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SEO And Pay Per Click Downward Economy Tips

May 16, 2008
Many marketing managers have found the first half of 2008 has been nerve wrenching. Turn on the television, radio or open a newspaper and you'll see that consumer confidence is down, inflation is creeping in and overall confidence in the economy is reaching historical lows.

It is not your fault the market is in its current condition. How could you have forecasted these figures when you submitted your budget last year? Reaching sales goals that were established in an optimistic economy is probably more obtainable than in a downward economy.

You can not control the macro factors of the economy, but as a professional it's your job to find ways obtain your committed numbers. Before you start waving the white flag, consider these handy search engine marketing steps you can implement.

Determine Seasonality:

Each company tends to have a unique season. For retail, its Q4 where consumer accounting services is Q1. Tourism peaks in the summer months of Q3. Consider your industry, your company and the brand(s) you are responsible for. What is your busy season? How do you define your busy season? Do you define it by an increase in revenue, an increase in transactions or both?

Many managers are finding awkward meetings with senior management based around decreased financial performance. How can you quantitatively explain a decrease in financial performance year over year, or against your sales plan.

If you can't justify performance, outside of kindly asking senior management to turn on the television and look at the various news stories about the downward economy, what can you do?

There are various programs that can help you determine seasonality. Unfortunately not all programs will provide current seasonality (including paid services). You may find the closest seasonality trends you can obtain will focus around the previous calendar year (example January 2007 - December 2007).

Applying Seasonality to Pay Per Click:

If you haven't paid attention to pay per click seasonality trending in the past, now you understand the importance. To further stretch your budget in a downward economy think of the application of your pay per click resources. Why distribute your ad spend in perfect twelfths across the course of a year when you know you have a few months that are particularly busy.

To be better prepared for this busy period consider the length of your sales cycle. Shift resources to strong performing keywords at the beginning of the sales cycle. For example if you find your busy season is October and November and you have a 60 day sales cycle, be prepared to increase your ad spend in August. This means your ads and a revised strategy should be ready no later than mid-July.

Determine Online Trends:

Determining online trending of web traffic is difficult. On the surface this seems like it should be as easy as counting inventory on a supermarket shelf. Senior managers, especially with a finance background tend to have a difficult time with online marketing efforts at times because of a lack of measurement in some areas. These professionals are correct to criticize. Getting industry-wide information that is dependable and updated to the present day is not easy.

Some qualitative measurements can be obtained, but reliable industry-wide quantitative statistics are not always available. This is because search engines do not make this information public and other available tools typically rely on sampling, i.e. the validity can be speculated and the information is not absolute (what senior managers are depending on).

Senior management and the marketing managers are going to need to take a leap of faith in some areas here. Past experiences and instincts will need to be considered along with various trending reports.

Reach Out to an SEO firm:

In a downward economy an SEO firm seems like the last area you would want to reach out to. Spending more money is sometimes the last thing a firm wants to consider when in a downward economy and facing inevitable decreased financial performance. For example, a good Atlanta search engine optimization agency will walk you through a series of exercises. You'll want to determine your cost to acquire a new customer and spend accordingly. Also, you'll want to ensure your "call to action" steps are well defined and pages such as "contact us" pages are designed for customer usability.

Optimizing your campaign can help you gain market share during a downward economy. While this might not be as glamorous as meeting and exceeding sales forecasts, this is a long term strategy. If you are able to gain market share while the economy is cold, you will be minimizing your loses during this time and positioning yourself to be in a stronger position when the economy turns around.
About the Author
Keith Hanks is an Account Manager at Atlanta search engine optimization agency TwentySix2 Marketing. He believes that in a downward economy an SEO firm can with pay per click seasonality and online marketing trending.
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