SMEs: invest in online marketing

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SMEs in Lancashire should shift more of their marketing spend towards on-line marketing and away from traditional marketing as a way of trying to survive the recession.

SMEs in Lancashire should shift more of their marketing spend towards on-line marketing and away from traditional marketing as a way of trying to survive the recession.

That's the opinion of Lancashire search engine optimisation expert Daniel Robinson, of Bolton-based Vizcom Design Limited.

Daniel says: "Most businesses' marketing budgets are, or will be, put under a microscope during this recession. For many small and medium-sized businesses, they would find that spending more of their marketing budgets on on-line marketing and spending less on traditional marketing would help them to get a better return on their investment.

"Many businesses are only just waking up to the trend in online marketing versus traditional marketing methods and those that act during this recession should be better placed both to survive the recession in the short term and lay the foundation for better results when we come out of the recession in the next couple of years."

Daniel, who has been advising small and medium-sized businesses in Lancashire and Greater Manchester for more than 10 years, says that research suggests that 75% of businesses now use search engines in order to find their suppliers.

"33% of internet users perceive a company in the top search engine rankings to be a major brand," he says.

"So many businesses simply get a website and think no further about how to really take advantage of online sales opportunities through optimising their website for search engines and employing online marketing techniques such as pay-per-click and online advertising. These methods are paying much better dividends for many SMEs than if there were to continue to spend on traditional marketing such as advertising in business magazines, sponsorship, and even some PR."

For those businesses that are prepared to invest in search engine optimisation, he says, they can end up spending less on SEO than they may do for regular advertising in telephone directories or business magazines.

However, he advises SMEs to avoid the temptation to have their websites designed purely for search engines.

"We always advise clients to have their website designed primarily for their users or visitors to the site, and then for search engines, rather than the other way round. This avoids SMEs packing their websites with key words which search engines pick up on and end up ranking the site much lower than they would do otherwise.

"An increase in relevant, qualified traffic is much better than a huge increase in visitors to your site who are unlikely to buy."

"Businesses that invest in good SEO can often see increased qualified and relevant traffic to their sites and increased sales within weeks if not days," he adds.

"Those that invest more of their limited marketing budgets on online marketing and less on traditional marketing, I believe, stand a much better chance of riding out the economic storm, and prospering when the good times return."

For more information, please visit http://www.vizcomdesign.co.uk/Search-Engine-Marketing/70/

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