It's annual planning season. The hot topic in a lot of companies right now is sure to be 'How can we reduce or maintain our marketing budget in 2009 while still achieving sales growth".
The conversation then turns to the Internet. Let's redesign our web site to be more user friendly, ramp up search marketing, pay hourly for a freelance SEO specialist to get us the top spot on Google for a generic term for a product we sell, and decrease our print advertising spending.
Not all bad ideas.
I'd say most companies could see a descent return on investment from any one of those things.
The big thing to take to allocate toward any one of those items listed above is not money.
SEO consultants provide great foundations for success. Typically, they analyze the most immediate areas of concern and address them.
- Site architecture.
- Keyword-focused content.
- Title tags.
- Page descriptions.
- Alt tags.
- Geographic targeting.
But, the thing they have that you can't afford is time.
- Time to build links to important pages.
- Time to test new content, and analyze results.
- Time to create link-worthy content.
Before you start throwing additional money at online marketing in 2009, realize that you should consider training, hiring or assigning someone at your company to handle the responsibility that comes with online marketing.
It's not as easy as hiring a graphic designer to lay out a new brochure.
The flexibility that makes the internet a great place for marketing also makes it a time-consuming venture.
But, for those with the time, it can be worth it.