Like many businesses we’re currently assessing our exposure to the effects of the financial crisis and how the trickle down impact on the “real economy” might effect us. It’s widely accepted that when times get tough the marketing budget is the first target for cost cutting, so are we, as Search Marketers, in trouble?
On the contrary, I’d say there are no better times to be in Search Engine Marketing than hard times. A lot of firms in SEO/SEM/PPC will fall by the wayside in the next 24 months, no doubt, but for those who know how to play to the strengths of our field this is a time of opportunity. In uncertain times Search Marketing has big advantages:
- Unbeatable ROI
I spent many years involved in more traditional marketing efforts such as print advertising, direct mail, sponsorship, etc. and in my experience nothing delivers Return On Investment like Search Marketing. Every penny spent on organic search, in particular, works harder than a Japanese beaver. £50k spent on newspaper advertising might get you a single full page spread and, at best, a few hundred thousand eyeballs for a couple of seconds. £50k spent on organic search will get you tens of thousands of visitors a day for years to come.
- Quantifiable results
A lot of traditional advertising is hit and hope, with most TV & Print campaigns having no tracking mechanism whatsoever. Direct Mail is a little better in this respect, but nothing can compare to the clear metrics you get with online marketing. Whether it’s organic search, PPC or email, online can tell you how your customers are finding you, what they’re doing when they have and, most importantly, if they’re spending their money with you.
At times like this companies have two key criteria when assigning their marketing budgets: getting as much bang for their buck as possible, and being able to see clearly how it impacts their bottom line. Search is a match made in heaven for these businesses.
As Search Marketers we need to stress these advantages and look for customers receptive to the business benefits they bring. Fortunately those companies are simple enough to find…it’s very easy to convince existing SEO clients to put more of their money in search because they’ve already seen the results it can deliver. Should you need to go looking for new business there’s plenty of low hanging fruit too: pick any industry and look at who’s spending on PPC. Check the organic rankings for same. When you find a company spending on ads that are nowhere in organic you’ve got a potential customer.
It’s tough out there but people are looking to spend wisely, not stop spending altogether. And it doesn’t get much wiser than SEM when it comes to marketing.