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How To Gain A Competitive Advantage During A Recession

Often, during times of economic instability, businesses will cut their costs in any way they can, usually starting with their advertising budgets.  You can use this to your advantage – if fewer of your competitors are advertising their services, you can step in and command the market.  This technique not only improves your sales now, but in the long run as well because it gives you a chance to gain customer loyalty, and people will remember your ads in the future and will realize that your business has been around long term.

Research studies on hundreds of companies after recessions in 1981 to 1982 and 1990 to 1991 indicate that those companies that aggressively marketed their businesses during the downturns, captured and retained more customers and continued to dominate the market after the recessions were over.

According to a Marketing Sherpa study from September 2008, approximately 60 percent of online companies will cut expenses, starting with their advertising budget, in response to one of the worst retail markets in the past couple of decades.  The absence of these companies in the advertising market will leave a sort of vacuum that other, more savvy businesses can fill.

If you’re not already using pay per click advertising you should start.  If you already have pay per click campaigns going you should consider adjusting your bids and adding new keywords.  Since other companies are reducing or dropping their budgets completely, you may be able to pick up the same keywords or better ones at cheaper bid prices.

To maximize your budget, seek out niche search engines in your market, or other smaller general search engines.  For example, SewVillage.com is a directory that is designed specifically for sewing and craft related businesses.  You can sign up for free and even receive $20 to kick start your campaign.  Smaller general search engines such as Ask and Search123 can also give you more bang for your buck, or you can advertise through Yahoo and get your listings on AltaVista and CNN as well.

A JupiterResearch and BuzzLogic study from October 2008 reported that more than half of regular blog readers say that ads in blogs influenced their online purchases.  Blog advertising is typically inexpensive, but can be very influential.  Since the advertising arena in blogs is relatively new, rates are still very cheap and are unlikely to increase in a recession.  Seek out blogs that appeal to your customers and consider advertising in them to attract new customers.

Even though the economy is slow, people are still buying.  Even if they’re buying less than before, you can encourage them to spend their money with you through good marketing.  Promote your business during this recession and your sales will improve, both now and in the long term.

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