Only a finite number of sales can be made at any given time. For every dollar in sales you make, it means your competitor is not only losing that sale to you but they can’t replace that lost revenue.

Therefore for every dollar in sales you gain, you move ahead of your competition by a factor of 2.

And, since many of your competitors are cutting their online marketing budgets during a recession, your opportunities for marketing successfully are compounded. Because of marketing (or the lack of marketing) the gap between a successful business and an unsuccessful one widens considerably during a recession. There is historical evidence to back this up.

Looking back at the Great Depression we are able to see some solid advantages to maintaining or increasing marketing strategies during a recession. Companies that maintained their marketing budget, increased in visibility significantly compared to their competitors who slid out of public sight.

This knowledge indicates that a recession actually presents the opportunity to move your company ahead of your competition in ways that would otherwise be unobtainable.

John Quelch on http://www.businessweek.com predicted the current economic situation.

Six months earlier, Quelch stated: “This is not the time to cut advertising. It is well documented that brands that increase advertising during a recession, when competitors are cutting back, can improve market share and return on investment at lower cost than during good economic times.”

Dave Chase with iMedia Connection did some research using data provided by Rod Polasky with archaeolink.com. In his article he covers in more detail the impact on advertising and the accompanying rise and fall of businesses during the great depression.

I encourage everyone to read Dave’s article for some fascinating history on some very recognizable Brand names who owe their success in part at least, to marketing during the Great Depression.

The facts presented show people do not stop spending during a recession; they just spend more time looking for a better deal. If you are not visible to your online customers, then your competitor will make the sale. A sale you cannot afford to lose.

While the rules stay the same for marketing during a recession today, the actual strategies have changed significantly.

When people research for better deals, they tend to research online nowadays, since it’s much easier than reading junk mail flyers or browsing through phonebooks, catalogs, newspapers or magazines.
In a time when your competitors have already started cutting their online marketing budget don’t miss your greatest opportunity.

If you are planning on delaying search engine optimization, or planning on cutting back on your marketing budget, take note of such names as H.P., Disney, Kellogs & Microsoft; all underdogs who previously took advantage of their Recession Opportunity…and they remain on top to this day.

Market wisely…but market you must.

Now is the opportunity to step up and be seen. Now is your opportunity to take sales away from your competitor and solidify your business as a leader in your industry for the future.

Two Types of Content

A major part of search engine optimization (SEO) is content development.

Since the search engine robots only read text, it’s crucial to have good relevant content that supports your website’s main keyword phrases.

The more relevant your content is to a search query, the better your chances that the search engines will rank your pages well within the search engine listing results.

But once you have the rankings and website visibility you need to attract a lot of visitor traffic, your web page content will also need to motivate the visitor to take action and buy your product or service. Therefore when developing your web page content keep in mind that there are two main types of content you will want to create; supportive copy and marketing copy.

Writing Supportive Copy

The main purpose of supportive copy is to provide information. The internet if filled with click happy visitors who want information first. Not unlike purchasing from a brick and mortar store, a person first gathers information about what they are interested in before they buy. On the Internet, it is very difficult to sell anything if you only provide a picture and a buy now button.

As a search engine marketer, I can’t begin to tell you the thousands of dollars I’ve spent on online marketing materials and SEO software all because of the good supportive copy (information) that some copy writer provided that made me feel good about making the purchase (and the fact that they didn’t provide a trial version….. you know who you are!).

The point is, I was willing to shell out $197 here, $99 there and $299 elsewhere because some copy writer did a great job in providing the information I was looking for in support of each product I eventually bought plus, they followed up with good marketing copy that convinced me to take action immediately.
I can tell you for sure however, that I would not have reached for my credit card if the web page only had a line that read, “this software is designed to help you build better websites.”  That is simply not enough to move me to make a purchase.

Writing Marketing Copy

As mentioned above, once I had all the information, the copy writer urged me to take some form of action with some good marketing copy, which is the second type of content you need to develop on your web pages.

While providing information is important, you still want the visitor to make a purchase. Marketing copy ensures that there are specific “calls to action” that actually tell the visitor you want them to do something.
A call to action could be a “buy now” button, an email address, a phone number, a link to a purchase page, etc.

Did you know that you need to tell them to do something?  Its true! Stop! Buy Now! Click Here! Order Today! Call Now!

These are important elements that say, “I’m trying to sell you something” and now would be the opportune time to order. If it is not the opportune time for them to order, then you must make it possible for them to be able to continue reading supportive information that will further convince the visitor that this is the product or service for them.

Both supportive and marketing copy content are necessary to help you in your online marketing strategy.

Building quality keyword rich content that supports the products and services you provide will help you with your organic search engine optimization campaigns. Creating shorter landing pages with strong call to actions will help you with your pay per click (PPC) marketing campaigns.

Either way, both types of content, supportive copy and marketing copy, can work together to help increase your sales and your ROI.  Without one or the other, your website and sales may suffer.