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Do you believe the economy is now ready to recover or that we're in for a double-dip recession? Have you been worried about your business's survival? Are you simply looking forward to consumers becoming happier to spend their cash again?
 
Whatever your opinions and concerns, it's time to give some very real thought to your online marketing strategy and what you will do once the economy does finally pick up.

So how can you ensure your organisation is ready to market online within a recovering financial environment? Well, here are a few areas I think are important to look at. As always, if you have any to add then please use the comment facility and share your advice.
 
Start justifying your budget now

 
Marketing endeavours are always hit by recession and online promotional work particularly so. Within so many companies, spending money selling online is a new development, so it was easier for them to justify ditching it when the downturn began.
 
So, work out your plans now. Figure out how much those plans will cost and find the pre-recession figures to back up your potential spending – show them your anticipated returns.
 
Remember that online marketing is simply the most targeted and cost-effective way to promote your organisation. That means online work should even take priority over other marketing efforts, it is the most efficient way to reach consumers.
 
Work out your arguments, back it with statistics and real costs, and start making the case now. You don’t want to be behind the competition once your customers start spending.
 
Optimise your website

 
The world has changed. Never again (or at least not for a long time) will we have the same level of consumer confidence and debt-happy spending we saw over the last ten years.
 
In the post-recession world, we're instead going to see a much more careful consumer base. People will be hunting bargains instead of thoughtlessly spending. That means they're more likely to look online than on the high street – the web is still known as a place for finding bargains.
 
So, make sure you're ready to be found. Undertake work that will boost your pages' positions in the search engine results pages and make sure potential customers find you first when they're hunting down decent deals.
 
Plan for the short term
 
Search engine optimisation can take time, but you will want to move quickly to take advantage of potential customers' increased spending power.
 
One excellent way to put your company in front of potential customers immediately is pay-per-click advertising. Bid for advertising space with Google – and other search engines if you want – and you can drive relevant, interested traffic to your website straight away.
 
Consider a viral campaign
 
Even once recession lifts, it's going to be a long time before people are entirely happy that it's safe to spend money on frivolities like going out.
 
Brits are going out less (seriously, Durex and Cadburys both say sales have soared as people, ah, entertain themselves more at home), and that means many will be spending more time online.
 
So, offer them something entertaining. Provide content that is simply so hilarious/thought provoking/bizarre that they'll share it with their friends and colleagues.
 
It's easier said than done – but done well, it works brilliantly.
 
Consider cost campaigns carefully
 
There's a lot more distrust out there since the financial crisis hit, don't let it bleed onto your business. If you make a claim in a campaign then you need to back it up.
 
This is most obviously true of promoting on price. If you decide to make use of people's hesitance to spend by marketing yourself as a low-cost option then make sure you are the best value company doing whatever it is you do.
 
Consumers talk, in person and online, and generating distrust by failing to live up to your marketing claims will damage your brand.
 
Disclaimer
 
Of course, it's very easy to flippantly recommend something like viral marketing or search engine optimisation in three paragraphs, but the truth is that I could spend three blog posts talking about each and still only cover the basics.
 
In order to be effective, any online marketing tactic takes a hell of a lot of hard work, determination and expertise. Do use these tips but do some research first to make sure your hard work works.

Kevin Gibbons

Published 14 September, 2009 by Kevin Gibbons

Kevin Gibbons is UK Managing Director at digital marketing agency BlueGlass. He is also known as an SEO speaker and can be found on Twitter and Google+.

102 more posts from this author

Comments (2)

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Bettzi.com

Whilst I don't think te recession is fully over. Signs are positive. This means that clients now have , increasingly, abilty to sign off of on budgets. Clients have still signed off on SEO budgets (albeit at reduced costs for agencies) as they appreciate the time implications of SEO work. It's more advantageous for clients to spend on SEO in recesssion. As the recession lifts - WOW there sites are primed. PPC spend will pick up. However the challenge for agencies will be measurment and conversion.

Clients now demand value money and need to make the most of limited budgets. Last click PPC models are broken and the smarter agencies will invest in analytics. Digital Integration and conversion optimisation will increase with Display, Mobile (yes mobile) and social media becoming more measurable.

about 7 years ago

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Robert Rawlins

I think that are definitely benefits to be found at this point in time, I always try to look at the recession as a bit of a cull, cropping out all those that were unable or unwilling to adapt their business model.

I'm quite sure things will only grow from here, speaking from personal experience we've seen an increase in customer spending over the past few months and a general change in attitude, whereas towards the end of last year we were struggling to even get through the front door to many clients we're now finding the door open for us to meet and talk about prospective projects with them, even if they're not all willing to commit to signing off just yet.

Rob

about 7 years ago

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