Internet Marketing: Especially in the Worst of Times

The Economy is bad, very bad. GDP was just reported at close to a -4% for the last quarter of 2008. Unemployment is above 7% and could hit the, previously unimaginable, double digits in 2009. We are hearing of massive layoffs everyday and 5 million Americans are on the roles of government unemployment, the highest in almost 30 years. Just last week, there were more than a half million first time unemployment claims.

Corporate Earnings have been dismal as in January more than 65% of the S&P 500 corporations reported. While Banking and Finance were the worst reporting massive losses for Q4-2008, earnings have plummeted or even disappeared across a broad sector of the economy.

While the losers are widespread, there are winners, and more importantly, lessons to be learned for you and your business. While you know that the likes of GM, Microsoft, Caterpillar, JP Morgan and many hundreds of others are floundering, take close note as to who the winners are:
Amazon – Reported Record Holiday Sales while the rest of the retail industry were in the toilet. Amazon reported Net Sales of $6.7 Billion for Q4-2008 and $19.2 Billion for the full year. Net income rose to $645 million up from $476 million in 2007. So Amazon increase sales AND profits in the same period that everyone else was sucking wind.

Google – Reported record revenue too of $5.7 Billion, an 18% increase. Earnings were up across the board for all segments of the business. Google Adsense Revenue was up 18% year over year, International was up 50%.

Even Yahoo beat estimates even in the face of challenges stemming from poor internal management.

Closer to Home – Optimum7 clients enjoyed an average traffic increase to their websites of more than 20% month over month in each of the last 3 months of 2008. This is coming from primarily Google Search Engine traffic as our clients are enjoying the benefits of being found for increasing numbers of relevant terms and phrases.

The Common Thread

It should be obvious that the common thread or theme is that all of these companies reporting positive, even stellar results understand, and are taking advantage of, the power of the Internet. What exactly does that mean? If you can be found on the internet by exactly those people, companies, entities that are looking for your products and services, and, at precisely the right time, you have a major advantage against all of your competition.

As we have stated and illustrated many times on this website and other forums, traditional advertising and media is initiated and controlled by the advertiser … the message comes AT the consumer; almost always when the targeted consumer is neither interested, has the money, has the time or presence of mind to even consider what it is you have to offer. This is the quintessential definition of inefficiency because usually only a small fraction of one percent of the targeted audience will be receiving your message at precisely the right time and place. So, the model is about volume, tons of volume, so that the necessary volume of sales may result.

Search Engine Marketing turns this whole inefficiency on its head. In Search Engine Marketing, the contact comes FROM the consumer because it is initiated by the consumer. So, by getting to first page of a Search, you can be found at precisely the right moment as it is the consumer who has decided that it is time to search, time to browse and compare and ultimately time to buy. 68% of Googlers don’t go past the 1st page of a search result and 98% don’t go past the 3rd page. So Search Engine Marketing is only effective when you can be found on at least the top 3 pages.

So the key question is “how do I get ranked?” The key answer is Internet Marketing including Search Engine Optimization or SEO. Selecting the right Internet Marketing Company comes down to a few very basic guidelines.

1. Results – demand to see live results. Demand to see deep results. Live results are simply testing keywords provided by the SEO Company for a specific client and verifying the ranking and the competitiveness of the keywords supplied. This can be easily done just by performing the search on Google and understanding the information on the page. You should be able to verify the presence of the client through identification of the SEO Company, usually located in the footer on the home page. Deep Results are the same as live results but include numerous keywords involving the same client. This verifies and substantiates the performance of the Internet Marketing Company.

2. Client Interviews – you must actually interview these clients, not to verify what you have already verified on Google; rather to ask questions that investigate the overall experience with the SEO Company. What are they like to work with? Report Quality. Responsiveness. Return on Investment. Will you renew their services? What is the most important area they need to improve on? What would they advise based on their experience?

3. Telling you what you need to know vs. Telling you what you may want to hear – everyone would like to hear that Internet Marketing is easy, fast, and inexpensive. However, it is none of these things. Any Internet Marketing Company that doesn’t “level” with you and tell you what you need to know about what to expect as well as what the commitments needed is either ignorant themselves or too eager to sell you or just afraid that you won’t like the basic truth.

Finally, don’t make the mistake of waiting for the economy to get better. This is precisely the right time to get going. SEO takes time to begin with. By taking the offensive now, you will gain significant advantage over competition that takes a “bunker mentality” during these uncertain times.

Of course, feel free to contact us at Optimum7 to discuss your particular marketing plans.