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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.

Website Promotion Via Search Engine Optimization

Is it really essential to receive top listings on the major search engines and directories?

Pose that question to business owners and most respond, “yes, it’s very important.”

Follow that up with, What are you doing about it? And the most common response is, “nothing.”

You see, they think that just because they have a website they are already visible to the search engines and directories. Sorry to say, but there’s a lot more to making your website visible to search engines and directories than just having a website. And even if they do know that it exists, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to get top listings.

Why should you care?

Because a major benefit of getting top rankings is that they help CUSTOMERS FIND YOU.

Increased exposure = increased visitors = increased revenues!

Search engines are used by people to help them LOCATE INFORMATION on products and services that they want or need.

Businesses that understand this, design their websites strategically to increase their visibility to the search engines. Some businesses try and do it themselves, only to discover that the process is more difficult and specialized than they realized.

To get good results consistently, you have to understand how search engines work and how they present their results to the end-users. Once you possess this knowledge you need to develop a strategy to capitalize on it. That’s where Website Promotion comes in.

Website Promotion is all about finding ways to optimize your website so that it receives high rankings.

A good Search Engine Optimization strategy should take into consideration the following key components:

  • Head, title, and meta tags (include descriptions, keywords, and copyright info)
  • Incorporating body text that supports targeted keywords
  • Converting dynamic web pages to allow reading by search engine robots/spiders
  • Reducing source code without compromising website functionality
  • Improving/ fixing html code, and broken links and tags
  • Rewriting or copywriting to ensure the content supports the keyword phrases
  • Ensuring sufficient keyword concentration/placement on a page to achieve high rankings with the major Internet search engine

The above factors are extremely important because those are the kinds of criteria search engines consider (What Search Engines See) when retrieving and indexing their results.

Levels Of Search Engine Optimization

Search Engine Optimization generally falls into three-categories:

They all work, but the degree of success with each is very different.

Submittal Services: This type of service ONLY submits your website to the search engines. They do not recommend, alter, or change website pages in any fashion. Their sole purpose is to get the URL submitted to the search engines and directories on a regular basis. They will often use an automated process to submit your site, and usually, will only submit one URL or page. The value of just submitting your website is questionable, since in most cases the major search engines already know your website exists. The cost for this services is anywhere from $19-$49 per-month.

Meta Tag Promotion: This type of service develops meta tags and then makes submissions to the search engines. Sometimes, they will allow clients to choose the keywords, and once the meta tags are updated, the website is submitted once-a-month via automated software. Some search engines use meta tags as the description they display for listings. Meta tags are only one of a number of factors considered by search engines and so it is difficult to get good listings based solely on them. Search engines like Google, DO NOT use meta descriptions or meta tags when indexing websites. The cost for this service is anywhere from $49-$150 per-month.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): This type of service entails making your website search engine friendly. It can be thought of as the creme-de-la-creme of Website Promotion. SEO ensures your website has a greater chance of receiving HIGH RANKINGS in the returned results. The process involves designing and executing a strategy based on the previously mentioned ‘key components’ of Website Promotion.

The companies providing this service should work closely with you and your webmaster to maintain the continuity and flow of your website, while still satisfying the criteria required for high rankings. They should also develop a list of ‘keywords’ (Keyword Value) that are relevant to your business. Once the optimization has been completed, they should submit your site to all the major search engines and top directories. It is better to manually submit all of your optimized pages and follow each search engine’s guidelines and rules to ensure the site does not fall into disfavor with it. Once a webpage is indexed there is no advantage in resubmitting it. It is a common misconception that you need to keep resubmitting your website. A number of search engines have indicated that they will penalize websites that over submit. The other areas they should provide assistance with are where you want customers to enter your website (Website Entrance) and the best way to present information to both search engines and your customers (Product Introduction Pages). While the cost of SEO may seem high compared to the others, the results you get are very impressive. They will help you to realize the full potential of your website. The cost for this services is anywhere from $250-$600 per-month based on 10-20 keyword phrases.

Which Is The Best Option?

That depends on what you trying to do with your website and Internet Marketing campaigns and what you expect to get from them. If your website is just a source of information and you don’t really expect or want to have lots of visitors to it -then the Submittal and Meta Tag Promotion services might be just what you are looking for. If on the other hand, you want to utilize your website as part of an Internet Marketing/ Website Promotion strategy, or to increase your company’s exposure, or to actually get business off the Internet -then a Search Engine Optimization service is probably your best option.

It is important to understand that proper Website Promotion involves considering many factors that are usually only provided by the full-service Search Engine Optimization companies. Search engines are very sophisticated mechanisms that utilize mathematical algorithms to list their search results. To get consistent results you have to understand how they work and how to make your website visible to them. And therein lies the inherent value of working with a full-service company. That’s what they do, that’s their specialty.

If you found this article useful and would like to discuss how your website can benefit from Website Promotion using Search Engine Optimization, please email us at // sales@1stonthelist.ca or call toll free 1-888-262-6687.