search is not immune to tough economic times

A lot of people in the business of search like to think that search is immune to economic malaise.  “Search is immune to the economic slowdown!” they claim.  Or my personal favorite, “search is recession-proof!”

While we’re probably one of the largest proponents of search marketing, we’re  here to say loud and clear that search is not 100% immune. Thinking this crazy thought is dangerous to you and your clients.

When people start spending less, they click and don’t buy. They start window-shopping (aka clicking) a bit more, and on your Google Ads dime, no less.

When companies  feel the squeeze, they may have no choice but to cut spending.  This could include ad budgets across many mediums — even search.  They don’t want to — they know search is the best bang-for-the-advertising-buck, but maybe they have to.  Maybe the paper isn’t even there to pay Google.

Don’t get scared. Get smart.

Gone may be the easy days of set it and forget it search campaigns which put a smile on the boss or the clients face and keep ’em coming back for more.  Now is a time to get efficient – and work smarter and harder, no matter what business you’re in.

What’s “work smarter” mean?  It can mean a lot of things.  To us, it means doing the same things we’ve been doing to drive results, but with a few tweaks:

  • Scrutinize your ROI more aggressively than ever
  • Cut the bleeding.  Things that aren’t converting should be the first to go.
  • Reevaluate your spend on branded vs. non-branded keywords
  • Think about the consumer buying cycle.  Spend less on window-shopper searches.  Spend more  reaching consumers near the last stage of the buying cycle. The ones who are “ready to buy.”
  • Get accountability wherever it’s missing.  Clients will demand it now more than ever.
  • Test test test test test and test again

Even in an economic downturn, search will still be here.  The clients and managers who get lazy, kick back and proclaim “search is immune!” may not be.  It’s time to get smart and work hard!

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