When the economy retracts, competitors in your industry will often react by slashing their marketing and communications spending. Yet, studies have shown that companies that cut their marketing budget during a recession negatively impact their business’ exposure, profits, and market share during periods of economic recovery. What seems like a logical strategy of cutting back and waiting for the turbulence to end turns out to be not the most beneficial plan for sustaining revenue during and after an economic downturn.
“A man who stops advertising to save money is like a man who stops a clock to save time.” This classic quote from Henry Ford may be cliche and dated, but the message at its heart is still relevant for the businesses and advertising (web/online marketing) of today. Experience has shown that opportunities for businesses to gain market share and re-position themselves increase as their competitors cut back, and this makes for a great opportunity to push ahead. At such times, the importance and value of your business’ web presence are higher than ever.
While recessions are an undesirable stage of an economic cycle, taking some steps to ensure your business is visible online with an effective web presence that engages clients and prospects will make it more likely to optimally power through the recovery stage and gain market share in the process. And with today’s online marketing, it is more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods, which makes optimizing your web strategy even more sensible in times of economic decline.
In the instant information age of today, businesses cannot do without a professional web presence. A recent BDC Consumer Trend Study states, “The Internet now shapes nearly every aspect of a consumer’s purchasing decision. A simple Web presence is no longer enough. A structured, proactive and tailored multi-platform strategy has become critical in today’s business environment.” These words have held true for some time, and it’s becoming increasingly important to show transparency, authority, and social proof for credibility online. There are several benefits that come with investing in a new professional business website:
Merely having a web presence isn’t enough. Every business needs to be visible (and findable) on the web since existing clients and prospective decision-makers unquestionably use web searches and websites to gather info that influence their purchasing and business relationship decisions. Users are quick to judge based on the appearance, content, and functionality of your website, not to mention that without a professional online presence, who will trust you in this day and age? Today’s consumers are savvy researchers, and you can rest assured they are checking out your product/service offerings and profile before they decide to engage with your business. Having a website with a responsive design (mobile-friendly) is essential for your website visibility and is a ranking factor with search engines.
An intuitive website is the single most powerful and cost-effective marketing tool that allows simple communication of information, the sharing of content, calls to action, and a platform for feedback, among other things. A website is the foundation and central hub of a business’ online presence and provides a vital channel to prospective clients. Through the integration of social media, growing a newsletter/blog following, and implementing content marketing strategies with organic optimization in mind, it’s possible to reach existing clients and attract new prospects more effectively and economically than with traditional methods. Building an online following of users and prospects that are genuinely interested in your offerings inevitably leads to new business opportunities in any stage of an economic cycle.
Since users actively seek your website and online presence when researching your business, your website is often the first point of contact between your business and potential clients. It’s important to make a good (and trustworthy) impression online. An informative About or Profile page, including the history and values behind your business, is a great place to start in getting potential customers to identify with you. Another great way to build both trust and shared identity is to provide customer testimonials on your site. Recognition aided by a strong social following, certifications, and high quality niche content go a long way in building online authority and trust.
In an economic downturn there are opportunities to grow your business and it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. This means taking the time to work with your web partner on the key components of an effective web presence that drives traffic and prospects to your business. In such times, the importance and value of your business’ web presence are higher than ever. If you shore up your business’ online visibility, following, and authority, it will be elevated to new levels with added market share when the market peaks.