I have just read a very good article on keyword research:
Not just good advice for those setting up businesses on the web but for those setting up (or trying to improve) any type of business to check what are the keywords on competitive and related sites and which ones are most popular. This will help you work out what is important to your audience (unless you have a particular offline audience who are likely to have different interests and concerns, in which case I suggest some telephone research).
But for most people I would recommend reading this.
It is all too easy to be gloomy with all the stories of recession, redundancies, cuts in budget, firm closing or downsizing and no-one knowing how bad it will get. Well, of course no-one knows how bad it will get, just like no-one knows how long boom times last but you can be pretty sure that both booms and busts come and go, that it can be painful but that most people survive.
So how do you survive?
One good way is to concentrate on the basics of marketing. Marketing budget been cut? Fine, then start from scratch, not with the things that somehow became standard over the good times, even if you cannot be sure of their impact, but with spending more time on the essentials.
Firstly, customer communication – improve it. It does not cost a lot and if you can no longer afford some of the more expensive campaigns, you have more time to talk to them more often, to LISTEN and analyse their answers. Respond to their complaints more quickly and thoroughly, as well as to their ideas. Do more case studies and let all the other customers, as well as prospects, know about the real benefits. Understand the issues they have in the current climate and work out how your solutions can be tweaked to help them.
Secondly, exploit the cheapest forms of prospection. At this time, everyone is forced to re-examine what they do and who supplies them. So go back to ex-customers, previous prospects and see if now is not a good time to get them to think about you and your solutions. Don’t forget to ask all your customers who they know who might benefit from your solutions.
As a final point, do not panic and forget the brand attributes that have made you successful. If you focus on quality, do not let it slip in order to cut prices. Instead work and rework all your research, materials, scripts, promotions to make the quality message more and more appealing.
The firms that market well in times of recession are those that will really thrive when conditions become easier.