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Internet Marketing In A Recession, Five Tips For Times Of Economic Slowdown

Apr 17, 2008
The dollar is falling, oil is up, credit is more difficult to get and every time you turn on the TV, or go online you hear buzz about a pending recession. Sales and marketing managers are scratching their heads wondering how they will achieve budgeted sales figures.

Before you brush up on Brian Tracy personal selling techniques, look to how you are currently managing your existing resources. How are you currently allocating your marketing budget? What techniques are you using to gather lead generation? The scary question... gulp... when you gather a lead, do you know where it came from? Does your sales team follow up promptly? Do you let your leads go stall?

Before you look to readjust your sales figures, let's look at readjusting your current business practices and through the use of cost-effective SEM (search engine marketing) examine if a short-term focused pay per click (PPC) campaign can help.

1. What is a Conversion Worth?

Too often companies do not know how much a conversion is worth, or even how to define a conversion. If Internet marketing brings you a new customer and that new customer provide $X of incremental sales revenue, how much is it worth to acquire that sales lead? What percentage of sales leads convert to customers? How does this compare to other methods of lead generation?

Tip: In times of an economic slowdown, accountability is essential. It is important to know how much money a new customer is worth and how much it will cost to get that new customer. If a new customer provides $500 additional profit and it cost $200 to get that customer (cost per lead divided by call to action conversion rate), you would say that was a profitable venture.

2. Understand Web User Behavior.

What web analytics package are you currently using? When was the last time you sat down and reviewed you site's analytics? Understanding user behavior is critical. This is magnified in a short term sales cycle. What "call to actions" does your website hope to achieve from a user? How is this measured? For example, if your call to action is filling out a "contact us" form for example, how many individual users visited that form and what percentage filled out the form and arrived at a "thank you page?"

Tip: If you are not currently using an analytics page, Google offers a free program called Google Analytics. The analytics program is installed by adding a few lines of HTML script on your website's pages.

3. Where are your leads coming from?

Crazy as this may sound, many companies to this day do not fully grasp where a lead originated from. The most important part of web analytics is tracking and analyzing defined "call to action" situations. Advances in CRM systems have allowed the integration of defining a lead as coming from a particular Internet source (http://Salesforce.com does a good job of this integration)

4. PPC burst as a short term strategy.

Need a lot of visibility and are strapped for time? Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising should be on your list to things to do. Sites such as MSN, Yahoo!, Google and http://Business.com offer robust PPC packages that will help you target your audience and convert on your call to action requirements.

These campaigns function around bidding for a small text advertisement to display when a user types in a set of keywords. The concept is each time a user inputs a keyword phrase into a search engine he is looking to conduct business around that keyword. If a person is performing a search for the keyword "tax software," the implication is he is looking to potentially purchase a tax software solution.

5. Track PPC campaign.

Pay Per Click is one of the best short term strategies a company can use. PPC is something that needs to be monitored regularly by either by an in-house specialist or professional agency. The performance of your ads will help dictate how much you are willing to pay for a click. Tracking via web analytics can help ensure you are allocating enough resources to high performance keywords and not providing too many resources to keywords that are not producing a desirable conversion rate.

How does PPC fit into your overall marketing budget and strategy? It can become expensive long term, but as part of a balanced solution, PPC can provide the immediate results that you might not get through telesales, newsletters and tradeshows. A final consideration for companies looking to engage in a PPC campaign, test the usability of your website. Receiving double the traffic to your website is no different than becoming twice as efficient. In other words, your advertising dollar will go further when you direct users to pages that are easy to use, provide the information they are seeking and provide you with measurable call to action results.
About the Author
Keith Hanks is an Account Manager at Atlanta search engine optimization agency TwentySix2 Marketing. He has a passion for Atlanta SEO agency services and web design services.
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