Realizing Recessionary Gains

As appeared in the Presence Pointers column of the March 2008 issue of “Business Watch” magazine.

Economy got you down? Talk of recession and overall uncertainty keeping you up at night? If you said yes, you can at least take comfort in knowing that you aren’t alone. But the real question is, “what does this mean for your Web presence?”

The thought might surprise you, but possibly now more than ever, your Web focus should be stronger than ever. Let’s take a look at what this economic condition might mean and how we can best position ourselves.

Don’t panic. No deep macroeconomic discussion here. Essentially we are talking about an economic period of negative output — whatever that means. What it means to us is we are going to be more cautious with our money.

Let’s take a look at how we can use our Web presence to address some of the key recessionary thought drivers.

Careful Spending

We may become more selective in our spending, determining what is necessary or not, and investing more time before making purchases to make sure that we are spending wisely. Especially with high gas prices, more and more research will be done behind the mouse than the wheel.

Make sure your site has detailed product information. Add a frequently asked questions or FAQ section. Enable a way for customers to easily connect with you for more information if they need it. This may also benefit your business if you’ve had to cutback on customer support staff by allowing your Web site to handle some of the more routine needs. And if you offer money back guarantees or free shipping, be sure that’s highly visible on your homepage.

Maintain & Retain

It also means that we may decide to get by with what we have, where we typically may have replaced before. We may turn to a greater focus on maintaining and retaining. Rather than upgrading to the newest model, we may upgrade the model we have. Rather than replacing items, we may look to fix or repair them, and focus more attention on upkeep to maximize the life of assets.

Is there information on your homepage about extended warranties or service plans? Do you provide useful information to help your customers get the most out of your products or services? Make sure your Web site addresses these needs.

Finance & ROI Drives Decisions

Now more than ever, Finance rules the decision making. Are purchases sound financial decisions? Can expenses be put off until another time? Are we maximizing our return on investment (ROI)?

This may be where your Web site can really shine. Tie your site in with all of your other initiatives. Use your analytics program to track effectiveness of traditional marketing. Determine what customers are looking for based on the sections of your site they frequent, and focus your attentions there. Focus resources on search engine optimization to get targeted traffic from searches.

Offer a loyalty program or discounts for larger purchases. Create an RSS feed your visitors can subscribe to that features special sales of the day or week. Get creative, and the list can be endless.

Whether we are talking about individuals, households, small businesses or global corporations, recessionary concerns will enter into our world in one way or another. Fortunately, with the right strategy, the Web can be an ally in any economic condition.

4 Tips To Stay On Top

  • Simplify printed marketing materials and use your Web site to deliver the details.
  • Test & track traditional ad channels by routing them through specific URLs to determine which channels deliver the most bang for the buck.
  • Improve your site for searches to drive natural search traffic which may allow you to reduce acquisition spending elsewhere.
  • If you use paid online advertising, go targeted rather than broad to make sure you aren’t wasting money.