Where many companies go wrong in this kind of economic climate is to cut back on their marketing budget, this can be a decisive factor on whether a company will survive during these times or not. So I thought I would put some thoughts together on why you should not cut back on your online marketing and also some simple tips on what extra marketing you can do for little or no extra money!

During a recession many companies make a knee-jerk reaction that they need to cut back on marketing and staff, nearly always this costs them more money in the long-term. You can take advantage of this general mind-set as it is a fairly reasonable assumption that your competition will be considering cutting back also. So this means that the money you spend will have greater effect if there are less people actively marketing in your industry. Whether in print advertising or online marketing there will be less companies fighting to have their voices heard, this presents an excellent opportunity to increase your market share.

Cutting back is a short-sighted practice, with most marketing it is a long-term process, this is definitely the case with SEO. Whilst there can be quick wins with SEO, a longer term plan is the way to ensure your business dominates search! I would advise companies to think long-term with SEO even when times are good, the search engines change their algorithms regularly which means that certain best practices become redundant or less important. Also things like back-links tend to disappear slowly over time so you need to keep up with link building. Keeping your content on your site fresh, up-to-date and optimised is something that needs regular attention if you are to succeed.

So rather than thinking about the negative aspects of recession in a business environment I would strongly urge companies to look for areas of opportunity online and offline. Obviously here at Vertical Leap we are focused on making things happen for your business online but there is no reason why the same cannot be done offline.

I think one of the biggest opportunities to come along just before the recent economic troubles showed-up is Social Media. It does not cost anything but a little bit of time to start reaching out to new and existing customers through Twitter, Facebook and now also Google+. Engaging with potential customers at the beginning of their buying process can help them gain trust that your business is thriving and not struggling. During the buying process being available online through Social Media to answer questions will help you stand out as a service orientated business. Keeping in touch with existing customers through Social Media is also a great way to gain repeat business and will also help encourage users to share their experiences of your business if you are visible on their networks.

Another thing I still see companies doing badly is showcasing their products online, I would think about improving the quantity and quality of product photos. With a little bit of effort and a half decent digital camera it is not hard to produce great photos. There are loads of articles on the web on how to do this. If you really wanted to go to town, how about adding video demonstrations of your products?

I mentioned earlier that keeping content fresh on a site is important, this is potentially something that can be done for little or no extra cost. Think about getting customer testimonials on your site, not only will this content help with SEO but it will help give potential customers a little reassurance. Another idea you should try is creating a company blog, adding a weekly article or some news gives users the confidence that you are an active and thriving company and will also help them gain an idea of the business and the people they are dealing with.

So in summary, times are hard for many businesses but there are many opportunities out there for the taking! So have a look at what your business is doing online and identify areas that can be improved and start to action improvements in these areas. It is a long term game so think ahead a few years and think about how you want your business to be positioned in the market when the a better economic climate returns.