An odd thing is happening during this most recent and devastating economic downturn: companies have been putting more emphasis (and resources, both time and money) into their marketing. At least, their online marketing. What’s the explanation?

First, a little history

Stock market wisdom: buy low, sell high. Business wisdom: when times get tough, ramp up your promotional efforts. These are some of the tried-and-true principles of investing and marketing. And in both cases, people are just as likely to do exactly the opposite.

Stressed out businessman

Part of the reason is that business owners often look at marketing as an “expense,” when actually a successful marketing program brings in more than you spend on it. Thus, it is a good investment.

So when companies follow the knee-jerk reaction of cutting their marketing budget because their income has dropped, it starts a negative spiral. Less marketing, less new business coming in. With less new business coming in, income is further reduced. You see where this is going.

Entering a new reality

This time the situation is different. And there are a number of reasons for that — two of which are obvious, once you think about them.

First, with more time on their hands, leadership and management at many companies are free to focus on items that had previously been tabled because of lack of available hours in the day. Thus, marketing in general, and their online presence specifically, has gotten a lot more attention.

Second, and probably even more importantly, business people are realizing that the only way they can not only market to their customers — but communicate with them at all — is online.

Hand holding cell phone connecting to multiple media

The reason for our company’s name

We could’ve called it Caroff Web Strategies, Top Digital, We “Backwards R” Marketing, or something similar. But we called it Caroff Communications for a reason. The fact is, we don’t just sell products and services — we help businesses communicate with their existing and potential future customers in a number of different ways.

The president of the last company I worked for (a leading Los Angeles advertising firm) once taught me a very valuable lesson: “As long as our clients offer good products and services,” he told me, “we don’t have to sell them. All we have to do is get the information across as clearly as possible.”

Free Marketing Audit Screenshot

Advice you can use

So, assuming that you do have a little more time on your hands, and that you are looking for a way to improve your online marketing strategy, what can you do?

First, evaluate where you are right now. To help you do this, we put together a quick self-review process that takes about five minutes. While the Free Marketing Audit it is by no means a “deep-dive” into your current tactics, it will give you a broad overview, as well as some places you may be able to start working.

Second, do your own review, starting with your website. Here are some areas to cover:

Computer, tablet and phone icons

Responsiveness
Try navigating your own website on different devices, starting with your phone. Then move on to a tablet, a laptop, and a computer with the largest screen you have available. Ask anyone you know to check your site out in the same way.

  • Is it easy to get from one section of your site to another?
  • Is the text easy to read?
  • Does your site have the same look and feel in every format?

Keep in mind that nearly 2/3 of all web traffic now happens from mobile devices — mostly phones.

personal information graphic

Clarity
Does your website clearly portray who you are, what you stand for, and most importantly, what you can do for the viewer? And remember that just because it seems obvious to you, doesn’t mean that it’s going to be obvious to people that are not at your firm or not in your industry. If possible, get other people to give you their analyses of these criteria.

Icon showing multiple venues, including cell phone, blog, and email

Interactivity
Are visitors to your website encouraged to communicate with you in one way or another (whether it be phone, email, signing up for a newsletter, etc.)? And is it easy for them to do all those things. In other words, is it quickly obvious to anyone how to interact with you.

Content
Finally, review the content on your website. Is it up-to-date? Does it accurately reflect who you are as a company now? If you do have extra time, this is a great opportunity to refresh existing content and create new material.

Wrapping it up

Should all of this feel overwhelming, or lead you to a point where you’re not sure how to address the problems you’re finding, you’re not alone. Like many other disciplines, web marketing is a complex undertaking. Often, bringing in an expert is the best thing you can do. If you’re looking for help, please feel free to reach out to us.

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