Smooth Sailing Through The Rough Waters Of A Down Economy
Economic waves rise and fall and Internet retailers are as vulnerable to capsizing as any business. Why do some local businesses seem to ride it out more easily than others? What can you do to help your business stick around until the next break in the storm? Here are some common sense answers to how you can not only survive tough times, but flourish. If you can hang tough in a downturn, you’ll be in a position to breeze through when times get better.
Don’t Give Up the Ship!
Recession is a word that is so intimidating to some people that they don’t even want to admit they are in one. What does a recession really mean? Essentially, it means the economy is not growing as fast as before or it is shrinking slightly. Consumers are not buying as much and some businesses are selling less. What a recession does not imply is that people stop buying
altogether. In the context of the U.S. economy, it really means consumers are spending a little less and being a little more purchase leery. Don’t throw in the towel too soon – continue to work, continue to advertise, and continue to try to develop your business to its fullest potential.
Take the Most Direct Course to Ready Buyers
Online searches and purchases are growing faster and faster every year, and in 2008, with gas prices up to $4 a gallon, shoppers will be doing a lot less driving as they can research online and complete an online purchase cheaper and easier than ever before. You need to be there when they are looking to buy with competitive rankings, streamlined costs, and effective messaging.
The right search marketing agency will give you the support you need to make it through an economic downturn and be poised for the good times when they return. And they will give you access to state of the art analytical Web reporting tools that give you critical information to help steer your business in the right direction.
Most of your competitors are still doing business, and some are doing better than last year. They may be grumbling, they may be trimming their sails, but they are still making sales. The businesses that won’t make it through the slump are the ones that just stop putting money where it will do the most good for their bottom line. The old adage of “a penny saved” really holds true when the economy is tight. For any business it means having great control and an understanding of exactly where the dollars are being spent, and what the return for each dollar spent is. Analytical Web reporting tools can provide the tracking information that will give you that control with all
the supporting data you need to make smart and efficient decisions.
Stop Wasting Your Money
Any smart business person knows to spend as little as possible to maximize the return and keep profitability. Unfortunately, the wrong expenses may end up being cut. Cutting the marketing budget for an online account with highly detailed tracking may or not make sense. With very detailed tracking, and expert optimization, cost reductions are very possible without the risk of also lowering revenue.
Paid search is one of the few areas in marketing and advertising where you can quickly see the exact return on every cent you spend. When you can do this, you can focus on what really makes you the most money. You should be able to track your conversion rate and deferred revenue for every search engine, content network, product, and keyword with match type – even for the exact creative ad copy you use for each keyword and conversion rate. When you have the ability to do this you can see exactly what your customers are responding to and what is
most effective in getting them to make a purchase. When you know what motivates
buying, you can keep what works and stop paying for what doesn’t. Your tracking solution should also go so far as to show assisting keywords – those keywords that are clicked, but not directly in the conversion path and not counted in most tracking solutions.
Online marketers and local merchants alike need the proper reporting tools to tell exactly what and how the keywords and creative types are driving revenue. Without any analytics, you really are flying blind. With free analytics, you are looking through a frosted window, and with Enterprise level analytics you are at looking through clear glass. It really is a lot easier to
hit a target you can see.
Get Expert Help
Getting access to these tools is expensive if you don’t already have it, and figuring out which tools are the best fit for you while learning to interpret the data can be tricky to say the least. A search marketing agency can help you by getting you access to these reporting tools at a fraction of what you would pay to license them on your own – and you’ll get their expert campaign management and consulting services along with it. Your agency should be able to manage your media, and drive more revenue at a lower cost than you or your in-house staff
could. They will package results for you in a format that is customized and best fits your needs.
Brian D. Gulledge, General Manager of Idearc Search Marketing, has been with Idearc since 2005, and has served as the SEO Manager for Superpages.com as well as the chairperson for the Idearc SEO Council. Idearc’s Superpages.com is sponsor of the
Yellow Pages Association’s Local Search Guide. The Locals Only column generally appears on Mondays at Search Engine Land.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.