Why Digital Marketing is Critical During an Economic Downturn
We all know that it is currently a tough economic time, and there’s a very good chance that it is only going to get tougher. Many businesses have had to tighten their belts. This often starts with marketing expenses. However, is that really a good place to trim when you are fighting to stay afloat? The fact is that marketing, and specifically digital marketing, are especially important when times are tough.
When the economy is in a recession or worse, companies that cut their digital marketing budgets tend to fare worse than those that don’t. Their sales drop lower, and they have a harder time recovering. The fact is, businesses that invest in their marketing are able to sustain a larger portion of their existing customer base, and they are also able to maintain awareness of their brand. It’s a bit like the old “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” theory. If you maintain your marketing during tough times, you will be better positioned to rebound when things get better.
There are a few reasons for this beyond just maintaining the brand. For instance, there are fewer competitors to take up digital space in the marketplace. If you are aggressive, smaller businesses may not have the stomach to keep up. If companies drop out and are no longer able to serve certain markets, then you could be able to grab some of that share and find success.
The Internet a Marketing Tool
Now, more than ever, companies can reach millions of potential customers by creating an effective web presence. Your website is the place from where all of your digital marketing efforts flow. Even when you are suffering through a downturn, marketing on the internet is cost-effective and allows you a lot of freedom to break down walls and reach new people. So, by focusing on digital marketing, you can save marketing dollars but still keep up your brand awareness and reach your clients. However, simply having a website isn’t enough. You need a site that will draw in visitors from search engine results. That means having a site that is optimized to rank higher for the search terms that your potential customers might use.
Search Engine Optimization
Search engine optimization is when you build your website so that it provides the content and user experiences that search engine algorithms will favor. If your site can meet certain criteria, or at least meet them better than your competition, then it will rank higher. Your site needs to be an authority in your industry and be easy to use for your users.
The place to start when it comes to digital marketing is finding the right keywords that your potential customers might use to search your product or service. Everything flows from that. Your content should be keyword rich and provide relevant information, written in proper English.
You can coordinate your other online communication channels such as your social media and blogs. Getting more traffic from those channels will help position your site as an authority, and thus rank higher.
The user experience must also be attractive and informative. Graphics are a great way to provide your visitors with content that is relevant to them. However, it must also be tagged so that search engines can recognize that your graphics have useful content. If there is nothing to identify what is in the graphic, then search engines won’t be able to sense that they are relevant.
The content on your site must also be updated on a regular basis. Otherwise, your site could be categorized as being dormant. It also signals to your customers that you are still open for business, even in a downturn. If they get to your site and see stale information, then they will move on to a competitor that is more up-to-date. Those customers will leave your site quickly, and they won’t come back in the future. So, while you may be tempted to neglect your site when you are cutting costs, the fact is that it does not cost much to keep it updated.
It’s almost inevitable that your business will suffer during a recession. However, by being engaged with your digital marketing, you can keep your brand at the top of mind of your client base. It is cheaper to retain customers than it is to find new ones, so even if they aren’t making purchases, once things improve they will be turning to you first. Keep your social media active, and provide engaging content that will keep you in front of your clients as much as possible.
Very few businesses get through a recession unscathed, but you can minimize the damage. Make sure that you keep up with your digital marketing strategy so that you can stand above your competition during and after the downturn.
By: Tiffany Carlin
Content Director, On The Maps