Wake up! There is a 32 car pile-up on America’s economic super highway. What to do: think positive and find solutions.
The first and foremost thing that you can do about the weakening economy is to develop a mindset of success that will see you through these tough times. Smart organizations recognize a downturn as a chance to gain market share. Companies that continue to implement targeted online communication plans, while their competitors cut back, build very strong brand identity and web presence that they can then capitalize on.
Plan, plan, and then plan some more. Preparation will be the key to your success in 2009. Now more than ever, budgeting your marketing dollars is a critical aspect of the planning process. With online marketing playing an increasingly important role in the allocation of those marketing dollars, your online marketing plan should, at its core, include paid search, search engine optimization, online media buying and e-mail marketing.
Research shows that companies that maintain or increase their marketing budgets during an economic downturn come out of it better than those that don’t.
Although your 2009 marketing budget is probably completed by this time, here are some aspects that need attention:
Identifying any threats to your strategy should be highlighted but not magnified. It is important to understand what may impede your success in 2009, and prepare contingency plans for when problems arise.
Learn from past failures.
Review your 2008 campaigns and prepare data on the campaigns or tests that underperformed. You can learn more from failure than you ever could from success. So answer questions about why certain tactics failed and what you learned from the experience.
Integrate your plan for critical mass.
Complementary tactics improve results. For example, search marketing and online media combined yields higher returns when integrated successfully.
Landing pages will support your conversion funnel.
A landing page is the first page a visitor to your site sees. What do you want the visitor to do? Landing pages should be optimized with the purpose of directing the user to a definable action. If there are other dependencies to driving sales, ensure that those parts of the funnel are held accountable to their target conversion rates.
Carve out a percentage of your search budget for testing.
This point cannot be stressed enough. The key to surviving tough times is improving your marketing efficiency, and this is accomplished by thoroughly and exhaustively testing all aspects of your online campaigns.
While it is not a magic ROI machine, the web is a proven marketing medium that can generate phenomenal returns. Successful online marketing campaigns take time, effort, and creativity; however, these efforts can certainly provide a substantial ROI when compared to pricey traditional campaigns.
Although the economic analysts are downgrading their forecasts, online advertising is still trending upwards. Some publishers are seeing less revenue than they hoped, and because of this they are lowering their CPMs, which gives you leverage in negotiating online media buys. Some of your competition may be pulling back their marketing budget, which provides you an opportunity to gain market share.
Rising above the current economic climate will take strategic thinking and analysis. With careful planning and execution, 2009 will be your year to flourish – and to put the economic alarmists back to bed!