SiteLab's Top 10 Ways to Leverage Your Online Marketing in a Recession

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We've all heard the news by now. We're in a recession. Or maybe not ... but the economy is definitely in a downturn. Don't fret though. Often times a recession can be the stimulus that leads your company to new heights particularly in the area of online marketing.

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We've all heard the news by now. We're in a recession. Or maybe not ... but the economy is definitely in a downturn. Don't fret though. Often times a recession can be the stimulus that leads your company to new heights particularly in the area of online marketing.

You may wonder, how can the recession possibly be good for my company's online marketing efforts? The answer is that it provides an opportunity to re-evaluate your current position and optimize the strategies that are best working. Let unsuccessful strategies fall by the wayside and work to realize all potential revenue by going digital. No matter what, online marketing affords the greatest resource for optimizing your marketing dollars therefore increasing return on investment.

1. Increase Accountability -- Online marketing typically exemplifies the most trackable and visible of marketing tactics. Virtually every activity can be tracked and analyzed to a degree unseen in other disciplines. This characteristic must be leveraged to weed out inefficient advertising spends. Make sure every online campaign has a unique, trackable conversion defined, so that you can recognize your best performing campaigns to quickly change course if budget becomes slim.

2. Focus on Your Core Customers -- The basics are basics for a reason. Web 2.0 may be the latest, greatest trend, but in a recession where every dollar counts, your bottom line is best served by the core online marketing tactics and your core demographics. Now is not the time to test unknowns. By juicing the most from your core, you can effectively recession proof your business by running at optimal efficiency. Email marketing is a great tool to fine tune messaging to clients who have already told you that they want to hear from you.

3. ROI, ROI, ROI -- First, you'll need to make sure you have defined conversions in a meaningful and trackable way. Then, you'll be able to concentrate on getting these leads to become sales. With the availability of web analytics and site optimization software for free, it would be a reasonable to expect a great gain for a small investment. Do not fall into the trap of evaluating your campaigns by eyeballs alone. Acquisitions and conversions are the bedrock of a successful online marketing program.

4. Paid search -- If you find your organic search traffic isn't meeting your needs, paid search can help to bring in additional qualified candidates. Best of all its fully trackable and scalable so success can be measured over any time period down to the smallest detail. With paid search you only pay for what you get, so if your website is effective at converting customers this will be a highly effective strategy to drive sales.

5. Optimize Adword Campaigns -- Once you know your highest pay-per-click ROI keywords and demographics, you can shift the core of your Adwords campaign to these high performing sectors. When business is going great, it's easy to throw a little money at trying to expand your customer base, but this usually isn't the most cost-effective way for driving revenue. Concentrate resources on your core business until a more favorable business cycle returns, when you can again experiment with new types of customers.

6. Optimize Your Web Site Content -- Often times, the easiest thing to do to increase the visibility of your online marketing is simply to make sure every page on your site not only contains a good deal of information, but also this information should be laden with your most relevant keywords. Go back over your site repeatedly and make note of the changes you make. Track the historical performance of these pages and optimize accordingly. Not only will you find that people will be better informed, but you'll get more qualified traffic who could potentially purchase your services or products.

7. Email campaigns -- Email campaigns are typically low cost to run and have a very high return on investment. If you don't have a list yet, you better get started. Not only can you serve your biggest customer's need for information, but you can ensure your customers are thinking of you with this top of mind advertising. List rentals are an affordable option to start your own SPAM safe opt-in list.

8. A/B Testing -- Utilize the unique nature of online advertising to test your messaging across all your media. When dollars are few and far between we have to make sure that the dollars we do spend are being spent effectively. Instead of sending out an email blast to your whole list, try test-sending 4 different versions to four different groups to see which gets the best response. Then, send the best one to the entirety of your list and you should get an overall increase in effectiveness.

9. Online Customer Service -- Not only does improved online customer service help to make regular customers into bigger customers, but it can make failed customers into regular customers too. Concentrate on key calls to action on your homepage to direct users to important information on your site. Open the lines of communication and finding out what obstacles or challenges consumers are having when trying to engage with your brand. This may involve reorganizing your website navigation and streamlining content for ease of use. Consider creating an additional channel of interaction on the web site such as live chat, to serve your customers.

10. Stand Out -- If you find that you and your competitors are attempting to go after the exact same phrases using the same language in your online ad copy, then use this information to your gain. Be different. Do something that will get you noticed by the customers who you are targeting. Blindly following the lead can often just get you lost in the crowd. Now, this isn't a 'carte blanche' to start doing things that are totally off the map, but be creative and be sure that when you and your competitor appear next to each other, that your listing is the one that garners the most attention.

Online marketing is essential these days as more and more people rely solely on the internet for information. The key is finding the sweet spot where you are driving relevant, qualified customers to your web site, while converting these customers at a high enough rate to justify the spend in times of a market down turn. If people are coming to your site and not buying, then you need to re-evaluate the people you are directing to your site, or the effectiveness of the site itself. A few minor changes can make the difference in you overall marketing success and save you money in the process.

Just remember: don't overreact! Be careful about short term strategies that are going to save you money in the short term, but cost far more in the long run. This is not necessarily the time to shut down all marketing efforts or lay off personnel. Chances are your online marketing efforts are the most well-defined, trackable and scalable channels for communicating with your targeted customers, so use this resource more than before. Just make sure you're using it right.

SiteLab Interactive has been in the business of online marketing of over 14 years and is available to assist with these cost saving tactics and more to grow your bottom-line. Let us help recession proof your marketing efforts!

About SiteLab International Inc.
SiteLab has created a strong presence for itself amongst the internet business community and is known as a leader in the B2B website development and online marketing industries. Our executive team has a long history of working with and building successful technology companies. With an extensive client list, including companies like AMD, LG and Intuit, Sitelab has established a reputation for building national brands. Our strategic approach to online marketing ensures that every stage of the customer acquisition process is fully optimized to extract maximum value from each dollar spent. SiteLab has also mastered the fine art of motion media, creative design and search engine marketing through a set of continually evolving SEO methods, making certain our clients always achieve the best ROI and rankings possible.

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Carmella Spencer
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