Recession not over in the UK – When’s the time to increase your investment in search?

Posted by in General Marketing on August 19th, 2009 0 Comments

The media has been full of news about our European neighbours pulling out of the recession with a positive quarter of growth. It’s great news for the world, even if Britain’s lagging a little while behind.

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Although lots have people have advocated investing in marketing during the downturn it’s not always that easy when your budget is being sliced. But if we are indeed heading out of the recession, when’s the best time to put the pedal back on the accelerator?

Remember SEO will take 3-6 months to have a noticeable impact – Although we see different results at different speeds with every client, we normally work on the assumption that you’re unlikely to see much significant improvement in the first month or two of a campaign. Between three to six months is when our clients start to see the most significant positive results of a campaign.

So if you want this to coincide with the upturn, it depends on whose estimates you trust. One chap at Goldman Sachs has suggested the end of September as the beginning of the turnaround, but more conservative estimates predict the end of the year. If you take these estimates, the next month or two should be the ideal time to start shopping around. Though if you want to make much impact in the Christmas shopping period, it may already be too late to capitalise on natural search.

We’ve talked in the past about timing your link-building velocity to match your seasonal peaks in demand, and it’s a similar attitude you want to take in the exit of the recession. Think about your seasonal fluctuations in demand, if you’re not already looking at your analytics data and comparing that to the results in Google Insights, I suggest you stop reading this post now and get on the case.

But what if you don’t have the budget now? Consider asking your agency about some of the following.

Payment on a CPA basis – One good aspect of the recent economic climate is both agencies and clients are paying a lot closer attention to performance and measurements. Now almost every agency will have experience of working on performance-payment models, so ask yours about how that could work for you.

Ask about trial experiments – Most agencies are always carrying out research and development projects where they test new technologies, tactics or working with new partners. These may not have the same guarantee of results as their usual programmes of work,but can often have unforeseen positives and can often be delivered at a price lower than what you may pay in the future when they’re perfected methods. The other good news is that as these types of campaigns are likely to be cutting edge, they are more likely to be replicated by competitors still in recession mode.

Understand the work you are getting delivered – Every agency has their own mix of tactics they use and it’s usually sensible to go with their steer and experience, but if you’re a consumer you should know what you’re buying so you can make educated decisions about what is working best for you.

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