The U.S. economy is in the worse shape it’s been in for many years. Consumers are spending less, banks are lending less, and major financial institutions are falling down like dominoes.
But as a business owner, you can’t just throw in the towel. You have to push forward through these troubled times. At the same time, you have to be conservative. You need to find ways to bring in business while spending less on your marketing program each month. This is where I often sing the praises of search engine optimization (SEO), and with good reason.
About 90% of my business comes from people who find my website online, and then go on to contact me. Many of my clients enjoy similar levels of Internet success, because I’ve educated them on the subject. How do we bring in steady streams of new business through the Internet? Simple. We realize the value of search engine visibility, and we work hard to achieve it.
I define Internet visibility as the ease with which people can find you online. It directly corresponds to website traffic, which in turn corresponds to web-based leads, inquiries and sales. You can increase your Internet visibility in several ways, but search engine optimization is the brass ring in this department.
Doing More With Less – How SEO Drives Success
Now more than ever, it’s important to squeeze as much success from your marketing program as possible. You have to be responsible with your budget and focus on techniques that bring maximum results in relation to the investment you make. Search engine optimization is the perfect solution for reducing your marketing budget, especially if you handle it yourself. And let me be the first to tell you — you can handle much of it yourself, even if you have no Internet marketing experience. I’ve even created an SEO Learning Center for this very purpose.
SEO is like the gift that keeps on giving. With other forms of marketing, your exposure stops as soon as your payments stop. Take magazine ads for example. The moment you stop renewing your ad spot, the publisher will pull your advertisement. Goodbye exposure. The same goes for TV advertising, radio, newspapers, the phone book … even pay-per-click search marketing.
With SEO, however, the results are long lasting. Yes, it takes a lot of time and energy to achieve top rankings. But those rankings will remain for a long time, and with a minimal amount of “maintenance.”
Recession-Proof Marketing Strategy
Let me give you a prime example of what I’m talking about. One of my past clients worked in the real estate industry. She realized the value of Internet visibility years ago, so she began a concentrated effort to improve her web presence. Naturally, I helped with the search engine optimization side of things. One of her close competitors relied more heavily on direct mail marketing and TV advertising, both of which can be quite expensive over time.
When the housing market began to slow down along with the economy, my client’s competitor could no longer afford to spend as much on her paid advertising campaigns. So her marketing program and her exposure basically dried up.
My client, on the other hand, had been working hard on her web presence and her search engine visibility. So when tough economic times hit, she was perfectly positioned to “coast” right along. She didn’t have to spend a bunch of money on paid advertising — she had a steady stream of business leads coming in through her website. Low-cost marketing at its best! But none of this would have been possible without the SEO program she started several years ago.
What Ants Know About SEO
It reminds me of Aesop’s fable about the ant and the grasshopper, which is basically a lesson in proper preparation. In that story, the carefree grasshopper played all through the summer, while the industrious ant worked hard to store food for the winter. When the winter came, the grasshopper was ill prepared for it. The lesson is simple. It is best to prepare for the days of necessity before those days come.
If, down the road, you would like to have a perpetual marketing system that requires a minimal investment of time and money, then you must be like the industrious ant here in the present. By starting a search engine optimization campaign now, you will enjoy a steady stream of business later on.